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Erie County (PA) Genealogy
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Rev. John Franklin Spalding

Written and Contributed by Beth Simmons

Rev. John Franklin Spalding

Jarvis, George A., 1887, Memoir of the Rt. Rev. George M. Randall, D.D, also Momorandums and Deeds of Jarvis Hall and Jarvis Hall Endowment Fund, Orphans’ Press—Church Charity Foundation, Brooklyn, N.Y.

February 1873

“Room was handsomely furnished and upon the receipt of Bishop Spalding’s household goods, his carpets were laid, and his furniture put in place, and a number of ladies and gentlemen were in the house upon the arrival of the Bishop and his family, to welcome them to their new home at the end of their long journey.”

March 26, 1873

“Bishop Spalding has been with us about a month, and we like him very well. He does not possess the impressive manner and eloquent address of Bishop Randall, but I think he is a good organizer and will work steadily, persistently and successfully.” (John Armor to Jarvis)

May 23/24, 1873 – Reception at Bishop Spalding’s – Convocation – (Mrs. Spalding was from Erie, Pennsylvania)

November 7, 1881 -

Bishop John Franklin Spalding, missionary Bishop of Colorado and Wyoming, announced his intention to institute a "Cathedral system" for Colorado and named Hart the Dean and incorporated "The Bishop and Chapter of the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Denver, Colorado." As there were just a few cathedrals in the Episcopal Church at the time, and only two of them built as cathedrals, there was no settled opinion as to what a cathedral was, or as to what a cathedral dean did - not to mention a Cathedral located in the Wild West. However, on November 7, 1881, Saint John's moved into its first Cathedral church at the corner of 20th and Welton.

In 1887 Bishop Spalding and Father Marshall were convinced that Denver was going to grow so fast in the next few years, and they both regretted that the Bishops had no money to purchase land as sites for future churches

“Bishop John Franklin Spalding” in The Glory That was Gold, 1938, p. 56

Chair named by St. Paul’s Episcopal Guild, Central City

John Franklin Spalding, Bishop of Colorado from 1873 to 1902, came out to Denver with his wife and five children, in February, 1874[3], to take charge of the work of the Episcopal Church in Colorado and Wyoming, with an oversight of New Mexico and Arizona. Born in Maine, a graduate of Bowdoin College, he moved west, first to Erie, Pennsylvania, and then still farther west to Colorado.

Bishop Spalding was very tall and handsome, quiet and reserved, simple in his tastes and requirements. He enjoyed a good story and a good pipe. He was a thoughtful, scholarly man, a collector and lover of books and a generous share of them. He was also a man of great energy and achievement with an extraordinary gift for organization.

His enormous district kept him away from home on long missionary journeys of days, weeks or months. Many of his trips, in those early days, had to be taken by stage coach, buckboard, or mule back, or even by climbing over precipitous mountain sides hanging on to the tail of the mule. He held services over saloons, in vacant stores, or homes, and in all sorts of weather, settling difficulties, straightening out differences. His quiet strength and good judgment brought comfort to the sorrowing, courage to the weak. Many people have told his family how glad they were to know him and how much they loved him. One saying of his is specially remembered, ‘Act on your faith not on your doubts.”

Central City at this time, was a thriving mining town. Services were being held in a store and Bishop Spalding very soon started to raise money to build the fine stone church which is still in use. St. Paul’s and the retaining walls were built by the men of Devon and Cornwall who brought the knowledge and skill to build this good stone work from England. They were accustomed to building wall above wall so they knew how to cut out one street above another on the steep mountain sides. It was the talk of the town, when one night after service, Bishop Spalding stepped off the street, fell to the street below and broke his arm. Could an accident like this have happened in any other American town!”

Colorado Transcript, March 12, 1902

                “The people of Golden have received word of the death of the venerable Bishop of the Diocese – Rt. Reverend J.F. Spalding. His death occurred Sunday night last, at Erie, Pa., where he had gone to attend at the sick bed of a son. Bishop Spalding was esteemed and revered not only by the Episcopalians of his diocese but by all who came in contact with him. Deceased was constituted bishop of Colorado and Wyoming at Erie, Pa., on December 31st, 1873, and all the years since have been constantly devoted to its duties.


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