Grace Episcopal Church in St. Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana is one of the oldest Protestant churches in Louisiana. It began in 1827, and Investiture came in 1829 with Bishop Polk’s visitation. The church was originally completed in 1860 including the installation of the organ, but was severely damaged by cannon fire from Union gunboats in the Mississippi River nearby during the Civil War. Charles Nevitt Gibbons is credited as the Architect. The church was rebuilt to its current state in 1893. Grace Episcopal Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
The church is of Gothic Revival style, brick masonry and heavy timber structure, with interior plaster finishes. It is iconic of the Gothic Revival and Episcopal churches. It sits in a nine acre site full of live oaks and other southern flora that embellish a magnificent graveyard.
Notable burials in the graveyard include: Robert Hilliard Barrow, four star U.S Marine Corps General; John Bennet Dawson, 19th Century Louisiana Congressman; John Elliott Hart, Union Navy officer that died nearby on the Mississippi River whose 1863 funeral has been commemorated since 1999, with a festival, “The Day the War Stopped”; Junius Wallace Jones, Major General, U.S Air Force; Samuel Lawrason, state senator, author of the Lawrason Act of 1898; William Walter Leake, Confederate cavalry officer, who facilitated the Masonic burial of John E. Hart mentioned above, later a state senator, circuit court judge, and newspaper publisher; and George Matthews, Jr., presiding Judge of the Louisiana Supreme Court, 1813-1836.
St. Francisville lies north northwest of Baton Rouge across the Mississippi River from New Roads, LA. It is in the midst of numerous 19th Century historic properties such as The Rosedown Plantation, The Cottage Plantation, The Myrtles Plantation, Butler Greenwood Plantation, Catalpa Plantation, the Kent Plantation, Greenwood Plantation, and the Barrow House. There are also great restaurants in downtown St. Francisville worth visiting.
Ladd P. Ehlinger, AIA