Potter Family History  

Construction immediately ran into foundation problems, but Bishop potter refused to change locations  J.P. Morgan. the financier, who was a trustee of the Cathedral, gave $500,000 "to get us out of the hole."

The Citizens in his Relation to the Industrial Situation by Henry Codman Potter - 1902

On December 27, 1892, St. John's Day, Bishop Potter laid the corner stone of the Cathedral. Bishop Potter struck the massive stone three times with a large wooden mallet, "Other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid which is Jesus Christ."

Henry Codman Potter
​( 1834 - 1908 )

Henry Codman Potter - Project Canterbury

Henry Codman Potter ( May 25, 1834 - July 21, 1908)

United States Protestant Episcopal Bishop, the son of Bishop Alonzo Potter, was born in Schenectady, New York.  Painting owned by Bancroft Potter.  Painted by WIlliam Henry Hyde

Henry Codman Potter by George Hodges - 1915

Serman of the City by Henry Codman Potter (Bishop of New York) - 1881

All Things Human and the Social Gospel in the Episcopal Church - by Michael Bourgeois

He was educated in the Philadelphia Academy of the Protestant Episcopal Church and in the Theological Seminary of Virginia, where he graduated in 1857.  He was ordained deacon in 1857 and priest in 1858; was rector of Christ Church, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 1858-1859, and St John's Church, Troy, NY, in 1859-1866; refused the presidency of Kenyon College in 1863 and the bishopric of Iowas in 1875; was secretary of the House of Bishops in 1866-1883; and was assistant rector of Trinity Church, Boston, in 1866-1868, and rector of Grace Church, New York City, in 1868-1884.  In October 1883 he was consecrated assistant to his uncle, Horatio Potter, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, and in 1887 succeeded him.  The Rev. David Hummell Greer (born 1844) became his coadjutor in September 1903, and succeeded to the bishopric after the death of Bishop Potter in Cooperstown, NY, on the 21st of July 1908.  During Bishop Potter's administration the corner-stone of the Cathedral of St John the Divine was laid (in 1892).

He was notable for his interest in social reform and in politics: as rector of Grace Church he worked to make it an institutional church with working-men's clubs, day nurseries, kindergartens etc., and he took part in the summer work of the missions on the east side in New York City long after he was bishop; in 1900 he attacked the Tammany mayor (Robert A. Van Wyck) of New York City, accusing the city government of protecting vice, and was a leader in the reform movement which elected Seth Low mayor in the same year; he frequently assisted in settling labor disputes; he worked for the re-establishment of the army canteen and attempted to improve the saloon, which he called the poor man's club notably by his taking part in the opening (August, 1904) of the unsuccessful Subway Tavern.