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Trouble In Old Stepney Parish

Submitted by Shari Handley.

My late Uncle Gene got ahold of the microfilmed copy of this very old letter about 15 years ago, found in records kept by Stepney Parish in Old Somerset County. This part of Somerset is now Wicomico County. The letter was written by Covington Mezick (b. circa 1770) to the Vestry of Stepney Parish, whose services were conducted at old Green Hill Church, explaining why he had withdrawn his membership in the Parish. The writing was very difficult to read, but I think I've got most of it figured out correctly. After the unedited version, I've also included a version in which I've corrected the numerous mispellings, and have added punctuation for clarity.




Dear Sur

I Reseved your letter and you want to know the resen that I with drew from your communion wich was because I saw the aulter (or auther?) sorounded with drunkerdes and all Sorts of fashens and that hurt my felinges to see the canons tranppeled underfoot I thaught when I Sined them that theay wood Be put in force but I See that the Vestery Stand And Look on and never Say a word as if theay Wear not plast as Stewards over the church My dear frends Remember that you and I Booth hav to Stand at the 'bar' of God to giv a Strick acount of all our Steward Ship do my dear frends Strive to watch over your flok better I think that if you felt the Lov for por siners that I do you wod watch over them beter Glory to God I know that I have that wittiness in my hart that I am Bond of God and I am detirmed thrugh Grace to spend the rest of my days in the Sarves of God Now my Dear frends I Cant help but pray for you may God of his infinit power pour down his convittin conviten and Santifying power on you all and Mak the place awfull on the account of his presents o my God Remember the Vestry of Stepney Parish and inabele them to watch over ther flok better that you and I may met at the Right hand of God ther to shout and wonder at his grace to all Eternety Dear frends pray for me that I my not turn back to the world I can Say no mor but commit you in the hands of that judg that knows your hart and mine and this from your Loving commuincan in Sole and Spirit

Coventon Mezick

Janury 17th 1807


EDITED COPY

"Dear Sir,

I received your letter and you want to know the reason that I withdrew from your communion, which was because I saw the author (or alter?) surrounded with drunkards and all sorts of fashions and that hurt my feelings to see the Canons trampled underfoot. I thought when I signed them that they would would be put in force, but I see that the Vestry stand and look on and never say a word as if they were not placed as stewards over the church. My dear friends, remember that you and I both have to stand at the 'bar' of God to give a strict account of all our stewardship. Do, my dear friends, strive to watch over your flock better. I think that if you felt the love for poor sinners that I do, you would watch over them better. Glory to God, I know that I have that witness in my heart and I am determined through Grace to spend the rest of my days in the service of God. Now, my dear friends, I can't help but pray for you. May God of his infinite power pour down his conviction and sanctifying power on you all and make the place awful on the account of his presence. O, my God, remember the Vestry of Stepney Parish and enable them to watch over their flock better that you and I may meet at the right hand of God; there to shout and wonder at his Grace to all eternity. Dear friends, pray for me that I may not turn back to the world. I can say no more, but commit you in the hands of that judge that knows your heart and mine. And this from your loving communicant in soul and spirit,

Coventon Mezick
January 17th, 1807"

The Vestry's response was to excommunicate Covington Mezick. Covington and his wife, Leah, later gave a part of their tract of land, called "Spy", to the trustees of the new Methodist Episcopal Church so that a church building could be built in the area. The church, still standing, was known more most of its history as Mezick's Methodist Church. Today, it is known as Wetipquin Chapel. A listing of the gravestones in Wetipquin Chapel's Cemetery are available from the Wicomico Cemeteries Project.


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© 1996 - Shari Handley

Thursday, 13-Mar-2008 23:21:10 EDT