Henry Y. Satterlee

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The Right Reverend
Henry Yates Satterlee
Bishop of Washington, D.C.
A master builder, being the life and letters of Henry Yates Satterlee, first bishop of Washington (1916) (14780517001).jpg
Bishop Henry Yates Satterlee
Province Province 3 Flag of the US Episcopal Church.svg
Diocese Episcopal Bishop of Washington
Predecessor None
Successor Alfred Harding
Ordination 1866 as priest
Consecration 1896 as bishop
Personal details
Born (1843-01-11)January 11, 1843
New York City
Died February 22, 1908(1908-02-22) (aged 65)
Washington, D.C.
Buried Bethlehem Chapel of Washington National Cathedral
Spouse Jane Lawrence Churchill
Alma mater Columbia University
General Theological Seminary

Henry Yates Satterlee (1843–1908) was the first Episcopal Bishop of Washington,[1][2] serving from 1896 to 1908. He established the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, popularly known as Washington National Cathedral.


Early life[edit]

He was born on January 11, 1843 at the corner of Greenwich and Carlyle Streets, New York City the son of Edward Satterlee[3][4] and Jane Anna Yates,[5] the daughter Henry Christopher Yates, an attorney-at-law; and for a number of years a New York State Senator and member of the Council of Appointment[5] and Catharine, daughter of Johannes Mynderse[3] and a grand niece of Joseph Christopher Yates, who was an American lawyer, politician. statesman, and founding trustee of Union College. He was also a descendant of Jellis Douwese Fonda, who emigrated in 1642 to the Dutch colony of New Netherland (New York).

His uncle was Charles Yates,[5] a Brigadier-General during the American Civil War. Charles' daughter, Stella Yates[6] (November 23, 1866 - February 2, 1929), married on June 10, 1891, in New York City, Benjamin Brewster, the son of the Rev. Joseph Brewster[7][8][9][10] and Sarah Jane Bunce.[11] He was the Episcopal Bishop of Maine and Missionary Bishop of Western Colorado.


He graduated from Columbia University in 1863, and in 1866 graduated from the General Theological Seminary, New York City.

Marriage and personal life[edit]

He married on June 30, 1866, Jane Lawrence Churchill,[12] the daughter of Timothy Gridley Churchill and Patience Lawrence. They were the parents of two children. Their son, the Rev. Churchill Satterlee, was a clergyman of the Episcopal Church.[12] Their daughter, Constance Satterlee, married Frederick W. Rhinelander, the brother of Philip M. Rhinelander, the seventh Episcopal Bishop of Pennsylvania.


In 1866, he was ordained a deacon in the Protestant Episcopal Church, and a priest in 1867. He was assistant rector of Zion Parish at Wappingers Falls, in Dutchess County, New York starting in 1865, and became its rector in 1875. He was rector of Calvary Church, New York from 1882 until 1896 when he became the Bishop of Washington, D.C. While at Calvary, he had been active in mission work to the poor in the city's Lower East Side. Satterlee gained international respect for his integrity and leadership and he also worked hard to promote the black clergy of the diocese. In 1888, he declined election as Assistant Bishop of Ohio[13] and in 1889 declined election as Bishop of Michigan.[13]


On March 25, 1896 he was consecrated the first Episcopal Bishop of Washington at Calvary Church, New York City. The consecrator was to have been Bishop John Williams (1817-1899) of Connecticut, the presiding Bishop, but his fragile condition prevented him from attending.[14] In his place, the Right Reverend Arthur Cleveland Coxe (1818-1896), Second Bishop of Western New York, presided, assisted by the Right Reverend Henry Codman Potter (1835-1908), Seventh Bishop of New York. Henry Yates Satterlee was the first Episcopal Bishop of Washington, serving from 1896 to 1908.[1] He established the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, popularly known as Washington National Cathedral. He was responsible for acquiring its land atop Mt. Saint Alban in Northwest Washington[15] and overseeing its construction in the 14th century English Gothic style, envisioning the role of the cathedral in state and world affairs.

Honors awarded[edit]

He received an honorary degree of D.D. from Union College in 1882 and from Princeton University in 1896; and that of LL.D from Columbia University in 1897.[16]


He died on February 22, 1908 in Washington, D.C. He is buried in the Bethlehem Chapel of Washington National Cathedral.[15][17]

List of works[edit]

He is the author of Christ and his Church (1878); Life Lessons of the Prayer Book (1890); A Creedless Gospel and the Gospel Creed (1894); New Testament Churchmanship (1899); The calling of the Christian and Christ's Sacrament of Fellowship (1902) and The Building of a Cathedral (1901).[16]



  1. ^ a b Dr. Satterlee is Chosen" New York Times. December 7, 1895.
  2. ^ Dr. Satterlee consecrated as Bishop of Washington" New York Times. March 22, 1896.
  3. ^ a b Brent, 3
  4. ^ Obituary: "Edward Satterlee" New York Times. May 1, 1878.
  5. ^ a b c Yates, 270-277
  6. ^ Obituary: "Stella Yates Brewster" New York Times. February 3, 1929.
  7. ^ Jones, 781
  8. ^ Jones, 782
  9. ^ Wright, 34
  10. ^ His father, an 1842 graduate of Yale, was first the rector of St. Paul's Church in Windham, Connecticut, but soon after of St. Paul's, Wallingford, whence he removed to New Haven, and became rector of Christ Church, in which position he remained for nearly thirty years. The Rev. Joseph Brewster ended his useful life on Nov. 20, 1895, during his incumbency of St. Michael's Church, Brooklyn, N. Y.
  11. ^ He was a direct descendant of both Love Brewster, a passenger with his father, mother and brother, Wrestling, aboard the Mayflower and a founder of the town of Bridgewater, Massachusetts; and of Elder William Brewster, the Pilgrim colonist leader and spiritual elder of the Plymouth Colony, and passenger aboard the Mayflower and one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact.
  12. ^ a b Gates, 275
  13. ^ a b Gates, 273
  14. ^ Brent, Charles H. (1916). A Master Builder: Being the Life and Letters of Henry Yates Satterlee, First Bishop of Washington. New York: Longmans, Green, and Co. p. 174. ISBN 978-1152562530.
  15. ^ a b "The Washington National Cathedral History". Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  16. ^ a b Gates, 274
  17. ^ Henry Yates Satterlee at Find A Grave


  • Brent, Charles Henry (1916). A master builder: being the life and letters of Henry Yates Satterlee, first bishop of Washington. Longmans, Green and Co.
  • Gates, Merrill Edwards (1905). Men of Mark in America. Men of Mark Publishing Company.
  • Jones, Emma C. Brewster (1908). The Brewster Genealogy, 1566-1907: a Record of the Descendants of William Brewster of the "Mayflower", ruling elder of the Pilgrim church which founded Plymouth Colony in 1620. New York: Grafton Press.
  • Wright, R.W. (1878). Biographical record: Yale University. Class of 1842. R.W. Wright, compiler. Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, Printers.
  • Yates, Austin A. (1902). Schenectady County, New York: Its History to the Close of the Nineteenth Century. New York History Company.

Further reading[edit]

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington
Succeeded by
Alfred Harding

External links[edit]