The Right Reverend Horatio Potter (1802-1887), was an Episcopal Bishop in the Diocese of  New York.

The youngest brother of Bishop Alonzo Potter, he was born near Beekman (now La Grange), Dutchess County, New York on February 9, 1802, to Quaker farmers Joseph and Anne Potter.  He graduated at Union College in 1826, was ordained priest of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1828, was rector for several months in Saco, Maine, and from 1828 to 1833 was professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Washington College (now Trinity College), Hartford, Connecticut.

​From 1833 to 1854 he was rector of St. Peter's Church, Albany, New York.  In November 1854 he was elected provincial bishop of New York in place of Benjamin Treadwell Onderdonk (1791-1861), who had been suspended after a scandal, and upon Onderdonk's death he became Diocesan bishop.

He was married first to Mary Jane Tomlinson, who died in 1847 leaving six children.  In 1853 he married Mary Atchison Pollock whom he had met on a tour of Scotland.  During his career he traveled to Britain several times.

In 1865 Bishop Potter created the Sisterhood of St. Mary now called the Community of St. Mary; in doing so, he was the first bishop in the Anglican community to constitute a new monastic order in over two centuries.

In 1868 his diocese was divided, the new dioceses of Albany, Central New York and Long Island being separated from it.  Bishop Potter attended the Lambeth Conferences of 1867 and 1868.  His failing health put an end to his active service in 1883, when his nephew, Alonzo Potter's son Henry Codman Potter, became his assistant.

Horatio Potter

( 1802 - 1887 )

Horatio Potter conceived and founded the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City,  the largest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere, though he did not live to see the foundation stone laid. He died in New York City January 2, 1887 and his body is entombed in a large gothic tomb behind the high altar of the cathedral. The cathedral was constructed under the guidance of his nephew, Henry Codman Potter, who succeeded Horatio as Bishop of New York.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City

Potter Family History