Henry Onderdonk

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Henry Ustick Onderdonk (March 16, 1789–December 6, 1858) was the second Episcopal bishop of Pennsylvania.

Early life[edit]

Onderdonk was born in New York City.[1] He studied at Columbia University, receiving his degree in 1805, and then traveled to Britain for further education, receiving his medical degree from the University of Edinburgh.[1] On returning to the United States, Onderdonk practiced medicine in New York before being ordained to the deaconate and priesthood by Bishop John Henry Hobart.[1] In 1816, he went to western New York as a missionary and then returned east to become rector of St. Ann's Church in Brooklyn, remaining there for seven years.[1]

Bishop of Pennsylvania[edit]

Onderdonk was elected assistant Bishop of Pennsylvania in 1827, serving initially as assistant to Bishop William White.[2] He was the 21st bishop of the ECUSA, and was consecrated by bishops William White, Alexander Viets Griswold, and James Kemp. However, bishop Kemp died of injuries received in a stage coach accident while returning from the consecration, so Onderdonk substituted in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland until a successor was elected.[3]

On Bishop White's death in 1836, Onderdonk became bishop.[2] Onderdonk was a strong advocate of the pre-Tractarian High Church position, in company with his brother Benjamin Treadwell Onderdonk, who was also a bishop. In 1844, Onderdonk was suspended from the exercise of his episcopal office after rumors of alcoholism.[2] The suspension was lifted in 1856, two years before his death.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Batterson, 94
  2. ^ a b c d Batterson, 95
  3. ^ George Freeman Bragg, The First Negro Priest on Southern Soil (Baltimore: Church Advocate Press, 1909) p. 13, available at google books


External links[edit]