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MCILVAINE, CHARLES PETTIT

MCILVAINE, CHARLES PETTIT

MCILVAINE, CHARLES PETTIT (18 Jan. 1799-14 Mar. 1873), second bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio (1832-73) and president of Kenyon College (1833-40), was born in Burlington, N.J., the son of Joseph and Maria (Reed) McIlvaine. He graduated from the College of New Jersey (1816), and studied theology privately (1816-17) and in a Presbyterian seminary (1817-19). Ordained a deacon (1820) and priest (1823), he preferred society and power, and advocated religious freedom while warning about Catholic intrusion into Protestant America. He received honorary doctorates from Princeton, Brown (1832), Oxford (1853), and Cambridge (1858). McIlvaine joined a deputation in 1871 to Czar Alexander II, protesting Russian religious persecution in the Baltic area. Of his many writings, his most popular book, Evidences of Christianity (1832), went into 30 editions.

McIlvaine organized one of the nation's first Sunday schools, was chaplain to the U.S. Senate (1822-25), and at West Point, where he was chaplain and professor of ethics (1825-27), influenced many students who became important in the CIVIL WAR. As professor of religion at the University of the City of New York 1831-32), he inaugurated a series of popular lectures. In Ohio, McIlvaine traveled, confirming members and consecrating churches, including Cleveland's ST. JOHN'S (1836), Trinity (1854), and ST. PAUL'S (1858). He redeemed Kenyon from bankruptcy and instituted its rebuilding. Pres. Lincoln appointed McIlvaine special envoy to England to salvage Anglo-American relations after the Trent Affair (1861). McIlvaine married Emily Coxe in 1822. They had 7 children: Margaret, Maria, Emily, Anne, Sarah, Joseph, and Charles. McIlvaine died in Italy, and his funeral was held in Westminster Abbey. He was buried in Clifton, Ohio.


Bishops of Ohio Records, Episcopal Diocese of Ohio Archives.