Captain Joseph Blewer (1734–1789)

Rev. Carl Magnus Wrangel married Joseph Blewer and Sarah Lindenmeyer at Gloria Dei Church on September 26, 1759.

Joseph Blewer being a ship captain assumed an active role in the War of Independence. In November 1775 Captain Blewer was in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was directed by General George Washington to deliver a letter to John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress. In June1776 Benjamin Franklin and others including Captain Blewer met at Carpenter’s Hall creating the Committee of the City, Council of Safety.

Reverend John Craig Roak (1898-1989)

John Craig Roak served as Gloria Dei’s rector from 1933 to 1972. Reverend Roak guided his congregation through the end of the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War and all but the very end of the United States’ involvement in Viet Nam. Social changes during his tenure at Gloria Dei included the Great Migration of African Americans from the South, the Civil Rights Movement, the rekindled Women’s Movement that began in the 1960’s, President Lyndon Johnson’s experiment with the Great Society, and increasing immigration from “new” parts of the world, especially Southeastern Asia and Latin America.

Reverend Jehu Curtis Clay (1792-1863)

Jehu Curtis Clay served twice as an assistant to Nils Collin, and succeeded him in 1831. Clay was Gloria Dei’s pastor during some of the most difficult times in the history of the United States: the sectional controversy of the 1850’s, and the first years of the Civil War. He also guided the congregation through an era of impressive growth and fundamental change. The sexton’s house and the present rectory were both constructed in the 1830’s. In the 1840’s, the annex churches at Kingsessing and Upper Merion separated from Gloria Dei, and all three joined the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania. Gloria Dei was renovated extensively, a necessity for a congregation that outgrew its church building.

Reverend Snyder Binns Simes (1842-1915)

Snyder Binns Simes was Gloria Dei’s pastor longer than any other, serving from 1868 to 1915. Tremendous changes came to the church and its congregation through the effects of the great industrial and economic development of the United States and the Philadelphia region, massive immigration to the United states from southern and eastern Europe, and a long economic depression at the end of the 19th century.

Captain Lodge Colton, Master’s Mate (1837–1913)

Being a riverfront Church, Gloria Dei has a rich history that involves many people who were involved with maritime related occupations. Captain Lodge Colton was no exception. At the age of 14 he became a mariner on the clipper barque “James Cornor.” (sp. Corner?) He served the CSN being appointed in Baltimore, Maryland. Lodge Colton was a Master’s Mate on the CSS Rappahannch in 1864 and the CSS Shanandoah in 1865. The CSS Shanandoah crossed the equator four times. On April 16, 1868 he was married in Baltimore to Marian Watts. The next year they moved to Philadelphia. Although his service took him to ports of call around the world, they maintained sittings at Gloria Dei from 1870 on. In 1874 they settled in New Orleans. Captain Colton’s ship sailed between New Orleans and Havana, Cuba. In 1880 he became a captain in the Ward Line, making voyages between New York, Cuba, and Mexico. He moved to New York and became a senior captain in 1887.

John C. Hunterson, Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient (1841–1927)

John C. Hunterson was born on August 4, 1841 in Philadelphia.

He entered the Union Army on July 23, 1861, where he was mustered in as a Private in Company B, 3rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry. He was awarded the CMOH for his bravery June 5, 1862, a few days after the Battle of Fair Oaks. His citation reads “While under fire, between the lines of the two armies, voluntarily gave up his own horse to an engineer officer whom he was accompanying on a reconnaissance and whose horse had been killed, thus enabling the officer to escape with valuable papers in his possession.”

Captain Morris Sheer (1818-1859)

During the 19th century, Philadelphia’s waterfront was lined with wharves which were operated by numerous shipping lines. Smaller vessels designed for domestic use, called packet boats, carried mail, packages, and a limited number of passengers to major cities across the Eastern seaboard. Morris Sheer, a parishioner at Gloria Dei, was one of the first captains of the line of packets that ran between Philadelphia and Charleston.