William Vesey

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Rev. William Vesey (October 10, 1674 – July 11, 1746) was the first rector of Trinity Church in Manhattan.

Early life and family[edit]

Vesey was born in Braintree, MA, in 1674, the son of William and Mary Vesey. The Vesey family had for a long time been established in Braintree. His father was a member of the state legislature, 1702, and one of the organizers of Christ church in 1704, giving land for the site of an edifice in 1725. He was graduated from Harvard College, A.B., 1693; served as a lay reader at Sag Harbor, New York, for six months, and subsequently studied theology under the Rev. Samuel Myles of King's Chapel, Boston, Mass. He was married, March 1, 1698, to Mrs. Mary Reede, who subsequently became the wife of Judge Daniel Horsmanden of New York City.


He was lay reader at Hempstead, New York, 1695–96; served as assistant minister for three months in the latter year in King's Chapel, and having been appointed minister pursuant of Trinity parish, New York City, went to England under the auspices of the church to complete his ministerial preparation. He was graduated from Oxford, A.M., 1696 ; ordained priest, Aug. 2, 1696, and installed rector of Trinity parish upon the completion of its edifice, March 13, 1698. A protege of Increase Mather, he visited England for the relief of his church, 1714–15, returning as commissary to the Venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel by appointment of Bishop Compton of London, and by his industry the Church of England was firmly planted in the United States, twenty-two churches having been established by Vesey during his forty-eight years of rectorship.


His name is perpetuated in Vesey street, Manhattan, and his portrait was placed in Trinity chapel. He died in New York City, July 11, 1746.