209 E. Madison Street
Bolton, Mississippi



St. Mary's Gifted With Antique Organ



Excerpt from the Hinds County Gazette

September 9, 2010


Thanks to the support of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Bovina and the combined efforts of the communities of Bolton, Raymond and Edwards, great things are happening at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Bolton. For a century and a half, except for special occasions, the doors to the church have remained closed. “But that is changing,” stated The Very Reverend Billie Abraham, rector of St. Alban’s church, who will officiate at the September 12, 2010, 4:00 p.m. re-opening of St. Mary’s.

“The church has been cleaned and is ready for services,” commented Terry Brantley of St. Alban’s church who conceived the idea of trying to find a way to re-open St. Mary’s. With The Reverend Abraham’s positive attitude, the re-opening of St. Mary’s became a reality.

While cleaning the sanctuary of St. Mary’s, it was obvious that the antiquated electric organ was no longer a working instrument. Word quickly spread that St. Mary’s needed to obtain a new instrument for services. Within days, Brantley received a phone call from James Anderson, a long-time resident of Bolton and a musician with many contacts. Anderson immediately began to search for a replacement instrument. Anderson’s search led him to contact James Henry LeBatard, a deacon and musician at St. Pierre’s Episcopal Church, Gautier, Mississippi, regarding an organ the church had advertised for sale.


The 1902 Estey Artist Reed Organ was gifted to St. Mary’s by James Anderson, long-time church member, in memory of his parents, Andy and Vera Anderson

James Henry LeBatard, deacon and musician at St. Pierre’s Episcopal, shows the 1902 Estey Artist Reed Organ
to Harvey Smith

James Henry LeBatard presents Harvey Smith a letter transferring the antique organ to St. Mary’s Episcopal

Harvey Smith and Jim Drake (not shown) pick up the 1902 Estey Artist Reed Organ at St. Pierre's Episcopal Church in Gautier

James Anderson, long-time resident of Bolton, enjoys the sound of the organ which he donated in memory of his parents

Martha Ann Alford practices for the Holy Eucharist

James Anderson and Martha Ann Alford
enjoying the sound of the organ

James Anderson and James Henry LeBatard make music together


In response to an inquiry, Anderson received a picture along with the history of the organ. One look at the beauty of the instrument led Anderson to decide that the organ was just the one he wanted to purchase and donate to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church of Bolton. The age and beauty of the old organ complimented the age and beauty of the church.

LeBatard described the instrument as being a 1902 Estey Artist Reed Organ. “The Estey Company was the 'top of the line' company for manufacturing Reed Organs,” wrote LeBatard. “The instrument was designed for the serious organ student who did not have access to a pipe organ. It has five and one-half ranks of reeds, and is suitable for accompanying hymns as well as playing a variety of music for recital. The organ is entirely mechanical in nature, like a tracker pipe organ, except the bellows were removed and an Estey blower was installed sometime in the 1930s. The organ has great ‘lung power’ and supplies enough sound to fill the room.

“As with a mechanical pipe organ, it takes some getting used to for the organist. Like riding a bicycle, the more one plays the instrument, the more adept one becomes at playing it with precision and skills. I should say that the instrument is in excellent condition, and was played every Sunday (and major holy days) during the time we had the instrument. The organ needs to be played and I think its style and sound will be well suited to St. Mary’s Church in Bolton.”

Anderson is elated over the purchase of the organ and anxiously awaits the instrument’s arrival in Bolton. “My mother, Vera Anderson was a musician,” Anderson commented, “and she and my father, Andy Anderson, were members of the Bolton Baptist Church. When I was growing up, the original Bolton library was in the back part of St. Mary’s. I have many fond memories of 'checking out' books from dear Miss Sessions. I’ve sung in Episcopal choirs most of my adult life so enlivening St. Mary’s with a new organ that is period to the design was high on my list of things to do for this glorious space. A brass plaque to be placed on the organ will read: “Dedicated to the Memory of Vera Ross and Andy Anderson.”

“My ties to the town of Bolton run deep,” stated Anderson who is Creative Director at Amacker, Inc., advertising and marketing. Anderson also directs The Chimneyville Readers Theatre and plans to do a benefit reading of his adaptation of Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory at St. Mary’s in December.

Anderson is looking forward to the September 12th Celebration of the Holy Eucharist at St. Mary’s. “It’s going to be a glorious day,” said Anderson who plans to sing in the choir. Also raising their voices in song will be choir members from St. Alban’s and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Churches.


“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: Make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” Psalms 98:4



Rebecca Blackwell Drake



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