THE RIGHT REV. JOHN HENRY WINGFIELD
D. D., LL. D., D. C. L., F. R. G. S.
The distinguished divine and educator, Bishop Wingfield, is the son of John H. Wingfield, D. D., of Virginia, who was Rector for fifty years of Trinity Church, Portsmouth, Virginia. He has the honor of being the first Bishop of Northern California, having been consecrated in 1874, when he removed to California. His eminent ability as a minister and educator has given him a wide reputation, extending to Europe. Liberal offers have been made to him in the East, which have been declined, preferring to enjoy our climate and pleasant associations surrounding the college of St. Augustine at Benicia, where he has labored so long and where the young ladies of our best families have been educated while he held the responsible and honorable position of President. He was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, September 24, 1833; graduated from St. Timothy’s College, Maryland, 1850, and from the College of William and Mary, Virginia, 1853. After graduating from St. Timothy’s he became a tutor in that institution, and after graduating from William and Mary he returned to St. Timothy’s and taught there for one year. Removed to New York in 1854, where he became a Professor in the Churchill Military Academy at Sing Sing. In 1855 he entered the Theological Seminary at Alexandria, Virginia. In 1856 he became the Principal of “The Ashley Institute” at Little Rock, Arkansas. He was ordained Deacon January 17, 1858, by the Right Rev. Dr. Freeman in that city, and was ordained to the Priesthood July 1, 1859, by Right Rev. Dr. Johns at the Theological Seminary near Alexandria, Virginia. He officiated for six months of his ministry as assistant in Christ Church, Little Rock, Arkansas. In July, 1858, he became assistant minister in Trinity Church, Portsmouth, Virginia, of which church his father, the Rev. John H. Wingfield, D. D., was Rector for fifty years. In 1864 he removed to Maryland, and became Rector of Christ Church, Rock Spring, Harford county. In 1866 he returned to Portsmouth, Virginia, and again became assistant to his father. In 1868 he entered upon the Rectorship of St. Paul’s Church, Petersburg, Virginia. In 1871 he founded St. Paul’s School for young ladies, and became Rector and Professor. He received the Degree of Doctor in Divinity in 1869, and that of LL. D. in 1874 from his Alma Mater, the ancient College of William and Mary, Virginia. Removed to California 1874 and became Rector of Trinity Church, San Francisco. Consecrated first Bishop of Northern California in St. Paul’s Church, Petersburg, Virginia, December 2, 1874, by Right Rev. Bishops Johns of Virginia, Atkinson, North Carolina, Lay, of Easton, Pinkney, of Maryland, and Lyman (assistant), of North Carolina. He remained in Petersburg in charge of his former Parish from the time of his consecration until April 1, 1875, and, on his removal to his Episcopal jurisdiction, he became the President of the College of St. Augustine at Benicia. In 1876 he became Rector of “St. Mary of the Pacific,” a seminary for young ladies, also located at Benicia, and Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Benicia. In 1879 he was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana, but declined. In 1880 he received the Degree of D. C. L. from St. Augustine College. In 1882 he was elected Bishop Coadjutor of Mississippi, but declined the office. He was also elected Bishop of the Diocese of Easton (Maryland) in 1886 and declined the same. In 1887 he again declined the same position. In 1888 he received the title of F. R. G. S., having been elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London, England. His See City is Benicia, California, and his residence is at the College of St. Augustine, of which institution he is still the President.
Transcribed By: Cecelia M. Setty.
Source: “Illustrated Fraternal Directory Including Educational Institutions on the Pacific Coast”, Page 92, Publ. Bancroft Co., San Francisco. Cal. 1889.
© 2012 Cecelia M. Setty.