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Henry John Whitehouse (August 19, 1803 – August 10, 1874) was the second Episcopal bishop of Illinois.[1]

The Right Reverend

Henry John Whitehouse

D.D., LL.D., D.C.L.
Bishop of Illinois
ProvinceEpiscopal Church Flag of the US Episcopal Church.svg
In office1852–1874
PredecessorPhilander Chase
SuccessorWilliam Edward McLaren
ConsecrationNovember 20, 1851
by Thomas Church Brownell
Personal details
BornAugust 19, 1803
New York City, New York, United States
DiedAugust 10, 1874(1874-08-10) (aged 70)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
BuriedGreen-Wood Cemetery
ParentsJames Whitehouse
Eliza Higgs Norman
Evelina Harriet Bruen
(m. 1835; her death 1864)
Previous postCoadjutor Bishop of Illinois (1851-1852)
EducationColumbia University (1821)
General Theological Seminary (1824)


Early lifeEdit

Whitehouse was born in New York City, the son of James Whitehouse (1767–1854) and Eliza Higgs Norman (1775–1835).[2] Whitehouse was described as a "thorough aristocrat by birth and training and accustomed to every luxury."[3]

He graduated from Columbia University in 1821, and from the General Theological Seminary in 1824.[4] Whitehouse was ordained deacon in 1824, and was ordained priest in 1827.[2]


After his ordination as priest, he became rector of Christ Church in Reading, Pennsylvania.[2] Two years later, he moved to become rector of St. Luke's Church in Rochester, New York, during which time he married his wife.[2] He remained there for fifteen years before moving to New York in 1844 to become rector of St. Thomas Church.

Bishop of IllinoisEdit

Whitehouse was elected coadjutor Bishop of Illinois in 1851.[2] He was the 55th bishop in the ECUSA, and was consecrated by Bishops Thomas Church Brownell, Alfred Lee, and Manton Eastburn.[4] Upon the death of Bishop Philander Chase, Whitehouse became bishop, but refused to take up his seat for nine years,[3] until his salary demands were met.[5] The diocesan convention in 1860 charged him with dereliction of duty and generally condemned him.[5] During the American Civil War, Whitehouse displayed decidedly pro-Southern sympathies, further alienating his Illinois flock.[6]

Whitehouse identified with high church Anglicanism, and in 1868 he wrote of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.[7] Several of his clergy, led by Charles Edward Cheney, denounced the Anglo-Catholic idea, accusing Whitehouse of "unprotestantizing this Protestant Episcopal Church, corrupting her doctrine, debasing her worship, and over-turning her long-established rites, ceremonies, and usages."[7] Whitehouse had his revenge when, on hearing of Cheney's unauthorized omissions of certain liturgical phrases, he attempted to have Cheney deposed,[8] and by 1871, he was successful in having Cheney suspended from the ministry.[9] Cheney later became one of the original clergymen of the Reformed Episcopal Church.

While in England in 1867, Whitehouse delivered the opening sermon before the first Pan-Anglican conference at Lambeth Palace, by invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was among the first American bishops to advocate for a cathedral system in the Episcopal Church.

Personal lifeEdit

On August 8, 1835, Whitehouse married Evelina Harriet Bruen (1806-1864). Together, they were the parents of five sons and one daughter. They choose to give middle names to some of their children, specifically Meredyth, Cope, and FitzHugh, which were surnames of women who had married into the Whitehouse family prior to 1800. Their children were:

  • Henry Bruen Whitehouse (1838–1889),[10] an attorney
  • Edward Norman Whitehouse (1839–1904), a career Naval officer whose duties included the office of Paymaster
  • Frederic Cope Whitehouse (1842–1911), also an attorney, but he engaged so ardently in his avocations of archaeology and Egyptology that his obituary in The New York Times referred to him as “the well-known Egyptologist.” He did not marry.[11]
  • William FitzHugh Whitehouse (1846–1909), yet another attorney who married Frances Sheldon (1852–1944), the niece of William B. Ogden, the First Mayor of Chicago.[12]
  • Louisa Bruen Whitehouse (1847–1919), who married Edwin Bernon Sheldon (1849–1923), brother of Frances Sheldon, the wife of William FitzHugh Whitehouse (see above).
  • Francis Meredyth Whitehouse (1848–1938), the architect who married Mary Armour (1868–1958).[13]

Henry John Whitehouse died in Chicago on August 10, 1874. He is buried in the Whitehouse family plot in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.


Through his son William, he was the grandfather of Ambassador Sheldon Whitehouse (1883–1965),[14][12] who was married to Mary Crocker Alexander (1895–1986) in 1920,[15] great-grandson was Ambassador Charles S. Whitehouse (1921–2001). His great-great-grandson, Sheldon Whitehouse (born 1955), is a U.S. Senator from Rhode Island.


In 1934, his son Francis, along with other members of the family, donated a "missionary window" at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in memory of his father.[16] The windows, designed by Wilbur Herbert Burnham, were dedicated by Bishop William T. Manning.[16]


  1. ^ "Henry John Whitehouse". Project Canterbury. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Batterson, 167
  3. ^ a b Guelzo, Allen C. (2010). For the Union of Evangelical Christendom: The Irony of the Reformed Episcopalians. Penn State Press. ISBN 0271042028. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b Batterson, 168
  5. ^ a b Guelzo, 79
  6. ^ Guelzo, 80
  7. ^ a b Guelzo, 81
  8. ^ Guelzo, 82
  9. ^ Guelzo, 85
  10. ^ "DIED. Whitehouse". The New York Times. 12 March 1889. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  11. ^ "F. COPE WHITEHOUSE, EGYPTOLOGIST, DEAD; Discovered the Depression in Egyptian Desert Known as the Wadi Raiyan in 1882". The New York Times. 17 November 1911. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Sheldon Whitehouse Dies at 82; Career Diplomat for 26 Years". The New York Times. 7 August 1965. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  13. ^ "FRANCIS M. WHITEHOUSE; Last Surviving Son of Bishop Is Stricken in Florida". The New York Times. 10 March 1938. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  14. ^ "EMBASSY APPOINTMENTS.; Sheldon Whitehouse Among the New Second Secretaries". The New York Times. 1 March 1911. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  15. ^ "MISS ALEXANDER TO WED S. WHITE HOUSE; Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Alexander Engaged to Diplomatist.FIANCEE NOW IN EUROPEMr. Whitehouse Is Chief of theNew(sic) Eastern Division, Department of State". The New York Times. 30 July 1920. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  16. ^ a b "NEW WINDOW IN ST. JOHN'S; Manning Dedicates Gift In Memory of Bishop Whitehouse". The New York Times. 27 May 1934. Retrieved 20 September 2017.


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