Early Years as a Parish

In the late 18th Century, all the while that armies came and went, the little community that would be Cumberland lived and grew. The City was laid out in plats, most of which were given to the local officers of the Revolutionary Army in payment for their services.

These were also the Founders of Emmanuel Parish. Cumberland was incorporated by the Maryland Legislature in January, 1787.

The congregation continued to worship in the Fort along with members of other denominations. Gradually, as the population grew, denominational groups formed and built their churches. By 1800, only the Episcopalians and Presbyterians remained. In those years, the government had no further use for Fort Cumberland, and sold it to the combined Episcopal and Presbyterian congregation.

By 1814, the Fort was in such a condition that it was no longer fit to use. Worshipers undertook to raise funds to build a new church. However, a recession set in and the church was not finished. Parishioners bought the building lest it be lost, and held it in trust until one of the denominational groups could raise the funds to complete the project. That turned out to be the congregation of Emmanuel Parish, who had been formally incorporated October 16, 1803.

The Church building was not fully completed and consecrated until 1829. No pictures remain, but it is believed to have been similar to St. Thomas’ Church in nearby Hancock.