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Title Booklet: Church of the Holy Innocents. The Miniature Cathedral, Hoboken, N.J. Holy Innocents' Day, 1947, 75th Anniversary of Founding.
Object Name Pamphlet
Catalog Number 2009.017.0006
MULTIMEDIA LINKS CLICK HERE to view the PDF of all pages; note - please be patient while file opens.

CLICK HERE to view a text transcription; note - please be patient while file opens.
Collection Hoboken Churches & Religion Collection
Credit Gift of John Grouls.
Scope & Content Church of the Holy Innocents. The Miniature Cathedral, Hoboken, New Jersey. Holy Innocents' Day, 1947, 75th Anniversary of Founding. By John J. Heaney, Sacristan. Booklet, 7" wide x 10" high, [28] pages, photo illustrated. Main text is transcribed in notes; Word document with main text on file. PDF of text and images of entire booklet on file.

A very useful item for history and description of the church which is not longer used although the building still stands. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. In the 1980s, the furnishings were removed and dispersed. This document has many details about the original decor and furnishings now lost.

Text includes Dedication, to Julia Augusta Stevens, portrait of Martha Bayard Stevens with obituary, History (pp. [8-18]) followed by Description, pp [18-28] which details the buildings architecture, furnishings and decor.

List of photographs and photographic views:

page [3] Present View (exterior view looking northwest from Willow Ave. ca. 1947)
pg [4] photo portrait of Martha Bayard Stevens
pg. [7] As Appeared 1874-1895 (exterior view looking southwest from Sixth Street and Willow Ave., no date, ca. 1890s)
pg [9] Interior - As Appeared - 1874-1895 (view to north of main altar, First High Altar, and pews)
pg [11] First High Altar
pg [13] Interior - East View
pg [15] Interior - West View
pg [17] High Altar (no date, presumably after 1895 - note difference between this photo and the First High Altar on page [11])
pg [19] Lady Altar (this was at the northeast corner)
pg [21] St. Joseph's Memorial Chapel
pg [23] Chapel of the Holy Angels
pg [25] Baptistry - Font; Baptistry - Altar

Notes Transcription of main text in booklet 2009.017.0006: Church of the Holy Innocents. The Miniature Cathedral, Hoboken, New Jersey. Holy Innocents' Day, 1947, 75th Anniversary of Founding. By John J. Heaney, Sacristan.

page [2]


To the sweet and loving memory of a little child, Julia Augusta Stevens, daughter of Edwin Augustus and Martha Bayard Stevens. Born May 18th,1862. Died in Rome, Italy, December 26, 1870.

Also of her saintly mother, Martha Bayard Stevens whose charity made possible the erection of this beautiful Church to the sacred memory of this sweet child taken from her into the land of Paradise.


page [5]: [beneath photo of Martha Bayard Stevens]

Martha Bayard Stevens
Born May 15, 1831
Died April 1, 1899
To the people of Holy Innocents Church, the name of Martha Bayard Stevens has always stood for a wonderful benefactor, woman of noble piety, the gracious Lady Bountiful of the Parish which she built and loved so dearly. To those who knew and loved her, she was a revered memory, and to those who came after her shall love and respect her for her great life shown forth in the history of this Church.

pg [6]: [biography / obituary of Martha Bayard Dodd Stevens]

Martha Bayard Stevens was born in the little town of Princeton, New Jersey. Her father was Professor Albert Dodd of Princeton University, one of the most learned men to hold seat as teacher of Mathematics in that great university. She was reared in the strict faith of Presbyterianism of that day. At an early age, the family was plunged into complete poverty by the death of her father, Professor Dodd. By the time she reached sixteen, Martha Bayard Dodd was helping her mother support the family by teaching sewing and doing any chores that a girl of that age might do. She even prepared three younger brothers for their entrance into college. From this humble home, with all its love, affection, and culture, Martha Bayard Dodd took these qualities with her to the immense estate with its beautiful mansion overlooking the Hudson, upon becoming the adored wife of the wealthy Edwin Augustus Stevens. Here she was known as the Mistress and Lady of Stevens' Castle. To this marriage was born several children and it was the death of her little daughter, Julia Augusta, who died in Rome, on December 26, 1870, that persuaded Mrs. Stevens to build this Church. Mrs. Stevens became a devout lover and communicant of the Episcopal Church and was much impressed by the burial services conducted in Rome for her daughter. Through her life Mrs. Stevens with all her wealth still remained in her qualities, the plain Martha Bayard Dodd and never forgot her humble early background. Mrs. Stevens never tired of searching for beautiful treasures to put into the Church and during the latter days of her life found her greatest comfort in its Masses, services and ministrations.

On Easter Eve, April 1, 1899, God in His all wise providence called this saintly woman home to her Eternal reward. People of all walks of life journeyed to Castle Point to pay their last respects to this dear woman. Scarcely a dry eye left the room, many thoughts were brought back, to this woman whose purse was never closed to any good deed of charity.

On Tuesday, April 4th, the body was brought at an early hour to the Church to repose before the High Altar. Requiem Masses were offered at 6:30 AM., 7:30 A.M., and a Private Mass for the family was offered at 9:00 A.M., by the former rector, Father Moffett. At 11:00 A.M. a public service was held, only immediate relatives and friends were admitted to the Church. Over five thousand persons flanked the outside of the edifice. Bishop Starkey was present assisted by Rev. Father Magill, Rev. James Clayton Mitchell, Rev. Archdeacon W. R. Jenvey and several other clergymen. The full choir of the Church of the Transfiguration, New York, sang for the occasion. Miss Maud Morgan the well known harpist assisted the organist.

After the service, the cortege, which consisted of a hundred carriages, proceeded to Hoboken Cemetery where the Choir sang hymns while the committal took place.

The cross above Martha Bayard Stevens' grave bears the text, "Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." How true were the words of Jesus, for surely she was that day and forever more with her Lord in Paradise

pg [7]



The pages of this book and many like them could never tell the complete story of this Church. The story, with every detail since her conception, can only be told by God alone.

This book, in brief, will give some of the historical facts with a description of the Church. Much of this information is taken from old records of the parish and writings of Father Alfred G. Mortimer of Philadelphia, Father George Ernest Magill, former rector of Holy Innocents' and the present rector, Father Edward P. Hooper.

In writing this book, a very striking fact has been taken from the old records, that this Church had her beginning in an upper room of a frame building. This thought should take us back to another upper room where our Blessed Lord was present and gave us the Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

So Holy Innocents Church, since her beginning in that upper room follows her Lord's command. Sunday, Holy Days, day after day, year in and year out, the priest goes to the Altar to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that. "He might dwell in us and we in Him."

With this foundation that this Church is built upon, we, on this seventy-fifth anniversary, can look upon her glory of the past that our present lives may be made worthy to follow such a holy pattern as those who have gone before have made for us. May our good deeds and our lives make this parish Church, a great Church, for those who follow after us, and for the greater Glory of God and His Holy Catholic Church here on earth.

Hymns in Honor of the Holy Innocents

O Lord, the Holy Innocents
Laid down for Thee their infant life,
And Martyrs brave and patient saints
Have stood for Thee in fire and strife.
By C. F. Alexander

Praise for Thine infant martyrs, by Thee with tenderest love
Called early from the warfare to share the rest above.
O Rachel! cease thy weeping: they rest from pains and cares.
Lord, grant us hearts as guileless and crowns as bright as theirs.
By Horatio Nelson

pg [8]: [Start of history which ends on page [18]; note photographs on alternate pages are described separately]


In order to begin the story of this beautiful edifice, one must go back through the years to the city of Rome, Italy, in the year of 1870. Here in this Holy City, centuries before, the aged Apostle St. Paul and many other Saints gave their lives, that the seed of the Holy Catholic Church would go on to greater fruition. But what has all this got to do with Holy Innocents here in Hoboken?

Our story begins with the Stevens family, early pioneers in the history of Hoboken, New Jersey. In the year 1870, the Stevens family went on a trip abroad It was in the city of Rome that Julia Augusta Stevens, age seven years, seven months, passed out of this life on the day after Christmas, the Feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr. On the Vigil of the Holy Innocents at the American Chapel of St. Paul's, Rome, the funeral services were conducted by the Rev. Robert I. Nevins. The little body was laid in its first short resting place, hard by the gate out of which the great Apostle of the Gentiles, Paul the aged, passed to that desolate prison yard on the Ostian Way where he finished the good fight and kept the Faith. Shortly after, her body was returned to this country and interred in the Bergen Reformed Cemetery, Bergen Avenue, Jersey City, N. J. When the Stevens Family plot was purchased in Hoboken Cemetery, North Bergen, New Jersey, the body was moved to its final resting place near the grave of her in other.

Martha Bayard Stevens, her mother, returned to her palatial castle home overlooking the Hudson in Hoboken as a grief- stricken mother. In her sorrow came the thought of building a Church to the memory of this sweet child. The building of a Church would bring the realization that they who die in the Name of our Blessed Lord are not dead, but remaineth for ever with Him. Through this act of Christian sorrow came the founding of this beautiful Church.

Statistics show us that the parish itself began in very modest surroundings in an upper room of a frame building on Newark Street at the corners of Grand and Clinton Streets.

This new Church work began with services on April 7, 1872 with the approbation of the Right Rev. William Henry Odenheimer, Bishop of the Diocese of New Jersey. So soon as a congregation could be gathered, Mrs. Stevens resolved to build a Memorial Church. The Rev. H. F. Hartman was Priest-in-charge. Bishop Odenheimer of New Jersey, at that time the undivided Diocese of New Jersey, praised Mrs. Stevens for her good work and efforts in starting this Mission. He termed her as one of the most liberal friends of the Church in New Jersey and unostentatious as well as liberal in her manifold charities as one of the great daughters of the Church.

pg [10]

On Sunday, April 11, 1872, Sunday School was opened with twenty scholars. Mrs. Stevens with two of her sons and an only daughter began to teach this small group which was steadily increasing. Other teachers were added, a Superintendent was appointed and its first festival was held at Castle Point, where all were bountifully entertained and returned with much enjoyment of the atmosphere of those beautiful grounds.

Soon after the founding of this little Mission Church, the congregation numbered seventy-two souls when at the first celebration of the Holy Communion, twenty-six communicants received of this Holy Sacrament. Thus the little flock steadily grew.

Twenty-five persons received the Sacrament of Holy Baptism at different times, On Sunday, August 11. 1872, ten adults and thirteen infants were baptized. The most striking feature of the baptismal administration and one probably unparalleled in any one Church was the reception among the number of a family of eleven Jews, all true Israelites. This refers to Mr. Henry Cross and his family. Following the baptisms, Bishop Odenheimer administered Confirmation to thirty-five candidates. The Rev. J. B Chetwood assisted Father Hartman and the Bishop.

In the afternoon of the same day at three, the Bishop laid the cornerstone of the Church. The Sunday School and the congregation marched in the procession from the Chapel at Newark Street to the corner of Sixth and Garden Street where they were met by Bishop Odenheimer and a number of priests. The procession moved to the new Church in course of erection, located on Sixth and Willow Avenue.

The Bishop laid the cornerstone according to the beautiful ritual of the Prayer Book, striking the stone with a trowel and Consecrating it in the name of the Holy Trinity. Among the priests present were the Rev. Robert J. Nevins, Henry Hartman, R. W. Howe, rector of Trinity Church, Hoboken, S. M. Rice of Grace Church, Jersey City, and Thomas McKee Brown, rector of St. Mary the Virgin, New York.

The choir, under the direction of Mr. Miller, sang a beautiful hymn which he had composed for the occasion. The foundress of the Parish stood modestly by while her son John Stevens carried the box containing the articles to be deposited in the cornerstone and her daughter Caroline, the late Mrs. Wittpenn, placed upon it an offering of the choicest flowers.

pg [12]

The service was an impressive one, and a throng of more than two thousand persons attended it. The interest taken by the children was most praiseworthy, and nothing whatever occurred to mar or disturb the interesting ceremonies.

No records are available as to the contents within the cornerstone or the exact location. If all indication is correct, the cornerstone is located in the North-East corner of the Church on the Willow Avenue side. Here is located the only odd stone in the lower portion of the building. The letters, if they were inscribed, have crumbled off. Recently one of the original tiles from the flooring of the Church before the enlargement, has been placed on the face of this stone. The tiling was made in Stoke-upon Trent, Staffordshire, England and bears in Greek lettering,
"Christ, the Beginning and the Ending." The letters 1872 have been chiselled upon it.

Thus the Church was built upon this cornerstone representing Jesus Christ, the true cornerstone of the Church.

By the Fall of the same year, the congregation was forced to move from its location on Newark Street to the basement of Martha's Institute, at the corner of Park Avenue and Sixth Street. This Institute bears the name of the foundress of Holy Innocents who helped make possible its building. Here the congregation remained until the Church was ready for use. While the Church was in the process of building, services were still going on with a steady increase. During the first year, eighty candidates were confirmed, twenty adults and forty-five children were baptized. Note[d] by the Diocesan Register, this was the largest number to be confirmed in any parish of the undivided diocese that year.

Day by day, the congregation with its foundress, watched the erection of this building with ever loving eyes and eagerness of heart when the day would come and they would set foot therein. After two years of earnest expectation, the proposed portion of the Church was completed.

On the Feast of St. Bartholomew, the Apostle, Monday, August 24, 1874 at eleven in the morning, the Church was Consecrated by the Rt. Rev. William Henry Odenheimer, Bishop of New Jersey, assisted by the Rt. Rev. Benjamin B. Smith, Presiding Bishop of the United States and the Rt. Rev. Horatio Potter, Bishop of New York. The Rev. Charles Parsons, rector of Holy Innocents, received the reverend clergy.

pg [14]

The Sentence of Consecration was read by the Rev. Robert J. Nevins, D.D., rector of St. Paul's Chapel, Rome, Italy. After the reading of the Sentence of Consecration, the ceremonies were proceeded with according to the ritual of the Book of Common Prayer. The Rev. Father Nevins, who conducted the burial service for little Julia Augusta Stevens preached the sermon for the occasion, taking for his text, the Epistle for Holy Innocents Day, Revelation 14:1-5.

About forty-six priests were present, among them Dr. Seymour who became the Bishop of Springfield and Dr. Cortlandt Whitehead who was made Bishop of Pittsburgh.

Following the Consecration service, the Mass was sung by Bishop Potter of New York. The music was rendered by the choir of St. John's Chapel of Trinity Parish, New York. The Church was thronged with people to witness the services and get a glimpse for the first time of this beautiful structure.

Thus the Church was Consecrated to the Greater Glory of God, in Honor of the Holy Innocents and in loving memory of Julia Augusta Stevens by her mother Martha Bayard Stevens.

The Rev. H. F. Hartman resigned as Priest in Charge on June 4, 1874. On August 3, 1874, Rev. Charles C. Parsons, became the first rector of Holy Innocents. At the General Convention the Diocese of New Jersey was made into two Dioceses, the Diocese of New Jersey and the Diocese of Northern New Jersey now the Diocese of Newark. Thus, Holy Innocents was the last Church to be Consecrated in the undivided Diocese of New Jersey. At the Primary Convention held in the new Diocese, Holy Innocents was represented by the new Rector, Father Parsons.

In the year of 1875, the Church was flourishing with a Mission at Union Hill now known as Union City. The records of the parish show there were 137 Baptisms, 36 Confirmed, 120 Communicants rind 849 Divine Services held. The offering for that year amounted to $26,583.25.
In the year of 1876, Father Parsons was transferred to the Diocese of Tennessee. The Rev. J. B. Wetherill was appointed Priest-in-Charge of the Parish. The Rev. B. W. Lewis was assistant. The listing of Communicants was 156, Sunday School pupils 325, offerings $27,629. At the same time a Mission of the Church, known as St. Justin the Martyr, was also carrying on a flourishing work.

In the year of 1877, the Rev. John Sword became rector of the Church. At this time the Daily Mass began. Up until now the Mass was the chief act of worship on Sunday and Holy Days. Matins and Evensong were said daily in the Church.

pg [16]

During the early days of the Church, three Missions were preached here. In January, 1880 the first Mission was preached by Father Maturin and Father Sheppard. In the year 1884, the second Mission was preached by Father Mortimer of St. Mark's Church, Philadelphia and Father Thompson. The third Mission was preached by Father Dolling in 1897.

In the year of 1878, Memphis, Tennessee had the greatest and worst plague of yellow fever the country knew. This plague took the lives of two priests connected with Holy Innocents, the Rev. Father Parsons and Father Schuyler who was Priest-in-Charge of Holy Innocents for only a week. Upon hearing of Father Parson's death and knowing there was no one to take his place, Father Schuyler left Holy Innocents to carry the Catholic Rites of the Church to the sick and dying of this dreadful plague. In five days time this young priest gave his life as a victim of the plague. So you see Holy Innocents, as her Patronal name is associated with sacrifice and sorrow and has the honor of being associated with two martyr priests.

In the year of 1885, the Rev. George Herbert Moffett became rector of the parish and did a wonderful amount of work on behalf of the Catholic Cause of the Episcopal Church. During his rectorship the lovely Parish House was built in 1885. The Parish House is typically Old English in its structure and the workmanship of the well-known architect, Halsey W. Wood. This was a gift of Mrs. Martha Bayard Stevens as was the Rectory which was built in 1888, also the workmanship of Halsey W. Wood. In 1892 Father Moffett resigned as rector of the Church and become rector of St. Clements Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Rev. E. A. Webber succeeded Father Moffett and was rector until the year of 1895. During this short period that Father Webber was in Holy Innocents, he successfully carried out the work of the parish.

The Church was enlarged in 1895 by the extension of the nave, the building of the tower, a sacristy and choir room. The workmanship being under the direction of Henry Vaughan of Boston, who designed the Washington Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul. These additions were Consecrated by Bishop Starkey of the Diocese of Newark. The sermon was preached by the Rev. Morgan Dix, D.D. Rector of Trinity Church, New York.

The following year 1896, the Rev. George Ernest Magill became one of the Church's longest rectors. For thirty years Father Magill was a great example of bringing souls to the knowledge of the Catholic Faith. Many improvements were made during

pg [18]: [ end History & beginning of Description]

his rectorship such as the immense choir room, acolyte room, new electric lighting system for the Church, including the hanging lantern fixtures, and electrifying and rebuilding of the organ, and many other needs and benefits for the preservation of the Church. To him, Holy Innocents was near and dear. In 1926 due to ill health, he resigned as rector of the parish. To show the love and honor of the parish and of the people whom he loved and served so well, he was bequeathed the title of Rector Emeritus.

The Church shall always remember such faithful priests as Father St. Clair, a curate who served so faithfully under Father Magill. He was known for his great youth work and the organization of Troop 2 of the Boy Scouts, the oldest troop in the City of Hoboken.

The successor to Father Magill was the Rev. Edward P. Hooper, who became the sixth rector of the parish. Father Hooper began his priestly duties May 16, 1926. It was here in Holy Innocents that he was ordained to the Priesthood by the Rt. Rev. R. H. Weller, D.D., on March 27, 1905. It was here also at Holy Innocents that Father Hooper's brother, the Rev. Robert Sanders Hooper, was made a Deacon by Bishop Lines, on May 9, 1918. He enlisted the same day in the United States Marine Corps and later transferred to the Medical Corps. He died at Fort Oglethorpe, Tennessee, October 16, 1918. Had not God called him to his Eternal reward, he also would have been ordained here to the Holy Office of Priesthood. Father Hooper has always looked upon Holy Innocents with great love and devotion for the teachings of the Catholic Church and for a Church that in structural beauty and harmony every churchman can be justly proud of.

Holy Innocents with her rich history of the past can well look to the future, for surely this Church is built upon the rock of Jesus Christ Himself.


A history of Holy Innocents would not be complete without a description.

The building is a rare and beautiful edifice, a miniature cathedral of massive stone, and a superb representation of classic ecclesiastical architecture. In design the building is Gothic and French in detail. In every feature it is an exquisite study of architectural harmony. The original portion of the Church as it appeared on the day of Consecration consisted of three bays.

pg [20]

This work was under the direction of Edward Potter, the original architect for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York. In design the Church was patterned after the lovely inspiration of Roslyn Chapel, near Edinburgh, Scotland. Much of Mr. Potter's work in detail has never been completed. One can see in the concrete work above the pillars, the marks of the chisel, where beautiful designs were to be carved had the work been fully completed. Some complete carving can be seen in stonework above the small marble pillars in the clerestory of the Church. More of the complete stone carved detail work can seen in the stone work surrounding the beautiful fan window above the High Altar.

Niches were to be carved out of the stonework for statues, but were never completed. Nevertheless with much of the detail work incomplete, Holy Innocents is a rare and beautiful edifice that would be regarded as one of more than passing interest, even by comparison with the famous European Churches, for its beauty of general design and perfection in every detail. The building was made absolutely fireproof, only the furnishings can burn.

At the time of Consecration of the Church, Mrs. Stevens devoted the sum of $60,000, exclusive of the site, for the erection of this Memorial Church.
The Church as appeared on the day Consecration was 52 feet 6 inches long by 44 feet wide in the clear inside and 53 feet 6 inches from the pavement inside to the highest point of the ceiling.

The Altar end of the Church was set in a temporary Sanctuary. The west end of the Church was our present Altar end, giving a complete view of the stained glass windows. In the North and South aisles of the Church were entrances. The floor was complete white marble, at sections were groupings of colored tiles giving a rich mosaic appearance. The High Altar was made of quarter oak and was nine feet in length, with a lovely Reredos with hand-painted panels. A lovely tabernacle with the Agnus Dei embossed upon the door, a niche effect above to house the Cross, with a pinnacle effect gave the Altar harmony within itself. Above the Altar hung a lovely and rare Dossal made of a flower pattern which at one time adorned an old Church in Italy. The Altar rail was engraved with the fifty scriptural texts in Old English. On one side in a temporary annex, was a fine organ of twenty-one stops, two couplers and one tremulant, made by one of the famous organ makers of the day, the Messrs. Jardine & Co. of New York. When the Church

pg [22]

was enlarged, the general idea of the original portion of the Church was carried out, but the beautiful detail work is missing to the already completed end of the Church.

As one approaches the building from the Willow Avenue side of the Church, it stands out so majestic and massive. A sight that takes a churchman's breath away for the moment. A beautiful sight is in the summer when all the trees are clustered about the Church and the singing of the birds each in his own way praising God. It is surely like an oasis in a desert.

Looking at this Holy Edifice makes one think of being back in Old England. Here one sees a beautiful Gothic structure, built of local stone with Cleveland freestone and brownstone trimmings. A large Norman tower, turreted and battlemented is a handsome adornment. The interior is a work of art and as one enters and stands in the west end of the Church and looks down the center aisle, the feeling of an ancient cathedral is felt upon the soul. The arches stand so erect with their two-toned color effect of brownstone and Cleveland freestone supported upon massive polished pillars of a great variety of colors. Chairs are used in the Church to keep in harmony with cathedrals of bygone centuries. Mrs. Stevens built this Church as a Free Church for God's poor so that all can worship their Heavenly Father in like manner. The detail of the interior to tell completely would take many pages in a book and then to gain its beauty one must see it with his own eyes. The total cost of the building of the Church was about $140,000.

The first and most important thing that strikes the eye is the High Altar and Reredos. This Altar is dedicated to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Richard Stevens by his sister the late Mrs. Caroline Wittpenn on January 1, 1920. The Altar is comparatively new compared to the Reredos. The Altar is of the Italian Renaissance period and weighs more than a ton and is made of Indiana Limestone. Symbols of the Blessed Sacrament are carved upon the face of the Altar with adoring Angels on each side. The base of the Altar bears the inscription "Of your charity pray for the soul of Richard Stevens, a servant of Christ and of His poor." The Reredos in design is Spanish - fifteenth century, and was given in 1895. The wood is handcarved, bearing symbols around the outer edge of the grape design with its lovely leaves and stem work. Inserted over the center panel are shields bearing the name of Jesus. Over the tabernacle are the symbols of Our Lord's Passion. The tabernacle door bears a pelican feeding her young ones. All the finery of the Reredos carving is like a fine piece of lacework. A striking feature about the Reredos is the paintings depicting the Adoration of the Christ

pg [24]

Child by the Shepherds and the Wisemen. This work was done by Clayton & Bell Studios of London, England and the gift of the Bible Class of the late Richard Stevens. The Altar rail is a gift of the Woman's Auxiliary and carved to match the Altar and other furnishings of the Sanctuary and Choir.

The lovely and exquisite High Altar Cross in design is Eastern. The Cross itself is adorned with rubies and clear colored stones, symbolic of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. The base has blue colored stones, the traditional color of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Thus the Cross shows forth that Jesus Christ, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who lived, died, arose and ascended into Heaven remains Mary, who Lived, Died, Arose and Ascended into Heaven remains with His Church day and night in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

The beautiful Lady Chapel, the gift of the late Mrs. Caroline Wittpenn, who spared neither time, cost nor care for this Chapel, dedicated in honor of the Queen of Saints, the Blessed Mother of God, Mary, Most Holy.

The Altar is of Caen stone, the Reredos is of carved wood ornamented with dull gold with a beautiful canopy effect and has a painting depicting the Madonna with the Child and Angels in adoration, bearing the inscription Hosanna. The bottom of the Reredos has symbols of the Passion. On either side of the center panel are smaller statues, hand carved more than 300 years ago and each bearing a taper. Above the Altar is a lovely stained glass window, depicting the Annunciation made by the Clayton & Bell Studios, London, England.

In this Chapel are some lovely treasures from the old world, such as an oil painting of the Assumption supposedly by Guido, also a wood carving from Spain, depicting St. Veronica's Veil with the impression of the Holy Face of Jesus on His Way of Sorrows. A tapestry with all its striking features and colors depicts the Annunciation. The wall plaque of the Mother and Child, the faces made of marble, truly do justice to this Chapel of the Mother of Jesus.

The St. Joseph's Chapel is in honor of all those who served n World Wars I and II. The Altar is hand carved being made from the balcony that housed the organ loft of bygone days. This work was done by Mr. Harry Tucker of St. Paul's Chapel, New York. The Altar stone comes from the Betsy Ross House, Philadelphia, where our first flag was made. The Altar is surmounted by a Dossal of green and cold, with a tiesta giving a

pg [26]

canopy effect. The Altar Crucifix is in memory of Harry Hammock, who paid the supreme sacrifice on December 2, 1944, by his family. The Altar Statue of St. Joseph and Child and the Crucifix at the Roll of Honor Shrine are in memory of Henry Davis who paid the supreme sacrifice on October 17, 1944, and given by his family.

The Altar was consecrated by Bishop Washburn of the Newark Diocese on February 2, 1947.
Candle holders made from shells of various battles in the Pacific Islands, and the gift of Edward Roettger, a member of the Parish, are used on Holy Days.

The window above the Altar depicts the Nativity and the Presentation in the Temple, made by Booker & Company, London, England. This window is a combinaton of two windows that were hidden for many years in back of the High Altar, and are the gift of Martha Bayard Stevens, the foundress.

Chapel of the Holy Angels served as a private oratory at the Stevens Castle. The Altar is small but exquisitely made of oak. The Altar Crucifix comes from Italy and is made of ivory, the base set in with mother-of-pearl. In this Chapel are also the striking statues of St. Francis of Assisi and his companion St. Bruno. A porcelain on the wall depicts the Annunciation. The little chairs being of great rarity, keeping in harmony of a chapel of centuries gone by.

The Baptistry Chapel given by Maude Speyer Kammerer, in memory of her parents, brother and herself. Built on an octagon shape with a hand painted sky effect ceiling. A dove is in the center of the ceiling, with chains that support the cover of the Baptismal Font. The Font, as is the Altar, is made of marble. The base of the Cross and candle holders are antique. The small jewel Cross inserted in the Altar Cross belonged to the late Mrs. Caroline Wittpenn.

Within the Church are many items of great interest. Above the High Altar is a large traceried window, triangular or fan-shaped of Ohio stone and brownstone, richly carved with foliage and flowers and enriched with shafts of marble. The subject portrays the Infant Christ and the Holy Innocents, with Rachel at His feet, weeping for her children. This window for its size is one of the most costly in the country and made by A. Booker Studio of London, England, and a gift of the laundress.

pg [27]

The small windows at either side of the High Altar depicting the infant life of Christ was also made at the same studio. The screen work surrounding the Sanctuary and Choir as is the choir stalls furnishing are all hand carved of golden quarter oak, giving the appearance of screen work in ancient cathedrals. The sedilia seating in the Sanctuary is in memory of Rev. George E. Magill, a former rector, and Rev. Harmon C. St. Clair, Curate, and is a gift of the St. Clair Goodfellowship Society. The organ is the same Jardine organ being rebuilt and electrified and for its size in power and tone, has a splendid harmony with the acoustics of the fabric of the Church. The pulpit is the gift of Colonel and Mrs. Edwin A. Stevens in memory of a former rector, the Rev. George Herbert Moffett. The base of the pulpit is of a varied colored marble, the general structure being of wrought iron, the detail work copied from some of the screen work of the Cathedral of Lincoln, England, and is the workmanship of Mr. H. M. Congdon who also designed the exquisite lighting fixtures.

The lecturn is an original design of elaborate ornamental wrought ironwork from Messrs. Hardman & Co. of Birmingham, England. High above the foot of the Choir on a heavy beam is the Rood Beam, portraying the scene of the Crucifixion. This is the gift of the congregation in tribute to a good woman, the foundress of this parish, Martha Bayard Stevens. The West window is the subject of the Te Deum, and in memory of the foundress a gift from her children, and made in the studios of Clayton & Bell, London, England. The subject portrays Christ as the King and Ruler of the Universe, with Angels, Archangels, Prophets, Saints and Martyrs, adoring Him. At His feet are the little Holy Innocents waving their palms of victory. Beneath this window is a magnificent tapestry, eighteen feet in length, the subject "Suffer little children to come unto me." This tapestry is the work of Madame Jorres of Munich, famous as the maker o tapestries in the castles of the King of Bavaria and was a gift of the foundress, under whose supervision it was made. The Stations of the Cross, made by the L. Beau Co. of Paris, France, are costly gems of fine workmanship, painted upon copper, having the appearance of porcelain and are specimens of the artists workmanship. In these beautiful pictures the artists present the Passion in all its awe-inspiring scenes, with a masterly skill. The figures in the foreground stand out in bold relief, beautiful representations of the distinct character while the Romans and Jews are forcibly depicted in their individual types. The face of Our Lord is truly Divine. These stations were a gift of the foundress of the parish. The painting over the entrance is a very good copy and shows the Blessed Virgin, Holy Child with St. Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist. The painting over the Choir entrance,

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depicting the presentation of Christ in the Temple, is of Italian origin, being very old and from the Prince of Borghiese' collection. A remarkable piece of art is the Chalice Veil in the glass case, dating back to the 15th century. Throughout the years the lovely delicate colors have retained their beauty. The bas-relief shrine of St. Elizabeth of Hungary is in memory of Elsie Stevens and given by her aunt, Mrs. C. Wittpenn. This shrine is an exquisite mural of fine stone carving with the figure and ornamental work painted in delicate colors. The Blessed Virgin Shrine is in memory of Marie H. Dehmcke, who was found daily in the temple of her God, and is located at the entrance to the Lady Chapel. The confessional is in memory of a former curate, Father Fenwick. A bronze plaque is in memory of Peter Lee, a former slave and a faithful servant in the Stevens family and now rests in the Stevens family plot. There remains off the Choir entrance the large commodious sacristy, acolyte and choir room, all fitting the needs of the parish.

On the north aisle of the Church is the small but charming tower door bearing two memorial plates, the chimes in memory of Jessie R. McRae, given by her family, and tower chimes in memory of Rev. Harmon C. St. Clair, given by the St. Clair Goodfellowship Society. The former has to do with the chimes in the organ loft and the latter with an amplification system bringing both chimes and organ to the outdoors, giving a beautiful setting to the Church's worship of Almighty God. The little tower stairs are tubular and as one ascends he must keep going around in a circle to reach the tower. In the tower hangs the dear old bell, bearing the date 1874 with a Cross, the year is the date of Consecration. All through these many years, her faithful peal has gone out calling God's servants to this Holy House dedicated in His Honor. Her message has always been a beat of telling of the love and truth of Jesus' ever present here in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

So through these many years this great Church, a center of the Catholic religion of the Anglican Communion, stands for the fact, why Mrs. Stevens built it, not for her family, for her friends, but for God's friends, for God's family and f or the poor. This is a living memorial even when a Church building becomes too old to stand, a Church never dies, souls in Heaven were made in very walls like these and show forth before the face of Our Dear Lord, the result of perfection.

Truly all honor within this Church can be given to Martha Bayard Stevens, the beloved Foundress and Benefactress, for if it were not for her kindness, Holy Innocents would never have come into being. Here is a living monument to her and in the Church Expectant and the Church Triumphant. May all who enter these sacred courts remember that this is none other than the House of God and the Gate of Heaven.


List of photographs and photographic views:

page [3] Present View (exterior view looking northwest from Willow Ave. ca. 1947)
pg [4] photo portrait of Martha Bayard Stevens
pg. [7] As Appeared 1874-1895 (exterior view looking southwest from Sixth Street and Willow Ave., no date, ca. 1890s)
pg [9] Interior - As Appeared - 1874-1895 (view to north of main altar, First High Altar, and pews)
pg [11] First High Altar
pg [13] Interior - East View
pg [15] Interior - West View
pg [17] High Altar (no date, presumably after 1895 - note difference between this photo and the First High Altar on page [11])
pg [19] Lady Altar (this was at the northeast corner)
pg [21] St. Joseph's Memorial Chapel
pg [23] Chapel of the Holy Angels
pg [25] Baptistry - Font; Baptistry - Altar
People Chetwood, Reverend J.B.
Davis, Jenry
Dix, Reverend Morgan
Dodd, Martha Bayard
Hammock, Harry
Hartman, Reverend Henry F.
Heaney, John J.
Hooper, Father Edward P.
Hooper, Reverend Robert Sanders
Howe, Reverend R.W.
Kammerer, Maude Speyer
Lee, Peter
Lewis, Reverend B.W.
Magill, Father George Ernest
McRae, Jessie R.
Moffett, Reverend George Herbert
Nevins, Reverend Robert J.
Odenheimer, Bishop William Henry
Parson, Reverend Charles C.
Potter, Edward
Potter, Reverend Horatio
Smith, Reverend Benjamin B. Smith
St. Clair, Reverend Harmon C.
Schuyler, Reverend Louis
Stevens, Edward A., Colonel
Stevens, Julia Augusta
Stevens, Martha Bayard
Stevens, Richard
Sword, Reverend John
Vaughan, Henry
Webber, Reverend E.A.
Wetherill, Reverend J.B.
Wittpenn, Mrs. H. Otto
Wood, Halsey W.
Date 1872-1947
Year Range from 1872
Year Range to 1947
Search Terms Church of the Holy Innocents
Sixth St.
Willow Ave.
Martha Institute
Stevens Academy
Stevens Castle
Caption front cover
Imagefile 072\20090170006.TIF
Classification Death
Church Exterior
Church Interior
Historic Sites