St Stephen's: The Early Years



D. S. Peirce


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Margaret Taylor Johnston Bard was a woman of means from a family of devout Scottish immigrants. Though few of her personal papers remain, Margaret Bard was known for her intelligence and religious devotion. Her family fortune brought wealth to John Bard through their marriage in 1849, and her dedication to religious and social causes was clearly a spur to the legacy of philanthropic activity for which the Bard name is remembered. Her passion for education led her, with her husband, to use her fortune to found and support two educational institutions: St. Stephen’s College in Annandale, and Trinity School in nearby Tivoli. She made a personal appeal to James Starr Clark to build Trinity Church and School in neighboring Tivoli (then Myersville)--a cause to which he subsequently devoted almost three decades of his life. She was an integral part of early decisions regarding the College, as reflected in the fact that she was named a charter trustee of St. Stephen’s. This was an unusual role for a woman in 1860, and it stands as a testament to her own gifts, as well as to the strength of her partnership with John Bard. After her death in 1875, the St. Stephen’s community memorialized her with a headstone in the Bard cemetery, and “St. Margaret’s Well,” which still stands beside the chapel, erected a year after her death in 1875.

Here, she poses for a formal portrait, wearing a long velvet dress.



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