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Caleb Smith Ives


Caleb Ives - Handbook of Texas

Caleb S. Ives
By Mary Belle Ingram

Caleb S. Ives was born in Vermont and educated at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, and General Theological Seminary, New York City. On September 25, 1838, he was appointed missionary to Texas by the Foreign Committee of Board of Missions.

He arrived in Matagorda on December 12, 1838, and celebrated Holy Communion on December 25, 1838, the first to be held in the Republic of Texas that was in accordance with the Liturgy of the Protestant Episcopal Church. On January 27, 1839, he guided his small congregation into organizing a parish under the name of “The Rector, Church Wardens and Vestrymen of Christ Church, Matagorda.” It was the first Protestant Episcopal Church in the Republic of Texas. With the aid of his wife, he established and successfully operated “Matagorda Academy” from 1839 to 1849.

Caleb Ives was one of four pioneers to whom is attributed the laying of the foundation for educational progress in Texas. He organized a Sunday School for slaves in Matagorda. Ives was proposed, but not elected, bishop of Texas at the General Convention in 1841. On May 8, 1843, he was one of three men who proposed organization of a diocese. He petitioned the General Convention of 1844, for Episcopal supervision of Texas at missionary level. This dream was realized when the Diocese of Texas was created by the convention assembled in the parish he organized.

Failing health, brought on by his arduous labor, caused him to return to his native Vermont in the summer of 1849. He died in Vermont on July 27, 1849, at the age of 51. In giving the diocese its mother church, he also gave his life. Surely, greater love has no man than this.

Historic Matagorda County
, Volume I, page 569

Additional information from

Rev. Ives was born September 29, 1798 either in Tinmouth, Vermont or Hoosick, Rensselaer County, New York. He was the son of Jared and Joanna Smith Ives.
The death date on his tombstone at Oakwood Cemetery in Tinmouth, Rutland County, Vermont is August 22, 1849.
His wife was Katherina [Katherine] Duncan Morison who was born July 16, 1806, in Jamaica, West Indies. In  1880, she was living with her son, Hugh in the Village of Hastings-on- Hudson, Westchester County, New York.


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Oct. 23, 2011
Oct. 23, 2011