An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Potter, Alonzo

(July 6, 1800-July 4, 1865). Bishop and educator. He was born in Beekman (La Grange), Dutchess County, New York. He graduated from Union College, Schenectady, New York, in 1818. In 1819 he returned to Union College as a tutor and in 1822 was made professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. At the same time he studied for the ordained ministry and was ordained deacon on May 1, 1822, and priest on Sept. 16, 1824. In 1826 Potter became rector of St. Paul's Church, Boston, and remained there until 1831, when he returned to Union College as professor of moral philosophy. He was consecrated the third Bishop of Pennsylvania on Sept. 25, 1845. While bishop he revived the Protestant Episcopal Academy at Philadelphia in 1860, and he founded the Divinity School of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia in 1863. Over a period of fourteen years he delivered some sixty lectures to large audiences at the Lowell Institute in Boston. Notes from these lectures were edited and published as Religious Philosophy; or Nature, Man, and the Bible Witnessing to God and to Religious Truth (1872). As Bishop of Pennsylvania, Potter helped the diocese to become known for its tolerance and comprehensiveness. His generosity of spirit discouraged party strife within the church. He died on shipboard in the harbor of San Francisco. Horatio Potter was his brother.

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.