FJS Story

The Early Life, Church Army Training and Missionary Work


Cappy Fred Seddon.


Father Seddon with Navajo children; photo taken at Carson’s Trading Post, NM, circa 1955.


(as compiled from his personal documents, his own scribbled notes, and other documentation and memorabilia and mostly in his own often disjointed words, retaining his underlines, dashes, strikethroughs, etc. as in the original with indecipherable letters, words  and phrases replaced with or attached to ‘?’)

 [Transcribed by his son Thomas Seddon whose editorial insertions are in this font inside square brackets.  Obvious omissions, clerical and typographical errors, and spelling have been largely corrected without notation.  Since many of the lines in the source pages are simply participial or other phrases, I have also typically inserted “I was” or something similar without noting the insertion. Paragraphing is sporadic to nonexistent in the originals. An attempt at regularization has been made.  I have melded paragraphs from different sources when they obviously refer to the same event.  Often I have been forced to simply copy out a set of nouns or phrases and tack them on where they seem to fit the chronology. If they are continuous with a paragraph, they likely came from the same sheet of paper, maybe.   Each new significant narrative episode always begins with a new paragraph.  I have added white space to separate out these longer narratives.  Most pages have been broken into parts and the parts scattered where they best fit.  Most pages have no indication of chronology so I have guessed the sequencing by context.  Photos, unless otherwise credited are from personal collections. tes]

Copyright, all rights reserved, Thomas Seddon, 2009.

Redactor’s Preface

Many times after he left missionary work and increasingly after his retirement, my father was asked to give a talk and encouraged to write down the story of his life and ministry.  He was reluctant to write out his history partly, I think, because he knew he could not write particularly well.  By his own account he was not a good student, he never attended high school, and he never learned to type.  As you will undoubtedly notice, when he did write an official letter or report, in fact anything he knew was to be read by others, he invariably lapsed into a stilted antiquated formalism that reminds me of Civil War correspondence.

In spite of his reputation as a “stump” preacher, he never prepared a decent essay for use as a sermon.  In his papers is a letter from the bishop supervising his independent studies for ordination rejecting sermons he had recently submitted.  Bishop Stoney criticized them as being “poorly and apparently hastily constructed,” containing “no sequence of thought nor final climax,” and “so carelessly typed that I would not be willing to put them in your permanent files…”  The bishop noted, “They give me the impression of the mere jotting down of unrelated ideas rather than the development of a theme with a purpose in view.”  He also wanted the sermons to be about eight typewritten double spaced pages rather than the three that my father submitted. 

My father was a preacher not an essayist; he learned his trade preaching spontaneously on street corners in New York City and in the fields of Alabama.  He eventually passed this ordination requirement by submitting a transcription made by a professional stenographer of a sermon as he preached it.  (However, a close examination of his correspondence with the bishop indicates that in fact he skated past this requirement.)

In an attempt to get a record of some of his stories in a way that utilized his preaching skills, I obtained a miniature tape recorder for him to use to dictate his memories.  This was not as successful as I hoped.  In his papers, I find many pages of narrative written out with a marginal notation “Taped.”  So obviously he was unable to dictate directly to the tape recorder but wrote out a script beforehand.  This, of course, negates the purpose for which the recorder was purchased!  In any event, the tape recorder disappeared while he was undergoing cancer treatments in Albuquerque and only one miniature cassette survives which I have not been able to play because of its format.  There is a lesson here for our digital world.  Although I cannot play the tape I do have roughly ten pages of his handwritten narrative done specifically for the tapes and upwards of 100 other handwritten pages of memories including carbon copies of documents typed over 65 years ago.  This is what I waded through to compile this story.

All these pages are “poorly and apparently hastily constructed” with little attention given to organization.  And as the bishop remarked, “They give me the impression of the mere jotting down of unrelated ideas rather than the development of a theme with a purpose in view.”  Many seem to have been written in response to some group’s request for him to tell his life story.  These have a mostly identical outline form: “born 14 June 1913, Fall River, Mass.; Entered Church Army Training College, July, 1934; What is Church Army; Brief history;” and finally a list of dates and places at which he was stationed.  I’m sure he could tell quite a long and entertaining tale with his memory prodded by this brief outline.  Although he recreated the same information dozens of times, he saved them all.

One final comment.  Much of the prompting for his writing down his memories came from his wife.  As family members will remember, whenever he could be persuaded to tell a story she took it upon herself to interrupt frequently with editorial corrections and revisions.  Sometimes he let her take over and finish telling the story her way.  I am certain she had a hand in those pages marked “Taped.”  Some other pages are actually in her handwriting.  She also gives away her presence by her characteristic overuse of quotation marks.  Thus it is impossible to tell how much of what I have been able to decipher is authentically his words.  

Given the nature of the source materials, I have often chosen to have him repeat himself in successive paragraphs rather than disrupt a continuous narrative.  This can be disconcerting at first as the story seems to be flowing along then stops abruptly and starts over!  But such problems are familiar to all redactors.

Thomas Seddon

Salt Lake City, 2009


A report on a pilgrimage of witness to Ministry covering a period of 56 years written solely for the information and pleasure of the family.


This journey began I am sure when I was baptized Frederick LaPointe in the church of Holy Name in Fall River, Massachusetts, soon after my birth on June 14, 1913. 

[Fred’s birth certificate lists the maiden name of his mother as “Rosanna Lapointe,” born in Canada and residing at his birth at 1441 Pleasant St., in Fall River, Massachusetts. The name, occupation, and birthplace of his father are blank, the appropriate blank space being struck through.  His mother Rosanna’s and his Aunt Clara’s births and baptisms are recorded in the parish register of St. Patrice of Tingwick, Quebec, Canada, and have been verified in the Canadian Census of 1901.  Further details of the French-Canadian LaPointes are available at Thomas Seddon’s genealogy web site; ]



I digress to explain the name change. My Grandparents Michael and Melinda [actually spelled Michel and Méléda or Méleda] had two daughters Roseanna [also spelled Rosana] and Clara.  Roseanna my mother died during the Epidemic of WWI in 1918.  I was about 5.  I never knew my father and no name appears on the birth certificate for name of father.  I was placed for a short time in the orphanage in Fall River and my Aunt Clara took me into her home.  Clara married Edward Seddon a policeman in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and I believe when I was 12 years old I was legally adopted as Frederick Seddon.  (Name Joseph is another story.)

My parents adopted me or I should say my foster parents adopted me when I was 14.

  [The formal adoption decree was issued on August 2, 1929, when he was 16.] 


St. Joseph’s Orphanage, today, from Wikipedia.

[There is also some confusion in the family stories detailing the time immediately after Roseanna’s death.  Here is one possible construction.  FJS’s birth mother Roseanna indeed died when he was about 5 in 1918 during the great flu pandemic in Fall River.  Frederick was then cared for by his Grandmother Méléda or Amanda Méléda Lapointe but lived with her for no more than two years until she died.  He was then placed in the St. Joseph’s Orphanage in the city of Fall River, Bristol Co., MA; and was there for the U.S. Census of 1920, enumerated in Jan 1920, when he was just 6 years old.  At some point, I’m guessing when he was around 8, he went to live with his Aunt Clara who had married Edward Seddon.  They formally adopted him in Aug 1929 when he was 16, and he was living with them for the U.S. Census of 1930 at 679 Ashley Boulevard, New Bedford, MA, where at age 16 his occupation is listed as “Back Boy” at a cotton mill. By his own account, he left school and went to work in the mills when he finished eighth grade at age 13-14.  He remembers a bit of “trade school” education with the emphasis on such trades as carpentry and electrical work.  He never expected nor particularly wanted to attend high school and never did.]


My particular antecedents as a LaPointe came from Tingwick, Canada.  I had been told by my Grandmother Méléda that we were not ordinary people and we spelt our name with a capital “P” plus ending with an “e.”  My grandfather Michel’s family who I am told came to Canada from the Alsace-Lorraine area of France.  He had a farm on the outskirts of the village Tingwick, which in reality was but a crossroad in what looked like a huge prairie of farms.  I understand that they, Grandfather and Grandmother, were not rich but well-to-do farmers.

Grandfather was what we would call today a compulsive gambler and one Friday evening at the local pub he became involved in a poker game.  He had that day attended to some bank work concerning the farm and had the deed on his person, need I say more.  On what he believed to be an unbeatable hand he laid the deed on the table.  He lost—returning to the farm, they packed up their belongings and began the move to a place called “The Narrows.”  This was a huge lake supplying water to Fall River, Massachusetts.  [Actually, “The Narrows” refers to the region around a narrow neck where two large natural lakes meet east of Fall River, now the name of a suburban Fall River neighborhood.] 

My Grandfather had a lovely large cottage on the lake, also a cabin cruiser which I remember piloting sitting on his knee.  He eventually lost this place in a session of gambling and ended his labors tending a roadside zoo.  He did love animals.

[It is hard to determine what he is remembering here.  The 1910 U.S. Census in Fall River, Massachusetts, records a household of four LaPointes: Lucille, Angelle, Roseanna, and Clara with Lucille as head-of-household and married, not widowed or divorced.  In this census Roseanna and Clara are listed as the daughters of Lucille.  She is the correct age to be their mother, but FJS’s memory, Canadian census and baptism records agree that Roseanna and Clara’s mother was Méléda or Amanda Méléda.  Angelle  (misspelled in LDS files as Argelle) LaPointe is listed as the mother of Lucille and widowed. Lucille is noted as immigrating in 1900 along with Roseanna and Clara while Angelle is noted as immigrating in 1906. 

Note that Clara and Roseanna are listed in the 1901 Canadian Census for Tingwick as daughters of Michel and Amanda Méléda LaPointe. Also listed in this Canadian household is an Angelle (Angéle) Peloquin as the mother of Michel, but no one named Lucille is part of the household.  Perhaps the Fall River census taker misreported what French-speaking Lucille and Angelle told him.  It is also possible that Lucille is a sister of Michel’s or perhaps Méléda’s who was not part of his Canadian household in 1901.  But in any event, what happened to Grandfather Michel?  He no longer seems to be part of the family three years before FJS’s birth so how could FJS remember sitting on his knee piloting a cabin cruiser?  By the 1920 census, Roseanna had died and FJS was enumerated at St. Joseph’s Orphanage.]


At age of 5, I moved to New Bedford, living there until entering Church Army Training School in 1934, (age 21). 


Some memories of childhood;

1.     being pulled to school in wagon,

2.     not being able to speak French,

3.     not a good student,

4.     daredevil on lawn—hand(?) strapping,

5.     Penmanship Prize,

6.     cracking knuckles,

7.     playing in coal yard—“Duffs,” being drag(?) home—Both Grandmothers (?) to explain,

8.     during school—errand boy—not a bright student, why open school work (?),

9.     enrolled at Normandin Jr. High, usually missed 1st period,

10.  Out school at 14 to buy a Car! [FJS did not keep his wages; the car was for his step dad.]
Continuation(?) trade—Electricity & wiring,

11.   First worked in cotton mill Bristol, “Backboy” in Mule Room.

[FJS also spoke of witnessing the transition from silent films to talkies.  He enjoyed the showy organists of the silent film theatres and was disappointed when he finally heard his film stars “talk.”]

[FJS’s step-father liked to keep up with the latest gadgets so he gained a working knowledge of depression-era auto and bicycle repair.  He also remembered making a crystal radio from scratch.  He enjoyed all the early radio programs and said that families were quite proud of small acid burns in their carpets because these showed they owned an wet-cell battery powered radio.]



[FJS’s School Day Photos]


Photo notation: Clark St School, 3.B, 1921, 8 year old—.


Photo notation: Clifford School, 4.a, 10 years old, 1923.



There are those who can quote the hour, day, etc. of their conversion—being born again!  I am not one of them, however I can remember as a child playing in the privacy of my bedroom at being a priest.  At this time I was a Roman Catholic and a member of the Server’s Guild at the Holy Name Church.  I was a faithful member until the Sunday (so my mother told me) I refused to get up to prepare to serve the 6 am mass.  I insisted I was going to my father’s church.  He was my stepfather but being the only father I knew he was my father.  This church, St. Andrews [Episcopal] on Belleville Road was several miles from where we lived but I walked there and Mr. Weil, then rector, found me sitting on the door step when he came to prepare for the early service at 8 am.  He knew me for my father was a policeman and the church and rectory it supported(?) both on his beat and I had walked the beat with my father several times.  Anyway Mr. Weil took me in and I stayed in his study during the service.  After service we went to the rectory for breakfast, a short walk from the church.  We returned to church and I was placed with the Superintendent of Church School and assisted with the distribution of church school supplies (never having attended any Episcopal classes).  [A separate note dates this incident to age 12 (1925).]

In a short time the late Bishop Slattery came for confirmation.  Mr. Weil made it clear to me that having been confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church it was not necessary to be confirmed again but I insisted and so I was confirmed in the Episcopal Church.  I soon became involved in the youth program, basketball team, Order of Sir Galahad [boys’ and men’s chivalric club], St. Vincent’s Guild [acolytes], Young Peoples’ Fellowship, Bandbox Players (a group [religious theatrical] of young people directed by Mrs. S. McKay the wife of the rector who succeeded Mr. Weil who had been called to a church in the Boston area).  A group of Church Army men were invited by some bishops of New England to come over from England and demonstrate some aspects (?) Church Army that came to be applied to U.S.



St. Andrew’s Church Order of Sir Galahad, 1928. 

FJS is seated in the third row in a white mantle just to the right of the central “royal” figure.


Edward and Clara were my Mom and Dad.  We had a very unstable home.  I never knew if we had moved.  I would come home, find a note on the door with a new address.  Verbal abuse.

Wedding photo of Edward Seddon & Clara LaPointe.


On my 14th birthday which came of course during summer vacation, [they announced] that I would not be returning to school but going to work in a cotton mill.  I welcomed this.  I did not particularly like school, being an average student (maybe even below average).  In a few days after my 14th birthday having attended to the paperwork involved (the law said I had to spend 1/2 day a week in continuation(?) school, the 3 Rs and learning a trade.  I had chosen to be an electrician, I don’t know why.



[Wikipedia indicates that over 100 cotton textile mills were operating in Fall River, Massachusetts, nicknamed “Spindle City,” before the Great Depression.]

Anonymous boys in a New Bedford mill’s Mule Room in 1912.

[The “mules” are enormous cotton spinning machines producing the large spindles of yarn and thread that go to the weaving sheds.  The mule spinning machines operated in pairs; each fed 1200 spindles.  The Mule Rooms were exclusively worked by men and boys; the men operating the spinning “mules” and the boys doing maintenance such as splicing broken thread, replacing spindles, cleaning and oiling the mechanism; all while the machines were operating at full speed.  It was dangerous work.]

Library of Congress photograph: nclc 02476

Anonymous “Back Boy” working between banks of spindles in the mule room of a

Massachusetts mill in 1916.

Library of Congress photograph: nclc 03115

Six months STRIKE—problems, etc.  Depression hit.  Mills closed.  Collected union dues(?) in the beginning.  Troops called out.  Foster father on police force.  Strike over, mills moved south.  Switch cheap non union labor.  Spent time at beach—church—looking for work, making the rounds of the mills still operating, found temp work at several of them.  Got a job at Firestone Tire, laid off.  Had joined DeMolay. On one period of in between ran into Mr.. Knollton.  Met Knollton—café owner.  Job washing dishes, worked up to 2 Cook, several years until 21 and Church Army.  Shorty left—If I stayed there be #1 [cook].


New Bedford Order of DeMolay; FJS is second from right in second row.

He was particularly proud of being awarded the Legion of Honor April 2, 1937.


A chapter to insert somewhere:  In the meantime all my spare time was spent at St. Andrews.  (Story of St. Andrews; Church Army at St. Andrews.)


Someone asked me as to exactly the number of years I have been in the work of the Church.  This is how it goes.  [list of dates follows.]  My career has two distinct divisions.  The first 14 years as a Church Army Captain—“Cappy.”

What is Church Army?  Brief history.  [See Attachment, Church Army History, page 67,]

Church Army is an Episcopal organization/body of fulltime laymen and laywomen serving God & His Church as evangelists, “sheep dogs.” 

In 1882 Carlile as Preacher.  1883 organized to serve the [English Anglican] church.

In 1925 U.S.A. visit.  A group of English Church Army workers including Manning toured New England.  Came to New Bedford and caught me (age 12). 

In 1927 Church Army officially organized in the United States.  Evangelists were to serve in the fields of migrant labor, preaching missions, institutional work, church census & survey, isolated mission stations, and youth work.  Church Army’s motto was the 3 C’s; “Conversion—Consecration—Churchmanship.”

[For details on Church Army’s mission, see Attachments, Essay on the Mission of Church Army, page 68 and “Between Ourselves”, page 70.]

Cover of the schedule booklet for an extensive series of “revival-style” missions in the New Bedford area now conducted by the newly organized American Church Army in 1927.


In ____ several Bishops invited a team of [English] Church Army evangelists to visit U. S. and in 19__ to present Church Army to the Episcopal congregations in New England.  Church Army had been organized ____ and was proving very valuable in her ministry.  In due cause the team led by Captain Conder visited St. Andrews Church, New Bedford, Massachusetts.  The team went from city to city hauling a sort of trailer with their equipment.  They slept in Parish Halls or were guests in parishioner’s homes.  The team spent one week in New Bedford.  In the P.M. some would have been assigned to conduct a children mission, others parish calling; in the evening a regular adult mission was conducted by several Captains.  Several marched to Baily’s(?) Square a short distance from the church and held an outdoor witness series.  Somehow all this activity struck some sort of response chord for I wanted to join Church Army.


New Bedford, Massachusetts, my home town was one of the stops on this tour.  The leader was a Captain Charles Conder.  They stayed a week, and I was there every night involved in every way possible.  I told Mr. McKay of having been led and inspired by these men and so at 18 I applied for admission.  I was told I would have to wait till I was 21 and employed in a regular job.


In late summer of 19?? a group of England Church Army workers were touring New England and New Bedford was one of their many stops.  They conducted a weeklong mission with outdoor witnessing services and the whole bit—I was intrigued.  This was for(?) me since because of the lack of schooling I could not get into college or seminary.  However I had to wait till I was 21 years old before making application for training as a C.A. Missionary Evangelist.


I entered Church Army as a direct result of a Church Army mission held in our home parish.  I applied for admittance and was told I would have to wait till my 21 birthday.  I waited three years and was able to make the grade.  I was then employed as the Number 2 Cook in a restaurant.


Prior to being admitted for training we had spent a week as guests of the Society of St. Barnabas, lay monks operating a hospital for the incurables in Gibsonia, PA.  The week was spent in tests and times of meditation following the daily routine of the Brothers.


The rule was and to my knowledge still is one had to be 21 years old and employed.  On reaching 21 I submitted an application and was accepted as a probationer.  I was required to join other new probationers in a sort of testing and tryout to be held near Pittsburgh at St. Barnabas Monastery in Gibsonia.  We all lived the life of monks, keeping regular hours of prayer, etc.  During the day we heard lectures on Church Army, took tests, not so much as to find out how much we knew but how little.  I remember Harley, Entwistle, Jolly, Pollanick.  After 10 days at St. Barnabas House, accepted for training as a Church Army Evangelist and entered Church Army Training College in New York City.  [or alternatively]  At the end of a week we were told that in two weeks we were to report to the Church Army Training Center at 414 E. 14th St, N.Y.C.  Trinity Chapel building(?) [Except this location would not be open for another year.  In 1934 C.A. Headquarters were at 416 Lafayette Street.]

Souvenir postcard from his stay at St. Barnabas House, signed by the founder.

[In 1900, Captain Gouverneur Hance, a member of the English Church Army but at Trinity Cathedral, Pittsburgh, opened the Church Army Convalescent Home in downtown Pittsburgh.  By the 1930’s he had resigned from Church Army and moved his medical facility and religious order to Gibsonia, PA.  St. Barnabas is now a charitable foundation running one of the largest comprehensive health facilities in Pennsylvania. Although clearly monastic in form, I can find no online trace of a formal monastic Order of St. Barnabas, the S.B.B. in the postcard signatures, in the U.S. But check old timeline photos at]


My story really begins with my entering Church Army Training Center in NYC.  The center was part of the Grace Church Chapel which was a part of the Trinity Parish—an ideal set up.  The two years were spent in academics and field work.


Hazy recollection.  Spent some time at Headquarters on Lafayette Street. [Indeed, the C. A. Training Center he mentions below didn’t open until September of 1935!]


Church Army training was for two years.  The period of training, 1934-1936, consisted of one year in school at 414 E. 14th Street in New York City.  On ____ the class met, members were ____.  

[His formal “agreement” with Church Army states that he entered the “Training Centre” September 16, 1935, and left training, signed his contract, and was commissioned all on May 19, 1936. The starting date could be a typo and should read 1934, but most likely simply does not include the “probationary” year, 1934-1935, of mostly field experiences.]

Cover photo of Co-Partners, Bulletin of the Church Army in U.S.A., No. 43, September 1935.


A class photo published in Co-Partners, No. 44, December 1935.

FJS is second from left in top row.

(Photo also shows Captain Laurence and Sadie Hall, Evangelists-in-Charge.)


[Members of his class that graduated in 1936 were Arthur Bello, New York; Violet Christensen, Western New York; Ada Clarke (George Clarke’s sister); Jack Daley, Bethlehem; Joseph Entwistle, Rhode Island; Kenneth Harley, East Carolina; Elsie Isaacs, Connecticut; Frances Jolly, Minnesota; Edward Pollanick, Long Island; and Frederick Seddon, Massachusetts.  Two or perhaps three other women dropped out.]


Captain & Mrs. [Laurence] Hall, Directors.   [Captain Hall’s title was Evangelist-in-charge of the Training Centre]  Schedule—Monday (Rest Day, walk to The Roxy in Times Square.  Walk downtown on 8 at (free) get to Roxy’s before 2—25 cents.  Dr. Chapman, Warden [The Rev. John W. Chapman, D.D.] ; Dr. Sutton, Chaplain.  Instructors included some members of General Theological Seminary and clergy of New York City.  Visit corner White House hamburgers. 


At Training Center the schedule was very simple.  Awakening at 6.  Ablutions, chapel.  We observed silence from Compline the night before till after Grace at breakfast.  Breakfast.  9-12 classes.  After lunch free for study or a variety of assignments.  I was involved in a canvass of lapsed file of lapsed Episcopalians on the roll of Grace Church.  Other students were assigned to other parishes in N.Y.C.  This canvass was my assignment while in NYC.  On Sundays we were free unless assigned to a church or mission to assist the clergy wherever we were needed, Sunday School, youth, etc.  I was assigned to New Rochelle, N.Y., to work with a Sunday School being held by the local church on what we call the “wrong side of the tracks.”  The mission was in a vacant store called Dauntless Hall.  My first real mission endeavor, it lasted about 6 months.


We spent 6 months in class and 6 months in the field usually along the C. A. Mission Stations.


Our studies were led by a few professors from General Seminary and clergy of N.Y.C. and covered all aspects of Church knowledge.  My two field assignments were in Cincinnati and St. George’s Mission, Smoke Hole, W. Va.


Lights out 10:00.


Classes were in Old and New Testament, Doctrine, P. administration, Church History, Evangelism, C S relations, Prayer Book, Homiletics, and Music—Band. 


Lecture Hall at C.A. Training Center.


Mornings were for classes with afternoons for field work—outdoor preaching (open air, soapbox style), street corner forms of witness—Columbus Circle, parish visiting canvass for Trinity Chapel, and church census and canvassing work in the slums from Grace Church, Grace Church visitations. Sun.—assignments. 


FJS witnessing with his cornet outside Grace Chapel at C.A. Training Center, 1936.



 [Assorted Church Army Training Center memories and “Random thoughts” from various sheets:]

$2.00 per week.  Harley—chasing the devil.  Harley’s lost classes/glasses(?).  Foot washing.  Asparagus with tea bag.  Simeon and Anna.  Bell tower.  Classes in church.  St Luke’s examination—eyeglasses, tonsils, and deviated septum.  Visiting.  Canvas of parish list.  Mrs. Chamberlain, House Mother, training in social graces.  Band—W.P.A., Union Square.  Cathedral service “Arch Bishop Temple.”  Kroll’s visit; Jolly to Liberia.  Farewell to Jolly—shipboard concert.  Street corner preaching.  Outdoor witness—Mountford Harassment!  White House hamburgers.  Walk to Roxy’s before 1 pm.  Short sheeting.  Light bulbs.  Oysters.  Cubicles.  Chapel services.  Waiting on tables.  Cleaning.


Chamberlain.  We had been told that as Commissioned Church Army officers we would be expected at all times to accept the situation we found ourselves and adjust and adopt.  One area was explained.  Social Deportment.  This area where Mrs. [Jessie M.] Chamberlain our house mother was at her best.  Mrs. Chamberlain was a widow, before his death Mr. Chamberlain had been I understand chief of staff for the American Embassy in Italy.  It was Mrs. C. who took it upon herself to teach us table manners.  At meal time if we dropped anything on the table we had to cover it with dimes.  We soon learned!  Etiquette and social behavior was her forte and we could receive a written invitation to have tea in her apartments usually two of us at a time.  We learned to drink tea, to deport ourselves as C.A. Captains and gentlemen.  These classes were lots of fun and we did learn how little we know.


I was sent to a New Rochelle storefront mission, Dauntless Hall.

Dauntless Hall.  I am not quite sure just where this experience fits in, will have to check.  I was called into Captain Hall’s office and told that Captain Mountford wanted to see me.  Question—what had I done or not done?  One was not called to the National Director’s office for trivial matters.  I went in at the appointed time with “fear and trembling.”  In about 1/2 hour I came out a different cadet in training.

I had been chosen by Captain Mountford to experiment with a store front mission in New Rochelle. [New Rochelle, NY, is about 20 miles northeast of the C.A. Training Centre on the coast opposite Long Island.]  The Episcopal Church in that community wanted to establish a mission on what we would say “the other side of the tracks.”  Consulting with Captain Mountford they decided to give Church Army a try at it and I was to do it.  A vacant store had been located and the men’s organization had cleaned it up and with some folding chairs and makeshift altar of a crate, with extra items supplied by the church, candles and prayer books.  We used the C. A. song book for music.  I had been given a list of names of known Episcopalians in this black community.  We began our first get together on an afternoon after school during Lent; from after school we soon graduated to Sunday am for Sunday School.  I don’t know how long I ran this mission but it seems I was relieved by a Senior C.A. captain  [Mission Sister L. Sherman had taken over by December 1935.] and I was assigned to Smoke Hole and Captain Wm. Smith.


FJS with children at Dauntless Hall Mission, New Rochelle, NY.



Typical CA Training Centre dorm room with FJS’s classmates
Student Mission Sisters Frances Jolly (at left) and Violet Christensen.


Photo notation:  Cadet’s Cubicle, Training Center, 1936  (could be FJS’s).


[The following story takes place while he is still at the Training Center in New York City, but it is on a separate sheet.  Like many of his note pages it has a large number one at the top.  As to his reference to “…a cot in a large closet.” see photo above.  Perhaps it refers to a vacation period when he did not return to New Bedford.  FJS did have a falling out with his family (at least Stepmother Clara) about his switch to the Episcopal Church and his career choice.  She intended him to be a Roman Catholic celibate priest; marrying FMS was evidently the last straw.  He left home and never looked back.]

I spent my time licking stamps, stuffing envelopes, sweeping floor, running errands, a sort of office boy.  I slept on a cot in a large closet, bought my meals at the “Automat.”  I believe this to be the real first fast food restaurant.  An over simplified explanation.  As you entered you changed your money into quarters for the food dispensers coin receptacle took only quarters.  You pushed your item of food, placed the required quarters in the slot.  When you had done this you turn a knob and out come your choice.   On Sundays I had the opportunity of visiting various churches; I was privileged to hear Dr. Russell Boise(?) at Grace and Bishop Manning at St. John’s (Bishop was later to commission me.)  Dr. Fleming at Trinity.  Eating at the Automat was an experience for me anyway; I believe the Automat was the first fast food restaurant.

[The White Castle chain of hamburger joints, founded 1921, lays claim to being the first modern fast food restaurant by inventing almost all aspects of the modern chain including frozen patties and paper hats.  By contrast, the Horn & Hardart Automats were a chain of restaurants operating only in New York City and Philadelphia.  After you entered an attendant changed your bills into nickels (probably not quarters in 1935) by dipping into a bag of nickels and accurately pitching on the counter twenty nickels for every dollar bill.  The end of the store resembled a wall of white enamel and chrome post office boxes with coin slots.  You picked and purchased your food items one at a time, sat where you liked and had already paid.  The automats weren’t really automated; they were more like a cafeteria.  Workers behind the wall of dispensers had to refill each box with a new plate when one was taken.  I had fun eating in one before they disappeared forever in 1991.  See “Meet Me at the Automat.”]

Members of his class at Church Army Training Center as pictured on a Supplement page to Co-Partners the Bulletin of Church Army in U.S.A. for August 1935.

(Not pictured: Frances Jolly and Ada Clarke; Grace Walsh and Catherine Palmer later withdrew.)



 Training Center Duties.  Sat—Monday.  Housecleaning—halls, stairs, walls, lavatory, dining room, chapel.  Day off—walk to Roxy’s, before 2—25 cents.  Evening (?) light out at 10 PM.  At 9—walk to corner White House Hamburgers!  [This could possibly be a White Castle, which opened one in NYC in 1930 but is equally likely to be one of their many imitators.]  “Visitation” for Grace Chapel.  Mission in Sunday School and Service.  Visit various churches in Manhattan.  Teach Sunday School, assist in services.


The Band.  A great highlight and accomplishment of this first class in the new Headquarters and Training Centre was the first and only Church Army Band in U.S.  Captain Mountford had brought with him or had sent over from England several used C.A. Band instruments.  Bands in England were quite the thing and he wanted to have a band.  This was during the time of W.P.A.  Many were out of work and somehow Captain Mountford had assigned to our band a Mr. Nussbaum, out of work musician in W.P.A.  [WPA Federal Music Project] His first job was to send all the instruments to be repaired and tuned.  At our first get together he asked how many could read music, only one, Capt. Hall, who already played the accordion.  Mr. N. was advised by Capt. M. that all we were interested in was being able to play a few hymns.  I remember Sister Isaacs who happened to be tone deaf was placed at playing the bass drum.  This she did very well.  I was given a cornet.  It did not take us very long to learn a few hymns and we would march up 14th Street to Union Square or Columbus Circle, playing our tunes over and over again and arriving at the square would hold an outdoor preaching service then march back to Headquarters.  Someone called us the Salvation Army of the Episcopal Church.

We did make a few appearances.  We helped to get Sister Jolly on her way to Liberia, and we played at several church functions in say, part of C.A. fund raising campaign and Co-Partners open air meetings.  Our first experience with this aspect of witnessing was begun just outside the iron wright gate and entrance to Headquarters and Training Centre.

Trinity Church.  Met Wall Street Preacher Hall.

Photo notation:  The first C.A. band, Training Center, New York, 1936.

FJS is kneeling at right.

Church Army Songs:

1          One, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,

            I am on my way to heaven

            Through the love of God’s dear Son

            7 6 5 4 3 2 1.

2               Over & over like a mighty Sea

Comes the love of Jesus

Rolling over me.

3               Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in his wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory & grace.

4               Jesus loves me, this I know

For the Bible tells me so

Little ones to Him belong

We are weak But He is strong,

Yes, Jesus loves me—the Bible tells me so.


The highlight of our summer training was an extended jaunt through the Diocese of South Florida (central, southeast and southwest Florida.  We trained(?)/planned(?) to adopt the British caravanstry(?) point to point only we would do it on bicycles.  The Cycling Troubadours we were called.  Captain Charles Conder was the leader.  Beaches, Mississippi.


Cycling Troubadours.  On _____ [ in January of 1935] a group of Church Army men met in Winter Park, Florida, to make final arrangements for what was to be the closest thing to an English C.A. Caravan in the United States.  The group consisting of Cadets Entwistle, Bello, Capt. Kuhn(?) who drove the car, Capt. Channon, [Cadets] Daley, Seddon, Capt. Conder, Leader, were known as C. A. Cycling Troubadours.  We were sent off at a special service of blessing by Bishop Wing.  Starting from the Cathedral in Orlando we would pedal our bikes to the East coast to Titusville and then down U.S. 1 to Miami, across the Tamiami Trail (No bikes! Private car & truck.) to Naples to Tampa. Trinity Church, Louttit.  We were the guests of the various parishes along the coast, sleeping on the Parish Hall floors, cooking our own breakfasts by assignment.  Most other meals provided by the women of the parish covered dish style.  We usually spent a whole week, the Rector having arranged visits to local civic clubs—schools—some of us assigned to church missions.  Evening Evangelistic type service; call on lapsed parishioners.

All these arrangements having been made by Capt. Conder who had spent weeks in preliminary planning. 

On our bikes Conder would lead the way.  Since I had had experience in some repair bike work, I came last with tools, pump, inner tubes, spoke tightener, patches.  The car carrying our sleeping equipment and suitcases followed.  We tried to keep about 100 yards apart.  Once in a while Capt. Conder would see a group of people on the beach; he would signal a halt and when the car pulled up, we would take the c table out and all moved down to the beach and standing in a semicircle we would sing a few hymns, then Conder would deliver a message; use the deck of cards for props (later to become a hot western song).  Going through towns and if time would permit, we would stop at the Courthouse and “Preach the Good News.”

[This Church Army troop witnessed to 33,000 people on 450 different occasions over four months!  The May 1935 issue of the C. A. Bulletin Co-Partners featured the Cycling Troubadours with a photo on the cover and a three-column article on their exploits written as a report by the leader Captain C. L. Conder.  According to this article FJS was one of only three student cadets along for the ride (FJS remembers four, himself, J. Entwistle, A. Bello, and J. Daley).  Furthermore this tour did not take place in the summer of 1935 as FJS remembers, but started on January 14 in Orlando, Florida (sent off to the tune of “Onward Christian Soldiers”), and extended until May 10, the entire spring semester!  FJS’s photos indicate study sessions were included but this trip is more evidence that FJS’s first year was one of mostly field, not classroom, work.  Apparently, like the Band and so many things in FJS’s C.A. experience, this tour was a “one-off.”  The Co-Partners article which includes statistics of their tour is attached, see  “The Cycling Troubadours in Florida”, page 71 .]



Taken January 15, 1935 at Winter Park, Florida.  FJS is the cyclist on the far right.

[Some photos of the Cycling Troubadours ministry in the spring term of 1935.]


            FJS talks to a fisherman.                                     Seminole Indian family.


            Ministry to prisoners.                                           Photo notation: “Get a horse.”



I also worked a summer [summer of ’35(?)] at an inner city mission in Cincinnati, Ohio, under Captain Ray Lewis.  I did youth work, had a ball team and went camping, etc. (1st comp.)


St. Barnabas [Cincinnati] was a beautiful church.  Changed community.  1st camping experience.  1st experience hunting snipes.  Farmer’s pasture near a creek.  Boys had never seen a farm and what implies, never been anywhere.  What fun!


Photo notation:  St. Barnabas Chapel, Cincinnati, 1935.


In Cincinnati under Captain Ray Lewis.  The work here was among the poor of the neighborhood where the lovely St. Barnabas Church stood with magnificent organ and stained glass windows.  The congregation had moved away when the neighborhood changed.  As I remember it was not far from the RR Depot and not too far from the Ball Park.  I think the mission was on Findlay St.  The usual activities—youth programs, parish calling, services.  I remember a camp program set up by Capt. Lewis.  We took a group of city boys across to Covington [Kentucky] to a farm where Ray had arranged to have a camp program for a week—my first experience with snipe hunting.


The second year was fieldwork. 

[The impression that FJS gives of first year, mostly classes; second year, mostly fieldwork cannot be correct. Indeed, he may have these years reversed!  In the first place, the C.A. Headquarters that FJS remembers living and studying in at 414 E. 14th St., NYC, was not occupied by students until September of 1935, the start of the second year.  Furthermore, FJS and three other students spent the entire spring semester of their first year cycling around south Florida, and in March of their second year, the entire class was resident at the C. A. Training Center.  As Warden J. W. Chapman described the academic curriculum, “The objectives were three; namely, acquaintance with the Bible and the Prayer Book and with an outline of Church History.  … A rigid academic system was an impossibility but we kept our objectives in view; …  .”  (Co-Partners Bulletin, No. 45, June 1936, page 3.)  Evidently, C. A. staff felt direct field experiences under mentors was superior to classroom studies for prospective evangelists.]


First assigned to the church’s General Convention in Atlantic City, but was transferred the first day to the so-called “Hill Billies” or mountaineers at the rural mission in Smoke hole, West Virginia, under Captain Wm. Smith. 


Photo autograph:  Capt Wm (?) Smith, Oct 1934.

Notation on back:  Preacher Smith.

[Note the date on the photo.  Once again FJS’s chronology is confused.  Apparently FJS was in the Smoke Hall in the fall of his first year before the Cycling Troubadours tour and before Cincinnati.  Oh, well.]



Bishop Kroll of Liberia visited.

[This was probably in March of 1936.  Bishop Leopold Kroll was elected in November of 1935 to be bishop of the Missionary District of Liberia, but not consecrated until late February of 1936.  He had not yet left the states when he visited Church Army with his proposal. See the 1936 Time Magazine article “Hellhole Bishop,”,9171,847707,00.html. Bishop Kroll’s predecessor, Bishop Robert Campbell was also prior of the Order of the Holy Cross mission at Bolahun in remote northwestern Liberia.  Both Kroll and Campbell were white Americans.]  


His idea was to set up a headquarters at Bromley on the St. Paul’s River, develop missions and eventually establish a Church Army Training Center.  He needed a woman right away and Sister Jolly went.

On the eve of St. Mark’s Day, April 24, 1936, Mission Sister Frances Jolly was especially commissioned early by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Most Rt. Rev. John DeWolf Perry.  She left for Liberia via England the next day.


Kroll’s Visit.  Almost a year into school [actually this had to be in March of the second year] Rt. Rev. Leopold Kroll, newly consecrated Bishop of Liberia visited Church Army and spent about 1 hour and lunch talking about his hopes, plans for Liberia.  He needed a woman worker at once and Frances Jolly volunteered.  It was on the occasion of her departure by passenger freighter that the “Band” proved itself.  She being the first U.S. C.A. officer to go overseas was quite an occasion.  Many “Co-Partners” were on board to bid her Bon Voyage.  On her arrival in Liberia Sister Jolly was assigned to Julia C. Emery Hall at Bromley, where later George and I were to be stationed.  She worked with _____.  Eventually Sister Jolly was assigned to the girls’ school in Cape Mount, The House of Bethany.  She married a Firestone plantation supervisor Gordon King.


C.A. Band playing Sister Jolly off aboard “S.S. American Shipper,” April 25, 1936.  Conductor is “Nussy.”  Band from left:  FJS, K. Harley, Mrs. Hall (hidden), J. Daley, E. Pollanick, J. Entwistle, and L. Hall.


House of Bethany, Cape Mount.



Commissioning.  I forget the date of what as a class we called “Black Monday.”  This was the day when we would meet with Capt. Hall, Captain Mountford and the Warden to hear (?) whether we had passed our finals and where we would be assigned as junior Captain.  We went in one by one being called in alphabetical order and I just had to sweat it out.  It was later learned that each of us was urged not to say anything to anyone ‘till all had been heard.  One by one they came out holding a strip of paper in hand and disappeared.

Finally, I was called in admonished about one or two things and then told I had passed and assigned to Smoke Hole.  After a few days at home I reported to Capt. Smith, having spent some time previously under his tutelage I was not a stranger.  Most of our traveling was done by bus which provided reduced fares to members of religious groups!  We traveled day and night to our assignments, no stopovers.  Only Senior Captains in charge of Missions drove cars—usually the mission car.

The commissioning was set for Trinity Church, Wall Street.  The Presiding Bishop being unable to attend had appointed Bishop Manning to act for him.  The service was preceded by an outdoor service on the sidewalk.  We had done this a couple of times before and it was at one these outdoor services where we met “Daddy Hall, Wall St. Preacher.”  A man of God if there ever was one.  (check “Co-Partners”)  At the commissioning service we changed our mother of pearl cross for the silver cross with C.A. embossed.  I lost my cadet cross but still have the silver one along with C.A. stole which we wore whenever we conducted a service wearing a cassock and surplice.

 [Here is a slightly different version.]  After two years—Black Friday—.  Returned to New York City. Black Friday or Blue Monday, I don’t remember which was the day of meeting with (?)—Warden—Headmaster to hear our fate and hopefully our first assignment.   I was assigned to return to Smoke Hole and be the “little preacher” to Preacher Lewis.  Our titles Cadet and Captain were used only on formal occasions. 

[This memory of being assigned to the Smoke Hole after commissioning is odd (but occurs in several documents) since, in fact, FJS went directly to Scottsboro, Alabama, as he relates below.  The Co-Partners published one month after commissioning confirms his direct assignment to Alabama.  Perhaps he is mixing memories with that part of his field training, which was in West Virginia, or perhaps his orders changed upon arriving in the Smoke Hole.]


In 1936, after the two years training, I was commissioned as Captain in Church Army at Trinity Parish, Wall Street, by Bishop Manning.   [The Rt. Rev. William T. Manning, D.D., Bishop of New York].

Cover of service bulletin for FJS’s commissioning ceremony.


I was assigned to join a team [including classmates Harley and Pollanick] being organized to develop general mission work out of Scottsboro, Alabama, called the House of Happiness, the center of a Valley of Sharecroppers, under Captain Charles Conder, leader of the Cycling Troubadours.  Our mission was to rural sharecroppers.  We went out to the isolated areas.  We were called “sheep dogs.”  We conducted community services, cottage meetings, visiting, funerals, and preached on Scottsboro Courthouse steps and to isolated areas.  We conducted services for prison road gangs.   First funeral (alone), Arbor Day Mission, Guntersville Dam Church, prisoners work camp.  “Dan” 88.  Baptism.  Car burn out.

Guntersville Dam.  Dam Church.  Sunday School.  Carbide lantern slides.  Conder took us to task. Moved families, water comes close.  Road gangs.  Prison services!  Use of Ford car.  Drain.  Forget to fill with water.  Cracked engine head.  Paid by installments.  Spring at foot of hill.  Ingenious pulley arranged to haul water.  A spring house for cold milk, butter, etc. was in the side of the hill halfway down to the spring.


Photo notation: Sept. 1936, Miller Family—4 missing.


Photo notation:  Ralph picking cotton, Sept. 1936.


While at Scottsboro, a letter from Kroll came for volunteers to go to Liberia to establish Church Army there.  The plan was to establish Church Army there but soon this idea was dropped.  I was then assigned to Rev. James M. Stoney at Anniston, Alabama, but my volunteering for Liberia was accepted and I joined Captain George Clarke in New York City in 1937.  [Around 1950 now Bishop Stoney accepted FJS as a postulant for ordination via private study in the Missionary District of New Mexico & Southwest Texas (now Diocese of the Rio Grande).] 


Volunteer to Liberia.  No idea where it was (in Africa somewhere.)

[See attachment, Map of Liberia, page 74.]


Bishop Kroll wants two men to do evangelistic work in villages on St. Paul River, Bromley headquarters.  George Clarke—Senior Captain of team.  We were assigned to do Church Army work in towns and villages.


While serving on the staff at the House of Happiness I received word that the National Council had accepted my offer as a volunteer to the Missionary District of Liberia.  [The National Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church U. S. A. and the Church Missions House had their headquarters at 281 4th Avenue in NYC.  These folks in fact formally appointed FJS as an official “Missionary” of the Episcopal Church and were technically his superiors.  FJS often refers to this headquarters as simply “281.”]


Ordered to New York, prepare for Liberia.  Wait for George.  Interlude/Interim.  Medical exams.   Survey/Canvas of tenement district and parish calling for St. Bartholomew’s Church. 


By country telephone, I received notice to catch the next train from Chattanooga to N.Y.C. for preparation to be assigned to Liberia, West Africa.  Ditched the car out?, put gear(?) on truck and returned to N.Y.C. Met Capt. George Clarke, my senior and companion to Liberia.  Physicals, shots, some shopping “281 List,” purchase of clothing, food.  Buying gear.   Bulk of shopping to be done in England.  Supplies for four months; soap, buttons and thread.  Left on ____  [March 3, 1937] on board the Berengaria leaving under our cots our Church Army hats caps not overly liked (?)  George ill most of the way across.

 [The Cunard White Star liner R.M.S. Berengaria, Captain G. Gibbons, R.D., R.N.R., commanding, sailed from New York via Cherbourg to Southampton.  She left March 3, 1937, and arrived 5 days later at Cherbourg for an average speed of 23.56 knots according to the souvenir postcard FJS obtained and had autographed by someone in the purser’s office.] 


Photo notation: “Dining Saloon, S.S. Berengeria, Mar 1937, Enroute to Southampton Eng.” [sic]

[FJS is seated on the left of the second table opposite George Clarke; could be First Class!]

In London, guests of Capt. Bird.  Toured London and Liverpool C. A. centers.  Teaed to death, Church Army hostels, etc.  Shopping.  Packing done by _____.  Visit work houses.  Leave on HMS [actually simply MV] Adda.

 [From England FJS and George Clarke sailed on March 17, 1937, on a small West African coastal passenger steamer, the M. V. Adda of the Elder Dempster Lines.  (The U-107 torpedoed and sank the Adda on June 8, 1941, about 80 miles of the coast of Freetown.  Most on board were rescued by convoy escorts.)] 


Sailed from Liverpool on the Dempster Steamer the Adda leaving behind in London all our winter things.  All lost in the Blitz.


M.V. Adda of the Elder Dempster Lines.


[Nearing a stop in the Madeira Islands, FJS wrote a note on a ship’s postcard to his old friend Florence Seddon from St. Andrews Church in New Bedford.  It was postmarked March 24, 1937, in Funchal, Madeira.  After the 52,000-ton, 4,000+ passengers Berengaria, no doubt the 8,000-ton Adda with a few hundred passengers seemed cramped.]


“Dear :  We land this P.M. at the Maderia [sic] Is.  Weather is perfect only one thing missing you.  I will write again from Africa since boats are so few.  This [postcard] is the boat we are on and is it small just enough room to move around in.  Will write later from Freetown.  Cheerio.  Fred.”


Adda arrived Monrovia.  Surf boat.  Met by Jack/Jacob(?) Karvara(?) and Bishop.



 [FJS and George Clarke arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, on Easter Monday, March 29, 1937, approximately one year after Sister Jolly.  At this time Monrovia had no harbor, no port whatsoever.  Large ships anchored offshore and off-loaded all cargo including vehicles, heavy equipment, hefty bulk cargo and all passengers into large surfboats that were oared through breaking surf over a menacing sand bar to the beach or into the “lagoon” formed by the Mesurado River. 

The small inset map in the upper right of the colonial era map of Liberia below shows how Monrovia sits on a peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the “lagoon” of the Mesurado River.  The upper edge of the map cuts off the Mesurado River just before it enters the Atlantic not far from the mouth of the St. Paul River.

Americo-Liberians had established towns for at least 20 miles up the St. Paul River (as well as along the coast down to Cape Palmas), hence the names, Washington, Louisiana, and even Clay Ashland.  It is named after Henry Clay—a slave owner and American Colonization Society co-founder and his estate Ashland in Lexington, Kentucky.  Henry Clay provided in his will that the children of his slaves born after January 1, 1850, and reaching the age of 28 for males or 25 for females, were to be liberated, taught to read, write, and cipher, provided with three years wages, and sent to Liberia.  The Civil War rather scotched that idea, I’ll bet.

The best way to get the larger perspective and relationship of Monrovia, the Mesurado River, the St. Paul River, and Clay Ashland is to use Google Maps or Google Earth.]



Map of the West Coast of Africa from Sierra Leone to Cape Palmas, including the colony of Liberia, compiled chiefly from the surveys and observations of the late Rev. J. Ashmun ; J.H. Young, sc.

Published 1830.  Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.




Next couple of days waiting for shipping items.  Chance to visit Monrovia.  In retrospect, nothing much.  Describe city.  Describe waterside.  Guests of the Bishop while our gears(?) but heavy(?) force seas(?) moved in—that night burned out—witchcraft.  We were expected to replace Jolly and Olive?  George and Bishop decide to rebuild permanent.  I assigned to Clay Ashland, New York, Virginia on St. Paul’s River.  Civilized Am. Liberians.  Digress to give a little history of Liberia.

[While FJS was in Church Army Training, a man only slightly older by the name of Walter Logan Fry took a job as Cashier with The Firestone Tire & Rubber Company's Bank of Monrovia.  Although their paths never crossed, during Fry’s stay in Liberia from January 1934 through January 1936, he collected art, ethnographic objects, and took extensive photos, mostly in and around Monrovia.  These photos are the best collection of photos documenting 1930’s Monrovia that I have been able to find; see  ]


The only know photo of George Clarke, Frances Jolly, and Fred Seddon together in Liberia.
From Frances Jolly King collection.


[When they arrived Sister Jolly had already been reassigned from J. C. Emery Hall to House of Bethany girls school in Robertsport, Cape Mount, where she came under the direction of the Rev. Harvey Simmonds.  She wrote a revealing and grandly poetic description of daily life in Liberia that was in a fragmented issue of Co-Partners that was probably published in October or December of 1938.  See the attachment, “Behold! this is a land of woes;…” on page 78.


What happened to us in Liberia became the trend in the U. S.  Church Army.  Men became a cut-rate clergy; 4 dollars a week and all the meals we could beg.  No wonder.  Marriage forbidden for 4 years, no smoking(?) and alcohol.


Back to Liberia.  George—J. C. Emery Hall; I—Clay Ashland.

[Julia C. Emery Hall and the village of Clay Ashland are less than 1 1/2 miles apart on the river; about 3 miles travel by circuitous road.]


Liberia.  Bromley.  Hatch(?) House fire.  Burned down.  Lost(?)  Assigned Clay Ashland, New York, Virginia.  George business manager and chaplain at J. C. Emery Hall.


Pleasant interlude.  Sam Tyler, from Brooklyn—last year in Seminary; spent six months.  Refridge & cane juice.


Installation of power plant, wiring of school.  Tremendous when it started and I threw the switch.  No mistakes in wiring.  George overhauled plant and supervised wiring.


George leaves for home permanently after one year.

[When did George Clarke leave Liberia?  It is unclear from the documents but it was an event that FJS unfailing mentions and obviously found upsetting.  On some sheets FJS gives the impression George hardly unpacked before turning around and heading home.  Here he says “…after one year.”  Undoubtedly George stayed longer than one year.  According to The Liberian Missioner issue for March 1938, George had just made an over-land trek (leaving January 10) from Monrovia to Cape Mount and returned by surfboat. In the same issue, Sister Jolly writes that Father Simmonds and Capt. Clarke had just “recently had a short trek into the Bush.”  The August 1938 issue of the same flyer notes that Bishop Kroll has just returned.  FJS on several other sheets remarks that George left when the Bishop came back, i.e. the summer of 1938.  That is just before FJS went on furlough and the Bishop wanted them to furlough one at a time.  Further on, in a June issue of 1939 Co-Partners (which is 2+ years on) FJS himself writes of “two years working with Capt. Clarke.”   In this same issue, Capt. Clarke himself writes, — “This country work cries for more dollars, but we are facing a six thousand dollar cut.”  The editor adds, “Capt. Clarke asks us to help him get a few chairs at $2.50 each.  What offers?”  So Clarke, in the spring of 1939, is in Liberia and gives no hint of leaving.  However, an article published in a Monrovia weekly newspaper for September 8, 1939, describes a visit on August 24 by “well-know club” to Bromley.  The school took this visit very seriously and prepared special tours and programs by the girls.  The article talks about Principal Viola McKrae, Bishop Kroll, and Capt. Seddon as being hosts.  There is no mention of George Clarke who was supposedly in charge at Bromley.  George Clarke most likely left after slightly more than two years in the late summer/fall of 1939.]


To Liberia to establish Church Army; policy changed.

Assignment Bromley undefined; unclear objective of Church Army School and mission.


School girls in front of Julia C. Emery Hall at Bromley.

Published in Forth magazine, March 1956, page 16.  Photo credit Griff Davis from Black Star.

[Despite its imposing structure the school had no internal plumbing even in 1956.  The girls made two trips daily to a nearby spring for water.  They did have limited electricity after George and FJS installed a generator and basic wiring.  After the recent 10 years of Liberian anarchy and civil war, the school which first opened in 1909 has now reopened with a class of war orphans, see ; it even has a Facebook page, “Bromley Mission (Julia C. Emery Hall).”]



Bishop Kroll’s idea was that we were to establish Church Army on the St. Paul River with Bromley as our headquarters and visit the various towns on the river above and below Bromley. 


 [For Bishop Kroll’s own version of what he had in mind for Church Army in his own words and a few personal details about the three missionaries, see the attachment, ““The Church Army in Liberia.”, page 75 .  In this article, the bishop refers to himself in the third person.]


Caption:  The principal of Julia C. Emery Hall at Bromley greets relatives and friends of students arriving by motorboat at the school dock to attend graduation exercises.  Photo credit Griff Davis from Black Star.

Published in Liberian Palaver, Episcopal Church National Council, 1952, photos after page 40.



George became involved in the operation of Bromley [Julia C. Emery Hall girls’ boarding school].  This was a full time job.  I began conducting regular services at Clay Ashland where we had a small group of Episcopalians.  Go up a mission speedboat Friday pm, spend Saturday visiting and meetings.  Sunday worked at Church from 9:30—11:00 am.  I also visited another settlement in Louisiana (explain name), conducted several services but was unable to continue for George had to take over for the bishop.  George became administrative assistant to Bishop Kroll and when Bishop came to America, George was it.  The “lay bishop?”  I took over some of his responsibilities at Bromley and continued at Clay Ashland.

Bishop Kroll to America—George Superlayman.

[Apparently Bishop Kroll returned to America in the summer of 1937 hardly three months after George Clarke and FJS arrived and did not return to Liberia for over one year.  He had definitely returned by August of 1938 according to a note in that issue of The Liberian Missioner.  During his absent year, the C. A. missionaries had no direct supervision over their work but soldiered on with George assuming many of the bishop’s administrative duties and FJS largely taking over on the St. Paul River.  However, expansion of Church Army presence and the establishment of a C. A. training center as Kroll originally planned never happened.  See the attachment, “Liberia calls for two more men.”, page 77.]


The Church Army mission work in Liberia had three aspects; hospital work, school work, and churches or missions.  I worked on all of them.  Initially, George was assigned to be business manager at Julia C. Emery Hall, a church boarding school for girls at Bromley.  I was assigned to be Missionary in Charge of small Episcopal congregations at Grace Church, Clay Ashland and St. Peters Mission, Kakata, and was chaplain for the girls’ school. 

Recent view of Grace Episcopal Church, Clay Ashland, erected 1853.

FJS’s poor quality photo shows the steeple intact.

Posted on Panoramio site by Mister Dang.


FJS residence in Clay Ashland.


Later when George went home, I became business manager and in-charge at Julia C. Emery Hall.  When the Bishop [and George both] went home, I took over as acting treasurer and business manager of the entire Missionary District of Liberia.

 [What in actuality “acting treasurer and business manager” meant is hard to judge.  In fact, according to Liberian Palaver, a booklet on the church’s work published by the Episcopal Church National Council in 1952, “…when Bishop Kroll could not return to the country after a furlough.  Then the Ven. H. A. Simmonds singlehanded from far-away Cape Mount oversaw the Church’s work.” (p. 39) 

At least, Simmonds was nominally in charge.  The Rev. Harvey Simmonds, who became a friend of FJS’s, had the seniority, the business experience, he was ordained, and as his title implies the Bishop had appointed him an Archdeacon, which signifies administrative functions.  But just as obvious, Simmonds was isolated in Cape Mount where there was no road, rail, or telephone connection with Monrovia.    Surely he needed someone handy to the Bishop’s office in Monrovia to manage things there more or less independently.  In any event, FJS’s new responsibilities weighed heavily on him.  And paper shuffling, balancing books and writing checks was not what he (nor George) had signed on to do!]


George and FJS in Liberia wearing their “unauthorized” white uniforms.

Published in Co-Partners bulletin, October or December 1938(?).


 George becomes administrator Julia C. Emery, Bromley, farm, and mission district in Bishop’s absence—Very little mission work.  I continue Clay Ashland—Bromley.  George tired(?) (lonely home) on entering time of marriage, etc.


I was in Liberia from 19__--19__ at that time Bishop Kroll suggested that one of us Church Army men take a short furlough so as to avoid both of us on leave at the same time.  How it came to be I don’t know but I found myself about the SS _____ a German freighter headed for Hamburg.  I had a letter of introduction to the Liberian Charge-de-affaires.  He welcomed me with open arms.

[This visit to Germany and England must have been in the fall of 1938 (after the Bishop had returned) within a year of war breaking out.  FJS’s major story about this visit is having to convert a large amount of currency into merchandise (he bought phonograph records) and using his connections at the consulate to seal the package with diplomatic seals so he could get it out of Germany.]


After 18 months [approximately September 1938] Bishop Kroll decides one to take furlough!  I go to Europe.   LOST.


I go with Bragg for what is supposedly a short furlough.  Eisenberg for one day—Hitler Youth—preparing for war!  Bragg and Lucrnni(?) go—I return to Hamburg.  Call Liberian consulate, Richard Cooper, return to England to C.A. Headquarters.  No money.  I contact “281” [Episcopal Church National Council & Foreign Missions Headquarters in U.S.]  “281” unaware.  They [try to] contact Kroll who is upcountry to Bolahun.  “What is Seddon doing in England?”  Depend on Bird and C.A.  Finally all is settled, I return by German freighter(?).


18 months—short leave for Europe—England.  Mix-up with “281.”  Return to Liberia.  Bishop Kroll to convention?


Bishop Kroll to return to U.S.  Mrs. Kroll ill.



[Sometime around mid 1939 FJS wrote the following two notes that were published in the Church Army’s bulletin Co-Partners, No. 57, June 1939]

On page 3; LIBERIA—Writes Capt. Seddon: “The stereopticon lantern that I was able to obtain through the goodness of the Church Army in U.S.A. has proved its value.  My regret is that I have only 30 slides to show and I split these up into three showings.  I cannot fully express my sincere thanks for this kind gift, the Lord has truly blessed it for many have testified that they have been helped by the sacred pictures.”  NOTE—Who will help send more sacred slides to Capt. Seddon?  Your checks please to Capt. Mountford.   [italics in the original.]


[The Stereopticon Lantern slide projector was the “Verlux” model, especially procured by the Church Army Lantern Dept. at 14, Edgware Road, London, W. 2.  It was converted in Liberia from its original carbide lamp light source to a bulb powered by a portable electric generator.  The large projector, the portable generator, its fuel and, of course, his wooden boxed set of 3 1/4 inch square glass slides of the life of Christ in color were all lugged through the jungle by porters.  The whole production must have caused an immense stir in the remote villages visited.]


“Some fell by wayside.”

Actual size glass slide from FJS collection on the Life of Christ.

[FJS returned with some 60 slides with less than 6 broken.]



On page 6; LIBERIA, Capt. Seddon, after three years commissioned, reflects:  “There is much for which I am thankful.  As I look back I wonder what is was that made the Selection Committee accept me for training.  I recall Capt. Mountford saying that there were many latent possibilities for missionary work lying dormant in me.  Whether or not that confidence has been justified, I cannot tell, but I am thankful to the Holy Spirit Who guided and called me into the ranks.  I have learned much during these past two years working with Capt. Clarke, and the Lord has truly blessed my feeble efforts here in Liberia.”

[Also on page 6 of this issue, Sister Jolly reports on her work at the leper colony and then remarks “Father Simmonds and Capt. Clarke recently had a short trek into the Bush.  Concerning this, Capt. Clarke writes, —“This country work cries for more workers but we are facing a six thousand dollar cut.”  Captain Mountford then interjects, “Capt. Clarke asks us to help him get a few chairs at $2.50 each.  What offers?” Mountford continues, “Bishop Kroll writing on May 4th said, ‘More and more I am convinced that Church Army can help in many ways, and become an important part in future developments … I ask you to line up some workers for me … .’”  Apparently, in the summer of 1939 both Clarke (albeit with a new assignment) and Kroll were in Liberia and Kroll was still committed to expanding the role of C. A., but no new workers ever came.]


George leaves.   [not for furlough but permanently, somewhere between the fall of 1939 and the spring of 1940.  Bishop Kroll leaves Liberia a second time around June of 1940 leaving FJS more or less running the Missionary District.]


BANK.  Bishop Kroll to U.S.  Signature at Bank.  Approves Joseph. 

[FJS was now acting treasurer of the missionary district in the Bishop’s absence and had to sign checks, but apparently their bank in Monrovia would not accept the signature “Frederick Seddon” but insisted upon a middle initial.  Thus, FJS informally but permanently gave himself the middle name “Joseph.”]


In July 1940, I married Florence May Seddon (by strange coincidence maiden name Seddon).  The ceremony took place in the Bishop’s Chapel in the Episcopal residence, in Monrovia. 


Our marriage was the result of nearly ten years courtship by mail, as we met just before I left my home parish of St. Andrews, New Bedford.  Proposal and acceptance was of course made by mail as I was in Liberia at the time.



Bishop’s House, Monrovia, 1920.

Published in a fragmented book surveying Episcopal work in Liberia ca. 1930.


[A family story has it that the groom looks grumpy because he has just learned that the photographer came equipped with one and only one 4 x 6 inch glass plate for his enormous view camera.  There would be only one take!  The image above is the actual size of the plate.]



We live [in a house formerly used by Bishop Kroll and later by George Clarke] at J. C. Emery Hall.  Plans to move to Clay Ashland never materialize.


On November 30, 1941, Frederick Richard Seddon was born at the Lutheran Mission Hospital in Harrisburg, Liberia.  [about 10 miles up the St. Paul River on the other side.]

Bishop returns, Richard is baptized, Richard in a Santa parka on Christmas eve, the boys put a tree up.  I am more and more involved in the business and administration of missions(?) of Liberia.


[The following extensive note was published in the Church Army’s bulletin Co-Partners, No. 66, December 1941, page 3; the last issue FJS saved.  At this time, both George Clarke and Frances Jolly are listed as active C. A. evangelists but their assignment is not given.]

“Bromley Mission

Monrovia, Liberia

My dear Captain Estabrook: [now National Director of C. A.]

My duties here at the school are many and varied, conducting chapel services, buying food, overhauling engines, supervising repairs, painting the school roof, checking on the farm, building wharfs, preparing addresses, and a host of other things.  A day is filled with any one or all of these things; hence when night comes I am more than ready for bed!

Work here has its excitement and humor.  Only a few weeks ago on returning from Monrovia, I found lying at the base of a plum tree, a 13-foot alligator—DEAD!  It seems that this “monster” was hungry, so seeing two of the girls picking fruit from one of the trees on the river bank, saw his chance for a good meal.  However, while he was still about five feet from them, one of the girls saw him and screamed.  Both girls ran as fast as they could up the bank and into the school building.  The principal sent for the farm boss, who, with the last shot in his gun, shot the alligator.

The steamer came and a nice batch of mail from home!  I am thankful for your letter and the sentiments expressed.  It is indeed much to be thankful for, knowing that there are friends miles away who have you in their hearts and prayers.  I can’t say how sorry I am that I will not be present at the C. A. Conference which opens tomorrow.  I know that I, for one, would greatly benefit from such a meeting, especially after having spent so many years away from actual contact with C. A. men and methods.

With best wishes to all of the C. A. family.

(Capt.) Fred Seddon.”

[The note in the bulletin ends with the editorial comment, “Word has just reached us of the birth of a baby boy to Capt. and Mrs. Seddon on November 30.”



Trip to Interior to visit all our Mission Stations.  Fleck.  Tsetse fly bite?  Visit Bolahun—Holy Cross.

[Bolahun, also known as Masambolahun, was a remote missionary station with schools, a hospital, and a leper colony founded (in 1922) and run by the Episcopal Order of the Holy Cross totally at their own expense.  Although less than 150 “crow-line” miles northwest of Monrovia, there was no road connection.  A safari trip might take two weeks to cover the almost 300 walking miles.  It was actually closer to rail connections in Sierra Leone. See former prior and Bishop Campell’s 1957 book, Within the Green Wall:  The Story of Holy Cross Liberia Mission 1922-1957 at especially Chapters 9-12.]


Painting of the early Holy Cross Mission at Bolahun.

Published in Liberian Palaver, Episcopal Church National Council, 1952, page 40.


I took a safari to visit our “out stations”, one in particular.  I caught sleeping sickness and was ordered home in January of 1942.



FJS in safari kit.                                     Safari Porters.


Common river ferry service.            All natural “Monkey Bridge” across river.



In December [of 1941] as a Christmas present I was ordered home on sick leave having what appeared to be African Sleeping sickness in the initial stages (you might get its proper name).  I just looked it up and this is it Trypanosoma—anyway the wife says I was a sick “boy.”

[Human African trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness is a serious parasitic disease caused by protozoa transmitted by the tsetse fly.  Treatment in 1942 required weeks of therapy using drugs with toxic side effects.  This unfortunate event coupled with WW II broke the back of the Church Army experiment on the St. Paul River. Wartime conditions made a speedy return by FJS impossible.  Clarke had already left Liberia and was never replaced.  Jolly was soon to marry (or had already) and leave C. A.  No other C. A. workers were sent to Liberia.  Bishop Harris had replaced Kroll by the time FJS could return.]


Bishop and Mrs. Kroll stateside; return just before we leave.  War destroyed what left(?) in U. K.  We leave for home on Cruise Ship.  Long journey home—torpedoes, etc.


[FMS records:  Left Liberia December 24, 1941; Christmas Eve.  Arrived January 14, 1942, New York—furlough 5 months, Fred ill.  Settled in Melrose, Massachusetts.]


We arrived in Brooklyn January 23, 1942, one month from the time of embarking in Liberia.  Was on furlough for 6 months taking the required cure for my troubles.

Live in Melrose—take shots.

Sojourn to U.S.  Wartime—Smoke Hole, Austin, etc.

Wartime return to Liberia not advised.

“281” will not approve return during war.  C.A. assigns to Smoke Hole, West Virginia.

[Overseas travel for civilians was almost impossible during wartime.  And while FJS waited for a chance to return, a new Liberian bishop was selected.  His old friend Bishop Kroll was gone and new Bishop Harris had a new philosophy.]


In September 1942 [June (?)] I returned to domestic mission work being assigned by Church Army to be Superintendent of St. George Mission in the Smoke Hole, West Virginia.  This was an assignment deep in the heart of the “West Virginia Hills.”  St. George’s in the Smoke Hole.


Outline of work.  Visiting, social services, ambulance, Community Service Center, etc., etc.

Services—Moorefield, Romney.


Oh, I forget, shame on me, during our stay in the mountains our family was increased by one more, Thomas Edward Seddon was born in the Church Hospital in Glen Dale, West Virginia, on July 18, 1944.

[Glen Dale is over 200 miles northwest of Smoke Hole, but it was the closest church hospital I could be born for free.  My mother went there some weeks early and FJS visited about once a week.  I have no idea who was caring for my three-year old brother Richard.]


Finally approved.

April 1945 I was reappointed to the mission field of Liberia leaving Smoke Hole in July of that year.  We left from Miami on Pan American Clipper spending nearly five weeks in Natal, Brazil, having been off-loaded because of traveling as non-priority passengers.

Pan Am probably used the Sikorsky S42 Flying Boat.

Photo from


Returned to Liberia via Natal, Brazil, South America.  Four weeks stopover because of U.N. meeting in California.  Had Simpson (V.P.) to dinner.  Problem getting on—almost flew back home—almost went to Liberia via A. F. returning.

[FJS refers here to Clarence L. Simpson, Vice-president of Liberia from 1944 through 1952, delegate of Liberia to the UN Conference on International Organization and signatory to the UN Charter of June 26, 1945; now on his way home.  In 1945 there were only a few transatlantic air routes.]

Tom ill.  Problem getting cabin.  Finally able to leave by stealth.

[I have no record concerning who decided expensive air travel for our family was necessary.  Anyway, any urgency was nullified when the family was stuck in Natal, Brazil running out of money. Apparently FJS’s persistent pestering got us “smuggled” on board a Pan Am Clipper Flying Boat for the flight to Lake Piso or Fisherman’s Lake near Robertsport, Cape Mount, Liberia.  Andy Simmonds recalls his father telling of tediously sounding the lake to create a safe landing area for the Clippers.  I celebrated my first birthday in Brazil.]


Plane lands at Cape Mount.  To be our new home.


Notations: The Principal’s House, “Seddon Home” at Cape Mount       Christmas, 1945, House of Bethany



On our return to the district of Liberia we were assigned by the Rev. Harvey Simmonds acting for the Rt. Rev. Bravid W. Harris to St. Johns Mission, Cape Mount (Robertsport) and industrial boarding school for boys in connection with the Episcopal High School of Robertsport.  I served on the teaching staff, being an instructor in religious subjects and in charge of the shop and sports.

In 1945 I was placed in charge of the Interior village schools of Cape Mount in the heart of the Gola Forest, a hunter’s paradise.


After a brief period at the Episcopal High School, Cape Mount in 1946 I was placed in charge, Superintendent, of the interior Village School system.  Leper Colony.  Superintendent/supervisor(?) maintenance shop; Power Plant.

[The Liberian government and its public school system did not reach up to inaccessible Cape Mount.  These village schools were a network of several elementary schools within a few days safari from Robertsport, Cape Mount. They were all established by Episcopal missionaries from Robertsport as feeder schools to the Episcopal High School there.  The faculty of about a dozen native teachers were all graduates of the high school.  A few teachers had been sent overseas for a year or more of further schooling.  Of course a safari to visit all the schools could take several weeks trekking through the interior carrying school supplies and the stereopticon projector equipment, of course. 

The Episcopal High School and its associated elementary schools, hospital, and missionary stations in and near Cape Mount, was not a Church Army establishment but run by the Episcopal Church USA as part of the foreign Missionary District of Liberia.  With Bishop Kroll gone, the Church Army experiment in Liberia was now essentially over.  Only Frances Jolly, George Clarke, and FJS were ever sent.  The Episcopal Church under the new Bishop Harris continued to have a significant missionary presence at many locations in Liberia as it had before Kroll’s Church Army experiment.]


Liberian village schools probably near Cape Mount.


In 1947 Florence and the boys had to return to the States, Florence suffering from allergy problems pertaining to malaria prevention.

During this year Mrs. Seddon had the misfortune to contract a type of Atebrin poisoning which was a direct result of her being allergic to Atebrin which we were taking for preventative medicine against malaria.

[FMS was suffering dermatitis as a allergic reaction to the malaria medication Atebrin.  This was only discovered in Monrovia on her way out of the country when she finally consented to be seen by a non-European doctor.  Although the cure was a simple switch of medications, say to quinine, all travel arrangements were in place and apparently could not be canceled.]


I was able to take the oldest boys up-country with me on one of my regular visitations (?) at that time we all lived at Robertsport.  Mrs. Seddon never did get up-country.  When she returned to the states, I moved up-country to be closer to the work.  Fly down to Monrovia, out by Pan Am, to home.  [FMS records that in 1946(?), she settled in Melrose and Reading, Massachusetts.]

I return as superintendent to Interior Schools.  Worked myself out of a job.

Move to Mbalomah.  Build school.  Motorcycle.

[St. Andrews Mission, Mbalomah, was an intermittently active mission station about two days trek from Cape Mount to the interior near the Gola Forest.]

FJS with teachers in front of newly completed school room at Mbalomah.

From left, FJS, Charles Cooper, J.A. Abdullar, S. Kiawu Cole, T. Bai Sherman, Head Teacher.

FJS had many good things to say about good friend T. Bai Sherman.



I remained as assistant head of the interior work until the end of my contracted term, at which time I was informed that my services as a layman were no longer required.


I remained in the Field until my term expired in 1948.  After a three-month [or alternatively, a six-month] furlough, I found I would not be sent back to Africa. 


Government requires degree people to head up schools.  Removed as head of Interior Schools and informed by Bishop Harris I would not be coming back.

[This was a major disappointment to FJS as Bishop Kroll had basically promised him a path to ordination and a lifetime in Liberian church work.  However, Bishop Harris succeeded Bishop Kroll in 1945.  Bishop Harris was a black American who was committed to the development of Liberian native clergy and church structures and evidently saw no place for white American Church Army lay workers without even a high school education.  For Harris’ biography, see .  The final paragraphs spell out the new bishop’s philosophy.]


Returned to U. S.—Boston by ship in winter.



[FJS returned on the S. S. African Glen, a freighter, cargo & passenger, of the American South African Line, Inc. that served up a substantial “Farewell Dinner” for FJS and the other eight passengers on Saturday, February 14, 1948.  (The African Glen was only three years old when FJS sailed on her.  She was later trapped for eight years in the Great Bitter Lake of the Suez Canal during the 1967 War as part of the “Yellow Fleet.”  She was capsized by gunfire but refloated.)]

[See Farewell Menu, page 80.]



Boarded(?) with the Nash family in Melrose, Massachusetts.


Church Army arranges with Bishop Louttit—drive to Orlando—assigned Everglades—never got there.  To Sebring—St. Agnes.


After three months furlough I was invited by the then suffragan Bishop of South Florida to work in the everglades.  However this plan never came to fruition and instead I was placed in charge of the St. Agnes parish, Sebring, Florida.  For 11 months we remained, however the various allergies bothered Mrs. Seddon and acting under the advice of our Bishop, a transfer was made through the office of Bishop Stoney.


Since I had 14 years seniority, I was offered a choice of assignments in Florida or California.  I chose Florida and was assigned to work under Bishop Louttit of South Florida.  The Bishop bought us a car and while driving to Orlando, the hood blew completely off!  [I definitely remember (age 4 or 5) this exciting incident in what I remember as a postwar Willys Station Wagon.  I think we were crossing a bridge at the time.  FJS remembers a Model A Ford; last built in 1931; the bishop bought us a 17-year old car?.] 

I expected to go to a mission in the Everglades but No Go, Bedell would not quit!  Deaconess Bedell will not move out of the mission!  I was put in charge of St. Agnes Church, Sebring, Florida.  Church Army Captain in charge of a mission.  It was a little difficult—Super Lay Reader??

[Before the Episcopal Church embraced the ordination of women (a development FJS resisted until he worked with newly ordained priest Sister Lucy at St. Andrews School) the only ordained ministry a woman could serve was as a deaconess.  This was the female equivalent of the male Deacon and was seen as a permanent ministry of service especially in church schools, hospitals, and missions.  Typed after St. Martha of Bethany who is the patron saint of housemaids, laundry workers and domestic servants of all sorts.  At this time, they dressed much like nuns.]


Published in Co-Partners bulletin, No. 41, May 1935, page 2.


[Deaconess Harriet Bedell, born 1875, was 73 years old in 1948, but no one could get Bedell to quit.   She was missionary to the Miccosukee and Seminole Indians at the Glade Cross Mission she founded in 1933.  She was still there when Hurricane Donna destroyed the mission in 1960!  After which, she retired.  See “Great Floridians,” under “Everglades City” at


After almost a year, because of Florence’s asthma and allergies, Bishop Louttit, after an unexpected visit, arranged a transfer to Bishop Stoney of New Mexico.  In the meantime, I had approached Bishop Louttit for studies for the Priesthood so he arranged for my transfer as postulant to Bishop Stoney.  [In another document he implies after moving to New Mexico; “request permission to study for ordination under Bishop Stoney.”]


Florence ill; Bishop visits; move necessary; Louttit contacts Bishop Stoney; responds; visit Albuquerque; meet Bob Snyder.  [Stoney’s Canon to the Ordinary.]


Way back I had been assigned to Stoney.  Went to Liberia instead.


I was placed in charge of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Hot Springs (Truth or Consequences). [Spring, 1949]  Heaven or Else.  I served several missions in the area such as Grace Church, Hatch, Christ Church, Hillsboro and also took some services at St. Lukes in the Cotton Patch, La Union, New Mexico, Kingston, etc., etc.  I was something of a successor to the sainted Preacher Lewis.   And I was privately tutored in preparation to receive Holy Orders by the Rev. Robert Snyder.

I was ordained Deacon January 10th, 1950.  I continued my studies.  [Bishop Stoney’s letter rejecting his sermons is dated June 8, 1950.]

In July of 1950, I was ordained to the Priesthood.  I was presented by Ken Rice.  Bill Wright (later bishop) preached the sermon.  [On the Sixth Sunday after Trinity (July 16, 1950) at the Church of St. Clement, El Paso, Texas.]


[This ends FJS’s saga as Church Army Captain.]


Newly ordained priest, the Reverend Fred Seddon


Assigned St. Paul, Truth or Consequences—explain change of name.

Bishop moves me to St. Anne’s, El Paso.

My first post was as Superintendent of St. Anne’s Mission, El Paso, Texas during 1950-1953.

Deaconess Smith.  Playground.  English School.  Boog.  Built church.


Bishop moves me to San Juan Mission, Farmington. [July 1953]


File written by Adobe Photoshop® 4.0

San Juan Mission, today, from the Diocese of Navajoland web site.


1953-’56 Superintendent San Juan Mission outside of Farmington, NM, with responsibility for the church in Fruitland, the school at Shiprock, and the mission church at Carson’s Trading Post.  Father Eugene Botelho. 

Superintendent of Mission—chaplain.  Jane Turnbell.  Fruitland Park.  Shiprock.  Carson’s Post.


File written by Adobe Photoshop® 4.0

Exterior of St. Luke’s, Carson’s Trading Post, today, from the Diocese of Navajoland web site.


In August of 1953 Barbara Ann was born in the town hospital of Farmington, New Mexico.

In 1953, made Arch Deacon of the Indian Field by Bishop Stoney.

[Entitled to be addressed as “The Venerable …” as well as to wear a black cassock with purple piping.  Now he had the same position, authority and responsibility relative to the New Mexico part of the Navajo Reservation that the Rev. Harvey Simmonds had in Liberia in the late ‘30s]


1954-1956, Vicar of St. John’s Church, Farmington. 


[This ends FJS’s sustained missionary work.]


1956-’63  Rector of St. John’s Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Resigned and went to Holy Family, Pine Hills, Florida.

1963-’69  Vicar of Holy Family, Orlando, Florida.

Jamaican interlude.

Honduras Episode.


1969-’71 called to be Vicar of St. Margaret’s, Inverness, Florida

July 1970—June ’71  Vicar of both St. Margaret’s and St. Ann’s, Crystal River.

1971-’78  Vicar, in residence at St. Ann’s, Crystal River.

1973-76  Chairman, Diocesan Honduras Task Force.

1978—retired.  The word retired is loosely used—a priest really never retires.

Moved to St. Andrews School, St. Andrews, Tennessee, served as volunteer Chaplain, taught religious education classes, Acting Chaplain.  2 1/2 years.  Sister Lucy.  [Celebrant at the final graduation Eucharist of St. Andrew’s School in May 1981 before its merger with Sewanee Academy.]

Moved to New Mexico “sojourn.”

Move to Portales, N. Mex.

Move to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Moved to Gallup as Interim Rector.

Visit to England on return.

Moved to Albuquerque.

Moved to Alamogordo, New Mexico.  Smith resigns.  Served as Co-Interim Rector with Masion Canterbury.  Tom Gray.  Involved with Cloudcroft.

85--assisted at St. Andrews, Las Cruces, once a month.

assisted at St. Christopher’s, ????? once a month.


[FJS died December 13, 1993 from complications due to prostate cancer.  Cremated remains are inurned at the Cathedral Church of St. John garden columbarium in Albuquerque, New Mexico.]



Father Fred Seddon Memorial Good Shepherd Window

installed on south wall of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Alamogordo, NM, and dedicated on May 7, 1996.



Church Army History.................................................................... 67

Essay on the Mission of Church Army............................................... 68

“Between Ourselves”...................................................................... 70

“The Cycling Troubadours in Florida”................................................ 71

Map of Liberia............................................................................. 74

“The Church Army in Liberia.”........................................................ 75

“Liberia calls for two more men.”..................................................... 77

“Behold! this is a land of woes;…”.................................................... 78

Farewell Menu............................................................................. 80


Church Army History

Back Cover of Bulletin for Commissioning Ceremony, May 19, 1936.

Essay on the Mission of Church Army

The following essay (written 21 November 2009) is a response to an email from my son Matt, part of an ongoing discussion between us of the mission of Church Army.  He had formed the impression from discussions with my father that “conversion” was a low priority in his work when in fact; it was the top priority of Church Army at his time.  The initial reference is to the photo at the bottom of the article by Mountford, “Between Ourselves,” which I had sent to him:

Yes, he's the shortest guy; second from the right of the photo (next to the tallest guy)!  This is a photo of six of the seven male cadets in his class.  CA in his day was "forward-thinking" in it's acceptance of women as evangelists (my father's class commissioned 6 men and 4 women) and sending them unaccompanied into the field, but the women were not fully equal.  Male trainees were addressed “Cadet,” females were addressed “Student Mission Sister.”  The males were commissioned as "Captains", the females as "Mission Sisters."  Women are often curiously left out of group photos.  And, for example, there were no females among the Cycling Troubadours.  All members of the CA hierarchy were male.  Note the difference in form used at the climax of the commissioning service, “The Commissioner will give to them their Commissions, and the Evangelist in charge of the Training Centre will place upon the shoulders of the men the TIPPET of OFFICE, and upon the Mission Sisters their insignia.” [caps in original]  However, the bulletins do give significant credit and praise to the work of the Sisters on Indian reservations, in Alaska, the Phillipines, and especially Sr. Jolly's work in Liberia.  The last probably because she was very communicative and articulate (unlike my father).

Oh, as to CA's overseas work--you earlier mentioned "The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts"--CA had very little foreign mission activity at least in the years from its founding in the US in 1927 up until 1945 when I think much of the foreign missionary zeal had passed to the more fundamentalist denominations (& the Mormons).  The only trace I have found in my father's bulletins is the three missionaries that went to Liberia and one other sent to the Phillipines (unless you count Alaska and Hawaii.)  The reason is simple, CA had to find a bishop in a foreign missionary district willing to essentially fund the entire operation or bear the total costs itself.  Now admittedly, the missionaries lived low on the hog, but their travel expenses to and from the field, furloughs back home, etc, medical care and so forth could run up to quite a bill for somebody.  I believe Bishop Harris was in tune with many other foreign field Episcopal bishops with his expressed intent to spend his limited resources developing native workers.  By the end of his tenure, the majority of Episcopal clergy in Liberia were native graduates of Liberia's own Cuttington College which the bishop did much to foster.  Of course, my father has bitter memories of Bishop Harris.

As to their distinctive outreach, I get the impression from these early bulletins that CA felt its mission was to those on the bottom rung of society, the poor, the homeless, the prisoners, the people of color; all those who were generally neglected and even shunned by established Episcopal churches in their own areas.  Naturally, there were a lot of these on the fringes of "civilization" such as western Indian reservations, the Everglade swamps (clearly here CA made no distinction between the Seminoles and poor white or black fisherfolk eking out their survival on the scattered islands off southern Florida), but US society was just becoming socially aware of the great slums of the cities so CA went there too.  By ministering to these people basic needs, many who had lost all hope, and simultaneously fervently witnessing to the Good News, they did indeed expect to convert people.  The parallels to the Salvation Army are striking; first the sermon, then the soup!

One of the continuing success stories in these bulletins is the story of St. Barnaba's CA mission in urban Cincinnati.  (My father worked there for a time as part of his field work.)  Apparently, in a early version of "white flight" the Episcopal parish at St. Barnabas abandoned its digs and moved out into the suburbs.  (Were they called "suburbs" before WWII?)  A Russian Orthodox community took over the main "upstairs" part of the church building and CA took over the basement and undercroft.  On the main door of the Church, a board announced:  Downstairs—St. Barnabas Episcopal Parish House and Chapel; Upstairs—St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox.  Here CA developed an extensive missionary outreach taking many forms to the urban poor of their now slum neighborhood.  They could manage, I suppose, because they did not rely on pledges from their "communicants" for any operating funds.  I guess the Orthodox maintained the building; I know the CA staff worked cheap!  The staff usually consisted on a permanently assigned Captain with two or three Cadets-in-training rotating through every few months as assistants.  It's a very interesting model.

These early CA workers got their meager pay and slim travel allowances directly from the national office or partly/completely from the local bishop; a practice which still holds, I suppose.  Thus, although they are free from having to raise money locally, they are still subject to church politics, shifting visions of mission outreach and financial support for mission work, and the fluctuating ability of the CA national office to get cash donations on a sustaining basis.  Maybe they should have become TV evangelists

“Between Ourselves”

A concise description of Church Army’s mission as written by its U. S. National Director, B. Frank Mountford, for issue No. 44, December, 1935, of the bulletin Co-Partners.

 “The Cycling Troubadours in Florida”

[by C. L. Conder.]

Co-Partners Bulletin of Church Army in U. S. A., Incorporated, No. 41, May 1935, pages 4-5.

The team consisted of four captains and three cadets.

Many were the opportunities afforded the team during the four months tour, by clergy and people in the 55 parishes and missions visited, enabling more than 33,000 people to hear the Gospel on 450 occasions.  Services were held and messages given in a variety of places—11 jails, 4 convict camps, 6 county farms, 2 community halls, 2 hospitals, 2 hotels, 1 C. C. C. camp, 1 Transient camp, 59 schools, 2 colleges, 2 DeMolay chapters, 1 Boy Scout troop, 1 American Legion Post, 11 business men’s lunch clubs, 1 factory, 1 Seamen’s Institute, 2 Ministerial Associations.  The Troubadours met with 21 Church Schools, 16 Young People’s Service Leagues, 12 Woman’s Auxiliaries, 2 Chapters of St. Andrew’s Brotherhood.  Engagements were also filled in 2 Methodist Churches, 3 Presbyterian Churches, and 3 Community Churches.  In all 15,000 people attended the indoor meetings, 13,500 children were reached and 4,500 were present at the outdoor gatherings.  Individual visits were made to 2,300 homes in house to house and parochial visitation.  Hundreds of Gospels and wholesome tracts, generously provided by interested people, were carefully distributed to persons met with by the roadside as the Troubadours cycled from place to place or walked about town.

What of the effects of all this endeavor?  Listen to this High School teacher, — “Your Mission helped me to find that for which I have been hungering fifteen years.  The conception of Christ as a personal friend and Savior, which for me so long seemed entirely beyond the power of human heart to grasp, has now, in some way I cannot understand, become a precious reality …  Surely your finest service for him … lies in the vitalizing of Jesus to the conventional churchman … “

Hear too this man—“I’ve been an Episcopalian all my life, but it has never been so real to me as it has become this week.” 

One of the sad things about the Church is that so many good members are joy-less christians, serving God out of duty but with no clear vision, lacking the personal knowledge of His Companionship.  What a difference it makes to the Church worker when reality enters in.  As a Church school teacher puts it, —“I took the class so reluctantly—now I rejoice that I have it.”

In one town a High School lad, unchurched, heard the Troubadours at his school one day, attended the Mission that night, stayed behind for personal conference, made his decision and later was batised by the Rector.

After attending Park services three successive days, a homeless out-of-work man from New York said, “You boys don’t realize how much your message has meant to me.”

New work opened up the visit of the Cycling Troubadours is now being carried on in South Florida in four stations.

At Azucar (Spanish for sugar), a village four miles East of the Southeast corner of Lake Okeechobee, in the Everglades, Capt. George W. Graham, our one Negro Captain is to serve the social and spiritual needs of hundreds of young Negro laborers.  When day is done in the sugar plantations and they gather in the great Recreation Hall provided by the plantation owners, it will be his job to lead their activities, to form study classes, to plan recreation, to give personal counsel and to be the representative of Jesus Christ among them.  Living in large dormitories in a community of some two thousand, forty miles west of West Palm Beach, with no resident pastor of any denomination, these young men need christian leadership.  The manager, an Episcopalian, having heard of Church Army work among Hawaiian plantation workers, is responsible for securing Capt. Graham for this highly important work.

A Probationary Church Army Mission Sister is to serve this summer with Deaconess Bedell, a Church Army Associate of long standing, among the Seminole Indians in the Everglades.  She will live with the Deaconess at Glade Cross Mission, Everglades, and accompany her on her auto and canoe trips through the swamps.  The Troubadours had a glimpse of the Seminoles when a number of them came in from the swamps and squatted on the Mission Porch until Family Prayers were over.

Some 40 miles from the Deaconess’s headquarters is the island of Marco.  Here live 150 fisherfolks with no pastor and only a preaching service alternate weeks.  When the Troubadours visited the island, 130 turned out to hear them, and some expressed the wish that a Church Army man could live amongst them.  A Church Army Associate, who is a winter resident of the island, has for years had a Sunday School and has presented several for baptism to the nearest Rector at Fort Myers, 65 miles distant.  Through her interest, Capt. A. Charnock has already taken up his abode on the island for a year.  With the aid of a boat he will be able to visit the neglected folk scattered over the Ten Thousand Islands.  Think what it will mean to the men and boys of this far-away place to have the wholesome comradeship of a christian worker in their work and play and temptations and trials.

In the central part of this diocese of South Florida, more than one missionary-hearted rector, fully occupied with present work, yet yearning also to serve the surrounding areas where work is needed, began to lay plans for using Church Army lay missionaries to reach out to the untouched places.  As a beginning, Cadet J. Entwistle, is this summer undertaking a three months survey and house-to-house visitation, making his base at Avon Park under the direction of the Rector.  He will cycle through the countryside, holding cottage meetings where possible, linking up scattered church families with the nearest parish.

The Troubadours covered 585 miles by cycle, 149 miles by train, and 788 miles by auto.  The tour of 1522 miles embraced 66 communities.  Four happy months sped quickly by and when the Troubadours dispersed on May 10 to their new assignments, it was with deep gratitude to Bishop Wing for his counsel and friendly interest in the team’s doings, to Rev. Henry I. Louttit as Team Advisor, to the clergy for their thorough preparation and co-operation, to the people for their ungrudging hospitality and fellowship and to Almighty God for the many blessings vouchsafed.

C. L. Conder.

Map of Liberia

[The National Geographic Magazine, Vol. XCIII, No. 2, for Feb. 1948; issued while FJS was stationed at Cape Mount/Robertsport.  Bromley and Clay Ashland were near the town Washington about 10 miles upriver from Monrovia.  The OHC mission at Bolahun was near the town Kolahun.  Note the large Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. rubber tree plantations east of Monrovia that were the focus of this article.]


“The Church Army in Liberia.”

The Liberian Missioner, Vol. 3, No. 4, Cape Mount, Liberia, May, 1937, p. 1.

[by Bishop Kroll]

On Easter Monday [March 29, 1937] two Captains of the Church Army, Clark [sic] and Seddon, arrived in Monrovia to begin a new chapter in the history of the Church’s work in Africa.  It is a venture in a pioneer field and we hope that they are the fore-runners of others who will not only carry the Gospel message, but build up an army of native workers that will help in winning Africa for Christ.

Much of the work in the past has rested upon the shoulders of individuals who made great sacrifices, but the element of continuity was lacking and many of the fields had to be given up because there was no one to carry on.

With the coming in of Church Army workers we will lay out a plan of activities that will be carried on to completion.  We need a group of men and women, banded together with a common purpose and rule of life, who can be sent here and there as they are needed.  The Church’s work is an investment of the people and placed into our hands as a trust.  It is our duty to see that it is protected by giving it the proper backing of a supply of workers.

Bromley is to be the Church Army Headquarters in Liberia.  It has a strategic location in so far as it is near enough to Monrovia where all the steamers to Liberia stop, so that on short notice workers can be sent to any part of the field with the least expense.  The episcopal residence being in Monrovia, the Bishop can keep in touch with the group at all times.

It may be interesting to know that the two Captains are not the first of the Church Army of America to locate in Liberia.  Just before leaving the States, the Bishop visited the Church Army Training Center to address the young men and women to see how an appeal for workers in Liberia would take with the youngsters.  What the Bishop said was directed primarily to the male members of the class, so the boys took a special delight in teasing the girls that they were not in on this.  The remarks called to the mind of the Bishop the fact [page 2] that a woman was needed.  This was mentioned, and before the Bishop left the building, Miss Jolly was lined up to go.  She arrived at Monrovia a year ago last [this?] May.  After a year at Bromley, the Bishop transferred her to Cape Mount to relieve Miss McKenzie at Bethany School, who is scheduled for her furlough in June.  As evangelistic work is the primary purpose of Church Army work, Miss Jolly has offered to do some pioneer work at the leper settlement that the government has opened near Cape Mount and placed under the supervision of our Dr. Junge of St. Timothy’s Hospital.

As soon as the Bishop can get more Church Army men into the field, a Captain will be placed in the archdeaconry of Cape Mount to help train the young native teachers who are carrying on in the hinterland.

Captain Clark [sic] and Captain Seddon, with a depleted larder and reduced equipment, due to a fire in which they lost most of their possessions, are building up a boys’ school at Bromley.  In the past there were a number of boys’ schools in operation under the Church.  All of these were closed at the time of the depression except St. John’s.  Other religious bodies are pushing their schools to the forefront, and where our Church was in the lead we are now doing practically nothing.  What will this mean in the next generation?  The answer is, “We lost our opportunity.”

The Captains are also pushing forward evangelistic work in the native communities around Bromley.  Along the shores of the St. Paul River are missions that have been closed for years, and they are asking for regular services.  The harvest is indeed ripe, but the laborers are few.  God grant that within a short time there will be a large enough group of Church Army workers in Liberia to meet the opportunities that are ours today.

--The Bishop of Liberia.


[Included in this issue on page 7 is a “News Note” stating “Miss Jolly has been transferred from Bromley to Bethany, and has already begun her teaching duties with the opening of the second term on May 31st.  Her ready wit and capability are like sunshine in these rainy months.”]

“Liberia calls for two more men.”

Published in a fragmented issue of Co-Partners, which was apparently published in October or December of 1938, page 4.

Bishop Kroll was absent from Liberia for more than a year, during which time Captains Clarke and Seddon were alone in a new field.  Bishop Kroll writes, “Capt. Clarke has done a commendable work.  I was most agreeably surprised to see the system he has worked out for Bromley and the way he has kept records.  I want to go on record in saying that I would have been lost if the two Captains had not been here when I returned.  Both men are samples of what consecrated talents can accomplish.  I am more convinced than ever that there is a fine field for Church Army men and women in this District … Capt. Seddon has justified my contention that what we need most of all in Liberia is Evangelists.  The people in the town of Clay Ashland just love him and are giving him a wholehearted support.  Not having a place of residence he stays in their homes and makes himself one of them.”

One of his  [Bishop Kroll’s] Clergy writes:

“Since Easter time I have made visits up the country to the schools up there, and Captain, as one goes from station to station there is one thing which stands out in loud colors—the need of a definite policy for the evangelization of the tribes here.  Of course, the young village teachers are doing well in their own special line of work.  But still there is much that could be done and must needs be done if the Church’s Mission in three parts is to be of sterling worth.  In this connection I feel that there is an open door to the workers of the Church Army.  For it takes really consecrated workers and especially those of the lay class to pioneer a course like this, before the ordained priests can effectively go out ministering.”

“Behold! this is a land of woes;…”

[by Frances Jolly]

Published in a fragmented issue of Co-Partners, which was apparently published in October or December of 1938, page 4.  At this time her primary work was at the leper colony near Cape Mount.

Sister Jolly is home on short furlough.  Jolly is her nature as well as her name, and there was no frown, but a whimsical smile as she related the following:


Behold! this is a land of woes; from sun-up till our eyelids close, each day a crop of trouble grows to drown our cheer.

The driver ants—(yah, how they bite!) can keep us hopping all the night.  They wage a Spartan army’s fight and have no fear.

The fever brings us chills and ache, and quinine pills we have to take.  The frogs and tom-toms keep awake those who would sleep.

The rain roars down on roofs of tin; we cannot think or hear for din.  We’re soaked outdoors and deaf within.  Friend, do you weep?

And when the rain clouds clear to stay the sun beats down on us all day until we almost melt away or shrivel dry.

The jiggers in our toes will park; a hundred pests make us the mark; one is a walking Noah’s ark and bugs aren’t shy!

The traders think our wealth is great; they charge us thrice the proper rate; we starve when steamers come in late, or gnaw on bones.

The sun and soap make clothing fade; the sheets and linens all have grayed; in ancient styles we are arrayed—to seed we’ve blown.

Travel is no great source of fun.  A kinoo [sic] trip beneath the sun, and hours to walk when that is done—would we had wings!

The trek will be through miles of sand, or else in hilly, stony land; and swamps with bridges down, are grand, like all these things.

No matter what one’s pedigree, each soon becomes a human flea.  No hour of the day is free from leaps and hops.

Palavers come from every side.  Ten things a minute to decide; there is no ebbing of the tide—he’s swamped who stops.

Life and death or urgent need—there just is no such word as “speed.”  Time is a thing you cease to heed, or else go mad.

A roach will nothing sacred hold; your books are spoiled by them, and mould, and still the half has not been told, for rats are bad.

The monthly bills bring startled looks; we sit up night to balance books; it is a job for better crooks to juggle them.

But stay the tears that fall so fast; bad things like good must end at last to take their places in the past; and so, —Amen.

—Frances Jolly.

Farewell Menu


Words! Mere Words! Was there anything so real as words? - Dorian Gray