Alexander Viets Griswold

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The Most Reverend
Alexander Viets Griswold
5th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
Personal details
Born (1766-04-22)April 22, 1766
Simsbury, Connecticut, USA
Died February 15, 1843(1843-02-15) (aged 76)
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Nationality American
Denomination Episcopal
Alma mater Brown University, Princeton University, Harvard University

Alexander Viets Griswold (April 22, 1766 – February 15, 1843) was the 5th Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church from 1836 till 1843. He was also the Episcopal Bishop of the Eastern Diocese, which included all of New England with the exception of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.


Born in Simsbury, Connecticut as the son of Elisha Griswold and Eunice Viets, Griswold died in Boston, Massachusetts. He married Elizabeth Mitchelson on 6 May 1785 or 1786 at Scotland (now Bloomfield), Connecticut. They had 12 children. His sister was the painter Eunice Pinney.[1]

Griswold received the degree of D.D. from Brown in 1810, from Princeton in 1811, and from Harvard in 1812.

He was ordained deacon on June 7, 1795, and priest on October 1, 1795. Griswold served three small churches in Litchfield County and also taught school. Griswold was chosen rector of St. Michael's Church, Bristol, Rhode Island, in 1804. He was elected bishop and consecrated on May 31, 1811. As the eldest serving bishop, he also served as the Episcopal Church's fifth Presiding Bishop from July 17, 1836, until his death.

Griswold also served as Chancellor of Brown University from 1815 to 1828.[2][3] He was a cousin of both Frank Griswold and Sheldon M. Griswold, both Episcopal bishops.


Griswold wrote the hymn Holy Father, great Creator. He also published Discourses on the Most Important Doctrines and Duties of the Christian Religion (1830); The Reformation and the Apostolic Office (1843); and Remarks on Social Prayer Meetings (1858). His memoirs were published by Dr. J. S. Stone. Some of his papers and a lock of his hair are stored in the University Library, University of Rhode Island.


The former Griswold College in Davenport, Iowa was named in honor of Dr. Griswold.


  1. Black, Mary, and Jean Lipman (1966). American Folk Painting. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, Inc./Publisher, p. 98.
  2. Greene, Welcome Arnold (1886). The Providence Plantations for 250 Years. Providence, RI: J.A. & R.A. Reid. p. 148. Chancellor of Brown University 1815-1831<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Mitchell, Martha (1993). Encyclopedia Brunoniana. Brown University Library. Retrieved 22 March 2015. Alexander Viets Griswold (1815-1828) was Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Eastern Massachusetts<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • The Episcopal Church. "Alexander Viets Griswold". Retrieved 2012-04-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Holcombe Family Genealogy. "Holcombe Family Genealogy". Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-30. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Episcopal Church (USA) titles
Preceded by
William White
5th Presiding Bishop
Succeeded by
Philander Chase
Preceded by
Samuel Parker
Bishop of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Manton Eastburn
Preceded by
Edward Bass
Bishop of Rhode Island
Succeeded by
John Prentiss Kewly Henshaw