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Benjamin Williams Whitcher

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Benjamin Williams Whitcher was born in Rochester, Vermont on December 8, 1811. He was the son of Stephen and Esther Emerson Whitcher.[1] His father was a native of Haverhill, Massachusetts, being one of a large family, of which Thomas Whitcher, who came from England to New England in 1638, was the founder.[2] Benjamin W. Whitcher died December 17, 1891 in Whitestown, New York.[1][3]

Family life[edit]

On 6 January 1847 he married Frances Miriam Berry, of Whitesboro, New York who was distinguished author of the "Widow Bedott Papers," which have been dramatized and accorded a foremost place among humorous writings. She died on January 4, 1852. On September 7, 1853 he married Martha Letetia Ward, of Jefferson county, who survived him, passing on January 30, 1904.[1][3]


Whitcher was graduated from Geneva College in 1840[4] and afterward continued and completed his theological studies at the General Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal church in New York City. He was ordained by Bishop DeLancey in 1844 and settled in Whitestown, Oneida county, where he organized and became the first rector of St. John's Church. He was the Rector of Trinity Church in Elmira, New York from April 1847 until June 1849. Afterward he officiated at Saratoga Springs and Oswego, and later had charge of the parishes at Theresa and Redwood, New York.[3]

Whitcher left the Protestant Episcopal Church at part of the Oxford Movement and the teachings of Cardinal Newman. In 1850 he was received into the Roman Catholic Church at St. John's Church, Utica, New York by Bishop McFarland.[3][5] Bishop De Lancey deposed him of his ministry for abandoning "the communion of the Protestant Episcopal Church, by a formal admission into a religious body not in communion with the Protestant Episcopal Church, namely the Roman Catholic body" and published that action in local papers.[6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Barber genealogy (in two sections) Section I. Descendants of Thomas Barber of Windsor, Conn. 1614-1909. Haverhill, Mass., Press of the Nichols print. Lillian May Wilson, Editor. 1909 page 314
  2. Oneida County, New York Biographies, Wager, Daniel. Our County and Its People, Part III: Family Sketches. Boston: The Boston History Company, 1896
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Oneida County, New York Biographies, Wager, Daniel. Our County and Its People, Part III: Family Sketches. Boston: The Boston History Company, 1896.
  4. Register of Geneva College for the Academical Year 1847-48. Geneva: Merreld & Dey, Priniters, Seneca Street. page 21 Alumni
  5. The Catholic Church in New York: A History of the New York Diocese from Its Establishment in 1808 to the Present Time, Vol. I, by The Rev. John Talbot Smith, LL.D., Hall & Locke Company, New York & Boston, 1905.
  6. Oswego Daily Journal Jan-June 1855

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