William H. DeLancey

William H. DeLancey
Bishop of Western New York
William H DeLancey.jpg
ChurchEpiscopal Church
DioceseWestern New York
ElectedNovember 2, 1838
In office1839–1865
SuccessorArthur Cleveland Coxe
OrdinationMarch 6, 1822
by John Henry Hobart
ConsecrationMay 9, 1839
by Alexander Viets Griswold
Personal details
BornOctober 8, 1797
DiedApril 5, 1865(1865-04-05) (aged 67)
Geneva, New York, United States
BuriedSt. Peter's Episcopal Church (Geneva, New York)
ParentsJohn Peter DeLancey & Elizabeth Floyd
SpouseFrances Munro
Alma materYale College
SignatureWilliam H. DeLancey's signature

William Heathcote DeLancey (October 8, 1797 – April 5, 1865) was a bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and the sixth Provost of the University of Pennsylvania. DeLancey was known as a High Churchman, and served as the first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Western New York. He was elected a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and then as the ninth provost (chief academic officer and highest professional position) of the university (1828 to 1834).

Family and education[edit]

DeLancey was born at Mamaroneck, New York into a celebrated New York family descended from Caleb Heathcote.[1] He was the son of John Peter DeLancey, a Revolutionary War soldier, and his wife, Elizabeth Floyd. His sister married James Fenimore Cooper. DeLancey graduated from Yale College in 1817 and later studied divinity with Bishop John Henry Hobart of New York. He served in several positions in New York before being ordained to the ministry in 1822.

He married Frances Munro, daughter of Peter Jay Munro, in 1820. They had five sons and three daughters. Their eldest son, Edward Floyd DeLancey, was president of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.[2]


After his ordination, DeLancey took a position in Philadelphia as general assistant to William White (Bishop of Pennsylvania). He held various clerical offices in Philadelphia and, in 1826, was elected a Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. Delancey was elected provost of the university in 1828, continuing in that office until 1834. The next three years showed a distinct improvement in the number of students and in other areas.

In 1829, DeLancy was elected as a member of the American Philosophical Society.[3]

On November 2, 1838, DeLancey was elected first Bishop of the newly created Episcopal Diocese of Western New York. He was the 34th bishop of the ECUSA, and was consecrated by bishops Alexander Viets Griswold, Henry Ustick Onderdonk, and Benjamin Treadwell Onderdonk. DeLancey remained in that position for more than 25 years, residing in the town of Geneva. In 1852, he attended the fifteenth anniversary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts as one of the two representatives of the American House of Bishops, being the first American Bishop to be recognized officially as one of their own body by the Anglican Bishops.

DeLancey was active in matters of church organization and legislation, and was instrumental in placing Hobart College and several other educational institutions on a firm basis. He was also involved in the establishment of St. Peter's Episcopal Church (Geneva, New York), which was later dedicated as the DeLancey Memorial Church. He received the following honorary degrees: Doctor of Divinity from Yale in 1827, Doctor of Laws from Union College in 1849 and Doctor of Civil Laws from Oxford University, in 1852.

He died in Geneva, New York on April 5, 1865, where his remains were interred in St. Peter's Episcopal Church.[1]


  1. ^ a b Johnson, Rossiter; Brown, John Howard, eds. (1906). The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans. Vol. III. Boston: American Biographical Society. Retrieved March 13, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ Wilson, James Grant (July 1905). "President Edward F. DeLancey". The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. XXXVI (3): 169–172. Retrieved December 15, 2008.
  3. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved April 7, 2021.


External links[edit]

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
New title 1st Bishop of Western New York
Succeeded by