Setting the record straight on St. Michael’s Episcopal Church

We at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church would like to thank the Marblehead Weekly News and author Emma Fringuelli for the ongoing “Historic Building of the Week” series, so appropriate for this town steeped in history.  And we invite you to come for a tour of Marblehead’s oldest public building, including its attic with original beams and roof shingles and Paul Revere bell.

However, we would appreciate a published correction of a misleading error:   St. Michael’s Church is an Episcopal Church and has never been a Congregational church.  In 1821 there was a concerted campaign at the State legislature to rescind our 1799 Episcopal Church charter and to recharter St. Michael’s as a Congregational church.  This effort failed due to the efforts of Samuel Russell Trevett of Bunker Hill fame, Dr. John Drury and many others and subsequently led to a reawakening of St. Michael’s culminating with the major 1833 renovations and the renewal of the parish.

Also, a clarification:  For those of us enamored with Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) of the musical fame, Dr. Alexander Hamilton (1712-1756) was a Scottish-born Maryland doctor whose travel diary “A Gentleman’s Progress” describes his journey from Maryland to Maine.  This journey included a stop in Marblehead where he describes St. Michael’s and its Scotsman rector, The Rev. Alexander Malcolm, “the author of a very fine book upon musick.” Dr. Hamilton later lured Malcolm south to Annapolis.

Do come visit St. Michael’s.  We’d love to give you a tour.

Sincerely,

Frances Stith Nilsson,
St. Michael’s Parish Historian

Postscript:  The Honorable William Reed, who led the rechartering campaign, joined the First Church of Christ Marblehead and funded “Old North’s” present 1824 building.  The irony is that several who were named for William Reed became Episcopal priests including the Rev. William Reed Huntington and the Rev. William Reed Woodbridge, and his nephew Benjamin Tyler Reed III helped to found the Episcopal Theological School.  Other Reeds married Unitarian and missionary priests but all maintained close relations true to William Reed’s Sabbath Sunday School Union Society involving all the Protestant churches in Marblehead.