Family History - Bloomfield

Robert Lee Bloomfield 1790 - 1866. Third Great Grandfather of C Olivia Carlisle

Robert Lee Bloomfield is the grandson of Robert Bloomfield (1749 - 1805), who assisted in establishing American Independence, while acting in the capacity of Ensign, Captain, Barron’s Company, 1st Regiment, Middlesex County Militia (January 10, 1776). Robert was from Woodbridge New Jersey, now known as Rahway NJ.

Robert Lee Bloomfield, originally from Rahway New Jersey owned the Athens Manufacturing Company (Athens Check Factory), which manufactured cotton check fabric. Realizing that the operatives (factory workers) spiritual needs, Robert Lee designed and then commissioned the construction of Saint Mary’s Chapel, that was just west of the factory on Oconee Street. The Church’s design was based on ancient Norse and Anglo Saxon churches and specifically included elements similar to Bloomfield’s church in New Jersey. The foundation was laid in 1869 with construction completed in 1871. The Chapel consisted of hand hued board, native stone, and overlaid with scored plaster to imitate stone bricks and included an impressive steeple with belfry. Mr Bloomfield then purchased a bell, christened “King David” for this belfry. The operatives elected the Protestant Episcopal faith for their church, which was consecrated Easter Sunday 1871 with 25 baptisms taking place. In 1873, the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta gave Cannonical Consent to the organization of the new parish, Saint Mary’s. Robert Lee, his wife, Ann Warren Rodgers, of Boundbrook NJ, and their daughter Annie taught Sunday School at Saint Mary’s. In addition, with Mr Bloomfield’s encouragement, the workers attended night school in the small church. Saint Mary’s prospered until 1892 after which, the congregation dwindled when the mill had closed. After the final service, the church doors closed and Saint Mary’s was “surrendered” to the Bishop of the Diocese of Atlanta. In 1945, the Bishop permitted the Athens Chapter of the American Red Cross to occupy the church for a number of years. As of 2019, only the steeple remains. The “King David” chapel bell was later loaned to the Univarsity of Georgia after the church closed and subsequently given to an Episcopal Church in North Georgia.

Text reference: Olivia Bloomfield Carlisle, “The Bloomfield Family: Their Descendants and Related Lines” 1988.

The drawing of Saint Mary’s Chapel was completed by Artist C Olivia Carlisle in charcoal/oil base Nero pencil on Stipple Board, using a number of archival photographs as reference.

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