St Matthews Church
The September (D-OGS) meeting will be held on Wednesday evening, 7 September 2011 at 7p.m. at St Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 210 St. Mary’s Road in Hillsborough, NC.
Visit their webiste here: http://www.stmatthewshillsborough.org/
There is parking behind the church and across from the church on St. Mary’s Road.
We will be listening to Rev. Dr. N. Brooks Graebner speak about the historic cemetery at the church and take a guided tour of some of the graves of the prominent and historic persons buried there.
About the cemetery:
The historic St. Matthew’s cemetery is the final resting place for many early leaders of North Carolina, especially those from Orange County. There are 396 marked graves and 11 unmarked. Those buried here include members of local families including Cain, Cameron, Roulhac, Turner, and Webb.
About the Speaker:
The speaker will be the Rev. Dr. N. Brooks Graebner, Rector at St. Matthews. Rector Brooks Graebner came to St. Matthew’s in the spring of 1990, having previously served as the Assistant to the Rector at St. Peter’s in Charlotte, North Carolina. He moved to North Carolina in 1973 to attend Duke Divinity School, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1976. He then continued his studies at Duke, earning a Ph.D. in American Religious History in 1984. By then, Brooks had become an Episcopalian and had entered the ordination process in the Diocese of North Carolina, a vocational decision very much shaped by the time he spent as organist & choir director of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Durham, his sponsoring parish. Before ordination, Brooks also completed a year at Virginia Theological Seminary and a year in the Chaplain Residency Program at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill.
Brooks’ love for the study of church history is very much reflected in his extra-parochial involvements. He currently serves as the Historiographer of the Diocese of North Carolina. He is a past president of the local historical society and for ten years served as an officer & director of the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church. He teaches Anglican and Episcopal history in several formation programs of the diocese. He also is a steering committee member of the Durham-based Pauli Murray Project, which is devoted to honoring and extending the influence of this civil rights pioneer, historian, lawyer, and Episcopal priest.
About the church (taken from the web-site):
The General Assembly of North Carolina originally constituted St. Matthew’s Parish in 1752 as the established church in the County of Orange. The parish was reorganized in 1824, and the present church building was begun in 1825 and completed in 1826. It was consecrated by the Right Reverend John Stark Ravenscroft, the first Episcopal Bishop of North Carolina on May 21, 1826.
Letters of the period indicate that William Nichols, principal architect of the old state capital which was burned in 1831, designed the present structure. As far as we are able to learn, St. Matthew’s is the oldest Gothic Revival church building still standing in North Carolina. Nichols worked mainly in the Greek Revival idiom, but he knew Gothic work from both his native England as well as from visits to the northern United States. Nichols also designed Hillsborough’s Masonic Hall (1823). He left North Carolina in 1827 to work throughout the South, and died in Mississippi in 1853. Nichols is being increasingly recognized as one of the South’s finest antebellum architects.
There were others involved in the building of St. Matthew’s Church. As St. Matthew’s first Senior Warden, Francis Lister Hawks, grandson of the architect of Tryon Palace, likely had a great deal of input regarding the building. Walker Anderson, who was a member of the first vestry and who was the nephew of the great North Carolina jurist-legislator, Duncan Cameron, seems to have been the real project director. The master mason was Samuel Hancock, under whose hand John Berry, prominent local architect/builder, learned his skills.
St. Matthew’s Church has had many alterations throughout the years; the tower was added c. 1829 and under the leadership of the Rev. Moses Ashley Curtis, Rector from 1856 to 1872, extensive remodeling of the church was carried out. The east end was enlarged for a recessed chancel with triplet window, sacristy and organ room, and the exposed beam roof was raised c. 1868; the spire was added and the wainscoting was replaced c. 1875. A marble plaque in the narthex records the installation of the bell in 1878 as a Confederate Memorial.
St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The tracker-action organ, Opus number 1169, was purchased in 1883 for $1,040 from the Boston firm of Hook and Hastings. The organ is housed in an oak case and has seven ranks. It was removed from the church building on June 2, 2004 and completely restored by John Farmer, Pipe Organ Builders of Winston-Salem, NC. The organ returned to a newly refurbished organ room and was rededicated to God’s service on May 5, 2005.
The church building was thoroughly renovated and repaired in 2007-2008 and rededicated on St. Matthew’s Day, September 21, 2008.
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Photo of the church from Larry Lamb’s panoramio site