Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Going to Church with George Washington, James Wilson, and William White

This Sunday I was a few minutes late to my own church so I could attend a bit of a sung Eucharist with my roommate at Christchurch here in Philadelphia.  I am familiar with the building, having visited it a few times over the years of tourist and research trips to Philadelphia.

Washington maintained a pew there for the many years (for the Continental Congress, Constitutional Convention, and while president) he spent in the city.  

It was also good to visit the grave of James Wilson, who authored several drafts of the Constitution.  He initially was buried where he died in South Carolina, but his remains were exhumed and removed here where he attended church and where one of his dearest friends, Bishop William White, preached.  

William White was one of the few Anglican bishops to support the rebel’s cause and was the founder of the Episcopal church.  (White also introduced Wilson to his first wife, Rachael Bird, and pled his case when she initially denied him.)

In leaving, I paid homage to Wilson, his grave covered in the fresh snow of the night before.  I stopped the employee scraping walks from clearing the grave before my picture.  As I walked away, I threw over my shoulder to take care of Wilson, as he had authored three constitution drafts, and was pleasantly startled when he retorted, “Oh, I know, he’s one of my people!”

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