All Souls Day 2009

Major Richard Elward

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Featured Gravesite: Elward (originally Aylward): Richard & Mary and Children. Procession from the Old Catholic Burying Ground (1823) to Catholic Hill. The tradition begun by the Third Bishop of Natchez, William Henry Elder, on April 22, 1861.

Church Announcements for: November 15th, 1861 (Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer).
Your prayers are requested for the repose of the soul of Major Richard Elward, who died last Monday (11 Nov.). We recommend him not in an ordinary way, but as one of the warm hearted and active friends of the church, of the orphans, of the poor, and of everyone who was in need of his assistance.

There are not many men in this community to whom a larger number of persons have been indebted, for various services, and probably none who have done as much for their neighbors in proportion to their means. I beg prayers and communion for him. I will offer the Holy Sacrifice for him Monday Morning. (Credited to Bishop William H. Elder or Fr. Mathurin Grignon, V.G.)

Richard was born in Ireland around 1815. According to Census 1850 & 1860, Mary was born in New York around 1820. (However, the church death register has her place of birth as Ireland.)

Their first child, Richard Edmond, was born in 1839. Out of (5) children two girls survived, Mary Eugenia, and Laura who married a Monteith. Richard was on the Board of Trustees of the Roman Catholic Society from 1840 to Nov.1852.

His tenure spans the bishopric of John Chanche, the First Bishop. (Notice on the souvenir/handout that Elward is the Treasurer.) In May 1840 Richard borrowed $466 dollars from Samuel Cockrell (the silversmith) to begin a Book Binding business.

He paid off the note by September of 1840. In 1858 he was one of seven that received the gift of D’Evereux Hall Orphan Asylum from William St. John Elliot. In a 1860 census his position is listed as Post Master of Natchez. His home exists on the S.W. corner of Washington and Rankin Streets.

Reader: Britt Gibson

Artifact: The Elward Bible in rectory parlor, and a copy of his notice on the Death of J.J. Chanche in the Book of Minutes for the Roman Catholic Board of Trustees.

[Note the Natchez name on the base of the obelisk is “Mrs. Lyon” (Caroline Polkinghorn Bray) wife of the artist/sculptor, Edwin, who died in 1853. Their business, Natchez Marble Yard, was located at Main & Canal, then, to Franklin & Canal.]

In 1923, the daughter of Richard and Mary, Laura Elward Monteith, related to Bishop Gerow her recollections of Bishop Chanche, Madame Gireaudeau, and Henri Chotard whose family rented the church pew in front of the Elwards. Nolan p. 214


Lithograph on stone - St. Mary Cathedral