The St. Margaret Mary Window
The St. Margaret Mary stained glass window is inscribed “In Memory of Mathew Atkinson”. Mathew Atkinson was born 1843 here in Lake County and married Sarah Ann Nolan Atkinson on November 18th, 1867. Mathew and Sarah had six children; John, Mary, Catherine, Matthew, Theresa, and Vincent. Mathew and Sarah Atkinson owned a 200-acre farm and both of their parents were early settlers of the Lake Forest area. Mathew is the brother of Sarah Atkinson Bradley, who was married to James Bradley, Jr., the son of James Bradley who’s name adorns the Resurrection stained glass window behind the altar.
Mathew’s parents were John and Catherine Atkinson who were born in Ireland and immigrated to Canada around 1825 then eventually to Lake County, Illinois in 1837. John was well educated with a law degree from Trinity College in Dublin. John and Catherine Atkinson had a large prosperous 400-acre farm in Libertyville and Roundout which allowed them to build a grand home with a fireplace in each room and live-in staff. They also owned the property on which Lake Forest College now stands. John was excited about the prospect of a university being built and sold his land to the college for $6,900.
Sarah Ann Nolan Atkinson’s parents were John Nolan and Mary Melody who are also early pioneers of the area. Mary Melody’s father, Patrick, allowed the use of his farm to fire and store bricks along with housing the construction workers who built our first permanent church structure which was completed in 1855.
Mathew Atkinson died on March 9th, 1907 at the age of 64. His wife, Sarah Ann Nolan Atkinson lived 24 years past her husband’s death and passed away on March 16th, 1931. She is likely responsible for donating the stained glass window in honor of her late husband. Mathew and Sarah, along with most of their children are interred at St. Patrick Cemetery.