St. Peter’s, 175 years of service

1677 St. Mary’s Parish formed

1764-1770 Parson Jonathan Boucher traveled the Parish & preached

1818 1st church built in Port Royal-located on Lot 49 known as the Sacred Lot. (used by all denominations)

1835 St. Peter’s built after 20 years of planning—First service held in December,1835.

1836 May 15th Bishop Richard Channing Moore consecrated the new church. The Rev. William Friend became the first rector. "On Sunday, May 15, 1836 I went to Port Royal at which place I consecrated a new Church: a building which is a great ornament to the town, and reflects the greatest credit upon those by "whose munificence it has been erected, and which, I trust, will prove a blessing to them and to their children to their latest posterity. The congregation was very large and at­tentive during the whole service. Prayers were read by several of the clergy who attended on the occasion — the discourse was delivered by myself — the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered — I baptised three children and confirmed two persons."

1839 William Friend informed the diocese that a "fine-toned organ" (maker now unknown) had been installed in St. Peter's Church

1849 Christmas Night fire destroyed the interior of St. Peter’s Church as well as the gallery, steeple and bell. Even the brick structure suffered great damage.

1850 By May $7000 had been secured to rebuild the church. Stucco was added to cover the damaged brick.

1850 Silas Wood of New York donated a second bell for the restored steeple. The bell is in¬scribed: "From Meneely's Foundry, W. Troy, N.Y. Presented to St. Peter's Church, Port Royal, Caroline Co., Va. Silas Wood, of New York, 1850."

1850 A new pipe organ was built by George Stevens of Mass. and installed. It is still in use today.

1853 Tablets on the wall over the altar containing the Ten Commandments, The Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles Creed were added.

1861-1865 Civil War left the town of Port Royal devastated, and records of the church were carried off by the Yankees. Rev. Friend became a missionary to the Confederate Army in Northern Virginia. The vestry did not meet until after the war in 1865 when families returned to their homes and it was time to make repairs to the church.

1868 July 6 lightning hit the steeple and fire caused great damage to the church. Necessary repairs were made without a steeple on the roof. Both the bell and the organ survived this 2nd fire.

1870 Rev Friend died at age 63. He was the first person buried in the churchyard St. Peter's. His widow, age 26, later married Major William J. Johnson of Richmond. At her death, her diamonds were sold and the profit plus $3,500 was to be given to St. Peter’s. Interest from this fund, the Nannie B. Johnson Fund, continues to support the church today.

1873 A bell tower or Campanile was built at the rear of the church.

1876 Lot 4 was purchased as a rectory. It is currently referred to as Fall Hall in memory of Rev. Ralph Fall and serves as the social hall , priest’s office and Sunday School meeting rooms. The house was built in 1740 with a larger addition added in 1850. Additional land below the river- bank was deeded to the church in 1976 by Mr. and Mrs. Beverly Pratt

1882 Gutters were removed from the church building and never replaced; in 1980 concrete drains were laid on the ground around the building to throw rain-water away from the foundations. The slate roof remained on the structure until 1976 when it was replaced by asphalt shingles.

1886 A resolution was adopted by the Vestry whereby the northwest side of the yard was laid off in sections of 20 feet by 24 feet and sold for $75 to church members for interment of their families; the resolution was amended to include members of other churches in the eligibility to obtain cemetery lots.

1889 James Hall and Co. tuned the organ. Leather bellows installed at that time.

1903 The Vestry of St. Peters approved a wire fence for Market Street. At the same time the church may have acquired a pulpit with double stairs inside the sanctuary rail; a hook is still seen in the ceiling over the place which held a chain suspending a sounding board over the pulpit

1903 Lecturns added. The Vestry authorized the purchase of four tons of coal for the church and discussed the building of a stable on the Rectory property. An existing photograph shows a portion of the stable that was erected near the bell tower

1920 Electricity added to the church.

1936 June 21st 100th Anniversary of St. Peter’s. Services were held morning and afternoon with lunch on the grounds. The present portico sign was unveiled as an addition to the church.

1941 The US Government took 77,000 acres between Port Royal and Bowling Green. Many people lost their homes. Such was the case for Genevieve Powers Davis, our oldest member,who remembers moving from Bell Town (at the current entrance to Fort AP Hill on Rt. 17) and building her present home.

1946 - The Vestry authorized the extension of the graveyard from the bell-tower to the top edge of the river bank.

1949 Rev. Wilson Stitt recommended replacing the original steeple and bell on the top of the church. It was done 60 years later.

1953 – An oil-burner and blower were installed on the furnace in 1953, being converted from the use of coal as fuel

1961 Brigham laid a brick walk from the sidewalk to the portico steps

1962 The present altar was dedicated on December 25, 1962, as a memorial to Rosalie (Thornton) Connes',

1963 An addition to the sacristy was added to include running water for the first time and a sink and toilet.

1967 The congregation elected Helen G. Pratt as the first woman to serve on the vestry. She also served as registrar.

1968 A processional cross in memory of Cleveland A. Holloway was given by his daughter Lucile Holloway

1972 The Vestry voted to keep the church locked when not in use. Previously the church stood unlocked day and night.

1973 First woman trustee-Genevieve (Powers) Davis

1975 The Congregation adopted 11 "Bylaws" governing the churchs graveyard; the regulations state that the cemetery is "not a public burial ground, but is the exclusive property of St. Peters Church."

1976 the slate roof , possibly well over 100 years old, was removed and replaced by an asphalt-shingle roof'

1978 A 19th century chandelier with globes was hung in the nave ceiling and two smaller chandeliers were hung in the gallery.

1978-79 Exterior stucco removed and redone .The church was painted a light beige color.

1997 Rectory converted from rental building to the Parish hall

1999 Organ Restoration - Newauthentic new finish was in order. Research was performed to verify everything from the date of construction to the most authentic wind pressure. All broken or missing parts were hand made in Rappahannock Pipe Organ Company. Gallery extended.

2009 Easter Sunday the bell rang again from the steeple on top of the church. The vestry, member and friends of St. Peter’s supported this great undertaking led by Junior Warden Helmut Linne von Berg. The Rev. John Wall was priest.

2011. St. Peter's Celebrated its 175 birthday with a service, luncheon and separate service, salute to our ancestors. The Rev. Catherine was priest.

2016. St. Peter's renovates its altar piece