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“St. Peter’s P. E. Church at Smyrna. Near Duck Creek, on the old King’s Highway, north of Smyrna, Thomas Green donated one acre of land, on May 17, 1740, upon which to build a church, and to maintain a graveyard. It was here that the first St. Peter’s P. E. Church was built. The chapel becoming dilapidated, a stone church was built in 1762-64. The opening service was held on Trinity Sunday, 1764. This church was used until 1827, when a new church was built on the present site in Smyrna.

The consecration services were held on Mon., June 9, 1828, with the Rt. Rev. Henry U. Onderdonk in charge. He was assisted by the Rev. Messrs. Higbee, Presstman, Mead and Robinson, the rector. This plot of land was donated by John Cummins for the sum of $1.00. The old church was sold and the stone was used to build a wall around the cemetery plot of the Cummins’ family. Within this plot, Sarah, the wife of former Governor John Clark, is buried. She died on Dec. 12, 1790. Former Governor William Temple is also buried here in an unmarked grave. The oldest tombstone is in this plot, over the grave of Francis Cwmmins, who died on Nov. 11, 1784.

In 1857, the church was remodeled and greatly enlarged. While the work was in progress the congregation met in the Presbyterian church. The church was incorporated on Sept. 27, 1858. The restored church was consecrated on May 6, 1859. The first service was held on Wed. eve., May 4, by the Rev. Samuel C. Brinckle. The services on Thurs. were conducted by the Revs. M. B. Smith and M. Wright. The church was consecrated by Bishop Alfred Lee, at the morning service, on Fri., May 6. The sentence of consecration was read by the Rev. Dr. Grammer. The Rev. Dr. Sparrow preached in the evening. Bishop Lee preached on Sat. and on Sun. both Bishop Lee and Dr. Sparrow preached.

The Sunday School building was a gift of Mrs. Susan H. Fisler. The ground was broken and blessed on June 24, 1872. The cornerstone was laid on Wed., Aug. 21, 1872, by Bishop Alfred Lee assisted by the Rev. Joshua Morsell, D.D., the rector. During a gale on Sept. 17, 1876, the church spire was blown down. It was rebuilt in 1880.

The rectory was built in 1884 on land donated by Mrs. Susan H. Fisler, on June 9, 1883. In 1885, the church was greatly improved.

The chancel window was a gift of the Rev. A. G. Cummins. A new organ was also installed. In 1890-91, a silver communion service was presented as a memorial. During the years 1896-98, six memorial windows and a brass altar cross were unveiled. Major improvements were made in 1902 including a cloister connecting the chapel and the church.

The restored church was reopened on Thurs., Apr. 3, 1902, by Bishop Leighton Coleman. The Bishop conducted a service of benediction at which time he blessed the new altar. Assisting in the services were Archdeacon George C. Hall and the Revs. C. Dexter Weeden, M. L. Poffenberger, W. J. Wilkie, W. J. Hamilton, W. H. Groff and G. Valerie Gilreath, the rector.

On May 12, 1907, Bishop Coleman blessed a peal of four bells in memory of the Rev. Alex. G. Cummins which had been presented by Morris L. Clothier of Philadelphia. In 1908, a pulpit, in memory of Bishop Coleman was installed. On Dec. 8, 1912, Bishop Frederick J. Kinsman dedicated a new organ. The church was redecorated in 1924-25.” (1)

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Text Source:

1. Frank R. Zebley, The Churches of Delaware, Wilmington, Delaware, 1947, p. 191

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