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HISTORY

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Mary Guion Brown's Diary 1800-1852

St. Mary's joined the Middle Patent area of North Castle and Bedford Village in the mid-19th century, when Rev. Alfred H. Partridge, rector of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church (located just north of Bedford Village) began making 45-minute wagon rides to hold services in the old East Middle Patent one-room schoolhouse, which was originally located just south of the intersection of East Middle Patent and Mianus River Roads (the one-room schoolhouse was re-located to Smith's Tavern historic site in Armonk). As the services grew crowded, Rev. Partridge voiced the desire to build a church. With an initial contribution from guest minister Rev. Washington Rodman, the building of St. Mary's began in earnest. Costing $1,623, construction was completed in 1853, and Episcopol Bishop Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright consecrated the new church. In 1909, a Mason & Hamlin parlor organ was donated by the church warden, Thatcher T. P. Luquer.

Mary Guion Brown kept a diary from 1800 to 1852, beginning when she was 17. She records, in considerable detail, the personal and social life of a young girl in Westchester County, N.Y., including daily activities, her efforts to encourage or discourage some of her many suitors, courting, visits to friends and relatives, local news, social events and reflections on life and love. Her last diary entry in 1852 refers to the new Episcopal Church - St. Mary's Church - soon to be constructed: 

"...I feal so pleased thath we are likely to be blessed with an Episcopal Church in this plase that I must put it on paper here that it may not be forgotten how thanckfull I feal to our dear Rev Mr. Partradge who has exerted himself very much in the cause through evil and through good report but it appears now most likely the building will go up this Summer as they have most of the timber drawn at the Site and that it may prove a Blessing to the people of this plase is my earnest Prayer to Allmity God -----"


Mary Guion Brown's original diary is in the collection of the New-York Historical Society, and it can be seen it here.

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Keynotes

John Stockbridge, Bedford Town Historian

This volume, which discusses features of St. Matthew's Church, includes the following excerpted history of St. Mary's Church:

No relating of the historic treasures of St. Matthew's would be complete without telling the story of a building not even on our property, but very much a part of our history. Situated on Middle Patent Road, just a mile south of the Bedford/North Castle border in an area known to both residents and visitors as the Peaceable Kingdom, rests St. Mary's Church. Born of the need for a place to worship in their neighborhood, local farmers and tradesmen, with help from St. Matthew's, formed their church in 1851. St. Mary's was then constructed and was consecrated in 1853.

The 160-year history of the Church included times when St. Mary's barely survived.  St. Matthew's stepped in at each crisis and adopted the little Church.  Today St. Mary's is very much aligned with St. Matthew's.  John Zahl is [also] Rector of St. Mary's....The Church has seven or eight services a year on Sunday afternoons. The first week in June always features a wonderful music service, and other services feature highly-regarded and well-known speakers. Christmas and Thanksgiving services are standing-room-only, and in recent years have been celebrated jointly with the Antioch Baptist Church. Antioch's organist Earl Brown has become a fixture of the service as he plays on the original organ and always offers "Now the Day is Over" as the closing hymn. Also, maintaining tradition, the closing prayer is alway the same:

O Lord, support us all the day long,

until the shadows lengthen and the evening comes, 

and the busy world is hushed,

and the fever of life is over, and our work is done.

Then in thy mercy, grant us a safe lodging,

and a holy rest, and peace at last.

Amen

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