Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chalice believed to be survivor of deadly 1899 twister

From Milwaukee-

No one knows how it got there, or where it came from, or just what happened to it over the decades.

But parishioners at SS Thomas & John Episcopal Church believe the gleaming chalice now ensconced in a handmade display case is the only surviving artifact of the Episcopal church leveled by Wisconsin's deadliest tornado, a twister that killed 117 people in 1899.

A history of the New Richmond church written in 1986 by its vicar mentioned the discovery of the silver chalice in the wreckage of the building located near where a Methodist church is today. No one knows how many of the Episcopal church's members were injured or killed in the tornado, though much of the community was leveled.

As best as anyone can recollect, the chalice was first noticed several decades ago but was kept in a cloth bag in a cupboard in the church's sacristy, said Father Vern Barber, who became pastor Jan. 1. No one made the suspected link to the 1899 tornado until recently.

"When the church was destroyed, a lot of the members were supposed to transfer to a church in Star Prairie, but we know many did not," Barber said. "We're not sure if someone kept the chalice or if the chalice was transferred to that church in Star Prairie.

More here-


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