A well-known and respected retired Judge and historian friend of mine and of the First White House of the Confederacy, made a talk recently. At my request he sent a copy of his speech. In it he mentioned a man of whom I had known nothing, Martin Phillips Parks. Parks was a senior at West Point when Robert E. Lee was a plebe.
The Judge writes: “Parks became a minister in 1828 and was Chaplain at West Point when Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was a cadet. Later, after the Mexican War Jackson was assigned to a position in New York City. Martin Parks became rector in the little St. Paul’s Chapel , located near the Battery where Jackson was stationed. It is said that it was in that chapel that Stonewall Jackson received his first communion – from Martin Parks.”
And now for the “rest of the story.” The Judge writes, “St. Paul’s Chapel, completed in 1766 is the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan. …its rear is on Church street, directly across from the World Trade Center.”
He goes on to say “This little church is the one that survived the collapse of the Twin Towers”. Wow! What a story. I have visited that little chapel as have many of you, with a big lump in my throat. Thank you Judge, for this information.