The first Episcopal service known to have taken place in Carson City occurred on October 19, 1861. The Reverend Henry O. G. Smeathman, who had officiated at the first Episcopal service in Virginia City the month before, conducted the service.
In 1863, the Reverend William Maxwell Reilley was appointed to serve as the first missionary and pastor to Carson City’s Episcopalians. He arrived on October 29th and set about organizing a parish. On November 9, 1863, St. Peter’s Parish was organized with Articles of Incorporation. The original Wardens and Vestrymen included James W. Nye, the Territorial Governor of Nevada, George Turner, the Territorial Judge, and businessman Henry Marvin Yerington, the General Manager of the V & T Railroad, who would play an important role in the life of St. Peter’s for nearly half a century.
At the time of organization, there were only seven confirmed communicants —a handful of seed destined to yield a rich harvest. In addition, the Parish Registry contains the names of fifty-four other persons who, “with their children, made up the ordinary congregation. Frequently, there were many others, and sometimes only a few of these.” The communicant list of the period records thirty names, with the explanatory note: “By Confirmation or by being Ready and Desirous – no visitation being made by the Bishop during the period mentioned (1863-1867).