The History of Trinity Episcopal Church - Mobile
1900 Dauphin Street
Trinity Church was Mobile's Second Episcopal Church. (Christ Church was the first.) It was begun in 1845. It was always a free church. (It did not rent pews as a source of income.)
First "real" Home of Trinity Church for 18 months (1845- 1846) at 7 S. Jackson - rented by
The Free Episcopal Church
Early Trinity helped create a foster home for orphans of the Civil War and formed Mobile's first Traveler's Aid. Trinity also founded the Church of the Good Shepherd and St. John's Church.
The present building was built in 1853-54 on St. Anthony Street at Jackson Street (the DeTonti Square area). Cotton was king in Mobile then and provided the funds with which to build the church. New York Architects Frank Wills and Henry Dudley were employed to design the building - a revolutionary (for that day) Gothic Revival.
Drawing by Architects - Frank Wills and Henry Dudley
It was the first of this design built in Alabama and among the first to be built in the deep South. Both men were from England and were greatly influenced by Augustus Pugin, the foremost English Ecclesiological architect (one of the architects for the Houses of Parliament in London).
The design of Trinity reflected the ideals of the high church Oxford Movement - emphasizing our catholic heritage: sacraments, creeds, practices, and ordered liturgy.
Trinity was hit hard by the Yellow Fever Epidemic. The Chuch Register shows that the Rector, Dr. Joshua Albert Massey, conducted 49 funerals in the month of September of 1853 - four in one day on September 26th. His own daughter may have fallen victim to this dreaded plague as the church's font was given in memory of Dr. Massey's daughter. It was dedicated in 1857.
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June of 1865, Trinity's
Doors were closed, along with all of the other Episcopal Churches in
Alabama because of a Pastoral Letter written by the second Bishop of
the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama (Bishop Richard H. Wilmer). This letter
stated that prayer should cease for the leaders of the Confederate government
and that prayer for the President of the United States and all others
in authority should be suspended until civil authority was restored
in Alabama, replacing the Union military rule. In retaliation, the Federal
Commander of the Department of Alabama closed all Episcopal doors. On
the third of December, armed soldiers barred the doors of Trinity Church.
On the tenth of January, the military order was officially rescinded
by President Andrew Johnson and siad that "Bishop Wilmer is left
to that remorse of conscience consequent to the exposure and failure
of diabolical schemes od designing and corrupt minds." (Bishop
Wilmer had no remorse. He was quite willing to pray for the President
and all elected civil authority, but not willing to pray for an imposed
military occupation government.)
In 1945, the church was dismantled and rebuilt in precise detail - "brick by brick," using the original bricks and hand-hewn oak at the present day site on Dauphin Street. Trinity had been conducting a Sunday School and a chapel at the Dauphin Street site since 1930. The Parish Hall was built in 1961.