A Beacon in the Wilderness
As the first Episcopal Mission and Church in Northwest Ohio, the story of St. Paul’s began as a small group of dedicated people who petitioned for a religious outpost in the wilderness. The history of St. Paul’s is one of struggle, hope, faith and perseverance in the face of sometimes overwhelming adversity.
The parish began in the mid-1830’s as a small log chapel constructed on the grounds of James and Mary Wolcott’s home. The Rev. Burton Hickox arrived from the East in 1837 to tend these remote worshippers on the edge of civilization.
The current neo-Gothic church was built in 1841 on land donated by Judge James Wolcott. The early structure supported a four-spider square bell tower, which was removed in the 1880’s because of its weight. The rectory, built in 1836, was relocated in 1934 to allow construction for the parish hall.
In 1852, Rev. Mark Jukes came to serve as Rector. He and his wife, Harriet, set an example of selflessness and service during the cholera epidemic of 1854 as the pestilence nearly decimated the community. In spite of the obvious dangers, the Jukes persisted in caring for the sick and dying until he too, succumbed to the deadly disease. Harriet was also stricken, leaving six orphaned children. Her letters to England offer a stirring testimony of her faith and life in early Maumee.
Harriet Jukes’ Letters
The letters and comments of Harriet Jukes as well as those of others give us insight into the life of the Church, the Maumee Valley Communities, and the lives of the Rev. Mark Jukes and his wife Harriet in the 1850’s.
How fortunate we are that Gilbert D. Jukes, a grandson, had sent the materials to us in 1955. He addressed it to the Rev. R. Malcolm Ward, then Rector. Descendants of the Jukes family have stayed in touch with our parish and it is blessing to hear from them from time to time.
This is an abridged selection, but unaltered to grammar and spelling. There is a wealth of material in the parish library.
(Watercolors by the Rev. Andrew Jukes, brother of Mark Jukes, Sept. 30, 1854)
For a moment, share in the life and times of a remarkable family.