Studio shots, no. 174: Rev. Robert N. Perry.

As pointed out by a descendant, an early 1900’s photograph of early leaders of Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church misidentified its rector, the Rev. Robert N. Perry. Charlotte, N.C., native Perry, who served in Wilson from 1905 to 1919, is depicted in the portrait above. He was married to Mary Ada Jackson Perry, and their children William M., Robert Nathaniel II, Alice L., John L., and Frank Hargrave Perry were born in Wilson.

Patrick M. Valentine’s The Episcopalians of Wilson County: A History of St. Timothy’s and St. Mark’s Churches in Wilson, North Carolina 1856-1995, provides a detailed account of Rev. Perry’s tenure, including this opening summary: “… Perry ‘found things some what neglected and the congregation scattered but hopeful. The work began to take on new life and enthusiasm was created for anything [that] might be suggested.’ During his fourteen years in Wilson, Perry married thirty-four parishioners, baptized forty-three, presented thirty-three for confirmation, and buried eight. Membership rose rapidly from eighteen in 1906 to twenty-five in 1907, thirty-three in 1909, forty-seven in 1917, and sixty-seven the very next year. The congregation remained at that level during the rest of his tenure.”

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In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Lodge Street, Robert Perry, 28, public school teacher; wife Mary A., 26; and son William, 5 months. [“Public school”? Was Rev. Perry actually a teacher at Saint Mark’s private elementary school?]

Robert Nathaniel Perry registered for the World War I draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 6 December 1881; lived at 315 South Street, Wilson; was minister of the Colored Episcopal Church; and his nearest relative was wife Mary Ada Perry.

During Rev. Perry’s tenure, Saint Mark’s church and school were located at the corner of South and Lodge Streets. 315 South Street was the school’s address, as well, and suggests that its building did double-duty as a parsonage.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user ivan_gilkes.

One comment

  1. The picture from Ivan Gilkes is one that Robert N. Perry left among his treasures when he died. As his first granddaughter, I was fortunate enough to receive many wonderful pictures and writings, etc that Robert N. Perry left.
    When he retired from The Church of the Good Shepherd in Thomasville, GA, he moved up to Virginia and lived in a house belonging to his son John Logan Perry. I am the daughter of John and the fortunate grandchild who saw Grandpa daily and heard his many wonderful tales of his life.
    Rev. Perry’s grandchildren have had two reunions in recent years in Thomasville. Ivan Gilkes is the grandson of my uncle Henry B Perry and Ivan and his mother Dr. Lisa Perry-Gilkes spent an evening in Thomasville filling in info on Ancestry.com.

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