Saturday, September 17, 2016

Rev. George Chalmers Richmond 1870-1938 -- Deposed Voice of Social Conscience at the end of the Gilded Age of Greed


[​IMG] Public Ledger 8 June 1915

This discovery of a remarkable Christian preacher, an Episcopalian most of the time, came when I posted an image of poor children playing in a cleared away precious space of ancient gravestones in a churchyard in lower Kensington, home to the poor then, for use as a playground. 

The local newspaper and many local newspapers were out to shame the city in spending more in taxes on public space, and along with other social engineers who were pushing for decent playing spots for children outside of Dickensian school buildings designed without schoolyards and the need in general for neighborhoods to have more breathing room (clean air) to relieve the general squalor of their lives.  

There are pictures of the city putting playgrounds under railroad viaducts around this time among other places to illustrate the needs and lack of living space in the teeming slums of Philly at the beginning of the twentieth century. The long term solution, a temporary fix was to dig up the bones of many ancient county graveyards in the 1950s and 1960s for living space in the inner city for playgrounds, supermarkets and parking lots at Universities, Temple in particular.

Back on the topic of the image of children playing in an unidentified playground - I posted on a Philly history forum and a native to the area as a youth questioned its exact location, which took a little bit of discussion and research among some forum members to determine that the labeling of the address not totally accurate and that the actual space was behind the St. John’s P.E. Church of the Northern Liberties there. 

Northern Liberties is the old legal geographic title, like “Badlands” (no law or order) north of the official Philadelphia city limits within the then unincorporated in contrast to a present day united city of Philadelphia County. It was there that the famous Know Nothing riots and or anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant riots in the 1840s took place.

An aside on history, those riots took place because the various public entities north of the city had no police force. That the local county deputy of the Northern Liberties called on Philadelphia City to send in cops to help with the social unrest, but the Northern Liberties had not paid its bill from the City for the last round of police aid, the City refused without pay and go, and thus a famous page of American and Philadelphia history gets labeled as anti-Catholic because a few Catholic churches got burned down in the riots along with a lot of other secular domestic real estate etc.

Image of the graveyard below.

 Graveyard - 3rd and Brown - Public Ledger 2 June 1917

Well one of the posters ran into what at first looked like a crackpot eccentric rector of this era who on his diaspora away from so-called east coast civilization managed to stir up a hornets nest in Politics in Wyoming with his bizarre attitudes of social justice in the gospels attributed to the ancient preacher Jesus. And this forum member posted an article from the NYT archives. 

Apparently, Rev. Richmond had quite a following having once been posted as a cleric in NYC among other places in his long and varied career. He seemed to be one of those truth tellers or prophets that Christianity no longer has any need of in the present modern day Wharton Global Spreadsheet corporate set up of global religion for profit Inc.

Upon further research, a good man, a real man, a mensch in the pulpit was got rid of by Bishop Rhinelander of the Pennsylvania Diocese as payback by Richmond’s many local and national rich enemies in exchange for Rhinelander's recent crony appointment to that office. (Thirty silver dimes?)

“Rev. George Chalmers Richmond Had Been Rector of Old St. John's Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, for six years, when in December, 1914, he was presented for trial ordered by Bishop Philip M. Rhinelander on fourteen charges .Ten of These related to matters connected with Mr. Richmond's conduct of the pastorate of St. John's, and four had to do with private and public criticism of Bishop Rhinelander in regard to His lack of interest in the Gospel Adapting to modern social and industrial problems .The great fact to be Noted is this, the man who originated the charges and engineered the presentment - Francis A. Lewis - was the Bishop's private counsel.Not a single member of Mr. Richmond's parish signed the presentment, and not a single member of any adjoining parish had anything to do with Bringing on the trial.In November, 1915, a verdict was rendered, the triers finding Mr. Richmond "guilty" on charges Those Relating to His criticism of the Bishop, but acquitting him on all the others.Also it might be Stated That the laymen who signed the presentment were personal friends of Francis A. Lewis, and testified on the stand That they signed at his request, without reading the original charges.Mr. Richmond was suspended from priestly functions for one year.Hardly had a verdict in the first trial Been given When Bishop Rhinelander (Francis A. Lewis being His private counsel) allowed Mr. Richmond to be presented for a second time trial on 140 charges, Which later were reduced to 126, Involving 46 issues of fact.Some of These charges were exceedingly foolish…”

Here some newspaper research etc. on this deposed cleric of Philly of ancient times at the tail end of the then age of greed in the fading before WWI, Gilded Age.


Rev. George Chalmers Richmond Attacks Mayor Reyburn - Syracuse NY Post Standard 14 March 1910


Rev. George Chalmers Richmond Attacks Decadence of Gould - Drexel Wedding NYC - Niagra Falls Gazette April 1910

Niagra Falls Gazette 25 April 1910


Famous Sayings - Rev. George Chalmers Richmond - Brooklyn Daily Eagle 12 Aug 1911


Rev. George Chalmers Richmond Attacks Racial Killing in Coatesville Pa. - Phila. Inquirer 21 August 1911



Rev. George Chalmers Richmond's View of Remarriage after Divorce - John Jacob Astor IV - Mechanicville NY Saturday Evening Mercury 16 Sept 1911






Rev. George Chalmers Richmond 1870 -1938 -- Yale Alumni Obituary Record 1937-1938