Sunday, August 23, 2009

Christ Church in Alexandria Virginia

Christ Church construction commenced in 1767 and was completed in 1773. George Washington was a parishioner at Christ Church, although he served on the vestry in Truro Parish where his home, Mt. Vernon, was located. Washington once bought and later rented a pew in Christ Church and attended services in Alexandria. His pew is the only pew preserved in its original configuration.
The Church Yard was the burying ground for the town of Alexandria until 1809. Nineteenth century interments were in the church's cemetery on Wilkes Street, the resting place of many members of the Lee and Mason families. I love this stone and in all my years of cemetery sleuthing I have NEVER seen one quite like this. It not only notes the birth and death dates but also the time of day. It makes one wonder what the significance of the time was to the family of this wee child.

Robert E. Lee married Washington's step-great granddaughter, Mary Custis, and attended church here throughout his life. A silver plaque is on both the Lee pew and the Washington pew. This is mom and I in the Washington pew. Robert E. Lee as a boy grew up just about 2 blocks from here. We were not able to tour his home as it is privately owned. We did however tour the Lee-Fendall home. This property was owned by Robert's father "Light Horse Harry". It was an amazing old home and was dressed for the period. That home was later privately owned for thirty one years by John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers. He lived here until his death in 1969 when at that time the home was then restored and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Old Town Alexandria, Va.

Church services are held here every Sunday and the public is welcome.

In this picture you can see the various pews that you would purchase or rent. You can see the little door that swings out in order for you enter into the pew. Some are smaller than others. You sure couldn't have to long of legs to sit here for very long.

Beneath this mound lie the remains of thirty four confederate soldiers which were disinterred from the Alexandria Soldiers Cemetery (Federal) and re interred in this ground on the 27th day of December 1879 under the auspices of the southern memorial Association of Alexandria Virginia. These men were prisoners of war who died in the Federal Hospital in this city.

1 comment:

janis said...

A few years ago I got to go on a school trip with my then 8th grade daughter, to Boston. When we toured the church I was amazed at the "purchased pews". The wealthier you were the more elebrate they were. The families spent many hours in them also. It was so interesting!