Ancestry of Charles Parker

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  • ID: I309
  • Name: William Narcissus Lyster
  • Prefix: The Rev.
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 5 MAR 1805 in Sion House,Co. Wexford,Ireland 1 2 3 4 5
  • Death: 9 SEP 1877 in Mapleton,Van Buren,Michigan 2 1 5
  • Burial: Elmwood Cemetery,Detroit,Michigan
  • Note:

    Born in Sion House, Co. Wexford, Ireland, Lyster was raised in an upper-class setting of luxury and wealth yet, despite almost continuously complaining of his "delicate health" (the precise nature of which he never specified), he would spend nearly all of his adult life as an itinerant preacher and missionary in rural Michigan.

    He attended Trinity College, Dublin, where he was graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1826. In 1824, while visiting London, he was present for an address by Philander Chase, Episcopal Bishop of Ohio, which may have been the foundation of Lyster's missionary commitment. After graduating from Trinity College, he attended Edinburgh Theological Seminary. He was ordained deacon in 1829 and promptly undertook his first missionary trip to the United States, including a period at St. Paul's Episcopal Church (now the Cathedral of St. Paul) in Detroit. Returning to Ireland in October of 1830, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Suarin.

    In 1832, he married Ellen Emily Cooper, like him a native of Co. Wexford, then almost immediately packed up and moved to the United States, where he had been called as rector of Trinity Church, Cleveland. The pulpit of a city church was not a good fit for the young priest, as he soon stepped down, deciding to move to rural Michigan, where he began the first of his church-planting ventures with the new congregation of St. Peter's in Tecumseh. After preaching to a small Episcopal society in Tecumseh in 1832, he returned in May of 1833 to accept the leadership of the newly organized congregation, and laid the cornerstone for the new building in October. To raise funds for the new church, Lyster traveled to Washington, obtaining contributions from such leading men as President Andrew Jackson, Senator Henry Clay, and Senator Daniel Webster. Lyster left the Tecumseh pulpit in 1836, building the church at Clinton at his own expense.

    During this time, while pursuing a physically gruelling schedule, traveling far and wide on horseback, he continued to complain of "ill health", although he never went into any detail of just what ailed him; it may even have been at least partially fictitious, to inspire his various flocks to efforts beyond which they felt capable. He did claim that spending so much time on horseback was beneficial to his health, and when his then current horse became too old to ride, he complained of a recurring sour stomach which he held to be a result of his having to ride in a carriage. While pursuing his various ministries, he established a home for himself and his family on a high bluff overlooking Sand Lake in Lenawee County's Cambridge township; he thought the surroundings too beautiful and idyllic for such a prosaic name, instead calling it Angel Lake. As the site reminded Lyster so very much of his ancestral home in Co. Wexford, he called the area "The Irish Hills", a name the region still bears to the present day.

    The missionary life suited Lyster's personal preferences, but not his position as provider for a growing family; he had expended much of his own personal fortune on his missionary efforts. After declining several invitations from larger and more established congregations, he finally accepted the call to be rector of the newly-founded Christ Church in Detroit. Founded by a group of Detroit's leading citizens who found St. Paul's on Woodward growing too crowded, the new church just off the riverfront needed capable leadership and was more than able to provide compensation. Lyster could soon report considerable growth in the new church, even as he continued to travel and to serve as an unofficial assistant to the Bishop of Michigan, Samuel McCoskrey. At the same time, to his surprise, city life was actually proving beneficial to his health, while he was also able to put his family finances on a better footing. In April of 1849, however, he resigned as rector of Christ Church and soon hurried back to Ireland after the death of his father.

    In 1850, Lyster returned to America and Michigan, accepting a call to Trinity Church, Monroe, which allowed him the time for missionary work which the bustling downtown Detroit congregation had not. He remained at Monroe until 1854, and then became more settled, remaining at the church in Brooklyn, Michigan, until 1870. He died at Mapleton, Michigan, at the home of his nephew, Armstong. He is buried in Detroit's Elmwood Cemetery. A stained glass window in memory of William Lyster and his wife, Ellen, is in the vesting room of Christ Church, Detroit, and his likeness appears on a window in honor of his son, Dr. Henry Lyster, in the Christ Church baptistry. A stained glass window in his memory and displaying his likeness is to be found at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Tecumseh, although the present building is not the one Lyster preached in. One of the regional districts of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan is named in his honor.

    ** Photos of the Rev. William Lyster are available at my website. **
  • Change Date: 1 OCT 2010 at 19:42:52



    Father: William John Lyster b: 27 AUG 1765 in Rocksavage,Carlow,Ireland
    Mother: Martha Hatton b: Abt 1781 in Ballymartin,Co. Wexford,Ireland

    Marriage 1 Ellen Emily Cooper b: 19 FEB 1811 in Birch Grove,Co Wexford,Ireland
    • Married: 5 MAR 1832 in Co. Wexford,Ireland 6 7
    Children
    1. Has Children William John Lyster b: 27 JUN 1833 in Tecumseh,Lenawee,Michigan
    2. Has No Children Matilda Lyster b: 1835
    3. Has Children Henry Francis Le Hunte Lyster b: 8 NOV 1837 in Saunderscourt,Co Wexford,Ireland
    4. Has Children Theodore Gordon Lyster b: 4 DEC 1840 in Detroit,Wayne,Michigan
    5. Has No Children Melville McCoskrey Lyster b: 1843
    6. Has Children Elizabeth Martha Hatton Lyster b: 1846 in Michigan

    Sources:
    1. Repository:

        Title: Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit MI, grave marker
        Abbrev: Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit MI, grave marker
        Page: Lot J-118, grave 6 - William Narcissus Lyster
        Quality: 3
      • Repository:

          Title: The Descendants of Col. Giles Brent, Capt George Brent and Robert Brent, Gent
          Author: Chester Horton Brent
          Abbrev: C H Brent
          Publication: Rutland, VT: Tuttle Publishing Co, 1946
          Abbrev: The Descendants of Col. Giles Brent, Capt George Brent and Robert Brent, Gent
          Page: p.172
          Quality: 2
        • Title: 1860 U.S. Federal Census
          Abbrev: 1860 U.S. Federal Census
          Page: Roll: 547; Page: 265
          Text: William N Lyster; <Age> 55; <Sex> M; <Occupation> Clergyperson, Episcopal; <Birthplace> Ireland. -Head of Household: William N Lyster; Census Place: Brooklyn, Jackson, Michigan. (Enumeration Date: July 27, 1860)
          Quality: 2
        • Title: 1870 U.S. Federal Census
          Abbrev: 1870 U.S. Federal Census
          Page: Roll: 706, Page: 305
          Text: Lyster, Rev William; <Age> 65; <Sex> M; <Race> W; <Occupation> Clergyman; <Birthplace> Ireland. ----Head of Household: Armstrong Lyster. Census Place: Columbia, Van Buren, Michigan. (Enumeration Date: August 13, 1870)
          Quality: 3
        • Title: Memorials of an Ancient House: A History of the Family of Lister or Lyster
          Author: Henry Lyttelton Lyster Denny
          Abbrev: H. L. L. Denny
          Publication: Edinburgh: Ballantyne, Hanson & Co, 1913
          Abbrev: Memorials of an Ancient House
          Page: p. 98
          Quality: 2
        • Title: Memorials of an Ancient House: A History of the Family of Lister or Lyster
          Author: Henry Lyttelton Lyster Denny
          Abbrev: H. L. L. Denny
          Publication: Edinburgh: Ballantyne, Hanson & Co, 1913
          Abbrev: Memorials of an Ancient House
          Page: p. 98
        • Title: Christ Church Detroit - A Beacon of Hope
          Author: the Rev. Ervin A. Brown
          Abbrev: the Rev. Ervin A. Brown
          Publication: Ann Arbor, Michigan: Edwards Brothers Inc, 1995
          Abbrev: Christ Church Detroit - A Beacon of Hope
          Page: p. 12
          Text: ... on March 5, 1832 (his birthday!), he married Ellen Emily Cooper. a Wexford neighbor.

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