Samuel Provoost

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Samuel Provoost
3rd Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
Samuel Provoost-Bishop Episcopal Church USA.jpg
Samuel Provoost
ChurchEpiscopal Church
In office1792–1795
PredecessorSamuel Seabury
SuccessorWilliam White
Other post(s)Bishop of New York (1787-1815)
OrdinationMarch 25, 1766
by Edmund Keene
ConsecrationFebruary 4, 1787
by John Moore
Personal details
BornMarch 11, 1742
DiedSeptember 6, 1815(1815-09-06) (aged 73)
New York City, New York, United States
BuriedTrinity Church Cemetery
ParentsJohn Provoost and Eva Rutgers
Maria Bousfield
(m. 1766)
Alma materKing's College, New York
SignatureSamuel Provoost's signature

Samuel Provoost (March 11, 1742 – September 6, 1815) was an American Clergyman. He was the first Chaplain of the United States Senate and the first Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, as well as the third (possibly the second[clarification needed]) Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA. He was consecrated as bishop of New York in 1787 with Bishop William White.[1] He was the first Episcopal Bishop of Dutch and Huguenot ancestry.

Early life[edit]

Samuel Provoost was born in New York City, New York to John Provoost and Eva Rutgers on 26 February 1742. He was baptized on 28 February 1742 (The Roosevelt Genealogy, 1649–1902). He was a descendant of William Provoost, who was of a Huguenot family (some of the early settlers in Quebec). His paternal grandmother was Mary (née Spratt) Alexander (1693–1760).

Samuel was educated at King's College, which is now known as Columbia University. Provoost graduated from King's College in 1758. In 1761 he arrived in England and continued his studies at Peterhouse, Cambridge.[2][3] Samuel was fluent in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, and while he was at the College he learned French and Italian gaining the distinction as a linguist.[4] Samuel Provoost also matriculated at the University of Leiden, July 28, 1764.[5][6]


In February 1766, Provoost was ordained a deacon at the Chapel Royal of St James's Palace in Westminster and a priest in March 1766. In September 1766, Provoost sailed to New York with his wife and in December he became an assistant minister of Trinity parish, a post he retained until 1774 when he withdrew. He declined to serve as delegate to the Continental Congress, though his patriotic impulses led him to join his neighbors in their pursuit of the British after the burning of the town of Esopus. He did not resume the active ministry until the close of the war.[7]

In 1784, he became rector of Trinity Church, New York and, in 1785, chaplain of the Continental Congress. Provoost was elected first Bishop of New York at the Diocesan Convention in 1786.[8] A short while later, he was honored with the degree of Doctor of Divinity from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1787, Provoost was consecrated with Dr. William White at Lambeth Place by Dr. John Moore. Provoost was elected Chaplain to the Senate in 1789. Due to health issues, he resigned the rectorship of Trinity in 1800. The following year, Provoost sought to relinquish his episcopal office, but the House of Bishops declined his resignation, instead appointing an Assistant Bishop. Provoost retired in 1801.[1][9]

Personal life[edit]

On June 8, 1766, he married Maria Bousfield (d. 1799)[9] who was the daughter of Thomas Bousfield, a rich Irish banker and the sister of Benjamin Bousfield,[1] a Sheriff of Cork City. Their children were:[10][11]

  • Maria Provoost (1770–1837), who married Cadwallader D. Colden (1769–1834)[10] in 1793.[12][13]
  • Benjamin Bousfield Provoost (1776–1841), who married Nellie French (d. 1863) in 1803,[12] and had 8 children.[10]
  • John Provoost (d. 1800), who died young.[10]
  • Susanna Elizabeth Provoost, who married George Rapalje (1771–1885) in 1798. and later Dr. Julian Xavier Charbet (1792–1859).[10][12][14]

His wife died in August 1799.[9] Bishop Provoost died in 1815 due to a stroke.[1]


Samuel Provoost was the fourth bishop consecrated for the Episcopal Church of the United States.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Samuel Provoost; American Clergyman" "Encyclopædia Britannica"
  2. ^ "(PRVT761S)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  3. ^ Sprague, William B., "Rt Rev. Samuel Provoost" "Project Canterbury" 2008
  4. ^ "Provost (or Provoost), Samuel (PRVT761S)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  5. ^ Album Studiosorum Academiae Lugduno Batavae MDLXXV-MDCCCLXXV, kol. 1082.
  6. ^ Index to English speaking students who have graduated at Leyden university / by Edward Peacock, F.S.A. - London : For the Index society, by Longmans, Green & co. 1883, p. 80, 1082.
  7. ^ Wilson, James G., "A Sketch of the First Bishop of New York" "Project Canterbury" 2008
  8. ^ Chorley, E. C., "Samuel Provoost: First Bishop of New York" "Project Canterbury" 2010
  9. ^ a b c Ryder, George T. (August 21, 1886). "The First Bishop of New York". The Churchman. Churchman Company: 201–202. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e Greene, Richard Henry; Stiles, Henry Reed; Dwight, Melatiah Everett; Morrison, George Austin; Mott, Hopper Striker; Totten, John Reynolds; Pitman, Harold Minot; Ditmas, Charles Andrew; Forest, Louis Effingham De; Maynard, Arthur S.; Mann, Conklin (1880). The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  11. ^ Valentine's Manual of Old New York. Valentine's manual, Incorporated. 1916. p. 228. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Whittelsey, Charles Barney (1902). The Roosevelt Genealogy, 1649-1902. Press of J.B. Burr & Company. p. 33. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  13. ^ Adams, Louisa Catherine (2014). A Traveled First Lady. Harvard University Press. p. 305. ISBN 9780674369276. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  14. ^ Fisher, James (2015). Historical Dictionary of American Theater: Beginnings. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780810878334. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  • W. S. Perry, The History of the American Episcopal Church, 1587-1883 (Boston, 1885)
  • The Centennial History of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of New York, 1785-1885, edited by J. G. Wilson, (New York, 1886)

External links[edit]

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
1st Bishop of New York
Succeeded by
Preceded by 3rd Presiding Bishop
September 13, 1792 – September 8, 1795
Succeeded by
Preceded by
1st US Senate Chaplain
April 25, 1789 – December 9, 1790
Succeeded by