My Contribution: I hosted numerous events in my home, 305 Chestnut St, the home I grew up in and inherited from my mother, Jane Chester. After my mother’s death, I continued her tradition of hosting important guests traveling through Harrisburg, as well as offering my home for organizing. One of those meetings was the launch of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, which later became Church of the Holy Cross, then St. Gerald’s Episcopal before it merged with St. Paul’s Episcopal Church today.
My Legacy: I was one of the founding members of St. Monica’s Guild/St. Augustine Episcopal Church (1906), later Church of the Holy Cross. Tollie Caution went on to become the first African American to serve the national Episcopal Church as Secretary for Racial Ministries, which later became Union of Black Episcopalians. Today, Central Pennsylvania’s Nathan Baxter Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians continues the work envisioned by the group that gathered in my home. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s recently dedicated St. Augustine’s chapel stands as a commemorative symbol of our work in the community.
About Me: “In June 1906, the Rev. Mr. Livingston came to Harris- burg to make his survey. On June 12, a meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Eliza Zedricks, 305 Chestnut Street. At this meeting the Rev. Livingston spoke and urged organization of St. Monica’s Guild.”
— The Evening News, June 14, 1941.
Full Name: Eliza Chester Zedricks
Birth Date: 1846
Death Date: October 30, 1918
Place of Birth: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Race: Black (1850-1910 Federal Censuses)
Places of Residence: 305 Chestnut Street (property owner), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Carlisle, Pennsylvania (1880’s).
Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Resided two blocks southeast of the Eighth Ward; founding member of St. Augustine Church, located at 433 North Alley.
Family Members: Father: George Chester. Mother: Jane Chester. Siblings: Thomas Morris Chester, David Chester, Charlotte Chester, Maria Chester Booth, Harriet Colbert. Husband: John Zedricks. Children: Harry H. Zedricks, Chester W. Zedricks, Grace Minerva Zedricks Winters, and Bertha F. Zedricks. Daughter-in-Law: Rhoda Zedricks.
Education: Could read and write
Occupations: Hairdresser. Janitress (Stevens building). Glove Cleaner (1910). Mother.
Church Membership: Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church; Capital Presbyterian Church; St. Augustine Episcopal Church (founded in 1906).
Activism: Thursday Club, St. Monica’s Guild, Bachelor Maids
Connections: John Q. Adams, Frisby C. Battis, Morris H. Layton, Sr., James H. Howard, T. Morris Chester, Jane Chester (mother), David R. Chester (brother), and Charlotte Chester Weaver (sister).