Thomas Church Brownell

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The Most Reverend
Thomas Church Brownell
7th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
Installed 1824
Term ended 1831
Successor Nathaniel Sheldon Wheaton
Consecration by William White (bishop of Pennsylvania)
Personal details
Born (1779-10-19)October 19, 1779
Westport, Massachusetts
Died January 13, 1865(1865-01-13) (aged 85)
Hartford, Connecticut
Statue of Thomas Church Brownell at Trinity College.

Thomas Church Brownell (October 19, 1779 – January 13, 1865) was founder of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church from 1852 until his death.


Brownell was born in Westport, Massachusetts on Oct. 19, 1779. He was a descendant on his mother's side from Colonel Benjamin Church, an early settler in Little Compton, Rhode Island and the father of American ranging. He studied at Union College, Schenectady, New York, receiving his degree in 1804.

He was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood by Bishop John Henry Hobart. He was consecrated Bishop of Connecticut in New Haven on October 27, 1819. Brownell's extensive writings include diocesan charges, liturgical material, scriptural commentaries and other works. He founded Washington College (now known as Trinity College), Hartford as a faith-based college and served as its first president for nearly a decade.[1]

Brownell served as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church from 1852 until his death, succeeding Philander Chase.

Brownell was buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery, next to Samuel and Elizabeth Colt.[1] Brownell had presided over their wedding in 1856.[1]


Brownell’s son-in-law Gordon Burnham commissioned artist Chauncey Ives to design a larger-than-life bronze statue of Brownell to be placed at Brownell's grave in Cedar Hill Cemetery.[2] It was cast in 1869 by the foundry of Ferdinand von Miller of Munich.[2] Burnham decided to donate the statue to Trinity College instead.[2] The statue was first erected November 11, 1869, overlooking Bushnell Park, at the original site of the college. It was moved in 1878 to the main quadrangle of the new Trinity Campus.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Thomas Church Brownell (1779 – 1865)". Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation. Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Thomas Church Brownell by Chauncey B. Ives". Hartford Art. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  • A Sketch-book of the American Episcopate, by Hermon Griswold Batterson
  • The Episcopate in America, by William Stevens Perry

External links[edit]

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
Philander Chase
7th Presiding Bishop
Succeeded by
John Henry Hopkins
Preceded by
Abraham Jarvis
3rd Bishop of Connecticut
Succeeded by
John Williams