Eagle Archives, February 17, 1966: 203 Years Lenox Church Publishes Its History | Story


LENOX – A history of the 203-year-old Trinity Church has been published and is being distributed to committed members, the city, the Lenox Library and other organizations, according to Rev. Robert SS Whitman, rector.

The story, written by John A. Gable of 39 Kneeland Ave., a ward member, was voted a few years ago by the vestry to commemorate the church’s 200th anniversary in 1963. Due to delays, however , the book was not completed until this year.

According to the story, the first service was probably held in Lenox in October 1763, by the Reverend Roger Viets of Simsbury, Connecticut, a member of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. The society, commonly known as the Venerable Society, among other names, was chartered by King William III in 1701 as a missionary society of the Church of England and was instrumental in spreading the Church in the settlements.

Society ministers traveled throughout New England to hold services in villages scattered throughout the wilderness. They used the roads little better than the Indian trails, braving financial difficulties, hostile local governments, and the vagaries of nature and weather. An Anglican priest traveled for two days in a storm to perform a wedding for a fee of 20 cents.

The story mentions local Anglican residents who were active during the Revolution. One of them was Azariah Egleston, who enlisted as a private in the regiment of a Lenox resident, Colonel John Patterson. Egleston soon rose to the rank of major. He crossed Delaware with Washington, served at Valley Forge, and fought in the battles of Princeton, Trenton, and Saratoga. He was a friend of Washington, of the Polish patriot Kosciusko and of the French patriot Lafayette.

Another active member in the Revolution was Linus Parker, scout and sniper, who served at Bennington and Saratoga.

It was not until after the Revolution that Lenox Anglicans officially organized a parish and joined the Diocese of Massachusetts in 1793, 30 years after the first offices. The title of the parish was the Protestant Episcopal Society of Lenox and remained so until 1918 when the legal title was changed to Rector, Wardens and Vestrymen of Trinity Church, Lenox.

This story within a story is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.


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