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Documents from the Christ Episcopal Church of West Islip Records: Box 22h, Folder 2: Bills and Receipts, undated


Christ Episcopal Church of West Islip


ca. 1870-1911


Christ Episcopal Church of West Islip, Long Island was organized in 1871. At this time, Trinity Episcopal Church of Babylon which had been organized in 1862 merged with the newly organized church in neighboring West Islip Christ Episcopal (Benjamin P. Field Babylon Reminiscences. 1911). According to an unsigned newspaper clipping from the Babylon Leader, dated in 1932, the first minister-in-charge was the Rev. Mr. Stanley who did not remain long in the position when he vacated it to the Rev. Frederick B. Carter. Other ministers who subsequently held the post of minister-in-charge were the Revs. Drum, Mee, Love, Stevens, Moran, Sparks and Burlingham. The rectory of the church was not built until the incumbency of the Rev. Moran. Mr. Moran, it seems had the longest tenure. The newspaper clipping continues to point out that James Waterbury Eaton was the treasurer of the parish for many years. He "was devoted to a rather thankless task … (and) no one probably will ever know how much of his own funds he advanced from time to time when the exchequer ran low … (Long Island Churches, Suffolk County, Vol. II). Occasionally, the church is referred to in various records in this collection, as being in Babylon. In order to avoid confusion, it is well to indicate that it is to the town of Babylon and not the village that reference is being made. Christ Church was in the Village of West Islip, which village is located in the Town of Babylon. The records in all three Series are rather fragmentary and, by and large, it is difficult to find any substantial grouping concerned with any particular subject. Broadly speaking, nevertheless, it might be said that a number of the records do deal with the effort of finding rectors to be appointed to the Church as Minister-in-Charge; as well as expanding the physical plant of the Church. All told, the collection measures about consists of some 220 individual items. The provenance of these records is unclear. It is known, how ever, that most, if not all of them, were retained by Mr. James W. Eaton who was the treasurer of the Church for so many years and probably one of its leading vestrymen. With the exception of one bound volume, the records are all loose papers. The Letters Received, for the most part, consists of letters addressed to the Vestrymen of the Church, and especially to Mr. James W. Eaton (who served as treasurer and secretary at various times) and to Mr. C. Dubois Wagstaff who served as warden. Among the correspondents was the Episcopal Bishop, A. N. (Abram Newkirk) Littlejohn. The subjects discussed include primarily the appointment of new rectors, and the appeal for funds. The letters are arranged in chronological order. The Bills and Receipts series contains records for various services rendered or materials supplied to the Church are by various individuals. Also included are several bills submitted not by outsiders but rather by the Church rector or other church officials for such items as salary or special expenditures. Among some of the services rendered to the church and reflected in these bills are "pumping air in organ"; "services in choir"; "washing Communion Clothes and cleaning plate"; and "cleaning furnace", There are several receipts for pew rents or other church contributions. Some bills and receipts are not specific at all and, therefore, there is no indication as to why they were issued. Most bills have been receipted by the individual receiving payment. Most of the earliest dated items reflect activities connected with the building of the church. The records are in chronological order. Also includes one bound small account book covering period ca. 1884-1900 and presumably maintained by Mr. Eaton for Christ Church. Rather fragmentary item and simply records very briefly, contributions made to some religious organizations (missions, etc.) As with the two previous series, the Miscellaneous Series also is rather fragmentary. Nevertheless it has been divided into sub series primarily on the basis of the kind of documents involved. The Agreement and Incorporation Notice sub series is a legal agreement between Alfred Wagstaff and the Rector, Church wardens and Vestrymen of the Church relative to clearing a possible defect in a land deed given by Mr. Wagstaff to the Church, Aug 15, 1870; and notice of meeting "for the purpose of incorporating a church …", Aug 14, 1869; and related document, Oct 1869. The Rough Minutes 1871, 1873, 1875 sub series contains unbound, very brief rough minutes of some meetings held by the Vestry men or other officials of the Church, as well as some related materials. The subjects are primarily in regard to the clergy. The Parochial Reports 1880-1881 sub series are printed forms submitted to the Bishop of the Diocese and indicating pertinent statistics (on a yearly basis) such as the number of Baptisms, Confirmations, Sunday School Children enrolled, etc. The Treasurers Account 1872-1874, 1881 sub series contains account sheets maintained by the Church Treasurer. These accounts indicate monies received from collections and pew rents, and monies paid out for salaries and other expenses. The Sunday School Convocation, 1879-1882 sub series contains principally, printed forms indicating on an annual basis such statistics as the number of enrollees in the Sunday School; number of teachers; number of volumes in the library, etc. There are also two lists, apparently listing names of students. The Committee on "Enlargement of the Church" 1882-1883 contains estimates and related documents submitted to the Committee by several contractors. Also included is a committee report. The Rectory Fund and Salary Fund 1876, 1879 sub series contains subscription lists relating specifically to Rector’s salary, and making repairs to the church; also resolution regarding the same. The Library Accession Book 1893-1911 sub series contains a volume though not labeled; it was used, apparently, to record some 191 book titles added, presumably to the church library, or to some small library somehow connected to the church. Though not dated, it would appear that the volume was used during the very early 1900s. The last half of this small volume apparently was also used to record some miscellaneous accounts, but it is difficult to determine their exact nature, though they appear to be all church related expenses. The Miscellaneous 1872, 1877, 1885, 1896, 1905 sub series contains marriage certificate for marriage performed by the rector in 1872; program for Lenten services in 1885; program for Lenten services at St. George's Church in Brooklyn; Appeal for contributions to Missions; notice of a meeting; resignation of Rev. Moran; and similar items. Calendar of Letters of Episcopal Bishop A.N. (Abram Newkirk) Littlejohn. The collection contains 5 letters written by Bishop Littlejohn as follows: 1874, June 14 To the Wardens and Vestry recommending the Rev. Peter Augustus Jay "as a very suitable clergy man for your Parish" 1880, June 8 To James W. Eaton recommending the appointment of Rev. Charles L. Short of Staatsburgh to take the place of Rev. Mr. Stevens who has resigned 1896, Oct, 27 To James W. Eaton praising the Rev. Phelps as "a clergyman of ability and experience” and recommending his appointment 1897, May 10 To James W. Eaton regarding Rev. Mr. Sparks. “If he should accept the call to come as Minister-in-charge for one year he would have, as such, no ecclesiastical status in the Diocese”. 1897, May 15 To C. Dubois Wagstaff stating that he does not personally know the Rev. Mr. Sparks, who is being considered for appointment as Rector of Christ Church, but that the testimony regarding him, however, appears to be satisfactory.


West Islip, NY


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