Feast of Jedediah Weiss (September 3)   Leave a comment

Bethlehem and South Bethlehem 1877

Above:  Bethlehem and South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Looking Northeast, 1877

Copyright Owner = Schwartz and Weaver

3700H2 U.S. Copyright Office

Image Creator = G. A. Rudd

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-pga-02565

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

JEDEDIAH WEISS (FEBRUARY 21, 1796-SEPTEMBER 3, 1873)

U.S. Moravian Craftsman, Merchant, and Musician

Jedediah Weiss, a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was a great man.  God gave him talents and opportunities, which he used to glorify God.  Weiss, born in Bethlehem, spent his life there, was active in community life, and left his city better than he found it.

Our saint was the second son of Johann (John) George and Elizabeth Schneider Weiss.  Johann (John) George Weiss was a church organist at Bethlehem.  Young Jedediah attended school then, at age sixteen, became an apprentice to John Samuel Krause, a maker of watches and clocks.  Three years later, in 1815, Weiss opened his own business, from which he retired in 1865.  He repaired watches and clocks, sold jewelry, and made silver spoons.  Weiss also trained apprentices.  He was a skilled clock maker.  The mechanical clock he built for the steeple of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Allentown, Pennsylvania, was apparently a device of great renown.

Our saint was also a family man.  In 1820 he married Mary Stables, originally of Alexandria, Virginia.  She had moved to Bethlehem to become a tutor at the Young Ladies’ Seminary.  The couple had four children:

  1. George Alexander Weiss (1821-1853),
  2. Elizabeth Caroline Weiss (1824-1906),
  3. William Matthias Weiss (1827-1855), and
  4. Amelia Catherine Weiss (1830-1898).

Mary died on May 18, 1872.  Our saint followed her about sixteen months later.

Weiss, consistent with the best of the culture of his native Moravian Church, was a skilled musician.  He played the trombone, bassoon, and violin well.  For more than half a century Weiss was active in the local trombone quartet.  In 1821 and 1822 he played in performances by the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia (founded in 1820), including a performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s The Creation in 1822.  Our saint was also capable vocalist; he sang bass.

Weiss was a good friend of composer Charles Hommann (1803?-1872).  Hommann, a native of Philadelphia and a son of Johann (John) C. (a German immigrant) and Constantia Hommann, was a church musician (for St. James’ Church then Third Dutch Reformed Church, Philadelphia) who was one of the first U.S. composers to write chamber and orchestral music successfully.  He was a famous composer in his day, but has fallen into obscurity.  In fact, only three of Hommann’s compositions–the Overture in D Major (dedicated to Weiss), the Symphony in E-flat Major, and a second overture–survive.  Hommann moved to New York City in 1854 and presumably died there.

Weiss, an avid reader of literature and keeper of bees, died on September 3, 1873.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 12, 2015 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B

THE FEAST OF ALFRED LEE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF SAINT JULIUS I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM SLOANE COFFIN, SOCIAL ACTIVIST

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Jedediah Weiss

and all those who with skill and music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: