Wadhams, Edgar Philip

views updated


Bishop of Ogdensburg, NY; b. Essex County, NY, May 17, 1817; d. Ogdensburg, Dec. 5, 1891. Son of Luman and Lucy (Bostick) Wadhams, Edgar, a Presbyterian, became an Episcopalian while attending Middlebury College, VT. In 1838 he entered the General Theological Seminary, New York, and there became a close friend of Arthur Carey, an American follower of Cardinal Newman. As an ordained deacon he began ministerial work in northern New York; but, influenced by the Oxford Movement and doubting the validity of Anglican orders, he resigned his post and entered the Church in 1846. He studied for the priesthood at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, MD, and was ordained for the Diocese of Albany, Jan. 5, 1850, by Bp. John McCloskey (later cardinalarchbishop of New York). After two years on the cathedral staff he was named its rector and vicargeneral of the diocese. When the Diocese of Ogdensburg was created in 1872, Wadhams was appointed first bishop and was consecrated by McCloskey on May 5, 1872. With characteristic energy and a thorough knowledge of the territory, he set about organizing the upper New York counties into a thriving see, greatly increasing the number of priests, sisters, churches, chapels, and schools; founding a hospital, orphan home, and aged people's home; and enlarging St. Mary's Cathedral, in whose crypt his body was interred after his death 20 years later. He held three diocesan synods and attended the New York Provincial Council of 1883 and the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1884.

Bibliography: c. a. walworth, Reminiscences of Edgar P. Wadhams (New York 1893). j. t. smith, History of the Diocese of Ogdensburg (New York n.d.).

[v. f. holden]