Inventory of the St. Mark's Episcopal Church Records, 1862 - 2006

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Descriptive Summary

Abstract: St. Mark's Episcopal Church was organized as an independent parish in 1865 by a group of prominent black Episcopalians who were without a place to worship- since most of the white Episcopalian churches were evacuated in Charleston as a result of the city's occupation by Union Forces. The church's first service was held on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1865. The congregation continued to grow and in 1870 a lot at the corner of Warren and Thomas Streets in historic Radcliffeboro was purchased for the erection of a permanent church building, which was designed by architect, Louis J. Barbot. The cornerstone of the building was laid on October 26, 1877, and the completed structure was consecrated on November 8, 1878. St. Mark's early membership included leaders and families from the community, business and professional persons, and skilled artisans who contributed to the building of the city.
The collection contains materials relating to the establishment, development and operation of the St. Mark's Episcopal Church; including administrative records such as a register of church services, meeting minutes and proceedings, and a Sunday school roll book; financial records that include account books, ledgers and treasurer reports; and items documenting church membership, such as parish registers. Also present in the collection are materials relating to the acquisition and maintenance of the church. The St. Mark's Episcopal Church Records date from 1862 - 2005, with bulk dates spanning the years 1965 - 1984.
Title: St. Mark's Episcopal Church Records, 1862 - 2006
Creator: St. Mark's Episcopal Church (Charleston, S.C.).
Repository: Avery Research Center at the College of Charleston
Call Number: AMN 1121
Language of Material: Material in English
Extent: 3.48 linear feet
(10 archival boxes)

Historical Note

St. Mark's Episcopal Church was organized as an independent parish in 1865 by a group of prominent black Episcopalians who were without a place to worship- since most of the white Episcopalian churches were evacuated in Charleston as a result of the city's occupation by Union Forces. The church's first service was held on Easter Sunday, April 16, 1865. Immediately after the service an organizational meeting was held and the following were elected to manage the affairs of the congregation: S. L. Bennett, Chairman; J. N. Gregg. Secretary; R.E. DeReef, Treasurer; as well as B.K. Kinloch, J. Wheaton, R Holloway, S. O'Hear, J. B. Mushington, and Lydia Frost. Based on an Act of the Legislature passed in February of 1863, the Vestry and Wardens of St. Mark's applied for incorporation as a legal entity with the "Rights, Power and Privileges of a Congregation according to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in this State." This charter was duly registered in Charleston on October 24, 1866. In 1870 a lot at the corner of Warren and Thomas Streets in historic Radcliffeboro was purchased in the sum of about $5,000 for the erection of a permanent church building. The congregation accepted a temple form design by Louis J. Barbot, which had been used by seven other churches in Charleston. However, St. Mark's may have been one of the last of that style built in America-and was the only one in the city of Charleston built of wood. The cornerstone of the building was laid on October 26, 1875, and the completed structure was consecrated on November 8, 1878. St. Mark's was served by a number of eminent priests during its first years; not the least of whom was Rev. A. Toomer Porter, founder of the Porter Military Academy and the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in Charleston. By the end of the 19th century, St. Mark's had the second highest membership and ranked fifth in its diocese for monetary contributions.

St. Mark's early membership included leaders and families from the community; business and professional persons; and skilled artisans who contributed to the building of the city of Charleston. Other members have included the owner of one of the largest wholesale and retail seafood businesses in Charleston; photography studio owner, Walter N. Boags; Herbert A. DeCosta, Jr. (1923-2008), renowned African American architect and contractor; numerous educational leaders including a principal of Avery Institute, Florence A. Clyde; the first black faculty members of the College of Charleston and the Baptist College, such as Dr. Eugene C. Hunt; as well as officers and participants of organizations like the N.A.A.C.P.


Collection Overview

The collection contains materials relating to the establishment, development and operation of the St. Mark's Episcopal Church; including administrative records such as a register of church services, meeting minutes and proceedings, and a Sunday school roll book; financial records that include account books, ledgers and treasurer reports; and items documenting church membership, such as parish registers. Also present in the collection are materials relating to the acquisition and maintenance of the church. The St. Mark's Episcopal Church Records is 5.2 linear feet and consists of materials dating from 1862 - 2005, with bulk dates spanning the years 1965 - 1984.

Series 1. Institutional History, 1862-1988, undated is 0.21 linear feet and consists of materials related to the founding and history of the St. Mark's Episcopal Church. It includes legal documents, church histories and studies, architectural descriptions, literary productions, and photographic and printed material.

Series 2. Administrative, 1865-1991, undated is 0.8 linear feet and encompasses records pertaining to the development and operation of the St. Mark's Episcopal Church. It includes vestry meeting minutes, notes and documentation of proceedings; registers of church services; a Sunday school officers and teachers roll; and literary productions and printed materials from the Diocese of South Carolina.

Series 3. Membership Records, 1864-2005, undated is 0.6 linear feet and consists principally of parish registers containing information on members of the church, i.e., their baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, donations and attendance. Also present in the series is a typed remembrance of St. Mark's (1902 to 1918) from Nell Houston Chisholm- the goddaughter of Alonzo McClennan, a noted African American physician from Charleston. Bound items and obituaries are also part of this series.

Series 4. Church Activities and Affiliations, 1903-2005, undated is 0.71 linear feet and comprised of general correspondence concerning church finances and leadership; printed materials from church anniversaries and celebrations, such as invitations, programs, souvenir journals and hymns. Also contained within the series are church bulletins and newsletters, as well as documents pertaining to the planning and implementation of St. Mark's "Every Member Canvass" fundraiser in 1974.

Series 5. Legal and Financial Records, 1881-1989, undated is 0.64 linear feet. It includes cash and account books, ledgers, receipts and disbursements records, treasurer reports, church offering records, lists of contributors, correspondence from the church's finance committee, plus investment reviews and meeting minutes. Also included in the series are insurance policy documents from the Church Insurance Company and Church Agency Corporation.

Series 6. Property Records, 1974-1986, undated is 0.4 linear feet and consists primarily of materials relating to building repairs for the exterior rehabilitation and stabilization of St. Mark's Episcopal Church. The project was funded by the Fiscal Year 1983 Emergency Jobs Act Historic Preservation Grant and a Department of Interior Historic Preservation matching grant from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. The series includes cost estimates for building repair and renovation; bids for repair work from local Charleston contractors; floor plan proposals; invoices, bills and receipts for work completed; copies of checks including one from renowned Charleston blacksmith, Phillip Simmons who assisted with repairs to St. Mark's fence and gate; and correspondence from Herbert A. DeCosta, Jr. of H.A. De Costa Company: General Contractors, who served as project director for St. Mark's renovations. Other items in the series include correspondence to St. Mark's Treasurer, Henry P. Hutchison concerning tax exemption claims for the church and property committee meeting minutes.

Series 7. Photographic Material, 1865-1990, undated is 0.02 linear feet. It includes cash and account books, ledgers, receipts and disbursements records, treasurer reports, church offering records, lists of contributors, correspondence from the church's finance committee, plus investment reviews and meeting minutes. Also included in the series are building fund pledges and insurance policy documents from the Church Insurance Company and Church Agency Corporation.

Series 8. Miscellaneous 1877-1977, undated is 0.1 linear feet and consists of printed material and literary productions relating to Charleston County, and the dedication and consecration of churches. Also part of this series is microfiche, ephemera and notes from educator and congregation member, Dr. Eugene C. Hunt, which mention St. Mark's Episcopal Church.

Collection Arrangement

1. Institutional History, 1862-1988, undated

2. Administrative, 1865-1991, undated

3. Membership Records, 1864-2005, undated

4. Church Activities and Affiliations, 1903-2005, undated

5. Legal and Financial Records, 1881-1989, undated

6. Property Records, 1974-1986, undated

7. Photographic Material, 1865-1990, undated

8. Miscellaneous, 1877-1977, undated



Bibliography

St. Mark's Episcopal Church "A Brief History of St. Mark's Episcopal Church." Accessed January 23, 2013. http://www.saintmarkschurch.com/2501.html.

Sources consulted by Ardra Whitney

Subject Headings

  • Architecture-Conservation and restoration-South Carolina-Charleston.
  • African American architects-South Carolina-Charleston.
  • African American churches-South Carolina-Charleston County.
  • African American Episcopalians-South Carolina-Charleston County.
  • African American families-History-Sources.
  • African American families-Religious life.
  • Charleston (S.C.)-Church history-Sources.
  • Charleston (S.C.)-Religious life and customs.
  • Church records and registers-South Carolina.
  • Contractors-South Carolina-Charleston.
  • DeCosta, Herbert A. (Herbert Alexander), 1923-2008
  • Episcopal Church-South Carolina-Charleston County-History.
  • Hunt, Eugene C.
  • H. A. DeCosta Company.
  • Historic buildings -Conservation and restoration-South Carolina-Charleston.
  • Historic preservation-South Carolina-Charleston.
  • Nonprofit organizations-South Carolina-Charleston.
  • Porter, Anthony Toomer, 1828-1902
  • Registers of births, etc. -South Carolina-Charleston County.
  • St. Mark's Episcopal Church (Charleston, S.C.)
  • St. Mark's Episcopal Church (Charleston, S.C.)-History.
  • St. Mark's Episcopal Church (Charleston, S.C.)-Records and correspondence.
  • St. Mark's Episcopal Church (Charleston, S.C.)-Registers.
  • South Carolina-Churches and religious affairs-Episcopal.


Related Material

Avery Photograph Collection, circa 1890s - 2008 (AMN 1112)

Craft and Crum Families, 1780 - 2007 (AMN 1102)

H. A. DeCosta, Jr. Papers (AMN 1084)

Walter N. Boags Papers, 1945 - 1980s (AMN 1053)

DeCosta Family Collection, 1879-1994 (1101)

Detailed Description of the Collection

1. Institutional History , 1862-1988, undated.

This series contains documents pertaining to the creation, organization and history of the St. Mark's Episcopal Church. It includes an act of incorporation, constitution and canons, articles of association, church histories and studies, architectural descriptions, photographs of clergy and church leaders, news clippings, an autograph from the church's architect, Louis Barbot and photocopied pages from Rev. Anthony Toomer Porter's autobiography,Led On!: Step by Step, Scenes from Clerical, Military, Educational, and Plantation Life in the South, 1828-1989. Porter helped raise money for the establishment of the St. Mark's Episcopal Church in order to help his community recover following the aftermath of the Civil War.
Box 1   Folder 1
Act to Incorporate the Protestant Episcopal Congregations in South Carolina1862
Box 1   Folder 2
Constitution and Canons1891
Box 1   Folder 3
Articles of Association1954
Box 1   Folder 4
A Study of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina[1965]
Box 1   Folder 5
Led On!:Step by Step, Scenes from Clerical, Military, Educational, and Plantation Life in the South, 1828-1989: An Autobiography1967
Box 1   Folder 6-7
Magazine and Newspaper Clippings1969-1988, undated
Box 1   Folder 8
Parish Histories1983, undated
Box 1   Folder 9
An Architectural Description1983, undated
Box 1   Folder 10
Essays 1990, undated
Box 1   Folder 11
Autograph of Louis Barbotundated
Box 1   Folder 12
Church Self-Studyundated

2. Administrative, 1865-1991, undated.

This series encompasses records documenting the governance structure and activities of St. Mark's Episcopal Church. It includes vestry meeting minutes, notes and proceedings; registers of church services; a Sunday school officers and teachers roll; and materials from the Diocese of South Carolina, such as an annual parochial report, articles and newsletters, and a wardens and vestrypersons conference schedule.
Box 1   Folder 13
Vestry Minutes Book1865-1870
Box 1   Folder 14
Vestry Meetings: Journal1871-1888
Box 2   Folder 1
Vestry Notes1900
Box 2   Folder 2
Vestry Business: Repairs to Church Building1903-1907, undated
Box 2   Folder 3
Sunday School Officers and Teachers Roll1906-1939
Box 2   Folder 4-5
Vestry Proceedings1918-1920
Box 2   Folder 6
Vestry Minutes1919
Box 2   Folder 7
Diocese of South Carolina: Annual Parochial Report, Articles, Business Methods, Forms, Newsletters, Notes, Pledge of Support, Procedures, Statistical Definitions, and Wardens and Vestrypersons Conference Schedule1965-1976, undated
Box 2   Folder 8-9
Register of Church Services1966-1980
Box 2   Folder 10
Building Committee1973-1974
Box 2   Folder 11
Vestry Meetings: Agenda, Budgets, Correspondence, Minutes and Notes1974-1991
Box 3   Folder 1
Joint Vestry Meeting of Calvary Church and St. Mark's Episcopal Church1975, undated
Box 3   Folder 2
Annual Meetings: Ballots, Committee Volunteers List, Financial Reports, Minutes and Proposed Budgets1975-1981
Box 3   Folder 3
Proposed Changes to Chancel: Correspondence, Cost Estimates, Drawings, Floor Plans, Proposed Budget and General Church Program1976-1977, undated
Box 3   Folder 4
Rectors: Correspondence, Job Description and Listsundated
Box 3   Folder 5
Proposed Plan of Operation for Rector Interimundated

3. Membership Records , 1864-2005, undated.

This series consists predominantly of parish registers containing information on congregation members' baptisms, confirmations, marriages, deaths, attendance and offerings. Also included is church member, Nell Houston Chisholm's typed remembrances of St. Marks from 1902 to 1918. Chisholm was the goddaughter of Alonzo McClennan, a noted African American physician from Charleston. Sunday school and choir attendance roll books, as well as obituaries are also part of this series.
Box 3   Folder 6
Parish Register: Microfiche 1864-1965
Box 10   Folder 1
Parish Register (Folio)1866-1965
Box 3   Folder 7
Parish Register1878-1884
Box 3   Folder 8-9
Rector's Parish Register1891-2005
Box 7   Folder 1
Marriage Register1905-1965
Box 3   Folder 10
Marriage Register:Microfiche1905-1965
Box 3   Folder 11
Roll Book for St. Mark's Sunday School 1941-1942
Box 3   Folder 12
Roll Book for Choir Attendance1962-1965
Box 3   Folder 13
Obituaries1988, undated
Box 3   Folder 14
List of 91 Men's Name undated
Box 3   Folder 15
"Some of My Recollections of Dear Old St. Marks"by Nell Houston Chisholmundated

4. Church Activities and Affiliations , 1903-2005, undated.

This series constitutes general correspondence concerning church finances and leadership, as well as the installation of parts the church organ. It includes printed materials such as church bulletins and newsletters; invitations, programs and souvenir journals from church anniversaries and dedication celebrations; and documents pertaining to the planning and implementation of the church's "Every Member Canvass" fundraiser. Materials from the Society for the Preservation of the Book of Common Prayer, St. Helena's Episcopal Church, Homebuilders Association of Greater Charleston, Boy Scouts of America, Gibbes Art Gallery, Charleston Opera Company and Kiwanis Club of Charleston and TV5 Auction are also contained within the series.
Box 9   Folder 12
Sunday School Bible1866
Box 3   Folder 16
General Correspondence1903-1938, undated
Box 3   Folder 17
Church Programs1939-1995, undated
Box 3   Folder 18-21\
Anniversary of St. Mark's Episcopal Church: Historical Facts, Invitations, Programs and Souvenir Journals1941-2005
Box 4   Folder 1
Dedication of the Parish House of St. Mark's Episcopal Church: Photocopy of Souvenir Journal1949
Box 4   Folder 2
Boy Scouts of America Pack Charter1963
Box 4   Folder 3-7
Annual Convention of the Diocese of South Carolina: Agendas, Budgets, Committee Arrangements, Correspondence, Information Sheets, Journals, Memoranda, Minutes of the Convention, Newsletters, Newspapers, Pamphlets, Registration Forms, Reports and Resolutions1965-1980
Box 4   Folder 8
Homebuilders Association of Greater Charleston: Agenda, By-Laws, Committee Report Forms, Contact Lists, Correspondence, Meeting Minutes and Program1973-1974, undated
Box 4   Folder 9-10
"Every Member Canvass"1973-1979, undated
Box 4   Folder 11
St. Helena's Episcopal Church: Analysis and After-Action Report1974
Box 4   Folder 12
Society for the Preservation of the Book of Common Prayer1976, undated
Box 4   Folder 13
Church Bulletins and Newsletters1976-1980
Box 4   Folder 14
Charleston Opera Company Program Advertisement Orders1982
Box 4   Folder 15
Gibbes Art Gallery: Correspondence and Loan Agreement1984-1987
Box 4   Folder 16
Kiwanis Club of Charleston and TV5 Auction: Donor Forms, Flyers, Lists and Pamphlets1985-1986, undated
Box 4   Folder 17
Celebrating the Holy Eucharist: Directions, Hymns and Outline1990, undated

5. Legal and Financial Records, 1881-1989, undated.

This series contains cash, account and ledger books, budgets, receipts and disbursements records, treasurer reports, record books documenting church offerings, lists of individual contributors and contribution amounts, correspondence from the church's finance committee-plus investment reviews and meeting minutes. It also includes insurance policy documents from the Church Insurance Company and Church Agency Corporation.
Box 4   Folder 18
Record of Monthly Receipts and Disbursements1881-1891
Box 5   Folder 1
Cash Books: Microfiche1906-1961
Box 5   Folder 2
Cash Books1906-1961
Box 5   Folder 3
Monthly Treasurer's Report1912-1925
Box 7   Folder 2
Record of Church Offerings 1916
Box 5   Folder 4
Offerings: Microfiche1916-1936
Box 8   Folder 1-3
Two Fold Account Books for Weekly Offering1923-1936
Box 5   Folder 5
Ledger1939-1950
Box 5   Folder 6-7
Parish Figuring Book1950-1976
Box 5   Folder 8
Diocese of South Carolina: Salaries1971-1972
Box 5   Folder 9
Finance Committee: Correspondence, Investment Reviews, Meeting Minutes and Proposed Budget1971-1979, undated
Box 6   Folder 1
Seminar for Treasurers and Finance Chairmen1975, undated
Box 6   Folder 2
Budgets, Financial and Treasurer Reports1975-1990
Box 7   Folder 3
Ledger of Monthly Income and Disbursements1976-1982
Box 6   Folder 3
Church Insurance1983-1989
Box 6   Folder 4
Listing of Names and Moniesundated

6. Property Records, 1974-1986, undated.

This series consists primarily of materials relating to building repairs for the exterior rehabilitation and stabilization of St. Mark's Episcopal Church- a project which was funded by the Fiscal Year 1983 Emergency Jobs Act Historic Preservation Grant and a Department of Interior Historic Preservation matching grant from the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. The series comprises bids for repair work from local Charleston contractors; as well as bills for work completed, contract change orders, cost estimates, invoices, reports and reimbursements. Correspondence from Herbert A. DeCosta, Jr. of H.A. De Costa Company: General Contractors, who served as project director for St. Mark's renovations; a funding agreement between the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and St. Mark's Episcopal Church for the exterior stabilization and repairs to the church, as well as other materials related to the grant funded project are also included in the series. Other items include documents pertaining to a similar funding agreement between New Tabernacle Fourth Baptist Church and South Carolina Department of Archives and History to aid in repairs of the church's exterior, roof and gutters; a South Carolina inventory of historic places; materials produced by St. Mark's property committee, such as building repair and renovation cost estimates; as well as meeting minutes. In addition, the series contains correspondence and contracts for the sale of real estate; floor plan proposals; notes and financial material for renovations to the residence of Dr. Edward Parker at 128 Tradd Street; and a plat map of no. 173 Coming Street.
Box 6   Folder 5
Plat Map of No. 173 Coming Street1953
Box 6   Folder 6
Property Committee1974-1977, undated
Box 6   Folder 7
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Correspondence1976-1989, undated
Box 6   Folder 8
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Bills1981-1984, undated
Box 6   Folder 9
Renovations to 128 Tradd Street1982, undated
Box 6   Folder 10
Floor Plan Proposals1983
Box 6   Folder 11
FY83 Emergency Jobs Act Development Grant1983-1984
Box 6   Folder 12
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Invoices1983-1984
Box 6   Folder 13
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Agreements1983-1984, undated
Box 6   Folder 14
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Checks1984
Box 6   Folder 15
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Contract Change Orders1984
Box 6   Folder 16
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Correspondence1984
Box 6   Folder 17
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: The Herbert Company, Inc. 1984
Box 6   Folder 18
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Job Cost Variance Reports1984
Box 6   Folder 19
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Notes on Project Costs and Repairs1984
Box 6   Folder 20
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Reimbursements1984
Box 6   Folder 21
New Tabernacle Fourth Baptist Church Grant Funding1984
Box 6   Folder 22
Sale of Real Estate1984
Box 6   Folder 23
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Bids1984, undated
Box 6   Folder 24
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Notes on Project Costs and Repairs1984, undated
Box 9   Folder 1
South Carolina Inventory of Historic Places1986, undated
Box 9   Folder 2
Exterior Stabilization and Repairs: Estimates for Repairsundated

7. Photographic Material, 1865-1990, undated.

This series includes photographs and photocopied of images of St. Mark's clergy, such as the Rev. Edward N. Hollings with altar boys, George L. Lawrence and Fred Plumeau. A portrait of Louise Elizabeth Condol, Charleston native and benefactor of St. Mark's Episcopal Church is also part of the series.
Box 9   Folder 3
Photographs of Clergy1865-1990
Box 9   Folder 4
Condol, Louise Elizabeth, 1914-1998: Photographundated
Box 9   Folder 5
Photocopy of Photograph of George L. Lawrence, Rev. Edward N. Hollings and Fred Plumeauundated

8. Miscellaneous, 1877-1977, undated.

This series includes a Charleston City Directory from the late 19th century; a record book belonging to J.A. Carroll; and a report on the growth trends in Charleston County from the Charleston County Planning Board. Additionally contained within the series are items such as, microfiche, Christmas cards, photocopied pages from a book on the dedication and consecration of churches; notes from educator and congregation member, Dr. Eugene C. Hunt, which mention St. Mark's Episcopal Church; and essays on the early history of St. Mark's, as well as Charleston aristocrats Edward McCrady and his son Edward McCrady Jr.'s opposition to black representation in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.
Box 9   Folder 6
Charleston City Directory1877-1887
Box 9   Folder 7
J.A. Carroll Record Book[1945]
Box 9   Folder 8
Growth Trends in Charleston County: A Report of the Charleston County Planning Board1968
Box 9   Folder 9
Greeting Cards1988, undated
Box 9   Folder 10
Hunt, Eugene C.: Book Excerpts, Correspondence, List, Newspaper Clippings and Poetry1990-1991, undated
Box 9   Folder 11
Microficheundated


Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

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The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], St. Mark Episcopal Church Records, Avery Research Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.

Processing Information

Processed by Ardra Whitney, 12, 2012

Encoded by Ardra Whitney, 1, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

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