- William wrote extensively about his experiences during the war in “From The Rapidan To Richmond And The Spottsylvania Campaign: A Sketch In Personal Narration Of The Scenes A Soldier Saw “
Following is an excerpt:
“I went into service at the very start. Was made 1st Lieutenant of a company of boys in Danville, Va – my home: This company – the oldest of which – even boys of 17 years of age offered their services to the Government for the war. Which offer was refused on account of the youth of the boys comprising it. The company was then broken up & most of its members – all who were allowed – join other organizations.
I then – having been to a military school was detailed for a time to drill raw volunteers: Then I served a little time in the 38th Va. Infantry Reg: was then transferred to a Cavalry Company – which we intended as a “body guard & special couriers for Genl Lee” – as this was a little slow in materializing – I then was transferred to the 1st Richmond Howitzers Artillery of the A. N. Va -- & served in this Battery through the war, being surrendered at Appomattox. My Battery was in all the operations of the Army of Northern Virginia & I was never absent from my gun – in battle – save once & then I was desperately ill – at home – with typhoid fever – And I am sorry that I was absent that once. I didn’t mean [to] do it & I’ll never do it again.”
William Meade Dame (1844-1923) was born in Virginia, the son of George Washington Dame (1812-1895). He attended the Danville Military Academy and in 1862 at the outbreak of the American Civil War enlisted, at age 17, in the 1st Company of the Richmond Howitzers. After the war he attended the Virginia Theological Seminary and served several parishes in Virginia. In 1869 he married Susan Meade Funsten. Moving to Baltimore in 1878 he was rector at the Episcopal Memorial Church where he remained for 45 years, until his death in 1923.
Biography from “Baltimore Its History and Its People” Pub by Lewis Historical Publishing Co, New York, Chicago: 1912. ed by Arunuah Shepherdson ABell.
WILLIAM MEADE DAME
That the influence of the church is declining is a remark frequently made by those who lack the discernment to perceive that, while creeds and outward observances are undoubtedly losing their hold upon the world-atlarge, there is convincing evidence that the essentials of religion are daily becoming more deeply rooted in the heart of mankind. By reason of its breadth of view and liberality of sentiment the Protestant Episcopal church is peculiarly fitted to exercise influence at the present time especially when its representatives are such men as Dr. William Meade Dame, who has been for more than thirty-three years rector of the Memorial (Protestant Episcopal^ Church of Baltimore.
On the paternal side the ancestors of Dr. Dame came from Cheshire, England, John Dame settling in Dover, New Hampshire, in 1633. At what period one or more of his descendants emigrated to Virginia, we are not informed. On the maternal side Dr. Dame is descended from John Page, of Middlesex, England, who came to the colonies in 1650, establishing his home in Williamsburg, Virginia, and also from Thomas Nelson, "of York," who came from Penrith, Cumberland county, England, in 1700, and settled in Yorktown, Virginia. Among the ancestors of Dr. Dame may be mentioned: William Nelson (1711-72), president of the Council of the Colony of Virginia; Thomas Nelson (1738-89), signer of the Declaration of Independence, governor of Virginia and major-general of the American army; and Carter Page, a distinguished soldier in the Revolutionary War.
Dr. George Washington Dame, father of Dr. William Meade Dame, was a prominent clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal church, and for the remarkably long period of fifty-six years was rector of Camden parish, Danville, Virginia. He was at one time Professor of Latin in HampdenSidney College, and for several years held the office of superintendent of public schools in Pittsylvania county, Virginia. He was a man of "dauntless energy, gift for teaching, utter unselfishness and great charity toward all men." He married Mary Maria, daughter of Major Carter Page, of "The Fork," Cumberland county, Virginia, and his wife, Lucy (Nelson) Page.
William Meade Dame, son of George Washington and Mary Maria (Page) Dame, was born December 17, 1844, at Danville, Virginia, and as a boy, living on the outskirts of a small town, was able to enjoy to the full fishing, riding and hunting. He showed even then that fondness for history, especially the early history of his own country, which in later life became with him a favorite line of study and reading. The influence of his mother on his intellectual and spiritual life was marked and strong, while the genial companionship to which he was admitted by his father was a no less powerful factor in his development. He studied at the Danville Male Academy and afterward at the Danville Military Academy. Homer, Caesar, the history of the Revolutionary and Mexican wars, and the novels of Fenimore Cooper and of Marryat were his favorite reading at this period of his life.
In 1861, though only in his seventeenth year, he became a private volunteer in the Confederate army of Virginia, serving in the first company of Richmond Howitzers until the surrender at Appomattox. Of his decision to be a minister he writes: "In the last two months of the war, in the trenches at Petersburg, came to me the definite purpose, born of the feeling that as God had saved my life and health through the dangers of a long and bloody war, I was bound to that line of duty for life which would most entirely serve Him. My own choice made me a soldier, and after the war a worker; the example, the training and the prayers of my parents, and the Spirit of God made me a minister."
From 1866 to 1869 he pursued his studies at the Theological Seminary of Virginia. From 1869 to 1870 he was deacon in charge of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Haymarket, Virginia, and from 1870 to 1874 was rector of St. John's parish, Loudoun, Fauquier county, Virginia. For the next two years he served as rector of St. Luke's, at Norfolk, Virginia, and in 1876 he became rector of the historic Old Christ Church, at Alexandria, Virginia.
After two years there he was invited to Baltimore and in 1878 became rector of the Memorial Church. For thirty-three years he has been identified, not only with the work of his own parish and with the councils and the business of the Protestant Episcopal church, but with all that is best in the religious and social life of Baltimore. He is a man without pretense, thoroughly genuine, free from small importances, a characteristic of smaller minds, and wholly absorbed in his work. When in 1903 the Memorial Church celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of his rectorship, not only the clergy of the Protestant Episcopal church in his own state, and many visitors from other cities and states, took part in the observance, but the city of Baltimore showed in many ways its warm appreciation of the minister who for a quarter of a century had done such faithful parish work. These twenty-five years showed an increase of communicants from two hundred to nine hundred and three, a Sunday school of six hundred, with a separate building, and such social and religious auxiliaries in the church work as the Girls' Friendly Society, the Woman's Auxiliary, the Junior Auxiliary, a Men's Club, the Church Aid Society, the Junior Brotherhood of St. Andrew, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew and a number of other kindred organizations. Congratulations from former students, from members of the parishes which he had served in earlier years, and from church papers and periodicals throughout the South were received in large numbers and were most gratifying to the friends of Dr. Dame.
A man of deeply embedded convictions as to right and duty, and as true to such convictions as is the magnetic needle to the pole, abounding in sympathy with the sorrowing, a man of broad views, large faith and a great heart, such is Dr. Dame. His style of speaking is original and a deep earnestness and sincerity pervade his utterances and carry conviction with them.
In 1893 St. John's College at Annapolis, Maryland, conferred upon Dr. Dame the degree of Doctor of Divinity. He has been claimed for the special service of chaplain by many societies, notably the Confederate Society in Maryland (since 1878), the Fifth Regiment of the Maryland National Guard (commissioned in 1890), the Sons of the Revolution and the Daughters of the Revolution in Maryland, since their organization. He has been a member of the standing committee of the Diocese of Maryland for the last twelve years, and is now the president of the standing committee. In 1901-04-07-10 he was a deputy from Maryland to the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States.
Dr. Dame is a Master Maston, a Royal Arch Mason and a Knight Templar, and he is chaplain of these orders. He is identified politically with the Democratic party, and in answer to a question as to whether he had ever changed his political allegiance, has been known to reply, "Never changed—mind still sound!" While his favorite indoor amusement is chess, Dr. Dame has always been somewhat of an athlete. He has done a good deal of systematic work in the gymnasium, is still a good shot in the field, marches and camps with his regiment, the Fifth Maryland, and rides the wheel vigorously. He says, "I do the visiting in a large congregation of nine hundred communicants, a task worthy of an A-i athlete, as I declare, who am a judge, having practically tried almost all other forms of athletics!"
Dr. Dame married, September 30, 1869, Susan Meade, daughter of David and Susan (Meade) Funsten, the former colonel of the Eleventh Virginia Infantry, Confederate States Army, and member of the Confederate Congress for Virginia. Dr. Dame and his wife have had five children, four of whom are living. Their son, the Rev. William Page Dame, is now associate rector with his father. Mrs. Dame is a woman of culture and charm, winning the warm friendship of all who are brought within the sphere of her influence, and performing with tact and grace the many and exacting duties which devolve upon the wife of a clergyman who presides over a large city parish.
Dr. Dame is a man of strong personality and of imposing presence. Absolutely without fear, he has never hesitated to denounce what he believed to be wrong and to uphold what he believed to be right, and has always given his influence to those interests which promote culture, works for the Christianizing of the race and recognizes the common brotherhood of man. His ripe and varied experience, his judicial mind and his careful observation have rendered him the trusted counselor of his people at all times and in all phases of their lives. Young and old seek him alike to settle doubts and disputes, to adjust differences and to effect reconciliations.
A life which has allied itself to the lives of so many others by genial friendship and kindly service has won for the man who has lived it the right to be listened to with exceptional interest when he offers suggestions which may be helpful in attaining true success. "Don't put the blame for your failure on God, or on other men and women, but on yourself. Pick your flint and try again, learn wisdom from past mistakes, and you will surely 'get there' and do the work and fill the place in the world that is really meant for you."
Although Dr. Dame is by descent, by birth, by his student training and by his early pastoral work, a Virginian, so thoroughly have the last thirty-three years identified him with all the best interests of Baltimore that Baltimoreans claim him as their own, and it is the sincere wish, not of his parishioners alone, but of all his fellow-citizens, that his rectorship may, like his father's exceed the half-century limit, and that his golden jubilee may be celebrated in the Monumental City.