Sandra and I just returned from spending two and one half weeks at our cottage in Michigan. We were able to do quite a bit of genealogical research while there, as well as relaxing. We visited a number of cemeteries and will report our findings in later blogs.
Today, I want share our findings in St. Johns, Michigan. My father, Donald Stephenson Winegar, visited the St. Johns Episcopal Church in 1936 and reported that his great-grandfather, George Wold Stephenson, had been one of the founders of the church. He further reported that his great-grandfather had dedicated a stained glass window to his wife and that the window was there at that time in 1936.
We had no idea whether the old church was still there or, if so, whether the window was there. I had tried unsuccessfully to reach anyone in the church from Florida. After some research in Michigan, the Episcopal Dioscese put me in contact with Wendy Ward, a member of the church, who was extremely helpful. She went by the church and called to tell me that the window was in fact still there. On our way back to Florida, we swung by St. Johns and Wendy gave us a tour. The window is really quite exciting.
It was installed in 1894 and is one of the oldest windows in the church. My wife Sandra took a number of pictures, several of which are shown here. Wendy is very interested in the history of St. Johns and the church and she reports that old diaries of members have been preserved and that she will provide me with copies. Hopefully we will learn more about the Stephensons from these records. The church was recently featured in the St. Johns Sesquicentennial (150 years). One thing she remembers from old documents was that the church, located just a few blocks from downtown St. Johns, was originally a school, but it was considered unsafe for students because of the presence of bears. We didn’t see any bears in St. Johns:-)
One of George’s and Agnes’s daughters, Angeline, married Russel B. Emmons in 1873. The Emmons were leaders, both in the community and in the church. Part of the town is called Emmonsville. We were able to take a picture of the Emmons mansion, which is impressive, even by today’s standards.