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By Word & Example

WOMEN WHO GRACED THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
IN NORTH CAROLINA, 1817-2017

A Bicentennial Project of the Episcopal Church Women

Guidelines for Submitting a “BY WORD & EXAMPLE” Sketch

Thursday
Dec142017

HELEN ANN LERIAN HUMPHREY

b. 1932

by the Archives Committee of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, NC, 2016

Helen Ann Lerian HumphreyHelen Ann Lerian is a cradle Episcopalian who grew up at St. Timothy’s parish in Catonsville, Maryland. She was very active with the Church during her early years.

In 1956 she married Dudley Humphrey, from Wilmington, North Carolina. They moved to Winston-Salem in 1961 and joined St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where both have been active members ever since.

Ann immediately joined a circle and became involved with the ECW Bazaar. She had the privilege of working with some truly remarkable women, who trained her well. For more than fifty years, she has helped cook the lasagna for the Bazaar luncheon.

Ann has served on just about every committee, including the Education Committee, the Personnel Committee, and search committees for assistant rectors and for the rector. She chaired the Trust Commission (outreach), and recently she and Dudley chaired the Every Member Canvass. Ann has been a delegate several times to the Diocesan Convention, serving on the Credentials Committee.

Ann has been elected to two terms on the Vestry, has completed two terms as Senior Warden, and has also served as Junior Warden. She has served on The Thompson Children’s Home board. Currently for St. Paul’s, she chairs the Funeral Reception Committee and serves as an Agape host.

Ann firmly believes that the Lord always asks you to do a job, whether you know it or not. To serve the Lord and one’s church is the ultimate gift in life.

Monday
Dec112017

ARETE SITGREAVES ELLIS

1803 – 1864

by Charles K. (Ken) McCotter, Jr., Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, NC, 2016

Arete Sitgreaves EllisArete Sitgreaves Ellis was the daughter of Maj. George Ellis and Amaryllis Sitgreaves Ellis, who were married in Craven County, NC, in 1792. George represented New Bern in the 1800 and 1801 House of Commons, and Amaryllis was the sister of United States District Judge, John Sitgreaves.

In the 1850 United States Census for New Bern, Arete was listed as a teacher, along with three other adults and seventeen female students. By 1860 the listing included 23 students and four adults. These students would have been attending the Moses Griffin Free Girls School, which was incorporated in 1833, then operated from 1840 until it closed in 1862 because of the Civil War. As Superintendent of this school, “Miss Arete” was listed as head of the household.

According to the entry for Moses Griffin in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography by Gertrude Carraway, Griffin had left money and explicit instructions in his will for a lot, a building and a “proper schoolmaster” to teach indigent children. Besides being housed and taught, the orphans or other poor children were to be maintained and clothed. At age fourteen they were to be apprenticed to trades or other occupations. By the time the school actually opened in 1840, the executors had decided to educate poor girls instead of boys.

“Miss Arete” was selected as headmistress, and under her supervision the girls were housed, clothed, fed and given medical treatment. She taught them the regular subjects, along with sewing, knitting, spinning, cooking, housework, gardening, and liberal doses of Bible lessons and personal morality. Along with her St. Bernard dog, Miss Arete took her students on daily walks through the woods to collect and study wildflowers. Each Sunday she marched her charges, dressed in their school uniforms, to Christ Church. All the students received instruction in the Bible, religion and morality, and Miss Arete sponsored many for baptism.

In her memory one of the windows in the church honors her and contains the Proverb: “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.” Hopefully it still stimulates others to “go and do likewise.”

Thursday
Dec072017

MARY LOUISE HANSON MOORE

b. April 3, 1933

by Richard Moore, St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, NC, 2016

Mary Louise Hanson MooreMary Louise spent her early Episcopal life in the Diocese of Washington, first at St John’s, Mt. Ranier, from age nine to thirteen, and then at Grace Church, Silver Spring, through high school and college.

At St. John’s she set up the altar in the parish hall for the children’s service on Sundays, ran the mimeograph machine by turning a crank, sang in the church choir, and was a Junior Daughter of the King. The Junior Daughters had blue and white checked bows for their hair and white aprons trimmed with the same blue and white fabric. Their principal duty was to serve at church suppers. At Grace Church during her high school years she taught Sunday School and also sang in the choir. Neither church had a youth choir so she sang with the adults.

After college and marriage to Richard Moore at St. Luke’s, Richmond, Virginia, Mary Louise accompanied Dick for army service and graduate school. They then landed in Winston-Salem in 1957, and began a lifelong relationship with both St. Anne’s and St. Paul’s, which included teaching both adults and children, circle membership and all the activities that go with that. Mary Louise served on the St. Anne’s vestry and was Senior Warden for two years.

As she has become less mobile in recent years, Mary Louise has particularly enjoyed working in the St. Paul’s Bookshop and being a member of the Order of St. Luke, offering healing prayers at both the church and the jail. She has always loved seeing her children, and now grandchildren, singing in the choir and serving as acolytes, ushers and lectors.

Monday
Dec042017

ANNIE SUTTON CAMERON

September 30, 1896 – April 24, 1978

by Ellen C. Weig, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Wilmington, NC

Photo of St. Matthew’s churchyard courtesy of Ellen Weig.Miss Annie, as she was fondly known, was a beloved member of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and the Hillsborough community. In 1977, a “News of Orange Sketch” highlighted her life. She graduated in 1916 from St. Mary’s School in Raleigh, an Episcopal preparatory and junior college for young ladies, where she was described as involved “in everything” by her cousin, Rebecca Wall. She returned home to Hillsborough and spent her life teaching first grade. Miss Annie was described by a friend as “all sweetness, but she didn’t waste time in idle chatter. She knew rich and poor and looked after the lot of the underprivileged.” Miss Wall also said of her, “She was particularly bright, and she was very religious and a good poet, but I think she always wanted to teach.”

Highly significant to St. Matthew’s were Miss Annie’s efforts to insure the religious education of children. She not only taught Sunday School, but also made sure children and adults were able to get to church. For many years she drove to St. Mary’s Chapel in Orange County and taught there on Sunday afternoons. When services at St. Mary’s were discontinued, she drove out into the county and brought “the car-less” to church. Eventually, St. Matthew’s vestry authorized the spending of money for a new station wagon dubbed the “Gospel Car”. With it Miss Annie was able to continue bringing children to church.

Parish stories recall her sharing Sunday dinners with friends. Miss Sue Hayes, the organist at St. Matthew’s, would issue an invitation, “I’m having leftovers for lunch”, meaning people, not food. Miss Annie was often a participant at the meals. She was also known to place markers on unmarked family gravesites.

Miss Annie never married. Her mother had died at the time of her birth, and she was raised by her father and her three aunts. One of her aunts was Miss Rebecca Cameron, who most likely had great influence on her early religious upbringing. Miss Rebecca often commented in her column in Messengers of Hope and The Carolina Churchman about the “little maid” attending St. Mary’s school. Like her Aunt, Miss Annie was deeply interested in Hillsborough history. She wrote “Hillsborough and the Regulators” (1864) and “A Record of the War Activities in Orange County, North Carolina, 1917-1919”, a manuscript which describes local efforts during World War I, and the “Blue Death” influenza epidemic of 1918. Miss Annie was Miss Rebecca’s caretaker in her later years. One story has it that when Miss Annie attended a summer program for teachers at the University of North Carolina, Miss Rebecca would travel to Chapel Hill with her and remain in the car until classes were over. Those who knew Miss Annie always spoke of her fondly and with a reverence for her gifts to their lives. She is buried in the St. Matthew’s Churchyard amid her family and in sight of Cameron Park Elementary School where she taught for so many years.

Sources:

Stagg, Elisabeth. “A News of Orange Sketch: Annie Sutton Cameron”. The News of Orange County, Hillsborough, NC. Thursday, April 28, 1977.

The News of Orange County. Annie Sutton Cameron, obituary. Page 1.

Dula, Lucile Noell. Annie Sutton Cameron, written for the St. Matthew’s Cookbook, 1982.

Anne Sutton Rowe. http://www.sallysfamilyplace.com/Rayner/ARMISTEAD.htm genealogy for William Thomas Sutton and Annie Payton Outlaw.

Webb, Isabelle. Oral history and Hillsborough stories collected by Ellen Weig.

Tuesday
Nov282017

NANCY SALISBURY NEILL SPENCER

b. May 9, 1934

by Archives Committee, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, NC, 2016

Nancy Salisbury Neill SpencerA cradle Episcopalian hailing from St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Jackson, Mississippi, Nancy has been a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church since she and her first husband Robert L. Neill moved to Winston-Salem. Through the years her activities at St. Paul’s have included: teaching Sunday School; Co-chairing the Bazaar; serving as Chairman of the Altar Flower Committee and serving on it for almost fifty years; member of Building and Grounds; and the Ecclesiastical Arts Committee.

In 2000 Nancy joined Nancy Sherk, a friend and fellow gardener in maintaining the annual beds at the church entrance. In 2002 she became a member of the newly commissioned Landscape Committee. Its immediate task was to oversee the development of a long-range plan for the grounds of St. Paul’s. At that time it was written about her, “Nancy has been a member of the flower committee of the Altar Guild for many years. She herself has a beautiful garden which has been visited by garden clubs as far away as Charlotte and Atlanta.” She has served on the Board and Board of Visitors of Kanuga Conference Center. She endowed and landscaped the Neill Entrance Park at Kanuga in 1987 in memory of her first husband, Bob Neill.

Nancy worked with Janice Lewis, a member of St. Paul’s and a Landscape Architect, on the Garden Chapel. David Bare of the Winston-Salem Journal wrote an article on the Garden Chapel and quoted Nancy as saying, “We would like the gardens surrounding the church to be as beautiful as the inside. After 9/11 people flocked to the gardens at St. John the Devine in New York.” “These gardens are sources of refuge and contemplation: as they extend the sacred beyond the church walls into the world,” wrote David Bare.

In 2011 Nancy was awarded the St. Paul’s Silver Cross for Service.

In her community she served in many capacities as a member of the Junior League of Winston-Salem and the Flower Lore Garden Club. In 2014 Nancy was presented the Wava Howard Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Garden Club Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County.

Nancy was married to Bob Neill from 1957 until his death in 1986. They lived on Club Park Road and had two children: Betsy Neill Blue and Thomas David Neill. In 1992 Nancy married James Y. Spencer and has a stepdaughter Bartlett Spencer Bassett. Together they have twelve grandchildren. Nancy continues to call St. Paul’s “her second home.”