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Pew Register of St. Mary’s Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1787-1791

Prepared from the original and annotated by Rev. Thomas C. Middleton, D. D., O. S. A.

The Pew Register of St. Mary’s church, which is here published for the first time, gives the names of the pew holders from December 8, 1787, down to May, 1791.

The location of the pews (in the church) may easily be ascertained by reference to the diagrams of the church sittings published in the former volume of the Records.F1 By referring to them one can easily understand the letters employed in the present list of pew holders to indicate their sittings in the church. The letters are as follow: “E. G.”, “L. P.”. “N. G.” and “S. G.”; these refer to East Gallery, Lower Pews, North Gallery and South Gallery respectively. Opposite Thomas Fitzgerald’s pew “No. 13,” in the Rent List for December 8th, 1787, are two letters--”S. N.”, which thus appear in the original. Their significance is not understood; neither are the crosses, as + or X, which the clerk has occasionally added to the pew numbers. The determination of the pew charges, as well as all other financial matters connected with St. Mary’s church appertained to the Trustees, as may be seen by reference to the Minute Book published in the preceding volume of the Records.

From the regulations drawn up [therefor?] by the Trustees F2 in 1782, it appears that the pews were put up at auction, and that the highest bidder or subscriber had the first preference. At the same time the yearly rent of each pew was set at thirty shillings, to be “paid in half yearly payments, viz., on the 24th of June and the 8th of December”.F3 The old plan of putting up pews at auction were opened.F4 at this time John Ashley subscribed $1,000., being entitled thereby to the first choice of the new pews.F5 In the following year--1810, preference in the choice of pews was similarly regulated by the amount of one’s subscription.F6

The Rev. Francis Beeston named in the text was one of the first Trustees of St. Mary’s church;F7 in 1790, June23, the church minutes mention his departure from Philadelphia for his new mission at Bohemia in Maryland.F8

The names of the persons given as the occupants of the “Ambassadors Pew” have so far evaded recognition.F9 The parties named in the Register as occupying the “Ambassadors Pew” were a “Mr Gouver, “elsewhere written “Ghouvare,” and a “M. Lombart,” or “Lombaert.” There was also a “Mrs. Gouver,” This “Gouver” or “Ghouvare,” I take to stand for Gouvea. In the interment List of St. Mary’s, for August 29, 1793, is oted the burial of one “Henry J. Lombart,” for the [the?] expenses of which was paid the sum of Ł1 and 5 shillings. This person may be the same as the occupant of the ambassador’s pew, referred to in the Register.

In 1795, the Trustees passed a resolution, namely, that Thirty dollars per Annum be demanded from the Spanish Ambassador, and a like Sum from the Portuguese Ambassador for one years rent of the Pew they occupy in St. M. [Mary’s] church due the 8th inst.F10 Any one desirous of further information relating to the pr regulations of St. Mary’s, may find ample references to the same in the Minute Book of the Church, published in volume IV of the Records of the Society.


F1 See Records of the American Catholic Historical Society for 1893, vol. IV, pp, 266-267.
F2 See “article 5th” among the Articles agreed upon by the Catholic Congregation of . . . . St. Mary's, . . . . . September 2d , 1782, in Records, IV, p. 253.
F3 See "article 10th' ut ante
F4 See Minutes for May 18, 1809 in Records, IV, p 409-410
F5 The next highest bider was John Rosseter, who subscribed $500.00 For his and Ashley's name, and the other subscribers at the time, see Minutes for June 8, 1809 in Records IV, p 413
F6 See Minutes for Dec. 26, 1810 in Records IV, pp 427-428
F7 See the Charter published in Records, IV, p 270 where he is named with his fellow Turstees - Rev. Robert Molyneux, J.J., and Rev Lawrence graessel, afterwards bishop coadjutor elect of Archbishop Carroll
F8 See Minutes in Records IV, p 295
F9 The pew reserved for ambassadors, as appears from the diagram of the church sittings referred to above, was at the Epistle side of the Altar
F10 See Minutes for June 17, 1795 in Records IV, p 306

The following databases for St. Mary's Church, Philadelphia Pennsylvania are being transcribed by Olive Tree Genealogy volunteers. Bookmark this page and check back often to see what new files have been completed!

Pew Rentals St. Mary's Church, Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Introduction | List of Names - Pew Rents 8 Dec 1787 | List of Names - Pew Rents & Arrears 5 Nov. 1787 | List of Names - Pew Rents 24 June 1788 | Debts 24 June 1788 | Debts 8 Dec. 1788 | List of Names - Pew Rents 8 Dec. 1788 | Debts 24 June 1789 | List of Names - Pew Rents 24 June 1789 | Arrears on Pew Rents 8 Dec. 1789 | List of Names - Pew Rents 8 Dec. 1789 | Debts 24 June 1790 | List of Names - Pew Rents 24 June 1790 | Debts 8 Dec. 1790 | Money Due 24 June 1789 | Money Due 20 May 1790 | Debts May 1791 | Miscellaneous Notes | Additions & Corrections

Interments (Burials) in St. Mary's Church New Chapel Burying Ground

1788 | 1789 | 1790 | 1791 | 1792 | 1793 | 1794 | 1795 | 1796 | 1797 | 1798 | 1799 | 1800



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