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Bishop Richard Hooker Wilmer

Photo added by William McNeil, Jr

Bishop Richard Hooker Wilmer

  • Birth 15 Mar 1816 Alexandria, Alexandria City, Virginia, USA
  • Death 14 Jun 1900 Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, USA
  • Burial Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, USA
  • Memorial ID 25618785

Religious Figure. He was the only Bishop consecrated by the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States. His father was William Holland Wilmer, a founder and one of the original members of the faculty of the Virginia Theological Seminary. He graduated from Yale College in 1836 and from Virginia Seminary in 1839. He was ordained deacon on Mar. 31, 1839, and priest on Apr. 19, 1840. He served parishes in Goochland and Fluvanna counties in Virginia prior to becoming rector of St. James Church in Wilmington, North Carolina. He returned to Virginia where he continued his ministry in Clarke, Loudon, and Fauquier counties. He also ministered in Bedford County, Virginia, from 1853-1858. In 1858 Wilmer started a mission in Henrico County, Virginia, and that mission grew into Emmanuel Church. He served there until his consecration as the second Bishop of Alabama. He was elected Bishop on Nov. 21, 1862. This occurred a little over three months after the Diocese of Alabama decided that the Episcopal Church in Alabama would secede from the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. He was consecrated without a majority vote of the House of Bishops and the Standing Committees of the Episcopal Church. A majority of the bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States consented to Wilmer's consecration. He was consecrated on Mar. 6, 1862, at St. Paul's Church in Richmond, Virginia by Bishops William Meade [childhood Pastor of Robert E. Lee], Stephen Elliott, & John Johns. During his episcopate, a Home for Orphans was opened in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a diocesan Board of Missions was established, a diocesan newspaper was published, attempts were made to organize missionary work, and the financial affairs of the diocese were systematized. After the reunion of the southern dioceses with the Episcopal Church following the Civil War, Wilmer's ordination as a bishop was recognized and accepted by the Episcopal Church. Some of his papers reside at the Library of the University of North Carolina, the Birmingham Public Library, and the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland Archives. The Bishop Wilmer Scholarship is awarded to an outstanding son or daughter of a priest of the diocese of Alabama. It is awarded on the basis of merit. A cenotaph memorializing him is located in the Emmanuel Episcopal Church Cemetery, Henrico County, Virginia, just north of Richmond.

Bio by: BigFrench


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  • Created by: William McNeil, Jr
  • Added: 29 Mar 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 25618785
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Bishop Richard Hooker Wilmer (15 Mar 1816–14 Jun 1900), Find A Grave Memorial no. 25618785, citing Magnolia Cemetery, Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama, USA ; Maintained by William McNeil, Jr (contributor 46934409) .