The Rev. Joseph T. Clarke

The Rev. Joseph T. Clarke was the rector of this parish from May, 1831, to October, 1844. He retired to Jamaica “for the improvement of his declining health” and was serving there as rector of St. Dorothy’s Parish when he died in 1845, at the age of 47.


This is the church’s oldest memorial, donated in 1845; it has probably been moved as the church has grown, and is now set in the south wall, in the passage between the chancel and the vestry.

Civil War Memorial

Tablet in memory of the “Sons of St. James Church who lost their lives in defense of the Union” donated in 1888 by E.N. Leslie; the plaque honors these men of the parish who died in the Civil War:

Private Albert De Cost Burnett (1846-1862), 16 years old, the Village’s youngest recruit, died of disease at Harrison’s Landing, Virginia, August 4, 1862. He was the son of Charles Burnett Jr. and Eliza (De Cost) Burnett, and a grandson of Captain Nash De Cost and William Vredenburgh.

Private Stanley Porter (1842-1862), 20 years old, died at the Second Battle of Bull Run, Virginia, August 30, 1862. His body was never found to be brought home for burial. He was the son of James Gurdon Porter.

Private Samuel Francis, 57 years old, died at Alexandria, Virginia, September 1, 1862, and Private Wadsworth B. Francis, 51 years of age, killed at the storming of Port Hudson, Louisiana, on the Mississippi River, June 14, 1863. Both were sons of Samuel Francis Sr. (1773-1865), known as a devoted member of St. James church, having served on the Vestry, and as a Warden, for more than 50 years. The sons, like their father, were hatters by trade, before going to war.

Navy Lt. Benjamin H. Porter (1845-1865), 20 years old, was killed while carrying the flag and leading the seaward charge at the storming of Fort Fisher, on the coast of North Carolina, January 15, 1865. He was the second son of James Gurdon Porter to die in the war.

Private William H. Baber (1839-1865), 26 years old, died from the effects of exposure, April 8, 1865.

Regie’s Ciborium

Reginald Denham Waller (1889-1899) was just ten years old when he fell into Skaneateles Lake while fishing from the steamboat dock, and drowned. His father, John Waller, was a member of the Vestry, had served as the president of the Village, and was the president of the Skaneateles Savings Bank. Reginald’s mother, Julia Earll Waller, had died three years earlier of pneumonia. “Regie” was remembered as a lively, cheerful lad. He was survived by his father, one sister and five brothers. The ciborium — a chalice-like container that holds the wafers for communion — was donated the year of his death.

Our Present Church Building


The cornerstone of our present church was laid on May 30, 1873, and the structure was consecrated on January 6, 1874.

Horatio Nelson White
The architect of the Gothic Revival structure was Horatio Nelson White (1814-1892) of Syracuse, who designed more than 100 church buildings, as well as city halls, courthouses, armories and residences. Among his other surviving designs are the Gridley Building (1867) and Grace Episcopal Church (1876) in Syracuse, the Hall of Languages (1873) at Syracuse University, City Hall (1870) in Oswego, N.Y., and the tomb of Burr Burton (1866) in Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse.

The contractor for construction was Amos Mason; the foreman was Anton Amann, both well-known in their profession in Syracuse. The stone was contributed by a member of the parish; the majority of the stained glass windows were given as memorials at the time of construction.

The tower clock (E. Howard & Co.; Boston, Massachusetts) was also given at the time of construction. The bell from the previous St. James’ church building was installed at this time, and a second, larger tower bell (Meneely Bell Co.; Troy, New York) was added in 1893. In 1899, the sanctuary was enlarged.

As for the site itself, parishioners first worshiped there in 1805, in a two-room building which also served as the post office, a store, and a day school. The building was on the property of John Ten Eyck, a Revolutionary War veteran who briefly served as the Skaneateles postmaster. St. James’ first dedicated building went up in 1827, made of wood; it was taken down in 1873 to make way for the present stone building. During construction, the congregation worshiped in Legg Hall.

More on H.N. White here.