1874

February

The Rev. A. W. Glass takes missionary charge of the two parishes (Grace and St. Paul’s, Manhattan) and served Grace for one more year. He was then called to take charge of St. Paul’s as Rector, moving his family into the new rectory in Manhattan, where he resided until his death on January 3, 1888. He is buried in Manhattan at St. Paul’s Churchyard. His wife was Eleanor Merrian Glass.

1877

February

The Rev. Abraham Reeves, M.D., makes a request to Bishop William E. McLaren that Grace be incorporated into a parish. The request is signed by Reeves and 25 prominent men who were interested in the welfare of the church.

March 2

Bishop McLaren gives his consent that Grace, being entirely out of debt, would become a parish.

March 19

The Rev. Reeves calls a meeting of the petitioners to adopt a constitution and elect a vestry of the parish. The first vestry elected included: Senior Warden Thomas Jones, Junior Warden Ephraim Urch, Caleb J. Jones, W.R. Fellows (died 1895), Fred Wood, Sinclair Hill, Louis F. Gougar, Myron H. Kellogg, Dwight Haven and W.M. Emmerson.

1879

November 25 – Consecration of the Building

Services had been held in Grace Church for 11 years before the building was formally consecrated. Bishop William E. McLaren of Chicago consecrated the church, a congregation of 19 families, entirely free of debt.  John McKim was the Rector at this time.

1880

The Rev. Legh (L.W.) Applegate becomes Rector of Grace, serving for three years in this position. Several years later, Applegate will return to serve grace in the early 20th Century as a much older priest, becoming one of two clergy to serve two non-consecutive terms as the church’s spiritual leader.

1883

The bell tower is constructed in this year, dedicated to the memory of members of the Jones family’s parents: MaryAnn and Thomas (Thomas being the first Senior Warden of Grace Church).  This is attested to the inscriptions on the stained glass windows above the entrance way to the tower’s vestibule.

1884

The Rev. J. H. White was the rector in Joliet, but frequently held services in New Lenox. He later became Bishop of Northern Indiana.

1885

In this year, the first rectory or parsonage was built next to Grace Church on the north side.

1886

The Rev. William L. Sayers comes to Grace after returning from a mission in China. Afterwards he will give his entire time to mission work in Michigan.

1887

October

New vicar Charles R. Hodge serves Grace for four years, until 1891. His wife’s name was Laura, and his children were Charles, Justine and Mary.  He and the family are featured in the iconic photograph outside the church grounds (in 1900).  He would return 8 years later in 1900 and served another year as Vicar.  In 1888, he also took charge of the St. Paul’s, Manhattan, as Rector, in connection with New Lenox.  During this time, on Sundays after Grace’s worship, Hodge would ride by carriage to Manhattan on Sunday afternoons and perform their services, before returning home to New Lenox where he resided in the Grace rectory.

1892

Ethel Robinson Martin begins attending Grace via horse and buggy with her older sister. Ethel’s daughter Doris will also make Grace her home, becoming one of the families (Coopers) with the longest tenure at Grace through generations.

1893

The Rev. Octavious Eaglelow becomes Grace’s next rector, serving from 1893-95.

1896

First Annual Grace Church Carnival. The Carnival was held on the farm of Caleb Jones. It included a dart booth, cane rack, milk bottle game, fish pond, Parcel Post Country Store, needlework booth and many others.

1900

The Rev. Charles R. Hodge returns to Grace, eight years after leaving his first term.  This time, he has three children with his wife Laura: Justine, Charles and Mary. 

1902

The Rev. Theoph S. Richey serves both New Lenox and Manhattan Parishes.

1906

The Rev. James N. Hunter is appointed Priest-in-Charge for New Lenox and Manhattan Parishes.

 

Alice and Caleb Jones in 1885. The Joneses were a founding family of Grace with generations to follow.

 

The original proclamation and deed from then-Diocese of Illinois, signed by Bishop William McLaren, November 25, 1879.

 

Grace’s Bell Tower, donated by Caleb & Alice Jones (Photographed here in 1980).

 

Counter-Clockwise from Top, the inscriptions say: (1) A.D. 1883 This Tower is erected by Their Children in loving memory of (2) Thomas Jones entered into rest July 21, A.D.1881. 81 years (3) MaryAnn Jones entered into rest May 16, A.D. 1877. 71 years

 

Oldest Known Photo of Grace Episcopal Church, ca. 1886. To the right can clearly be seen the original parsonage (or “rectory”).

 

The Rev. Charles Hodge, wife Laura, and children Justin, Charles and Mary (in the lap of Laura) pose in front of Grace Church in this iconic photo from 1900 during Hodge’s second term as priest.