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Benjamin Moore (October 5, 1748 – February 27, 1816) was the second Episcopal bishop of New York. He is now chiefly remembered for having given Holy Communion to Alexander Hamilton on his deathbed.

Benjamin Moore
2nd Bishop of New York
In office
Preceded bySamuel Provoost
Succeeded byJohn Henry Hobart
5th President of Columbia University
In office
Preceded byCharles Henry Wharton
Succeeded byWilliam Harris
President of Columbia University
In office
Preceded byMyles Cooper (president)
Succeeded byGeorge Clinton (acting)
Personal details
Born(1748-10-05)October 5, 1748
Newtown, New York
DiedFebruary 27, 1816(1816-02-27) (aged 67)
Greenwich Village, New York
Charity Clarke
(m. 1779)
ChildrenClement Clarke Moore
ParentsSamuel Moore
Sarah Fish Moore
Alma materKing's College


Early lifeEdit

Moore was born in Newtown, New York, in 1748, the son of Samuel Moore and Sarah (née Fish) Moore. He was the great-grandson of John Moore, the first Independent minister allowed in New England.[1]

He attended King's College (now Columbia University), graduating in 1768 with a degree of A.B..[2] Moore returned to King's College for a master's degree in 1771.[1] He traveled to England and was ordained deacon in the Anglican Church by Bishop Richard Terrick in Fulham Palace on June 24, 1774.[1] He was advanced to the priesthood the next day.[2]


On returning to America in 1775, Moore was made assistant rector at Trinity Church in New York City, located in lower Manhattan, the developed area of the city at the time.[3]

While at Trinity Church, Moore was awarded a degree of doctor of sacred theology from Columbia College in 1789, after the American Revolutionary War.[3] By that time, some Loyalists associated with the college had left for Canada.

Moore kept officially neutral on the political questions surrounding the Revolution. He continued in his duties as assistant rector under Samuel Provoost until 1800. As Provoost had resigned, Moore was elected rector.[1] The Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) became independent of the Anglican Church after the war, establishing its own organization of dioceses.

Bishop of New YorkEdit

Moore was elected coadjutor bishop of New York in 1801 to assist Provoost, who wished to retire.[3] The diocese of New York covered the entire state and the population was rapidly increasing upstate, with many migrants from New England. This area had been opened up for settlement and development as agricultural lands after the war due to the cession by the Iroquois League, allies of the British, of nearly five million acres of land.

Moore was the 9th bishop in the ECUSA, and was consecrated in St. Michael's Church, Trenton, New Jersey by Bishops William White, Thomas John Claggett, and Abraham Jarvis.[4] That same year, Moore was elected President of Columbia College, a position he held for ten years.[4]

In 1811, Moore had a stroke and asked for the election of an additional coadjutor bishop to assist him, and John Henry Hobart was elected bishop that year.[1] In 1815, Bishop Provoost died, and Moore succeeded to become the second bishop of New York.

Last communion for HamiltonEdit

On July 11, 1804, Moore was summoned to the deathbed of Alexander Hamilton, who had been fatally wounded in a duel with Aaron Burr; Hamilton asked to receive holy communion. Moore made two objections: that to participate in a duel was a mortal sin, and that Hamilton, although he was undoubtedly a sincere Christian in his later years, was not an Episcopalian. Moore withdrew, but was persuaded by the urgent pleas of Hamilton's friends to return. On receiving Hamilton's solemn assurance that he repented for his part in the duel, Moore gave him communion.[5]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1779, he married Charity Clarke, daughter of English officer Major Thomas Clarke, who had stayed in the colony after his service in the French and Indian War, by which the English defeated the French. Clarke had a large country estate known as Chelsea, named after the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a retirement home for soldiers in London, England. The estate was located in what is now Chelsea, Manhattan.[6] The Moores had one child together:

On February 27, 1816, Moore died in Greenwich Village, New York, the year after he became the second bishop of New York. He was buried at Trinity Church.


  1. ^ a b c d e Brown, 531
  2. ^ a b Perry, 21
  3. ^ a b c Batterson, 66
  4. ^ a b Batterson, 67
  5. ^ Fleming, Thomas. Duel- Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr and the Future of America, New York: Basic Books, 1999, pp.328-9
  6. ^ Janvier, Thomas Allibone (1894). In Old New York. Harper & Brothers. pp. 167–9.


External linksEdit