Gown bridges five generations

WOODHULL — Woven into the cotton threads of Jane Streeter’s 100-year-old baptismal gown is a story of five generations of faith and tradition.

The story begins in late 1908, when Sarah Walsh Cole made a baptismal gown while she was expecting the birth of her son, Richard Cole, Streeter’s father. He wore that gown at his baptism in 1909 at St. John the Apostle Parish in Woodhull.

Since the garment was made, it has been worn by 16 of Sarah Cole’s descendants at their baptisms. The most recent was on Aug. 10, when Jane Streeter’s great-grandson Braden Brown was baptized by Father Richard Barclift, pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Andalusia.

After Richard’s baptism nearly a century ago, his younger sister was the next to be baptized in the gown. Then came the baptism of Richard’s daughter Jane, who today lives in rural Alpha with her husband, Howard Streeter. They are members of St. John’s in Woodhull.

“Since I was an only child, I was the next generation. Then my husband and I had six children, and they were all baptized in it,” Mrs. Streeter told The Catholic Post.

The tradition continued with the baptisms of the Streeters’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Most of were celebrated in Woodhull, but the two most recent were in Andalusia.

“We’re not a large family, but we do value the tradition. We just feel fortunate that we’ve been able to carry on the tradition,” Streeter said.

“I love the fact that we all have the same faith and that we all want to carry it on,” said Amy Brown, the Streeters’ granddaughter and mother of Braden.

Brown wore the gown at her baptism 29 years ago, and her first child, Emma, now 3 years old, also wore it when she was baptized in 2005.

“I especially value the old things. I think that they’re so much better and nicer than newer things,” Brown told The Post.

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