Charles Chapman Grafton

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The Right Reverend

Charles Chapman Grafton

Bishop of Fond du Lac
Charles Chapman Grafton.jpg
ChurchEpiscopal Church
DioceseFond du Lac
ElectedNovember 13, 1888
In office1889-1912
PredecessorJohn Henry Hobart Brown
SuccessorReginald Heber Weller
OrdinationMay 30, 1858
by William Rollinson Whittingham
ConsecrationApril 25, 1889
by William Edward McLaren
Personal details
Born(1830-04-12)April 12, 1830
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
DiedAugust 30, 1912(1912-08-30) (aged 82)
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, United States
BuriedSt. Paul's Cathedral (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin)
ParentsJoseph Grafton & Anna Maria Gurley
Alma materHarvard University
Feast dayAugust 30
Venerated inEpiscopal Church

Charles Chapman Grafton SSJE (April 12, 1830 – August 30, 1912) was the second Episcopal Bishop of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

Early life and education[edit]

Born on April 12, 1830, in Boston, Massachusetts,[1] he became an ardent supporter of the Oxford Movement, an affiliation of High Church Anglicans that led to Anglo-Catholicism in The Episcopal Church.

A graduate of Phillips Academy, Andover in 1846, in 1853 Grafton graduated from Harvard University with a degree in law,[1] but he found himself drawn toward the ordained ministry. Grafton studied theology under William Whittingham, Bishop of Maryland, and was ordained deacon on Dec. 23, 1855.


Grafton began his ordained ministry as assistant at Reisterstown, Maryland.[1] On May 30, 1858, he was ordained priest.[1] He then served as curate at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Baltimore and chaplain of the deaconesses of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland.

At the close of the Civil War, Grafton went to Britain. With Richard Meux Benson and Simeon Wilberforce O'Neill he co-founded the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE), also known as the Cowley Fathers.

Grafton returned to the United States and, in 1872, became fourth rector of the Church of the Advent in Boston. A jurisdictional dispute concerning Grafton's overseas religious superior led to his withdrawal from the SSJE. Grafton also helped establish the American Congregation of Saint Benedict; and in 1888 he was a founder of the Sisterhood of the Holy Nativity, along with Mother Ruth Margaret.


Grafton was consecrated bishop on April 25, 1889, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin by William E. McLaren, Bishop of Chicago; Alexander Burgess, Bishop of Quincy; and George F. Seymour, Bishop of Springfield. During his tenure as bishop, Grafton spearheaded a great expansion the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac, much of it driven by contributing much of his own personal wealth and soliciting contributions from many of his wealthy friends back east. He also left behind a legacy of printed works, sermons and essays.

In 1900 Grafton was chief consecrator of Reginald Heber Weller as bishop coadjutor of Fond Du Lac. The liturgy of the consecration was controversial. The Russian Orthodox bishop of Alaska, Saint Tikhon was present as well as Antoni Kozlowski [pl] of the Polish National Catholic Church. Grafton was photographed with these other bishops wearing copes and miters (which was not widely accepted in the Episcopal Church at that time). The photo became known as the "Fond du Lac Circus".


Grafton's grave in the Cathedral of Saint Paul the Apostle in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Grafton is honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on August 30.


  • C. C. Grafton, The Works of the Rt Rev Charles C. Grafton, ed. B. T. Rogers (8 vols., 1914)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Bishop Grafton Dies. Long at Death's Door". Oshkosh Daily Northwestern. August 30, 1912. p. 1. Retrieved September 12, 2016 – via open access


  • A Sketch-book of the American Episcopate, by Hermon Griswold Batterson (Philadelphia: J.P. Lippencott Company, 1891)
  • The Episcopate in America, by William Stevens Perry (New York: The Christian Literature Company, 1895)
  • The Catholic Movement in the American Episcopal Church (2nd Ed) by George DeMille (Philadelphia: Church Historical Society, 1950)
  • A History of the Episcopal Church by Robert Prichard (Harrisburg, PA: Morehouse Pub., 1999)
  • E. C. Miller, 'Bishop Grafton of Fond du Lac and the Orthodox Church', in Sobornost; 4:1 (1982), p. 38-48

External links[edit]

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
2nd Bishop of Fond du Lac
Succeeded by