ST. ANN’S CHURCH, Mott Haven

by Kevin Walsh

St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, St. Ann’s Avenue between East 139th and East 141st Streets, is The Bronx’ oldest church, having been built in 1841 and dedicated to Gouverneur Morris‘ mother, named, naturally, Ann. Several members of the Bronx’ most noted families of the colonial era and beyond are buried in the church’s graveyard, including Gouverneur and Lewis Morris.

Before much of Mott Haven was purchased by Jordan Mott for his iron works in the 1840s, Mott Haven was owned by the Morris family.

4/11/13

12 comments

Mike April 12, 2013 - 10:13 am

I grew up on 140th between st. Ann’s and Cypress. Seeing the church brings back a lot of fond memories. Used to attend after school programs there.

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Edward April 12, 2013 - 12:54 pm

Met the Pastor of the church there years ago. I can’t remember her name, but she was very instrumental in helping the poor residents of the area, so much so that she was profiled in a Jonathan Kozol book “Amazing Grace” some years back. She was very sweet and helpful, and I wonder if she’s still at St. Ann’s?

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Edward April 12, 2013 - 12:57 pm

I’ll answer my own question =)

St. Ann’s website lists Rev. Martha Overall as the Pastor, so she’s still there (I met her almost 20 years ago).

God Bless her!

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Kiwiwriter April 17, 2013 - 4:04 pm

So that churchyard has a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

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Sylvia Young November 20, 2014 - 3:20 pm

I visited years age, and was impressed with the beautiful stained glass windows. Could you tell me the name of the woman who designed and perhaps created them?
Thank you
Sylvia

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C. Medina Ruiz May 2, 2018 - 12:41 pm

I think he was referring to Reverend Martha and she had an assistant named Jeremy.
Medina

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Dee February 27, 2019 - 2:41 pm

she does NOT have an assistant names Jeremy. i am 1 of 4 of her Godchildren. and if your from the area your might know who we are. but let me just correct you.

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Laura October 22, 2019 - 3:04 pm

I’m reading Amazing Grace right now and Reverend Martha seems like a truly wonderful person. Since you are a godchild of hers, could you tell me how she’s doing? I really admire her and her stories about the people in Mott Haven in the 90’s. Are many of them still there? Has gentrification driven a lot of long time residents away?

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Laura October 22, 2019 - 3:10 pm

Can you tell me more about Rev. Martha? I’m reading Amazing Grace right now. She is a saint, right? How is St. Ann’s doing/? Do you live in Mott Haven? Has it gentrified much? Do most of the people from the early 90’s still live there? I read that crime dropped 72% from 1995-2018. Is this correct? How has it changed in the last 25 years? Thanks for answering.

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Patrick July 12, 2020 - 8:21 pm

An incredible thank you to Kevin Walsh, for his research and his scholarship. You have educated me and brought back my childhood! I was born in the Bronx 82 years ago. My father was born in the Bronx in 1910 on E. 146th St. between Willis and third Avenue. My grandfather immigrated from Ireland and settled in the north New York section which today they would call Matt Haven. You once wrote a piece on Teasdale place. I lived on Teasdale place until I was four years old in 1942. Even that far back I can remember a small, Vest pocket park across the street from our building. We moved to E. 145th St. between Brook and Willis Avenue in 1942. I went to school around the corner on 144th St. at Saint Pius School. Some of the things I remember Are Clark junior high school was on our block across the street from Saint Pius church. Far as I know it’s still there but it Ceased to be a school along time ago. Down the block on the same side of the street was a synagogue. It was the first and the oldest synagogue in Bronx county. It was called Temple hand in hand. I know it sounds like a strange name. Three blocks south on E. 142nd St. approximately in the same position as my apartment building was a group of buildings occupied by the seven picarilli Brothers Who were master craftsman from Carrara Italy. That’s where they manufactured, carved chiseled and created the Lincoln Memorial. Check it out. Five blocks just north of us was the Janes and Kirkland iron works. That’s where they manufactured the dome on the United States Capitol building. Check that one out too, When I grew up there it was never pleasant Street – fun with Dick and Jane. It was a rough working class, mainly Irish Catholic neighborhood. It has not been any of those things in the last 65 years.
Some great people came out of that neighborhood. There’s very little of the original neighborhood left because of the arson in the 70s, My old school is still there and so is the church but they have both been padlocked along time ago. As far as I know St. Luke’s, Saint Jerome‘s and Saint Rita’s on College Avenue are the only Catholic Churches operating. My Irish grandfather was a stonemason and he helped build Saint Rita’s church. At one time we had nine movie theaters in the neighborhood from 149th St. down to 138th St., Saint Anne’s Avenue to Third Avenue. Now there are none.I could go on but it’s painful to think about how it used to be and how it is now. Thank you Kevin for the great work that you do. It is much appreciated.

Anonymous February 27, 2019 - 2:43 pm

wrong

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Peter Keller May 6, 2020 - 2:34 pm

Martha Overall is still there 25 years after Amazing Grace and still doing amazing work! St. Ann’s runs multiple outreach programs in the Mott Haven section.
The feeding program provides food and a welcoming community for many including many of the homeless people who live under the bridges and overpasses in Mott Haven. St. Anns’s also provides children’s enrichment programs & clothing (and “interview” clothing) and other essentials to an at-risk population.
She is amazing

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