MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
BISHOP COADJUTOR OF MINNESOTA
MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Bishop Coadjutor of Minnesota
FRANCIS LESEURE PALMER
With an Introduction by
DANIEL SYLVESTER TUTTLE
Presiding Bishop of the
THE YOUNG CHURCHMAN COMPANY
A. R. MOWBRAY & CO.
THE YOUNG CHURCHMAN CO.
f- u I
INTRODUCTION. By Bishop Tuttle ..... 1
AUTHOR'S PREFACE 7
I.: HOME AND ANCESTRY 11
II. BOYHOOD ON THE FARM 21
III. SCHOOL-DAYS 27
IV. HOBART COLLEGE 38
V. LIFE IN UTAH 48
VI. SEABURY DIVINITY SCHOOL 55
VII. FIVE YEARS IN MONTANA 67
VIII. CHRIST CHURCH, ST. PAUL 88
IX. ELECTION TO THE EPISCOPATE 110
X. THE WORK OF A BISHOP 121
XI. THE INDIAN MISSIONS 130
XII. HOME AND PERSON ALi'LifE^r >'*-, 142
XIII. VISIONS AND TASKS . . JV V \ 153
XIV. FHJST VISIT TO EUROPE .. s . 168
XV. GROWTH AND PROGRESS .; 185
XVI. TENTH ANNIVERSARY ^ OF, His ELECTION TO THE
EPISCOPATE . ;-S '.'"'. 208
XVII. THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE OF 1897 218
XVIII. A LOVER OF NATURE 231
XIX. THE CLOSING YEARS 237
XX. THE END . . . . .259
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
MAHLON NOEBIS GILBEBT, about 1890. Photogra-
vure, with Autograph FRONTISPIECE
BOYHOOD HOME AT MOBBIS 22
NOBBIS AND LUCY GlLBEET 26
HOBAET COLLEGE, COLLEGE Row 42
SEABUEY DIVINITY SCHOOL, SEABUBY HALL ..... 62
BISHOP TUTTLE, at the age of fifty 68
MAHLON NOEBIS GILBEET, about 1880 84
CHBIST CHUBCH, ST. PAUL 96
BISHOP WHIPPLE, at the age of seventy-five ..... 110
BISHOP GILBEBT, in 1895 126
THE BISHOP'S HOUSE, 18 Summit Court, St. Paul . . . 142
FRANCES CAEVILL GILBEET 144
BISHOP GILBEBT, from Painting by Miss McKinstry . . . 146
BISHOP GILBEBT, about 1897 218
BISHOP EDSALL, at the time of his Consecration .... 242
BISHOP GILBEET, from a late Photograph 256
THE CELTIC CEOSS AT His GEAVE 292
INTRODUCTION BY BISHOP TUTTLE.
SOME MEN become helpful leaders among their
fellows because of their great learning. With a mass of
knowledge laid by in store, classified, digested, and
assimilated, they are well equipped to become valuable
guides in the uncertainties and intricacies of human
life. Bishop Gilbert was not of this class. While a
youth in college, pulmonary trouble threatened and
shook the citadel of his physical frame. He was obliged
to withdraw and to seek in the milder climate of ^Florida
and the invigorating air of Montana the necessary
strength wherewith to face his life's work. A laborious
and analytic student he could not be. It was of neces-
sity that his service to his fellow men must be along
The foundation of such service was earnest personal
religion. He was a boy of fourteen, when, as a deacon
in my first parish, I went to take charge of Zion Church,
in Morris, H. Y., of which his father was the senior
warden. Blood and descent made him a Churchman
to the manner born. Quickness of mental apprehension
2 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
and religious earnestness set their mark upon his boy-
hood. In Sunday school and Bible class they mani-
fested themselves. The afternoon service of the rural
parish was mainly a Sunday school service. I began
trying my weak wings in crude addresses, expository
of portions of the Prayer Book. His intent watchful-
ness to catch every word always stimulated and helped
me. When he was fifteen, I presented him to Bishop
Horatio Potter for Confirmation. My dear wife and
I helped him in a scholastic way in his preparation for
college. He was only eleven years younger than I;
and so, in the old Butternuts Valley, a comradeship,
sweet and strong, began between us, that has never
weakened, and is not lost only, please God, suspended
for a while.
I would note next for a characteristic, purity of
character and conduct. There was a delicacy in him,
almost feminine, that shrank from the defiling or the
profane, and even from the coarse or common. His
religious youth, and perhaps the significant taps of the
angel of death upon the window panes of his inner
being, caused his back to turn upon the things that are
of earth, earthy, if they had no savor of the heavenly,
and the more, if they set themselves against the
I do not mean that he was not manly. By no means.
Manliness was a striking element of his makeup and
of his life. One feature of his manliness was like his
Saviour's self-controlled and uncomplaining patience
under disappointment, disaster, or defeat. He must
take himself out of college, where his eager and appre-
ciative mind was feeding to his great refreshment. He
had to face an insidious malady that would grip and
bind him down. Yet none ever heard him complain
of his fate or bewail the lot that had fallen upon him.
In God was his strength. In God was his trust. In
that strength he stood sturdily. In that trust he worked
Another feature of his manliness was the soldier's
obedience, fidelity, promptness, devotion to duty, self-
effacingness. Witness his night and day gallop in the
summer of 1877 from Deer Lodge to the battlefield of
the Big Hole, when parishioners of his were fighting
the Indians, to give his services for help in whatever
way they might be required. That was a soldier's ride
and a soldier's proffer.
There was a fascination of chivalric devotedness
in what he did. In Deer Lodge a church must be built.
He was living in a log cabin, but the church must be
of stone. He was not one of those who would dwell in
ceiled houses while the sacred temple of the Lord lay
waste. One by one the stones were lifted into their
place and the beautiful structure was finished and paid
for. To Christ Church, St. Paul, he gave time and
toil and love for five years and more. Already move-
ments were beginning that would leave it a downtown
church, but no lack came to his devotion and no lull
fell upon his heroic loyalty. When my dear wife died
4 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
in the summer of 1899, he came swiftly from St. Paul,
unsummoned and unsolicited, to be with me in my sore
hour of need. His fidelity to duty and his devotion to
friends were things framed in the strength of truth and
furbished with the brightness of chivalry.
Generous unselfishness ruled his aims and life. He
knew that he was not the one that Bishop Whipple
would have chosen to be his Coadjutor. Nevertheless,
in affectionate sympathy and with noble self-forgetful-
ness, he loved and served and succored his distinguished
chief for fourteen years.
He was a valuable and a cordially valued member
of the House of Bishops. He was in the House for four
General Conventions. In three he was a member of
the Committee of Domestic Missions, and a leading
member, though a junior, and was often charged with
reporting and supporting the reports of the Committee
on the floor of the House. In the remaining Conven-
tion he was on the Committee for Foreign Missions.
His growing influence and measurable leadership in
the House had already become a power to be reckoned
with. His godly sincerity and unaffected simplicity,
his plain straightforwardness and strong practical grasp
of needs and means and methods, led the House to ac-
cord willingly heed to his influence and room and verge
enough for his power.
Minnesota knows what he was as Bishop in the field.
Hobart College and Seabury Divinity School know what
he was as a student. Utah and Montana know what he
was as teacher and priest. To me lie was a dearly
loved son in the Gospel, a son whose earthly life was
crowned with earnestness in religion, with loyalty to
the Church, with stainless purity, with generous un-
selfishness, with chivalric devotion of self, with affec-
tionate sympathy for all men, and with statesmanlike
leadership in the sphere of responsibility assigned to
him by God's wise providence.
A grateful, loving father, left in much loneliness,
deeply humble for himself, but proud of him, desires
to lay this little tribute of affection upon his sacred
grave. DANIEL SYLVESTER TTJTTLE.
THOUGH ten years and more have passed since
Bishop Gilbert finished his heroic course, his memory
is as fresh and green as when he died. The Church in
the United States has seen Bishops of greater adminis-
trative ability and greater scholarship, but none that has
been more greatly loved. "Dear Bishop Gilbert" he
was and is to those that knew him.
At a luncheon given January 24, 1911, in honor of
the Rev. Theodore Payne Thurston, about to be conse-
crated Bishop of Eastern Oklahoma, the venerable Pre-
siding Bishop, in recalling the history of earlier days,
dwelt with affectionate regard on some of the Church's
leaders and pioneers. He paid glowing tribute to the
saintly Bishop Kemper, and to the apostolic Bishop
Whipple, honored not only in Minnesota, for which he
gave himself so unsparingly, but in all the Church.
And when he came to speak of Bishop Gilbert, he said
with visible emotion and affection :
"Mahlon Morris Gilbert a man greatly loving, a
man greatly beloved; a man giving out sympathy
8 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
wonderfully ; a man calling out sympathy wonderfully ;
a man showing loyalty with his whole heart and soul;
a man arousing wholesouled and wholehearted loyalty."
On the occasion of Bishop Edsall's tenth anniver-
sary, celebrated in connection with the annual Council
of the Diocese, held at Winona, May 30, 1911, praise
was given impartially to all three of Minnesota's chief
pastors. Of Bishop Gilbert, Dean Mueller said, "What
memories of love are recalled by that name !"
In a personal letter to a friend in St. Paul soon after
Bishop Gilbert's death, the great Bishop of New York,
Henry Oodman Potter, wrote :
" Anyone more single, strenuous, and devoted in
every best service, anyone more engaging and inspiring
in all my contacts with him, I never knew. To have
known him is an incomparable privilege; to have lost
him is an immeasurable bereavement. In all our House
of Bishops, he was to me the prince of manliness, honor,
fearlessness, and Christian chivalry. Ah, rare and
beautiful soul, what shall we do without you !"
The reason that up to this time no biography has
been written is a simple one. After Bishop Gilbert's
death, his personal papers and correspondence, which
had been carefully placed in a storage warehouse, were
destroyed by fire. Only a scrapbook and a volume of
memorabilia survived, and these had been injured. The
death of Mrs. Gilbert soon after made the work of
gathering information still more difficult. The present
writer has searched patiently and corresponded widely,
until the material collected, while inadequate, seems
sufficient to show much of Dr. Gilbert's personality and
to account in some measure for his strong and beautiful
influence, as bishop and as man.
The writer will be glad to receive corrections of
any errors and to have any omissions supplied.
F. L. P.
SBABTJEY DIVINITY SCHOOL, Earibault, Minnesota,
November 1, 1912.
HOME AND ANCESTRY.
IN NEW YOKK STATE, fifty miles westward
from Albany, lies a large rural county, which bears the
musical name of Otsego. The Susquehanna River runs
near its southwestern border, and its western boundary
is the Unadilla River, which flows nearly due south and
joins the Susquehanna. Railways follow these rivers,
but to this day no railway, not even an electric line, has
traversed the main part of the county. It remains
fair, prosperous, and secluded, an unusual community.
In the southwestern part of this retired region, a
pleasant stream called Butternuts Creek flows to unite
with the Unadilla; and here, between hills which rise
at times to a height of three or four hundred feet above
the creek, lies "the old Butternuts Valley" to which
Bishop Tuttle refers affectionately in his Introduction.
A writer of local history thus explains the name :
Before the War of the Revolution, when tracts of
land upon the frontier of New York were sold by the
English governors as "patents," there were three but-
12 MAHLON NORRI8 GILBERT
termit trees, growing from one stump, which marked
the corner of Hillington, Wells, and Otego patents.
Hence the old name of the town, Butternuts, from
which the smaller town, Morris, was formed. The
three butternuts stood near where the three corners of
the townships of Morris, Pittsfield, and New Lisbon
now meet. 1
In this valley settlements were made as early as
1773, but the Indians were so aggressive that little pro-
gress could then be made. The Indian leader was the
intrepid Mohawk chieftain Thayendanegea, commonly
called Joseph Brant. According to the historian John
Fiske, "this full-blood Mohawk" was "the most remark-
able Indian known in history. . . . He was well-edu-
cated, a devout member of the Episcopal Church, and
translated the Prayer Book and parts of the New Testa-
ment into the Mohawk language. The combination of
missionary and war-chief in Mm was quite curious." 2
Episcopacy of a somewhat militant type seems thus to
have been almost indigenous in this region.
In 1778 two Connecticut Churchmen, Ichabod
Palmer and Elnathan Noble, came to Butternuts, and
we learn that from that time Prayer Book services were
held regularly, usually at the home of Mr. Palmer.
By 1793 there must have been some form of parish
organization, for in the Journal of the Convention of
the Diocese of New York for that year, Jacob Morris,
1 Prom History of Zion Church Pariah, Morris, N. Y., by Katharine
2 A History of the United States for Schools, p. 226.
HOME AND ANCESTRY 13
Esquire, is recorded as a duly credited delegate. This
worthy citizen, also known as General Morris, was son
of Lewis Morris, one of the signers of the Declaration
of Independence; and it was in honor of this illus-
trious family that the name of the town was changed
from Butternuts to Morris.
As the settlement grew, a house of worship became
a necessity, and in 1801 a plain frame building was
erected, to which was given the unusual name, Harmony
Church. Here for several years there ministered the
zealous and kindly pioneer, the Kev. Daniel Nash, who
also went far and wide preaching the word. In the old
records of the Diocesan Convention he is given the large
title, "Rector of Otsego County."
It was in the days of "Father Eash" that Elijah
Gilbert and Chauncey Todd, grandparents of Mahlon
Morris Gilbert, came to the Butternuts Valley. Both
the Gilberts and the Todds were of staunch Connecticut
Churchmanship, and it was probably the desire to be
near an Episcopal church that led both families to come
to this part of the valley. (The story runs that the
venerable and witty John Williams, for many years
Bishop of Connecticut, was once asked to define the
term, "a Connecticut Churchman." His ready reply
was, "A Connecticut Churchman is one that will stand
Several families of the name of Gilbert came about
this time to the valley. Some of them settled a few
miles south in the town called Gilbertsville, but their
14 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
relation to the Elijah Gilbert line, if any existed, has
not been traced. Elijah Gilbert was born in 1775, came
to the valley in 1817, and died in 1862. Of Elijah
and of his son Morris, father of the Bishop, more will
be said a little later.
Chauncey Todd was born in Cheshire, Connecticut,
in 1784, and when twenty-one he went "West" to "the
unbroken wilderness of Central New York." After a
few years he returned to his native state, and on Sep-
tember 13, 1812, he married Susan Hotchkiss. Their
wedding journey was on horseback through the forests
and occasional settlements to the village of Butternuts.
In 1836 they moved a few miles farther west to New
Berlin, in Chenango County. Their daughter, Lucy
Todd, the eldest of eleven children, was the Bishop's
mother. Her brother Russell Todd, an Episcopal cler-
gyman, wrote a charming sketch of Chauncey and Susan
Todd, which shows their sterling and simple character.
When the father came in on a winter evening from the
cooper shop, where he spent his spare time, to find his
wife knitting or mending, the children who were reading
or at play would expect to hear him ask their mother,
"Susan, is there nothing the boys can do for you, no
apples to pare for sauce, no pumpkins to be made ready
for to-morrow's pies, or something else they can do for
you ?" "It was his uniform habit, every Sunday even-
ing, to gather his children, old and young, about the
home fireplace to teach and to hear them say the old
Church catechism. . . . My mother's character was
HOME AND ANCESTRY 15
of the gentle type. Her life, as it seems to me now in
this far away time, was like the running of a quiet
stream through a peaceful meadow. ... I overheard
from a group of ladies standing round the stove one
winter's Sunday noon in old St. Andrew's Church, New
Berlin, 'Mrs. Ohauncey Todd bears the sweetest and
most winning face of all the ladies who appear at
church.' " Her son adds, "Her eyes were a soft brown,
a pleasant smile about the mouth, her hair a light brown
lightly touched with auburn." 3 Some of these charac-
teristics were transmitted to her grandson Mahlon.
It was an older brother of Chauncey, Jehiel Todd,
that founded Toddtown, or Toddsville, as it now ap-
pears on the map, near Oooperstown (the home of
James Fennimore Cooper), also in Otsego County.
Persons of strong character were common in the Todd
family. One of these was Jonah Todd, father of Jehiel
and Chauncey. Jonah was born in 1751, and lived first
at ISTorthford and then at Woodbridge, both in New
Haven County, Connecticut. He was a Tory during
the Revolution, "because he held taking up arms against
the mother country the same as lifting his hand against
the mother church, the Church of England." * Jonah
was twice married, first to Lowly Harrison by whom
he had seven children, and then to Abigail Cruttenden
3 Sketch of Chauncey and Susan Todd, by the Rev. Russell Todd,
in Col. Albert Todd's Notes Concerning a Portion of the Connecticut
Branch of the Todd Family in America, pp. 18-23.
4 Col, Albert Todd, Notes Concerning the Todd Family, p. 7.
16 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
(born Heaton), by wliom lie had three, of whom Chaun-
cey was the youngest.
We must not pause too long on the matter of an-
cestry, yet it was a matter in which Bishop Gilbert was
deeply interested, and of which he had collected valuable
data unfortunately destroyed.
Jonah Todd's line can be traced to Stephen Todd
of Wallingford (born 1702), who married Lydia Ives.
Stephen was son of Deacon Samuel Todd (born 1672),
a farmer of North Haven, and his wife Susannah
Tuttle. Samuel was son of Samuel Todd (born 1645),
and Mary Bradley. They lived near New Haven in
what is now Whitneyville. This Samuel was son of
Christopher Todd (born 1617), and Grace Middlebrook,
both of whom came from Yorkshire, England, in 1639,
during the great Puritan exodus, and settled first in
Charlestown near Boston, but later joined the New
Haven Colony. Here Christopher became a leading
citizen, holding various offices in the colony. He owned
a large farm, a bakery, and a grist mill at Whitneyville,
and also a house in New Haven. He died in 1686.
The Todd line can be traced a little farther yet, for
Christopher was son of William Todd (born 1593) and
Katharine Ward, and this William was also son of Wil-
liam Todd who married Isabel Eogerson in 1592. His
home was Pontefract (pronounced Pomfret and so
spelled in this country), in the West Riding of York-
shire. The name Todd originally meant fox, as is borne
out by the coat of arms to which Christopher Todd
HOME AND ANCESTRY 17
was duly entitled, as tlie records of Heraldry show. 5
Something has been said of the excellent Tory,
Jonah Todd. If there had been a "Society of the Sons
of Staunch American Tories" the Bishop would have
been duly qualified for membership. His patriotism,
however, naturally led him to membership in "The Sons
of the Revolution" and the "Society of Colonial Wars."
He was third in descent from Ambrose Ward, who
served in the American Revolution, and seventh in
descent from Major Simon Willard, the Puritan leader
of Concord, Massachusetts.
The following ancestral line is copied from page
171 of the "Register of Members and Ancestors of the
Society of Colonial Wars, in the State of Minnesota,
Gilbert, Mahlon Norris (Society Number 75),
St. Paul, Minnesota.
Born March 23, 1848, in Laurens, N. Y.
Married Frances Pierpont Carvill, May 20, 1880.
2 Norris Gilbert, 1811-1877.
Lucy Todd, 1813-1891.
3 Elijah Gilbert, 1775-1862.
Lois Ward, 1773-1856.
4 Ambrose Ward, 1747-1819,
Lois Meigs, 1750-1826.
6 Coat of Arms of the Todd Family. Argent (silver). Three foxes'
heads, couped (cut off square), gules (red), a bordure vert (with
border of green). Crest On a chapeau (cap) gules (red), with ermine
turned up, a fox sejant (sitting), proper (in natural color). Motto
"Oportet vivere." This may be translated, "It is necessary to live,"
or "One must live." Prom Col. Albert Todd's Notes of the Todd
Family, p, 5.
18 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
5 Jonathan Meigs, -1765.
6 Oapt. Jonathan Meigs, 1672-1739.
Hannah Willard, 1698-
7 Josiah Willard, -1674.
8 Major Simon Willard, 1605-1676.
Simon Willard was born in England, in Horsmon-
den, County Kent, the son of Richard Willard and his
second wife, Margery. In Johnson's Wonder Working
Providence Simon is called a "Kentish soldier." With
his wife Mary Sharpe, daughter of Henry Sharpe, he
emigrated to ]STew England in 1634, and became at once
a leader among the Puritans. He was one of the
founders of Concord, Massachusetts, where for nineteen
years he was town clerk. As surveyor, commissioner,
deputy, etc., he served the colony faithfully, but his
most conspicuous service was military. In March 1637
he was commissioned Lieutenant Commander.
"A train-band captain eke was he."
For forty years he wore a military uniform, and
in King Philip's War, though a man of seventy, he
was for months almost constantly in the saddle. A
contemporary record says, "He died in his bed in
peace, though God had honored him with several signal
victories over our enemies in war." His funeral was
HOME AND ANOE8TR7 19
"an occasion of much pomp . . . and his death caused
profound sorrow far and wide." 6
In the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral there was
placed, a few years ago, a tablet commemorative of
Major Willard. It bears the following inscription:
MAJOR SIMON WILLARD,
Born 1604, died 1676,
Exactly one hundred years before the Declaration of Independence.
A Kentish soldier, and an early pioneer
in the settlement of the British Colony
of New England, America, 1634.
He was made Commander-in-Chief of the British Forces
against the hostile Indian Tribes.
He was distinguished in the Military, Legislative,
and Political Service of the American Commonwealth
until his death, Aged 72.
Of Simon Willard's ancestors, one was Provost of
Canterbury, 1218, and another was Baron of Cinque Ports, 1377,
and his descendants to the present day have held
eminent positions in the United States.
Sylvester D. Willard, M.R.C.S.
Another military name in the ancestral line given
above is that of Captain Jonathan Meigs. Of his son
Jonathan (great-great-grandfather of the Bishop) a ro-
mantic story is told. For some time he had wooed a
fair Quakeress of Middletown, but always her reply was,
"ISTay, Jonathan, I respect thee much, but I cannot
marry thee." On his last visit, he had received the
usual reply, and was slowly mounting his horse, when
6 A sketch of Major Simon Willard by Charles Phelps Noyes may
be found in the Register of the Minnesota Society of Colonial Wars,
1901, pp. 484-486.
20 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
he heard the happiest words of his life, "Return
Jonathan! Return Jonathan!" When they were mar-
ried and had a son, the name chosen by the father was,
"Return Jonathan." The son rendered distinguished
service as Colonel in the Revolutionary War, and his
son, also named Return Jonathan Meigs, was Governor
of Ohio from 1810 to 1814. Others of the family have
borne the same interesting name.
Thus the Bishop's ancestry abounds with strong
characters, pioneers and leaders, God-fearing and con-
scientious, whether Puritan or Churchman. For such
a descent he was deeply grateful, and he showed himself
in every way worthy of his forbears.
BOYHOOD ON THE FARM.
NOKRIS G-ILBEKT and Lucy Todd, whose an-
cestral lines have been traced in the previous chapter,
were married on the eighth of June, 1835, and made
their home on a pleasant farm in the town of Laurens,
four miles or more east of Morris. The old red house
is still standing, a plain frame building, large in size
but only "a story and a half" in height. Here were born
three sons, their only children. The eldest of these,
named Hobart Henry, in honor of the great Bishop
Hobart, was born in 1842 but lived only two years.
Frederick, who was born in 1845, received a business
education. He is still living in Lo Lo, Montana,
whither the pioneer blood in his veins led the way.
Mahlon IsTorris Gilbert was born on March 23, 1848,
and was baptized on May 20, 1849, by the Rev. Amos
Billings Beach, rector of Zion Church, Butternuts.
When Mahlon was eight years old his father bought
a better farm, in the little town of New Lisbon, five
miles north of Morris, or Butternuts. It is still re-
22 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
membered that "Norris Gilbert was well-to-do, and
bought the farm outright and had money to spare."
The new home, which is still standing, is an eight-
roomed frame house, with an ell at the rear. There is
a porch across the front, and there are chimneys at
both ends. The house stands facing the east, on a gentle
sloping hillside, far back from the country road. Be-
hind the house the hill rises more steeply to a consider-
able height, and bears a "sugar-bush," or grove of hard
maples, yielding every spring an abundance of sap and
sugar. South of the house stand two large pines; and
in the yard are many fruit trees and shade trees. In
front the ground slopes down, first to the road, and then
on across the fields to the winding creek, old Butternuts,
which makes its way through the valley among trees and
bushes, giving .charm to all the land.
It was a happy valley for boys to grow up in, with
neighbors enough for sociability and with the varied
life of the farm, and the changing work and sport as the
seasons changed, year by year. The home was marked
by simplicity and refinement. Both father and mother
are remembered as "of lovely character, plain and un-
assuming, very quiet in their ways, and leading always
most exemplary lives." The mother, Lucy Todd, was
slight and frail from her childhood, but she outlived
nine younger brothers and sisters, Russell, the clergy-
man, alone surviving her. For several years she played
the organ in Zion Church, and in her own parlor there
stood a pipe organ which was the wonder of the neigh-
BOYHOOD ON THE FARM 23
borhood. The father was a man of considerable wealth
and of position in the community. He was warden of
Zion Church for many years, and in the absence of the
rector was accustomed to read service and conduct Sun-
day school. In this home, as in the homes of their
forefathers, the Christian faith was very dear and very
Since early days, Harmony Church in the parish
of Butternuts had grown and prospered. In 1818 the
stone church was erected, which still stands on the hill,
near the business center of the village. At the time
of its consecration by Bishop Hobart, in the fall of the
same year, the name of the church was changed from
Harmony to Zion.
The church consisted of the part known now as the
nave, with the hall and vestibules. The pulpit was
in the middle of the east end of the church with a
large sounding board over it. On the left, winding
stairs led up to it from behind a reading desk, and
on the right was the white marble-top altar. The
altar rail went straight across, ending where three
pews were placed in opposite corners. The little white
marble font stood just outside the altar rail at the
end of the middle aisle. There were galleries on three
sides, and the organ and choir were in the gallery
opposite the pulpit. The robing-room was in the
vestibule at the left of the front door, and during the
sermon hymn the clergyman passed down through the
congregation and changed his white surplice for the
black gown in which to preach. 1
Katharine M. Sanderson, History of Zion Church Parish, pp. 8, 9.
24 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Frederick Gilbert's recollections of the time when
he and his brother Mahlon worked and played and went
to school and to church together help to make those
early days vivid and real.
"Ours had always been Church people. I cannot
recall a Sunday, no matter how severe the weather, in
which we failed to go to church, a distance of five miles.
The morning service was at ten o'clock, with Sunday
school at noon, followed by afternoon service, and we
remained to all."
Frederick continues :
"My school-days began at six, as all children were
started to school at that age. Mahlon, who was only
three, would walk with me as far as the front gate, when
I started each morning for school. I can see his face
now, peering through the fence after he had said good-
bye. As soon as he was old enough he accompanied me
to the little district school, about half a mile away.
"One of Mahlon' s greatest trials while a small boy
at home was washing his face in the morning. Getting
up and dressing in a cold room was nothing in com-
parison. ^ISTow,' he would say, 'this is the worst of
all !' "
Another memory of boyhood days which Mr. Fred-
erick Gilbert has written down is of the fireside tales
of old days in New England. "Often have we listened
to the stories told us by our grandmother (Lois Ward
Gilbert) of Revolutionary times. On the day the
British under Arnold attacked ISTew London, she was at
B07HOOD ON THE FARM 25
clrarcli with her father Ambrose Ward when the sound
of the cannon from the ships reached their ears. The
men started at once for the scene of action, leaving the
women and children to return to their homes. On their
way home, Lois, who told the story, was so alarmed by
the noise of the guns that she lay down for a time under
Another story that was often told, was the coming to
the valley of Elijah and Lois Ward Gilbert. This was
early in the last century, and it was they who "built at
Laurens, a large substantial house, painting it red."
This is the house, already referred to as the birthplace
of Frederick and Mahlon.
The origin of the Bishop's love for fishing is thus
told by his brother. "A trout stream ran through our
farm, and there his love for the sport began, growing
as the years increased. He was never happier than
when, far removed from the worries and toils of life,
by the side of some stream in the mountains of Montana
or at some lake or brook in Minnesota, he could cast
his hook and feel the thrill of the bite."
There was also good fishing in the Butternuts Creek
and good hunting for small game along its banks or on
the hillsides. Wild flowers of great variety and trees
and shrubs of many kinds also gave beauty and interest
to the valley ; and the coming and going of the birds in
spring and fall made Nature not a formal "study" but a
kindly companion and friend.
The work of the farm was a constant education.
26 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Those who have grown up in the country appreciate its
meaning as others cannot the hard routine of rising
before light in the cold winter to milk the cows; the
daily "chores" about the place; the following the plow
and the harrow; the battling constantly against weeds
and insects ; the working in the hot hayfield, and hotter
haymow ; the husking corn in late autumn, with fingers
numb and sore these are some of the hardships of life
upon the farm. But there is another side the joy of
fresh air and open meadow; the charm of the changing
seasons ; the beauty of the growing grain or of the new-
mown field; the excitement of racing with a thunder-
storm to get the hay under cover before the rain falls ;
the satisfaction of great bays filled nearly to the roof
with hay or grain ; the delight of gathering the harvest,
and the honest reward of the cellar stored with homely
vegetables and fragrant fruit these are some of the
things that make up for the work and the worry of the
farmer's life. In our modern "return to the country"
there is often honest endeavor to restore the healthful
conditions of rural life, but we cannot bring back again
the simplicity of life in the country as it was sixty
years ago in Butternuts Valley.
NORRIS AND LUCY GILBERT
THE GILBEKT FAKM has been described as in
New Lisbon, but actually it stood at the meeting of
three townships, New Lisbon, Pittsfield, and Morris,
near the surveyor's mark of the butternut stumps, ex-
plained in the first chapter. The house stood in the
township of Morris, but the village of Morris was five
miles away, while that part of New Lisbon called No-
blesville was near by. "School District Number One"
of the town of New Lisbon included part of the Gilbert
farm, and it was to this school, only half a mile away,
that the brothers naturally went. The schoolhouse is
described by Mr. George A. Yates, a close school friend
of the Gilbert boys, as an oblong frame building, stand-
ing near the Creek. The front door was in the center
of the north end, and opened into an entry from which
an inner door, also in the center, opened into a long
"The desks in the schoolroom were in one continuous
row the whole length of the building on each of the long
28 MAHLOW NORRIS GILBERT
sides of the room, each desk having a lid that would open
back against the wall. The seat was one flat board run-
ning the whole length, and the scholars when studying
faced the wall." Eor recitations there were parallel
benches in front. There was no platform for the teacher
but his desk stood at one end between the long rows of
desks. In the center of the schoolroom there stood of
course the long wood stove, which overheated those
nearby, leaving the farther regions north and south in
the cold, an object lesson in geography. There were
then about forty scholars in the school, and there were
two terms only in the school year. During the summer
term, a woman taught, but in the winter term, when
some of the older boys attended, a schoolmaster was in
charge. The practice of moving up or down in the
class, according to one's proficiency or failure, was then
common in the East. Whittier's poem, "In School-
Days," turns on this custom. Mr. Yates describes it as
"If a scholar missed a question, the first one below
in the class that could answer it would take the place of
the one that failed. The one that stood at the head of
the class at the close of one recitation would take his
place the next time at the foot. Mahlon was very
studious, and was always ready to answer questions on
which others had failed."
Of this period, his brother Frederick writes:
"Mahlon took great delight in his books, especially in
reading and elocution. Having a good voice and conn-
deuce, he was often called upon, when visitors came to
the school, to read or declaim some stirring piece like
Eienzi's 'Address/ or Webster's 'Reply to Hayne.' His
oratorical powers never left him, and as he thrilled his
listeners in his school-boy days, so he thrilled his hearers
in the mountains of Montana, and on Minnesota's plains,
as he told them the story of the Gross."
Mahlon's physical health as a boy was excellent.
He is remembered by his schoolmate, Mr. George Yates,
as "very quick on foot, a fast runner and a fast walker."
He was very good at the game of "Fox and Geese,"
which was often played in winter in the snow, or at the
simpler game of "Fox," in which one boy, called the
"hound," tried to catch the others, often running long
Mr. Yates recalls an incident of their schooldays,
when a difference of opinion arose between Mahlon and
another boy who became very angry. Suddenly Mahlon,
pointing his finger at the boy, shouted in thrilling tones,
"Severn Vashtashni!" The boy was so "scared" by this
unexpected epithet, that he quite forgot his anger, and
had no more to say. The magic words were from
Mahlon's geography lesson. The name is hot found in
modern atlases, but geographies may have changed.
One is reminded of that other geographical term of
magic power "Mesopotamia."
Mr. Edwin E. Carpenter, editor and proprietor of
the Morris Chronicle., recalls an amusing accomplish-
ment of his uncle Mahlon. Any word which he could
30 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
spell in the usual way lie was able to spell with equal
rapidity backward. His friends often tested this ability
with difficult words, but he never failed to answer
promptly, and when tested his answer was invariably
These are trifling incidents, but they show the
natural accuracy and alertness of his mind.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Frederick
was fourteen and Mahlon eleven. Frederick remembers
the intense patriotism of his brother. He had always
listened intently to his grandmother's stories of Revolu-
tionary times and wished that he might have had part
in them. And now "his voice could be heard above the
loudest, cheering the soldiers as they marched away to
the front in '61."
When Mahlon Gilbert was fourteen years old, there
came into his life, in God's good plan, a strong new in-
fluence, that was in a large measure to determine his
career. It was the friendship and guidance of the new
"assistant minister of Zion Church," the Rev. Daniel
Sylvester Tuttle. Mr. Tuttle had just completed his
course at the General Theological Seminary in ISTew
York City, in the class of 1862. It was a notable class,
for it included, beside Bishop Tuttle, three others who
rose to the same chief office Bishop Robertson, Bishop
Jaggar, and Bishop Walker.
For two years the Rev. George L. Foote had been
rector of Zion Church at Morris, but from the spring
of 1862 he was confined to his room by a paralytic
stroke. He was so beloved that the parish wished to
keep him still in office, and accordingly the vestry asked
Mr. Tuttle, who was a near relative, to come to "fulfill
temporarily the parish duties of the rector." Mr. Tuttle
hesitated, but Bishop Horatio Potter, whom he con-
sulted, urged him to go. "It is one of the best rural
parishes in the diocese. The farmers from a great
sweep of country round about are loyal Churchmen."
So the decision was made, and Daniel Tuttle came to
Morris, his first and only parish.
The Eev. Mr. Eoote lived a year and a half, giving
wise and valued counsel to his young assistant, but from
the first Mr. Tuttle was practically rector, and from the
first he won the hearts of the community. The intro-
ductory chapter of Bishop Tuttle's Reminiscences
describes his five years of strong and fruitful service
at Morris. One page from this chapter, written while
Bishop Gilbert was still with us, belongs to our nar-
In the Sunday school and in the Bible class of
Saturday afternoon were two brothers, who came some
miles from the country to attend, sons of Mr. Norris
Gilbert, the senior warden. The younger one attracted
my attention from the first Sunday. He was fourteen
years old, large-eyed and bright-eyed, quick to answer
at catechising, an untiring listener at the "talks." This
was Mahlon 1ST. Gilbert, now Assistant Bishop of Min-
nesota. Mr. Foote, when coming to the parish two or
three years before, had also been singularly attracted
by him. Going up to him one day after Sunday school,
32 HAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
in the kind way Mr. Foote had with children, he said,
placing his hand on his head, "You are a good listener,
my boy, it interests me to look at you when I am speak-
ing; I hope you will grow up to be one of these days
a minister yourself to help us in the Church." The
thought was first put into the boy's mind then and
there. Behold its growth and fruit! Ought we older
ones not to bethink ourselves how a word in season
uttered to a boy or young man may be the starting-
point for securing him for the work of the sacred
ministry? Subsequently young Gilbert studied Latin
and mathematics with Mrs. Tuttle and myself. . . .
I cannot tell all the story of how the lines of my life's
history have become closely woven with his, or how
my heart is gladdened as a loving father's over the
great good work for the Church that he is doing in
these later days. 1
Five other boys who were members of the parish
during Mr. Tuttle's rectorship, became clergymen :
Henry L. Foote, Albert 0. Bunn, Eomaine S. Mansfield,
Daniel W. Duroe, and Louis C. Washburn. Mr.
Tuttle's immediate successor as rector, the Rev. 1ST. S.
Rulison, became Bishop of Central Pennsylvania. Miss
Sanderson's History of Zion GTiurch Parish records the
names of five others who grew up in the parish and
entered the sacred ministry: Noble Palmer, George W.
Foote, Daniel Washburn, Robert Washbon, and Robert
Perine. The total number has since been increased to
sixteen. The character of this remarkable rural parish
has thus been summed up by the present junior warden :
Bishop Tuttle's Reminiscences, p. 19.
"The atmosphere of this old parish of Zion Church was
always strongly charged with the missionary spirit, and
we cannot but believe that Mahlon Gilbert's early life
amid such surroundings was a providential ordering
At the age of fifteen Mahlon was confirmed by
Bishop Horatio Potter. The service was a notable one,
the record in the Diocesan Journal being as follows :
July 19 (1863), Seventh Sunday after Trinity,
A. M. In Zion, Morris, preached, advanced the Kev.
Daniel S. Tuttle, the Assistant Minister of the Parish,
to the Priesthood, and also confirmed twenty-three (two
of them in private), and addressed them.
Some items from the parochial report of Zion
Church from the same Diocesan Journal are of interest :
Number of families, 157. Number of individuals
668. Baptisms : adults, 5 ; infants, 27 ; total, 32. Com-
municants, 236. The Holy Communion celebrated the
first Sunday of every month, and on Holy Days of
special Preface. Catechists and Sunday school teach-
ers, 32. Catechumens : number of children taught the
Catechism openly in the church, 173. Number of times,
40. Members of other classes for Religious Instruc-
tion, 14. Sunday scholars, 54. Total number of young
persons instructed, 241. Contributions, total, $1,057.74
[of which only $620.92 was for parish purposes].
This report shows remarkable economy of admin-
istration combined with great generosity in missionary
gifts. Of chief interest, however, is the light thrown
2 George A. Yates, History of Notlesville, Article No. 8, Morris
Chronicle, February 3, 1909.
34 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
on the broad extent of the work of the parish. The
report as to "Catechumens" is according to a schedule
drawn up for all the parishes, and suggests some lines
of religious instruction in which the Church , to-day
fails to maintain the efficiency of fifty years ago. It
was indeed an active and wise pastoral care that pro-
vided systematic instruction for so large a proportion
of the parish.
Mr. Tuttle's interest in Mahlon showed itself in
practical ways. The boy's ability as a speaker interested
the clergyman and promised well for the future. Ac-
cordingly Mr. Tuttle would take Mahlon and sometimes
another boy into the woods, and give them lessons in
the use of the voice. The Reminiscences describe the
training of that remarkable power of speech which
Bishop Tuttle possesses and uses with such vigor and
Beyond my swimming-pond at Morris was an
island, away from houses, reached by a long slab over
the stream, and with a beautiful grove upon it. Be-
tween two trees, almost joined together, I set up a
rude pulpit board, and there every Saturday I spread
out my sermon for the next day, and preached it, loud
and full, with the birds for listeners. The exercise
helped ray voice. Emphasis took to itself right inflec-
tions. Eye and hand and bodily posture familiarized
themselves with their duties, and adjusted themselves
to the ways of most efficient work. 3
One day the elocutionary practice was interrupted.
3 Reminiscences, pp. 17, 18.
Two Morris boys, Warren Lull and a cousin, were trout-
fishing along Butternuts Creek, when suddenly a most
startling sound was heard among the trees. The cousin
was greatly frightened, and declared there must be some
madmen in the woods, but Warren recognized the
tremendous voice of the good rector, Mr. Tuttle, who
had taken Mahlon and another future clergyman into
the open air to give them a lesson in elocution.
In the autumn of 1864, at the age of sixteen, Mahlon
entered Fairfield Academy. This was a private school
of a type then common in the East. These academies
were usually co-educational, and filled the gap between
the common school and the college. Under altered con-
ditions some still survive, but most of them long since
finished their useful work. Fairfield was then, as it is
now, a small rural village of Herkimer County, !N"ew
York. It is a few miles north of Little Falls, and
over forty miles from Morris. ITairfield Academy was
founded in 1803 and was for many years a very popular
school; it continued its work through the century, and
closed in 1901. When Mahlon entered, the principal
was the Rev. L. Bartlett Barker, and there was at least
one teacher of rare ability, Professor Albert B. Watkins.
There was in the Academy a literary organization
with the high name of "The Philorhetorean Society."
It was founded in 1854, partly as a debating society,
partly to encourage writing and speaking, as its name
suggests. It soon became a fraternity, large in numbers
and marked by ability and enthusiasm. At the reunion
36 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
of 1894 Bishop Gilbert made the chief address, and
spoke with high praise of the "healthful and stimulat-
ing" life of the Academy, as he had known it, thirty-
years before. "With the keenest pleasure" he recalls the
companionship, the inspiration of those years. He pic-
tured himself when first attracted to these "classic
shades" in all the enthusiasm of youth. "The gates into
the enchanted land of knowledge seem to swing open;
the future with its possibilities of usefulness and fame
appears a veritable reality."
With vivid memory he recalls the patriotic spirit
of the Academy. Of this society nearly seventy mem-
bers served in the Union Army. The Bishop says :
This period in the history of the school was unique
and significant. The awful stress of the Civil War
rested heavily upon the people. The glory and the
glamour of marching squadrons and waving banners
had passed into a grim and terrible reality. ... To
us, the boys of those days, as we looked into the battle-
rent air, there came a realization of the tremendous
meaning of life and its duties. We caught the high
inspiration which thrilled the nation's heart. The
fires of patriotism were kindled. To become worthy of
citizenship, to take up, if need be, the battle for free-
dom and carry it onward to a victorious end, were
thoughts which in a certain way solemnized and digni-
fied our lives.
Then back to the school came men to take up anew
the class book, which they had dropped for the sword.
... I was one of the younger boys, and how honored
I felt to recite in the same classes and mingle in de-
bate with these war-worn and battle-begrimmed heroes.
It was, I say, not possible to be in touch with such an
environment without being uplifted by it. ...
It was in the midst of such scenes and amidst such
associations that my Eairfield days were passed. Then
I was too young to fight for my country, and now,
should the occasion arise, I am too old. So men come
and go, so we step from the stage, and another genera-
tion appears to act the same drama in which we have
taken part. Nothing is permanent but God and the
individual soul. 4
* Reunions of the PJiilorJietorean Society , p. 140, 141.
IN THE FALL of 1866, at the age of eighteen,
Mahlon Gilbert entered Hobart College. It was a great
event in his life, one to which he had long looked for-
ward with intense hope.
The journey of over one hundred miles was then
made by stage north to Utica, and thence westward by
the New York Central Railway, the road branching off
after a time to the south. Of the series of long, narrow
lakes, which give such distinction to central ISTew York,
one of the largest is Seneca. It extends north and south
over thirty miles, the greatest width being about three
miles. At the north end, the lake is two miles broad
and at the northwest "corner" lies "the fair village of
Geneva" (now an incorporated city), the seat of Hobart
College. The original college grounds included only
"the village lot on which stands Geneva Hall," but now
the college owns over fifteen acres, on the west rising
toward "The Eidge," and on the east sloping down, with
fair prospect, to the lake.
HOBART COLLEGE 39
The college which Mahlon's parents had chosen was
naturally one under the care of their own Church. It
was not a large institution, but it was one with a broad
outlook and high standard, and had already educated
a large number of able and distinguished men. Of its
foundation, a recent graduate, a Presbyterian clergy-
man, has given a sympathetic and impartial nar-
Hobart College was the joint product of a theo-
logical seminary and a village academy, united in a
true chemical compound in which the characteristics
of both elements were lost in a totally new creation.
The agent which brought about this singular, if not
unique, combination was a dash of rare genius on the
part of a small group of men providentially at hand.
Educational beginnings at Geneva are lost in the
"backward abysm" of time, but within thirteen years
of the close of the Revolutionary War, a public Acad-
emy had been established in the new community on the
shore of Seneca Lake. In 1813 this institution was
incorporated under the Eegents of the State of New
York, and among those who are named as contributors
to the Academy are found eight who formed [twelve
years later] a part of the original Board of Trustees
for Geneva College. . . .
Two qualities exhibited by the founders strike one
as being remarkable. These two things are: 1, Their
religious catholicity; 2, the breadth and originality of
their educational policy. The college was founded
under ecclesiastical auspices and its sponsors were
zealous Churchmen. Yet nothing could be broader or
40 MARLON NORRIS GILBERT
more catholic than the spirit in which its purposes
and regulations were adopted. 1
The "theological seminary" which was combined
with Geneva Academy to form Geneva College, was
originally a foundation in connection with !Fairfield
Academy. The transfer from Fairfield to Geneva was
planned by Bishop Hobart, and in time the College
came to bear his name. Its first class was graduated
in 1826. 2
When Mahlon entered Hobart, the Rev. Dr. Abner
Jackson was President, and Professor of Christian Evi-
dences. He was a man of marked ability, and soon
after became President of Trinity College, Hartford.
Other members of the faculty were : Rev. Dr. William
Dexter Wilson (Philosophy and History) ; Rev. Dr.
Kendrick Metcalf (Latin and Rhetoric) ; John Towler,
M.D. (Modern Languages, Mathematics, Natural Phil-
osophy, and Chemistry a Master of Arts of St. John's
1 Hobart College, by Louis Matthews Sweet, M.A., '92, In The
University Magazine, July, 1907, pp. 1, 5, 6.
2 Among the noted Alumni are: "Father Gear," pioneer Episcopal
Missionary of Minnesota ; Senator Doolittle of Wisconsin ; Hon.
Charles James Folger ; Bp. Neeley of Maine ; Bp. Paret of Maryland ;
Bp. Welles of Wisconsin ; Bp. Worthington of Nebraska ; Bp. Brewer
of Montana ; Bp. Graves of Kearney ; Bp. Wells of Spokane ; Bp. Mann
of North Dakota ; Bp. Hale of Springfield ; Bp. Graves of Shanghai ;
Dr. Wm. Watts Folwell, President of the University of Minnesota ;
Rev. Dr. Geo. Williamson Smith, President of Trinity College ; Rev.
Dr. Charles A. Poole, of Seabury Divinity School ; Rev. Dr. Max L.
Kellner, of the Cambridge Theological School ; Rev. Dr. Alexander Mann,
Rector of Trinity Church, Boston. Among the notable non-graduates
are : Gov. Horatio Seymour ; Dr. Andrew D. White, President of Cornell
University ; Rev. Dr. Austin Phelps, and the Rev. Dr. Wm. C. Winslow.
Many other names of high distinction could be added.
HOBART COLLEGE 41
College, Cambridge, England, he was evidently quali-
fied to teach, anything) ; Albert Sproull Wheeler
(Greek) ; Rev. Dr. Francis Thayer Russell (Rhetoric
and Elocution) ; Rev. Dr. Pelham Williams, Chaplain.
There still stand side by side, on the broad main
street, three substantial stone buildings which belong
to Bishop Gilbert's time : Geneva Hall, erected in 1822 ;
Trinity Hall, in 1837, and St. John's Chapel, of Early
English style, completed in 1863. Some other build-
ings were then in use which time and fire have since
destroyed. One was the venerable structure known va-
riously as "Polydromous," "Jan's House," or the "Old
Gym." Another was the "Middle Building," used for
library, offices, and recitation rooms. A third was the
large "Medical Building" which stood on the lake-side
of Main Street. 3
The Class of 1870, which Mahlon entered, num-
bered twenty-two students, of whom only thirteen com-
pleted the course. In this class were seven who be-
came Episcopal clergymen, seven who studied law, and
two who became physicians. William Keith Brooks,
who removed to Williams College, became a prominent
scientist ; Walter 3STorth and Charles Henry Smith have
been since 1875 rectors of large churches in Buffalo;
Cameron Mann is Bishop of North Dakota. In the
Senior Class, always a group of great and awful dignity
3 From 1834 to 1872 there was a College of Medicine which for a
long time was in flourishing condition and graduated over 600
42 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
to a Freshman, were three men whose fathers were, or
were soon to become, Bishops Southgate, Neely, and
Bissell and one who himself became a Bishop Lem-
uel H. Wells. In all there were about eighty students,
enough to assist in a young man's education.
The curriculum was chiefly of required studies, but
it had long since passed beyond the conventional "Latin,
Greek, and Mathematics," for it included the modern
Languages and History, and something of Natural Sci-
ence. While the flexibility of the Elective System was
lacking, there was present a balance of studies which
the Elective System has often missed. Mahlon's clas-
sical training had been encouraged by both his rector
and the rector's wife. Mrs. Tuttle had tutored Mahlon
faithfully in Latin, and all who know Bishop Tuttle's
happy facility in quoting the classics, notably Horace,
will understand how strongly his influence would com-
mend a classical education. Bishop Gilbert did not
become an erudite scholar, but he was always a ready
student and an ardent reader and lover of learning.
At Hobart, as at many favored colleges, a wonder-
fully subtle and inspiring element in the student's
education is simply living where Nature has done so
much to elevate and charm. The Hobart alumnus
cited above has given an attractive picture of the
"Campus" and its setting :
None of us can ever think of the college without
calling to mind that noble row of buildings on Main
Street, the broad campus in the rear, the observatory at
HOBART COLLEGE 43
one corner, flanked by whispering evergreens at the
other, the grove, with the wooded ridge of the "dream"
closing in the western view, the broad opening across
the street eastward, the steep plunge of the terrace to
the edge of old Seneca, which on a misty day seemed
as illimitable as the sea, changing with every change
"' of earth and sky. Building, and street, campus and
trees and far-stretching fields, lake, hills, sky, .and
water all blend into one picture with the splendor of
the park and the inimitable memories of one's only
college life resting upon it. 4
In most of our American colleges one strong in-
fluence, both social and educational, is the Greek Letter
Fraternity. 6 There are several societies, designated by
two or three letters of the Greek alphabet, which are
represented at various colleges, the local society being
usually called a "Chapter." Through the influence of
their alumni, who usually continue their interest after
graduation, these fraternities have attained a remark-
able prestige in college life. As a rule, the faculty
and trustees look upon them with favor, and give them
both oversight and encouragement. In some colleges
the fraternities take in part a literary character and
uniformly they aim not only to give comradeship and
a college home, but to develop good manners and bring
out in every member, in scholarship, or oratory, or
athletics, the best there is in him.
* Louis Matthews Sweet, University Magazine, July, 1907, pp. 12, 15.
5 A good description will be found in the article, "College Frater-
nities," in the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia, Britannica,
Vol. XI., p. 40, 41.
44 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
At Hobart College two well-known fraternities,
Alpha Delta Phi and Sigma Phi, were established in
1840. Kappa Alpha followed in 1844, but withdrew
from 1854 to 1879. In 1857 the Xi Charge of Theta
Delta Chi was established, and to this fraternity
Mahlon Gilbert was pledged before he came to Hobart.
Theta Delta Chi had been founded in 1848 at Union
College, and had established chapters known as
"Charges" at Bowdoin, Tufts, Brown, Harvard, Ken-
yon, William and Mary, the University of Virginia,
and several other colleges, North and South. The
Civil War, which broke out in 1861, put an end to sev-
eral of the Charges. At Hobart a majority of the ac-
tive members enlisted, three becoming officers in the
United States Volunteers, and six entering the service
of the Confederate States, brother against brother. Of
the Class of 1863 no less than four "Theta Belts"
fought on the Confederate side. With the loss of so
many members, the Hobart Charge of Theta Delta Chi
seemed near its end. How it was saved is told by the
Rev. Lewis Halsey, of the Class of 1868, in an article
"In Memoriam," written soon after the death of Bishop
Gilbert, which gives many interesting particulars of
his college life.
At this crisis two loyal fraters of former days sent
to save the Xi two students who were easily among
the best men in college Mahlon N. Gilbert and
Eichard R Cornell. . . . This was the beginning of
the renaissance of the Xi. . . .
Mahlon N. Gilbert, though a freshman, and without
HOBART COLLEGE , 45
extravagant tastes or means to gratify them, was at
once recognized as a man. He was popular among his
classmates and with the professors. Somewhat bashful
and never obtrusive, he was always ready to do his
part and to give his opinion, with the generous self-
f orgetfulness and kindly sympathy which ever win the
hearts of men.
He came to college an unsophisticated country boy,
ready to trust any effusive friend, and to think others
as truthful as himself. Here his fraternity helped
him, shielding him from unpleasant experience, in-
structing him in the ways of the college world. He
was an apt scholar, yet happily retained his love for
and sympathy with his fellow men, which gave him
such power and success in his ministry.
While in college, he roomed in old "Number
Twenty," Geneva Hall, for years the headquarters of
Theta Delta Chi. . . .
He was no ascetic, but loved manly sports and
genial companionship, yet was a man who knew no
guile. He was pure in heart. I believe that during
his college life he would have been willing for his
mother to have heard his every word, and for his
father to have seen his every act. I know of no
severer test of a student's Christianity and self-
There is no record, so far as known, of Mahlon's
distinguishing himself in intercollegiate athletic con-
tests. At that time such contests were only beginning
to come into prominence, and more attention was given
to the prosaic matter of routine studies. However,
8 The SMeld of Tlieta Delta CM, June, 1900, pp. 121, 122.
46 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Mahlon's nephew, Mr. Edwin E. Carpenter, remembers
his uncle as "a great athlete. I have seen him jump
up to an apple-tree bough and pull himself up thirteen
times in succession. When a freshman in college, he
had his shoulder put out of joint in a 'rush.' He had
stood off half the sophomore class when he happened
to fall over the root of a tree, and injured the shoulder.
Quite by accident, also, they pulled the shoulder into
place again." Another friend remembers that once,
when being "hazed," Gilbert received a severe wetting,
which led to a fearful cold. This may have been the
beginning of his breakdown in health. It was in the
middle of Sophomore year that his college course, which
he was enjoying so intensely, and using so profitably,
was suddenly cut short by a severe hemorrhage of the
lungs, which threatened to cut short his life also.
In great disappointment, yet with that brave heart
which never left him, young Gilbert went at once to
Florida, apparently hoping against hope for recovery
in that mild climate. But his friends and family
soon received favorable messages, and his condition im-
proved so much that he was able, while in the South,
to act as tutor in a private family. After two years
he returned home in fair health, but it was evident
that it would be imprudent for him to remain in ISTew
York. With great reluctance he abandoned the hope
of completing his college course. His classmate, Bishop
Mann, wrote of this time :
He mourned over the separation from his friends.
HOBART COLLEGE 47
He was back in Geneva on a visit at the Commence-
ment when his class, the Class of 1870, graduated, and
it was with a pang that he saw them receive their
degrees. I well remember how, only a year or so ago,
he said to me, "I never came nearer crying in my
life than when I saw all you fellows go up to take
your diplomas, and knew there was none there for
His college, however, did not forget him, and in
due time, on three distinct occasions, conferred upon
him well-merited degrees : in 1880, M.A. ; in 1886,
S.T.D. ; and in 1895, LLID. On his frequent visits
to his Alma Mater he was welcomed with more than
formal honors, and his affection for his college and his
college friends was strong unto the end.
Tbiti, p. 118.
LIFE IN UTAH.
IN THE AUTUMN of 1870, Mahlon Gilbert made
a hazard of new fortunes, and set out for the far western
frontier, a region rough and comfortless, with a singular
civilization, or lack of civilization, such as the world will
not see again. Three forces led him thither : the search
for health, the pioneer spirit in his blood, and his affec-
tion for his former rector, Daniel Sylvester Tuttle, then
Missionary Bishop of Montana, "with jurisdiction in
Idaho and Utah." Bishop Tuttle had been consecrated
to the episcopate in 1867 and was making his home
in Salt Lake City. In bidding Mahlon good-bye he
had said, "You will come out and work with me some
day." The answer was simply, "Write me when you
reach the West." The Bishop did write, and every
letter increased the boy's desire to follow his' friend to
the land of pioneers.
When Bishop Tuttle took charge of his immense
jurisdiction of 340,000 square miles in the summer of
1867, he saw quickly that the Church's greatest oppor-
LIFE IN UTAH 49
tunity for useful service was in Utah. Just twenty
years before, Brigham Young had led to this region a
weary company of Mormon pioneers, seeking a land
where they might, "live their religion/ 7 that is, practise
polygamy, unmolested. As they looked down from a
height upon the fertile valley of Salt Lake they felt
that they had come to their promised land. "Drive
on, down into the valley," said their leader. "This is
our abiding place! I have seen it in a vision. Here
will be built the city of the Saints, and the Temple of
our God." There was much that was patriarchal in
the life and religion of these "Latter-Day Saints" ;
there was much that was patriarchal in their morals.
With his fair, sagacious mind, Bishop Tuttle was
quick to see both the good and the bad mingled in
Mormonism. He noted their religious devotion, their
missionary zeal, but he pronounced the system "a
desperately, hideously, growingly strong institution."
Accordingly he made Salt Lake City, let us not say
his see, but his headquarters, and his home. In that
Mormon stronghold, fairly and fearlessly he began his
work and was soon recognized as "a consistent antag-
onist," an opponent of the Mormon faith, a friend of
the Mormon people.
Up to this time the non-Mormon, or "Gentile,"
element in Utah had been a negligible quantity. It
included perhaps a thousand soldiers, stage-drivers,
merchants, bankers, 'United States officials. Brigham
Young was no longer Governor of the Territory, but
50 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
he was still the autocrat of Mormonism. A single Con-
gregationalist missionary, an army chaplain, had
preached a few times in a hall in Salt Lake City and
established a Sunday school; but for three years the
only non-Mormon services held in Utah were those of
the Episcopal Church.
From the first Bishop Tuttle saw that his greatest
opportunity to uplift the community, both Mormon and
G-entile, would be through parish schools. An excellent
work was begun at once in Salt Lake City, and in 1870
Mahlon Gilbert was invited to take charge of a parish
school in Ogden, thirty-five miles to the north. He was
now a young man of twenty-two years, anxious to be
of use in the world, and doubly glad to undertake work
for the Church and for the Bishop whom he loved so
It was a time of transition in the land of the
Saints. Only the year before, two great railways the
Union Pacific and the Central Pacific had been com-
pleted, meeting at Ogden. Soon after, a line was built
from Ogden to Salt Lake City. The seclusion, which
had fostered the growth of Mormonism, was at an end,
and its adherents were forced to adapt themselves to
The coming of the railways had made Ogden a
town of importance, and Bishop Tuttle planned at
once for a church and school. In July 1870, the Rev.
James L. Gillogly came from the East, with his bride,
and began a faithful and fruitful work, which con-
LIFE IN UTAH 51
tinued eleven years, till his death. Of Mr. Gillogly,
Bishop Tuttle writes, "The influence of his patient and
sturdy devotion to duty still widely and deeply en-
dures." A realistic picture of those early days is given
in A Sketch of 'the Women of Utah, written in 1891
by Mrs. Gillogly, and privately published. Ogden was
then a crude town of perhaps 4000 inhabitants, whose
homes were chiefly of adobe or of logs. Life among
the Mormons had both a pathetic and an amusing side.
Mr. Gillogly held his first church service in the
waiting room of the railway, "with trains passing back
and forth on both sides of us, and with talking, singing,
and swearing, plainly to be heard." Under the same
distracting conditions a Sunday school was founded.
After a few weeks, with a strong sense of relief, they
took possession of an old saloon building, of rough pine
boards, which they fitted up, as best they could, for
use as church and school.
In October, 1870, when Mahlon Gilbert arrived,
he found Mr. and Mrs. Gillogly living cosily in a
freight car which had kindly been placed at their dis-
posal by the agent of the Union Pacific Railroad. This
unique rectory had been fitted with small windows,
and was "divided into two apartments by a green
calico curtain." The agent's family was living near by
in a passenger car of great historic interest, for it was
the one which President Abraham Lincoln had used
on some of his journeys, and which later served as his
52 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
The Gilloglys gave tlie young Mr. Gilbert a hearty
welcome, and proved most helpful and inspiring
friends. During his two years stay in Ogden he
boarded with them most of the time, and always looked
upon their home as his own. The School of the Good
Shepherd, which had been founded a month before
by Mr. Gillogly, was placed in his charge, and he
proved to be an admirable schoolmaster. It was a day
school, such as the community needed, and was a suc-
cess from the start. It began with thirteen pupils,
chiefly from "Gentile" homes, and increased soon to
fifty or sixty. For a time, the Mormon element made
strong opposition; windows were broken, and children
frightened, "but in time they found that we intended
to do them no harm, and became very friendly."
In 1871, Mr. John D. Wolfe of New York, sent
money to buy a large lot, on which was a deserted
adobe tannery. This building was remodeled, and was
used for church and school for several years. The same
summer, two sisters from JSTew York, the Misses Croch-
eron, offered their services as teachers, without salary.
By their labors and influence they accomplished much
good, not only among the children, but also in their
Mr. Gilbert's work as teacher is summed up by
Bishop Tuttle in a sentence, "His earnest, genial, sym-
pathetic ways gave the school the best possible sort of
start." For twenty-five years, the School of the Good
Shepherd did a noble and unselfish work, until the
LIFE IN UTAH 53
establishment of excellent free schools in Ogden made
it no longer needed.
In the summer of 1871, Mahlon spent a part of
his vacation at Bishop Tuttle's home in Salt Lake City.
Later he accompanied the Bishop on his visitation in
the Montana district, a long and perilous ride by stage.
Over 500 miles they journeyed, night and day, chang-
ing horses every fifteen or sixteen miles, at times across
the desert, and again among the canyons, or over the
mountains. One incident has been preserved in Bishop
Gilbert's own words :
We were traveling one night along the Port Neuf
River, in Idaho. Of the four who were in the stage I
was the only one awake. Suddenly the coach gave a
lurch and over we went. We rolled over twice, and
then stopped on the bank of the river. There we were,
all mixed up together, luggage and all. In the begin-
ning I had been on top, but now, after revolving inside
the coach twice, I was underneath. Bishop Tuttle
was on top of me, and seeing the horses struggling to
get free, he tried to free himself also, and in so doing
used my cheek for a springboard. This was the only
injury I received from the whole adventure. I believe
Bishop Tuttle still tells bow once "be trod bis clergy
in the dust!" We finally extricated ourselves, walked
twelve miles to a ranch, and from thence we continued
our journey in a lumber box- wagon. 1
Much of the wild country through which they
journeyed was dangerous on account of Indians, and it
1 The Rev. Anthon T. Gesner, in the Parish Visitor, of St. Peter's
Church, St. Paul, June, 1896, p. 2. Bishop Tuttle's account of the
incident is given in his Reminiscences, pp. 94, 95.
54 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
was necessary always to be prepared for an attack.
Some of the services held by the Bishop and his young
assistant remind one of early days in New England,
when, as the men came into church, they would stack
their arms in a corner, to be ready for the Indians in
This summer trip with Bishop Tuttle ended at
Deer Lodge, Montana, a rough mining town, which
strangely enough was to become Mahlon Gilbert's first
During these two years his health had steadily im-
proved. Bishop Tuttle writes, "In the Rocky Mount-
ains, my own family physician, Dr. John B. Hamilton,
pointed out to him the way of escape from the clutches
of his malady, in open-air life, and much courting of
the sunlight." It was a wise prescription, and the
patient showed its good effect.
SEABUBY DIVINITY SCHOOL.
THE CALL to become a minister of Christ's
Church came to Mahlon Gilbert while yet a child. The
strong religious atmosphere of his home, the missionary
spirit of Zion Church, the direct appeal of his rector,
the Rev. Mr. Foote, all made him regard the clergyman's
office as the highest vocation in life. The friendship
of Bishop Tuttle confirmed this feeling. In after years
Bishop Gilbert said to one of his clergy, "I'd rather be
the poorest minister in the hardest field than be at the
head of any other profession."
For years he had kept this purpose quietly before
him. For a time illness and uncertainty blocked the
way, and a fainter heart would have lost hope and
turned aside to other plans. That natural leadership
among men which he had shown in school and college,
had served him well ; he had mastered his own soul, and
with unwavering trust in God had taken up that work
which would best help him forward to the desired end.
Tested and made strong by sickness and disappoint-
56 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
ment, proved by earnest and successful service in a
trying field, he now thought himself "truly called, ac^
cording to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ ... to the
Order and Ministry of Priesthood." With that utter
self-forgetfulness which marked all his ministry, he
began the study for Holy Orders, not thinking in this
way to achieve distinction, but hoping thus to serve
best both God and man.
In the fall of 1872, at the age of twenty-four, Mr.
Gilbert entered the Junior Class of Seabury Divinity
School for a three years' course of study. He was thus
brought into close connection with the Diocese of Min-
nesota, which he was to serve so long and so well.
Seabury Divinity School, at Faribault, Minnesota,
is one of several institutions founded by the Rev. Dr.
James Lloyd Breck, the Church's devoted, and pictur-
esque, and somewhat eccentric pioneer. He had come
from JSTashotah in 1850, and after laying foundations
in St. Paul and vicinity, had labored with great self-
denial among the Chippewa Indians. In 1858, Dr.
Breck began work at Faribault, fifty miles south of St.
Paul, and soon established a group of schools to which
he gave the hopeful name of "Bishop Seabury Uni-
versity." This was before the coming of Bishop
Whipple. When the Bishop made his first visitation
to Faribault in 1860, the warm welcome given him by
the men of the town, and "the prospect for the establish-
ment of Church schools," led him to choose Faribault
for his see and his home. Under his wise and inspir-
SEABUR7 DIVINITY SCHOOL 57
ing guidance, there was incorporated that same year
the "Bishop Seabury Mission," taking the place of the
"University." From this foundation both Seabury
Divinity School and Shattuck Military School for Boys
were developed; in 1866 Bishop Whipple himself
founded St. Mary's Hall for Girls. 1
The spirit of the early days of Seabury Divinity
School is shown in the character of its founders, Dr.
Breck and Dr. Solon W. Manney, Churchmen of in-
tense earnestness and devotion. The students called
them "Dr. Rubrics" and "Dr. Canon." The opening
words of Dr. Manney's will, written in 1869 upon his
deathbed, reveal the man:
Being unexpectedly called to leave this world for
another, I declare that I die in the Catholic Faith, as
set forth by the Nicene Fathers. I commit my soul to
the mercy of the Saviour who died for me.
Bishop Whipple's high ideal for Seabury is set
forth in his Council address of 1873 :
It has been my wish to train up men whose faith
should be firm as the eternal truths of the Catholic
Creed, and whose love and charity should be as broad
as the Church is broad.
I do not want, and, God helping me, will not have
here a training school for any party. I love all who
love Christ. In these times we want men who know
what they believe, and in their love for Christ will
labor to bring back unity and peace to our divided
1 See Bishop Whipple's Lights and Shadows of a Long Episcopate,
Chapters VI., XVII.
58 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Christendom. . . . We must preach, the old apostolic
sermons; we must tell of a real king and a real king-
dom; we must show men a real brotherhood; we must
measure all things by the love and faith we have in
Christ. . . .
The West needs clergy of a peculiar type of char-
acter. There is a freedom here from social restraints
that brings out in clear outline every man's individ-
uality; every man speaks out his inner thoughts; he
lives his life open to the eye of others; the skeptic
states his doubts and unbelief without apology. Infi-
delity has a teacher in every man who has cast God
out of his creed. The challenge to our faith is even
bolder, because its advocate is only half-taught in his
unbelief. We need men who understand these social
problems. . . . Our teachers must be thoroughly ac-
quainted with every phase of modern thought, and de-
fend God's truth against all falsehood.
Seabury has kept close to this wise plan and this
broad and high spirit. As a rule, her graduates have
been true Churchmen, earnest in purpose and of high
character, willing to serve faithfully in high or in low
places, as it has pleased God to point the way. Many
Seabury men are in eastern parishes, but the majority
have found their work in the great West, for whose
needs the School was especially founded. It was be-
cause Seabury had this aim and this spirit that Bishop
Tuttle was glad to have his candidate come here for
his theological education.
When Mahlon Gilbert entered Seabury the School
had only fourteen years of history, and had graduated
SEABURY DIVINIT7 SCHOOL 59
only twenty men, but among them were several of un-
usual ability and promise. The Church remembers with
deep affection such apostolic men as George B. Whip-
pie, Solomon S. Burleson, and William Jason Gold.
The Warden of the School, when Mr. Gilbert began
his course, was the Rev. Dr. Thomas Richey, who was
also Professor of Ecclesiastical History. Dr. Richey
was afterwards called to the same chair in the General
Theological Seminary in New York City, and was well-
known as an able teacher and author. His churchman-
ship was of the "advanced" type. In 1874 the Rev.
Dr. George L. Chase became Warden and Professor of
Homiletics. Dr. Chase was a man of artistic tempera-
ment and gentlemanly bearing, and his influence was
strong for good. He was regarded "an ideal Warden."
The Rev. Dr. John Steinfort Kedney, a man of
rare qualities of mind and heart, had recently entered
upon his long and illustrious term of service as Pro-
fessor of Divinity. Dr. Kedney was a profound
scholar; as a metaphysician he had no superior in the
American Church, and was a valued member of the
Concord Summer School of Philosophy. His numerous
volumes of theology, ethics, and aesthetics, might some-
times give pause to the reader, but his sermons were
simple in language and style. 2 His influence upon the
2 A member of the Cathedral congregation once asked him, "Doc-
tor, why don't you use as simple language in your books as you do
in your sermons?" Dr. Kedney replied, "The language of my books
is the technical vocabulary which every student of theology must
60 MAELON NORRIS GILBERT
School and upon the Clrarcli has been of inestimable
value and inspiration.
Bishop Whipple himself lectured on the Pastoral
Office; and Dr. Stirling Y. McMasters, rector of
Christ Church in St. Paul, was lecturer on Apologetics.
Rev. George C. Tanner, a graduate of the first class
(1860), was Professor of New Testament Exegesis and
The faculty was strengthened in 1873 by the coming
of the Rev. William Jason Gold, who became Adjunct
Professor of Exegesis. Afterwards he was Professor
at Racine College, and at the Western Theological
Seminary in Chicago. Dr. Gold is remembered as "a
well-balanced theologian and a saint."
It was a group of teachers of noble character and
unusual ability, whose impress showed itself on many
able graduates of this period. Bishop Millspaugh of
Kansas; Daniel Theodore Booth, for many years rec-
tor at Willmar ; William Henry Knowlton, now Dean of
the Mankato Convocation; and Edward Clark Bill,
afterwards Professor of Liturgies and Homiletics, 4
were all seniors when Mr. Gilbert entered the School.
A prominent member of his own class (18Y5) was
8 At the present time, Dr. Tanner, the venerable and the beloved,
after years of notable service at Shattuck and St. Mary's, has returned
to Seabury to teach once more Liturgies and Greek.
4 Dr. Bill was for many years Precentor of the Cathedral in
Faribault. He was a preacher of unusual directness and power. In a
memorial volume published in 1892, Bishop Gilbert and others give
rare tributes to Ms ability and his worth.
SEABUR7 DIVINITY SCHOOL 61
the genial George H. Davis, a man greatly respected
and beloved. After many years of noble service at
Brainard and Mankato, Dr. Davis returned in 1905
to the Divinity School and until his death, two years
later, filled the office of Warden with high accepta-
Another Seabury friend, and closest of all, was
Charles Augustus Poole, of the Class of 1876, Professor
of Divinity since 1888. Dr. Poole was a Hobart grad-
uate, a member of Gilbert's fraternity, and their friend-
ship was unwavering unto the end.
Dean Knowlton, who was a senior when Mr.
Gilbert came, and gave instruction in certain classes
for some time after graduation, contributes the follow-
ing recollections of his friend during the years spent
I knew him most intimately, for I roomed with
him for three years, all the time he was here. I was
then in charge of the "temporalities" at Seabury, and
happened to be at the railway station in the fall of
1872, when I saw a young man who seemed to be a
stranger. I asked him what place he wanted to find.
He answered, "Seabury." There was something about
him that made me "take to him" at once. Seabury
happened to be full, so I took him to my own room.
Mr. Gilbert wore a full beard at this time, as he
did through all his ministry. His height was about five
feet, ten inches; and he was as straight as an arrow,
with square shoulders.
At this time Shattuck School and Seabury were still
closely united in administration, and the then Seabury
62 MAHLON NORRI8 GILBERT
Hall stood on the present Shattuck grounds, not far
from the edge of the bluff. When we were at morning
service at the Cathedral on Thanksgiving Day of 1872,
word came that Seabury Hall was on fire. We hurried
from the church, and ran across the bridge, up the hill
to Seabury so fast that the exertion on my part brought
on a severe hemorrhage, and I could do nothing to
help. At my request Gilbert took command and led
in the work of saving as much as possible from the
lower floor. He was always a leader.
The fire proved to be a blessing, for it led to the
separation of the two schools, and the present Seabury
Hall was soon begun on the grounds a mile to the
south, where Dr. Breck had built his "Mission House"
a dozen years before. For a few weeks Gilbert and I
were taken in by Col. Robert Scott, Commandant at
Shattuck; but after Christmas the Trustees rented a
hotel, and there Gilbert roomed with Byrde until Sea-
bury was complete.
On Thanksgiving Day, 1873, just a year after the
fire, the Divinity School took possession of the new
Seabury Hall with great rejoicing, and this anniversary
has been kept ever since as a special School Day.
Gilbert and I chose rooms facing the Campus, on the
second floor, at the head of the stairs on the right.
Our study is room No. 30 to-day; his bedroom was
No. 29, and mine No. 31.
Gilbert was a diligent student. As a matter of con-
science he studied hard at Hebrew and did fairly well;
but he was particularly interested in Church History,
and History generally. He was as well informed in the
general history of the world as any man I ever met.
While in the School he went out occasionally as a
lay-reader; but he was not strong enough to do much
SEABUR7 DIVINITY SCHOOL 63
work outside. I well remember that after the great
storm of '73 we thought we would make a visit to
JSTorthfield; but by the time we reached Barreltown the
sleigh had tipped over seven times, and we were glad
to turn back.
Gilbert was always orderly, and neat in his clothing.
He was unselfish to a fault. I can't imagine his doing
a mean thing.
The city of Faribault, with its various well-known
institutions, must not go undescribed, for it is in many
ways unique. On the west side of the so-called Straight
River, which winds leisurely along from south to north,
lies the business and residence part of the town, with
the Court House, Cathedral, and other churches of
various communions. On the east side, along the
bluffs which rise above the river, are situated on ample
and beautiful grounds no less than seven flourishing
schools. Three of these are State Schools, for the Deaf,
the Blind, and the Defective, now occupying large and
well-planned buildings of great number and variety,
and having over 1500 pupils. Here are also four pros-
perous schools, of quite different character, under the
care of the Episcopal Church, with large stone build-
ings of dignified architecture : Shattuck Military School
for Boys ; St. Mary's Hall for Girls ; Seabury Divinity
School ; and the new St. James' School for little boys
a group of remarkable institutions, with noble history,
and noble promise for the future.
The Seabury Campus has perhaps the greatest
natural beauty; it comprises over twenty-five well-
64 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
wooded acres, bordered on two sides by deep ravines
a quiet academic retreat. The scenery around !Fari-
bault is of varied character and of great natural beauty.
To the west there is rolling prairie with a number of
large lakes; to the east there is a series of hills from
which one gains wonderfully picturesque views of the
city, the schools, and the open country far beyond.
Amid such surroundings, with inspiring teachers
and helpful companions, the three years of theological
study passed quickly, bringing much conscious progress
in education, and much unconscious development and
growth. It seems just to say that those who knew him
at this time expected of Mahlon Gilbert good things
rather than great. One schoolmate, who knew him
then and later most intimately, says, "I was so close to
him that I could never quite appreciate or understand
his great success. He deserved everything that came to
him, but it was not because of qualities which usually
bring greatness supreme ability of intellect or ad-
ministration. He was great in other ways."
The writer's conviction is that much of Mahlon
Gilbert's greatness lay in his marvellous capacity for
friendship, and his consequent power to inspire and
bless. In his preaching, in his conversation, he knew
how to appeal to the best in his hearers, lifting them
up to the presence of God, revealing to them the Divine
Friendship through his own warm and glowing heart.
The record of his ministry will be the simple story of
"a man who never thought of himself," "a man who
SEABURT DIVINITY SCHOOL 65
never did a mean thing," "a man greatly loving, a man
In the spring of 1875 the theological course was
completed, and on Friday June 18, Mr. Gilbert was
graduated from Seabury with the degree of Bachelor
On the following Sunday, June 20, the Fourth
Sunday after Trinity, at the Cathedral in Faribault,
Bishop Whipple ordained to the diaconate four mem-
bers of the graduating class. Two of these were candi-
dates for Orders from Minnesota George Henry Davis
and Israel Tremaine Osborne ; one was a Yale graduate,
Frank Whitney Blake, who died in October ; the fourth
was Mahlon Nbrris Gilbert, who was a candidate from
Bishop Tuttle's jurisdiction, but by his Bishop's re-
quest was ordained by Bishop Whipple.
Mr. Gilbert had spent the first long vacation during
his course at Seabury with his parents in Morris. The
second summer he spent in Minneapolis, assisting the
rector of Holy Trinity Church, the Rev. George L.
Chase. He now went east to visit his home again, and,
as it proved, to see his father for the last time. On
August 8, 1875, he preached in old Zion Church, with
many friends and relatives as interested hearers. Mor-
ris had always expected good things of him, and
through all his ministry he was warmly welcomed when-
ever he revisited his old home.
During this stay Mr. Gilbert joined the Masonic
66 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Fraternity, and continued an active Mason all his
In September he returned to the far West, to begin
his ministry under Bishop Tuttle, in Montana.
5 His record in Tienuderrah Lodge is : "E. A., July 20 ; P. C.,
Aug. 3 ; M. M., Aug. 17, 1875."
FIVE YEARS IN MONTANA.
WHEN Matthew Arnold was in America, his soul
was vexed with our geographical names. Many of
them seemed to him unmusical, unoriginal, unlovely.
Fortunately, in our Indian names we have a nomen-
clature which is original, varied, and musical, and Mr.
Arnold surely would have taken pleasure in the name
of the town to which Mahlon Gilbert now went Deer
Lodge, Montana a name uniting the historic and the
Bishop Tuttle had given Mr. Gilbert his choice of
Utah, Idaho, or Montana, for his work, and he had
chosen the last. At this time Montana was still a
Territory, for it was not admitted into the Union as a
State until 1889. It is in large part mountainous, as
the name suggests. Its area includes nearly 150,000
square miles, a vast region, at this time wild and
sparsely populated. In recent years its broad plains
have been occupied by prosperous farmers, but the first
settlers went to the mountains.
68 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Gold had been discovered in 1862, and, before the
Territorial Government was organized, prospectors hur-
ried in, forming settlements as rough and lawless as
those of early mining days in California. Langford's
Vigilante Days and Vigilante Ways gives a lifelike
picture of those rude and perilous times.
The Indians were still numerous and aggressive.
JNTot till 1876 did the United States Government try
seriously to put an end to Indian raid and slaughter.
In that year, brave General Ouster, with a small force,
was surprised and overwhelmed by thousands of Sioux
under the famous Sitting Bull ; but, soon after, General
Crook, Colonel Miles, and other United States officers
won a series of victories, which put an end to Indian
dominion in Montana.
It was, then, to the wildest of the American Fron-
tier that Mahlon Gilbert went in the fall of 1875.
Deer Lodge was a town of only 650 people, yet it was
one of the principal "cities" of the Territory. It was
a good field for one with a stout, warm heart and
sturdy common sense, who put little reliance upon the
dignity of his office, but went with a divine commission
as a man among men.
It was October first when Mr. Gilbert took charge
of St. James 7 Mission. There were at the time only
three other Episcopal clergymen in Montana Rev. E.
Gregory Prout, at Virginia City; Rev. Thomas E.
Dickey, at Bozeman; and Rev. Eugene L. Toy, at
Helena. In order that the work at Deer Lodge might
At the Age of 50
FIVE YEARS IN MONTANA 69
not suffer, the usual year of the diaconate was shortened,
in Mr. Gilbert's case, to less than four months ; and on
Sunday, October 17, 1875, at Deer Lodge, Bishop
Tuttle advanced him to the priesthood. Assisting in
the service were the Eev. E. L. Toy of Helena, and the
Kev. E. G. Prout of Virginia City, his presenter. A
class of nine was confirmed at this service. At this
time St. James' Mission had no church building of its
own, but used for its services a little log church belong-
ing to the Southern Methodists, and it was in this
humble building that the ordination took place.
On taking leave of Mr. Gilbert the Bishop said to
him, "I have put you in the hardest field I have." For
a man without a good share of Mr. Gilbert's qualifica-
tions it would have been a field, not only hard but im-
possible. To him it was the very place for brave and
unselfish service. He threw himself into the life of the
people in such a way as to help restrain every evil in-
fluence and help encourage every good one. He did
not make the mistake which some well-meaning clergy-
men make of trying in the wrong way "to get down to
the level" of their people, whether vicious or fashionable
or foolish ; but he had a message for all, the merchant,
the miner, the gambler, the saloon-keeper, and the com-
munity and the whole region soon learned to trust him
and to come to him for help in their perplexities and
sorrows and in their aspirations for better things.
When Bishop Tuttle made his next annual visita-
tion to Montana less than a year later he was delighted
70 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
with the progress which had been made in this field.
He writes :
At Deer Lodge I found Mr. Gilbert in his hired log
cabin. And young as he is, I found him an already
loved and trusted pastor. His committee (or quasi
vestry) are a Campbellite, a Presbyterian, a Baptist,
a Quaker, and an Unknown. But they all believe in
him, and are loyal to him. And this is the way our
mountain work is done. Everything at first depends
on the man. If the people like the Minister as a man,
and gather around him, then the step is taken on the
way that, under God the HOLY SPIRIT, will lead them
to be Churchmen and Churchwomen. If they do not
like the man, not much, humanly, can be done.
Mr. Gilbert gives one Sunday a month to Butte,
a vigorous mining town, forty miles distant. He may
want to build a church there by and by. Besides, he
looks after Blackfoot, and Philipsburgh, and Missoula,
and in fact all Deer Lodge and Missoula counties, a
region half as large as the State of New York. 1
The story of the building of St. James' Church at
Deer Lodge has been often told, and is well worth
telling. As the little congregation grew, the need of
a church building of their own had grown more urgent ;
besides the roof of the log church belonging to the
"Methodists South" had begun to leak. Years after,
Bishop Gilbert told how the deed was done. When he
came, there was a fund of about fifteen hundred dollars
for a church to be erected in memory of the Rev. IVCor-
rill Fowler, formerly in charge at Helena. By a fair
The Spirit of Missions^ November, 1876, p. 525, 526.
FIVE TEARS IN MONTANA 71
given by the "Ladies Aid Society" and by local sub-
scriptions, this fund had been increased so that there
was enough to build a wooden church, but Mr. Gilbert
was determined to have a church of stone. Plans were
made and the contract for the stone work was given at
"Where the rest of the money was to come from,"
said Bishop Gilbert, "I did not know. I watched the
church going up until the very last day, when they
were putting the roof on. The men must be paid the
next day, and there was only five dollars in the treas-
ury. So I went into the bank, and said to the cashier,
'Mr. Larabie, I need two thousand dollars to pay for
the rest of the work on the church. I will give you my
note, and pay you as soon as I can. I have no security
to offer, and I don't want to ask anyone to go on my
note. Will you do it?' He thought a moment and
replied, 'Mr. Gilbert, I will!' 'How much interest
will you charge me?' A funny look came over his
face, as he answered, 'Not one cent! A man who has
the cheek to ask a bank for two thousand dollars for
an indefinite period, without any security, deserves to
have it, without interest !'
"That fall the ladies had another fair, an honest
fair, without raffles or 'chances' of ,any kind (gambling,
I call it), and with what I raised by subscription, we
had the whole amount within ten days after the open-
ing of the church. When I walked into the bank and
paid back that two thousand dollars, I was the proudest
man in Montana." 2
2 Bishop Tuttle's Reminiscences, p. 376 ; The Parish Visitor, St.
Peter's Church, St. Paul, Minnesota, June, 1896.
72 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Tliis church is still standing. Its outside dimen-
sions are 28 by 58, and the steeple, above the square
tower, rises to a height of 56 feet. The local newspaper
of the day describes it as "a substantial 'and handsome
stone edifice, an ornament to the town." The inside
woodwork is "groined black walnut," and, "as some-
thing new in Montana, all the windows are of stained
glass." It was indeed for the time and place an achieve-
ment in architecture. Built in the Gothic style, it was
a message to the community, reminding many of
familiar churches in their old homes across the plains,
perhaps across the seas, churches of greater size and
beauty, yet of similar structure, and dedicated to the
worship of the same great and holy Name.
The cornerstone of the church was laid on Tuesday,
June 19, 1877, by Bishop Tuttle, in connection with
the "Fourth Annual Convocation of the Clergy and
Laity of the Missionary District of Montana, Idaho,
and Utah." All the Montana clergy were present, and
the Rev. R. M. Kirby had come all the way from Salt
Lake City with the Bishop, but no other delegates out-
side of Montana could attend. (The Convocation of
the preceding year had been held at Salt Lake City,
with none but Utah delegates in attendance. It was a
See of magnificent distances.) The opening service in
the new church was on the First Sunday in Advent,
1877. It was consecrated by Bishop Tuttle, on St.
James' Day, July 25, 1878, three months after Mr.
Gilbert had reluctantly closed his rectorship.
FIVE TEARS IN MONTANA 73
The military adventure which is alluded to by
Bishop Tuttle in the Introduction is thus told by Mr.
Gilbert in a lecture on "Life in Montana" which he
delivered a number of times in St. Paul and elsewhere,
but of which only imperfect reports are preserved.
In 1877 came the Nez Perces outbreak under the
famous Chief Joseph, and then I had a touch of Indian
warfare. General Howard had run the Indians out of
Idaho into Montana, and we thought they were going
to attack Deer Lodge, but they swung away to the
South of us and met the Seventh Infantry, about
350 men, under General Gibbon. This was August
7th. Soon after, we got the news that the soldiers had
been attacked and were likely to be destroyed. Two
companies were hastily formed to go to their relief. I
was in the second company. General Gibbon was in-
trenched 110 miles from Deer Lodge, and we made a
forced march, only to find that they had been relieved
by General Howard. We took the wounded back with
us to Deer Lodge, a slow and painful journey, while
the regulars pursued Chief Joseph and finally captured
him near the eastern boundary of Montana. 8
An incident of Mr. Gilbert's first visit to Butte
shows the primitive character of the time.
I remember well the first time I preached in Butte.
The service was held in Newkirk's saloon, which was
crowded. I learned afterward that the other saloons
were deserted for the time. The bar had been closed,
and boxes had been brought in, with planks resting on
them for seats. They were a rough-looking crowd, with
trousers tucked into their boots, and there were more
3 St. Paul Pioneer Press, March 3, 1895.
74 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
weapons in the congregation than the occasion war-
ranted ; but the responses were fervid, even if they were
not always well-timed. I preached them a sermon,
and there was more display of feeling than one could
well get in a civilized community. I know that I was
impressed myself, and so were the men ; but a few hours
afterward the saloon was running full blast, and the
town took on a new impetus in the way of noise, as
though it had been stimulated by having been through
the new experience of public worship.
After the service I didn't know where I was to sleep,
as the hotels were crowded. However, a man came up
to me and invited me to his cabin. There he showed
me a row of bunks, one above another, and I was glad
to turn in. We slept with the door open, as it was a
warm night, and after I had been asleep for some time
I woke up and saw a man enter. I inquired of him,
"What do you want?" "Oh, I saw the door open, so
I thought I would come in and sleep." In the morning
when I woke, there were no less than six men who had
seen the door open and had come in to find a bed.
It showed the hospitality of the people.
Once before a journey to the East, while leaving
Butte, a man came to Mr. Gilbert and handed him
$250, saying, "Take it, you'll need it." "Where did
you get it?" "Well, I'll tell you, Mr. Gilbert. It was
this way. I went down to one of the gambling houses,
where all the boys are, and said, 'Boys, Parson's going
away to-night to see his girl.' 'What parson's that?'
'Mr. Gilbert.' 'Well,' said one of them, 'Take that,'
and he wiped all the stakes off the board. That's how
I got it." In telling the incident, Mr. Gilbert said:
FIVE YEARS IN MONTANA 75
This touched me very much. Some people have
blamed me for being so friendly with gamblers and
worse; but I could never have got any hold on them
in any other way. I knew perfectly well, when I used
to hold services there on Sunday evenings, that four-
fifths of them were men from the saloons. They had
nowhere else to go. But I also know some of them
were awakened to a better life by coming to these
A letter bearing date of July 17, 1877, written from
Deer Lodge to one of the eastern Church newspapers,
shows Mr. Gilbert's feeling at the time with regard to
Ten years ago to-day Bishop Tuttle entered upon
his work in Virginia City. Very truly can it be said
of him that he has been "in journeyings often, in
perils of waters, in perils of robbers." The character
of the population in Montana has become materially
changed during these ten years; those reckless and
desperate characters whose lives were given to deeds of
violence have been replaced by law-loving and law-
abiding citizens. Homes have grown up, family life
has been developed, churches and schools are to be
found in almost every settlement. Of course there is
still a roughness and recklessness existing here far
different from what is to be found in the States, but
a change for the better is constantly going on.
In March, 1878, Mr. Gilbert was called to become
rector of St. Peter's Church in Helena, and consulted
his Bishop, to know what he would advise. His answer
was, "They have no church building in Helena, and I
think you should go and build one." Accordingly he
76 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
resigned his charge at Deer Lodge, and held his last
service as rector on Easter, April 21.
During his term of office the communicants of St.
James' Mission had increased from ten to thirty-nine;
he had presented twenty-four for confirmation at Deer
Lodge, and nine at Butte. The baptisms numbered
sixty-two and took place over a wide territory, and there
had been numerous marriages and burials. Parochial
statistics alone do not show the spirit of parish or par-
son, but in the light of other evidence these figures show
something of the untiring, earnest service of the ambas-
sador of Christ.
Before entering upon the new work, Mr. Gilbert
took a well-earned vacation, and visited his home in
Morris and other parts of the East. On July 14, 1878,
he held his first service as rector of St. Peter's Church
in Helena. Helena is the capital of Montana and its
chief city, its population at this time being about three
The city was then divided by a deep gulch called
"Last Chance." Some of the Church people lived on
the east side and some on the west, and they could not
agree where to build their church. On accepting the
invitation to become rector, Mr. Gilbert wisely insisted
that the congregation should agree upon a site for the
church, and as Bishop Tuttle had already secured a lot
on the east side, that seemed the natural place.
As before, Mr. Gilbert wished to build with endur-
ing stone. He had seen in Grand Kapids a church,
FIVE TEARS IN MONTANA 77
costing only five thousand dollars, which suited him
well, and hoped to build one like it. Accordingly plans
were drawn and bids were asked for its construction,
but the lowest sum named proved to be $14,000. Mr.
Gilbert with good courage clung to his ideal. The plans
were simplified until $10,000 was fixed upon as the
cost; friends came to his assistance, as usual, and the
work went forward.
The Helena Daily Herald of May 5, 1879, gives
the following particulars of the laying of the corner-
On Saturday afternoon, the 3rd inst., the corner-
stone of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, corner Warren
and Edwards streets, was laid with appropriate cere-
monies, by the Grand Lodge of Montana, A. E. and
A. M., conducted by the M. W. G. M., John Stedman.
There was a good turn out of the fraternity, and a
large number of citizens witnessed the ceremony. A
short but impressive oration was delivered by the able
pastor of the church, the Rev. M. N. Gilbert. . ...
The dimensions of the building are 34x60 feet,
with a seating capacity of 250, and recess and chancel
in rear for pulpit, choir, and vestry. It will be 28 feet
from the floor to the ceiling. . . . Stained glass for
all the windows is now en route.
The work of building progressed so rapidly that on
Sunday, October 19, of the same year, the opening
service was held in the new church. A good report is
given in the Helena Daily Herald of October 20 :
The house was filled to overflowing. The Rev.
M. N. Gilbert, rector of the parish, assisted by the
78 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Rev. E. G. Prout, of Virginia City, conducted the
services. Mr. Gilbert preached the sermon, and took
for his text: Genesis, 12th chapter and 8th verse,
"And there he builded an altar unto the Lord, and
called upon the name of the Lord," and the first verse
of the 122nd Psalm, "I was glad when they said unto
me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." The ser-
mon was able and listened to with undivided attention.
The argument was to show that in all ages and among
all people the religious sentiment existed, and found
expression in some form of worship, and that from the
simple altar on which sacrifices were laid and around
which the worshippers knelt in the early ages of the
world to the present day, some kind of structure was
erected for the accommodation of the people and dedi-
cated to the worship of the God or superior power in
which they believed. As people grew in knowledge and
wealth, churches, temples, and cathedrals grew in
beauty and grandeur, and were dedicated to the liv-
ing God. After many years of hope and hard strug-
gles, the congregation were able to meet for the first
time in their beautiful building constructed by their
liberality, aided by that of other churches and the good
people of Helena, who were most heartily thanked.
Mr. Gilbert said after concluding the sermon, that
the church cost about $10,000 and was in debt about
$3,000, and when that was paid it would be formally
consecrated by Bishop Tuttle. It was against the laws
of the Episcopal Church to consecrate churches in debt.
The singing on this occasion was very fine. The
excellent choir was assisted by a portion of the Helena
silver cornet band. The anthems, "Heavenly Eather,
Sovereign Lord," by Earmer, and "Daughter of Zion,
Awake from thy Sadness," were performed exquisitely.
FIVE YEARS IN MONTANA 79
The noble chants, "Te Deum Laudamus" and Addison's
grand hymn, "The Spacious Firmament on High," etc.,
as executed, satisfied the ear of the most exacting. The
acoustic properties of the church are perfect. The
church edifice is the finest building, architecturally, in
This contemporary account is quoted at length, not
only for its general interest, but also for the report of
the sermon. Very few of Mr. Gilbert's sermons have
been preserved, but the accounts of his preaching pre-
served in such notices as this uniformly show his power
as a speaker. "Personal magnetism" was the phrase
in use a few years ago for the power to "grip an
audience" and hold them fast. Whatever it is called,
Mr. Gilbert was rapidly becoming a persuasive and an
inspiring preacher. "Undivided attention" was the
rule when he spoke. Direct, sincere, kindly, rapid in
utterance, carrying his hearers with him, he came to be
recognized more and more widely as a great speaker,
welcome and ready on any occasion to say the fitting
and the inspiring word.
The Lenten leaflets for St. Peter's Church for 1879
and 1880, show something of his custom at this time in
parish services. The rule for Sunday was, Morning
service at eleven, Sunday school at half past two, and
Evening service at seven. There is as yet no mention
of early Celebrations of the Holy Communion, and
there is daily service only in Holy Week. With fre-
quent services in various other towns, a daily service.
80 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
even in Lent, was out of the question. The chief Lenten
services were on Wednesday and Friday evenings, to
permit the attendance of the men of the parish. The
subject of the Wednesday lectures for 1879 is "Personal
Keligion" ; for 1880, "The Christian's Foes, and how to
fight them." The Friday lectures in both years are
on "The Church."
In the parochial report for the first year at Helena,
Mr. Gilbert notes that he has held occasional services
in Deer Lodge, Butte, Blackfoot, Fort Shaw, Jefferson,
and Unionville. He was thus still a missionary at large.
In his annual report for 1879, Bishop Tuttle as usual
comments on the work in various parts of his wide field :
Mr. Gilbert at Helena presented twenty-three to be
confirmed; and he is building a substantial "St. Peter's
Church" of stone, and hopes to occupy it in October.
And better, under God's blessing, he is building, with
wisdom and success, in this capital of Montana, the
spiritual structure of a strong, earnest, Churchly con-
gregation. All around about, also, along a radius of
one hundred miles and more, places and people call
upon him for Church services. I have therefore re-
solved, if possible, to secure an assistant for him. 4
This plan was soon put into operation, and for a
time the Rev. Slater C. Blackiston was "nominally
assistant minister of St. Peter's Church, Helena."
Practically, he was "missionary in a wide field," "travel-
ing over five hundred miles every month in the stage-
4 The Spirit of Missions, 1879, p. 423.
FIVE YEARS IN MONTANA 81
coach," making Helena "rather his point of departure"
than his home. 6
We are fortunate in having two letters, written from
Helena by Mr. Gilbert during his rectorship, which
describe vividly both the romantic and the dangerous
side of travel in the far west at this period.
To enter a dilapidated stage coach and ride one, or
two, or three hundred miles, over rough mountain roads,
or through the clouds of Utah dust of the great Snake
River plain, oppressed by day with the heat, and irri-
tated by night by mosquitoes, is far less attractive than
to be whirled over the blooming prairies of Illinois in
a luxurious palace car. However, one can accustom
himself to almost any condition, and find enjoyment,
even under the most trying of circumstances. The ex-
hilarating mountain air, the glorious mountain views
from the summits of lofty ranges, the gorgeous sun-
sets, all combine to cheer and rest the weary traveler.
I know of nothing more healthily exciting than to
sit high up on the %ox" with the driver of a coach,
with four or six horses in front, and to be rapidly
rolled down a steep grade, and around sharp turns,
with rocks towering far upward on the one hand, and
a bright clear stream dashing over the rocks hundreds
of feet below, on the other. You feel yourself watch-
ing with a vital interest that right foot of the driver
as it presses the brake, and wondering if it is going
5 From a letter on "Mission Work in Montana," written to The
Living Church, by M. N. G. (Mahlon Norris Gilbert), February 16,
1880. Mr. Blackiston soon found such a welcome at Fort Benton that
it seemed best for him to make that his center of work. After three
years, in 1883, he became rector of St. John's Church in Butte, a posi-
tion which he filled ably for nearly thirty years.
82 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
to slip; you feel yourself rapidly calculating if that
next turn can be made successfully; but when you
look up to the calm, confident, weather-beaten face of
the man who holds the reins, your doubts disappear.
The horses are controlled by a master; Anyone who
has ridden over and down mountain divides, will under-
stand the feeling perfectly. Many years' experiences
have not made me any the less conscious of this
peculiar feeling. 6
Another letter describes "the uncertainty and danger
of winter traveling in Montana."
Several months ago I wrote you something about
summer missionary work in Montana. Now, I would
tell you something about winter work. It is quite
another thing to ride through the valleys and over
the mountains, when the air is balmy, and the roads
excellent. Yet, as a rule, the mildness of Montana
winters is something seemingly remarkable. You must
remember that we are very far to the northward and
five thousand feet above the sea.
The winter thus far has been, on the average, a
pleasant one. There have been vast falls of snow all
along the mountain ranges, and a temperature as low
as fifty degrees below zero; but neither the storms nor
the severe cold have been frequent or protracted. It
is owing to these heavy snowstorms and days of fearful
cold, that traveling becomes so trying. The approach
of a storm, or of an arctic wave, is always unheralded.
A few years ago, as I was riding over the lofty
Cable mountain, between Philipsburg and Butte, in
6 "From the Far West. Over the Hills and Far Away Staging
In the Rocky Mountains Annual Convention of Montana, Idaho, and
Utah." M. N. G., Helena, Mont., July 26, 1879., The Living Church,
August 7, 1879.
FIVE YEARS IN MONTANA 83
western Montana, although the sun was shining bright-
ly when I left Philipsburg, yet before I reached the
top of the divide, a most terrific snowstorm struck me
full in the face, blinding and bewildering me to such
an extent that I soon lost the road. For hours, my
faithful horse struggled bravely on, in the deep snow.
The sun went down, and darkness came upon us, with
no prospect of finding our way to the little mining
camp of Cable, which I had hoped to reach before
night. When I had become thoroughly discouraged,
and my horse utterly wearied, I saw through the dark-
ness (for the storm had then abated), a faint light,
which, as I soon discovered, proceeded from a miner's
cabin. There I received a warm welcome, and was
made comfortable for the night, with a pair of blankets
and a rude bunk the best the miner had. 7
With experiences such as these, there was little
danger of monotony in the life of the rector of St.
Peter's, Helena. Of the spiritual work done, or of his
social influence upon the community, there is little
record, save that which is written in Heaven. Those
who are not familiar with the work of the ministry often
suppose that a clergyman has little to do except to pre-
pare one or two sermons and preach, them on Sunday.
In reality, a faithful parish, priest is usually busy like
his parishioners, from Monday morning to Saturday
night, and works Sunday "besides. He is called upon
of course to visit the sick, and to bury the dead, and for
occasional baptisms and marriages. But in addition,
the clergyman who has shown himself a friend has con-
7 The Living Church, March 18, 1880.
84 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
stant appeals to his friendship. He must find a home
for motherless children; arrange for nursing the sick;
provide for the aged in their declining years; give coun-
sel in trying situations; help to look after wayward
boys and girls; perhaps visit the courts, and the jail;
in hundreds of ways, some of them strange, and unex-
pected, amusing, and tragic, the pastor who fulfills his
ordination vows is called upon to guide, to warn, to
cheer, to bless.
Such a ministry was Mahlon Gilbert's. With a
kindly influence extending far beyond parish bound-
aries, wherever he went, men looked upon him as at
once a personal friend and a man of God. He fulfilled
wonderfully that ideal of the mission of the Christian
Church, summed up by Phillips Brooks in the words,
"to bring to the people the life of God."
In May, 1880, Mr. Gilbert went East on a very im-
portant errand, his marriage, which took place on the
20th of May. One who knew both Mr. and Mrs. Gil-
bert intimately has given the following particulars :
While rector at Helena Mr. Gilbert was married to
Miss Fanny Pierpont Carvill, a charming young lady
of Earibault, Minnesota, whom he had met and courted
while a student at the seminary. Her father was
George G. Carvill, of English descent, and a native of
New York. He was a man of sterling integrity. Re-
tiring from active business, he moved to Faribault at
an early day and died there.
Her mother was Ann Augusta Brown, a lineal de-
scendant of Major Hackaliah Brown, of Westchester,
MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
FIVE TEARS IN MONTANA 85
who took an active part in the Colonial wars, and was
himself descended from Sir Anthony Brown, who was
knighted at the coronation of Richard II.
Miss Oarvill completed her school-days at St. Mary's
Hall, under the regime of Miss Sarah Darlington. Her
father and mother were both dead, and she was living
with an aunt in Philadelphia, when her marriage to
the Rev. Mr. Gilbert was celebrated. The ceremony
took place in Holy Trinity Church, Philadelphia, and
was performed by the Rev. C. A. Poole, an old friend
of both bride and groom, now professor in Seabury
Mrs. Gilbert was naturally of a retiring disposition.
She had hesitated long before her marriage, saying that
she was not fitted for a clergyman's wife. She had no
desire for prominence in parish work, and preferred
to leave to others that leadership which has often been
demanded of the wife of a pastor. Her fears proved
groundless. In her husband's work as rector or bishop
no constraint was placed upon her to undertake any
work for which she felt herself unfitted. Her care
was given almost entirely to the home, and she
was recognized as a woman of high refinement and
After visiting Morris and !New Berlin, Mr. and
Mrs. Gilbert took their long wedding journey to Helena,
where they received most kindly welcome. Their home,
however, was not to be long in Helena. Before this,
Mr. Gilbert's growing reputation had brought him a
call from St. Mark's Church in Minneapolis, which he
86 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
had felt unable to accept. The new church in Helena
was not yet complete and much of the cost was still to
be provided. In November, 1880, a call came from
Christ Church in St. Paul, and this summons he felt
could not well be declined. The altitude of Helena
had proved injurious to Mrs. Gilbert's health, and a
change was necessary.
At this very time, by coincidence, his dear friend
Bishop Tuttle was laying down his work in Montana,
retaining charge of Utah and Idaho. At the Seventh
Annual Convocation of the District of Montana, Idaho,
and Utah, held in Helena in August, 1880, a commit-
tee of three had been appointed, of which Mr. Gilbert
was one, to petition the House of Bishops to divide this
immense jurisdiction, and provide an additional bishop.
This petition was acted upon favorably, and on the
eighth of December, 1880, that noble and wise worker,
Leigh Richmond Brewer, was consecrated Bishop of
With deep reluctance Mahlon Gilbert said fare-
well, not only to hundreds of friends in Montana, but
also to frontier life, with its hardships, its joys, its
perils, its enthusiasm. In after years, as often as pos-
sible, he returned to Montana for his summer outing;
there camping in the invigorating air, he would gain
strength for another year of earnest work.
His last Sunday as rector in Helena was the second
of January, 1881. The Helena Herald of January 3rd
gives this notable tribute to his ministry:
FIVE TEARS IN MONTANA 87
Rev. M. JST. Gilbert delivered last evening his fare-
well discourse at St. Peter's Episcopal Church to a
crowded congregation, every Christian denomination
in the city being represented among his hearers. His
sermon was a very able one, and the closing part, which
referred to his three years' pastorate in Helena, was
received by the congregation with much emotion. Next
to Bishop Tuttle, Mr. Gilbert is the ablest and most
eloquent divine who has ever administered in the
Episcopal pulpit of Montana. He has been a most
zealous, indefatigable, and we may add, successful
worker. . . . His departure, soon to take place, is a
loss not only to the Episcopal congregation, but to the
community of Helena, and it will be a difficult matter
to replace him by any pastor capable of winning so
high a niche in general regard and popular esteem.
We express the sense of this people in saying that Mr.
Gilbert leaves behind him in these mountains only
friendly hearts, and he will carry forward with him to
Minnesota the most sincere good wishes of this entire
CUBIST CHURCH, ST. PAUL.
THE EEMOVAL from Montana to Minnesota was
a great change f rom the mountains to the plain ; from
a mining town of 4,000 inhabitants to a mercantile city
of 40,000; from a jurisdiction with five or six clergy-
men to a strong diocese with seventy clergymen in active
service. For over twenty years Henry Benjamin Whip-
pie, great bishop and great leader, had carried on his
wonderful work, extending the Church's activities and
influence, planting strong institutions, defending the
Eed Man from oppression and wrong; twenty years of
service yet remained before him.
The population of Minnesota was already 800,000,
and was increasing rapidly. St. Paul and Minneapolis,
the "Twin Cities," were just entering upon their
period of phenomenal growth; in the coming ten years
St. Paul was to increase from 41,000 to 133,000, while
Minneapolis was to grow from 46,000 to 164,000 a
marvelous percentage. It was a time for wise planning
CHRIST CHURCH, ST. PAUL 89
and energetic work, and Mahlon Gilbert saw that a
large opportunity was before him.
Christ Church, St. Paul, is often called the Mother
Church of Minnesota, for it is the oldest organized par-
ish, and from it, or from the labor of its ministers,
have come several churches, in St. Paul and the
The very beginnings of the Episcopal Church in
Minnesota are traced to Fort Snelling, which adjoins
St. Paul. There, before the coming of a clergyman,
Mrs. Josiah Snelling, wife of the commandant, and
Mrs. ISTathan Clark, also a resident in the garrison,
gathered what was probably the first Sunday school in
the Northwest. These two faithful women also nsed
to hold "a service with the aid of the Episcopal Prayer
Book, both of them being devout members of that
branch of the Church." This was in 1821, or soon
after. It is a page of our local Church history which
is too little known. 1
In 1839, there came to Fort Snelling as chaplain
a noble priest of the Episcopal Church, Ezekiel Gilbert
Gear, affectionately remembered as "Father Gear."
Every Sunday he officiated at the Fort, and conducted
a Sunday school, but, as occasion offered, he held ser-
vices in the small settlements near by. His first re-
corded service at St. Paul was on the day before Christ-
1 See Early Episcopal Ohurches and Missions in Minnesota, by
the Rev. George C. Tanner, in Collections of the Minnesota Historical
Society, Vol. X., Part I., p. 203.
90 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
mas in 1845, but lie had probably officiated there sev-
eral times before.
In June, 1850, there arrived at Fort Snelling the
"Associate Mission," consisting of James Lloyd Breck,
Timothy Wileoxson, and J. Austin Merrick. They
received a hearty welcome from Father Gear, and he
gladly committed to them the work in the vicinity of
the Fort. St. Paul was chosen as their headquarters,
and from this center an active work was carried on.
In August, 1850, the parish in St. Paul was duly
organized, and was named Christ Church, after the
historic parish in Philadelphia, which had shown much
interest in Dr. Breck's endeavors. That same year a
wooden church was built, "in the Early Minnesota
pointed style," and the first service was held in it on
the Second Sunday in Advent.
When Mahlon Gilbert became rector, a little over
thirty years had passed since the founding of Christ
Church, and already it had an admirable record of
work accomplished. The succession of rectors had been
1850-1852 Eev. James Lloyd Breck, D.D.
1852-1854 Eev. Timothy Wileoxson.
1854-1861 Eev. John Visger Van Ingen, D.D.
1862-1875 Eev. Stirling Yancey McMasters, D.D.
18T6-1880 Eev. William Pray Ten Broeck, D.D.
These were all men of high ability, honored' leaders
in the Diocese.
At this time there were in St. Paul only three
CHRIST CHURCH, ST. PAUL 91
Episcopal churches. St. Paul's Church, organized in
1856, was a direct colony of Christ Church, and from
its favorable location had outgrown the mother church.
It now had over four hundred communicants, and its
rector, Elisha Smith Thomas, was a leader of rare
ability. The parish of the Good Shepherd was founded
in 1868 as a free church by the stalwart Churchman,
William Cox Pope, who remains its rector unto this
Christ Church occupied then, as now, the Gothic
structure of gray stone at the corner of Fourth and
Franklin Streets. This substantial church was built
during Dr. McMaster's rectorship, and accommodates
six hundred people. Being near the heart of the city,
it has been used for many general gatherings dio-
cesan councils, missionary meetings, institutes, lectures,
and the like taking almost the place of a pro-cathedral.
The parish numbered at this time 160 families and 280
communicants; it had good traditions, loyal workers,
and was ready to go forward.
On January 16, 1881, the Second Sunday after
the Epiphany, Mahlon Gilbert held his first service as
rector of Christ Church. The St. Paul Pioneer Press
of the following day gives an interesting report. The
new clergyman is described as "rather tall in stature,
light-complexioned, with slightly aquiline features" ;
his age is given correctly as thirty-two. The text of the
morning sermon was II. Corinthians, v. 14: "For the
love of Christ constraineth us."
92 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
The central idea of the sermon was the love of
Christ as illustrated in the life of the Apostle St. Paul,
which seemed to men to be a mere abstraction, utterly
unpractical. . . . The love of Christ as a motive did
not convince, it only dazed the people. It was an
unselfish idea. We know how grandly this principle
governed the life of St. Paul. Everything in his life
was counted but dross, that he might win the love
of Christ. This is the central power of Christianity.
The ethics of Christianity are all wrapped up in that
grand principle of Christ's love, striving within the
human heart to win a responsive love. You cannot go
beyond the power unfolded in that thought.
The outline is snort, but it indicates well the spirit
which came more and more to animate the man. His
life was singularly free from selfishness, and his min-
istry was a constant commentary upon his text, "The
love of Christ constraineth us."
Another sermon, preached a few weeks later, further
illustrates this ruling principle of Mahlon Gilbert's
theology. His text was St. Luke xix. 10 : "For the Son
of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
ISTo more striking exemplifications of the religion
of fatalism and the religion of Providence can be found
than in two grand productions of Pagan genius and
Christian art, the Sphinx of Egyptian sands and the
Madonna of San Sisto. One combines wisdom and
power; the other wisdom and love. . . . God does not
attract men to him unless he is brought near to them
in genuine sympathy, in an intense Fatherhood.
What is meant by the atonement? It means such
a striking revelation of the love of God toward fallen
CHRIST CHURCH, ST. PAUL 93
man, that man is drawn upward by the very potency
of the influence. If God loves me, as the coming of
his Son would indicate, then I can once more return
to him, and be at one with him.
It is, I know, a common theory that the sacrifice
of Christ is a revelation of the wrath of God toward
sinners; that God inflicted upon an innocent man the
punishment which was due the guilty. But I do not so
read the Scriptures. I do not so regard the wonderful,
touching mission of redemption. It meant, I am sure,
love; a love which could sacrifice the dearest object of
its affection for the salvation of the world; that man,
seeing God as he really is, might have confidence to
return to him."
Thirty years ago such preaching was less common
than it is to-day, and it is no wonder that those who
heard it, and who saw it exemplified in the preacher's
earnest and unselfish life, were drawn to him with con-
fidence and affection which the years have never marred.
The Minnesota Missionary of November, 1881, gives
some interesting first impressions. After describing
various improvements in the chancel and elsewhere, the
Mr. Gilbert informs us that he feels much en-
couraged in his work, as his people are regular at
church and Holy Communion, and devout and atten-
tive in the service.
A friend who was at Christ Church not long since
tells us that he was much impressed with the heartiness
of the service and of the music. . . . Present indica-
tions lead us to believe that Christ Church, St. Paul,
has entered upon. a new era in its existence.
94 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Mr. William H. Lightner, for many years chancellor
of the diocese, has given his recollections of first meet-
ing Mr. Gilbert:
I was then a young man in St. Paul, and there were
eight of us who had bachelor quarters together. Sev-
eral of us attended Christ Church. We had been told
that there was a new rector coming, and that we should
like him, but we had not thought much more about it.
One evening, only two weeks or so after Mr. Gilbert's
coming, we were told that a gentleman had called to
see us, a Mr. Gilbert. We went down, and it proved
to be the new rector. We had not thought of seeing
him. He sat down and talked with us, and smoked
with us, and we felt acquainted with him. He promised
to come again, and he did. It was a new experience
Christ Church began to pick up. Men liked him,
and came again to hear him. He set to work to do
things, and he set others to work.
After a few months he formed a young men's club
which grew and prospered. When the rectory was built,
he came to us young men and asked us to raise a
certain sum for the rectory debt, and gave us the
names of certain persons whom he wished us to see.
He wanted us to raise in all $625. We had never been
asked to do anything like that before, but we did it.
He soon got the finances of the parish in such con-
dition that we no longer needed the Easter offering for
current expenses. One year our offering at Easter was
$3,500 for building the church at Merriam Park;
another year it was for St. Stephen's Chapel.
The congregations grew so large that we got a
quantity of chairs, which we used to put in the aisles
CHRIST CHURCH, ST. PAUL 95
and in every vacant space, in order to aceomodate
those that came.
He was not what is called a scholarly man, nor a
profound thinker. He did not appeal as Phillips
Brooks did by the power of his intellect, but he did
hold the attention of men, and they came to hear him
as often as they could.
Of his power as a speaker a remarkable instance was
once given at the "Informal Club," of which he was an
active member. This club includes prominent men of
many walks in life, and each one is given perfect
liberty to express his own opinion. The one in charge
for the evening reads his essay or delivers his address,
and then calls on others, and they speak in agreement
or disagreement, with perfect good feeling. On one
evening, when unfortunately I was absent, the leader
had presented a line of thought that was decidedly op-
posed to the Christian Faith. When it came Bishop
Gilbert's turn to speak (for he was Bishop at this
time), with perfect courtesy and kindness he made a
statement of his own faith, with his reasons for the
same. Those who heard it said it was the most masterly
defence of the Faith they ever heard.
His earnestness and his kindness of heart won men
to him. He never criticised others, unless they were
absolutely oblivious of their shortcomings. He knew
how, as a rule, to make people feel their sins without
telling them of them. He made them want to be
More than anyone I have ever known, Bishop
Gilbert exemplified the three Christian virtues, Faith,
Hope, and Charity; his faith was unbounded; his hope
was unwavering; he was always overflowing with kind-
ness and love.
96 MAHLON N ORRIS GILBERT
In private life lie was the best of company. There
was no one with whom I would rather go fishing or
hunting, or do anything that was right, than with him.
For nearly twenty years we were near neighbors, and
his death was the greatest personal loss I ever had.
The coming years are in part anticipated by this
estimate, but for the light it throws on Mahlon Gilbert's
character, it is quoted here. One spirit, one purpose,
binds the years together.
Along the lines described by Mr. Lightner, Christ
Church went steadily forward. Land adjoining the
church was soon purchased, and a rectory of brick was
completed in the spring of 1883. Every department
of Church life flourished; the Sunday school became
large and enthusiastic, having among its officers and
teachers many men of ability; the Young Men's Club
was full of interest and purpose; the guilds and other
parochial societies were active and united; large classes
were presented for confirmation, and the number of
communicants increased rapidly.
In all the work there was a spirit of confidence and
love. Many who look back at Mahlon Gilbert think of
him as the embodiment of chivalry, a modern Galahad,
losing himself in generous devotion to others. And as
the ancient knight realized the Saviour's saying, and
in "losing his life, found his life," so the modern
knight, "without a selfish thought," gained what is bet-
ter than reputation or riches, the love of his fellow-men.
One parishioner has said of him, "He was more like
CHRIST CHURCH, 8T. PAUL 97
a father confessor to me than any clergyman I ever
knew. I do not mean in the technical sense of hearing
formal confessions, but that he seemed to know one's
very spirit, and to draw out one's confidence. One
could tell him anything, and was sure of help."
On the evening of Ascension Day, May 26, 1881,
Mr. Gilbert made the first annual address before the
Breck Missionary Society of Seabury Divinity School.
His theme was "Workers together with God." The
purpose of the Society was interpreted by two words,
Knowledge, and Sympathy; knowledge of "the outreach-
ing missionary field of the Church" ; sympathy with the
workers, showing itself in genuine interest and helpful
service. He closed with a description of the Church's
leaders in their heroic labors. Only six years before,
though he made no reference to it, the speaker had gone
from Seabury to one of these difficult missionary fields,
and those who heard him were deeply moved by his
earnest words and his sincere example. 2
At the Annual Council of the Diocese of Minnesota,
held in June, 1881, at Stillwater, Mr. Gilbert, though
a newcomer, was honored with two positions of responsi-
bility. Bishop Whipple appointed him to be one of his
Examining Chaplains, and he was also elected a member
of the Diocesan Board of Missions. This Board then
consisted of seven clergymen and four laymen. Mr.
Gilbert was chosen secretary of the Board, and served
2 See the Minnesota Missionary, July 1881.
98 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
energetically in that office until Ms election to the
Mr. Gilbert's missionary spirit was shown in his
efforts to extend the Church in the city of St. Paul.
As already noted, two mission churches mark his rector-
ship. St. Stephen's Mission on Randolph Street was
begun in 1884, its "very neat frame church with open
roof," being completed the following summer. The
first service at Merriam Park was held by Mr. Gilbert
in July, 1885, and the work was organized and carried
forward so vigorously that St. Mary's Church was built
the following year. St. Stephen's remains a mission,
but St. Mary's long since became an independent parish.
For four years Mr. Gilbert was also in charge of the
little Church of St. John in the Wilderness at White
Bear Lake, several miles away. He bore the title of
rector, and held service twice a month, besides main-
taining a Sunday school. To all these undertakings
the Mother Church gave hearty support. Thus, at
Christmas, 1885, Christ Church provided for each of
these three stations a Christmas tree and service, in ad.-
dition to their own parish festival.
For some years Mr. Gilbert had no regular clerical
assistant in this wide field, but he writes with strong
appreciation of "the two lay readers, Messrs. Horn and
Bend," who had aided him in services at Fort Snelling,
St. Luke's Hospital, and elsewhere. This Mr. William
B. Bend, afterwards General of the Minnesota IsTational
Guards, was later president for several years of the
CHRIST CHURCH, ST. PAUL 99
diocesan Lay Readers' League. During Holy Week,
1885, "the rector was assisted most acceptably by Mr.
Sydney G. Jeffords of Seabury Divinity School," and
in June, after his ordination to the diaconate, the Rev.
Mr. Jeffords became "Assistant Minister" at Christ
Church. St. Stephen's Mission was placed in his special
charge and prospered.
Another good work, dear to Christ Church, is St.
Luke's Hospital. This was founded by an early rector,
Dr. Van Ingen, and for many years the members of its
board were drawn so largely from Christ Church that
the hospital was listed as a parish institution. With
large-hearted devotion, both as rector and Bishop, Mah-
lon Gilbert aided and guided the development of St.
In these days, most clergymen (and their parish-
ioners, too, for that matter), claim to be exceedingly
busy men. Many are too busy to make calls ; too busy
to learn modern methods of Sunday school work; too
busy to prepare their sermons properly. It is a condi-
tion into which many of our clergy have drifted almost
unconsciously, and with which they are deeply dissatis-
fied. In spite of the admonition of the Apostles they
find themselves "leaving the word of God, and serving
tables." This condition has come through the high en-
deavor to meet modern social problems. Parish
machinery has been multiplied, and the chief machinist
is the one who should be the parish priest. Mr. Gil-
bert's rectorship at Christ Church came at the beginning
100 MAHLON NORRW GILBERT
of this modern development in parish life. He himself
organized more than one society which has maintained
a vigorous and useful existence ever since. A recent
Year Book gives the following account of the chief
The Woman's Association of Christ Church had
its inception early in the rectorate of Bishop Gilbert
in the spring of 1881. It was duly organized with
constitution and by-laws which were printed and sent
to every person in the parish. The original rules are
still, for the most part, adhered to, though with the
changes incident to the growth of the city and shifting
of localities, some of the work has been abandoned.
As now organized, there are seven instead of eight
committees, viz: The Parish Aid, the Altar Guild,
the Woman's Auxiliary, the Junior Auxiliary, St.
Mary's Guild (organized by Dr. Andrews), and the
Industrial School (a recent development), all actively
engaged during the autumn and winter months, and
the Choir-Mothers throughout the year. 8
Over twenty-five years have passed since the close
of Mr. Gilbert's rectorship. That this Association was
well planned and well organized is evident from this
report. It is strong testimony to the wisdom and effi-
ciency of a great rector. It is of value also as showing
that parochial administration need not utterly absorb
the time and energy of the rector of a large and active
As a parish priest, Mahlon Gilbert knew how to use
8 Christ Church Year Book, 1909-1910, p. 50.
CHRIST CHTJRGH, ST. PAUL 101
time wonderfully. An aged parishioner says that "he
would accomplish more in ten minutes than many cler-
gymen do in an hour. His rule was to call frequently
and to stay but a short time. He would get at once to
the heart of a matter, whether in a meeting of the
vestry or of a parish guild, or in an ordinary parochial
call. Where he was well acquainted, he would often
run in for a meal, and soon after he would go, but with
no sense of hurry." It is this "sense of hurry" which
mars so much of life to-day.
Some features of parish life at this time may con-
veniently be grouped here. The ritual at Christ Ohurch,
as in Minnesota generally, was of a simple character.
Bishop Whipple wisely opposed extreme Ohurchmanship
of either school. Party strife he abhorred. His one
aim was that "the comfortable Gospel of Christ" might
be "truly preached, truly received, and truly followed,
in all places." There have been some changes in out-
ward forms since 1881 but few in the diocesan spirit.
At that time the weekly Eucharist was not yet the
rule even in the large parishes. At Christ Church it
was first made a custom in Lent, and afterwards became
the rule for all the year. The gift of a white stole to
Mr. Gilbert was such a novelty that a neighboring rector
borrowed it for a wedding, and thus had the first use of
it. Altar lights were not yet introduced. The first
vested choir at Christ Church was formed by Mr. Gil-
bert's successor. Contemporary accounts, however, show
that the service at Christ Church was well rendered, and
102 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
that the music was of a high order. In the Sunday
school a choral service was in common use. It is of
interest to know that the offerings of the Sunday school,
which sometimes amounted to three hundred dollars a
year, were entirely devoted to missionary and charitable
"On Ash-Wednesday," says a former parishioner,
"Mr. Gilbert used to lay down the law, and told us just
what he expected of us. We were not to go to the
theatre, or card parties, or anything like that. He made
it perfectly plain, and we always had good Lenten ser-
vices. There were large congregations, and a fine ob-
servance of Lent."
The Lenten Card of 1882 shows his endeavor to teach
as well as to preach. These cards were mailed to every
member of the congregation to make sure of reaching
them all. The "Subjects for Special Sermons and Lect-
ures for Sunday Evenings at Y : 30" were as follows :
"The Church and the Holy Scriptures ; The Church and
Papal Supremacy; The Church and the Kef ormation ;
The Church, Her Sacraments and Doctrines; The
Church and other Christian Bodies; The Church and
the Age." On Friday evenings there were "Lectures
on the Beatitudes," and on Wednesday afternoons "Ten
Minute Talks on Church Duties." Through Holy Week
there was daily service at 11 A. M. and 7 : 30 p. M The
morning topic was "The Last Days of the Saviour,"
and the subject for the evening was "The Last Words
of the Saviour." On Good Friday there was simply
CHRIST CHURCH, ST. PAUL 103
the morning and evening service provided in the Prayer
Book. Many Lenten cards to-day seem planned for
women only ; the hours of many of Mr. Gilbert's services
were arranged so as to permit the men of the congrega-
tion to attend. He was not "a man's man" in the sense
that his real interest was in the men- only ; he was rather
of that type of shepherd that cares for every member of
Men's clubs have become a common feature of parish
life, but the Young Men's Club which Mr. Gilbert
founded, on coming to the parish, filled a special place
in a growing city full of young men. Many of its
members, in becoming friends with him and with each
other, learned also to love the Church.
A pleasant custom, observed in several of the older
parishes in Minnesota, is an annual Epiphany Party.
This ancient usage appealed to the heart of Dr. Breck,
and was introduced by him at Faribault, where it is
still maintained. In some parishes which have adopted
the custom the Epiphany Party is limited to the rector,
wardens, and vestry, and their wives; in others it is a
parochial gathering. Its chief feature is a grand
Epiphany Cake in which is hidden the Epiphany Ring.
Amid much excitement the cake is divided, and the one
who finds the ring in his portion is hailed as the Epiph-
any King or Queen. During the year the ring remains
in this monarch's keeping, and it his pleasant duty to
preside at the party on the next Epiphany. Mr. Gilbert
had become familiar with the custom at Earibault, and
104 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
now introduced it at Christ Church, where, with some
changes, it is still maintained as a cheerful parish
An event of unusual character during Mr. Gilbert's
rectorship was the visit of "an English Lord Bishop"
to the Diocese of Minnesota. On Sunday, August 24,
1884, the Eight Eeverend Anthony Wilson Thorold,
Bishop of Rochester, spoke three times in the city of
St. Paul. His evening address on Temperance was at
Christ Church, with Mr. Gilbert and other clergymen
in the chancel. It was probably the first visit of an
English Bishop to Minnesota, and the newspapers show
much interest in the man and his message.
Christ Church has had from the beginning a large
number of men of ability and prominence, who have
served it faithfully. On Mr. Gilbert's coming, the
wardens were James Gilfillan, Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Minnesota, and John Quincy Adams.
The vestrymen were Eeuben Warner, Charles Proal, T.
D. Barton, Major J. P. Pond, IT. S. A., John P. Larkin,
W. J. Footner, and C. 0. Elfelt. Others who served on
the vestry during Mr. Gilbert's rectorship were J. B.
Tarbox, W. H. Hubbard, J. H. Ames, H. P. Hoppin,
A. H. Cathcart, S. E. McMasters, and E. 0. Allis.
These and many others, with faithful and devoted
women too many to name, gave themselves, their time,
and their substance to this parish. With many of them
the supreme thing in life was devotion to Christ and to
his Church. Those who remain to this present speak
CHRIST CHURCH, ST. PAUL 105
with one accord of their strong personal affection for
Mahlon Gilbert as rector, as bishop, and as friend. He,
for his part, trusted them and loved them. In after
years as bishop his home was still among them, and
their friendship and love never failed.
Through the five years of his rectorship, Mr. Gilbert
was recognized in the city and in the diocese as a grow-
ing man. In 1883 he was a member of the House of
Deputies of the General Convention which met in Phila-
delphia in October, taking the place of the Rev. Dr.
Knickerbacker, who was consecrated Bishop of Indiana.
At the annual Council of the Diocese of Minnesota,
which met on St. Barnabas' Day, June 11, 1884, at the
Cathedral in Faribault, Mr. Gilbert preached the open-
ing sermon. His subject was, "Steadfastness in the
Faith, the antidote of Doubt," the text being I. Corin-
thians, xvi: 13, "Stand fast in the faith." At the re-
quest of the Council the sermon was printed in pamphlet
form. A few characteristic sentences are here given :
If we know Christ, we know the faith. . . . St.
Paul realized this thought in all its fulness. In this
faith he was rooted and grounded. A knowledge of
it, springing out of a wonderful experience, was the
inspiration of his life. He preached it, he taught it,
he lived it, 'mid every people, 'neath every sky. Within
the white walls of Damascus where his eyes first saw
its light ; in Jerusalem 'mid storms of ridicule and
threatenings ; under the porticoes of the Ephesian
, Diana's temple; along the altar-lined highway of Mars
Hill; to the sybarites of Corinth, and before Roman
106 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Senators; in short wherever men were to be saved
the faith was his text, his tower, his labarum.
After a life spent for Christ, after glorious tri-
umphs for the faith, after weariness and watchings,
fastings and persecutions, the one thought upon which
he dwelt most proudly, and which he set over against
all else, was the thought embodied in almost his dying
words, "I have kept the Eaith." . . .
You know, my friends, as well as I, that the at-
tempt, so common now, to make the Christian religion
a kind of elevated moral philosophy, resting upon the
same plane as Positivism and Rationalism, is in its
immediate tendency a danger threatening the very heart
of the faith. The attempt to explain away the super-
natural in Christianity, to call the Scriptures simply
noble literature, to make Christ only a sublime moral
teacher, is practically to take Christ and a personal
God out of the world. It is eliminating all these divine
elements from the faith, which have ever served to
keep it higher than men's lives, and which have always
been the "certain assurance of a hope which maketh
not ashamed." . . .
The man who is steadfast in the faith is not the
man who is ever ready to chain his thoughts to the
chariot wheels of a fallible leader and so be led away
a willing captive into new and untried and practi-
cally unknown abiding places. Once, having utterly
absorbed the truth within the innermost recesses of
his heart, it becomes a masterful power to control him,
and he stands by it, defends it, as he would his own
life. . . . There is a supreme loyalty to his convic-
tions which does not waver. . . . The Church to him
is his home. He finds therein space for the fresh and
grandest development of his character. He is satisfied
CHRIST CHURCH, ST. PAUL 107
and at rest. The only agitation within him results
from the pains of a growth into "the measure of the
stature of the fulness of Christ."
In a sermon preached to his own congregation soon
after his coming he took this line of argument :
Have you ever observed this fact, my friends, that
in all of the popular infidel attacks upon the Bible and
Christianity, the character and life and teaching of
Jesus Christ are never touched? . . . Until that life
is punctured, that character destroyed, that divine man
argued out of existence, Christianity from the very
nature of things can not be overturned.*
During the first week of Advent, 1885, a notable
mission was held in Christ Church. It was conducted
by Bishop Whipple, Rev. E. S. Thomas, and the rector,
assisted by the Rev. Charles A. Poole of Duluth, and
the Rev. W. H. Knowlton, then of Galena, Illinois. The
daily services were as follows : 7 A. M., Holy Com-
munion; 10: 30 A. M., Bible Reading; 4 P. M.., Instruc-
tion; 7:30 P.M., Mission Service and Preaching, fol-
lowed by an After-service. One of those who took part,
the Rev. Dr. Poole, recalls vividly the impression of that
time. At the evening services the church was filled to
the door, and Mr. Gilbert in particular spoke with a
power and persuasion which he never surpassed. In
wonderful stillness the great congregation followed his
burning words, looking upon him as truly "a man sent
from God." The after effect of the mission was strong,
*The St. Paul Pioneer Press, March 7, 1881.
108 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
and showed itself in many helpful ways in the spiritual
life of the parish.
A chapter could easily be written on the patriotism
of Mahlon Gilbert. As a child he had listened eagerly
to stories of Colonial and Revolutionary days and of the
heroic part played by his own ancestors in those stirring
times. Too young to take part in the Civil War, his
brother has recorded the militant enthusiasm of young
Mahlon as he watched the "Boys in Blue" marching to
the front. In due time he became an active member of
the Society of Colonial Wars, and of the Sons of the
Revolution, and he was never happier than when sharing
in some patriotic observance. In 1883 he was made
Chaplain of the First Regiment of the Minnesota
.National Guards, and served ably in the office till after
his election to the episcopate. When General Grant died
in the summer of 1885, there was a spontaneous recogni-
tion throughout the country of his services to the nation.
On Saturday, August 8, the day of the great General's
funeral, impressive services were held in St. Paul. In
spite of rain, thousands gathered in the open space by
the state capitol and listened to tributes by well-known
speakers. Of the four addresses, that of Mr. Gilbert is
reported at greatest length, and seems best to sum up
the character of the nation's hero and the feelings of the
men of the nation in their time of loss.
The steady growth of the parish is shown by a sum-
mary of the five years. During this time 235 were
baptized and 175 were confirmed; in the year 1885 Mr.
CHRIST CHURCH, ST. PAUL 109
Gilbert officiated personally at 35 marriages and 35
funerals, while several other services of each kind were
taken by his curate or other assisting clergyman. At his
coming the number of communicants was 280; at the
close of his rectorate there were 513. The number of
families had increased to 315, thus making Christ
Church once more the largest parish in the city. The
congregations were always large, the church being filled
at each service, often to overflowing.
Through these busy years Mr. Gilbert's health was
usually good, though he was never regarded as robust.
The energy with which he threw himself into any serious
undertaking made his friends fear that he would soon
wear himself out. After Lent in 1884 he was for some
time in poor health, and in August he wisely went to
Montana, to recover his strength in the open air. On
his return he resumed his work with his usual vigor and
ELECTION TO THE EPISCOPATE.
AS EAKLY as 1873, in his address to the Diocesan
Council, Bishop Whipple suggested the approaching
need of the division of the Diocese. The great size of
the state and its rapidly increasing population would
soon compel action. Two alternatives were proposed:
the election of an Assistant Bishop, or the adoption of
the provincial system, by which Minnesota, though di-
vided into two or more dioceses, might remain united as
one Church province. A large committee "on the di-
vision of the diocese" was appointed and the whole sub-
ject was discussed in Council and in the Bishop's ad-
dress in the following year. At that time Bishop Whip-
pie made a strong plea for the provincial system, and
steps were taken to introduce suitable legislation at the
Years passed and nothing was done. The great
plague of locusts in southern Minnesota impoverished
the people and hindered the work. There was also great
reluctance to divide the Diocese. Through Bishop
At the Age of 75
ELECTION TO THE EPISCOPATE 111
Whipple's wise and strong administration Minnesota
had become famous for its great institutions, for its
Christianizing of the Indians, for its united and pro-
gressive spirit, unhampered by school or party.
In the meantime, anxiety, hardships, and exposure,
left their marks on the great Bishop. His health was
seriously impaired, and some relief must be given. At
the Twenty-fifth Annual Council, in 1882, Bishop
Whipple again presented the need of "additional episco-
pal oversight." Again there was delay. In 1884 after
a winter of illness Bishop Whipple asked for the elec-
tion of an Assistant Bishop and the raising of a suitable
endowment. On motion of Mr. Gilbert the matter was
referred to a special committee, and a report was made ;
and yet again, in the Council of 1885, there was a
similar committee, and it was recommended that an
Assistant Bishop be elected, and that the Bishop call
a special council that fall for this purpose. Of both
of these committees Mr. Gilbert was chairman, and
did what he could to carry out Bishop Whipple's wishes,
but the financial problem blocked the way, and nothing
was done. However, the discussion had slowly prepared
the Diocese for action, and when the Council met on
June 9, 1886, at Gethsemane Church it was expected by
all that the great work of the Council would be the
choice of an Assistant Bishop. Eor months this had been
the topic of chief interest in the diocese. Two men were
constantly mentioned as worthy of this high office the
Kev. Elisha Smith Thomas, for ten years rector of St.
112 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Paul's Church in the city of St. Paul, and the Rev.
Mahlon ISTorris Gilbert.
There was no question of the suitability^ of Mr.
Thomas. He had been a member of the Standing Com-
mittee for many years, and was now its president. In
the city and the state he was recognized for his ability
and his integrity. He had been in the Diocese since
1865, and seemed to many the ideal man for the office.
It was known that he was the choice of Bishop Whipple,
and his election seemed both fitting and probable. On
the other hand, Mahlon Gilbert had appealed in many
ways to the hearts of the men of the Diocese. Though
he had been with them only five years, many felt that
they knew him better than they did the older man.
His youth and his energy and his personality made a
profound appeal. Another factor in his favor was that
he was a graduate of Seabury Divinity School, and was
a strong favorite with many who had known him there.
On the second day of the Council, June' 10, 1886,
after pledges had been made in open session for the
endowment of $15,000, to assist in the support of an
Assistant Bishop, an informal ballot was taken for the
nomination of a Bishop. By vote of the Council, no
nomination speeches were permitted. Before the vot-
ing Bishop Whipple spoke of the great importance of
their proposed action, and the whole Council knelt with
him in silent and earnest prayer.
The result of the informal ballot showed, as was
expected, that there were but two men seriously con-
ELECTION TO THE EPISCOPATE 113
sidered for the office. Mr. Thomas was the favorite
with the clergy, leading by 21 votes to 17, while Mr.
Gilbert led in the lay vote by 38 to 36. Of scattering
votes there were ten from the clergy, and twelve from
the laity. Thereupon the laity asked and obtained per-
mission to retire for half an hour for consultation. On
their return the first formal ballot was taken. It
showed that Mr. Thomas was still leading by 23 to 21
in the clerical vote, with five scattering; but the lay
vote stood 46 to 35 for Mr. Gilbert, with only two
scattering votes. In the afternoon voting was resumed
with no marked variation. The laity stood by the same
majority for Mr. Gilbert, while Mr. Thomas led in the
clerical vote, though without a majority. On the fourth
formal ballot there was a change. Of fifty clerical
votes 27 were for Mr. Gilbert, while Mr. Thomas re-
mained at 21; the lay vote gave Mr. Gilbert 51 out of
a total of 89, and Mr. Thomas 36. Mr. Gilbert was
thereupon declared duly elected Assistant Bishop of
Minnesota. At once, with characteristic generosity,
Mr. Thomas moved that the election be made unani-
mous, and, when that had been done, on Mr. Thomas'
motion the Council rose and sang the Gloria in Excelsis.
It is pleasant to record that the very next Bishop
chosen in the American Church was this same Elisha
Smith Thomas, for in the following February, on the
first ballot, he was elected Assistant Bishop of Kansas.
At the close of the day, before dismissing the gather-
ing with prayer, Bishop Whipple spoke to the Council,
114 MAHLON N ORRIS GILBERT
"with nracli feeling and earnestness."
In his remarks lie declared his belief that there was
not a diocese in the land where deeper love existed
between the clergy and their Bishop than in our own.
Referring to the election of the Assistant Bishop he
said, it would not be long before the Bishop's staff must
be committed to his charge, and he believed in his heart,
God had granted them to do all he could have asked for. 1
On the eighth of July, Mr. Gilbert wrote the follow-
ing letter of acceptance to the chairman of the com-
mittee appointed to notify him of his election:
Rev. T. B. WellSj, D.D., Chairman.
REVEREND AND DEAR BROTHER: I am in receipt of
your communication informing me of my election to
the office of Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Min-
I have delayed my reply thereto in order that I
might give the matter my earnest, conscientious, and
I now write you my acceptance of the office, subject
to the approval of the General Convention. I could
have wished that the choice of the Diocese had fallen
upon one of wider experience and of more approved
worth, but coming to me as it does with so much
unanimity of sentiment, I can only believe that it is
the call of God, and that He will overrule my mistakes
to His glory, and give me such wisdom and understand-
ing as will enable me so to watch over His flock en-
trusted to my care, that it may suffer no injury at my
hands. It will be a source of lasting satisfaction to me
1 Journal of the Annual Council of the Diocese of Minnesota, p. 56.
ELECTION TO THE EPISCOPATE 115
to lighten the labors and stay up the hands of our
venerable and beloved Diocesan, to whose side you have
I ask of my brethren, of the clergy and laity of
this Diocese, what I know they will gladly give me,
their sympathy, their cooperation, and their unceasing
Praying that our future labors together may ad-
vance always the prosperity of our beloved Church,
I am very truly and faithfully yours,
MAHLON NORMS GILBERT.
In June, Seabury Divinity School conferred for
the first time the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and
selected naturally for this honor the Bishop-elect. The
nomination was made by the Rev. E. S. Thomas, a
member of the Board of Trustees. (In the following
year, Mr. Thomas himself received this same degree
from Seabury.) Hobart College, which in 1880 had
granted Mr. Gilbert the honorary degree of Master of
Arts, now also gave him the degree of Doctor of Sacred
Theology. Thus, at the age of thirty-eight, Mahlon
Gilbert received the highest formal honors that could
be given him Doctor and Bishop in the Church of
There are some whom elevation to high office
changes for the worse ; it mars their naturalness and
their sincerity ; it adds a false sense of dignity, and
new perils of selfishness. It is sometimes harder to
bear adversity in high estate than in low, and it is a
strong soul that is not moved by adulation or flattery.
116 MAHLOTV NORRIS GILBERT
Through all these perils Mahlon Gilbert was to pass un-
harmed. He sought not his own; he was not easily
provoked; he thought no evil; he bore, and believed,
and hoped, and endured unto the end. To him, as to
many, the episcopate was a great opportunity, an op-
portunity for glorious service for God and man.
In the summer Mr. Gilbert went for a few weeks
to Montana to gain strength in the open air for his
coming work. In August he wrote his resignation of
Christ Church, to take effect in November. As Bishop-
elect, he made the address at the opening service of
Shattuck and St. Mary's Schools in the Cathedral at
Faribault. It was a strong plea for high standards of
study and character.
Call to mind the wonderful fruits of knowledge
which open out before you on all sides. Recall those
living examples of the wise and great men of the past.
Recall the wonderful work of scholars and thinkers in
earth and air and sea. Ere they reached that know-
ledge which enabled them to attain such marvellous
results, their feet passed over the same hard, unro-
mantic paths that are yours to-day. There is no royal
road to the enchanted land of knowledge and wisdom.
Its milestones are duty, faithfulness, perseverance, and
enthusiasm. . . .
Before you there stretches out a new school year.
It seems long as you look forward into it, but it will
only be long to those who are laggards and unfaithful
to duty. Look forward to it one and all cheerily. Make
it, with the help of God, a marked year in your lives.
Reflect within your lives this year a new and added
ELECTION TO THE EPIS00PATE 117
glory to Shattuck and St. Mary's. Be inspired by the
loftiest standards. Be never satisfied with work half-
done. Remember the hopes that center in you, and the
prayers that follow you from the dear ones at home.
Let them not be ashamed of your record, but let them
rather be proud of the son or the daughter they have
sent to these Christian Schools. 2
On Sunday, October 17, 1886, in St. James'
Church, Chicago, Mahlon Norris Gilbert was conse-
crated to the episcopate. It was hoped in Minnesota
that the service would take place in Christ Church, St.
Paul, but since the General Convention of the entire
Church was in session in Chicago it seemed both ap-
propriate and convenient that the consecration should
take place during the Convention. Several of the most
distinguished American Bishops took part in the ser-
vice, and the great church was filled to its utmost
capacity. The processional hymn was, "Christ, whose
glory fills the skies." The Bishop of Albany, William
Croswell Doane, began the office; the Bishop of
Western New York, Arthur Cleveland Coxe, was the
Epistler, and the Bishop of Ohio, Gregory Thurston
Bedell, was the Gospeler. The sermon was preached
by Mr. Gilbert's dear friend, Dr. Daniel Sylvester
Tuttle, Bishop of Missouri. His text was Galatians
iv., 26: "But Jerusalem which is above is free, which
is the mother of us all." His theme was "The Mother-
hood of the Church." The sermon is preserved in
2 Minnesota Missionary, October, 1886.
118 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
pamphlet form and a part may well be quoted.
We gather this day to commission and send forth
one more chief Shepherd in the Apostolic line, to feed
the flock and to do the set duty of watch and guidance ;
and we seek to strengthen his heart and refresh our
own with thoughts and thanks about our Mother, the
There follows a thrilling description of the glory and
the freedom of the Church, with a moving plea for
loyalty to her. One element of the Church's freedom
he finds in her love for those who scarcely recognize
If penitence for sin, and holiness of life, and un-
selfish devotion to other souls, and loyalty to Holy
Scripture, and undying trust in the mercies of the
blessed Lord, and untiring effort to walk the way of His
foretreading footsteps, be marks of a true disciple-
ship I claim them so then are Methodists, and Pres-
byterians, and Congregationalists, and Baptists, and
others, by multitudes on multitudes, walking in the
way appointed, true disciples of their adored Master,
and true children, though they may not know and
count the truth to all its fulness, of their own Mother,
the Catholic Church. . . .
I do not mean that we are to be one whit wanting
in the staunchest Churchmanship. But only that we
be full of the abundant and affectionate and allow-
ance-making charity that goeth with it. ...
My brother, through our voices God calls you to the
apostleship. By our hands this day you are to be com-
missioned thereto. Apostle is but Greek, you know,
for missionary. What it is to be a missionary you have
ELECTION TO THE EPISCOPATE 119
counted years ago, you shall count it the more if God
spares your life, in years to come. . . .
Coming out from a past of close association, going
into a future of like grave responsibility, you and I
stand together now for a few moments of hesitancy;
the listening ears will forgive us a little personal
My brother, you've been Sunday school boy, classi-
cal pupil, parish school teacher, deacon, presbyter,
chaplain, missionary with me. Eleven years ago this
very day you were ordained priest by me, in St. James'
Church, Deer Lodge, Montana. . . .
The future. The episcopate is only a larger pas-
torship. The pastor, anywhere, may help to turn many
to righteousness. Blessed be he then. He may preach
to others and be himself a castaway. Some of us in
our infirmities, selfishness, and sins feel keenly how
that may be true.
It is the greatest honor on earth to be a Bishop;
a successor of the Apostles; a chief ambassador of the
Master. But if great and loving service go not with it,
it will be a canker-eating curse to the holder, in the
day of stewardship.
Be great in duty; great in loving service; great in
patient and watchful helpfulness, my brother, and let
honor take care of itself.
The solemn service proceeded. The Bishop of
Indiana, David Buel Knickerbacker, and the Assist-
ant Bishop of 3STew York, Henry Codman Potter, pre-
sented the Bishop-elect to the Presiding Bishop of the
Church, the Right Reverend Alfred Lee of Delaware.
The formal testimonials were read. Then the nine
Bishops present, including the Bishop of Minnesota,
120 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Dr. Henry Benjamin Whipple, laid their hands upon
the candidate and he was made a Bishop in the Church
On the following day, Bishop Whipple, according
to custom, introduced the new Bishop to his brethren
in the House of Bishops. It was the eleventh day of
the session, and there remained ten days in which the
new Bishop quietly adjusted himself to the men and
the methods of the Upper House.
THE WORK OF A BISHOP.
THE State of Minnesota, at this time comprising
one great diocese, contains nearly 85,000 square miles.
One may gain some impression of the vastness of this
area by noting that it equals almost precisely that of
England, Scotland, and Wales, combined. Simply to
visit the scattered churches was a large task. At this
time there were seventy-two parishes entitled to repre-
sentation in the Diocesan Council ; there were also listed
seventy-six missions, many of them having a church
organization and name. To care for this wide field
there were sixty-eight priests and ten deacons.
Bishop Whipple's health now compelled him to
avoid the severe winters of Minnesota, but in the
spring, summer, and early fall, he usually made many
visitations in the diocese, and he always gave close
oversight to the various institutions. Being relieved
of much of the pressure of diocesan engagements,
Bishop Whipple was free to do a great work for the
Ohurch at large. He was in great demand as a
122 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
preacher on special occasions, and took part in the
consecration of many Bishops. His brave defence of
the Red Men led to his appointment by the President
of the United States on the Indian Commission. In
this work for years he took a leading and most useful
part. His tall, stalwart form became familiar also
in England, where he was highly esteemed and loved.
At great missionary gatherings no voice was more elo-
quent and persuasive than that of the famous "Apostle
to the Indians."
Bishop Gilbert's work the first year was, naturally,
one of routine and of learning the field. A few ex-
tracts from his monthly letters to the Minnesota Mis-
sionary, and from his annual report to the Council,
show something of the nature of his work and of the
conditions under which it was done.
My resignation as rector of Christ Church, St. Paul,
took effect on Sunday, November 14th, where, at the
evening service, I began my work as Assistant Bishop
by confirming a class of seventeen persons and address-
ing them. The following Thursday, at the request of
the Bishop of the Diocese, I started northward for a
visitation of the parishes and missions in certain por-
tions of the Northern Convocation.
Sunday, November 21st, I held services at the
school house at Hallock, Kittson County, confirmed
four persons, and addressed them. ... I .organized a
mission, named it St. John's, and appointed a Church
Committee. . . At 3 p. M. I consecrated Christ Church,
St. Vincent, and confirmed twelve persons. The ardu-
ous and self-denying work Mr. Appleby is doing in this
THE WORK OF A BISHOP 123
vast region is of untold value to the Church, and the
cheerful, self-denying spirit he displays is worthy of
all praise. In the evening, held service in the Pres-
byterian church at Pembina, Dakota. ...
Tuesday, November 23rd, in the face of what every-
one said was the Worst storm known here for years,
Mr. Currie and I started for Eed Lake Falls, twenty-
five miles east of Crookston. We had a good strong
team and Mr. Currie knows how to drive, and has true
"grit." Although we lost the road once or twice, yet
we safely reached our destination before dark and were
cordially welcomed by Messrs. Joseph and William
Smith, old Shattuck boys and good staunch Church-
men. We were greeted with the remark, "We knew
Mr. Currie wouldn't weaken, but we were not so sure
about the new Bishop." We held service in a vacant
store, where I preached and confirmed three persons.
Thursday, November 25th, Thanksgiving Day, held
services and baptized one child in the little rural church
at Mentor, Polk County. . . .
Friday, held services in the Methodist church at
Sunday, November 28th, the first Sunday in Advent,
I preached morning and evening in Christ Church,
Crookston, and confirmed in the evening a class of
nine persons presented by . the rector, the Rev. Mr.
Monday morning, with subscription book in hand,
I started out with two of the vestry and succeeded in
a very short time in securing in monthly subscriptions
more than was anticipated for the salary of the rector.
. . . Mr. Currie has the confidence and esteem of the
people, and is in a position to do much good.
December 1, 1886, the Bishop of the Diocese, hav-
124 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
ing been compelled by the state of his health to seek a
milder climate, committed the Diocese to my care.
This trust continued until April 20, 1887, when the
Bishop returned. ...
Thursday, December 7th, I held services in the new
church at Sauk Rapids. This church is erected upon
the ruins of one destroyed in the spring by the fearful
cyclone, and built almost entirely of funds contributed
by the parishes of this Diocese. . . .
Saturday, December llth, I went west to Moorhead
and lectured at the Bishop Whipple School for the
benefit of the library fund. After the lecture I met a
large number of the people socially.
Sunday, December 12th, I preached in St. James'
Church, Moorhead, in the morning, and in the opera
house in the evening. . . . The congregation at the
opera house was very large, the Methodists and Pres-
byterians suspending their own services and attending
in a body. The service was thoroughly Ohurchly and
He had spent Thanksgiving Day far from home,
but the Christmas Holidays found him in St. Paul.
On Christmas Day he preached in Christ Church, and
also on the Sunday following. During the week he
attended three Sunday school festivals, and spoke to
the children. On Sunday afternoon he took great
pleasure in consecrating St. Stephen's Mission, in which
he had been so interested as rector.
After a holiday season thus filled with work, he
resumed his visitations. The winter was unusually
severe, as is shown by more than one entry.
Friday, January 7th, we found ourselves delayed by
TEE WORK OF A BISHOP 125
the intense cold and wind, and could not reach Slayton
by rail direct. We therefore drove across the country
ten miles from lona, on the Minnesota Southern,
reaching Slayton just in time for service. The mer-
cury was thirty degrees below zero, and the wind was
in our faces. We were very thoroughly chilled, but
were not at all frozen. The little chapel of our Church
A still worse storm was encountered at Windom a
few days later, the record running as follows:
The most severe blizzard I have seen for a number
of years began Sunday morning, and in the afternoon,
when we started to drive to Wilder, we found it utterly
impossible to see our way across the prairie and were
forced to turn back. The storm continued all of Mon-
day, effectually blockading the railroad, so that I was
unable to leave Windom until Wednesday night. I
improved the time of my stay by talking on Temper-
ance in the Methodist church two evenings.
Only a week later the Bishop was again snow-bound.
He was on his way to Redwood Falls, when the train
was blocked at ISTew Ulm, fortunately so that he was
able to reach a comfortable hotel. A young commer-
cial traveler who was at the hotel with him, remembers
what good company the Bishop was. He gave some
talks upon his travels and experiences, which were
listened to with great interest by the young men snow-
bound there with him. On the second day, the storm
having abated, Bishop Gilbert arranged for a sleigh with
driver and horses to take him thirty-two miles to St.
Peter, where he would be able to get a train for Min-
126 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
neapolis. Before leaving lie bought a large piece of
warm goods for an extra wrap. The journey was made
in safety, though with much suffering from the cold.
Many times during his episcopate he exposed him-
self to hardships like this, that he might, if possible,
keep his appointments. It is remarkable that, with
his impaired constitution, he was able to endure such
exertions and such exposure, for so many years.
Another item from the record is of special interest :
On Thursday, January 20th, I had the blessed privi-
lege of ordaining to the diaconate Joseph Wakazoo, a
Chippewa Indian, presented by the Rev. Mr. Gilfillan.
He is a man of unusual intelligence, and passed a
most creditable examination. He is in charge of the
Indian Mission field at Lake Winnibigoshish.
The summary of Bishop Gilbert's acts shows that
in the first seven months of his episcopate he visited 99
different parishes and missions, ordained one deacon
and one priest, consecrated eight churches, celebrated
the Holy Communion 44 times, confirmed 427 persons,
and delivered 237 sermons and addresses. He also
made 15 visitations in the Diocese of Wisconsin.
At the annual Council of the Diocese of Minne-
sota, held in June, 1887, both the Diocesan and his
Assistant delivered addresses setting forth their episco-
pal acts in detail, and adding suitable exhortation and
suggestions for the future. This custom was followed
at each Council of the Diocese. Bishop Gilbert's open-
ing words are characteristic :
TEE WORK OF A BISHOP 127
Before reaching my report, I desire to humbly and
devoutly return my thanks to the Great Head of the
Church for His watchful and preserving care over me
and for the many manifestations of His loving provi-
I desire also to express my heartfelt appreciation
to the Bishop of the Diocese for the warm and gen-
erous heart-welcome he has from the first given me,
and for his wise and fatherly counsels in the prosecu-
tion of my work. May our Heavenly Father long pre-
serve him to the Church he honors, and to the Diocese
in which he is so lovingly and tenderly revered.
Moreover, I cannot refrain from thanking my
brethren of clergy and laity for their cordial greet-
ings, always and everywhere given, and for their un-
failing and sympathetic cooperation. May God reward
them for their kindness !
If the summary of his routine work is somewhat
monotonous, it suggests that much of the work of a
bishop has that character. Bishop Gilbert was for-
tunately able to enter into that routine with that large
and kindly spirit which has marked many of our Ameri-
can bishops in their pioneer work. As the men of an
older generation still with deep affection remember
Bishop Whipple and the vigor and inspiration of his
ministrations, so a younger generation loves to tell of
the joy and uplift which came each year with the com-
ing of Bishop Gilbert. He brought with him an at-
mosphere of hope, of love, and of faith. Burdens grew
lighter, and life was a larger and a better thing.
"When you heard him it seemed so easy to be good."
128 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
At the close of his first address to the Council,
Bishop Gilbert outlined his policy as suggested by his
experience up to that time:
In the first place, we ought to pray more earnestly
for laborers in the Lord's Vineyard. . . . We want
men who realize the blessedness of self-sacrifice. . . .
People everywhere are ready to welcome the Church.
Readily will they receive her ministrations, if they
be offered to them in all their sacred attractiveness.
Not only ought the Clergy who minister, to be men
of consecration, but they need to be well furnished
mentally, with sterling common sense, with a knowl-
edge of affairs, and able to grapple with the problems
of the day. Better by far that a field should remain
vacant than to have it occupied by a clergyman who
cannot win souls to Christ, through the Church.
Secondly, we must never lose sight of the import-
ance and blessedness of simple ministrations. In our
natural anxiety to see immediate results, we are apt
to minimize this great duty. Throughout this great
state there are hundreds of families who have not the
privileges of the Church. They are scattered over our
broad prairies or gathered in little hamlets. To look
after these people pastorally, to preach to them the
Word, to administer the Sacrament, to give them from
time to time the services of our dear Church, is a
Christly work. Let the rectors and the missionaries
hesitate not to seek out these hungering ones, even
if a congregation cannot be formed or a church erected.
Church building should be the natural outgrowth of a
real need, the second or third step in Church work,
never the first.
Third, the missionary spirit needs to be cultivated
THE WORK OF A BISHOP 129
more in our parishes. Episcopal though we are in our
government, yet too often, I fear, there is practical
Congregationalism. This narrow parochialism should
be always discouraged. Present the claims of the
Church Catholic first; provide for her just demands ;
then press Parochial claims. Gifts for the former will
never diminish, but rather increase, the latter. . . .
Eourth, there should be more certain provision 'for
our aged and infirm clergy, than is to be derived from
spasmodic and irregular offerings. No cause appeals
more strongly to the heart of our laymen than this.
Let it be definitely and personally presented, and I am
confident that in a few years this fund will be gener-
In conclusion, let us give ourselves more entirely
to the Master's service, cheerfully doing the work com-
mitted into our hands, and more and more filling our-
selves with enthusiasm for the dear Lord and for the
Church which He has purchased with His blood.
"The work to be performed is ours,
The strength is all His own."
These suggestions show wise leadership. The prin-
ciples here set forth have come more and more to the
front in the Chiirch's plans and deeds. E~one of the
problems has received full solution, but substantial
progress has been made along the lines here pointed
THE INDIAN MISSIONS.
WHE2T entering upon his episcopate, Bishop Gil-
bert said to a friend, " I hope I shan't have anything to
do with the Indian work." His feeling was that this
was peculiarly Bishop Whipple's field, and that no one
else could hope to win the hearts of these primitive
Americans, for whom the great Bishop had done so
much. However, the visitation of the Indian churches
in northern Minnesota was the most arduous task in the
Diocese, and naturally came to the younger man. What-
ever misgivings Bishop Gilbert had were soon forgotten.
The sturdy intelligence of the Red men, their strong re-
ligious spirit, the simplicity of their life in the primeval
forest, all appealed to his heart. His yearly visitation
among them became one of the supreme joys of his
The story of the beginning of the Indian missions
is told in Bishop Whipple's Lights and Shadows of a
Long Episcopate. At his coming there were twenty
thousand Indians in the State, belonging to three tribes.
THE INDIAN MISSIONS 131
Chippewas (or Ojibways), Sioux (or Dakotas), and
Wirmebagoes. As early as 1852 Dr. Breck liad begun
a mission for the Chippewas at Gull Lake, and the
famous and noble Enmegahbowh was ordained in 1859
by Bishop Kemper, before the arrival of Bishop
Whipple. An excellent work has been done among the
Sioux, but the largest mission is that which developed
at the White Earth Reservation. From the first, Bishop
Whipple's heart was touched by the needs and wrongs
of the Red Men, and in spite of much opposition and
much indifference, he brought the Church to commit
itself to the work. In 1873, the Rev. Joseph Alexander
Gilfillan, a man of remarkable ability and unceasing
devotion, was placed in charge of the Chippewa Mis-
sions. For twenty-six years he gave his strength and
his means unreservedly to this Ohristlike labor. At
first his title was Missionary, then Superintendent,
then Archdeacon. Of the Indian clergy who were his
faithful helpers, several at the time of this writing
(1912) are still active in the work.
Bishop Gilbert's first visit to these Indian missions
was in September, 18 87. He was accompanied by the
Rev. Mr. Gilfillan, the Rev. Charles A. Poole, rector
of St. Paul's Church, Duluth, and Mr. Reuben Warner,
Jr., of St. Paul. A report of the visitation was made
in Bishop Gilbert's usual letter to the Minnesota Mis-
sionary, and a description by another member of the
party was printed in the ISTew York Churchman, and
copied in part in the Spirit of Missions for December,
132 MAHLOHf NORRIS GILBERT
1887. From these two accounts extracts are here given.
What is not from Bishop Gilbert's pen is enclosed in
We left Brainerd Friday morning, September 2nd,
in a lumber wagon, and after a ride of eighty miles,
for two days, over the roughest roads I ever saw, we
reached Leech Lake. On Sunday I held services in
the Church of the Good Shepherd, and confirmed one
person. This station is under the charge of the native
deacon, Rev. Mark Hart. I also held interesting con-
ferences with the men and women's guilds of the
church. There are a large number of the Pillager
band of the Ohippewas living at Leech Lake, and
many of them are Christians.
Monday morning we launched our birch-bark
canoes, and were paddled across the waters of the most
beautiful lake in Minnesota. At dusk we reached the
shore of Lake "Winnebigoshish, and, in the midst of a
furious rain storm, our course guided by the incessant
lightning flashes, we started across for Raven's Point,
reaching there at midnight, having made a journey of
thirty-five miles in canoes and on foot since morning.
At Haven's point we have the little Church of St.
Philip the Deacon, under the charge of Rev. Joseph
Wakazoo, whom I ordained deacon last winter. Here I
held services and confirmed three persons. We left Mr.
Wakazoo's place in the afternoon, and in our canoes
went up the lake and into the Mississippi River, upon f
whose banks we camped that night, with no canopy
over us except the stars. Wednesday afternoon, we
reached Rev. John Coleman's station at the head of
Cass Lake, where in the evening, in the chapel of the
Prince of Peace, I preached and confirmed one person.
TEE INDIAN MISSIONS 133
Thursday, September 8th, we traveled all day in a
canoe and on foot, camping for the night on the shore
of a beautiful little lake, where the Duluth parson
caught some very nice fish, which were heartily enjoyed
by the whole party, at that time reduced to rations of
bread and wild rice.
At Oass Lake we were joined by a number of other
Indians, men, women, and children, who had come
across from Leech Lake by a shorter route, and were
on their way to Convocation at Bed Lake. Ours was
then quite a little fleet of canoes and the scene was
very stirring and interesting.
(Many of the canoes were manned entirely by
women. It was quite a sight to see the flotilla emerge
suddenly on some lake and swarm over it, the olive-
complexioned, dark-eyed women bending to the paddle,
their long black hair bound in two braids falling from
their bonnetless 'heads, the look of eagerness in their
eyes, and the sides of the canoes all in motion from the
paddles. . . . When they came to a portage they were
as quick as the men to pick the canoe out of the water,
and, inverting it over the head, to carry it across
the portage, though it weighed perhaps eighty pounds.
Others came along, packing a great load on their backs,
and perhaps on top of the highest part of the load a
baby clinging, both mother and baby equally at home.
When night .came, camp was made; the men and
women lighted their fires a little apart, but when the
time came for family prayers before lying down, the
men went over to the women's fire, and held a joint
service. The Ojibway hymn rang out among the listen-
ing woods, and the prayers for pardon, peace, and pro-
tection ascended toward the clear sky. The Christian
Indians never omit this service when traveling.)
134 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Friday, at noon, we reached the end of our canoe
voyaging and then took to lumber wagons sent to meet
us, and at seven o'clock, after a drive of fifteen miles,
reached Red Lake, quite ready to rest. . . .
Saturday the Convocation was held, with a large
attendance of Indians from different points. Questions
of interest pertaining to their spiritual life and the
ongoing of the Church were discussed with earnestness
and intelligence. These convocations are held twice a
year and do much good.
Sunday morning I preached, celebrated the Holy
Communion, and confirmed four persons in the Church
of St. John's in the Wilderness, the Rev. Fred Smith,
deacon, and in the afternoon preached, celebrated Holy
Communion, and confirmed four persons in St. Antipas'
church at the Old Chief 's Village farther up the lake.
In the evening I preached at the lower church to a
congregation which densely packed the edifice. I was
deeply impressed with the heartiness and devotion dis-
played in the services, and joyfully bear testimony to
the most excellent work that is being done in the In-
dian country, among a people who ten years ago were
plunged in the grossest wickedness and savage de-
pravity. . . .
On Monday, September 12th, we left Eed Lake in
the rain by lumber wagon, and after a wearisome ride
over horrible roads and through dense forests, at the
end of the second day, we reached Wild Rice River.
Wednesday morning I preached, celebrated Holy Com-
munion, and confirmed one person in the Church of
the Epiphany. This church is under the charge of
the Rev. Charles Wright, deacon. In the afternoon I
held services in the church at the Pembina settlement,
and then drove to White Earth. Thursday morning
THE INDIAN MISSIONS 135
services were held in St. Columba's Church. . . .
The Rev. Mr. Johnson (Enmegahbowh), owing to his
advanced years now retires from the charge of St.
Columba's Church. . . .
This completed my first visitation of the Indian
missions. The work is most interesting, and is going
steadily forward. The wisdom and devotion of Mr.
Gilfillan are evident in every way. No one can esti-
mate the untold good he is doing among these people. 1
One comment from the correspondent of the Church-
man should be added. He is describing the sermons at
Convocation, which, of course, had to be interpreted:
The Bishop has the happy faculty of touching the
right chord of Indian nature, and there was deep in-
terest. One Indian man was weeping, an unusual
thing in an Indian congregation. . . . (After the
evening service) they adjourned from the church to
their guild room, and there kept up a religious meet-
ing till two o'clock in the morning, in which they gave
vent to their feelings which had been extraordinarily
stirred by events of the day. There was a succession of
religious addresses by both men and women, with the
singing of hymns and with prayers. As one of the
speakers said, although there had been at other times
an honest feeling to serve God, yet now for the first
time did it seize them all as by common united impulse.
An article by the Eev. Joseph Gilfillan, entitled
"An Indian Convocation," contains some noteworthy
observations on Indian character. It was an Indian
clergyman, the Rev. Frederick W. Smith, who sug-
gested the plan of such a convocation. The first was
L Minnesota Missionary and Church Record, October, 1887.
136 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
held, with the Bishop's approval, in the winter of 1887,
and the second was that just described. Mr. Gilfillan
The subjects discussed in both were such as the
following: What are the defects in our methods and
practice on account of which the heathen do not come
into the Church in larger numbers, and what can
we do to cause them to come in ? How can we protect
the Indians, especially the Christians, from strong
drink? What can be done to mitigate the evils we
suffer from men putting away their wives and taking
others, and other offenses against the Seventh Com-
mandment? What can we do about planting missions
in Indian villages where there are none at present?
What can be done towards making the Indian churches
self-supporting? All these questions were discussed
with a good sense, breadth of view, and exhaustiveness,
that were indeed surprising, coming from men, who,
except the clergy, did not know a letter, but had to
depend on their own unaided native intellects. It will
seem the language of hyperbole, but yet it is true, that
in no white convocation in which the writer has had
the privilege to be, did he ever hear the subjects as
well, as sensibly, and as exhaustively discussed, as in
the first convocation at Leech Lake, by men who a few
short years ago were wild savages. This arises from
the remarkable intellectual capacity of the Indian. 2
Another interesting comment on Indian character
was made by the Eight Reverend Doctor Thorold,
Bishop of Rochester, after his visit to Minnesota.
Speaking at a London dinner, he said, "The North
2 Minnesota Missionary and Church Record, May, 1888.
THE INDIAN MISSIONS 137
American Indians have all the dignity of the House
of Lords, with the difference that the House of Lords
never listen, and the Indians always do." 3
In 1890 Bishop Gilbert went only to St. Oolumba's
Church at White Earth, and from there Bishop Graves
made the visitation. Also, in 1893, having been forced
by ill health to go abroad, Bishop Gilbert was unable
to make .his usual visit to the Indian country. With
these two exceptions, for nine years, this long mis-
sionary journey was a fixed part of the year's routine.
He used to take with him different friends from the
city, that they might share in this experience which
he so thoroughly enjoyed. Once Mrs. Gilbert made
the journey, being the first white woman ever seen in
the more distant Indian villages.
A few more incidents of these visitations are worthy
of record. The journey of 1888 abounded in game,
with good fishing, both for the sportsmen and for the
"fishers of men." A narrative of this visitation from
Bishop Gilbert's own pen is found in the Minnesota
Missionary of October, 1888. A few extracts follow:
After many miles of paddling and portaging, we
reached at eight in the evening, Little ISTat's wigwam
on the bank of a small lake bearing his name. Here,
tired and cold, we were given a right cordial welcome
by the Indian family. The fine bush wigwam was
clean and capacious, and although there was but one
apartment, the ten persons in our party, and the four
8 Lights and Shadows of a Long Episcopate, p. 269.
138 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
members of Little Nat's family succeeded in passing
a comfortable night. We tarried here over Sunday.
It was a day to be remembered. The utter loneliness
of the spot, the strange aboriginal life, the services
morning and evening in the wigwam, the baptizing and
confirming of Little Nat and his wife, all were striking
features of a most unique experience. Had I the space
I would like to tell the story of Little Nat's conver-
sion to Christianity. It was a wonderful testimony to
the workings of the Holy Spirit.
A part of the upper Mississippi is thus described :
Down this lovely stream, here very narrow, between
high banks covered with pine and birch, starting up
deer in the bushes and shooting wild ducks as they
rose from the reeds, we glided rapidly along until we
passed out of the river into the broad waters of Lake
Winnebigoshish. Following along its northern shore,
we reached Raven's Point, the seat of our mission to
the band of Chippewas occupying the shores of this
lake. In the evening we held services in the chapel
of St. Philip the Deacon. Many of the people were
away, and the whole village is suffering from the
whiskey which is easily procured from the white lum-
ber camps not far away.
The next day we went on down the lake to the
government dam at the outlet. Here we stopped for
dinner and for an hour's fishing in the river below the
dam. It was the best pike fishing I ever saw, hooking a
fine fish at every cast. That night we made our camp
on a high wooded point among the pines, which we
named Point Strobeck, in honor of our worthy com-
panion [Judge Strobeck] from Litchfield. This was a
delightful camp and was made specially so by the excit-
THE INDIAN MISSIONS 139
ing stories of hunting with which our Indian guides
entertained us, as we sat around the bright fire. . . .
Sunday, at Leech Lake, in the Church of the Good
Shepherd, we held services and celebrated the Holy
Communion. I also confirmed a class of nine persons
presented by the deacon in charge, the Rev. George
Smith. . . . This completed my second visitation to
the Indian field. . . . Had I the time I could multiply
incidents to show the firm hold the Church is taking
upon these simple red men, and the real work that is
being done. 4
The work was soon strengthened by the establish-
ment of boarding schools for Indian boys and girls
under the care of the Rev. Mr. Gilfillan, and by the
well-known lace schools of Deaconess Sibyl Carter. The
Indian women, finding little market for their beadwork
and baskets, had asked for some better means of liveli-
hood. The lace work proved to be an industry well-
suited to their skill and has had much success.
On the last journey but one which Bishop Gilbert
made among the Chippewas, one of the party was Mr.
Earle S. Goodrich of St. Paul. He was much impressed
by an incident of this visitation and gave a vivid de-
scription of it in a letter which lie wrote in March,
1900, to Bishop Potter, to thank him for his tribute
to Bishop Gilbert.
We were making the return trip from Red Lake
by canoes, and had reached Cass Lake behind time.
The morning service had been held at the mission there,
* Minnesota Missionary and GJiurch Record, October, 1888.
140 MAELON NORRIS GILBERT
and we were in haste to recover the time lost by a rapid
paddle along the length of Oass Lake. As we were
about to leave the mission, a Christian Chief told the
Bishop of an aged Indian woman, decrepit and for
two years blind, who feared she might not live to an-
other visitation, and who desired to be confirmed. She
was at a point several miles off our route, with her
family, who were gathering the yearly supply of wild
rice. The Bishop decided to make the detour, and,
if justified, to perform the rite.
Furnished with a guide, we came to the spot, a little
clearing of some seventy feet square, with a fire in the
open, and crouching by it the postulant, with a long
rope about her waist, and one end fastened to a stake,
that she might not stray away during the absence of
the family, then at the rice fields. She was a pitiable
sight, in her blindness and other infirmity, but showed
on examination that she well understood the teaching
received from the venerable missionary Gilfillan, and
from the local Indian deacon. Whereupon the Bishop
and clergy, in full canonicals, administered the order
of confirmation, as specifically as the circumstances
I have seen and been impressed by stately cathedral
ceremonials, but this simple service in the forest gave
a new solemnity to the rites of the Church, and an
added dignity to the episcopal office. It was all char-
acteristic of the dear Bishop. The poor creature could
not see nor know of the contrast between her squalor
and the vested clergy; but to the Bishop hers was a
human soul to be received into Christian fellowship,
and no form or ceremony possible of observance, could
be omitted or abridged.
We left her kneeling in prayer, her hands raised,
THE INDIAN MISSIONS 141
and her wrinkled, sightless face radiant with the peace
In October, 1895, the General Convention set apart
the northern part of Minnesota as the Missionary
District of Duluth, thus removing most of the Indian
missions from the Diocese of Minnesota. It was a
lightening of the work, but the breaking of many ties
of affection. Because of his perfect truthfulness the
Indians called Bishop Whipple "The Man of the
Straight Tongue." They had also learned in these ten
years of close association to trust Bishop Gilbert im-
jplicitly. Fortunately for some years Archdeacon Gil-
fillan continued his close oversight of the field.
There has been no decline. Under the active and
successful administration of the Rt. Rev. Dr. Morrison,
Bishop of Duluth, the Indian work has grown and
prospered, and is still one of the notable achievements
of the American Church.
HOME AND PERSONAL LIFE.
ENTEKING upon Ms episcopate, Bishop Gil-
bert had rented a house at Number 56, Park Place.
No provision had been made for an episcopal residence.
As rector of Christ Church his salary had been three
thousand dollars, with the use of the rectory. As
Bishop he received three thousand dollars only, and
no increase was ever made in the amount.
Presently, however, some of his many friends in St.
Paul determined to give the Bishop a home. He re-
ceived one day the following letter :
ST. PAUL, Eeb. 23, 1888.
Rt. Rev. M. N. Gilbert, D.D.
MY DEAR BISHOP: It is with very great pleasure
that I transmit to you the enclosed certificate of de-
posit for $10,000. Please accept the same as a token
from your friends, whose names I herewith send you,
of the love and esteem in which they hold you, and of
their grateful and admiring appreciation of you as a
friend, and of the good work done by you while rector
of Christ Church in this city, and since then in the
HOME AND PERSONAL LIFE 143
larger field of labor to which you have been advanced.
They hope that with it you will be able to provide
yourself a house in which, as they all wish, may you
pass a long, useful, and happy life, cheered by the
consciousness of work well done, and by the friendship
and esteem of all who know you.
Very sincerely yours, JAMES GILFILLAN.
At the time the letter was written, Bishop Gilbert,
with some assistance, was holding an eight days' mis-
sion in St. Clond. On his return to St. Paul, he found
this delightful letter and wrote in reply:
ST. PAUL, Feb. 28, 1888.
The Hon. James Qilfillan.
MY DEAR JUDGE GILFILLAN: I cannot fittingly ex-
press my gratitude for the generosity of my friends in
St. Paul, whose familiar names are before me. My
heart is filled to overflowing by this expression of their
thoughtfulness, confidence, and love. The friendship
of years is cemented the more firmly by this token, and
I thank our Heavenly Father that my lot is to be
hereafter, as heretofore, cast among a people whom I
love with a peculiar tenderness.
In the thick of the cares and perplexities of a life
burdened ever with the sense of its responsibilities, I
shall always be cheered and strengthened by the mem-
ory of an affection which the years may not diminish.
May God help and reward them one and all.
Believe me, with highest esteem and affection, most
gratefully your friend, MAHLON N. GILBERT.*
It is a matter of record that this sum was given by
no less than one hundred persons. Most of them be-
1 Minnesota, Missionary and, Church Record, March, 1888.
144 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
longed to Christ Church, some to other parishes, but
several were not members of the Episcopal Church.
The residence purchased with this gift was a com-
fortable frame house at Number 18, Summit Court,
a short, quiet street leading from the well-known Sum-
mit Avenue. The house is finely situated, and com-
mands a wonderful view for miles of the winding valley
of the Mississippi.
Bishop Gilbert's home life was very beautiful. As
has been said, Mrs. Gilbert was of a retiring disposition.
She was quiet and self-contained, and objected to prom-
inence, though she might easily have attained it. One
of her closest acquaintances says of her: "Mrs. Gilbert
was a very superior woman. She made few friends,
but those she loved dearly. She was a good business
woman, and had a fine mind."
Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert.
The older daughter, Prances Carvill, was born at
Christ Church Rectory; the younger, Lucy Pierpont,
was born at 18 Summit Court. Both the girls were
educated at St. Mary's Hall, in Faribault. Frances
was married some years after the death of her parents
to Lieutenant Robert M. Cheney of the United States
One of the best photographs of the Bishop shows
him with his two daughters, one on either side, with
their faces close to his. In no other picture is there
shown so well the depth and tenderness of his na-
PRANCES CARVILL GILBERT
HOME AND PERSONAL LIFE 145
A letter written to Frances, when a young girl at
St. Mary's, shows the Bishop's fatherly love:
MY DEAR FRA :
Thank you so much for your picture. You look
very good, as if you could not do anything naughty.
I shall always carry it in my diary, and look at it every
day, and hope my dear little daughter is growing to be
as good as her picture looks.
Are you getting well settled down to work after the
holidays, and are your studies harder this term than
last? We miss you so much.
Last night I spent in Minneapolis, and to-day I
have been sitting to have my portrait painted by Miss
Grace McKinstry of Faribault. I suppose it will be
very fine when it is completed.
Tour Mama and I went to the Colonial Party at
the Ryan this week. I wish you could have seen Musa
with her hair powdered, in her Colonial costume, and
dancing the minuet. She was very sweet and attrac-
tive. Next year we must put a Colonial costume on
your mama, and then she could wear the quilted petti-
coat of her great-grandmother, which she let .Mrs.
**** W ear this year.
Well, I shall be down next week, and we can have a
good visit. Give my love to Alice. All send love.
Lucy is just giving her dollie supper upstairs. Lucy
has a new school dress which is very becoming.
TOUR LOVING PAPA.
The portrait referred to was finished a few weeks
later, and was considered a speaking likeness and a
true work of art. The artist, Miss Grace McKinstry,
had studied in Paris and elsewhere, under recognized
146 MAHLON N ORRIS GILBERT
masters, and twice exhibited pictures in the Paris Salon.
Of this portrait there was a descriptive account in the
Pioneer Press of St. Paul, March 20, 1898 :
Miss McKinstry has realized in this last work the
mental and moral vigor that is in Bishop Gilbert's
countenance, the spiritual refinement in his bearing,
and his office. She has accordingly painted the alert
strength of his face so as to fix attention the more be-
cause of the delicate gray atmosphere within which
appear the white lawn sleeves of the Bishop's rochet,
the black silk of his chimere, or gown. The expression
is earnest, vivacious. The face reproduces accurately
the "clean cut" lines which foreigners justly admire in
handsome Americans. . . . Holding a Bible in his
crossed hands, the Bishop appears in a characteristic
attitude. His friends will think they see him . . ,
about to address a congregation.
This portrait was purchased by friends of the
Bishop and presented to Seabury Divinity School.
Another portrait, painted from photographs, after the
Bishop's death, hangs in Morgan Hall at Shattuck
One physical characteristic, not mentioned in the
description of the painting, was the power and beauty
of his clear, blue eyes. There was a look in them,
especially when he was speaking, which charmed and
held his hearers. In any assembly Bishop Gilbert's
fine, erect figure gave him distinction. At a gathering
where several military officers were present, one of them,
who had not learned the Bishop's title, asked him, "To
what regiment do yon belong ?"
From the Painting by Miss McKinstry
HOME AND PERSONAL LIFE 147
The natural refinement which marked Mahlon Gil-
bert grew with the experience of life, and shines forth
more and more in his later photographs. At Shattuck
School he once preached to the Tboys from the Fifteenth
Psalm, on the theme, "The Requisites of a Gentleman."
This sermon made a very deep impression, and has
never been forgotten.
He was a very rapid speaker. At times his
thoughts seemed to come faster than words could be
uttered, and reporters found it impossible to keep pace
with him. Bishop Millspaugh once cautioned him
not to use so loud a voice in speaking in a small church.
"You ought to save your strength." "I know it," was
his reply, "but when I get interested in my subject, I
am carried away."
Mr. William H. Lightner, for many years a near
neighbor of the Bishop, and a most intimate friend,
bears high testimony to the Bishop's financial integrity :
The Bishop and his wife had invested $2,000 in
the Bank of Minnesota which failed in 1896. It was
a pitiful failure, and caused great suffering. I was
appointed receiver, and had to collect the double liabili-
ties from many. Some paid promptly; some had to be
sued. The Bishop asked me simply how soon he would
need to pay the $2,000. I told him that it would take
a year or more to bring some of the suits, and he said
that would give him time. He sold some Montana
sheep belonging to Mrs. Gilbert and himself, and paid
their liabilities, without a word of complaint. He
never complained of anything.
When he died I was administrator, and a few
148 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
months later, Mrs. Gilbert's will made me executor of
her estate, with the care of the property for the chil-
dren. Except small current bills, I found no debts
whatever. Bishop Gilbert had always lived within his
income, and paid all obligations promptly. He owed
no one. On the other hand, several persons owed him
small sums, and some of them had not even paid the
Bishop Gilbert was not a clerical wit, thought lie
enjoyed good stories, and sometimes told them. He
was ready at repartee. At a birthday party given to a
very old lady, her grandson entered the room carrying
a great cake with ninety lighted candles upon it. "How
easily he carries it!" said one. "Yes," said Bishop
Gilbert, "because it is so light!"
Among his very dear friends were Mr. and Mrs.
Alexander H. Oathcart, who were most active in Christ
Church. , Mrs. Cathcart used to keep the Bishop's lawn
sleeves in order for him, as she excelled in such work.
Once she remarked to him, "Bishop, I hope I shall live
to see you have a valet some day, to carry your robes
for you, and wait on you." "I hope you will, Mrs.
Cathcart," replied the Bishop promptly, "for then you
will live to be a very old woman !"
A letter written from the General Convention at
Baltimore shows something of his lighter vein:
BALTIMORE, October 25, 1892.
MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND: How good you were to
write me, especially on the day so memorable in my
life (the anniversary of his consecration). I wish I
HOME AND PERSONAL LIFE 149
could write you a satisfactory reply, but it is not easy
to write wlien tlie Bishops are all talking and the
reading of reports is going on, with the noise and
confusion attendant. The House of Bishops is not
as noisy as the House of Deputies. We try to be more
grave and reverend, but do not always succeed.
My own seat is in the second row, next to the
Bishop of Nebraska. Ten new Bishops have pushed
me out of the rear row. How fast the complexion of
the House changes; new faces come in, and old ones
disappear. Opposite me sitting side by side are to be
seen the strong face of Bishop Brooks and the youthful
one of the "baby Bishop" Sessums of Louisiana.
The picturesque figures are Bishops Williams,
Whipple, Doane, and Ooxe. The chief speakers are
Bishops Doane, Paret, Burgess, Coxe, and Hare. Your
humble servant is occasionally on his feet, but his
speeches are short and prosaic, and you need not fear
that secret sessions are causing the loss to the world
of any great amount of eloquence from that source.
This has been the best Convention I have attended.
The spirit has been excellent, and the results satis-
factory. The Prayer Book revision is finished, the
new Hymnal adopted, and seven Missionary Bishops
I have met many old friends and have had a very
good time, and certainly feel in much better spirits
than when I left. I shall try not to get back into the
depths again. . . .
I am so glad you spent the "Chick's" birthday at
18 Summit Court. I thought of you all, all day. . . .
I am as ever, affectionately yours,
M. H". GILBERT.
150 MAHLON NO&RIS GILBERT
In Bishop Gilbert's episcopal ring was a beautiful
sapphire, valued at six hundred dollars, which he highly
prized. The ring and stone had been given him by
Mrs. Rensselaer Russell Nelson. One evening in Du-
luth, the Bishop was preaching in a hall for a mission
which worshipped there. After the service, but not
till he reached the home where he was entertained, he
missed the stone. It was winter } there was snow on the
ground, and it was thought that the stone had probably
fallen from the ring on his way home. He was troubled
at the loss, but nothing could be done. In the morning,
however, when the Bishop came to breakfast, he said,
"I have had a remarkable dream. I thought I was in
the mission hall, and found the stone." He described
the place ; they went to the hall as soon as possible, and
there, just where he had seen it in the dream, the stone
was found. It has been suggested that while absorbed
in preaching, he may have seen the stone, half-con-
sciously, and that this sub-conscious recollection came to
the surface in his dream.
It is impossible to record the names even of the
Bishop's close friends, but besides those elsewhere al-
luded to, mention must be made of the Gilfillans, and
the McMasters. Judge Gilfillan was a leader in the
Diocese as well as in Christ Church; Mr. Stirling R.
McMasters was a son of a former rector of Christ
Church, Mrs. Gilfillan being a daughter. In their
homes Bishop Gilbert was as a brother, rather than a
Bishop. When the Bishop in 1893 visited the battle-
HOME AND PERSONAL LIFE 151
ground of Bannockburn, lie made inquiries as to the
Gilnllans of that vicinity, knowing that the boyhood
home of his friend the Judge was nearby. In a letter
written from Stirling, Scotland, he said:
MY DEAR JUDGE:
I want to tell you a little about my visit to Ban-
nockburn. Beyond the historical associations of the
place, I felt drawn to it because of its relationship to
your own life. After visiting the famous castle on the
heights of Stirling, Mr. White and I walked out of the
city, through the village of St. Ninian's, to the battle-
field. We stood on the stone where Bruce erected his
standard and fixed the positions within sight of the
Scotch and English Armies.
After this was done, I entered into conversation
with the man who seemed to be in general charge of
the sacred spot, and I asked him how long he had
lived there. "All my sixty-one years," was his reply. I
then asked him if he remembered a family of the name
of Gilfillan, and he replied, "Very well." I soon dis-
covered that he probably remembered you, as he, in
his very early life, went to school with a James Gil-
fillan, and he pointed out the locality where you for-
merly lived. His name was Ewing. Of course, it may
have been another family whom he knew, but he said
the boys he remembered were living somewhere in
The Bishop's father, Mr. !N"orris Gilbert, died at
his home in Morris, August 12, 1877, while Mahlon
was rector at Deer Lodge. The death of his mother was
strange and pathetic. At the age of 78, she came in the
fall of 1891, to visit her son Mahlon. She arrived on a
152 MAELON NORRIS GILBERT
Monday, greatly fatigued by the journey, and her mind
seemed to wander for some days. On Saturday morn-
ing early, her dead body was found on the walk, below
an open window, through which she had passed, prob-
ably mistaking it for a door. This was the last day of
October, the eve of All Saints' Day. The Bishop was
greatly affected by. this sad event; it was a grief too
great for words. The record in his journal is : "Novem-
ber 3d, laid my mother to rest by the side of my father
in the old church cemetery in Morris, New York."
There remained two strong ties to bind together his
happy childhood and his mature years; there was still
his brother Frederick, in Montana, whom he visited
nearly every year, and in the East, in Morris, and New
Berlin, in New York and Philadelphia, there were
many relatives and friends who followed his career with
affection and pride. New friends were added, year by
year, in increasing numbers, but the old friends were
"kept close, and not forgotten."
Bishop Gilbert's last visit to Morris, the home of his
boyhood, was marked by special honors. It was in 18 97.
On Saturday, February 6th, he addressed the Woman's
Auxiliary, and "a rousing reception" in his honor fol-
lowed. On Sunday morning, he preached to an unusual
congregation from the text, "Consider the lilies." One
hundred and thirty persons received Holy Communion
at this service. The rector, Rev. G. H. Sterling, said
the Bishop was wonderfully surprised and gratified that
so many in the old home town should come to hear him.
VISIONS AND TASKS.
THE HIGH IDEAL of social service belonging to
the episcopate is set forth in the Office of Consecration
in words of wonderful beanty. Near the close of the
service the Consecrator delivers to the new Bishop the
Bible with these words :
Give heed tmto reading, exhortation, and doctrine.
Think upon the things contained in this Book. Bq
diligent in them, that the increase coming thereby may
be manifest unto all men; for by so doing thou shalt
both save thyself and them that hear thee. Be to the
flock of Christ a shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, de-
vour them not. Hold up the weak, heal the sick, hind
up the broken, bring again the outcasts, seek the lost.
Be so merciful, that you be not too remiss ; so minister
discipline, that you forget not mercy; that when the
Chief Shepherd shall appear, you may receive the
never-fading crown of glory; through Jesus Christ
To realize this ideal is difficult in the extreme, but
Bishop Gilbert certainly kept close to the ideal. He
154 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
was never "a lord over God's heritage," but "an en-
sample to the flock." His own description of his work,
often repeated, was, "I go around recharging the bat-
teries." He sometimes added, "I hope they will stay
charged until I come again."
A thoughtful estimate of the Bishop and his in-
fluence is given in a paper read at the Semi-Centennial
of the Diocese in June, 1900, by the Rev. Dr. Poole.
It is entitled, "Bishop Gilbert and Later Developments."
We all feel that the Church and the institutions of
the Church have gained something that is invaluable,
taken into their life and being, from the ministrations
of Bishop Gilbert. . . . When Bishop Gilbert went
to visit a parish, or a mission, or one of the schools,
there was a current of new interest and new enthusiasm
started by his presence and his words. Everyone was
glad to see him, glad to clasp his hand, glad to hear
him speak. And while he was present at any place on
his visitations, the interests of that particular spot
absorbed his whole attention and thought and sym-
pathy; and, as one has already truly said, Bishop
Gilbert turned from interest to interest, in the mani-
fold workings of the Diocese, with an alertness which
showed that he bore them all in mind and with im-
partial care and thoughtfulness.
His visitations were not the perfunctory perform-
ance of an allotted round of official duties from which
he hastened away, eager to escape any petty annoyances
or the pressure of social amenities. He enjoyed the
country and the visits to small communities, delightful
in their reminiscences of his own boyhood Church life,
and took as much thought for them and for their
VISIONS AND TASKS 155
welfare and growth as if they were, as they often in
some ways are, the most important agencies in the
development of Christ's Kingdom. . . .
Who of us has not felt new interest, new enthu-
siasm, flow into our souls from his presence and stirring
words ? Somehow he seemed to make the outlook take
on a more cheering aspect; the shadows drifted away,
the burdens grew lighter for the moment; we took a
new grip of the difficulties, resolved to overcome
them. . . .
It might be said with truth that, while he was still
rector of Christ Church, the revival of missionary effort
of the Church in Minnesota began. A new spirit was
manifested, and new work beyond the limits of paro-
chial lines was begun. It seemed to be a much easier
matter to raise the assessment for missions, or the
stipend of the Diocesan Missionary, when Bishop Gil-
bert made the appeal. I think we all felt that in some
way he embodied the cause of missions, and that what
was given was going to take effect at once through his
agency and it did, for he was not only the inspirer
but the director of the missionary work. 1
The Bishop's "embodiment of the cause of missions"
is well illustrated by the experience of a St. Paul phy-
sician who used to go occasionally to hear him preach.
"I heard that Dr. Gilbert was to preach at Christ
Church one evening, and went to the service, but to my
disgust, instead of preaching a sermon, he began to
speak in behalf of the Episcopal City Missionary
Society. I could not well leave the church, so I sat and
listened. Soon I found myself interested. There were
Minnesota Church Record,, March, 1901, pp. 68-70.
156 MAHLON NORRI8 GILBERT
blank subscription forms in the pew, and after a while
I took one and put down my name for five dollars. The
longer I listened the greater was my approval of the
cause. It seemed the most important work in the city,
and finally I put a figure 2 before the 5 on the sub-
Another instance of Bishop Gilbert's ability to com-
municate enthusiasm is well remembered in Stillwater.
Ascension Church in that city is one of the oldest
parishes in the Diocese. Service was held there in 1846,
and in 1851 Dr. Breck organized the church. The
parish grew, though slowly, and there had been a va-
cancy in the rectorship for some time when in the fall
of 1886, the parish took on new life. The church build-
ing was repaired, decorated, and made complete in
every way; a fine pipe organ was installed, and on
Easter, 1887, the church was reopened with bright
hopes for the future. That very night the building
burned to the ground, and, though it was partially in-
sured, the blow seemed fatal. As soon as his engage-
ments permitted, Bishop Gilbert hastened to Stillwater,
met the vestry and other workers, planned with them,
gave them courage, and left them full of enthusiasm and
hope. In place of a frame church they would build
of brick, and there were to be no more vacancies in the
rectorship. The Bishop's comment on the matter is:
"The earnest practical way in which the men take up
the new burden is very commendable." A year later,
on Easter Day, the Bishop had the pleasure of preach-
VISIONS AND TASKS 157
ing in the new church, assisted by the new rector, the
Rev. Andrew D. Stowe, who helped to make the parish
one of the strongest in the Diocese.
On one of his visitations, the Bishop was speaking
after service with a lady whom he had just confirmed,
when he turned to her husband and said, "Why weren't
you in the class, Mr. B. ? You go everywhere else that
your wife goes." The question was never forgotten,
and, though years passed, in due time the husband also
presented himself for confirmation.
A high tribute was once paid the Bishop by a plain
man who said, "I like Bishop Gilbert, he is so common."
He was common, not in the sense of lacking refinement,
but as finding common standing ground with persons
of every sort. A river captain was asked if he had
known the Bishop. "Know him ? Why ! many a time
we've been fishing together. He was a great preacher,
and a first rate fisherman." Mr. Lightner has said of
him, "Every man, high or low, rich or poor, cultured
or degraded, was to him the image of a brother man."
Something of his own thought of the Christian min-
istry is seen in a sermon preached at the ordination of
Stuart B. Purves to the diaconate. Of this sermon an
abstract only has been preserved:
Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be
found faithful (I. Corinthians iv,, 2).
Faithfulness, not success, is the true standard of the
followers of Christ. St. Paul's words are as true to-
day as ever. We may not have to die at the stake, or
158 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
perish on the arena's sand, but this practical, utilitarian
nineteenth century offers as many temptations, as many
trials of faith, as any that has preceded it. Con-
stantly faith is being tried through the many petty
annoyances and discouragements. We to-day, if we
are faithful stewards, "are fools for Christ's sake. We
both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and buffeted,
and have no certain dwelling place; . . . being re-
viled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it."
Faithfulness to the Church must be the first and
chief consideration, before self, before family even.
This faithfulness of which St. Paul speaks requires
complete self-consecration. If a man cannot give this,
it were better for him not to enter the ministry. That
life, thank God, is not one of luxury or self-advance-
ment, but one dominated by the example and pattern
of the Master." 2
Another statement of his vision of life was given by
Bishop Gilbert in his address at the Commencement of
St. Mary's Hall in Faribault, June 12, 1888. The
class motto was Vita Vocat., "Life calls us/.' and was
used by the speaker as the theme of his counsel.
Before delivering the address Bishop Gilbert read
a cablegram which he had just received from Bishop
Whipple, then in England attending the Lambeth Con-
ference. It read as follows : "Our love and blessing to
St. Mary's and Shattuck Schools." "I have no greater
joy than to hear that my children walk in truth"
(III. St. John 4).
Bishop Gilbert then spoke as follows:
2 Minnesota Missiona/ry and Church Record, February, 1889.
VISIONS AND TASKS 159
Our exercises to-day seem sadly lacking without the
presence of him who is both Bishop and Hector of St.
Mary's. His words of loving counsel and warm affec-
tion have always heen treasured as precious things.
They have sent many of St. Mary's daughters forth
into the world with higher resolves and soaring spirits.
His heart is with us to-day, we can be sure, and his
love reaches across the expanse of the sea and embraces
us all with the same feelings as of yore. We send him
our greetings and our own love with prayers for his
happiness and safe return.
A year of great and unexcelled prosperity to St.
Mary's Hall draws to a close. It has been a year of
progress and happiness which will be treasured in the
memories of teachers and pupils. It is by such quiet,
earnest, faithful years of work that our school has the
high position she occupies to-day. The best work is
not by any means the showiest, and the best school is
not necessarily the most fashionable. Every year adds
much to the efficiency of St. Mary's. Every appliance
for securing complete and adequate instruction is be-
ing secured as rapidly as our means permit.
St. Mary's Hall has always been proud of her
daughters. They are known and honored throughout
the West. Eamily life is being made sweeter and
truer by their influence. I can call to mind many
communities in this State where the influence of this
school is being felt through the lives and example of
those who have been educated here. I could tell you of
Sunday schools gathered and sustained, of mission
churches kept alive, of parishes stimulated, of pastors
helped and cheered by the loving Christian work of
those who have gone out from this Hall. The mean-
ing of life, first grasped here, has unfolded, as the days
160 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
went on, until it has been fully accentuated in works
and ways of consecrated duty-doing.
To-day we send forth with confidence, pride and
love, another class to grapple with life's realities. We
feel that you have received no false impressions here
of its larger meaning. You have found in your school-
days what you will find in the years to come, that life
is something more than drifting, and that true rewards
only come as the result of genuine work. We often
speak of school-life as if it were a preparatory stage,
as if it were a space apart and separated from the real
story of our life work. Let us rather regard it as a very
real part, fully identified with it. It is not the preface
of the book but it is one of the chapters of the story
itself. You simply turn a new page to-day. You
begin no new volume, but you enter upon the con-
tinuance of the same experience, only under different
You can almost certainly forecast the future of
your lives by your careers in this earlier portion of it.
I mean you can tell, almost to a certainty, how you
will fare in the midst of life's surgings and buffetings.
If, with cheery resolution and hopeful courage, you
have taken hold upon the duties of your school-life,
you can be sure that even so will you meet the duties
opening out before you. A bright, sunny, hopeful
nature will win by its own contagious enthusiasm.
"A cheerful heart is what the Muses love ;
A soaring spirit is their prime delight."
Therefore, dear friends, go forward and onward into
the mysterious future with a buoyant, courageous
heart. Do not look for the dark side of things. Do not
be easily dispirited. Our .Heavenly Father has filled
you with the power of making the world in which you
VISIONS AND TASKS 161
live better by making it brighter. That has been
the secret always of a Christian woman's influence.
The love of the Master, shining in her own soul,
has reflected its brightness in the sun-lit face, in
the sweet content of the nature; and others looking
have been warmed into a newer and brighter life by it.
Vita Vocat, calls you up out of the shades, up out
of the darksome valleys, up to the reposeful heights
where the sunlight of God ever abides. There is a
ringing clearness in its note to-day as it comes to you
standing upon the summit of a "divide" in your lives.
It is a call full of meaning, fuller and deeper than you
have ever before realized.
What is your response to the call? Is it a firmer
resolution, a most heart-felt prayer, to go out into
the life before you with duty inscribed upon your
hearts? That word, controlling, will make your life
work certain, happy, full of content at the close. Life
calls you to that high mission, that sublime service.
Always true to the call of duty let this be the simple
sentence which can be written over your lives, when
at length "it ringeth to evensong."
Vita not the indulgent bodily gratification, that
would be life degraded; not the flippant career of the
mere ephemera of society, that would be life soulless;
not a mere mental or intellectual development, that
would be life narrowed and cramped; not an existence
without God or faith or religion, that would be a life
utterly meaningless; but the life that calls you to-day,
and calls us all, is that wonderful composite of body,
mind, and soul, which makes for righteousness, which
binds duty and God ever closely together.
Keep that life clearly before you. Let not your
ears be closed to its call. Go steadily on toward and
162 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
into its many duties and demands. Yours then will be
lives worth the living. Yours then will be examples
and memories which will quicken and inspire others,
who also in this very place, and out yonder in the
broader world, will hear the "Gall of Life."
We go out from this world and into the other we
die, but not the effect of our deeds. All other sounds
"Die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill and field and river ;
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And live forever and forever." s
How well Bishop Gilbert followed his own counsel,
how gloriously he transformed vision into reality, is
shown by a great cloud of witnesses. Bishop Whipple,
writing from England, in 1888, said: "The Assistant
Bishop has been the foremost Missionary of the Diocese.
He has eased the burden from my shoulders, and brought
joy to many hearts for the noble record of his faithful
Two years later, Bishop Whipple said in his annual
address to the Council :
No words of mine can express the debt of grateful
love which I owe to my son and brother in the gospel,
the coadjutor Bishop, for his most abundant labors
and for his loyal love and devotion to myself. May
God reward him in that day we look for and long for.
No Bishop of this Church has had his declining years
made more blessed by the love and devotion of a
brother's heart. 4
3 Minnesota Missionary and Church Record^ July, 1888.
* Journal of the Thirty-third Annual Council of the Diocese of
Minnesota, 1890, p. 41.
VISIONS AND TASKS 163
Still later, in 1897, Bishop Whipple wrote from
England to the Council :
God has been very kind to me in sparing my life
to see the fruition of plans we laid in faith, but most
loving in giving to me such a Coadjutor Bishop and
helpers in the Lord. . . . There never was a Coad-
jutor Bishop who shared more thoroughly in his Dio-
cesan's confidence, plans, and hopes.
At the Council of 1890 Archdeacon Appleby bore
this testimony :
The general mission work of the Church is in a
highly prosperous condition throughout the State,
largely due, under God, to the presence of Bishop
Gilbert in every field, whether large or small, without
distinction, and to that wonderful magnetism and
power which infuses itself into God's work wherever
So the years passed with increasing labor, with in-
creasing success. Using his episcopal office, not as a
dignity, but as an opportunity, in season and out of
season he devoted himself to the cause. In the East he
came to be known as one of the best of missionary
speakers. When in attendance at missionary confer-
ences, or at the General Convention, he was much
sought as speaker or preacher. He also took every op-
portunity to address divinity schools or Church stu-
dents in colleges, hoping to interest some in the work
of the ministry, and to attract some to the Church in the
He spoke thus at Harvard, at Brown, at Trinity, at
164 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Hobart, at Lehigh, at Kenyon, and at most of our theo-
logical schools. His own record of addresses during or
following the General Convention of 1889 in New York
City is as follows:
I had the opportunity several times in different
churches to tell the story of our own work, and I trust
excite considerable interest therein. The Diocese of
Minnesota stands high in the opinion of Churchmen
of the East, on account of its aggressive missionary
work and its spirit of harmonious and conservative
Churchmanship. It is the keenest pleasure to observe
how universally beloved and respected our own Bishop
is, and what a position of commanding influence he
occupies in the Councils of the Church.
I preached and made addresses in the Churches of
the Holy Spirit, St. Andrew's, St. Luke's, and St.
George's, in New York City; in St. Paul's, and St.
Peter's, in Brooklyn; in Glencove, Long Island; in St,
Paul's, Englewood, and Grace, Orange, New Jersey;
in Hyde Park, New York ; in All Saints', New Mil-
ford, Connecticut; and in Sherburn, and Oswego, in
Central New York.
(On the way home), I also addressed the Woman's
Auxiliary in Indianapolis, and Chicago, and St. Louis.
In St. Louis, also, I preached an ordination sermon in
the Cathedral, and was one of the speakers at a mass
meeting of St. Andrew's Brotherhood.
With this manly organization, the Brotherhood of
St. Andrew, Bishop Gilbert was a great favorite. They
looked on him as "a leader, a counselor, and a friend."
An editorial in St. Andrew's Cross at the time of his
death pays him this tribute :
VISIONS AND TASKS 165
Bishop Gilbert's busy life and his work in the
Northwest did not permit of his presence at general
conventions of the Brotherhood as frequently as was
desired, but when he was able thus to speak to them
his message came with a manly vigor, a cheerful con-
fidence, and a reverent purpose that carried conviction
and inspired to better living. To the Brotherhood
men of his diocese he was ever a comrade and a leader.
At the time of Ms death and for several years pre-
viously, he was President of the St. Paul Local
Assembly. If the Brotherhood men of that city should
ever fall short in realizing his ideal for them, it will
be in spite of the example he set of facing difficulty
and overcoming it, of bearing responsibility patiently
and bravely, of doing his duty as he saw it, and leaving
others to gather in the poor praise of men. 5
We may well close this chapter with an extract from
Bishop Gilbert's Council Address of 1892. It reveals
his sympathy, his wisdom, and his faith.
The details of my work for the year being pre-
sented, 8 it remains only for me to say one word in con-
clusion. It is to accentuate what you already realize,
viz., the greatness of the problem before us and the
inadequacy of means and men. I believe no diocese
ever had a band of more earnest, consecrated, common-
sense clergy than ours. They are full of the spirit of
the Master. Their salaries are small, their fields of
work large and difficult. Yet where they receive the
5 St. Andrew's Gross, March, 1900, p. 144.
He had made 192 visitations in 118 parishes and missions ; had
confirmed 750, delivered 315 sermons, lectures, and addresses, had
visited Winnepeg to assist in the consecration of the Bishop of
Mackenzie River, and had visited Florida to consult with Bishop
166 MAHLON NORRI8 GILBERT
hearty support of the laity, whether many or few in
number, they labor with a cheerful zeal which is
beyond all praise.
My heart goes out to you, dear brethren, in tenderest
sympathy. I know your trials, your difficulties, your
discouragements. In heart I share in every sorrow;
in person, as much as may be, I try to help in the
carrying of your burdens. The cheery welcome you
always give me sends me on my way with a lighter
heart. Tour burdens are my burdens, your joys are
W Joys. God grant that so it may be always. Let
us understand and realize with a large charity, although
we may have differences of opinion, although we may
at times err in judgment, that the work in which we
are engaged is common to us all, that the cause of
Christ is of far greater importance than the accom-
plishment of our own little plans.
"Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and
clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with
all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender-
hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for
Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
All around us the battle rages. We are in its
midst. Ours it is to be leaders in this conflict, this
struggle against sin and the foes of the Eaith. Let
our hearts be tender and strong, our heads clear, our
whole example one which men can imitate, and around
which they can gather and be brave. "Stand fast in
Let us in this annual assembly take sweet counsel
together as to how best the work of the Church of
Christ may be enlarged. With this one aim in view
we shall make our labors a definite stimulus that will
be felt in the remotest mission of the Diocese. When
VISIONS AND TASKS 167
our duties here are finished, may we all return to our
respective fields with hearts so aglow with renewed
ardor for our work that others, too, will be filled with
greater enthusiasm, out of which shall grow the spirit
and the purpose of larger endeavors and fuller realiza-
tions. In His name, "who hath done great things for
us already, whereof we rejoice," let us speak unto the
people that they Go Forward!
FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE.
IN THE spring of 1893, after a winter of untiring
exertion and mucli exposure, Bishop Gilbert was sud-
denly prostrated with pneumonia. The record of his
journal is, "May 10th to June 13th, confined at home
by illness." For some days his life lay in the balance,
and there was great anxiety in the Diocese. As of old,
"prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto
G-od for him." Daily, at some church in the city, the
Holy Communion was celebrated, and at the altar
earnest prayers were made for his recovery. When the
Bishop learned it, it, touched him greatly, and cheered
his heart. At the same time Bishop Whipple was
severely ill, and was unable to be present at the Annual
Council which met in Faribault at the end of June.
By that time Bishop Gilbert was convalescent, and
ventured to attend the Council, but he was too weak to
deliver his address. Accordingly this was read for him
FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE 169
by the Archdeacon. The opening words are char-
Dear Brethren of the Council:
First of all, in presenting this, my seventh annual
address, I wish to express my deep sense of gratitude
to Almighty God, for his great goodness in bringing
me safely through a dangerous illness and granting
me further opportunity for doing His work in His
Kingdom on earth. Henceforth it shall be my endeavor
to give myself more fully and unselfishly to the service
of the Master ; for which mission may physical strength
be given me, and may his all-sufficient grace sustain
I cannot forbear, in your presence, to tell how my
heart has melted at all the evidences of affection shown
me. They brought light in my illness, and I feel that
God, through bodily weakness, has made the bonds of
our mutual love stronger.
We are all profoundly thankful that it has pleased
our Heavenly Eather to preserve to us our beloved
Diocesan, who, through much pain and weakness, still
lives to bless us, his children, with his benignant
presence and fatherly solicitude. We earnestly pray
that his recovery may be speedy and complete.
At this time Bishop Gilbert's own recovery was in
serious doubt. His physician had told him that he must
have a change of climate with entire rest. "Your only
hope of living is to go abroad and stay abroad." Some
friends in St. Paul heard the report, and sent the Bishop
a letter with over a thousand dollars for the journey.
(This typewritten letter with the names of the sixteen
donors is carefully preserved in the Bishop's scrapbook.)
170 MAHLON NORMS GILBERT
The voyage seemed both attractive and necessary, but
he felt unable to go alone, and Mrs. Gilbert could not
leave the young children. Accordingly, he turned to his
friend, the Rev. John Hazen White, then Warden of
Seabury Divinity School, and since Bishop, first of
Indiana, and afterwards of Michigan City. Mr. White
had come to the Diocese four years before, at Bishop
Gilbert's invitation, to make a new beginning with the
reorganized Church of St. John the Evangelist, in St.
Paul. At Bishop Gilbert's urgent request he now con-
sented to go abroad with him, and relieve him of the
business cares of the journey. On the last day of June,
1893, they started from St. Paul for the East. The nar-
rative which follows is largely from Bishop White's
At Chicago Bishop Gilbert insisted on seeing some-
thing of the famous Columbian Exposition, which was
then in full progress. He was too weak to walk far,
so I got a wheeled chair and for two days wheeled him
everywhere, to see as much of the Fair as possible.
We met there Mr. William E,. Stirling, then with the
Steel Corporation, who gave us letters of introduction
to his brother, Sir Robert Stirling, of Dunblane, Scot-
After two days in Chicago we went on, but the
Bishop was so weak that we had to stop in Pittsburgh
for the night, and again in Philadelphia. I was greatly
worried lest he would not even get to the steamer. In
New York, we met a niece of Judge Gilfillan, who was
to be under the Bishop's protection for the voyage.
FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE 171
We sailed on the Germanic of the White Star Line on
the fifth of July.
I got Bishop Gilbert into his steamer chair ap-
parently an invalid. It had been a tremendous task
and responsibility to get him there, and the outcome
was entirely uncertain. Within half an hour after
sailing he began to sit up, and joke and laugh; before
night he was like a boy. The sea air acted like magic
in putting him on his feet. From that time on he was
not sick on all the trip. He had wonderful recuperative
power, and never seemed to tire. He would play
shuffleboard, and was full of life. On the steamer we
became acquainted with Col. Charles Holbeach, an
English officer on furlough, who had been traveling
through Canada. He kindly gave us a letter of intro-
duction to his father, Archdeacon Holbeach, rector of
Banbury. Miss Gilfillan went on to Liverpool, where
she was met by friends, but we landed at Queenstown,
and visited Cork.
From Cork Bishop Gilbert and Mr. White went
westward, taking the well-known coaching trip to Killar-
ney, and made the tour through the Gap of Dunloe and
down the lakes. Thence going to Dublin, and across
the Irish Channel to Holyhead, they came to Bangor,
and visited the Cathedral.
We spent the night at Llanberis, at the large Vic-
toria Hotel. Our experience here at dinner was very
amusing. We entered the great dining room, and
found it beautifully arranged with flowers, and silver,
and fine linen, with waiters in abundance and we
were the only guests that night. We thought it great
fun, and being alone, after dinner we went to the
172 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
billiard room, and tried to play, but neither of us really
Through the Pass of Llanberis they went on to
Bettws-y-Coed, to Conway Castle, to Chester, as through
enchanted land. After so many years of familiarity
with the history of Castles and Cathedrals and scenes
famous in literature, it was a wonderful pleasure to the
Bishop and his companion to be actually among them.
Erom Chester they passed through the English Lake
District, up Windermere to Ambleside, to Rydal Mount,
to Grasmere, and on by Thirlmere, past Helvellyn, to
Keswick at the foot of Skiddaw. They saw "the water
come down at Lodore," and then took their way to
"merry Carlisle," and on to Glasgow. It was a journey
So few of Bishop Gilbert's letters have been pre-
served that it will be well to quote in full his description
of the visit to lona :
OBAN, SCOTLAND, July 26, 1893.
Dear Missionary and Record,
I have just returned from a brief pilgrimage to
sacred lona. I cannot forbear telling my friends some
of the impressions left on my mind, and calling their
attention to a spot which in a certain way is specially
dear to the heart of every Minnesota Churchman. We
consider, you know, St. Columba as the patron saint
of our Diocese, and here on this little island, away
'mid the Western Isles of Scotland, is a spot which is
filled with memories and incidents of St. Columba's
life and work.
As a fitting preparation of the mind for the sacred-
FIRST \VI8IT TO EUROPE 173
ness of the place, we land a little before reaching lona
at Staffa, and visit its marvellous Fingal's Cave, with
its strange basaltic pillars and deep eehoings of the
voices of the sea. The mighty power of the Creator
is here revealed with a startling distinctness. Far
across the wide expanse of sapphire sea we could see
the square tower of the cathedral of St. Columba, still
although deserted and in ruins, keeping faithful watch
over the islands which are scattered here on every side.
As we landed, one instinctively thought of thq
landing centuries ago, when Columba and his devoted
followers set foot upon this rocky soil, full of the
purpose of carrying the Gospel to the barbarians of the
There are in reality three distinct ruins, all of
which are full of interest the priory, the chapel of St.
Oran, and the cathedral. All about and within these
enclosures are the tombstones of men famous in the
annals of Britain. Here are buried, so the chronicler
tells us, forty-eight Scottish kings, four Irish kings, and
four kings of Norway. Here are also carved effigies of
bishops, and chieftains of the McOlean line. Just at
the left of the entrance of the cathedral is to be seen
the grave of St. Columba, although his body was taken
for its final resting place, in the Ninth Century, to
Kells in Ireland.
The walls of the cathedral are fairly well preserved,
and there is still to be seen much quaint and symbolic
carving over the arches. The green grass now grows
where once stood the high altar and the blue sky is the
dome above. In the cathedral yard are to be seen the
only specimens of the original lona cross in existence.
The rude hands of the Eeformers of the Sixteenth
Century with fanatical zeal destroyed all the rest.
174 MAHLON NORRI8 GILBERT
The Island of lona is only three miles in length
by one in breadth, but here for centuries was the cen-
tral fire of northern Christianity kept burning. No one
can resist the hallowing influence of the spot. One's
faith is the stronger as we stand among these evidences
of our ancient historic lineage.
The day of our visit was one of perfect beauty;
the blue sky, the soft air, the genial sunshine, of which
Scotland is niggardly in the giving, were with us and
You will all, I am sure, be glad to know, that I am
getting quite well and strong. The entire cessation
from care and work, as well as the invigoration of new
scenes and deeply interesting objects, is effecting com-
plete restoration. Nor should I* fail to add that the
watchful care and the cheering companionship of Dean
White contribute much to the rejuvenating process.
I think often of all my friends in dear Minnesota,
and I shall be quite ready in every way to return to
them and to my work in the autumn.
Most truly yours,
M. N. GILBERT. 1
At Glasgow they found letters including an invita-
tion from Sir Bobert Stirling to visit him in his home.
From Glasgow they made the usual picturesque tour by
Loch Lomond and Loch Kathrine through the Trossachs
to Stirling, where they spent the night. Here they
climbed the hill, and visited the castle, and afterwards
walked to the battlefield of Bannockburn. Anxious to
get their mail, they went on to Edinburgh, and then
1 Minnesota Missionary and Church Record, September, 1893.
FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE 175
came back to Dunblane, five miles only from Stirling.
Bishop White gives this account of their visit:
Sir Robert Stirling met us at the station with a
drag. He was in highland costume, kilts, bare knees,
and all, and drove us to his estate at Kippenross. He
asked us at once if we would not like to see the estate
and nearly walked our legs off of us, showing us the
stables, the hunting grounds, the park, etc. On our
return we had tea, and then dressed for dinner, which
was served in full English style, with footmen in livery.
By contrast, the next morning, we had breakfast with-
out a servant in sight. The Stirlings were charming
people, and this visit was our first introduction to home
life in Great Britain. I remember how on our de-
parture Bishop Gilbert gave the expected gratuities to
the servants. He was quicker than I to adapt himself
to unfamiliar customs.
Returning to Edinburgh, they visited many places
famous in history or romance, among them Roslin Castle
and Chapel, Melrose, and Abbotsford. The great
northern Cathedrals lay before them "Durham, Eipon,
Fountain's Abbey, how we did enjoy them all!" At
York their experience was most delightful :
After visiting the cathedral, Bishop Gilbert said>
"We ought to pay our respects to Archbishop Mac-
lagan." His palace, Bishopthorpe, is about three miles
south of the city. With much anxiety on my part, we
drove there, and entered through the Gothic gateway
into the great courtyard. On inquiring for his Grace
we were ushered into the library. Almost the first
thing that we saw was a fine, large portrait of Bishop
Whipple, which was hung cyer the desk. "That augurs
176 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
well for our reception." In a short time the Arch-
bishop entered the room, a bright, dapper, little man
in gaiters, a perfect gentleman. He was delighted to
see us, and shook hands with us with both hands.
"Mrs. Maclagan will soon be here to greet you." She
came with equal cordiality, and asked where our lug-
gage was. On learning that it was at the hotel in
York, they insisted on sending for it, and we spent a
few days at the palace.
One of the most wonderful experiences of my life
was the service at the beginning of the Harvest. The
Archbishop celebrated the Holy Communion and all the
farmers received. Then he blessed their scythes and
reaping hooks, and prayed for success in their labor.
The Archbishop's chaplain at this time was a son of
the Reverend John Keble. On Sunday afternoon, at
the request of the Archbishop, Bishop Gilbert preached
in York Minster, his first sermon, I think, in an
English church. Before leaving Bishopthorpe, Arch-
bishop Maclagan took us into his oratory, and held a
brief service, and gave us his blessing. He called our
attention to the wooden crucifix, with the face of the
Saviour, not suffering, but triumphant. As we were
about to go, Mrs. Maclagan took me [Rev. Mr. White]
aside and said, "I want to tell you what a pleasure your
visit has been to us. You have reminded us so much
in voice, gesture, and manner, of one of our dearest
friends, John Henry Newman. It was a terrible grief
to us when he went to Rome."
So ended a memorable visit. Lincoln, Peterborough,
and Ely lay before them. A detour brought .them to
Warwickshire, a region of many charms. A letter
FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE 177
written by the Bishop to a friend in St. Paul shows how
thoroughly he enjoyed his visits to historic places:
STRATFORD-ON-AVON, August 15, 1893.
MY DEAR FRIEND: I must write you a line from
this beautiful spot, to me the most fascinating in
many ways, in all England. I am sitting under the
shade of trees in the Churchyard of Holy Trinity.
All around me are the graves of the yeomen of Strat-
ford. Not ten feet away, under the floor of the
Church, rest the hones of Shakespeare. Before me
flow the gentle waters of the Avon, I could without
difficulty sentimentalize and write you a great deal
of nonsense on the images which the environment
summons up, but I will spare you.
Mr. White and I have spent nearly the whole day
in this Churchyard; chiefly (to be right honest),
because it is too hot to do anything else, or to walk
to Ann Hathaway's cottage at Shottery. Of course,
to make the whole effect harmonious, for we are only
a few miles from Warwick Castle and Kenilworth,
which we visited yesterday, I am reading "Kenilworth,"
and making my heart tender with the woes of unhappy
The old-timed and old-fashioned inn, at which we
are staying, is the Falcon, where the "wild Will,"
once and again, quaffed his cup and told his tales
to boon companions. Holy Trinity Church is full of
interest, outside of its fine architectural effects.
We did think we would go to London to-night,
but the heat is too intense, and the dolce far niente
feeling engendered by everything constrains us to
I have preached but once since leaving Minnesota,
178 MAHLON MORRIS GILBERT
and that was in York Minster, on which occasion I
wore the robes of the Archbishop. Mr. White and I
travel about, generally, with the utmost freedom from
constraint in our gray suits. It would do your anti-
clerical eyes good to see us.
What cathedral impressed us the most? Well, we
have seen at least a dozen of the finest, with St.
Paul's and Canterbury yet to see. Durham's interior
was the grandest and most uplifting, York's exterior
the most imposing, and Ely the most beautiful. How
they all "smack" of age! Every one has history
written on it. ...
Mr. White has taken good care of me, and I am in
a fine state of preservation. Certainly I am gaining
the chief object of the trip in regaining my health
and strength. Eanny is very good and writes me twice
a week. I am so glad she went to Chicago (to the
World's Fair). It will be pleasant to remember. . . .
Give my love to all at your house, and believe me
as ever, Affectionately yours,
MAHLON IT. GILBERT.
From Stratford they went direct to London. Bishop
White's narrative is full of interest:
In London we had delightful rooms in Norfolk
Street, Strand. We visited Parliament with tickets
gotten for us by Canon Earrar, then rector of St.
Margaret's, who was most kind. On our first Sunday
morning we went to Westminster Abbey, and in the
afternoon to St. Paul's Cathedral, where we were told
we should hear excellent music. We heard also a most
remarkable sermon. The preacher was Canon Newbolt,
who was for the first time taking the place made vacant
by the death of the great Canon Liddon. The Old
FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE 179
Testament lesson was from the second chapter of
Second Kings, which tells of the parting of Elijah and
Elisha. Dr. Newbolt took for his text the thirteenth
verse, "He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell
from him." The sermon began: "A man and a cloak.
What will he do with it ?" He applied it to his suc-
ceeding Liddon, the less the greater, as it must often
be in life. It was a wonderful sermon. The next
Sunday afternoon we went, not to hear the music, but
the sermon. The first lesson was from the sixth chapter
of Second Kings, and as it was finished Bishop Gilbert
wrote on a piece of paper a part of the seventeenth
verse, "Lord I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may
see." He added, "A magnificent text for a sermon."
When Canon Newbolt entered the pulpit, he took as his
text these very words, and again he preached a most
While in London they made several trips and visited
Canterbury, Cambridge, and other places. Erom Ox-
ford they went out to Cowley and heard a sermon by
Father Osborne, now Bishop of Springfield.
At Banbury, famous for its Cross, we had a delight-
ful visit with the rector, Archdeacon Holbeach, whose
son had given us letters, and arranged for our visit.
The Archdeacon lived on the family estate, in a fine,
quaint, old stone house. The lawn was like a velvet
carpet, the result of mowing only with a scythe, as
sharp as a razor. Each night and morning the Arch-
deacon held family prayers in the great hall, with the
servants present. We spent two days here, and enjoyed
heartily another beautiful example of English home
It was now near the end of August, and Mr. White
180 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
had to return to "the States" for another year at Sea-
bury. Bishop Gilbert was so strong that he needed no
companion, and was glad to prolong his travels.
Of his Continental journey no record is available.
He visited France, Switzerland, Italy, and other coun-
tries with intense pleasure and profit. His love of
history made his travels a constant delight, and on his
return to Minnesota he would often lecture with great
interest on some part of his European journey.
He returned from the Continent in time to attend
the Church Congress held in Birmingham the first week
in October. Here he had the pleasure of hearing and
meeting many distinguished leaders of the English
Church. On Wednesday evening, October 4, the subject
for discussion was "The Anglican Communion," and
he was asked to speak for "The Church in the United
States of America." It was at the close of a long even-
ing, and he spoke briefly. After allusion to the close
ties binding together the Church in America with the
English and the Scottish Church, he said:
My friends, the Church in America has been try-
ing experiments through its whole history. It re-
sumed its work, after the Revolutionary War, as an
experiment. The charge was made by its enemies that
it was a foreign Church, that it had no business to
remain there after the English troops left the soil of
America. So, labouring under this great disfavor, the
Church in America for many years struggled simply
for the right to exist, and yet out of that condition she
has gone marching down the century, marching out
FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE 181
across the Alleghanies, out into the Mississippi Valley,
and then still onward to the Pacific, always carrying
the banner of apostolic truth and apostolic order, which
you in the Church of England, as a precious legacy
handed to us across the seas.
One thing we feel we do need, which you have here
in England. We teach the historical position of the
Church, because is not that our only reason for separate
existence? But we need something more than the
simple verbal and written testimony. We need some
of the symbols of the Church's history. We need
something like the fanes which are everywhere to be
found in England, telling of the glorious history of
the past. We need minsters like those of York and
Canterbury; we need cathedrals whose associations are
eloquent in testimony of the position and history of
We have need of these symbols, but yet in a
certain sense we have them, in the very memories that
came down through you to us. We look to these monu-
ments as the symbols of our Church history. Our
children come over here and study them and go back
again more loyally anchored to the Church than ever
I cannot touch at all on our varied methods and
agencies of work. Time forbids. The Church in
America has never been sluggish, but always active.
It has made sad mistakes, but the very inherent power
derived through the ages from the foot of the Cross
has enabled it to overcome mistakes. There has been
no narrow policy pursued in the revision of the Prayer
Book. The question was first, how can we best keep
ourselves close to the standards of the Church of Eng-
land? and next, how can we best adapt the Prayer
182 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Book to the conditions which exist in America to-day?
And while the Prayer Book has been adapted to the
needs and special conditions peculiar to America, I
do not believe that in any way we have departed from
the beauty, or the richness, or the fulness of the
My friends, we stand in America for unity. I
prophesy that in the time that is coming, and which
in God's own good time will certainly come, the
Church in America will be the gathering point and the
focus of unity for the disintegrated masses of Christi-
anity there. I believe it, because it is the only Church
which possesses a real genuine anchorage with the
past, and which is at the same time truly American in
its character. I believe it, too, because there are signs
in the air that men are looking to us and saying,
"Your methods shall be our methods, and your polity
shall be our polity." . . .
What the Church in England and the Church in
America her daughter should strive for more and
more is the greater unification of their own forces,
more concentration of their potencies, more drawing
together of the bonds of family love, and those bonds
can be best drawn together by understanding each other
better. Do you know, I believe we American Church-
men understand you here in the Mother Church better
than you understand us. We know far more about
your work, about the every-day life in your Church,
than you know about what your daughter in America
is doing. ...
I appeal to you, as members of this Church Con-
gress, to strive to study something about what we are
doing in America, so that your increased knowledge
may bring us closer together. As -a missionary Church
FIRST VISIT TO EUROPE 183
yet, we must have sympathy, and help, and prayer to
enter into and carry on our missionary work. So, I
say, send us more of your best men. We need men
there in those regions beyond the Mississippi. We can
get the money, but we cannot get the men. Do not
think because a clergyman of the Church in England
has failed here in England that he has a divine call to
preach the Gospel in America or in the colonies. We
want, I repeat, your best men. We have had some of
them, and we want more. I believe our future will be
a great and glorious one, and God shall be with us, as
He was with our fathers. 2
This address was well received by the Congress, and
at the close there was hearty applause. While on the
Continent, Bishop Gilbert had preached at the Ameri-
can Church in Paris, and lie now preached one Sunday
in St. Paul's, Worcester. A few days later he sailed for
America, and on October 26 lie was again in Minnesota.
On the evening of ^November 4 the Church people
of St. Paul gave a reception for the Bishop and Mrs.
Gilbert in the guild house of Christ Church. A few
days later, at the fall meeting of the Minnesota Church
Club one of the addresses was made in bis honor, and
it was suggested that as "a material manifestation of
our thankfulness for the Bishop's restored health,"
there should be special offerings during the Advent
Season for the missionary work of the Diocese. In re-
ply Bishop Gilbert expressed his appreciation of the
2 Official Report of the Birmingham Church Congress of 1893,
184 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
regard and affection shown him, and spoke briefly of his
ecclesiastical impressions when abroad, and of his part
in the Church Congress.
After this welcome home, with his usual energy and
good cheer, he entered upon one of the busiest and most
successful years of his episcopate.
GROWTH AND PBOGKRESS.
THROUGH these years of Dr. Gilbert's episcopate
the Clmrcli in Minnesota had made notable progress.
There had been large numerical growth, but better than
mere bigness was the loyal and energetic spirit which
pervaded the Diocese. Bishop Gilbert would be the
last to take to himself the honor for this advance. In
his Council addresses he speaks repeatedly with high
appreciation of the wonderful work of Bishop Whipple,
and of the unselfish Ohristlike devotion of the rank and
file of the Minnesota clergy. He never forgot the hard-
ships or the achievements of those in rural parishes or
in the Indian field. But it is plain from the records
of the time, and from the recollections of those who
worked under Bishop Gilbert, that much of the progress
of those years, much of their good spirit and active
loyalty, was due to the generous, unassuming, energetic
leadership of Bishop Gilbert. Men might differ from
186 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
him in opinion, but they knew his unselfish, large-
minded nature; they recognized his perfect sincerity,
his entire consecration to the work.
With remarkable tact, with wonderful self-efface-
ment, he adapted himself to the plans and methods of
his Diocesan. The two men were quite different in
personality; Bishop Whipple was keener as a judge of
men, but Bishop Gilbert had the same art of winning
men, and holding their affection; Bishop Whipple was
greater as an orator, but Bishop Gilbert, in his own
magnetic way was wonderfully persuasive as a speaker,
and would have gained still more in power, had life
been spared; Bishop Whipple laid remarkable founda-
tions, and Bishop Gilbert, with wise judgment, with
utter self-forgetfulness, helped forward the work. The
younger clergy naturally saw more of the younger
Bishop, and became devoted to him ; in some cases, they
were unfair to Bishop Whipple, not appreciating the
past, but such a spirit received no encouragement from
Bishop Gilbert. He once said to Bishop Millspaugh,
"I have always tried ,to be thoroughly loyal to my Dio-
cesan, and he has never given me to understand, by any
criticism, that I have been otherwise."
On the contrary, the relations of the two Bishops
were most harmonious and beautiful. The Chancellor
of the Diocese, who was most closely associated with
them both in conferences involving matters of supreme
importance for the Church, says of them, "I have never
GROWTH AND PROGRESS 187
known two men associated in any business or organiza-
tion who worked together in such perfect harmony as
Bishop Whipple and Bishop Gilbert."
From the beginning, the elder Bishop committed to
the younger a large part of the administration of the
Diocese. In the first seven years Bishop Whipple was
present at only four of the annual Councils; once he
was in England at the Lambeth Conference, once in
France in poor health, and once confined by severe ill-
ness at his home in Faribault. It was Bishop Gilbert's
rule to refer all possible matters to the counsel of the
Diocesan, but for a large part of the time the younger
Bishop was alone in the diocese and in full charge of
the work. As he won the confidence of the men of
Minnesota, he became the leader and founder of certain
movements and institutions which deserve record here.
The Minnesota Church Club rightly claims Bishop
Gilbert as its founder. In the tribute composed by the
Council of the Club soon after his death, there is this
Bishop Gilbert was quick to discern the possibilities
embodied in the Church Club idea, and upon his sug-
gestion our diocesan club was early organized and ranks
among the oldest in the United States. He was deeply
interested in its development, gave it the benefit of his
counsel, the inspiration of his words and presence, and
took a pardonable pride in its achievements. As he
rejoiced in its success as a breaker down of the barriers
of parochialism and as a unifier of the clergy and
laity of the diocese in a common work, so also he was
188 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
pleased at its instrumentality in obliterating diocesan
boundaries, and in making our ecclesiastical neighbors
welcome to Minnesota. 1
The Rev. Dr. John Wright, rector of St. Paul's
Church in St. Paul gives some particulars, not else-
where recorded. He said, in a conversation with the
writer, "Soon after my coming to Minnesota, Bishop
Gilbert spoke to me of organizing a Church Club, 'such
as they have in the East/ I said, 'It is premature ; we
are not like the East, and it would not succeed.' But
he persisted that it would be a good plan, and later the
ma.tter was brought up at the Clericus, and a committee,
consisting of Bishop Gilbert, Dean Graham, and myself,
was appointed, and together we planned its organiza-
The committee invited several leading laymen to
meet them at the West Hotel, January 15, 1891. At
this conference, Bishop Gilbert presided, and it was
decided to organize. A committee of laymen, of which
Mr. Hector Baxter was chairman, soon drafted a con-
stitution and by-laws, and the first banquet was held in
Minneapolis, on February 4. At first the Minnesota
Church Club did not admit clergymen to membership,
but, a year later, they were allowed to join the club,
though not to hold office, an arrangement which has
1 The Minnesota Church Record. March, 1900, p. 49.
2 Dr. Tanner's History of the Diocese speaks of Dr. Wright as the
founder, but the latter's own account gives that honor to the Bishop.
GROWTH AND PROGRESS 189
The Swedish work in Minnesota owes much to
Bishop Gilbert. In his Council address of 1896, Bishop
Whipple, after quoting the report of the Lambeth Con-
ference recommending "more friendly relations between
the Scandinavian and Anglican churches," makes this
It was in the spirit of this declaration . . . that
our Swedish work has been inaugurated. In its incep-
tion it was the work of the Coadjutor Bishop, and he
has had at every step of this movement my loving ap-
proval. This work has been under the immediate care
of the Rev, Mr. Tofteen, of whom a distinguished mem-
ber of another communion said, "he is truly a man of
God," and I must here say that we owe a deep debt
to Rev. H. P. Nichols for his devotion and help in
The story of the movement is too long to tell here. 3
The Church of Sweden, as is well-known, has much
in common with the Church of England. It is an estab-
lished church, with Bishops, vestments, and liturgy.
In the early days many Swedes, coming to America,
brought letters commending them to the Episcopal
Church, as closely akin to the Church of Sweden.
The Swedish Lutheran Church in the United States
has given up many of the usages of the Mother Church ;
it has no Bishops, but is organized on a modified Pres-
byterian basis. In different Swedish settlements in
America a 'number of congregations ,have withdrawn
3 See Chapter XLIV. of Dr. Tanner's History.
190 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
from the Swedish Lutheran Synod, and have sought
membership in the Episcopal Church, as most closely
resembling the mother Church of Sweden.
The first graduate of ISTashotah House was the well-
known Swede, the Rev. Gustaf Unonius, rector of St.
Asngarius 7 Church in Chicago. In 1851 Mr. Unonius
came to St. Paul by special invitation and organized
a Swedish work, which did not prove permanent.
Again, in 1874, in Earibault and the vicinity, a Nor-
wegian work was begun with Bishop Whipple's hearty
approval, but this movement also was transient.
In 1891 there seemed to be an opening for perma-
nent work among the Swedes. Services were held in
the Swedish tongue, and two churches, which had of
their own accord seceded from the Lutheran Synod, ap-
plied for admission to the Episcopal Church and were
in 1893 received by Bishop Gilbert. In his address to
the Council he says :
In this Swedish work, permission has been given
to use the liturgy and vestments of the state Church of
Sweden, and in cases of persons confirmed by and
under the authority of the Swedish Church, re-con-
firmation is not required. A larger liberty is allowed
than a strict and literal interpretation of existing
canons justifies, but the whole situation is exceptional
and any other course would have prevented develop-
ment. We have not acted in this matter simply upon
our own responsibility, but under the advice and ap-
probation of some of the wisest and most conservative
leaders of the Church.
GROWTH AND PROGRESS 191
The work thus begun received Bishop Gilbert's
special oversight and sympathy. Dr. Tanner says,
"There was no work in the Diocese for which he cared
more and prayed more. Whatever may be the success
of this movement, his name will always be associated
with the effort to unite the members of the Church of
Sweden in Minnesota with our own Church." *
Another institution which Bishop Gilbert encour-
aged by his presence and his influence was the Sunday
School Institute. This was founded in 1887 before the
modern revival of interest in Sunday school methods,
and has done pioneer work in helping to improve the
curriculum and the spirit of Minnesota Sunday schools.
Whenever .possible, Bishop Gilbert attended their ses-
sions and was a most helpful speaker in their confer-
It was said of Bishop Whipple that much of his
success as a Bishop came from his being a father to
his clergy. It became a tradition of the Diocese that
the Bishop was what the Prayer Book expects him to be
a true "f ather-in-God." Bishop Gilbert naturally and
ably maintained this tradition. Dr. Ten Broeck once
said, "We who have known Bishop Whipple and Bishop
Gilbert need no further argument for Apostolic Suc-
One or two letters will help to show his kindly
spirit. To a young clergyman who thought himself
* History of the Diocese of Minnesota, p. 483,
192 MAELON NORRIS GILBERT
ill-treated by the Board of Missions and was planning
to take work in another diocese, Bishop Gilbert wrote
My dear S ,
The first letter I answer among the large number
awaiting me on my return from a trip is yours.
I thank you from my heart for your expression of
love. I cannot begin to tell you how my heart goes
out to you in affection. I cannot bring myself to con-
sider the possibility of your leaving me and the Diocese.
Everything will be made right, I can assure you of
The Board would not for a moment impose any
arbitrary rule. I can see now that the present rule
might be so considered. Will you not bear with them,
and give them an opportunity to modify it? Do, I
beg of you, and tell the Bishop to whom you have
written, that you will stay with us. You will never
regret it. You have such a bright future before you
in this Diocese. Some day you will be on the Mis-
sionary Board yourself. Then you can understand how
difficult it is always to arrange matters satisfactorily
I have lost H. Do not double my grief by going
away yourself now. . . .
As ever, affectionately, MAHLON N. GILBERT.
The letter proved effectual. The young priest re-
mained in the Diocese, and in due time attained not
only to membership in the Board of Missions but also
to the highest honors among the clergy.
On learning that the Rev. Charles Lewis Slattery
had accepted a call to be Dean of the Cathedral of our
GROWTH AND PROGRESS 193
Merciful Saviour, in succession to Dean William H.
Gardam, Bishop Gilbert wrote the following letter:
ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA,
May 2, 1896.
MY DEAR MR. SLATTERY: I send you a line to tell
you how gladly I welcome you to the Diocese of Min-
nesota. I rejoice to know that you have accepted the
call to the Cathedral in Earibault. There is no more
important point in the Diocese, and none where a
greater work can be done, if the rector has the ability
and judgment and perseverance which are required.
These qualities I am sure you possess. You can depend
upon my cordial and sympathetic cooperation in your
work there. . . .
Believe me, Most truly yours,
M. N. GILBERT.
An earlier letter, written when Mr. Gilbert was
rector of Christ Church, to a candidate from his own
parish just entering Seabury Divinity School, contains
One word, my dear friend, whatever you do, do not
get into the usual divinity student way of thinking
that preaching is of little account. Make the most of
yourself in that way. Practise on the delivery of a
Then, too, strive to perfect yourself in reading the
service. You know how sadly lacking many of our
clergy are in that particular.
To a parish whose incumbent was about to be trans-
ferred elsewhere, Bishop Gilbert wrote as follows:
194 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
DIOCESE OF MINNESOTA
ASSISTANT BISHOP'S RESIDENCE
18 Summit Court
St. Paul, Minn.
June 22, 1892.
To the Parishioners of the Church of the Holy Com-
munion, Redwood Falls.
MY DEAR BRETHREN:
Providence is about leading your rector to another
field. We must not question it, although it will bring
disappointment to every heart. My prayers will be
with you that you may take up and carry forward the
work bravely and cheerfully. It is God's work, and
you are workers together with Him.
I will cooperate with you in every way to secure a
rector who will be a faithful and acceptable pastor.
I ask that you will do all in your power to provide for
Praying the Great Head of the Church to have you
in His gracious keeping.
I am most truly your friend and Bishop,
MAHLON N. GILBERT.
In such a spirit, wise, kindly, and sincere, Bishop
Gilbert watched over the clergy and the parishes.
In 1888, when already the pressure of the work be-
gan to prove too great, he asked the Council for a gen-
eral missionary. Soon after, the Rev. Dr. Appleby
was appointed, first under this title, and afterwards as
Archdeacon. His energetic and fruitful labors con-
tinued for nine years, till after the division of the Dio-
GROWTH AND PROGRESS 195
In his Council address of 1892, Bishop Whipple said :
My noble-hearted assistant is breaking from over-
work. !No man can bear for a long time the strain of
such unending toil. If yon would save him to the
Diocese and the Church, you must relieve him now.
The only possible relief is in the division of the
As a part of the plan of division, Bishop Whipple
further suggested once more the possibility of adopting
the Provincial System in Minnesota, and added, "If
my own support stands in the way of division, I will
Such a solution of the problem as would involve
the retirement of Bishop Whipple was not for a mo-
ment considered, but it was difficult to arrange for di-
vision. For three years the subject was under discus-
sion, but not till 1895 was action taken.
In October, 1895, the General Convention met in
Minneapolis, at Gethsemane Church, a marked event
in the history of the Diocese. For the first time many
of the Bishops and deputies visited the State of which
they had heard so much, and saw the venerable Bishop
Whipple and his able Assistant in the midst of their
great work. By special train they went to Faribault
and saw the large schools and the Cathedral. After
this, having gained some knowledge at first hand of
the extent of the work and the needs of the Diocese,
the General Convention set apart northern Minnesota
as a separate Missionary Jurisdiction.
196 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Relief was thus in sight for Bishop Gilbert, but
unfortunately the Convention did not proceed to elect
a Bishop for the new field, but instead placed it under
the charge of Bishop Gilbert. It was his task to organ-
ize the new Jurisdiction, and to continue as before his
visitations in that large territory. He presided at the
Primary Convocation held in December 1895, and also
at the Second Convocation held in November, 1896.
His episcopal oversight of northern Minnesota came to
an end on February 2, 1897. On that day, the Feast
of the Purification, the Rev. Dr. James Dow Morrison
was consecrated Bishop of Duluth.
Our narrative must now revert to the General Con-
vention of 1895. Another act of that Convention was
the change of title of an Assistant Bishop to Coadjutor.
The new name met, of course, with some opposition,
but after debate it was adopted as a better title, and
has since prevailed in the American Church. From
this time on, accordingly, Dr. Gilbert's official style was
"The Bishop Coadjutor of Minnesota."
It was also during the General Convention that a
fine Gothic church of stone was consecrated in St. Paul
for Bishop Gilbert's special use. It was built as a me-
morial to the Rev. Dr. Theodore A. Eaton, for forty-two
years rector of St. Clement's Church in New York City.
His widow had written Bishop Gilbert of her desire to
erect such a memorial in Minnesota. The church was
often called the "Pro-Cathedral," but Bishop Gilbert's
own statement was as follows:
GROWTH AND PROGRESS 197
I have placed the church here after consultation
with many in the Diocese, because I feel that we lack
strength and importance in the great centers of the
state, and because I have at length concluded that it
is desirable that a bishop should have a church for
the special performance of his official ditties a church
which he can call his own. This is not, however, a
cathedral. Make no mistake in that respect. The
cathedral is in Faribault, and must so remain as long
as the precious life of our revered Bishop Whipple is
spared to us and the Diocese. 6
The consecration service was on October 6, 1895,
with a notable congregation. Bishop Potter of IsTew
York preached the sermon, and in one account is said
to have consecrated the building. This act, however,
was appropriately performed by Bishop Gilbert himself,
as his own journal shows. The name chosen for the
new church was fittingly that of St. Clement's. Bishop
Gilbert reserved for himself the title and privileges of
rector, and appointed as his vicar the Rev. Ernest Dray,
who served the parish long and well.
While Bishop Gilbert was growing steadily in the
affection and confidence of the Diocese, his strong in-
fluence was felt more and more in the city and state.
He was now St. Paul's foremost citizen. This came
not by virtue of his office, but by his rare ability to
represent the people. On patriotic days, or at any
civic gathering, no one could so well put into words the
common feeling as Bishop Gilbert. Schooled in pa-
6 Minnesota Missionary and Church Record^ May, 1895, p. 32.
198 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
triotism, lie knew how both to express the highest loy-
alty and to stir the truest sentiment of the heart.
On one occasion, returning to St. Paul from a jour-
ney, he was surprised to see upon "the Flats" along the
river a large, new building, evidently erected at great
expense, which he was told was to accommodate a com-
ing wrestling match. A little inquiry showed that it
was really designed for a prize-fight between two famous
pugilists. Bishop Gilbert went promptly to see the
Governor of the state, and then wrote a short open letter
to the citizens of St. Paul, asking them if they knew
the real purpose of the building. This was all he did,
or had to do. Public indignation was at once aroused ;
a mass meeting was held, with Archbishop Ireland as
one of the speakers, and the prize-fight was never held.
On Saturday, September 1, 1894, came the terrible
forest fires which utterly destroyed the town of Hinckley
and other villages of Minnesota. The harrowing news
soon reached St. Paul, and every report added to the
magnitude and horror of the disaster. On Monday, in
St. Paul, a General Relief Committee was organized to
help relieve the sufferings of the homeless survivors, and
to bury the dead. At the request of this committee,
Bishop Gilbert went at once to Pine City to confer with
the Relief Committee there, and plan for the best co-
operation in the work. The next day he returned, and
reported that "out of a population of sixteen hundred
at Hinckley and three adjoining towns the dead num-
bered four hundred, the homeless twelve hundred, of
GROWTH AND PROGRESS 199
which eight hundred were destitute." These figures
were not an over-estimate. The "death list" numbered
413, and there were over 1,500 persons who received
for a time assistance or support. Gifts of money and
supplies of various kinds were sent from far and wide,
and any act that could assuage pain or supply material
need was done with sympathetic kindness.
"After the fire," writes the Eev. William Wilkin-
son, "it was felt that there should be one great public
service, in memory of those who had departed from the
life that now is, and gone into that which is on the other
side of death. Pine City, being the town nearest the
scene of disaster, and most easily accessible at that time
by rail, was the place selected for the purpose. . . .
To this service, which had been made known all over
the land through the public press, had come from all
parts of the state and many other states, as pilgrims to
a shrine, throngs of people."
The day was Sunday, September 9th, and the service
was planned for the afternoon in a public park, but on
account of renewed rumors of approaching flames, the
service was postponed till evening in a public hall. The
scene there stirred every heart. Many were present
with marks of fearful scars ; some were still bandaged ;
nearly everyone had lost relatives or friends. Several
pastors joined in the service. The Presbyterian minis-
ter read a selection from scripture, and Bishop Gilbert
6 Wilkinson, Minnesota Forest Vires, p. 824.
200 MAHLOX NORRIS GILBERT
offered an earnest prayer. A list of names of many
that had perished in the flames was read amid breath-
less silence. A Koman Catholic priest and a Methodist
pastor also spoke with deep feeling. Appropriate
music was rendered by solo singers of marked ability,
bringing comfort to all. The closing address was by
Bishop Gilbert. As reported in the Pioneer Press of
St. Paul, he spoke in part as follows :
I stand before you to-night to give voice to the sym-
pathy which swells up from responsive hearts over the
land. This little community, before obscure and
scarcely discovered on the map, has for the last week
been the nerve center for all the world. Messages of
love and sympathy have come throbbing under leagues
of ocean. . . . God must have had some sublime ob-
ject in bringing about this awful disaster did we only
read His purpose beneath the intensest of suffering.
Let it not be said that God has thus spoken out of the
whirlwind and we have not heard. I know we cannot
unravel all the mysteries of God. We are often like
babes who can only cry out with pain and cannot under-
stand the cause, but then like children we can learn
the lesson taught us. Our eyes fill with tears when we
recall the awful agony through which many of you
passed, when the besom of destruction swept over you
and the black cloud of death was illumined only by
the lurid flames, but I would have you think not of
this, but of those lost friends regained in a better
These calamities are all a part of God's plans. The
great Civil War of thirty years ago is an illustration
of this, where sacrifice and suffering wrought freedom
GROWTH AND PROGRESS 201
and a united land. So it has often been in your lives
where there has been seeming loss. What is the gain?
Eirst, we are taught that God is greater than all
material things. . . . Second, our hearts are brought
together. You have heard of the great strikes that
agitated the country a few weeks ago, arraying man
against man, threatening anarchy and social disrup-
tion. Like the finger of God this calamity has come
and swept away all distinction of rank and class. God
used the sympathy evoked by this disaster to cement
again the bonds of fraternity which were being rent
asunder. I stood last Monday in the Chamber of
Commerce at St. Paul and saw tears moisten the
cheeks of the men who rule the finances of a great
city as they responded to the appeals made in behalf
of a stricken people. They did not know these wood-
men; they did not know these men of toil; but their
hearts were touched by the sufferings of our common
Again, we must not lose the lesson of personal hero-
ism. When we have met these men, as we often do
upon the train, they did not look like heroes, but plain
men, scarcely worthy our notice. When the trial came
and an awful death threatened hundreds of human
lives, they stood up in their divine heroism and taught
us a lesson that beneath the humble garb is often con-
cealed a noble manhood, and when we have turned to
dust, the world will still honor the names of Powers,
Best, Sullivan, Root, Campbell, and Blair. 7 Such
heroism will cover a multitude of sins, and I doubt
not God will blot out some of their faults, for they
7 These were railway employees, engineers, conductors, etc., who
rescued hundreds by running their trains through the burning forests,
taking on board refugees from Hinckley and elsewhere.
202 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
doubtless had faults, and remember tbat they nobly
did their duty in the time of trial.
The trial seems hard, but what matter if it makes
you better? Look up, and let the sacrifice of friends
and loved ones make you nobler and purer. Last of
all, when the grass has grown green over their graves,
and your hearts' wounds are somewhat healed, let us
not forget that God came down in a chariot of fire
one day, as He did for Elijah of old, to take our
better selves up to Him.
This address at Pine City made a profound impres-
sion, and brought comfort and hope to thousands. Like
many of the addresses or sermons quoted in this volume,
it is taken from an imperfect report, but it shows the
Bishop's ability to understand others' feelings and reach
Outside of diocesan routine, Bishop Gilbert was
now so much in demand as a speaker that it is impos-
sible to give even a list of his many sermons and ad-
dresses on special occasions. A few of the more im-
portant are here grouped:
On the first day of January, 1890, he preached the
sermon at the consecration of the Rev. Anson R. Graves
as the Missionary Bishop of The Platte. His theme
was "The Open Door, or the Church's Opportunities,"
the text being from Rev. iii. 8.
In 1893 he preached the sermon at the consecration
of the Eev. Dr. William Morris Barker as Bishop of
Western Colorado. His text was Deut. xxxiii. 23.
Both these sermons were printed in pamphlet form, and
GROWTH AND PROGRESS 203
some quotations are given elsewhere in this volume.
Bishop Gilbert also assisted in the consecration of
six other American Bishops, as follows :
1887" Elisha S. Thomas, Bishop of Kansas.
1889 Cyrus _F. Knight, Bishop of Milwaukee.
1889 Charles C. Graf ton, Bishop of Fond du Lac.
1895 John Hazen White, Bishop of Indiana.
"18 9 7 James Dow Morrison, Bishop of Duluth.
1899 Samuel Cook Edsall, Bishop of North Da-
In November, 1891, Bishop Gilbert went to Win-
nipeg, Manitoba, in company with Bishop Walker and
Archdeacon Appleby, to represent the American Church
at the consecration of the Rev. Dr. W. D. Reeve as
Bishop of Mackenzie River. While in Winnipeg,
Bishop Gilbert was the guest of the Bishop of Rupert's
Land, the venerable Dr. Machray. Besides assisting in
the consecration, Bishop Gilbert attended a reception
given to the visiting Bishops by the Lieutenant-Gov-
ernor at the Government House. It was his first expe-
rience of English hospitality, and a good preparation
for his visits to England. A second visit to Winnipeg
was made in September, 1896, Bishop Gilbert being
chairman of a delegation of the American Church sent
to attend the General Synod of Canada.
Another Canadian journey was made to 'Toronto in
the summer of 1895. He had been invited to address
a large Congress of Religion and Education on "The
Outlook for Church Unity," and had prepared a care-
204 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
fully written essay. He was introduced as "the rising
star of American Episcopacy," and in the newspaper
reports is described as "a middle-aged man of good pres-
ence and address." His speecli (on July 22) was re-
ceived with frequent applause and_ general approval.
One account thus comments: "His peroration was a
most eloquent one, and his whole address throughout
was characterized by a broad-mindedness and compre-
hensive treatment which earned the sincere admiration
of those who listened to it."
Christian Unity was a cause dear to Bishop Gilbert's
heart, and he accepted every opportunity that he could
to advance it. On one occasion he spoke before the
Congregational Club of Minnesota in the first Congre-
gational Church in Minneapolis, and more than once
he spoke in the People's Church in St. Paul. On
April 15, 1895, he made an address in that church "in
the interest of better observance of Sunday." In 1896
a series of five lectures on "Unity, and the Lambeth
Declaration," was given under the auspices of the
Church Club of Minnesota. These lectures were given
during Lent in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, and
drew large audiences. The opening lecture was by
Bishop Gilbert on the subject, "Organic Unity." To-
ward the close he said:
What a glorious day will be ushered in, when from
adoring worshippers everywhere underneath the bend-
ing sky shall ascend heavenward, like the voice of many
.waters, the harmonious diapason of lips and hearts
GROWTH AND PROGRESS 205
speaking to God in the oneness of a common language
of worship! How will it draw myriad hearts closer
together, and cause them, to realize the fellowship of
the whole household of Faith!
Let us now recapitulate the reasons advanced for
my hopeful outlook into the future, as I have briefly
placed them before you :
1. Dissatisfaction with absolutism.
2. Dissatisfaction with individualism.
3. The practical spirit of the age demanding con-
servation and concretion of energy.
4. The growing recognition of the truth that mere
opinions and theories, confessions and articles,
are not the essentials of Eaith and salvation.
5. The recognition of the historic method in the
treatment of Church Union.
6. The constant and ever-growing agitation of the
T. The increase in the use of liturgical methods in
public worship. . . .
In that ideal Church which is sometime to be
made real, we shall find that oneness for which the
Saviour prayed, that oneness which is like to that
In evidence of the growing regard for Bishop Gil-
bert in the Church at large may be cited his Eastern
visit of the autumn of 1894. At the annual Conven-
tion of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew in Washington,
he made an address, of which one sentence is worthy
of lasting remembrance: "Men of St. Andrew's, when
8 Unity and tlie Lambeth Declaration. Minnesota Church Club
Lectures, 1896. Milwaukee : The Young Churchman Co., pp. 31-57.
206 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
your hearts burn at these meetings, see that they burn
to warm some one else." Two days were spent in !N~ew
York at a special meeting of the House of Bishops, and
four days in Hartford at the Missionary Council.
There he presided at one session and addressed the
Council. In addition upon this journey he spoke seven-
teen times, in various cities. On one day in Philadel-
phia, he made five addresses in different churches.
Bishop Gilbert's associations outside of the Church
are of interest. In 1883 he became an annual member
of the Minnesota Historical Society, a venerable organ-
ization of honorable record. In 1888 he was made a
life member. His only historical paper read to tha so-
ciety was, "The Beginnings of the Episcopal Church in
Minnesota, and the Early Missions of Park Place, St.
Paul." This was published in Volume IX. of the So-
In 1884 he affiliated with Ancient Landmark Lodge
of Free and Accepted Masons in St. Paul, and con-
tinued in active membership till his death. 9
The Society of the Sons of the Revolution in the
State of Minnesota admitted Bishop Gilbert into mem-
bership, December 2, 1893, by virtue of the military ser-
vice of his ancestor, Ambrose Ward. He became Presi-
dent of this society, and was active in their meetings
and patriotic services. He was also an honored mem-
ber of the Society of Colonial Wars.
9 His earlier Masonic record is given at the close of Chapter VI.
GROWTH AND PROGRESS 207
At the celebration of Lincoln's Birthday, February
12, 1895, the Loyal Legion had invited Archbishop Ire-
land of the Roman Catholic Church to make the address.
On learning that his Grace was suddenly prevented
from coming, the society turned to Bishop Gilbert and
asked him to act as substitute. He kindly consented to
be present, but, on rising to speak, protested his inability
to fill the vacancy. The subject, however, was one dear
to his heart and the success of his speech may be inferred
from the letter written him by Col. George O. Eddy on
the following day:
MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 13, 1896.
MY DEAR BISHOP: I eannot resist the desire to
say to you, what lacked opportunity to say last even-
ing, that your splendid speech delighted us all beyond
expression. I have never known the "right thing" said
in the "right way," more pointedly and brilliantly. We
are all more than ever proud of you.
GEORGE O. EDDY.
TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ELECTION TO THE
ON THE third of June, 1896, the annual Counci]
of the Diocese met in G-ethsemane Church, Minneapolis,
and the evening of that day was given up to a public
commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Bishop Gil-
bert's election to the Episcopate. This happy event had
been carefully planned. A year before, at the Council, a
resolution in favor of such a commemoration had been
introduced by the Rev. J. J. Faude, rector of G-ethse-
mane Church, and Bishop Whipple had appointed a
committee to make suitable arrangements. It was also
voted that the Council should meet at the church where
the election had taken place ten years before.
The anniversary service was conducted by the rector,
assisted by the Rev. Charles D. Andrews, the music
having been carefully prepared. On account of severe
illness Bishop Whipple was unable to be present, and his
address was read by the Rev. Mr. ITaude. It began as
TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS EPISCOPATE 209
MY BELOVED BRETHREN : It is a sorrow that I can-
not express in words, that I am unable to be with
you at this Council. It is the tenth anniversary of the
election of the Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese. I
count his election as a marked incident of the good
providence of God to the Diocese and myself. He
has been a loving son, seeking in every way to lift
burdens from my shoulders, and has carried on the
work of the Diocese on the lines which I had marked
out for myself nearly thirty-seven years ago; to preach
Jesus Christ, and work lovingly and loyally in His
Church. . . .
We believe that a power above human wills is
kindling in Christian hearts a deeper love for God, and
this love is kindling a passion for humanity. Love
will heal alienated hearts and break down walls of
It is with gratitude to God that I tell you that
Bishop Gilbert has shown, in all of his work, the love
of his Master, in seeking to lead wandering souls to
Christ. He has been the faithful friend of these brown
children of our Father, and he has carried the Indians
in his heart, as I have tried to do throughout my
Episcopate. I wish that I could tell you face to face
how deeply I love him, and how grateful I am to God
for giving me such a blessed helper in my Bishop's
At the close of the Diocesan's address there was
sung the hymn :
Go, labour on, spend and be spent!
The Kev. Mr. Andrews then presented to Bishop
Gilbert a jewelled pectoral cross of gold from the
clergy of the Diocese, and spoke with great felicity of
210 MAELON NORRIS GILBERT
the Bishop's character, referring to him as "one who
has been so much more a brother to us all, than a ruler
so much more a friend, than an official father, and
yet who in every relation, never has forgotten to be, in
every proper sense, an example to the flock, 'a pattern
of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness,
gravity, sincerity.' " He went on to say :
I can conceive of no office to which a man can be
called, where the measure of his character can be taken
so quickly as in the office of the Episcopate. He fills
so large a place in that realm of authority where
criticism is so searching and severe, even among the
clergy themselves; and, as the arbiter of all lay dis-
content and trouble in the churches of his Diocese, he
must needs be a symmetrical man who wins for himself
the love and confidence of both lay and clerical orders,
after ten long years of service in every parish and
mission station into which he is so frequently called.
It is no little praise to say of any man that he is
sincere. It is no little praise to say of any man that
he has courage especially the courage of his convic-
tions. Nor is it little praise to say of any man that,
notwithstanding all his prosperity and distinguished
honors, he yet retains his humility.
Sincerity, courage, and humility, these are the ele-
ments of character that all men everywhere are ready
and willing to respect; surely, my brethren of Minne-
sota, . . . our Bishop Coadjutor fills this measure
that I have drawn of a sincere, courageous, yet hum-
ble Christian priest and bishop.
He comes, by generation, from a stock that would
not be honored by anything else. Born of Church
parentage, and reared by no less a teacher of righteous-
TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS EPISCOPATE 211
ness than the present Bishop of Missouri, ought we
to expect less than we know and see of one who has
been faithful to his high privileges, and in whose
destined work there has been so little of disappoint-
It is not fulsome praise to tell a man to his face
that he has done his duty well. It is not flattery to
tell a man that he has helped men by the sincerity of
his life ; that he has encouraged men by the firmness
with which he has carried out the convictions of his
own heart. . . .
In all my intimate acquaintance with our beloved
Bishop Coadjutor I have never heard him utter one
derogatory word of any man, whether clergyman or
layman, either to disparage his purpose in work, or to
impugn his motives in design. . . .
I ask you to bear witness with me to the splendid
loyalty shown by our Bishop Coadjutor to our great
Diocesan a Timothy or a Titus could not have been
more lovingly true to St. Paul than the Coadjutor
Bishop has been to the distinguished head of this great
Diocese of Minnesota. ... I am sure it takes no
jewel from the crown of our great Diocesan, when we
place the laurel wreath of newly won victories upon the
brow of him who, as Coadjutor in its truest sense, has
added lustre even to the name and fame of Bishop
Whipple. . . .
In the last ten years the Bishop Coadjutor's hands
have been laid upon the heads of 7,406 candidates in
Confirmation. He has preached or made addresses
2,971 times, and has traveled over thousands of miles
to reach his many appointments. ... In the last ten
years 33 churches have been consecrated, 23 priesta
and 17 deacons have been ordained to the Sacred
212 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Ministry, and 51 churches have been built in places
where there were no churches of our Communion.
Who cannot see in such a record as this, the un-
stinted measure in which our Coadjutor Bishop has
given his life, his time, his love, to the work which
God called him to do ? . . . Nothing but a high sense
of duty to God and of loyalty to the Church, could
have inspired and sustained so much of unremitted
toil. . . . The phenomenal development of many sec-
tions of the state tested his utmost vigor, and from
exposure and weary travel I have seen him exhausted
and sick nearly unto death. But the Church was on
his heart, and I have seen him fight for the life that
he believed was yet in him to give to his beloved
Diocese, until, by the blessing of God, our prayers
prevailed, his faith triumphed, and he still lives to
celebrate with us all the first decade of his Episcopate.
What honors may we not bring him to-night that
he has so richly deserved at our hands ? For ten years
he has been the staff of our venerable Diocesan, and I
have heard Bishop Whipple affirm that no son could
be truer to his own father than Bishop Gilbert has
been to him. Has he not been just as true to each
one of his brethren of the clergy? Has he not stood
between us and many of our perplexing situations?
Has he not shared with many of his brethren the far
too meagre support of his own living? Has not the
anxious care of the churches sifted his hair with the
signs of premature age ? He gives his life to us, what
shall we give to him?
Ah, brethren, I dare to offer your deepest and sin-
cerest love. I never felt so safe in saying for another,
that you will join me in a pledge of loyalty, a bond of
love between us, to hold up the hands and to cheer the
TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS EPISCOPATE 213
heart of him whom we seek to honor to-night as our
At the close of Mr. Andrew's address, Mr. Hector
Baxter, on behalf of the laity of the Diocese, presented
to Bishop Gilbert a beautiful gold watch, with appro-
priate inscription, and spoke eloquently in appreciation
of the Bishop's character and of the wonderful esteem
of the laity for him.
There followed the appropriate hymn:
Forward be our watchword,
Steps and voices joined ;
Seek the things before us,
Not a look beMnd.
After this, with deep emotion, which at first almost
overpowered him, Bishop Gilbert made response :
Dear Brethren of the Thirty-ninth Gouncil of the Dio-
cese of Minnesota:
Every fibre of my being is stirred by the gracious
and kindly words you have spoken, and by the tributes
you have paid me, so unworthy of them, to-night. You
have spoken as friends and fellow-workers, and my
heart is cheered by these words and acts of love. I
shall be the braver and stronger for them, and with
God's help, I shall take up the burden anew with the
earnest prayer that from this time forward until the
Master calleth me to rest, I may be more faithful to
duty, and more worthy of your confidence and love.
To my venerated Father in God, the Bishop of
Minnesota, whose greetings coming from his bed of
sickness and suffering are doubly valued, I pledge anew
my loyal devotion and the offerings of a grateful heart.
His has been a father's affection, indeed. In days of
joy he has rejoiced with me; in hours of trial he has
214 MAHLON 7VORR1S GILBERT
been my cheering counsellor and guide. I count it an
honor beyond expression to have been associated with
the great first Bishop of Minnesota; clarum et ven-
erabile nomen. My humble place at his side has been
illuminated by the aureole of his own world-wide fame,
and all the memorial I ask when I am gone is "He
was the Coadjutor of Bishop Whipple." May the dear
God in His infinite goodness permit him to outlive my
unworthy self, and so extend the benediction of his
presence to him who shall succeed me. His plans have
ever been my plans ; his wishes my wishes ; his Church-
manship my model; his large Catholic spirit my ex-
ample and inspiration. If at any time I have caused
him sorrow, it is a pain and grief to me, and if at
any time I have relieved him of his manifold cares
and burdens, I rejoice.
To you, brother beloved, selected by the clergy to
convey their own greetings to-night, I can only speak
my heartfelt thanks. Very close and very dear have
you been to me during these years. As my successor
in the dear old Mother Parish, you have ever given me
a warmth of welcome which has been a sweet unction
to my soul, and a rest to feet wearied with never ceas-
ing journeyings. Your large, warm heart has no room
in it for anything save love, and the lapse of years has
only deepened and broadened our mutual love.
To laymen and to clergy, one and all, I can only
voice my love and gratitude. Yours have been the
hands that have enabled me to sustain and carry for-
ward under God this work. You have never failed me ;
cheerfully you have responded to every call upon your
time or means. Rich indeed is the Diocese of Minne-
sota in its clergy and laity. No Diocese in the land
is more blessed. They would be marked men anywhere,
TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS EPISCOPATE 215
and the impress of their characters and work is in-
And what shall I say of the women of the Church
in Minnesota? Before my eyes everywhere, as I go
on my round of visitation, does the evidence of their
love and devotion shine. Without them the work in
our parishes would cease; with them it goes forward
and upward. Their prayers have sustained me; their
work aided me; their patience cheered me. Hay the
good God reward them for their work and labor which
proceedeth of love.
These ten years have sped by on eagle wings. It
seems but yesterday when in this noble church I was
called to be a Bishop in the Church of God. The faces
of those who stood around me that day arise before me
as I speak. Some have fallen asleep; some have gone
to other fields ; and others, thank God, are with us still
to-day. . . . The personnel of that Council is illus-
trated most plainly by the fact that, from the clergy,
four have been selected to be Bishops of the Church.
... I recognized at the beginning of my Bishop's
duties that the great and pressing need of the Diocese
was the personal presence of the Bishop in every parish
and mission in at least an annual visitation. The
infirm health of the Diocesan, extending over many
years prior to my election, had prevented that feature
of the work receiving the attention which he had so
grandly and self-sacrificingly given in the earlier days
of his Episcopate. I have been filled with admiration
at the success he attained .and the great results he was
able to accomplish in the face of his many physical
infirmities. His ability as an organizer and adminis-
trator was strikingly manifested in all portions of this
216 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
vast state. I have simply built on these foundations;
they were broad and strong.
Whatever may have been accomplished in the line
of growth and development could never have been done
without the personal cooperation of my brethren of
the clergy. No labors have been too arduous; no sacri-
fices too great for them. The meetings of convocation
have stimulated missionary enthusiasm marvellously,
and when in 1888 you authorized me to appoint an
Archdeacon for the Diocese, a long step forward and
upward was taken. May I say here that the spirit and
work of Archdeacon Appleby have been factors in the
development of the Diocese of which it is impossible
for me to speak in too high praise. . . .
The extent of the Diocese and the expansion of the
work forced upon us the question of division. . . .
The surrender of that portion of the Diocese will be to
me a personal sorrow. ... To me every town and
mission, every lake and prairie, every stream and
stretch of forest land are dear. For ten years I have
traversed this singularly interesting land, in steam cars,
in wagons, in canoe, and on foot; its people have be-
come my people, and to visit a parish or a mission now,
is to meet friends who are near and dear to me. . . .
The striking events of these ten years, besides the
division of the Diocese, may be summarized as follows :
The formation of the Sunday School Institute; the
appointment of an Archdeacon; the erection and de-
velopment of the Breck School at Wilder ; the erection
of the noble new Hospitals of St. Luke in St. Paul,
and St. Barnabas in Minneapolis; the establishment of
Miss Carter's lace work among the Indians ; the forma-
tion of the Church Club; the Swedish movement; and
TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS EPISCOPATE 217
the meeting of the General Convention in Qethsemane
Church October last
I close this address . . . with heartfelt gratitude
to Almighty God for his watchful and preserving care,
and with the prayer that His Grace, which has thus
far comforted and strengthened me may be with me
until He calls me from this sphere of care and toil to
the rest of Paradise. I know the story of these ten
years is one of mingled sorrow and joy, a sad story of
incompleteness, of weakness, ofttimes, and sin. I trust
only in God's mercy, for the sake of His dear Son.
May He overrule my mistakes to His glory, that in all
things His great Cause may be advanced. 1
As the Churchmen of Minnesota look back to this
anniversary, how glad they are that they gave such
hearty expression to their love and esteem for Bishop
Gilbert, while he was still with them.
1 Journal of the Thirty-ninth Annual Council of the Diocese of
Minnesota, pp. 29-45.
THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE OF 1897.
IN THE summer of 1897 Bishop Gilbert made a
second visit to England, to attend the Fourth Lambeth
Conference. A kind gift of over six hundred dollars
from many friends in the Diocese made this journey
possible. Bishop Whipple went early, in order to preach
at several special services, but Bishop Gilbert remained
for the annual Diocesan Council.
On Saturday, June 19, he sailed from Montreal
on the steamship Parisian. The Rev. Mr. Andrews and
the Eev. Mr. Dray accompanied him, and on different
occasions acted as his chaplains. His good friends, the
Rev. Dr. Albert W. Ryan and Bishop Morrison of
Duluth, were on the same steamer, and also the Bishops
of Huron and New Hampshire.
On the voyage Bishop Gilbert had a severe attack of
pneumonia, and required most careful nursing, which
was gladly given him by his many friends on shipboard.
When one of the Minnesota clergy was thanking the
Canadian Bishop for his kindness to Bishop Gilbert, he
THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE OF 1897 219
answered, "I could not help it, I loved him so." On
June 29 they landed at Liverpool, and Bishop Gilbert
was able to leave the ship and continue the journey.
During part of his stay in London Bishop Gilbert
was entertained by the Rev. Dr. Storr, at St. Peter's
Vicarage, Eaton Square. The Bishop preached in St.
Peter's, and on one occasion gave a talk to the boys of
the parish school. Mr. Dray recalls that in this in-
formal talk, Bishop Gilbert said to the boys, "Some of
you boys may some day come to America; if so you
will of course become Americans." The good vicar was
shocked at such a statement, for it is hard at such a
distance to appreciate the spirit of "The States."
The various sessions of the Conference, and the
services, pilgrimages, and social gatherings in connection
with it proved wonderfully interesting and inspiring.
Only those who have attended a "Pan- Anglican" gatn-
ering can realize the thrilling interest of their great
meetings or the charm of English hospitality which ac-
companies them. To the Minnesota Missionary Bishop
Gilbert wrote a letter describing some of the more
notable features of the Conference :
The services connected with the opening arid closing
of the Conference can never be forgotten. The first
was held in Westminster Abbey, and was made excep-
tionally impressive by the historic environment. The
sermon was preached by the Archbishop of York.
The following day we all went to Ebbs Fleet, the
site of the landing of St. Augustine. The site is quite
inland now, the waters of the channel having receded
220 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
two miles or more during the last thirteen hundred
years. A brief service was held here, and then, after
a visit to Richborough Castle, the last camp of the
Roman Legions, we came to Canterbury.
The citizens of this banner seat of Anglo-Saxon
Christianity furnished bountiful entertainment for all
the bishops, and made our two days' stay most delight-
ful. Nothing could have been more imposing than the
great service in the Cathedral. Nearly two hundred
bishops were in line, preceded by the mayors and coun-
cils of the towns in Kent, marching to the music of
the grand organ and the voices of a hundred choristers.
My own place in order of consecration was about the
middle of the long line, and as I looked forward and
backward as we ascended the lofty flight of steps lead-
ing from the nave to the chancel, the scene was one
of exceeding beauty and dignity. I said to myself,
"Such an occasion as this is in itself worth a journey
across half the world to participate in." The Arch-
bishop of Canterbury sat in the ancient episcopal chair
of Anselm, and delivered his Allocution from it. His
tall, stately form and strong face were most striking.
The Sunday following, the Cathedral was thronged
with worshippers, and I heard the Bishop of Kipon,
Dr. Boyd-Carpenter, preach one of the noblest sermons
to which I have listened. These services being con-
cluded, we all returned to London and began the work
of the Conference. . . .
The bishops met in the ancient guard room or great
banqueting hall of Lambeth Palace. The faces of
scores of former Archbishops of Canterbury looked
down upon us from the walls, notably those of Laud
and Wareham, Tait and Benson, the last sweet and
strong as though giving his benediction upon the Con-
TEE LAMBETH CONFERENCE OF 1891 221
ference which he himself had summoned before his
call to eternal rest. At the head of the hall sat Arch-
bishop Temple, with his strong, massive, yet kindly
face, supported on either side by the Archbishops of
York and Armagh, while the other Archbishops and
Metropolitans were close at hand. ... I sat next to
a bishop from Japan; in front of me was a black
bishop from Central Africa ; on my right a bishop from
Ireland, and behind me a bishop from a see in Eng-
land. One was there from Hudson Bay, another from
the Falkland Islands, one from Oorea, another from
Trinidad, one from New Zealand, another from Jeru-
salem; each one represented in himself some great
work in the isles of the. sea or in the uttermost parts
of the earth. There was Tucker, who has conquered
Uganda; Tugwell, of Western Equatorial Africa, with
his two black assistant bishops from the malarial banks
of the Niger; then our own brave Bishop Eerguson of
Cape Palmas, and strong, resolute bishops from farther
India, and from the great plains of Australia. Surely
the sentiment and thought of such a company were
enough to move any who were present.
The Archbishop is, in many respects, an excellent
presiding officer, although from our American point of
view he is decidedly unparliamentary in many things.
He frequently enlivened the Conference with his sallies
of humor and quaint remarks.
After the first week, the work was assigned to com-
mittees, which sat during the recess of the Confer-
ence, and prepared reports on the different subjects
submitted. I had the honor to be placed on the com-
mittees on Eoreign Missions, Industrial Problems,
Reformation Movements on the Continent and else-
where, and on Christian Unity. ... I cannot of
222 MABLOft NORRIS GILBERT
course give any resume of the work of the Conference.
I believe it will be of great benefit to the whole Church,
and its conclusions generally accepted. The American
bishops fought strenuously against any tendency
toward centralization of authority in the See of Can-
terbury, and some of the most notable speeches were
delivered on this subject, especially by the Bishops of
Albany, and Missouri. . . .
The social side of the Conference was one of its
distinguishing and pleasant characteristics. Recep-
tions and garden parties for the bishops were given in
such rapid and constant succession that none but the
most robust could take them all in. The most notable
were those given by the American Ambassador, by the
Queen at Windsor, where we were all presented to her
Majesty on the Castle grounds, and the one in the
Lambeth Palace Gardens, which was attended by the
Prince and Princess of Wales and by the Duke and
Duchess of York. ...
My time and strength would not permit me to
attend all the functions or to preach often, but I saw
and heard enough to be impressed deeply with the
spiritual and social strength of the Church of England.
The American bishops were in great demand as preach-
ers, and we need have no occasion to hold down our
heads in comparison with others. Bishop Whipple.
not only because he was the senior American bishop
present, but because of his personal popularity and
reputation, was constantly called upon. We were all
very proud of him, and glad that he was so prominent.
Mrs. Whipple won all hearts by her beauty and gra-
ciousness of bearing.
The Conference closed with a great Eucharistic
service in St. Paul's Cathedral, at which the Arch-
THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE OF 1897 223
bishop of Canterbury preached a sermon of rare sim-
plicity and power. 1
A letter written by Bishop Gilbert to his young
daughter Frances gives a pleasant picture of some of
the social events of the Conference :
July 11, 1897.
MY DEAR FRA: I want to tell you about two very
grand affairs I have attended this last week.
Wednesday evening, July 7, the Lord Mayor of
London gave a banquet to all the bishops and their
wives at the Mansion House, where the Mayor lives.
The Mayor of London can hold his office but one year,
and then he is made a knight by the Queen, and is
always afterward know as Sir.
Well, we were received at the entrance of the
Mansion House by a number of attendants gorgeously
arrayed in scarlet, with hair powdered. Then we were
conducted to some other attendants, who gave us each
a large card which told us where we were to sit at the
tables. Then we were presented in a loud voice to the
Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, who were richly clad
in brilliant dress. After a little we were conducted to
the banqueting hall, one of the most splendid rooms
in the world. . . .
I sat next to the Bishop of Edinburgh. The dinner
lasted about an hour and half. Then the loving cup
was passed from one guest to another, and we pledged
each other's health. This is a custom handed down
for more than a thousand years. Then toasts were pro-
posed which were responded to by the Mayor, the Arch-
bishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Dublin, the
Archbishop of Canada, Bishop Whipple, and the Bishop
1 Minnesota Missionary/ and OhurcH Record,, September, 1897.
224 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
of London. We then wandered about the apartments
until 11 o'clock, when we went home. It was all very
strange and interesting.
The other affair I will tell you about was the Gar-
den Party given .on Friday by the Baroness Burdett-
Coutts, at her beautiful house in the suburbs of Lon-
don. Such a company of distinguished people I never
saw before. Lords and Ladies were as thick as black-
berries, and it was a brilliant scene. The grounds are
very large and fine. The Baroness and her husband
received their guests under a canopy in the center of
the grounds. . . . There were to be seen Turks,
Chinamen, East Indiamen, Africans, Persians, and
other foreigners all arrayed in the costumes peculiar
to 'their countries. The headdresses and rich silk robes
which they wore were singular and funny looking
things. Some members of the royal family were there.
I could only guess who the different people were. It
would have been more interesting if some one had
told me. The Baroness Burdett-Ooutts is a very good
woman and gives great sums of money to church and
charities. . . .
To-morrow I go to Lambeth Palace to be the guest
of the Archbishop of Canterbury for three days, and
then I am to spend a week with Sir Richard Har-
vey. . . .
I am quite well and strong again. The weather is
very pleasant. Kiss Lucy for me ten times, and give
my love to your mother and also to the others.
YOUR LOVING PAPA.
In the Bishop's book of memorabilia are preserved
many programmes of services, and invitations to dinners,
receptions, and garden parties, in connection with the
THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE OF 1897 225
Conference. He was specially impressed by the visit
to Glastonbury, and took home with him a series of in-
teresting photographs of the services held in the ruined
abbey. The letter to the Minnesota Missionary describes
this visit which took place on the third of Angust. The
arrangements for the journey were most complete, a
special train leaving London at 9 : 40 and arriving at
1 o'clock. The Mayor and Corporation of the town then
entertained them at luncheon. Bishop Gilbert thus
described the commemoration:
The day following [the close of the Conference] ,
about one hundred bishops went on a pilgrimage to
ancient Glastonbury, that historic spot where the
Church shone in its splendor long before the landing
of Augustine. That to me was the most marvellous
scene of all. The little town of Glastonbury, hard by
the ancient abbey ruins, was thronged with people
from all the countryside, and had put on its gala attire.
Nearly six hundred clergy besides the bishops in
their vestments marched through the streets of the
town and out into the beautiful abbey grounds, where
the service was held. One can never forget the extreme
beauty of the scene as the sinuous procession moved in
and out under the noble oaks and among the ruins of
this venerable seat of our forefathers' faith. The
address, a very remarkable one, was delivered by the
Bishop of Stepney.
After all was over, a garden party was given on the
grounds, and then some of the bishops went to the hos-
pitable homes in and around Glastonbury, while others
of us drove across the beautiful Somerset downs to the
226 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
cathedral town of Wells, six miles away, where we were
The day following, a missionary service was held
at the Cathedral, with a sermon by the Bishop of
Maine. Then, after luncheon, given by the Bishop of
Bath and Wells, in the palace grounds, we bade each
other good-bye and separated, sorrowing most of all
that some of us would meet on earth no more.
Thus ended the great Lambeth Conference of 1897.
During one of its high functions Bishop Gilbert had
said to his chaplain, the Rev. Ernest Dray, "We must
go back to America. They will spoil us here." How-
ever, he accepted a number of invitations to visit, and
prolonged his stay with great pleasure for four weeks.
His first visit was to Falmouth, in Oorwall, to the
home of Mrs. Isabella Purves, the mother of one of his
Minnesota clergy. On a weekday he preached for her
son, the Rev. R. D. Purves, at Redruth Church nearby.
On Sunday, by invitation of Canon Christopherson, the
Bishop preached at the large parish church in Falmouth
and made a great impression.
Another visit is described in a personal letter to a
friend in St. Paul:
ESCOT, OTTERY ST. MARY.
August 12, 1897.
... I am writing this from the charming Devon-
shire country, where I am spending a few days with
Sir John Kenneway at his countryseat. It is a typical
old English place, with its terraces and lawns, its
flowers and varied kinds of trees, its vines and winding
THE LAMBETH CONFERENCE OP 1897 227
walks. Everything smacks of age and finish, just
what our beautiful American homes do not have.
Yesterday Sir John and I walked through the
fields, under a cluster of beeches 200 years old, which
were planted by the philosopher Locke, to the quaintest
little village, where there is one of the best specimens
of the 13th Century village church I have seen, and
where lie the bones of Sir John's ancestors. The
Norman tower of the church is as it was built, but the
body of the church has been restored. Not far from
here, within a stone's throw almost, S. T. Coleridge
was born, and, if tradition is not at fault, my Gilbert
ancestors hail from this part of Devonshire. . . .
As ever affectionately,
MAHLON N. GILBERT.
Prom Devonshire he went up to Boston in Lincoln-
shire, where he spent a Sunday with friends formerly
living in Minnesota, and preached both in Erampton and
Boston. Later, he spent a few days in Scarborough as
guest of the Bishop of Hull, but first he made a visit
to Ireland, by the invitation of the Bishop of Clogher.
A letter from, this venerable prelate, the Rt. Rev.
Dr. Charles M. Stack, written in his eighty-fifth year,
tells the story of this delightful visit.
KJSrOCKBALLYMORE, CLONES, IRELAND,
March 28, 1910.
MY DEAR SIR: I had the great happiness to make
the acquaintance of Dr. Gilbert at the Lambeth Con-
ference of 1897.
I was then engaged in making an effort in favor of
the Reformed churches in Spain and Portugal in the
228 MARLON NORRIS GILBERT
face of a strong and determined opposition. When the
subject passed into Committee, I found Dr. Gilbert
had been appointed a member, and thus we were thrown
together during several days of prolonged debate and
When the committees reported, and we had come
back to Conference, I had several opportunities of
ripening our friendship. Finally it occurred to me
that Dr. Gilbert might wish to see a little of Ireland
and I asked him would he kindly pay me a visit when
the Conference came to an end.
Dr. Gilbert was most kind and consented to come
over channel to my house. He afterward introduced
to me his friend, Dr. Cheshire, Bishop of North
Carolina, whom I asked to join him in his visit. He
most kindly consented to do so.
I was very anxious that Dr. Gilbert and his friend
should see, and be seen, in Belfast; so with their per-
mission, I arranged for them to arrive there on Sat-
urday evening. . . . On Sunday they preached to very
large congregations in St. Luke's Church. They were
both fully appreciated. I had a letter from one of my
friends in which was this remark, "I believe Dr.
Gilbert's sermon was the best I ever heard in Belfast."
I also was thanked very warmly for asking my brother
Bishops to visit Belfast.
On Monday they were shown the city as far as time
would permit, and had a look at the great ship-building
yards, as well as a run round the "Lough" in a steamer.
Indeed, they found it very difficult to get away from
their kind entertainers.
They arrived here in the evening after two hours of
rail. I need not say how warm was their welcome!
We had arranged to ask a number of the neighboring
TEE LAMBETH CONFERENCE OF 1897 229
clergy and gentry to meet the Bishops on one after-
noon. The weather was lovely, and Knockballymore is
a very lovely old place, so the day was most successful.
Dr. Gilbert and Dr. Cheshire enjoyed themselves very
much. All were delighted with our visitors.
Another day one of my sons took them to Ennis-
killen, which is at the middle of Lough Erne. A
steamer took them down the "Lower Lake," which is
very beautiful. My son pointed out the old castles,
as they went along, and told them of the old wars and
feuds of which they are the monuments. . . .
All hearts went out to Dr. Gilbert, from the first.
We little thought how soon, alas ! he should be taken
from the many, many loving friends he must have left
behind him! . . .
May I add that the very great courtesy and loving
kindness I received from our American brethren dur-
ing the Lambeth Conference made an impression on
the minds of the Irish Bishops at large, as well as on
my own, which can never be effaced. . . .
I remain, Yours very sincerely,
CHARLES .M. STACK, D.D.
To complete the picture of this charming visit one
needs to know the setting of KVi ockballymore House.
It is a plain, solid building of the old Georgian type,
erected about 170 years ago. Its charm is in its setting.
It is surrounded by 150 acres in the finest cultivation,
and its gardens are of unusual beauty. Bishop Stack
has been well known as an expert in gardening and
farming, and visitors often came to see his fine horses
and cattle. On the south side of the house the grounds
230 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
extend for about a mile along a lake, and the approach
from the north is over a curious, old stone bridge, which
was built for the castle which formerly stood on the
same site as the present house. On a hill in the grounds
stands an ancient Irish "Kath" or circular entrench-
ment in good preservation. At the time of Bishop
Gilbert's visit, the house contained a series of oil por-
traits of all the Bishops of Ologher since the Reforma-
tion, and also the Diocesan Library, with many ancient
and beautiful volumes. Knockballymore delighted and
refreshed the hearts of the American visitors. Bishop
Gilbert continued to correspond with Bishop Stack,
and carried back to Minnesota the warmest recollec-
tions of Irish hospitality.
He sailed from Liverpool on the eighth of Septem-
ber, and was soon busy at work again in Minnesota.
A LOVER OF NATURE.
A MARKED element in Bishop Gilbert's character
was his deep love of nature. His boyhood in the
country, the years in Utah and Montana, his many
journeys in the Indian country, all fostered his love of
the open air. He became a trained sportsman, a good
shot, a fisherman of unusual skill. It was not the mere
joy of bringing down the game or of returning to camp
with a large "catch" that made him a sportsman. It was
rather his love of nature in every aspect, and his sense
of the Divine Hand in nature that drew him, every
summer if possible, to camp with congenial companions
in the unspoiled forest, far from city or town.
One of his vacation journeys is well described in a
letter which Bishop Gilbert wrote for the Minnesota
Missionary of September, 1890:
VACATION IN THE ROCKIES.
My letter this month will not tell about work, but
rather about recreation and rest. I was quite ready
for it when the time came. A steady run of work for
232 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
several months daily, with no respite, had gotten me
into a kind of nervous condition which demanded
For me to secure the full benefits of a vacation, I
must go away from the busy activities of life, away
from the haunts of men, and enter into the quiet rest-
fulness of nature's solitudes. Naturally my steps led
me westward to the dear old mountains, among which
for many years I dwelt. How different the trip from
the first I made into Montana, nineteen years ago!
Then I entered the territory from the south, riding
from Salt Lake City northward five hundred miles by
stage. Now I entered it from the east, reclining in
comfort on the luxurious seats of the Pullman cars
of the Northern Pacific. Then we found our meals in
log stables by the wayside or in camps; now the splen-
did dining cars furnish one with every luxury.
I did get a bit of staging, however, this summer.
To transact some necessary business, I left the North-
ern Pacific at Billings, entered a stage familiarly
known as the "Jerky," which at night gave way to a
buck-board, and went one hundred miles north to the
foot of the Big Snowy Mountains.
(After this trip, the Bishop went on to Livingston,
and from there was driven over the foot-hills to a
stream called the Boulder. Here he found the Rev.
Dr. James M, Sterrett, Professor at Seabury, with his
three sons, awaiting him at the camp, which was in
fine order. Unfortunately, after one day together, a
severe attack of neuralgia of the heart forced Dr. Ster-
rett reluctantly to return home, and his sons went
This left me alone with my guide, but I am too
fond of streams and mountains and trout-fishing to get
A LOVER OF NATURE 233
lonely. For ten days I remained in camp and enjoyed
every moment of the time. Certainly the trout-fishing
on the Boulder is unexcelled by that of any stream in
which I have ever wet my line. The trout are large,
many of them reaching two pounds; they are gamy;
the stream can be waded; a fly can be cast in all parts
of it without difficulty; and the numbers to be secured
are only limited by one's time and inclination. The
scenery of the middle Boulder is very picturesque and
in many places grand. Game is also very plentiful,
and our larder was kept supplied with it by the
I broke camp very reluctantly, but my memory will
return to the Boulder many times the coming year, and
each memory will be a distinct refreshment.
On my way out I met my friend, and a veteran in
the art of trout-fishing, Judge Wilder of Ked Wing,
with a party on their way through the Yellowstone
Park. ... I ran over to the west of the mountains,
and spent two days with my brother in Missoula, and
then returned to my work, greatly refreshed.
On one of his camping vacations in Montana,
Bishop Gilbert had a unique experience, which he re-
corded in an article published in Field and Stream, a
magazine for sportsmen. It was entitled "Three Big
Trout on Two Flies." The story is too long to print
here in full. He was casting with two flies on one
line, when, at the same moment, two trout seized the
flies. While he was playing them, a great "bull trout"
tried to swallow the smaller of the two, and, when too
late, discovered that he was himself caught. After a
234 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
long fight tiie Bishop succeeded in guiding all three
into his landing net.
The excitement and work have exhausted me. I
sit down and breathe. Then I weigh them, and find
that their combined weight is eight pounds and a half.
Three trout on two flies, and landed with a seven ounce
rod. I was satisfied. ... I pushed on up the stream
until I came, half a mile beyond, to the shores of Bed
Eagle Lake. The trout were '"breaking" all over its
surface, yet I made no further casts, but revelled in
the glory and grandeur of the scene before me the
sapphire lake, the glacier in the cleft of the mountains,
the mighty peaks watching and warding this wondrous,
jewel at their feet. So I sat upon the beach, and drank
in the inspiration of my surroundings. I forgot the
world of care in the busy fretting life far away. 1
On another vacation visit, Bishop Gilbert had a
startling adventure. He had gone to Montana with a
friend for a hunting and fishing expedition. At a
familiar place, they left the train, hired horses of an old
acquaintance, and started on their journey. On the way
they met a party of rough-looking men, one of whom
came up to the Bishop, looked his horse over, and
claimed it as his own. Fearing trouble, Dr. Gilbert
and his friend managed to break away from the men,
and rode off at full speed. This did not end the ad-
venture, for the next morning, as they were breaking
camp, the county sheriff appeared with a warrant for
their arrest as horse thieves. Fortunately, he was well
1 Field and Stream, 1896, p. 108.
A LOVER OF NATURE 235
acquainted with the Bishop, and, on recognizing him,
broke out into uncontrollable laughter. The matter was
soon explained. The horses which they rode had strayed
into the premises of the man from whom they hired
them, and he had ventured to send them out, supposing
that no one would claim them. This story has been told
in several forms. In the most dramatic version, the
rope is actually around the Bishop's neck to hang him,
when a friend rides up and saves him.
The last vacation trip among the mountains of
which there is record was that of August, 1898. This
outing was in the Olearwater Country of Idaho, his
companions, besides the guide and cook, being Prof.
Charles 0. Camp of Seabury, and Mr. Alfred H. Bill,
of Faribault. A very interesting narrative of this
camping party was written by the Bishop, also for
Field and Stream, and was published in the number
for April, 1899, with four illustrations from photo-
graphs. Its title was, "Trout Eishing in Idaho." The
journey to the Clearwater involved much hardship, but
they were repaid. The Bishop writes :
The situation was ideal ; the river teemed with
trout, the hot springs, both above and below our camp,
were famous "licks" for deer and elk, and our bill of
fare was made up of venison steaks, grouse, and fish,
served to our liking. . . . For eleven days we revelled
in the enchantment of this remote wilderness on the
banks of this picturesque stream. . . .
It is the absolute freedom from the convention-
alities of social life that adds the keenest zest to the
236 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
enjoyment of a vacation. I am frank to say that I
cannot appreciate the pleasure which some very excel-
lent and charming people seem to take at the fashion-
able summer resort, where the restrictions of social
requirements are still paramount. Give me the wilder-
ness with its silence, its isolation, its solitude. Give me
the music of the secluded water falls, rather than the
music of the paid band on the hotel porch. Give me
the happy greeting of the graceful, careless water ousel,
as he hops through the spray from stone to stone. Give
me the gleam of the rainbow on the glistening sides
of the darting trout, and the swift rush and break as
he strikes for my "coachman." Give me these, and
such as these, in preference to all the attractions of
artificial environment, and I am content. . . .
Often in the long winter evenings in my study do
I live over the incidents of that memorable August on
the Lo Lo trail, in the heart of the Bitter Root Moun-
tains, and my memory's chambers are peopled with its
fascinating images. Such an experience as this keeps
my heart ever young. 2
2 Field and Stream, Vol. IV., pp. 310-314.
THE CLOSING- YEARS.
MANY YEAKS before the modern phrase became
current, Bishop Gilbert lived "the strenuous life."
When his labor was lightened in one direction, he found
room for increased activity in another. His mind and
spirit were always alert, and demanded expression.
When, at last, northern Minnesota had a Bishop of
its own he was relieved of much care and travel, but
the number of his engagements, or of his sermons and
addresses, did not diminish. His annual report for
1898 showed that he had made 174 visitations, and had
delivered 329 sermons and addresses. Of these latter,
fifteen had been in England and Ireland in connection
with the Lambeth Conference, and nine others were
outside of the Diocese. At the Convention of 1895 he
had been elected President of the American Church
Sunday School Institute, to serve for a term of three
years. Bishop Gilbert was always interested in Sun-
day school advancement, and now was sought, even
238 MARLON NORRIS GILBERT
more frequently, as a speaker at Sunday school gather-
ings and institutes in many dioceses.
In February, 1898, he attended the Fiftieth Annual
Convention of Theta Delta Chi, at the Windsor Hotel,
ISTew York, and on the evening of February 10, he pre-
sided as toastmaster at the Anniversary Banquet, and
made a capital address. 1
Without fear of "entangling alliances," on March
first, he addressed a Sunday school gathering at the
Woodlawn Park Baptist Church in St. Paul, and a
fortnight later he preached to the students of the State
University in the Andrew Presbyterian Church in Min-
For many years it was Bishop Gilbert's custom to
spend his Easter as follows: In the morning he would
preach at Christ Church in St. Paul; in the afternoon
he visited the State Penitentiary in Stillwater, where
the prisoners looked upon his coming as a great event ;
in the evening he would visit Ascension Church, in the
same city, administer confirmation, and preach to a
congregation which filled the church to overflowing.
At the laying of the cornerstone of the magnificent
State Capitol in St. Paul, July 27, 1898, Bishop Gil-
bert was given a position of honor in the elaborate
1 "Everyone remembers the peculiar grace and pleasing dignity
with which Bishop Gilbert presided. He always said the right thing
at the right time." The Shield, of Theta Delta Chi, March, 1898,
p. 58. See also pp. 1-56. Bishop Gilbert also showed a most brotherly
Interest in the chapter of his fraternity in the University of Minnesota,
and presided at their first banquet in 1892.
THE CLOSING TEARS 239
ceremonies, and pronounced the benediction at the
By these services, and by many others like them he
fulfilled the wider ministry of his office.
In an open letter in 1898, just before the great
revival of missionary interest in the Episcopal Church,
Bishop Gilbert made two wise suggestions, which, as
since developed, with Bishop Brewer's admirable Ap-
portionment Plan, have done wonders in arousing en-
thusiasm for missions:
To the Editor of The Churchman:
Your editorials on the subject of missions have
greatly moved me. Never before have I so deeply real-
ized the "sleep" which has so heavily fallen upon the
Church in regard to that which is the primary object
of her existence. You have sounded the bugle note of
awakening and advance. How can the Church
Churchmen are inherently as generous as members
of other Christian bodies. They simply need arousing.
Can this be done? Yes. How? Agitate! Agitate!
In what way? In press, in pulpit, in convocation and
Instead of having one Missionary Council during
the year in one city, let there be three in different
parts of the country. The Missionary Council focal-
izes missionary interest and enthusiasm. It warms the
hearts of the immediate community. It sends the
delegates and attendants home with glowing hearts.
Why not utilize this splendid and effective agency in a
larger measure ?
240 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Put into the work at least two field secretaries. Let
them go from one end of the land to the other, organ-
izing missionary meetings, addressing congregations,
attending diocesan conventions. Let this be their sole
duty. They will go with authority; they will he filled
with information; they will be the incarnation of the
Other religious bodies do this, and the results are
to be seen in the statistics which you have given. We
may bewail the lack of opportunity to present missions
at the General Convention, but I do not see how this
can be avoided. Let us face the situation boldly, and
act with wisdom, hopefulness, and courage. Let us
fire the Churchman's heart by the living voice.
M. 1ST. GILBERT,
Bishop-Coadjutor of Minnesota
St. Paul, Minn., July 23, 1898.
(Published in the Churchman, Aug. 6, 1898, p. 182.)
The General Convention of the Episcopal Clmrcli
met in the City of Washington from October 5 to 25,
1898. A marked feature of the Convention was the Pil-
grimage to Jamestown, Virginia, famous in the early
annals of the Colony. On Friday, October 14, three
hundred deputies, including twenty-four Bishops, left
on a special train for Richmond, the journey being
under the auspices of the Churchmen's League of Wash-
ington, assisted by Virginia hospitality. The night was
spent at the magnificent Hotel Jefferson, and Saturday
morning a chartered steamer took the distinguished
company down the James River to solitary Jamestown
Island, where stands the ruined tower of the ancient
THE CLOSING TEARS 241
church. There a memorable service was held, repro-
ducing in America something of the spirit which the
Churchman .feels at Canterbury or Glastonbury. It
was on this pilgrimage, on the steamer passing historic
battlegrounds and stately country seats, that the writer
of this volume had his longest conversation with Bishop
Gilbert. On that holiday the Bishop was free from
cares, and had abundant leisure to talk of his college
days, and of his life work. The day was an ideal one,
and will never be forgotten.
The year which followed was marked by an un-
usual number;, even for him, of addresses, patriotic,
civic, religious, outside of diocesan routine, but not
outside of diocesan usefulness. His journal contains
many items like the following: "attended annual meet-
ing of the Sons of the American Revolution, St. Paul" ;
"gave an address before the Public School Union of St.
Paul"; "made an address before the Knights Templar,
St. Paul" ; "addressed the Y. M. C. A. in St. Louis" ;
"gave a lecture in South St. Paul" ; "addressed the an-
nual meeting of the Y. M. C. A. in Minneapolis" ; "took
part in the patriotic exercises of Washington's Birth-
day" ; "addressed the Woman's Civic League in St.
Paul"; "addressed the Society of American Wars in
On January 25, 1899, the Feast of the Conversion
of St. Paul, Bishop Gilbert took part in a service which
was to link his episcopate with that of his successor.
On that day he was one of the consecrators of the Rev.
242 MAHLON MORRIS GILBERT
Dr. Samuel Cook Edsall, as Bishop of Horth Dakota.
A little over two years later, Bishop Edsall was elected
Coadjutor of Minnesota, and became the third Bishop
in that Diocese.
In May, 1899, he made a short visit to St. Louis,
the home of the beloved Bishop Tuttle, to take part in
an anniversary of unusual character. By the founda-
tion of the late Henry Shaw there is delivered in
Christ Cathedral each May what is known as the
"Mower Sermon," the design of the founder being that
the preacher shall set forth "the wisdom and goodness
of God," as seen in nature. On the evening before,
there was the annual banquet of the Trustees of the
Botanical Garden of St. Louis, at which Bishop Gil-
bert made an address. On Sunday, May 14, he
preached the "Mower Sermon," to a large congregation,
from the text, "And Isaac went out to meditate in the
field at the eventide," Genesis xxiv. 63. This sermon
was printed in pamphlet form, and is perhaps his last
sermon which was thus printed. It abounds in high
thoughts beautifully expressed. Here, as in many of
his printed sermons, he quotes the poets Wordsworth,
Bryant, Mrs. Browning.
He speaks again of his own personal experience of
nature's healing power :
After months of incessant labor, when my physical
powers have become so wearied that disordered fancies
creep into my brain, and the burdens of life become
almost insupportable, and doubts of my fellow men and
At the Time of his Consecration
THE CLOSING YEARS 243
of myself and of God get into my soul, in very despera-
tion I flee away from them all, and hie me to some
wild, remote mountain valley, far removed from the
haunts of busy men, and the very opposite of the con-
ditions under which I have been living. There, where
water courses speed onward with an unfettered free-
dom, where the wild phlox and the rhododendron bloom
in untrimmed beauty, where dark fir and scented bal-
sam bend from the mountain sides, where through the
foam of the waterfall the brown thrush darts from
stone to stone, where the iridescent trout hides in the
shadow of a jutting root, and where the song of nature
is a song of peace, there I find physical restoration and
mental readjustment, there I find in conscious near-
ness the presence of my Heavenly Father who, before,
had seemed to be far away; and in the words of Mrs.
"I smiled to think God's greatness
Flowed around our incompleteness,
Round my restlessness, His rest."
This marvellous power of nature to put things
human in proper equipoise is God's way. So simple
that most men pass it by; so true, so clear, so un-
mistakable, that God's wisdom and goodness shine out
in clearest light. ...
Nature does not designedly put before us moral and
spiritual truths, but to the reverent mind seeking them
she reveals them. To the soul hungering and thirsting
after righteousness come, from every corner of nature's
pulsating life, streams of refreshment, filling its in-
most recesses with the elixir of heavenly blessing.
In nature there is such an inexhaustible supply of
suggestions toward a purer and higher life that every
person should be put in contact with it. Is not this
fact being intelligently and practically accepted? Is
244 MAHLON NORJKIS GILBERT
it not the recognition of this principle that has given
life to that significant work in so many of our city
churches, generally known as the "Fresh Air Fund?"
"What do these poor people most need?" I once
asked the founder of Toynbee Hall, in East London,
as I looked upon the fearful abjectness and misery con-
gested there. "More imagination," was his quick
reply. "How will they find it?" "By bringing the
beauty of the country into the city in more parks, by
bringing the city into the country in seaside and
country-side settlements." This is the conviction of no
mere idealist, but of one who knew the needs of poor
humanity as few knew them. "More imagination,"
yes, to make them see in every tree and flower and
breaking wave a vision of a purer, freer, more whole-
some life, and so seeing to excite within their breasts
a new ambition to be what God wants them to be.
He who by his beneficence makes possible the crea-
tion of parks and gardens in the heart of our great
cities, wherein the man, whose life is cramped and
sordid, can "see visions and dream dreams" of some-
thing nobler and truer for himself, is the practical
philanthropist, the true social reformer.
Noting as I do the ever increasing development of
this true philanthropy, ... I look out with hopeful
eyes into the future and forecast a brighter day for
my brother man. It may not be a Paradise wholly
regained, but it will be not unlike that first Paradise
wherein the rich life of nature filled all things, and
wherein sin was afraid and ashamed to show its
face. . . .
The Greek revelled in ideal creations of beauty, but
it tended toward animalism; the Christian revels in
the glorious beauty of foliage and flowers, and he is
TEE CLOSING TEARS 245
lifted out of the sphere of his lower self into the realm
The world is better to-day than ever before, because
man "in the fields" is absorbing more and more the life
of God. So this earth of ours is being recognized as
prophetic of Heaven, as the prototype of that wondrous
country which by faith we see from afar. We wander
in the fields rich and fragrant with the flowers of hope,
and with expectant eyes gaze onward toward that sun-
land wherein wisdom and goodness are enthroned in
the person of our Ascended Lord.
During Lent, 1899, the pastor of the People's
Church in St. Paul, the Rev. Samuel Gr. Smith, ar-
ranged for a series of lecture-sermons by leading repre-
sentatives of different Christian denominations. On
Sunday, evening, March 12, as reported in a St. Paul
newspaper, "Episcopalianism had its inning." The
probability that the lecture would be regarded in such,
a light would have deterred some of our leaders from
participating in the course, but Bishop Gilbert was
never one to hold aloof. He began by saying:
MY FRIENDS : I avail myself very cheerfully of the
invitation that was so courteously extended to me by
the pastor of this church to deliver one of the lectures
in the course which he had prepared, and more es-
pecially because it gives me an opportunity of explain-
ing some positions which I have occupied all my life,
and perhaps to remove some prejudices, and to affirm
some principles which may be held by others who are
listening to me to-night. I would far rather always
try to discover the points of contact between the dis-
severed hosts of the Church than to dwell upon the
246 MAHLOW NORRIS GILBERT
differences, and I don't think I shall dwell upon the
differences very much to-night. As my eye ranges
itself over the audience this evening, I feel that there
are fewer points of difference than of contact, and I
will therefore dwell upon the things that we hold in
common. I am very glad to speak of those things
wherein we enjoy what might be called a common
purpose and a common ambition.
I have been asked to-night to speak on the subject.
"Why am I an Episcopalian?" Of course, if I were to
state the subject from my own standpoint and a little
more satisfactorily to myself, I should probably state
it as, "Why am I a Churchman?" but, nevertheless, as
names are necessary in order to distinguish bodies from
one another, I am perfectly willing to accept this defi-
nition and to give my reasons for the position I occupy.
Some years ago, I was preaching in a little town in
the western part of the State, and preaching a sermon
which seemed to me perfectly natural to preach, . . .
and a very excellent Christian woman, the wife of the
Baptist minister, came to me and said that she was
exceedingly pleased with my sermon, but she couldn't
see how it was that a man of my liberal ideas should
not stand on the broad platform with the Baptists. I
answered as pleasantly as possible, and told her that,
perhaps, with further enlightment, I might be able to
satisfy her ambition ; but, nevertheless, I felt somewhat
hurt by it, because it seemed to me to express that
general misunderstanding of our Church's position
which was so perfectly apparent to me myself.
In the atmosphere in which I have always been
reared, I could not preach any less of a liberal sermon ;
it would not have been possible ; it was simply because
I was preaching that which had grown out of the teach-
THE CLOSING TEARS 247
ings of my whole life, and which had been confirmed
by my experience. ... It seems strange that any
man should talk about the Episcopal Church being
narrow. What could be broader than the Fatherhood
of God, the Brotherhood of Christ, and the Fellowship
of the Holy Spirit, and that is the position and teach-
ing of the Episcopal Church. . . .
There is not space to quote the Bishop's fourfold
argument ; it is summed up in his closing words :
Now, my friends, there are my reasons (for my
choosing to remain in the Church in which I was
born) : First, because of its simple Gospel; second,
because of its broad and simple faith; third, because of
its historic continuity as a part of the Holy Catholic
Church; and, fourth, because of its perfection of
I am holding what has been handed down to me,
loyally and respectfully, because it is a precious legacy;
not in the spirit of discord, but in the spirit of the
Master, as far as I can, in order that the good things,
which are within the treasury of the Church, may be
given to others, that they, seeking, may take life again.
So onward, upward, homeward, heavenward, may I
travel. Baptists and Methodists and Presbyterians and
Roman Catholics and Lutherans and others are all
traveling heavenward. I know, thank God that I
know, that if we are faithful to the old faith, faithful
to the word which is Christ's, if we build our founda-
tions on Him alone, that the things that divide us shall
pass away, and we shall be united in the Eternal King-
Anyone who has studied the lives of those who have
2 .St. Paul Globe, March 13, 1899.
248 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
been raised to high office recognizes that in many cases
the opportunity creates the man. It is not always so;
some are made and some are marred by positions of in-
fluence and authority. If, with President Cleveland,
one recognizes that "public office is a public trust," it
is probable that the incumbent will develop in unfore-
seen ways to fulfill his ministry. Others, led astray
by the glamour of rank and a false sense of the dignity
of their station, make shipwreck.
Bishop Gilbert on three occasions put into words his
own experience in the episcopate, his own difficulties,
his own ideals. In the sermon which he preached at
the consecration of Bishop Graves, he said :
Brother beloved, the Church, our venerated Mother,
is calling you to-day, and bidding you to go forth into
a field of marvellous opportunities. Before you, as one
of her chosen leaders, she sets an open door. It is a
door which, while it opens into a land of promise, opens
also into a life of toil and care and burden-bearing,
which endeth only at the grave. . . . How my heart
goes out to you now in this solemn hour of consecra-
tion ! How it throbs with sympathy as the future with
its burdens rises before me ! Do I not know, and ought
I not to tell you of its isolation, of the wakeful hours
of the night watches, when the bleating of the sheep
without shepherds will ring and re-ring in your ears;
of the wandering across the prairies, of the tiresome
car journeys, of the homelessness, for a Bishop has no
home, of misconstructions and misunderstandings of
motives, of the ofttimes crowding down of the spiritual
by the constant pressure of the material? All these
, THE CLOSING 7EAR8 249
things you see now as in a glass darkly, but they will
surely come. We would not disguise them. Tea, these
are the burdens of the Episcopate and these are its
glories, too. Glories, because to endure hardships for
Christ, to spend and be spent in His service, to lay
down your life if need be for Him, all this is to feel
that you are treading in His very footsteps. Men talk
about the honor of being a Bishop. Tea, it is a great
honor, but most an honor in its sacrifices. 3
In the sermon preached at Bishop Barker's conse-
cration, Bishop Gilbert, mindful of the charge made to
him at his own consecration, said :
It is indeed an honor to be a Bishop in the Church
of God, but let that take care of itself. In faithful
service, in constant duty-doing, in loving ministrations,
will you most truly show forth its honor and diginity.*
Some years later, after a still wider experience,
Bishop Gilbert summed up the ideals of the Episco-
pate. It was in a sermon of great beauty and power
which he preached at the "Twenty-Fifth Anniversary
of the Beginning of Bishop Hare's Work in South.
Dakota." It was preached in St. Mark's Church, Aber-
deen, at the time of the annual Convocation of 1898,
on the evening of Thursday, September 15. The text
I am but a little child: I know not how to go out
or come in. ... Give therefore thy servant an under-
standing heart to judge thy people, that I may discern
8 The Open Door, Sermon of January 1, 1890, p. 11.
* The Episcopate and the Prayer Book The Two Arms of the
Church, Sermon of January 25, 1893, p. 16.
250 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
between good and bad : for who is able to judge this thy
so great a people? I Kings, iii. T, 9.
Bishop Gilbert applied these words as expressing
Dr. Hare's hesitation and humility when the call had
come to him to take up the work of a Missionary-
Bishop. He showed with what consecration he had
entered upon the office, and with what ability and suc-
cess he had done his difficult work :
We are not to look for the full outcome of the
Church's work in our own generation; but I confidently
affirm that in South Dakota, and elsewhere throughout
our new land, in another generation the claims, the
faith, the teachings of this Apostolic Church of ours
will be universally understood, recognized, and in a
large measure accepted. In the confidence of this hope
the Bishop who lays foundations labors patiently, cheer-
fully on. Disappointments, nay even disasters, may
come; his most cherished plans may fail; but working
with God he tries to do his duty as he sees it, and
leaves the results in the Almighty's hands, knowing
that the Church is founded upon the rock, even Jesus
Christ, and that "the gates of hell cannot prevail
Did time permit, I would dwell upon some of these
fundamental truths for which a leader of God's hosts,
a Bishop, must stand. Such thoughts are germane to
an occasion like this, and in reality ought to be de-
clared. He must represent in his own personal work
and character all that enters into the upbuilding of the
Kingdom of righteousness among a people. As the liv-
ing exponent of this principle he can be no time-server.
... His voice must ever be heard with no uncertain
sound on the side of "temperance, soberness, and chas-
TEE CLOSING TEARS 251
tity." Because lie sees and knows the unique import-
ance of the pure Christian home, he must defend it as
with a shield. . . .
Again, a Bishop of the Church must be the up-
holder of law. The wild ebullitions of anarchistic
socialism in their various manifestations, defeating as
they do the very purposes for which society is founded,
are to find their true antidote in the acceptance of
those principles of brotherhood which are embodied in
the life and teachings of Christ. There can be no
unity without fraternity, without the acknowledgement
of the Fatherhood of God. For this, the Church
stands. If she be true to the teachings of her Founder,
she grasps men of every station with an impartial
hand, and cries out, "Sirs, ye are brethren." A Bishop
must be the active promoter of this divine spirit, and
his life and work must know no distinction between
the rich and the poor, the employer and the employed.
Men will interpret the Church through him. . . .
A Bishop must be the defender of the Faith once
delivered to the Saints. He cannot compromise it.
. . . He cannot minimize its supernatural power. . . .
So standing firm, he shall be a rallying point for men
shaken by the uncertainties of the times, and in him
they will see and grasp that calm confidence in the
unshaken and unshakable truths of the eternal, which
shall give them the sure measure of repose. . . .
Finally, a Bishop must be the veritable incarnation
of the spirit of charity, love; for love is the fulfilling
of the law. The greatest of Christian virtues must find
in his heart a willing, congenial home. With it he can
extend the olive branch of peace to weary men; by it
he can most truly advance the cause of Christian
unity; through it he shall draw men near to the heart
252 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
of the Church, where the inexhaustible fount of love
is found. ... To his loving heart, expanding ever
with sympathy, will come the storm-tossed and dis-
tressed; into his ear of paternal affection will they
freely pour the story of their sorrows and troubles, and
find themselves comforted and strengthened by the
touch of a loving soul. 5
The Diocesan Council of 1899 was the last which
Bishop Gilbert attended. It met in Faribault, and was
memorable as the fortieth anniversary of the election
of Bishop Whipple, which was celebrated with appro-
priate honors. At the banquet held in the Armory, on
the evening of June 7, among other distinguished
speakers, Bishop Gilbert was called upon to respond to
the toast, "The Diocesan and the Coadjutor."
He began "by paying a very tender and beautiful
tribute to Bishop Whipple. The relation between them,
he said, had been not only that of co-laborer, but also
the nearer and dearer one of father and son."
In closing, Bishop Gilbert spoke most beautifully
of the harmony which had ever sweetened and hallowed
his peculiar relationship as Coadjutor with the Diocese
and its first Bishop. "I was never more surprised nor
more grieved," said he, "than on hearing another Coad-
jutor Bishop once say that he thought the position a
most vexing one to fill on account of friction. Never
has it been so to me trials there have been and hard
work, and I have been at times, I fear, a fractious
6 Addresses Relating to the Growth of the Church in the Mission-
ary Jurisdiction of South Dakota, from June, A. D. 1860, to June,
A. D. 1898, pp. 101-102.
THE CLOSING TEARS 253
son but the great loving heart and broad charity of
my superior and father have ever made the relation
a blessed and happy one, and when the time comes
for the Diocese of Minnesota to choose their next
Bishop Coadjutor, I hope he may have as loyal and as
loving support from both Bishop and people as I
Then, addressing himself to Bishop Whipple, the
younger Bishop most earnestly wished for the older
the best which could come to him in the years during
which he still trusted his presence might be a con-
tinued benediction to his people. 6
In this address, and in conversation with friends,
Bishop Gilbert several times expressed the feeling that
he would not outlive the Diocesan. The work of the
undivided diocese Lad told heavily upon him, and his
hair and beard were strongly marked with white. He
had . never spared himself from exposure, and his
friends thought he took very poor care of his health.
One act of the Council promised to bring some relief;
the Diocese was once more provided with a General
Missionary. The Rev. Charles Edgar Haupt, in Sep-
tember, entered upon this office. Mr. Haupt had al-
ready founded the Deaconess Home and Training
School, which was doing a most excellent work; he now
took up the task of visiting the weaker parishes, and
those that were vacant or in some special need. In
this field he showed untiring devotion, accomplishing
great good, and relieving the Bishop of much care.
6 Journal of the Forty-first Annual Council, Diocese of Minnesota,
PP. 59, 60.
254 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
In the spring of 1899, Mrs. Gilbert had a severe
illness, and was for several months in St. Luke's Hospi-
tal. By special resolution of the Council, it was re-
quested of the Bishop "that so far as possible he will
cancel all engagements that may take him from her
side." In the summer, while Mrs. Gilbert was conva-
lescent, his sympathy was called in another direction.
Mrs. Harriet Foote Tuttle, his former teacher, wife of
his dear friend, Bishop Tuttle, died suddenly on August
18. Bishop Gilbert hastened to St. Louis, and officiated
at the funeral, and gave the comfort of his loving heart.
Naturally, this summer, there was no outing in the
far West. As Mrs. Gilbert's health improved, the
Bishop began to make occasional visitations, and by
September he was in the midst of his usual routine.
This one month is marked by an address in Duluth, at
the meeting of the State Board of Charities and Cor-
rections; by an address in St. Paul at the fiftieth an-
niversary of St. Paul's Lodge of Freemasons; by an
address, at the Commercial Club in St. Paul, in behalf
of a proposed National Park in Northern Minnesota;
by attending a reception to University students in Min-
neapolis; and by a journey to Kansas, where he
preached the sermon at the Diocesan Convention, and
addressed the Daughters of the King and the Woman's
Auxiliary. These and twenty other engagements well
filled the time.
October was equally busy. Bishop Gilbert showed
his fraternal spirit by speaking at the fiftieth anni-
THE CLOSING TEARS 255
versary of the establishment of the Baptist Church in
St. Paul, attended sessions of the Woman's Auxiliary,
the Sunday School Institute, the Daughters of the
King, and the Minnesota Church Club. He was also
present, though he did not speak, at the National Church
Congress held in St. Paul. On October 14 he took part
in the services commemorative of the fortieth anni-
versary of the consecration of Bishop Whipple. A
notable occasion was a meeting of the Labor Associa-
tion in the People's Church, St. Paul, at which Bishop
Potter preached, and Bishop Gilbert read the prayers.
In this month also, Bishop Gilbert made his last visit
to St. Louis, to attend a meeting of the House of
Bishops, and while there spoke at missionary meetings
November 22, the Commercial Club honored Arch-
bishop Ireland, the well known prelate of the Roman
Catholic Church, by a large reception at which many
distinguished persons were present. Of Bishop Gil-
bert's speech of congratulation only an abstract is pre-
served. He said in part :
We who are present to-night are united in a bond
that is something more than a civic bond, a bond of
brotherhood in a very ideal sense, all looking to the up-
lifting of the city in righteousness and morality. This
occasion is one of peculiar significance. I rejoice in
my heart to pay a tribute to one who is a leader in all
that makes for righteousness. Archbishop Ireland
would be a leader in any city on earth. The whole
world honors him for the same qualities that have
256 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
brought Mm such admiration in the city of his home.
He stands not only as the citizen of no mean city, but
as one of the leaders of the Nineteenth Century.
On Thanksgiving Day, which this year fell upon
St. Andrew's Day, Bishop Gilbert preached in the morn-
ing at the Cathedral in Faribault, and then, as he had
done for many years, attended the great Thanksgiving
Dinner at Seabury Divinity School.
In December, Bishop Gilbert was present at the
opening of the fine parish house of St. Paul's Church,
Winona, of which the Rev. Theodore Payne Thurston
On December 17, as President of the Minnesota
Society of the Sons of the Revolution, he presided at a
notable service in Christ Church, "In Commemoration
of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Death of
George Washington, First President of the United
States of America." He also preached the sermon, with
his usual patriotic enthusiasm and eloquence.
On December 18, he presided at a meeting of an
association for promoting Church work among laboring
men, and, perhaps as a result of his evident good will,
he was asked, a few days later, to address a meeting
in the interest of labor in the Trades and Labor Hall,
Bishop Gilbert ended the year by an address, on
December 31, before the Young Men's Christian Asso-
Prom a Late Photograph
TEE CLOSING TEARS 257
[To give completeness to the narrative, two or three
events of later history are here set down.
Bishop Whipple outlived Bishop Gilbert by over a
year and a half. On returning to Minnesota in the
spring of 1900, Bishop Whipple planned to ask at once
for another Coadjutor, but, following the advice of one
of his older clergy, he deferred this, and decided that
he would, so far as possible, make once more a general
visitation of the Diocese. With youth renewed like the
eagle's, the venerable Bishop, almost in his eightieth
year, performed the duties of his office, confirming over
six hundred, and delivering 239 sermons and addresses,
with unabated power. His death came on September
16, 1901, and he was buried beneath the altar of his
Cathedral in Faribault.
Before his death, and by his request, the Council
elected a Coadjutor. The choice of the Diocese, which
was known to coincide with that of the Diocesan, was
the Rt. Rev. Samuel Cook Edsall, D.D., Missionary
Bishop of North Dakota. During Bishop Gilbert's last
illness, Dr. Andrews, hoping to relieve him of some
anxiety, suggested that the Diocese would gladly invite
some other Bishop to take the spring visitations. Bishop
Gilbert assented, saying more than once, "Send for
Bishop Edsall !" After Bishop Gilbert's death this was
done, and Bishop Edsall made several visitations in
Minnesota. In this way, and by other visits, he was
well known in the Diocese, and seemed eminently
qualified in ability and spirit to succeed Bishop Gilbert.
258 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
In accepting the office of Coadjutor, Bishop Edsall
asked to remain as Bishop of North Dakota till the
General Convention, which was to meet in October,
should approve his translation. His request was
granted, but in the meanwhile, Bishop Whipple ended
his long Episcopate. Accordingly Bishop Edsall suc-
ceeded as Bishop of Minnesota, and was formally in-
ducted into office at a solemn service held in Christ
Church, St. Paul, November 5, 1901.]
THE LAST RECOKD of Bishop Gilbert's Journal,
as printed in the Church Record, is "Jan. 9th. Con-
fined to the house with a bad throat." However, he was
soon better, and a short time later he went to the East in
the interest of the Diocese. For some years Seabury
Divinity School had been in financial straits, and he
hoped to raise much-needed funds. It was thought, also,
that the change might be good for his health, and at first
this seemed to be the case. Mrs. Gilbert spent the time
of his absence in Faribault, with friends at Seabury
Hall. On February 6, she wrote to her friend, Mrs. S.
R. McMasters of St. Paul :
I am enjoying Seabury with all of my old-time
ardor Chapel services cheerful rooms (southern ex-
posure) noisy men (boys), full of fun and frolic
Miss White [Matron] and Mrs. Camp [mother of Pro-
fessor Camp] and the Pooles and a daily drive (ex-
cept three cold days) in the St. Mary's carriage with
Miss Eels all make my daily life very pleasant.
Prances comes over [from St. Mary's Hall] every
260 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Monday and spends the day, and for a little while on
My "Lord Bishop" is now in New York, but the
shekels for Seabury do not come in, only a few, to his
disappointment. However, he had a nice time with my
cousins in Philadelphia, and writes that he is "quite
well." I would rather have him say his usual "never
felt better in my life." . . .
F. P. GILBERT.
While in New York, Bishop Gilbert was entertained
at the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. Van Vechten Olcott,
and was in the best of spirits. He had passed the stage
of feeling "quite well," and gave them his customary
answer, that he "never felt better in his life." It was a
great relief that Mrs. Gilbert was so comfortable, and
he was going to enjoy this visit, and rest.
To rest, except in vacation time, was impossible.
During his stay, he spoke in four churches in New
York City. On February 8, a stormy day, he addressed
a large congregation in St. James' Church, Derby, Con-
necticut, on behalf of the Board of Missions, and "won
the closest interest." "In closing he asked if the Episco-
pal Church was the one to carry to the people what they
needed, or was it only the Church for the cultivated,
the learned, the refined? . . . He had preached the
Gospel on the frontier, and to all sorts and conditions
of men, and had ever found that the Church was able,
with God's help, to reach them all." *
1 The Churchman, February 24, 1900, p. 244.
THE END 261
The day following, he spoke, also in behalf of Mis-
sions, to a large congregation in Christ Church, ISTew
Of the last fortnight the Spirit of Missions has this
Less than a fortnight before his death, Bishop Gil-
bert was at the Church Missions House, in New York,
stimulating everyone to harder work and better living
by his cheerful confidence. He spoke with great power
to the students of the General Theological School of
the needs of the West. A few days later he was at the
convention of the Church Students' Missionary Asso-
ciation in Gambier [at Kenyon College], and spoke
of the opportunities offered to men for shaping the life
of western communities. It was to be [almost] his
last public utterance. Its burden was characteristic
of his life service. 2
The story of how the end came is best told in a
letter written by Mrs. May Gloodrich McMasters, who
was present at his death. This letter was written on
March 9, 1900, to her father, Mr. Earle S. Goodrich,
then in the City of Washington :
I will simply go over the last few days before the
blow struck, which so stunned me, that it seems as
though it were a dream from which I must awaken.
I knew that the Bishop was expected home on Saturday
morning, February twenty-four, and that he would
leave for Earibault that afternoon. We had planned
a reception for him and Mr. Andrews at the Guild
House the following Monday evening. On that after-
2 Spirit of Missions, Vol. LXV., p. 137.
262 MAELOW NORRIS GILBERT
noon I was at the rectory, when I learned that on
account of a bad cold the Bishop would not be down.
Fearing he was alone, I went up to the house, where
I found him very ill in bed, the doctor having already
seen him. It seems that on his way from the East he
went to Lehigh University to visit his nephew. While
there he had a chill, but again stopped at Gambier,
Ohio, to address some young men. He was delayed in
Chicago some hours, and reached home late, and hur-
ried through his business, so as to get to Earibault for
another address Saturday night. [This was at the
Guild House of the Cathedral, at a meeting of the
Men's Club, and was his last public utterance.]
On Sunday he remained quietly with Mrs. Gilbert,
who had been ill for ten days. He was greatly dis-
appointed in finding her so sick, and frequently re-
ferred to it during his illness. [On Monday he re-
turned alone to St. Paul, planning to attend a meeting
of the Board of Missions, but sent word that he could
not come, on account of a raging headache.]
I went to him every day, remaining until the doctor
came at night, and though he had pneumonia, his
symptoms were more favorable than in the severe at-
tack of some years ago, but what I did not realize was 5
that his best lung was affected, and his other one could
do no work. All of Wednesday night and Thursday
oxygen was given him. On Thursday at half-past six,
the symptoms were more favorable than they had been,
temperature lower, respirations better, but he was
alarmingly weak. I decided to remain through the
night, feeling anxious. The doctor came at ten, re-
maining until twelve, when he left the Bishop resting
quietly. At two the nurse telephoned for him, the
breathing having suddenly become very quick and loud.
TEE END 263
Dr. Ogden also was summoned, but all our united
efforts failed to help, and at twenty minutes of four,
Friday morning [March 2], the strong, gentle spirit
returned to God who gave it.
On the early morning train Mrs. Edgerton and I
went to Faribault, carrying the dread news half
hoping to bring Mrs. Gilbert back with us but she
was so alarmingly weak that it was thought best to
leave her there, and on Monday a special car went down
for her, with Dr. Greene and the nurse. On Tuesday
morning early, Mrs. Gilbert was carried into the room
where the Bishop lay, and there, beside him, the Holy
Communion was administered by Mr. Poole, the old
friend of the Bishop, who had married them. Frances
was to have been confirmed at Easter, and it will always
remain a beautiful memory to her, that she first re-
ceived the Holy Communion by her father.
At ten o'clock, there was a service at the house for
the close friends. Mr. Andrews read the most com-
forting words from the Scriptures and the hymn, "Art
thou weary, art thou languid?" with great tenderness.
I am sure as Mrs. Gilbert heard it from her sick-bed
she must have been helped and uplifted. At half-past
two, the service was held at the church before which
the body had lain in state from eleven until two. Dear
Bishop Tuttle officiated there; and our hearts went out
to him in his great bereavement, losing a son, brother
Bishop, and life-long friend.
At Oakland Bishop Tuttle conducted the service
until Bishop Millspaugh took it up, singing "I heard
a voice from Heaven," etc. Beginning very softly,
gradually his voice rose until "Blessed are the dead
who die in the Lord," was a shout of triumph. It was
indescribably beautiful. There we left him.
264 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
Through the long days, as the Bishop lay on his
bier, I have never seen a more beautiful sight. It was
the peace of God. He had much color in his face, the
ears were pink and the cheeks, while it seemed as
though the eyes must unclose, and hold us with the
clear, magnetic gaze which had so often thrilled us.
To stand as I did at his side with strong men and
women utterly heartbroken, as they told what he had
been to them in their hour of need, was to realize in
some measure the boundless sympathy of his great
heart. Now will come the hard task of living without
him, of . missing the strong, hearty hand clasp, the
cheering tones of his dear voice. Life will often be
difficult, unless we can gain inspiration from his un-
selfish life. God grant we may.
During the Bishop's illness two nurses from St.
Luke's Hospital were in attendance, the physician in
charge being Dr. Henry Hutchinson. Each day the
Rev. Mr. Andrews came to see him, and on his last
visit, though he still expected a recovery, he was moved
to read the Commendatory Prayer.
Very few were aware of the severity of the Bishop's
illness, and the news of his death came as a great shock.
As the report spread, the whole city was moved. The
morning newspapers were printed too early for an
announcement, but the evening papers devoted many
columns to the story of his life.
In an editorial headed "Bishop Gilbert," the St.
Paul Globe of March 3 speaks of the praise that is
rightly given to the pioneers who have developed "the
TEE END 265
material resources of the American wilderness of a few
years ago," and adds :
But if we have honor to bestow on such men, what
meed of praise and love should we extend to men like
the noble gentleman who has just brought his career
as a Christian minister to a close in this city and has
gone to the reward which he so signally earned! The
late Bishop Gilbert was possessed of intellectual powers
so grand that they are rarely to be found even among
the most distinguished men in the great centers of
the world's activity. And these splendid acquirements
he gave with all the devotion of a true soldier of the
cross to the redemption of the souls of men in regions
so far removed from the civilized centers of his time
that he might be said to have voluntarily suffered
banishment from the face of his kind in the pursuit of
his divine calling. . . .
From the humble missionary, working at the outset
among the savages and outcasts of society, the late
Bishop Gilbert evolved into the eloquent and influential
Bishop of a powerful Church, known and respected
wherever men gather to worship God under its pro-
tection. Such men as he must inevitably find their
true level, and devotion such as his does not always
pass away without receiving the recognition that it
The death of no man, however rich or powerful, will
bring with it more of true sorrow to the hearts of the
kindly Christian men and women of Minnesota than
will result from the death of this eloquent and zealous
On the day of the funeral, Tuesday, March 6, a
sorrowing multitude, estimated at five thousand persons,
266 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
passed in endless line into Christ Church to look at the
dear face of their friend.
On the bier was a large cross of Easter lilies, lilies
of the valley, and violets, the gift of the clergy. The
Bishop's chair in the chancel was decorated with the
Episcopal purple, and the altar and chancel were
trimmed with the green that speaks of immortality.
Conspicuous among the many beautiful floral offerings
was a large wreath of violets sent by the Sons of the
Revolution, a floral compass, a Masonic emblem, . . .
and a wreath of white roses from the Indian agency. 3
Before the time set for the public service in Christ
Church it was filled with such a throng as never before,
"and a mass of people were surging about the doors,
seeking an entrance. It was no crowd of curiosity
seekers, but one of mourners."
The Bishop's vicar, the Rev. Ernest Dray, led the
long funeral procession, and the cross was carried by
the Rev. M. J. Simpson. The honorary pallbearers fol-
lowed, a long line representing many institutions and
societies within and without the Church. Among them
were Dr. G. R. Metcalf, for the Minnesota Masonic
Veteran's Association; Henry P. Upham, for the
Bishop's Masonic Lodge; representatives of patriotic
societies; Rev. Dr. Dobbin of Shattuek; Rev. Dr. Wil-
son of Seabury ; Rev. E. S. Peake of St. Mary's ; Rev.
Dr. Tanner of Breck School; Judge Atwater of Min-
neapolis, and Judge Wilder of Red Wing representing
the older generation of laymen ; besides these there were
3 The Minneapolis Times, March 7, 1900.
THE END 267
the Standing Committee of the Diocese, the wardens
of Christ Church and of St. Clement's, and over forty
vested clergymen. Eight of the younger clergy served
as active pall bearers. There were three Bishops
present, all of whom took part in the service: Bishop
Tuttle, Bishop Millspaugh, and Bishop Edsall.
During the service the choir sang "My Faith looks
up to Thee," and at its close, "For all the Saints who
from their Labours rest." As the cortege left the
church the Nunc Dimittis was chanted, and then the
organ took up the solemn strains of Handel's "Dead
March in Saul."
It was a service of appropriate dignity and simpli-
city. The Prayer Book service alone was used, there
being no eulogy, such being the custom of the Episcopal
At this time Bishop Whipple was absent on a mis-
sion in Porto Rico, and was of course unable to be
present. The Rev. Mr. Andrews sent him a telegram
telling of Bishop Gilbert's death, and there came the
prompt reply : "Our hearts overflow to bereaved family
and Diocese. Philippians second, verse 22," which is,
'Ye know the proof of him, that as a son with the
father, he hath served with me in the gospel." In a
letter written March 3d "To the Clergy and Laity of
the Diocese of Minnesota," Bishop Whipple said :
I have just received the sad news of the death of
dear Bishop Gilbert. For more than twenty-five years
he has been as my son, and God knows how I have
268 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
loved him. I have watched the development of his
mind and heart with the joy of a father, and for more
than thirteen, years he has been my right hand in the
administration of the diocese. As I look back upon the
past, in all our relations, I have not a memory to blot.
He entered into all of my plans along the lines which
have made Minnesota so blessed a field for the work
of the Church. . . .
I have no words to express the overwhelming sor-
row at this loss. Our Heavenly Father cannot do
wrong to His children. He alone can comfort our
hearts and overrule this Providence for the good of
His Church. I ask your united prayers for the dio-
cese and myself.
Praying God to bless you, I am, with the deepest
love and sympathy in our bereavement,
Tours faithfully, H. B. WHIPPLE,
Bishop of Minnesota.
To the Diocese, filled with those who admired and
loved him, Bishop Gilbert's death came as a profound
and unexpected grief. Though they knew his hold on
life was frail, yet the many years of energetic service
led them to expect many years to come. What the death
of Phillips Brooks was to Massachusetts, in its over-
whelming sorrow, the death of Mahlon Gilbert was to
Minnesota. Tributes, almost without number, were
printed of which only a few extracts can here be given.
A committee of the clergy, of whom the Rev. George
H. Mueller was chairman, said:
We, the clergy of the Diocese, shall especially miss
him as our friend and adviser, for by his strong and
TEE END 269
radiant faith he always set before us the best type of
a true shepherd of souls.
From the record of the Council of the Church Club :
He lived and died a Bishop Coadjutor. He brought
to that subordinate position loyalty to his diocesan, en-
tire self-abnegation, burning zeal, intense earnestness,
sustained enthusiasm, unfailing cheerfulness, a willing-
ness to spend and to be spent in the Master's service.
As he could literally say with the Psalmist, "My zeal
hath consumed me," so also he could truly say with
St. Paul, "Neither count I my life dear unto myself,
so that I might finish my course with joy, and the
ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus."
He rests with the saints of God. Be it ours to fol-
low him, even as he also followed Christ.
"Grant him, O Lord, eternal rest, and may light
perpetual shine upon him."
The minute of the Standing Committee has this
significant commendation :
part of his work ever lagged because he loved
other parts of it better. None of it was left undone
because he felt he owed himself an indulgence in rest.
A most intimate friend said of him, "I never saw a
man so absolutely free from self-interest as Bishop Gil-
bert." Another said, "He had the most perfect, best-
balanced, Christian character I ever knew."
Other tributes of great variety and beauty came
from the Sheltering Arms, the Church Hospitals, the
Brotherhood of St. Andrew, the Daughters of the King,
and from many vestries and individual Churchmen.
270 MAHLON NORRIS GULBERT
The women of the Minnesota Auxiliary published a
small brochure, "In Memoriam." It begins:
All eyes, as we look into them these days, seem to
ask, "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great
man fallen this day in Israel?"
Several patriotic societies, the Sons of the Revolu-
tion, and the Society of Colonial Wars, together with
the Sons of the American Revolution (of which he was
not a member), bore witness to his high patriotism.
His own Masonic Lodge, Ancient Landmark, No. 5,
and also St. Paul Lodge, No. 3, spread on their minutes
no perfunctory testimonial, but warm expressions of
fraternal attachment, with grateful memories of his up-
Volume IX. of the Minnesota Historical Society
Collections has a short sketch of the Bishop, and he was
specially commemorated in their regular meeting fol-
lowing his death.
The resolutions of the Chamber of Commerce are of
special significance. One sentence must be quoted here :
This city has an enviable reputation as being free
from sectarian differences, and no one has contributed
more to this happy condition than Bishop Gilbert.
A tribute from "the Methodist Ministers of the
Twin Cities" expresses great admiration for his Chris-
tian character, and for his breadth of mind.
"No tribute would have given the Bishop greater joy
than that of an assembly of "wageworkers :"
By his death the workingman loses one of his
TEE END 271
staunchest friends, one who was always ready to advise
and assist the needy in times of trouble and trial,
whose heart always beat in sympathy with the poor
and oppressed, whose great and noble soul was filled
with love for the lowly, and whose every effort was
directed to smooth the rough places in the journey of
life, an earnest worker in the cause of his Master, a
devout and honest man.*
The Living Church in its issue of March 10 pub-
lished the news of Bishop Gilbert's death, together with
a long letter from St. Paul, with the heading, "A
Bereaved Diocese." In the same number appeared "An
Appreciation/' by the Rev. Alford A. Butler, warden
of Seabury Divinity School. His opening words say
what is undoubtedly true, that the Church, at large had
not yet learned the worth of Bishop Gilbert :
It is doubtful if Churchmen outside of Minnesota
have any realization of the loss that has come to the
American Church in the death of Bishop Gilbert.
Within Minnesota all our eyes are wet with tears, all
our hearts are sore. Yet it is those who have been the
most closely associated with him in his life and work,
that most appreciate the nobleness of the man and the
greatness of the Church's loss.
For fourteen years he has done, practically, the
whole work of the diocese. No diocesan ever had a
more affectionate, faithful, and loyal Coadjutor. No
diocese ever had a harder working or more unselfish
Bishop. His whole strength and his whole heart went
into his labor. Not of strong physique, and needing
always to care for himself, he never thought of him-
*The Minnesota QhurcJi Record, March, 1900.
272 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
self, except when his friends insisted that he should
take a vacation, or his family physician ordered him
to stop work and go to his bed.
And the beauty of all his intense activity was this :
it was not the labor of duty, but the labor of love. The
beauty of his self-sacrifice came from the fact that it
was not a deliberate or conscious denial of self, but an
utter forgetfulness of self. His love and labor for the
Master was so great to him, that it made self too small
to be considered. He was too absorbed in the glory
of God to sound his own praises, or to ask another to
sound them for him.
The Churchman of March 10 prints two notable
tributes to Bishop Gilbert. The first is from the Rev.
Harry P. Nichols, who had been rector of St. Mark's
Church in Minneapolis from 1892 to 1899. He said
in part :
Bishop Gilbert's distinctive characteristic was his
sturdy Christian manhood. This was manifest in
every relation; as friend, as pastor, as citizen, as
Bishop. He was dear to those who knew him because
he gave them his love freely, frankly. His presence
in the home, his companionship on journeys was a
joy; for he cared for his friends, he gave them his
best, he was interested and enthusiastic. . . .
Whether priest or bishop, he was always a citizen,
because he was first a man. He made education,
patriotism, public philanthropy, his intelligent concern,
and the community where he lived was proud of his
presence. We thought him the first citizen of St. Paul
when he passed on. ...
As a counsellor to his clergy and parishes, Bishop
Gilbert was generous, forbearing even when not in full
TEE END 273
sympathy, hopeful and encouraging even in the darkest
times; having tolerance for all methods where the
man's heart was serving; intolerant of nothing but
indifference and idleness. The little places loved his
coming, felt the warmth of his heart and the wisdom
of his head. The rectors of larger parishes welcomed
his strong words, his large outlook, his confidence in
the sure triumph of the right ; and it may be said that
his only weakness was his boundless optimism.
The Swedish work of our Church will ever regard
him as prophet and statesman. The General Conven-
tion knew him as a man of convictions and a man of
power, to be listened to with respect, to be differed
from with caution.
Bishop Gilbert will be the more honored the more
his spirit and his work are known. Bishops in the
Church of God, of his build, father, friend, man, are
the hope and the necessity of our American Church.
In the same number of the Churchman appeared an
open letter from Bishop Hare, with the heading, "The
Late Bishop Gilbert." Nothing could exceed the charm
of his expression or the height of his praise :
I have just read in the daily papers a telegraphic
announcement of the death of Bishop Gilbert, the
Coadjutor of Minnesota, and I must give immediately,
out of my wounded heart, some expression to my keen
sense of the Church's loss as well as my own.
Bishop Gilbert was as manly a man as I ever knew.
Something about him proclaimed him open as the day
and transparent as the light. His carriage was erect
and forceful, his heart happy, and his manner cheery,
though he knew that he had need to be always ready
[__ to parry the thrusts of an insidious disease. He was a
274 MAHLON NORRI8 GILBERT
vigorous thinker and endowed with the gift of convey-
ing his thoughts to others with directness and fervor.
Sound in the faith and devoted to the historic Church,
he yet was in sympathy with the independent thought
of the age in which he lived, and with the free spirit
of the people among whom he dwelt. Earnest in his
own purposes and confident of his own plans, he yet
never harbored evil feelings toward those who opposed
or thwarted him. Always throwing himself with self-
abandonment and with hopefulness and sympathy into
the work which was before him, he was a healthy breeze
in every committee, mission, and parish, to which he
went, and always left the atmosphere clearer and
sweeter. Unconscious of himself, never a self-seeker,
never parading his achievements and never inflated by
vanity, he has done a noble work, of which the general
Church has never known, but which the diocese of
Minnesota knows and will never forget.
My nearest neighbor in the Episcopate, my trusted
counsellor, one of my dearest friends shall I ever
find his like again? WILLIAM H. HARE.
Philadelphia, March 4, 1900.
Bishop Morrison of Duluth, who would naturally
have come to the funeral of Bishop Gilbert, was at that
time in the East. In his address to the Convocation of
Duluth in June, lie spoke of Bishop Gilbert with affec-
tion and praise :
His rare unselfishness, his absolute devotion to duty,
his cheery optimism, and his strong gift of leadership,
had drawn him very close to his brethren wherever he
was known, and had enabled him to do good and effec-
tive service in every department of Church activity.
remarkable tributes of Bishop Potter and
TEE END 275
Bishop Tuttle were given in the introduction to this
volume. Few men have received eulogy, so high and so
sincere. Bishop Doane of Albany, in the Appendix to
the Bishop's Address, as printed in the diocesan Jour-
nal of 1900, also pays to Bishop Gilbert a remarkable
There are more reasons than usual why the Diocese
should make note of the death of the Bishop Coadjutor
of Minnesota. Bishop Gilbert came from that same
staunch parish of Zion Church, Morris, from which
Tuttle and Kulison went to the Episcopate; and he
was even more "of us," than they were, because his
family were Morris Church people, and his first draw-
ing to the ministry, and his first training for it, came
to him there through the influence of the beloved
Bishop and Mrs. Tuttle. There is no need to tell
here the story of his life. Dead at fifty-two, he has
given fourteen years of truly apostolic and missionary
work in the Diocese of Minnesota, and won for himself
a high place of honor and a deep place of affection
among his brethren and in the Church at large. Alert
and eager, alive with the cheerfulness of hope, burning
with zeal, a ready and effective speaker, strong and
clear in his convictions and his utterance, he had a
marked influence in the House of Bishops, and stirred
the Church, whenever he spoke upon matters concern-
ing our missionary work. Above all, he was a devoted
and untiring laborer in the field where God put him;
instant and incessant in visitations, consecrated alike
in service and in character to fold and feed and tend
the flock committed to his charge. Surely the zeal of
God's house consumed him, and he has gone early to
his rest, because he had crowded into the brief space
276 MAHLON VORRI8 GILBERT
of his ministry the full service of a longer life. May
the Lord grant unto him that only "long life, even
for ever and ever." W. 0. D.
Bishop Edsall, of North Dakota, in his annual ad-
dress thus commemorates the one whom he was to suc-
ceed in office :
The death of no man in our Ohurch could have pro-
duced a more widespread feeling of personal sorrow
than did that of Bishop Gilbert. He exactly fulfilled
my ideal of a Western Bishop, and leaves to us, who
live after him, the inspiration of an example which
we may strive to follow.
The Church Standard of Philadelphia says :
Bishop Gilbert was a man of simplicity and godly
sincerity, full of the spirit of the highest manliness,
and with great personal charm. Strong in brain and
pure in heart, he was indeed a workman who needed
not to be ashamed. The Church's loss is great, and
will be felt not only in the diocese to which he gave
his "last full measure of devotion," but in our Eastern
cities also, where he was widely known and most highly
An editorial in the Spirit of Missions for March,
1900, is headed "A Lost Leader," and says that in the
death of Bishop Gilbert "the Church on earth has lost
one of her most devoted missionaries." The article
Bishop Gilbert was a missionary to the manner born.
Although he carried his full share of the detail involved
in the administration of a Diocese so large as Minne-
sota, he made time and opportunity for a vast amount
TEE END 277
of genuine missionary work. He was a familiar and
welcome visitor to the many new communities in the
state. . . . He planned to spend a part of each year
among the Ojibway Indians in northern Minnesota.
He entered heartily into the life of the woods and the
plains. In the best sense, he was one with those whose
welfare he sought, sharing their rude comforts, leading
them on and up to better things, teaching them to be
men. He loved to be with them, and to share with
them his own unwavering faith in the love of God and
His purpose for all men. The Ojibways recognized
this, and were his devoted followers. He was indeed
their Bishop, because he was their father, adviser, and
leader. When the setting off of the District of Duluth
removed the Ojibways from his care, he continued to
be a regular visitor to the Indian mission at Birch
Coulee, and other stations within the Diocese of Minne-
sota. He seemed to be very conscious of the inherent
manhood of his Indian friends. He would often ex-
claim to some fellow-worker, "Now just look at ,
what a fine old gentleman he is !"
Bishop Gilbert was more than a missionary. He
was a leader of men. If responsibility was to be borne,
he shouldered it. If work was to be done, he met it
more than half way. If a choice were offered between
a difficult and an easy task, he allowed some one else
to have the lighter burden. If one asked his counsel,
he never asked in vain. If directions were to be given,
they were given positively, yet tenderly. Virility,
humaneness, hopefulness, charity, these were some of
the characteristics that caused the Bishop to be loved
and followed. And all were fused together by a true
reverence for God and for his fellow-men.
Of other printed tributes mention can be made of
278 MAHLON NORR1S GILBERT
only a few. The diocesan magazine, the Church Record,
devoted most of the March number and much of that
of April to letters of appreciation and sympathy, and
to formal resolutions from many sources. The Diocesan
Journal of the Council, held in June at Christ Church,
contains fitting memorials. The Gourant, a Minnesota
magazine, gave the first pages of the issue of March 15
to an affectionate appreciation. The Philadelphia
Saturday Evening Post (p. 1216), under the heading,
"A Hero of the Northwest," told several of his startling
adventures on the frontier. The reminiscences pub-
lished in the Shield of Theta Delta Chi for June, 1900,
have been cited already in the chapter on the Bishop's
life at Hobart College.
On the Sunday following the Bishop's death, in
every parish there was some commemoration of the
departed Bishop, and in many churches, special me-
morial services were held. At Christ Church, there
was a large congregation mourning the loss of Bishop,
rector, and friend. Rev. Mr. Andrew's sermon was a
pathetic tribute which touched every heart. At St.
Ansgarius' Swedish Episcopal Church, in Minneapolis,
there was a notable commemoration. The rector, Rev.
O. A. Toffteen, was assisted by the Rev. William Wilk-
inson, who had been with the Bishop in Itfew York City,
only a fortnight before, and who spoke with his usual
earnestness of the Bishop's "princely" nature, and lov-
ing heart. On the same day, in the evening, at St.
Paul's Church, Duluth, there was a special service of
THE END 279
memorial, at which the rector, the Rev. Dr. Ryan,
spoke from his intimate knowledge of the Bishop's
faith, and wisdom, and love.
The memorial service at Faribault is thus described
by the Very Reverend Charles Lewis Slattery, Dean of
the Cathedral, in a pamphlet containing the memorial
The first Sunday morning in Lent, a service in
memory of Bishop Gilbert was held in the Cathedral
of Our Merciful Saviour. There were present in the
chancel, beside the Dean of the Cathedral, the Rev.
Doctors Dobbin, Tanner, and Wilson; and the Rev.
Messrs. Peake and Budlong.
After the processional hymn, "For all the saints
who from their labors rest," the Rev. Dr. Wilson, . . .
offered the prayers for the afflicted family and the
Diocese, and the Thanksgiving for the faithful de-
parted. The hymn, "O God, our Help in ages past,"
was then sung; and the Dean proceeded to the service
of the Holy Communion. . . . The sermon was from
the text, "All ye that are about him, bemoan him;
and all ye that know his name, say, How is the strong
staff broken, and the beautiful rod?" (Jeremiah
One sentence from the Dean's sermon may be
quoted: "Itfo soldier ever gave his life for his country
more truly than this man gave his life for us."
On the same Sunday morning, at the First Methodist
Church, in St. Paul, the Presiding Elder paid a high
tribute to Bishop Gilbert as one who had left the world
richer for the services he had rendered.
280 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
On Friday evening, March 16, Gethsemane Church,
Minneapolis, was filled by a large congregation drawn
from many parishes. The rector, the Rev. Dr. Faude,
presided, the order of service being that for All Saints'
Day. The rector of St. Paul's Church, the Rev. Dr.
Frederick T. Webb, who for eleven years was rector at
Helena, Montana, told of the place which Mr. Gilbert
held in the hearts of the people of the mountains. The
rector of Holy Trinity Church, the Rev. Stuart B.
Purves, formerly a parishioner of Mr. Gilbert at Christ
Church, spoke of his influence on young men; and the
Rev. William Wilkinson related many remarkable in-
cidents of Dr. Gilbert's episcopate, completing the
portrait of the man so greatly loved.
Most notable of all commemorations was that held
at the People's Church in St. Paul. This service,
planned, and largely carried out, by those outside the
Episcopal Church, showed, as nothing else could, the
universal esteem for Bishop Gilbert. The printed pro-
gramme bears this wording : "Public Meeting in loving
memory of the late Rt. Rev. Mahlon N. Gilbert, D.D.,
LL.D., Bishop Coadjutor of Minnesota. People's
Church. Saint Paul. Tuesday evening, March 20,
His excellency, the Hon. John Lind, Governor of
Minnesota, presided, and with him on the platform
were many of the most eminent men of the State.
Among them were: Ex-Governor Alexander Ramsey;
Ex-Governor Yale; the Hon. A. R. Kiefer, Mayor of
St. Paul; Major General James E. Wade, U. S. A.;
the Hon. Charles E. Elandrau; the Hon. Edwin A.
Jaggard, Judge of the District Court; the Hon. E,. R.
Kelson; Mr. A. J. Lindeke, president of the Chamber
of Commerce; Rabbi Isaac L. Rypins; Rev. Eather
Ambrose MclSTulty; the pastors of many prominent
churches; representatives of educational boards, patri-
otic and fraternal and literary societies a remarkable
Music was rendered by the vested choir of St. Paul's
Church, the hymns being :
"From all the saints in warfare, for all Thy
saints at rest."
"Asleep in Jesus! blessed sleep."
"Jerusalem, the golden."
The presiding officer, Governor Lind, spoke briefly
of Bishop Gilbert's worth and the appropriateness of
the service. Prayer was offered by the rector of the
Church of St. John the Evangelist, the Eev. Dr. Dudley
W. Ehodes. The first address had been assigned to the
noted Roman Catholic prelate, the Most Reverend John
Ireland, Archbishop of St. Paul. Being unable to be
present, his Grace had carefully written his address,
and in some respects it thus gained in force, since it was
evidently not the hasty expression of a sudden enthusi-
asm, but a deliberate and thoughtful tribute. It was
read for him by one of his honored priests, the Rev.
I am honored in being permitted to unite with my
282 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
fellow citizens in paying to the memory of the late
Rt. Rev. Mahlon N. Gilbert the tribute of esteem and
endearment which is so justly due to his personal
virtues, and his intelligent and energetic labors for the
public weal. ...
Bishop Gilbert will not obtain this evening praise
above his deserts, for these are of no mean degree. By
nature quiet and unobtrusive, he was not one to thrust
himself upon the gaze of the world, and in such simple
and unostentatious manner did he perform the work
allotted to him that public applause was not his cus-
tomary reward. But goodness does not demand, I
am sure, as its daily accompaniment, noise and clatter ;
it is the greater when its seeming obscurity does not
discourage it ; and, when only by virtue of its fragrance
it wins to itself attention and regard, its strength and
its power are made the more manifest.
Bishop Gilbert was at work some time in our city
and state, as rector of a parish, and as an Assistant
Bishop of the Episcopal Church, before much was
known of him beyond the limited circle to whom his
ecclesiastical ministrations were addressed; but during
that time such was his manner of life, and such his
labors, that he laid deep and broad the foundation for
that general esteem which was at a later day awarded
to him. . . .
A representative and leader of a Church that gath-
ers within its fold only a part of the community has
no small effort to make in gaining such general esteem
as has come to Bishop Gilbert. He is of course bound
by every tie of duty and of loyalty to champion the
principles and subserve the interests of his special con-
stituency; and such limitations tend, unless the man
be truly strong-hearted and large-minded, to bring into
TEE END 283
a narrow channel the outpour of his soul, and to re-
duce his fitness and power for the sympathy and the
work that would place him amid a broader humanity,
and enable him through his services to this broader
humanity to merit and obtain its respect and esteem.
Members of the Episcopal Church better than others
can tell how zealously and successfully Bishop Gilbert
labored for the interests of that Church. Their ver-
dict is given in the deep and sincere sorrow of their
hearts at his departure from earth. In my own jour-
neys through the state I have had frequent opportuni-
ties to observe the untiring earnestness, the utter for-
getfulness of self, the intelligent zeal which marked his
career as Assistant Bishop.
In addition to such zeal, Bishop Gilbert brought
to his ministerial work an irreproachable manner of
life, a suave temper, a well-stored mind, a facile and
graceful diction. No wonder that his people were fond
and proud of him; no wonder that they pray that none
inferior to him may take his place. The Episcopal
Church in Minnesota has been blest in its leadership;
a Whipple and a Gilbert are names it may well love
In his relations with men outside his Church he
was most amiable, most respectful toward the indi-
vidual conscience; ever ready to join with others in
works of charity, of patriotism, of social reform, or
of aught that might uplift humanity, reduce its sor-
rows, or add to its joys. As became a ruler in a
Church which points with some pride to its prudent
stoppings and its conservative love of traditions, he
guarded against the shadow of rashness; he never
rushed into novelties or experiments, but his move-
284 MAHL01? NORRIS GILBERT
ments were but the surer, and his cooperation, when
given, the more effective.
Bishop Gilbert and I were no strangers to each
other; we met, conversed together, agreed, disagreed,
united on some points, separated on others always
with kindliest feelings for each other, always with best
wishes for each other's happiness. This should surprise
no one. There may be some who wonder that a Bishop
of the Catholic Church and a Bishop of the Episcopal
Church should speak of each other, as Bishop Gilbert,
on a recent public occasion, spoke of me, and as I this
evening speak of him. But why should some wonder
at this? We did differ as to the requisites of Christ's
Gospel; but we respected the conscience one of the
other; and each one rejoiced that the other invoked
Christ and appealed to Christ's Gospel.
For my part, my position as a Catholic Bishop is
too well known to be doubted; I hold with all the
strength of my soul to every doctrine and every pre-
cept which I believe to be needed to make up the pleni-
tude of Christ's religion; never do I allow myself by
word or act to be understood as detracting one iota
from that plenitude. But unfaithful should I be to
what as a Catholic I believe, were I not to respect in
my friend and neighbor a sincere conscience, and were
I not glad that others, while setting aside stones that
I hold to be necessary in the walls of the temple, adore
with me the Jehovah of Sinai and the Christ of Olivet,
and looking upward to the skies would fain impel
thither our poor humanity, and would thus save it
from the fatal billows of materialism and sensuality,
which, in their fury, are threatening to engulf it.
Scarcely three months ago, at a gathering of citizens
in St. Paul, Bishop Gilbert addressed to me words of
THE END 285
friendship and of hopefulness, the music of which will
soothe my soul as I journey toward the goal which he
has already reached. Would that, when the oppor-
tunity is given to me to speak of him, he stood before
me full of life's strength and promise! He has gone
from us, so has the Eternal Father decreed. His
spirit, I trust, heareth me.
The next address was by the Rev. 0. M. Andrews,
who succeeded Dr. Gilbert at Christ Church, and spoke
from his own observation of his work as a parish
priest and as Bishop. He emphasized the Bishop's
kindliness, his energy, and his broad tolerance. After
this affectionate, personal tribute, the choir sang the
anthem : "Who are these that are arrayed in white robes,
and whence came they ?" The Hon. Walter H. Sanborn,
Judge of the United States Circuit Court, then delivered
an oration, touching and eloquent, as follows :
The world seems smaller and the heavens wider. A
good and great man has gone, a scholar whose wisdom
passed the learning of the schools, a teacher whose life
taught more and better than any precepts, a logician
whose candor and affection convinced more than the
demonstrations of any logic, a philanthropist whose
sympathy for the distraught and disconsolate, the love
of woman did not excel, a Christian whose cogent rea-
sons for the faith that was in him persuaded the faith-
less and comforted the believer, a Mason whose love and
hope for his fellows knew no creed or sect or class, a
citizen whose devotion to the exacting duties of pre-
serving and supporting good government in city, state,
and nation, raised him to the ideal stature of a patriot
and a man.
286 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
His mind was stored with history, science, litera-
ture; but it was not in the knowledge of these, but in
his personal experience and unerring perception of the
motives, passions, and emotions which stir the heart
of our common humanity, that his marvellous power
of attraction and persuasion lay. He rested in unfal-
tering faith on the "Thus saith the Lord" of the holy
writings, but he never scorned to give the reasons for
his belief and no man could marshall the evidences of
Christianity to a more perfect demonstration or present
them with more fervent or convincing zeal. And yet
it was not so much the logical clearness of his proofs
and the persuasive eloquence of his arguments, as it
was the evident candor of his belief in them, that
silenced the cavils of the doubting, arrested and per-
suaded the thoughtless, and inspired the untiring de-
votion of the faithful, until none heard him but to
Bishop Gilbert was an orator. No one ever doubted
that who heard him on life, redemption, judgment,
immortality, or any of the great themes which were
the familiar subjects of his constant contemplation.
He had the inspiring thought, the clearness of state-
ment, the striking antithesis, the apt illustration, the
rounded sentence, the perfect elocution, that conduce
to forceful speech. But his speech was far more than
the eloquence of thought, action, and rounded sen-
tence. It was the eloquence of the man, of the brother,
of love and hope for all mankind, which warmed his
whole being, shone forth in his daily life, and carried
his words glowing with affection to the hearts of his
How his presence calmed passion, soothed suffering,
cheered and strengthened to endure the trials and bear
THE END 287
the burdens of life! How his soothing words bore
peace and comfort to the sick and despairing, rest and
hope to the eyes that were used to weep! How his
speech taught love of God, love of man, self-sacrifice,
and nobler living! How his daily life illumined the
city, the state, the nation, and incited us all to an
existence here in which our necessary daily avocations
shall be the means to loftier ends rather than the
end of means!
What a lesson and a rebuke was this life to that
dolorous pessimism which bemoans the intellectual and
spiritual decadence of our race. Men of greater intel-
lect have thought, reasoned, and become silent, Plato,
Bacon, Shakespeare. Men of mightier action have
swayed the course of events on broader fields, Caesar,
Napoleon, William the Silent. Men of equal devotion
have testified to the truth, Socrates, Latimer, Oampian.
But where in all the story of the centuries has there
lived a more complete and manly man? Where one
whose life you would rather have lived to-night?
Possessed of an ingenious and powerful mind, he
devoted all its energies to the consolation and inspira-
tion of mankind. Familiar with the learning of thq
ages he poured it forth to inform and instruct his fel-
lows. Eirm in his belief in the creed of his Church
and instant and effective in its defense, he was char-
itable, kindly, and persuasive to all who failed to as-
sent. Burdened with the cares of his office and the re-
sponsibility . of his Church, he never wanted time to
advocate any cause which, as he often said, "made for
Was a foolish or degrading municipal policy sug-
gested? He was against it with thought and act and
speech. Was the cause of education in peril? His
288 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
trenchant pen and fiery tongue leaped to its defense.
Were the foundations of civil government assailed by
conspiracy, sedition, or violence? He was for law and
order, for justice and liberty. Was the proposition
broached to withdraw the flag and abandon the islands
of the sea to anarchy and international strife ? All the
generous enthusiasm and patriotism of his fervent
nature were on fire to uphold the flag and to teach
under its folds the gospel of a Christian and an Ameri-
can civilization to the waiting denizens of the Orient.
Yonder memorial window beneath the portrait of a
seer of the nineteenth century bears this inscription.
"Erom those whom this man has helped." No man ever
heard the voice, saw the eye, felt the hand, or enjoyed
the genial presence of Bishop Gilbert without help. If
he was not inspired like holy men of old, certain it is
that his work and his life are an inspiration, and
through the thoughts, acts, and lives of those who knew
him here and of those who follow them, the sweet and
gentle influence of his genial form, the cheering glance
of his kindly eye, the soothing accents of his winning
voice, and the cogent pleadings of his persuasive elo-
quence shall not fail to comfort, to cheer, to teach
higher aims and better living, and to beckon us on
to that immortal life of peace and happiness, to which
he sought to lead us, until men and memory shall be
Of the speech of the pastor of the People's Church,
the Rev. Dr. Samuel G. Smith, only an abstract is now
available. He said that Bishop Gilbert had a mind
which instantly grasped situations which his fellows
did not comprehend without x;areful study. He had ex-
ceptional ability in reading the human heart, and hence
THE END 289
exceptional ability to help others. He pronounced him
a man of the broadest sympathies, and of largest toler-
ance, a man with the love of God ever in his heart. He
spoke feelingly of his devotion to his fellowmen and his
untiring efforts to turn the erring into the way of life.
In his death the church lost one of her best servants, a
true exponent of the best in modern religious life.
The benediction was pronounced by the Rev. Dr.
Maurice D. Edwards, pastor of the Dayton Avenue
Presbyterian Church. The ushers at this service were
from the patriotic societies to which Bishop Gilbert
belonged; the congregation, which filled the great
church, was estimated at two thousand. There was a
notable reverence in the great gathering, and the impres-
sion made upon all was one never to be forgotten.
With a short poem written by the Bishop's close
friend, the Rev. Dr. Charles A. Poole, the chapter may
He sleeps. His work is finished and well done.
The glory of his life it was to make
The service of the Master, for himself,
And for His friends, an offering of love.
Sincere, devout, a loyal friend and true,
A spirit bathed in sunshine, joyous, full
Of hope, he breathed the inspiration of
His radiant soul into the souls of men,
And bade them rise to greater deeds of faith.
Official rank no false distinction marked
'Twixt him and other men, nor served to keep
From him the sorrows or the joys that fill
290 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
The common cup. For very love of Christ
He magnified his office as God gave.
Let us not weep for him. His guerdon's won.
Nay, rather, may we hope to share his crown]
He cannot die. In loving hearts enshrined,
The memory of his name is fixed secure.
On lips of prayer a Eucharist will rise
For such example as he gave of faith
And hope and charity.
The eager work of Church and school and life
Will be more bravely done his influence felt,
Inspiring, cheering, and uplifting all.
Twelve years, long or short as one views them, have
passed since the great sorrow of Bishop Gilbert's death.
As those who loved him look back, there are a few
things to record, and some hopes not yet realized.
Mrs. Gilbert never rallied from the shock of her
great bereavement, and only a hundred days after her
husband's death she quietly passed away. Kind friends
and near relatives from the East were with her during
her illness, and assured her that the two daughters
should never lack home or friends. With this assurance,
she waited for the end without complaint, in peace.
She died on Trinity Sunday, June 10, 1900, and was
buried beside her husband in Oakland Cemetery. A
year later on their grave there was erected a stately
Celtic Cross, the gift of the Sunday school children of
the Diocese of Minnesota. It was unveiled on Monday,
July 14, 1901, by Frances and Lucy .Gilbert, daughters
of the late Bishop, the service being conducted by the
Rev. Dr. Andrews and the Eev. Ernest Dray. The
cross is of gray granite and bears a pastoral staff raised
292 MAELOHf WORRIS GILBERT
upon the face of the stone. This text of scripture is
graven on it : "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it ;
but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the
gospel's, the same shall save it."
Other memorials to Bishop Gilbert have been dedi-
cated in many churches. Probably the first was a hand-
some brass tablet which was placed on the chancel wall
of Ascension Church, Stillwater, on Thursday, April
26, 1900. It bears this inscription : "In blessed memory
of Rt. Rev. Mahlon ISTorris Gilbert, D.D., LL.D., Bishop
Coadjutor of Minnesota. Given by Ascension Church
Parish as a token of love for the life and service of
this man of God."
In St. Clement's Church, St. Paul, a brass eagle
lectern was dedicated on September 3d, 1901. An ad-
dress of great beauty was made by the Rev. Dr. George
H. Davis, rector of St. John's Church, Mankato. He
said in part :
Bishop Gilbert exemplified the teachings of the
Master, and followed in His footsteps by living from
first to last a life of consecration and service. . . . The
spirit shown in our Lord's life, when He emptied Him-
self of all His glory and became man for the bestowal
of life upon fallen man, he endeavored to make the
spirit of his own life, and he succeeded in a degree
which it is given to but few to attain. He had learned
the secret of every life that shall endure that higher
life comes through the surrender of the lower and
selfish life that the twofold life of sacrifice and labor
is the only reality, the life eternal. Untiringly, unre-
THE CELTIC CROSS
At the Grave of Bishop Gilbert
servedly, and unselfishly, he gave himself to the work
to which God had called him; he offered unto God the
most excellent sacrifice which it is in the power of
any man to offer, even the sacrifice of himself, and by
it, he though dead, shall yet speak to generations which
are yet to come.
In Christ Church, St. Paul, a brass rood screen
was erected in 1903, as a fitting memorial, and was dedi-
cated on Friday, March 6, by Bishop Edsall. The
sermon was preached by the rector of the parish, the
Rev. Dr. Andrews.
Largest and most costly of all material memorials
is Gilbert Hall in Faribault, forming an addition to the
Cathedral Guild House. On the walls are the famous
Delia Robbia "Singing and Dancing Children," and
above them, forming an almost continuous frieze, a
series of fine photographs of Abbey's "Holy Grail."
The latter is the gift of Frances and Lucy Gilbert, the
Bishop's daughters, and others, "members of the school,
of the faculty, and of the Board of Trustees of St.
Mary's Hall." In the windows are set the coats of
arms of various colleges, with which Cathedral officers
have been connected. The entire room is remarkable for
its taste and beauty, and is a noble memorial to Bishop
Gilbert. It was constructed during Dean Slattery's
term of office, largely through his efforts, and under his
oversight. It was opened on Founders' Day, September
On All Saints' Day of the same year, in the Church
294 HARLOTS NORRIS GILBERT
of St. John the Evangelist in St. Paul, Bishop Edsall
preached a sermon in memory of Bishop Gilbert, and
blessed a fine carved Bishop's chair, with screen, sedilia,
and rector's stall.
Among memorials elsewhere in the diocese are: a
handsome, carved lectern at Luverne ; a large pulpit, of
wood and brass, in Holy Trinity, Minneapolis ; a marble
font at Windom ; a handsome pulpit at Winona ; and, in
several churches, stained windows, chancel furnishings,
and other gifts of high value and beauty. In several
parishes there are guilds or other organizations bearing
the Bishop's name.
At the University of Minnesota there has been for
several years the "Bishop Gilbert Society" for young
men. In 1907, the Rev. Stanley Kilbourne was made
Chaplain for Church students, and soon after a large
house was secured as headquarters for a larger work.
Officially this building is known as "The University
House of the Episcopal Church," but it is often called
the "Bishop Gilbert House." It is the center of an
excellent and growing work.
But of the two great memorials which were planned
immediately after Bishop Gilbert's death, one was never
undertaken, and the other has made, as yet, slow pro-
gress. The first suggestion was that a Memorial Hall,
to cost sixty or seventy thousand dollars, should be
erected in St. Paul, as a place of recreation for the
toilers of the city, with a large gymnasium, library, read-
ing rooms, and other conveniences and attractions. So
far as known, this project for a People's Palace went
no farther than suggestion. It would have been a me-
morial of great possible utility and merit, and some day
some generous citizen may yet put the dream into
The second suggestion was from the clergy of the
diocese, and had as its end the raising of a large sum of
money, $30,000, to be known as the Bishop Gilbert Me-
morial Fund, "the income to be used as a general susten-
tation fund for Seabury Divinity School." This also
is a most worthy and appropriate object. Seabury was
always very close to Bishop Gilbert's heart. In an
historical paper read at the Semi-Oentennial of the
Diocese of Minnesota, June, 1900, the Rev. Professor
Poole made the following statement :
Bishop Gilbert loved Seabury as his own Alma
Mater; he believed in its work and its graduates, and
he gave much of his time and his thoughts to the inter-
ests of the school, with the feeling that upon its pros-
perity and efficiency depended largely the possibility
of maintaining the work of the Diocese which fell
more directly to the Bishop to provide for. Those of
us who listened to his last two addresses to this Coun-
cil will doubtless recall the beseeching tone in which
he appealed to the clergy and laymen of the Diocese to
stay up the hands of the Bishop in maintaining, under
a temporary stress, the efficiency of Seabury and then
the tone of sad disappointment with which he called
attention to the fact that the appeal had been so largely
ignored or refused.
There was loud lamentation at his sudden death;
296 MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
great display of emotion and sentiment at his funeral ;
high encomiums pronounced at his memorial; and all
these expressive of genuine grief and sincere apprecia-
tion. But no money for the cause he had most at
If I were to tell you the secret of his death, it would
not be overwork to which I would assign it in the first
instance; for if he had had robust health he could not
have endured more than he did, and he delighted in
and throve with activity. But it was the depression
which comes to mind and heart. . . . from the feeling
that his dearest hopes were unrealized, and his appeal
awoke no sympathetic response in those to whom he
looked for help and sympathy. What other feeling
could have wrung from this strong, radiant spirit the
cry, most pathetic in its intense earnestness : "If Sea-
bury Divinity School is obliged through lack of means
to close its doors to young men seeking the necessary
education for the work of the ministry, I shall resign
my Episcopate." 1
At the time Dr. Poole made this statement, which
was in itself an earnest plea, the Memorial Fund had
reached the sum of four thousand dollars, and it has
since slowly grown to six thousand. The reasons for
this partial failure are probably several. Many parishes
spent so much in local memorials that it was difficult
to interest them in the general fund ; the committee hav-
ing the work in charge was so large (over forty in
number), that concerted action was difficult. Whatever
the reason or reasons, it is not true that the men of Min-
1 The Minnesota Church Record, March, 1901, p. 73.
nesota did not care deep in their hearts for Bishop Gil-
bert. It is not true that they have forgotten him. Let
one visit any parish in the Diocese, and converse with
anyone old enough to remember Bishop Gilbert and he
will find that to thousands the memory of his face, his
voice, his kindness, his inspiring presence, is one of
their most treasured spiritual possessions.
And so it will surely be that in years yet to come
there will be gifts worthy in larger measure of him
whom they commemorate ; gifts of money for the Bishop
Gilbert House at the University, which still needs help ;
gifts to make up the $30,000 first planned for Seabury,
or the $50,000 now thought necessary ; gifts also of men
as well as of money ; gifts of thought, and devotion, and
sympathy, and Christian love, such as made beautiful
the life of that "man sent from God."
In Bishop Gilbert's life there was "the glory of the
imperfect." He was entering with buoyant spirit on
larger opportunities, when the end came. The work
he was so well fitted to do was left imperfect, incom-
plete. Not yet from the hearts of those who loved him
has passed the keen sense of loss. Yet his fitting monu-
ment is not a broken column to speak of work undone,
or hopes unrealized. Hightly beside his grave there
stands the Christian cross, bearing witness to a life
made glorious by Faith, and Hope, and Love, and giv-
ing promise of Life Everlasting through Jesus Christ
ANDREWS, REV. C. D., 208-214,
218, 2G3f, 278, 285, 291, 293.
APPLEBY, ARCHDEACON, 122, 163,
194, 203, 216.
BABKEB, BISHOP, 202/, 249.
BAXTEB, HECTOR, 188, 213.
BEND, GBN. W. B., 98/.
BILL, REV. E. C., 60.
BLACKISTON, REV. S. C., 80/.
BLIZZARDS, 82/, 123, 125/.
BEANT, JOSEPH, 12.
BRECK, REV. J. L., 56^ 90, 131.
BREWER, BISHOP, 86, 239.
BROWN, MRS. GILBERT'S ANCES-
BURDETT-COUTTS, BARONESS, 224.
BUTLER, REV. A. A., 271.
BUTTERNUTS VALLEY, 2, ll/,
CAMP, REV. C. C., 235, 259.
CANTERBURY, VISITS TO, 179, 220.
CARPENTER, B. E., 29/, 46.
CATHCART, MR. AND MRS. A. H.,
CHASB, REV. G. L., 59, 65.
CHESHIRE, BISHOP J. B., 228jf.
CHURCH CONGRESS AT BIRMING-
COLONIAL WARS, SOCIETY OF, 17,
108, 206, 270.
DAVIS, REV. G. H., 61, 292/.
DEER LODGE, MONTANA, 67-75.
DOANE, BISHOP W. C., 275/.
DOBBIN, REV. JAMES, 266, 279.
DRAY. REV. E., 197, 218/, 226,
EDDY, COL. G. O., 207.
EDSALL, BISHOP S. C., 8, 203,
241/, 257/, 267, 276, 293.
ENMEGAHBOWH, 131, 135.
EPIPHANY PARTY, 103/.
FAIRFIELD ACADEMY, 35ff, 40.
PARIBAULT, 56, 63/.
The Cathedral, 65, 192/, 195,
262, 279, 293.
FAUDE, REV. J. J., 208, 280.
POOTE, REV. G. L., 30/f.
FOREST FIRES OF 1894, 198-202.
FRONTIER LIFE, 48-54, 68-83.
GEAR, REV. E. G., 40, 89/.
GENERAL CONVENTIONS, 4, 105,
148/, 164, 195/, 240/, 273.
GILBERT, ELIJAH (grandfather),
GILBERT, Lois WARD (grandmoth-
MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
GILBERT, NOERIS (father), 21/f,
GILBERT, LUCY TODD (mother),
217f, 65, 151/.
GILBERT, FREDERICK (brother), 21,
24;, 27/f, 152, 233.
GILBERT, MAHLON NORRIS, Ances-
School Life, 27-33.
Fairfield Academy, 35ff.
Hobart College, 38-47.
Failure of health, 1, 46.
Seabury Divinity School, 55-65.
Ordination, 65, 69.
Deer Lodge, 3, 54, 67-75.
Christ Church, St. Paul, 3, 88-
Diocesan activity, 97/, 105/.
Election to episcopate, 110-115.
Honorary Degrees, 47, 115.
Consecration, 117-120 ;
Episcopal routine, 121-129.
Indian Missions, 130-141, 276/.
Gift of a home, 142/f.
Home life, 144-152.
Episcopal ring, 150.
Death of father and mother,
Serious illness of 1893, 168f.
First visit to Europe, 168-184.
Diocesan progress, 185/f.
Title changed to Coadjutor, 196.
Division of Diocese, 195/f.
Organizes District of Duluth,
St. Clement's Church, 196/.
Forest Fires, 198ff.
Assists in consecrating nine
Church Unity Lectures, 203/.
Tenth Anniversary, 208-217.
Pectoral cross, 209.
Lambeth Conference, 218-226.
Startling adventure, 234.
"Flower Sermon," 242.
Sermon at People's Church,
Last visit to the East, 259/f.
Illness and death, 261/f.
Physical, 1, 29, 46, 61, 146,
Mental, 1, 28ff, 31, 62, 274, 286.
Spiritual, 2f, 31/, 45, 55, 64,
95, 264, 272/f, 292.
Power of leadership, 4, 45, 62,
79, 105, 127, 154/, 197/, 274ff,
Chivalry, 3, 8, 96.
Manliness, 2J, 273.
Unselfishness, 4, 7, 96, 185/,
212, 269, 292.
Loyalty to Bishop Whipple, 111,
114, 120, 123/, 130, 185/T,
214, 222, 267/.
His ideals in the episcopate,
115/, 153/T, 247-252.
His sense of. humor, 29, 148f,
His love of nature, 25, 218-226,
Capacity for friendship, 45, 64,
74/, 94/, 265, 272/T, 287/f.
Eloquence, 28/, 79, 87, 95, 108,
186, 207, 228, 265, 286/.
Churchmanship, 1, 92/, 101,
105/,, 158, 164, 181/, 204/,
214, 245/L 250f, 274.
GILBERT, FRANCES PIERPONT CAR-
VILL (wife), 84/f, 137, 144/,,
178, 254, 259/, 262/.
Her death, 291.
GILBERT, FRANCES AND LUCY
(daughters), 144/, 223, 291,
GILFILLAN, ARCHDEACON, 131,
GILFILLAN, JUDGE, 104, 142/,
GlLLOGLY, REV. J. L., 50ff.
GLASTONBUBY, Pilgrimage to, 225f.
GOLD, REV. W. J., 60.
GOODBICH, E. S., 139/f, 261.
GBAFTON, BISHOP, 203.
GRAVES, BISHOP, 202, 248/.
HALSEY, REV. LEWIS, 44/.
HABE, BISHOP, 249/f, 273/.
HAUPT, REV. C. E., 253.
HELENA, MONTANA, 75-87.
HOBABT COLLEGE, 38-47, 115, 164.
HOLBEACH, ABCHDEACON, 179.
INDIAN ATTACKS, 53/, 68, 73.
INDIAN MISSIONS, 126, 130-141,
ION A, VISIT TO, 172/f.
IBELAND, ABCHBISHOP, 207, 255f,
JAMESTOWN, PILGBIMAGE TO, 240/.
JEFFORDS, REV. S. G., 99.
KEDNEY, REV. J. S., 59/.
KBNNBWAY, SIB JOHN, 226/.
KNIGHT, BISHOP C. F., 203.
KNOWLTON, REV. W. H., 60/jf, 107.
LABOB OBGANIZATIONS, Interest in,
LAMBETH CONFEBENCE OP 1897,
LAMBETH PALACE, Visit at, 224.
LAUBENS, N. Y., 21, 25.
LIGHTNEB, W. H., 94/f, 147/, 157.
LINCOLN, ABBAHAM, His private
railway car, 51.
Lincoln's Birthday address, 207.
LIND, Gov. JOHN, 280/.
LOYAL LEGION, 207.
MACHBAT, BISHOP, of Rupert's
MACLAGAN, ABCHBISHOP OF YOBK,
Visit with, 175/.
McKiNSTKT, GBACE, paints por-
trait of Bishop Gilbert, 145/.
McMASTEBS, REV. S. Y., 60, 90/.
McMASTEBS, MB. AND MRS. S. R.,
150, 259, 261#.
MANN, BISHOP CAMEBON, 41, 46/.
MANNEY, REV. SOLON W., 57.
MANSION HOUSE, London, Ban-
MASONIC FBATEBNITY, 65f, 77,
206, 254, 266, 270.
MEIGS, Ancestry, 17/f.
MILLSPAUGH, BISHOP F. R., 60,
147, 186, 263, 267.
MINNEAPOLIS, Gethsemane Church,
111, 208, 280.
St. Ansgarius, 278.
MINNESOTA CHUBCH CLUB, 187f,
MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY,
MISSIONARY SPIRIT OF BISHOP
GILBEBT, 68ff, 75f, 97f, 130ff,
154^ 163/, 239^ 265, 276/.
MOBBIS, N. Y., 1, 12/, 27ff, 65, 85.
Last visit to, 152.
MOBRISON, BISHOP J. D., 141,
196, 203, 218, 274.
MUELLER, REV. G. H., 8, 268/.
NASH, REV. DANIEL, 13.
NATURE, LOVE OF, 25, 231-236,
NELSON, HON. R. R., 150, 281
NEWBOLT, CANON, 178/.
NEW LISBON, N. Y., 21, 27.
NICHOLS, REV. H. P., 189, 272/.
PATRIOTIC SPIRIT OF BISHOP GIL-
BERT, 30, 36/, 108, 197/, 207,
MAHLON NORRIS GILBERT
PEOPLE'S CHURCH, ST. PAUL, 245,
POOLB, REV. C. A., 61, 85, 107,
/, 263, 289/, 295/.
POPE, REV. W. C., 91.
POTTER, BISHOP HORATIO, 31, 33.
POTTER, BISHOP H. C., 8, 119,
139, 197, 255.
PURVES, REV. S. B., 157/, 226,
REEVE, BISHOP W. D., 203.
RICHEY, REV. THOMAS, 59.
RYAN, REV. A. W., 218, 278/.
ST. ANDREW, Brotherhood of, 164/,
205/ 5 .
ST. MARY'S HALL, FAHIBATJLT, 63,
85, 116^ 144, 158-162, 259,
ST. PAUL, Christ Church, 86, 89-
109, 122, 238, 266, 278, 293.
Good Shepherd, 91.
St. Clement's, 196jf, 292/.
St. John the Evangelist, 170,
St. Mary's, 98.
St. Paul's, 91.
SANBORN, JUDGE W. H., Tribute to
Bishop Gilbert, 285-288.
SEABUBY DIVINITY SCHOOL, 56-65,
97, 115, 256, 259/, 295ff.
SERMONS AND ADDRESSES, Wor-
The Love of God, 92.
"Steadfastness in the Faith,"
The Christian Ministry, 157/.
"The Call of Life," 158-162.
"The Church in America," 180-
Forest Fires, 200f.
Church Unity, 204/.
"Flower Sermon," 242-245.
"The Open Door," 248.
"The Episcopate and the
Prayer Book," 249.
Bishop Hare's Anniversary,
Addresses to the Diocesan Coun-
cil, 127/f, 165/f, 169, 213-217,
SHATTUCK SCHOOL, Faribault, 63,
116/, 146, 147.
SLATTERY, REV. C. L., 192/, 279,
SMITH, REV. S. G., 245, 280, 288/.
SONS OP THE REVOLUTION, 17, 108,
206, 256, 270.
STACK, BISHOP C. M., Visit at
home of, 227-230.
STAGE-COACHING INCIDENTS, 53,
STERRETT, REV. J. M., 232.
STILLWATER, Ascension Church,
156/, 238, 292.
STIRLING, SIR ROBERT, Visit at
the home of, 170, 174/=.
STORE, REV. DR., 219.
STOWE, REV. A. D., 157.
STRATFORD-ON-AVON, 177/ 5 .
SUNDAY SCHOOL, Interest in the
wort of, 31, 96, 98, 124, 191,
SWEDISH CHURCHES, 189yf, 273,
TANNER, REV. G. C., 60, 188, 191.
TEMPERANCE, Interest in, 104, 125.
TEMPLE, ARCHBISHOP, 221, 224.
TEN BROECK, REV. W. P., 90, 191.
THETA DELTA CHI FRATERNITY,
43/f, 238, 278.
THOMAS, BISHOP E. S., 111/f , 115,
THOROLD, BISHOP, Visit to Minne-
sota, 104, 136.
THURSTON, BISHOP T. P., 7, 256.
TODD, Ancestry, 13/f.
TODD, REV. RUSSELL, 14/., 22.
TOFFTEEN, REV. O. A., 189, 278.
TORONTO, Congress of Religion
and Education, 203/.
TUTTLE, BISHOP, 1-5, 7, 30-35,
42, 48-54, 67-73, 75/, 80,
117/yv, 242, 254, 263, 267.
UNITY, Christian, 124, 204/, 245ff,
UTAH, LIFE IN, 48-54.
VACATIONS, in Montana and Ida-
ho, 109, 116, 231-236.
VICTORIA, QUEEN, Presentation to,
WAR OF 1861, Its influence, 30,
WAKD ANCESTBY, 17f, 24f.
WEBB, REV. F. T., 280.
WELLS, REV. T. B., 114.
WHIPPLB, BISHOP, His coming to
Founds St. Mary's Hall, 57.
Ideal for Seabiiry, 57.
His Work, 88.
Request for episcopal assist-
ance, HOf .
"Apostle to the Indians," 121f.
High esteem for him, 127, 141.
"Lights and Shadows," 130.
Interest in St. Mary's, 158f.
Tributes to Bishop Gilbert, 162/,
Bishop Gilbert's loyalty to him,
185^ 209, 212/f.
High reputation in England,
Fortieth Anniversary, 252/.
His closing years and death, 257.
WHITE, BISHOP J. H., 170-180,
WILDHB, HON. B. T., 233, 266.
WILKINSON, REV. W., 199, 278,
WILLABD, MAJOB SIMON, A notable
pioneer of New England, 17-
WILSON, RBV. E. S., 266, 279.
WINNIPEG, Visits to, 203.
YATES, GEOBGE A., Schoolmate of
Bishop Gilbert, 27fl=, 32/.
Y. M. C. A., Interest in, 241, 256.
ZION CHUBCH, Morris, 1, 23/, 30-
34, 65, 152, 275.