The Rt. Rev. Thomas Church Brownell

1779 – 1865

Thomas Church Brownell

Thomas Church Brownell was born in Westport, Massachusetts. He graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York in 1804.


In 1805, Union College appointed him tutor of Greek and Latin. The following year, he accepted a position as professor of logic and belles-lettres. After studying chemistry and kindred sciences, he taught chemistry at Union.

Episcopal Minister

In 1813, Brownell was baptized and confirmed as an Episcopalian minister. Three years later, Bishop Hobart of New York ordained him a deacon. In 1819, the diocese of Connecticut chose Brownell to serve as the state’s 3rd Presiding Bishop.

Trinity College

As Bishop, Brownell reignited efforts to establish a faith-based college in Connecticut. In 1823, the state Legislature chartered Washington College (now Trinity). Brownell was the college’s first president.

After serving for nearly a decade, Brownell resigned the presidency in 1831. He focused his time on serving as Connecticut’s Bishop.

U. S. Bishop

In 1852, the United States Episcopal Church appointed him its 7th Presiding Bishop. He held this position until his death in 1865. During his tenure, Episcopalian clergy and churches greatly increased.

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Famous American. Thomas Church Brownell. Accessed at

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Photo Credit:

Thomas Church Brownell, Public Domain