James Lloyd Breck

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Lloyd Breck
James Lloyd Breck, 1866
BornJune 27, 1818
Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania[1]
Died2 April 1876(1876-04-02) (aged 57)
Benicia, California
Venerated inEpiscopal Church (United States)
FeastApril 2

James Lloyd Breck (June 27, 1818 – April 2, 1876) was a priest, educator, and missionary of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

Breck is commemorated on April 2 on the Episcopal calendar of saints.

Early life and education[edit]

Breck was born in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. He was the fourth son of Catherine D. née Israell and George Breck. He was baptized at All Saints Church, Torresdale, Philadelphia, in 1821.

He attended high school at the Flushing Institute (at Flushing, New York), founded by William Augustus Muhlenberg, who inspired him to resolve at the age of sixteen to devote himself to missionary activity. Senator James Lloyd of Massachusetts and Breck's uncle financed his education at Flushing and the University of Pennsylvania.[2] He received a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1838 and a B.D. from the General Theological Seminary in 1841.[1] At the seminary he was heavily influenced by William Whittingham and the high church movement.[3]


In 1842, by then a deacon in the Episcopal Church, he went to the frontier of Wisconsin with two classmates, under the direction of Bishop Jackson Kemper, to found Nashotah House, intended as a monastic community, a seminary, and a center for theological work. It continues today as a seminary. Breck was ordained into the priesthood later that year by the Missionary Bishop, Jackson Kemper at the Oneida Indian settlement 150 miles north of Nashotah.[4]

Breck (right) with Enmegahbowh (The Rev. John Johnson) (left) and Isaac Manitowab (center).

In 1850 Breck moved to Minnesota where he began another mission. On June 23, 1850 he celebrated the first Episcopal Eucharist in the La Crosse area.[5] Two years later he began work among the Ojibway, founding St. Columba Mission.

In 1855 Breck married Jane Maria Mills, one of the teachers at the St. Columba Mission. He opened another mission at Leech Lake in 1856, and then in 1857 he moved to Faribault where he and the Rev. Solon Manney began a mission school to train clergy to work in Minnesota missions.[6] Breck worked closely with the first Bishop of Minnesota, Henry Whipple and the mission school for clergy became Seabury Seminary which survives today as Bexley-Seabury Western Seminary in Chicago.[7]

Jane Breck died in 1862 and Breck married Sarah Stiles in 1864.[8] Three years later he moved to Benicia, California to build another two institutions.[9]

Breck was known as "The Apostle of the Wilderness".[10]


Breck's grave at Nashotah House

Breck died in Benicia in 1876. He was buried beneath the altar of the church he served as rector but later his body was removed and reinterred on the grounds of Nashotah House in Nashotah, Wisconsin. The recommittal service there had 14 bishops, about 100 priests, and many lay people in attendance.[1][11]


Breck's major legacies were Nashotah House Seminary, Seabury Seminary, and several other institutions since closed including Racine College in Delafield, Wisconsin, St. Augustine College in Benicia, California, and St. Mary's School in Benicia. Breck School in Golden Valley, Minnesota, founded in 1886, was named for him.[12]

Henry M. Ackley, who was married to Breck's niece and had been connected with Nashotah House, later became a member of the Wisconsin State Senate.


The Rev. James Lloyd Breck is commemorated on April 3 in the calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA).[13]


  1. ^ a b c Hein, David, and Shattuck, Gardiner H., Jr., The Episcopalians, Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2004, pp. 172–174 ISBN 0-313-22958-9
  2. ^ Robert W. Prichard. "Breck, James Lloyd"; http://www.anb.org/articles/08/08-00172.html; American National Biography Online Feb. 2000.
  3. ^ Dictionary of American Biography Vol. 2 p. 3
  4. ^ Nashotah Scholiast Vol.4 No.2, 1886, p. 28-30
  5. ^ Goldstein, Norm, editor, Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law, 2000, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus Publishing, pp. 84-85."The Life of the Reverend James Lloyd Breck, D.D." anglicanhistory.org. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  6. ^ Pritchard, "Breck".
  7. ^ Seabury: About Seabury: Seabury's History Archived 2008-06-22 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Pritchard, "Breck."
  9. ^ "Benicia Historical Museum at the Camel Barns - 1850s - Athens of California". Benicia Historical Museum. Archived from the original on 2010-05-19. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  10. ^ Holcombe, T.I. (1903). An Apostle of the Wilderness: James Lloyd Breck, D.D., His Missions and His Schools. T. Whittaker. Retrieved 2015-04-13.
  11. ^ "A Commemoration Service At Seabury Seminary". Archived from the original on 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
  12. ^ "History", Breck School.
  13. ^ Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018. Church Publishing, Inc. 2019-12-01. ISBN 978-1-64065-234-7.

External links[edit]