Mrs. Hawley’s Legacy — the Deaconess and the Bishop

As the last of our posts about the legacy of Elizabeth Starr Hawley, we come to two more of her great-grandchildren, Gertrude Boucher Mosher, and Gouverneur Frank Mosher, younger siblings of J. Montgomery Mosher. They are unusual, because both brother and sister were ordained ministers of the church, and both served as missionaries. Gouverneur Frank is unique as the only person raised at St. Paul’s who became a bishop.

Gertrude Mosher was born in 1866; she was only 13 when her mother died, and 17 at her father’s death, when she assumed primary responsibilities for housekeeping and care of her two younger brothers. Gertrude was baptized at St. Paul’s in 1867 and confirmed here in 1881. “Gouv” was four years younger than Gertrude, and we are told that she was a parent figure to him. Gouv was also strongly influenced by his mother’s cousin, Sister Julia (born Julia Maria Janes, a granddaughter of Elizabeth Starr Hawley), a member of the Sisterhood of the Holy Child Jesus, who taught in St. Paul’s Sunday School.

Gouverneur attended school in Albany; after graduating from Union College, he decided to enter the ministry. Gertrude’s course through these years is harder to trace. We don’t know what schools she attended, but she must have been an enthusiastic reader. In 1888, she published a small pamphlet, “Spare Moments with Milton,” containing her favorite quotations from “Paradise Lost.”

"Spare Moments with Milton", Selected and Arranged by Gertrude B. Mosher

“Spare Moments with Milton”, Selected and
Arranged by Gertrude B. Mosher

In 1889, Gertrude sailed to Germany, “to continue her musical education.” She was in Germany until July 1891, when she returned to Albany. The next year, she was working as a governess.

Gouverneur, meanwhile, had entered Berkeley Divinity School, and while there decided that he was called to be a foreign missionary. Gertrude seems to have decided to join him, because she began study at the New York School for Deaconesses. In June 1896 Gouverneur was ordained a deacon, with the backing of St. Paul’s vestry. Later the same year, Gertrude was “set apart” as a deaconess.

On October 6, 1896, at a  service in the chapel of Church Missions House, in New York City, the congregation bade farewell to Gouverneur and Gertrude, “deacon and deaconess and brother and sister”. The next day they sailed for England, on their way to an assignment in China.

Gouverneur Frank Mosher

Gouverneur Frank Mosher

Gertrude worked in China from 1896 until 1900, when she returned to the United States and married the Rev. Franklin Knight in a ceremony conducted by St. Paul’s rector, William Prall. She and her husband had four children, and spent the rest of their lives in Massachusetts, Franklin’s home state. We have no further record Gertrude’s activities, although it seems likely that she continued to contribute in other ways as well.

Gouverneur worked in China until 1919, when he was elect missionary bishop of the Philippines. He was consecrated in Shanghai on February 25, 1920.

Gouverneur Frank Mosher

Gouverneur Frank Mosher

The bishops who participated in Gouverneur Frank Mosher’s consecration as missionary bishop of the Philippines February 25, 1920 are listed below. Unless otherwise noted, they were bishops of the Episcopal Church in the United States. There is no record of a Church of England bishop named Morris in China, so we assume that the label on the man to the far right of the picture is an error.

Bishops at the consecration of Gouverneur Frank Mosher as Bishop of the Philippines

Bishops at the consecration of Gouverneur Frank Mosher as Bishop of the Philippines

Gouverneur Frank Mosher resigned as bishop in 1940 because of ill health,  and returned to the United States. He died in 1941.

 

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