Philander Chase

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The Most Reverend
Philander Chase
6th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
Chase Philander-Bishop Episcopal Church USA.jpg
Church Episcopal Church in the United States of America
See Illinois
In office 1843–1852
Predecessor Alexander Viets Griswold
Successor Thomas Church Brownell
Ordination 1799
Personal details
Born December 14, 1775
Cornish, New Hampshire, USA
Died September 20, 1852(1852-09-20) (aged 76)
Jubilee College, Illinois, USA
Previous post Bishop of Ohio, Bishop of Illinois

Philander Chase (December 14, 1775 – September 20, 1852) was an Episcopal Church bishop, educator, and pioneer of the United States western frontier in Ohio and Illinois. He was the brother of Dudley Chase, and the uncle of Dudley Chase Denison and Salmon P. Chase.


In 1795 while still a student at Dartmouth College, Chase was instrumental in establishing Trinity Church in his hometown of Cornish, New Hampshire.[1] In 1799 as a missionary, he helped to organize first congregation of what would become St. John's Episcopal Church, Canandaigua, New York. In 1805 he was appointed as the founding rector of what is now Christ Church Cathedral, New Orleans, where he had gone because of his wife's health. Returning to the north in 1811, he became rector of Christ's Church, Hartford, Connecticut.[2]

Deeply interested in the religious condition and prospects of the western United States, he went in 1817 to Ohio, and worked on planting and building up the church in that state.[2] He became the first Episcopal Bishop of Ohio in 1819, and later the first Episcopal bishop of Illinois, simultaneously serving as Presiding Bishop of the national church.

While he was bishop of Ohio, his 12-year-old nephew, Salmon P. Chase, came to Ohio and became his ward, and he oversaw the younger Chase's education. Salmon's father had died some years earlier. Salmon was educated in Worthington, and then entered Cincinnati College. He went on to become a statesman and jurist of note.[3]

Upset by the lack of institutions of higher learning west of the Appalachian Mountains, Philander Chase undertook a difficult fund-raising campaign both in the United States and in England to raise money for such a school to be located in Ohio; the largest donation came from Jane, Dowager Countess of Rosse.[4]

He became the founder and first president of Kenyon College and Bexley Hall seminary in Gambier, Ohio in 1824. Originally the college existed in Worthington, Ohio, but Chase chose to relocate the school on the remote hill of Gambier to protect his students from the immorality (such as drinking and dancing) that could be found in cities.

As Kenyon College grew, Chase came into conflict with the teachers and the trustees of the college, as he desired more control over the direction of the college. After a quarrel with the Board of Trustees, Chase resigned his position as President of the college in 1831. He was succeeded by the Bishop Charles McIlvaine.[5]

After removing himself and his family 20 miles to a farm near Millersburg (named the 'Valley of Peace' by Chase), Chase spent the final years of his life founding Jubilee College and the surrounding frontier community near present-day Peoria, Illinois, financed by arduous fund-raising journeys overseas.

He was the 18th bishop consecrated in The Episcopal Church.


Chase is honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on September 22.


  • A Plea for the West (1826)
  • The Star in the West, or Kenyon College (1828)
  • Defense of Kenyon College (1831)
  • A Plea for Jubilee (1835)
  • Reminiscences: An Autobiography (1848)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Trinity Church
  2. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg "Chase, Philander". The American Cyclopædia. 1879. 
  3. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Chase, Salmon Portland". The American Cyclopædia. 1879. 
  4. ^ Greenslade Jr., Thomas B. "The Earl of Rosse's Leviathan Telescope". Kenyon College. 
  5. ^ The Last Page – Kenyon alumni bulletin has a succession of early college presidents. Retrieved on November 21, 2006


External links[edit]

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
New Diocese
1st Bishop of Ohio
1819 – 1832
Succeeded by
Charles Pettit McIlvaine
Preceded by
New Diocese
1st Bishop of Illinois
1835 – September 20, 1852
Succeeded by
Henry J. Whitehouse
Preceded by
Alexander Viets Griswold
6th Presiding Bishop
February 15, 1843 – September 20, 1852
Succeeded by
Thomas Church Brownell
Academic offices
Preceded by
Elijah Slack
President of Cincinnati College
1822 – 1823
Succeeded by
William Holmes McGuffey
Preceded by
President of Kenyon College
(and Bexley Hall)

1824 – 1831
Succeeded by
Charles Pettit McIlvaine
Preceded by
President of Jubilee College
1839 – 1852
Succeeded by