No. 3220 All Saints, Ashmont


No. 200 Postcard. All Saints, Ashmont, postmarked June 25, 1912

All Saints’ Episcopal Church began in 1867 as a mission of St. Mary’s Church under the guidance of Miss Hannah Austin, later Sister Hannah, who in 1897 was in charge of the Church Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. All Saints was formed as a separate parish in Dorchester Lower Mills in 1874 in a wooden frame chapel built for the mission in 1871.


The Rev. William H. Mills of St. Mary’s preached every Sunday evening from 1867 to March 14, 1869, when Mills appointed the Rev. J.B. Clark who conducted services every Sunday morning until 1871. The Rev. George Waters succeeded Clark and continued for a year and a half. Mills then resumed the services until he left St. Mary’s in the spring of 1874.

No. 3220 All Saints, Ashmont, first building on Dorchester Avenue, circa 1890.

On December 28, 1879, a snowstorm stranded Colonel Oliver Peabody and his wife, Mary Lothrop Peabody, who were traveling by carriage from Milton to Boston supposedly on their way to church in Boston, and they found shelter in All Saints’ during the sermon. They were especially moved by the sermon on that Holy Innocents Day–the rector, the Rev. George Bennitt, mentioned in his sermon that he had lost a child, and the Peabody’s, too, had lost a child in infancy. The Peabody’s returned, ultimately converted from Unitarianism and endowed All Saints’ with vast sums of money. In 1882 they paid to have the chapel moved along Dorchester Avenue from Lower Mills to Ashmont. They contributed eighty thousand toward the one hundred fifteen thousand dollars needed to build the new stone church in Peabody Square at 209 Ashmont Street from 1892 to 1894.

Douglass Shand Tucci said of the church: Architect Ralph Adams Cram’s first church, designed in partnership with Bertram Goodhue, was All Saints’, Ashmont. A significant landmark in American architectural history, All Saints’ is, of its type, Cram and Goodhue’s masterpiece, and a model for American parish church architecture for the first half of the 20th century.

The rectors of the church and their periods of tenure were:

George S. Bennitt, 1880-1887
Charles Tileston Whittemore, 1887-1907
Charles Mockridge, 1908-1910
Simon Blinn Blunt, 1910-1927
Grieg Taber, 1927-1939
Arthur Webber Perry Wylie, 1939-1949
Warren Newman, 1949-1952
Sewall Emerson, 1953-1963
F. Albert Frost, 1963-1974
John R. Purnell, 1975-

For more information, consult:

Fiftieth Anniversary of the Foundation of St. Mary’s Parish, Dorchester, 1847-1897. Dorchester: Printed for the Parish, 1898

Floyd, Alice P. The History of the Parish of All Saints (Ashmont) Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts. (Dorchester, 1945)

Shand Tucci, Douglass. All Saints’ Ashmont, Dorchester, Boston. A Centennial History of the Parish. (Boston: Published by the Parish, 1975)

Shand-Tucci, Paul Douglass. Ashmont: An Historical Guide to Peabody Square, Carruth’s Hill, and Ashmont Hill and the Architecture of Edwin J. Lewis, Jr. and John A. Fox. (Dorchester: The Dorchester Historical Society, 1991)

Shand Tucci, Douglass. Church Building in Boston, 1720-1970. (Issued by the Trustees of the Dorchester Savings Bank; Concord: The Rumford Press, 1974)

Shand Tucci, Paul. The Gothic Churches of Dorchester. (Boston: Tribune Publishing Company, 1970)


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April 14, 2020