Biography of Rev. John McCarty, D. D.

REV. JOHN McCARTY, D.D. – The Reverend John McCarty, D.D., reached the Pacific coast first in January, 1853, as chaplain of Fort Vancouver. For a time he also had charge of Trinity church, Portland. It was with great difficulty, oftentimes, that he met his appointments at Trinity. There were no easy and frequent communications between the two places then; and he generally walked from Vancouver to Portland. This was no easy matter when the Columbia river was swollen and had overflown the lowlands. It is related of him that he did more than once, when he found the water too high to wade in with simply his shoes and stockings off, take off all his clothes, put them on his head, and proceeded to wade through to the other side. When over he would dry himself, put on his clothes, and proceed on his journey. This was certainly performing duties under difficulties; but it was characteristic of the man. In October, 1854, he removed to Fort Steilacoom, on the Sound, where he remained about a year. While there, he did not confine himself to his duties at the fort, but held church services in the town of Steilacoom, at Olympia and other places.

In November, 1855, he went on a visit to the Atlantic states, but returned in April, 1856, and resumed his chaplaincy of the fort and his charge of St. Luke’s church, Vancouver. From that time until April, 1868, he remained in charge of the church, when he resigned it because of the growing infirmities of old age. It was a sad day to his people when he resigned, and a sadder day still when he finally moved away from Vancouver and took up his residence in Washington City. Never were a people more devoted to their pastor than were his. He was so kind and bright and cheerful and fatherly, that they all looked upon him as a benediction when he came into their homes, or met them on the streets or taught them from the sacred desk.

Doctor McCarty was closely identified with the early work of the Church in Oregon, and at a meeting of clergy and laity at Oregon City, before it was known that the Church in the East had made any provisions for a bishop for this field, the convocation wrote on and suggested that he be elected and appointed for the same. This shows in what high honor and esteem he was held by his associates. he attended all the early convocations of the Church, and took an active part in the deliberations. he was greatly missed when he ceased to attend them; and his happy face was seen, and his cheerful voice heard, no more.

The Doctor died in Washington, District of Columbia, May 10, 1881, at the advanced age of eighty-three years. His funeral was held at St. Mark’s church, Capital Hill, Thursday, May 12th.

Thus rests one whose life was good, wise and useful.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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