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Philander Chase, First Bishop of Ohio

A Timeline in Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Consecration of Philander Chase as the First Bishop of Ohio

775 December 14 Born in Cornish, NH to Dudley Chase and Allace Corbett, the youngest of fourteen children, and ultimately survived all his siblings.

1791 Enrolled at Dartmouth College. As a student, Chase became acquainted with the Book of Common Prayer and with a lay reader in the Episcopal Church. After graduating in 1795, he worked as a lay reader in various New England towns while studying for ordination. He studied with the Rev. Thomas Ellison, rector of St. Peter's Church in Albany, NY, while supporting himself teaching at the newly organized city school.

1796 July 19 Married Mary Fay (1779 - 1818) in Albany, NY.

1798 May 10 Ordained deacon by Bishop Samuel Provoost at St. George's Chapel on Long Island, NY.

1799 November 10 Ordained priest by Bishop Samuel Provoost at St. Paul’s Church in New York City. Took charge of Christ Church in Poughkeepsie, NY.

1805 Accepted an invitation to help establish the first Episcopal parish in New Orleans, LA - Christ Church.

1811 Returned to New England to become Rector of Christ Church in Hartford, CT.

1817 March 16 Arrives at Conneaut Creek, OH and holds his first worship service “although there was not an Episcopalian in the place.”

1817 Moved to Worthington, OH, purchased a tract of land for a farm and was appointed principal of Worthington Academy.

1818 March 5 Mary Fay Chase dies in Worthington, OH and is buried in the churchyard of St. John’s Church.

1818 June 3 & 4 Worthington - Unanimously elected bishop after discussion that he could, should and would be the first Bishop of Ohio. Chase was elected Bishop without a salary and supported himself by farming and teaching.

1819 February 11 Consecrated Bishop of Ohio at St. James Church, Philadelphia by the Presiding Bishop and 1st Bishop of Pennsylvania William White assisted by John Henry Hobart, 3rd Bishop of New York; John Croes 1st Bishop of New Jersey; and James Kemp, 2nd Bishop of Maryland. Philander Chase was the 18th bishop consecrated in The Episcopal Church.

1819 July 4 Married Sophia May Ingraham (1782 - 1864) in Worthington, OH.

1820 June - 1821 June Logs 1279 miles on horseback traveling around the Diocese of Ohio. During this time frame Bishop Chase preached 200 times, baptized fifty people, and confirmed another 175. “Bishop Chase was so much on horseback that it would not have been unsuitable to erect an equestrian statue of him...”

1823 October Sets sail to England to raise money for the Theological Seminary of the Diocese of Ohio. By July 1824 he had raised nearly $30,000. Donors included the Lords Gambier, Bexley, and Kenyon, Lady Rosse, and Hannah More.

1824 December The Ohio legislature incorporated Chase’s theological seminary, which he would name Kenyon College after one of its chief benefactors.

1825 Classes held at Kenyon College located at Bishop Chase’s farm in Worthington. The school opened with one student but by the end of the year had twenty-five pupils including five Indian boys. Chase determines that he needs to move the seminary and with the help of Henry Curtis, a young Mount Vernon lawyer, Chase purchased eight thousand acres of land in Knox County, northeast of Worthington, which Chase named Gambier.

1826 Consecrates St. James Church in Cross Creek, OH as the first dedicated church building in Ohio.

1828 Kenyon moves from Worthington to Gambier and in 1829 takes up residence in “Old Kenyon” the college’s first permanent building.

1830 The Gambier Observer is first published “devoted to the interest of Religion in The Episcopal Church.” Being the editor and publisher of The Gambier Observer was only one in the list of things which would have labeled the first Bishop of Ohio as having “control issues.” In addition to serving as Bishop of Ohio and President of Kenyon College, he was also the Postmaster and Fire Chief of Gambier, OH.

1831 September The Convention of the Diocese of Ohio demanded that the Bishop relinquish some control. Chase, both frustrated and exhausted, instead resigned the presidency of Kenyon College and the episcopacy of Ohio on September 9, 1831.

1831 September 10 Left Gambier with his family and settled on a small farm twenty miles away (near Millersburg) which he aptly named the Valley of Peace. The next spring Chase moved his family to Gilead, MI, where he returned to the life of a simple farmer and itinerant minister.

1835 Elected first Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Illinois. Chase returns to England and goes on a fundraising tour of the southern United States. The cornerstone of Jublilee College is dedicated in 1839.

1841 Publishes his two volume autobiography simply titled Bishop Chase’s Reminisces

1843 February 15 Becomes the sixth Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church by virtue of his seniority as the oldest bishop in the church.

1844 October 2 - 22 Presides over the 21st General Convention meeting in Philadelphia, PA. At this convention Philander and Sophia each had a portrait snapped and they also had a portrait of themselves taken together.

1847 October 6 - 28 Presides over the 22nd General Convention meeting in New York, NY.

1850 October 2 - 16 Returns to Ohio for the first and only time since 1831 to preside over the General Convention meeting at Christ Church. At this General Convention he has a portrait snapped by famed photographer Matthew Brady.

1852 September 20 At the age of 76 dies at Jubilee College, IL after being thrown and trampled by his horse. He and Sophia are buried in the Jubilee Churchyard Cemetery–now part of the Jubilee College State Park near Peoria, IL.

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