An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Claggett, Thomas John

(Oct. 2, 1743-Aug. 2, 1816). The first Bishop of Maryland and the first Episcopal bishop consecrated on American soil. He was born in Prince George's County, Maryland, and graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1762. He pursued theological studies under the tutelage of his uncle, a priest. He was ordained deacon on Sept. 20, 1767, and priest on Oct. 11, 1767, by the Bishop of London. Claggett served at All Saints' Church, Calvert County, Maryland, until the beginning of the American Revolution. Although the war caused a two-year hiatus, he returned to ministerial duties at St. Paul's Church, Prince George's County, in 1779. He was consecrated at Trinity Church, New York City, on Sept. 17, 1792, by Samuel Provoost, Samuel Seabury, William White, and James Madison. Since Provoost, White, and Madison were consecrated in England, while Seabury was consecrated in Scotland, Claggett's consecration united both the English and Scottish episcopal lines of succession in the Episcopal Church. During his episcopate, Claggett also served as chaplain of the United States Senate and, later, as rector of Trinity Church, Upper Marlborough. He died in Croom, Maryland.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.