Trinity Episcopal Church

History of the Trinity Episcopal Church

In 1907 Reverend A. B. Clark of Rosebud Agency, who was Supt Presbyter of the Rosebud Mission of Niobrara Deanery, held the first Episcopal services among the people of the Rosebud. Bishop F.F. Johnson also made visits from time to time.

In July 1908, the Rev W Blair Roberts came out to start work among the people in Gregory County and the new settlers in Tripp County. On June 20, 1909, Bishop Johnson ordained Mr. Roberts to the priesthood of the Church at the Church of the Incarnation in Dallas, SD.

In 1910 services were held at different points in Gregory and Tripp counties. Mr. Roberts held services wherever he could find two or three or more who were interested. At Lamro, services were held in the schoolhouse and sometimes in the courthouse.

The services in Winner began originally in a little schoolhouse. One summer, a saloon warehouse was secured for the services. The altar was made of beer cases and covered with a white cloth, and the pews were boards placed across bee kegs or cases. These places served until 1911 when the little brown Trinity Church was built.

In 1911, the Rev John W Walker from Philadelphia came and under his direction, the Trinity Church and Guild Hall were built in Winner. The cost of the church building erect in October 1, 1911 was $1,025.00. Lots 7 and 8 of the town site of Winner were given by the Western Townsite Company of Dallas, Value $400.00. In 1912, a building to be known as Trinity Episcopal Guild House was built at the cost of $1,050.00 was connected with the church. Just east of the Church, he built a small house for himself, this served as the rectory until 1920. In 1931, the church purchased a home on 517 Polk Street to serve as the rectory. In 1919, the Guild House was detached from the church.

During the fall of 1911, the Ladies Guild of Trinity Mission donated the first organ, 40 folding chairs, furnace, lights, Sunday School equipment, storm porch, and some coal. St Peter's Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania donated the church tower, bell, and many church items.

The first baptism at Winner's Trinity Church on November 19, 1911 was for Phoebe and Fern Emery by Rev Walker. The first confirmation on October 6, 1916 included Harmon Mosher and his wife Winifred; Elmer Grebe; Dorothy Mosher; Lucy, Mildred and Ruth DeWolf; Matilda Brownlow; Agnes Barnum; and Hugh and Myrtle Mayne.

In 1913, the Rev Walker started the Trinity Hospital. Such a hospital was badly needed because the only other hospital around the communities was in Dallas. Mrs. Walker raised the fund for the facility and purchased the building directly north of the Church. Miss Grace V Bradley, a devoted churchwoman and a registered nurse was the first superintendent. At the Bishop's request, two Episcopal nuns came to Winner to manage the hospital. When they were called back to their Mother House, two nurses from Philadelphia ran the hospital after that. After twenty years, due to various misfortunes, lack of equipment, and financial difficulties due to patient's failure to pay their bills, the hospital was sold in 1933 to Doctors Overton and Walters. The hospital then became the Winner General Hospital.

On March 23, 1949, Trinity church, under priests in charge, Bruce W Swain, marked the transition from its status as a financially independent parish.

For a number of years, the congregation of Trinity Church had felt a need for larger and improved facilities. At firs it was thought of enlarging the building but the parking space remained poor, so a new site, at Ninth and East Park Street was chosen and purchased through the proceeds of the Musa Rathman estate.

The Rev James Marrs was priest in charge of the new Chruch and assisting were: Pete Monfore, Crucifier; Brian Pharris, flag bearer; Dorothy Nielsen, organist; and Bill Fielder and David McCormick, servers. The Vestry consisted of Leon Miller, Senior Warden; Ben Viedt, Junior Warden; John Lunn, Clerk; Redman albaugh, Fred Harvey, William F Day Jr, James D Monfore, MD; and Mrs Audrey Holms, Treasurer.

In September 1966, a new rectory was bought and it stands just east of the Church. The Church mortgage was completely retired. Many generous and numerous gifts have been given from the parishioners through estates and memorials. The Little Brown Church was moved twice since it stood at 326 W 4th Street. First to Daughter Park and now it is located at the Tripp County Historical Society Museum.

Pictures and information courtesy of the
Tripp County Historical Society Archives

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