An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Williams, John

(Aug. 30, 1817-Feb. 7, 1899). Founder of Berkeley Divinity School and eleventh Presiding Bishop. He was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts. In 1831 he began his studies at Harvard College. He became an Episcopalian, and at the end of his sophomore year he transferred to Washington College, Hartford, Connecticut, where he graduated in 1835. From 1837 until 1840 he was a tutor at the college. Williams was ordained deacon on Sept. 2, 1838, and priest on Sept. 26, 1841. He was assistant minister at Christ Church, Middletown, Connecticut, 1841-1842, and rector of St. George's Church, Schenectady, New York, 1842-1848. On Aug. 3, 1848, he was elected the fourth president of Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, which had been Washington College. He served in that position until 1853. Williams was consecrated Assistant Bishop of Connecticut on Oct. 29, 1851, and he became the fourth Bishop of Connecticut on Jan. 13, 1865. He founded the Berkeley Divinity School at Middletown in 1854 and served as its dean and professor of theology and liturgics until his death. From Apr. 12, 1887, until his death he was the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. Williams died in Middletown.

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.