History

"The lines are fallen for me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage." Psalm 16:6

St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Sharpsburg was organized in 1818 by The Reverend Benjamin Allen, rector of St. Andrew's Parish of Shepherdstown, in what was then Virginia. The cornerstone was laid on May 31, 1819, 55 years after Sharpsburg's founding in 1763.

The original church stood on same lot as the present one. The first congregation had sixty members and met in the Old Lutheran Church of Sharpsburg while the church was under construction. A bell was purchased in England by the wife of Joseph Chapline, the son of Sharpsburg's founder. Chapline's daughters, Jane and Sarah, were faithful teachers in St. Paul's Sunday School, the first in Sharpsburg.

During the battle of Antietam, September 17-18, 1862, the church was used as a hospital by the Confederate army. Many succumbed to their wounds in its precincts. Some were buried in the adjoining lot. Their remains were later moved to the Washington Cemetery at Hagerstown. The church was badly damaged in the fighting and had to be abandoned as a place of worship.

The Rev. Henry Edwards, St. Paul's ninth rector, raised funds to rebuild the church. The stones of the old church were as well as the original bell. A second cornerstone was laid on October 30, 1871 and building was completed in 1874. The new church was consecrated on September 17, 1885 by The Rt. Rev. William Paret, Bishop of Maryland. The church is built of stone in the Gothic style. A large stained glass window over the altar depicts St. Paul (see box on right). Windows in memory of departed loved ones and illustrating the beatitudes grace the side walls. Over the entrance there is a large circular window, or oculus, given in memory of Civil War Captain Fanning C. Tucker who died from wounds sustained at Antietam.

There were no further improvements until 1965 when construction began on McKinley Hall. Dedicated to William B. McKinley, beloved rector for 40 years from 1917 until 1957, the hall is used as a Sunday School and for holding suppers, meetings, and other social events. In 2000, a new heating system was installed and rest rooms were remodeled to accommodate the handicapped.

Of course, the real St. Paul's is much more than stone and mortar. It is a living, growing family of communicants with our Savior and Creator God. The Spirit of Christ experienced at St. Paul's renews our strength and makes us fully aware that our faith shapes and forms our existence.