December 31, 2017

St. John's Episcopal Church, Hagerstown

On the day after Christmas, Hagerstown offered a Historic Houses of Worship Tour. Since some of my ancestors came from Hagerstown, I decided to drive there and do part of the tour. We enjoy seeing historic places and churches often have impressive architecture.

I don't know where George Hammer's family attended church but I had a vague recollection that he was buried at St. John's Church before being moved to Rose Hill Cemetery. Whether that is correct or not, we enjoyed visiting St. John's Episcopal Church.

The interior of the church is impressive, with a tall cathedral ceiling.  I was glad we saw it.

There is an interesting history of the church online. Members were involved in controversy in the years leading up to the Civil War. Some members held southern sympathies and others quite the opposite. Read about Rear Admiral Donald McNeil Fairfax and the US Navy's African Squadron, a fleet of eight vessels with orders to protect American commerce and suppress the transatlantic slave trade from 1859 to 1861. Many captives from Africa were freed by the Navy.

Hagerstown is in Maryland but just over the West Virginia line, and the part of West Virginia that we cross to get there is in the narrow "panhandle." 

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