Feast of Daniel Sylvester Tuttle (April 17)   Leave a comment

Above:  Daniel Sylvester Tuttle

Image in the Public Domain



Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church


We were most civilly and courteously treated in this call, but I was not asked to call again.  I did not detect any violation of grammar or of good sense or of good taste on his part during our call.  He is so powerful a man in everything here, and so unscrupulous a man, I fear, in most things, that my policy will be to have as little as possible to do with him.  With his keensightedness he must know, that if not in will yet in reality, by our services and our school, we are putting our clutches to his very throat.

–Bishop Tuttle, writing to his wife, after meeting Brigham Young, July 10, 1867


Daniel Sylvester Tuttle was a bishop for nearly 56 of his 86 years–about 65 percent of his lifetime.

Tuttle, who studied to become a teacher, joined the ranks of Episcopal priests.  He, born at Windham, New York, on January 26, 1837, graduated from Columbia University, New York, New York, in 1857.  He taught at the Columbia College Grammar School and worked as a private tutor in New York City before matriculating at the General Theological Seminary, from which he graduated in 1862.  Our saint, ordained a deacon in 1862 and a priest the following year, served at just one congregation–Zion Church, Morris, New York–first as the Curate then as the Rector.  He married Harriet Minerva Foote (1841-1899) in 1865.  The couple had children.

In late 1866 the House of Bishops elected the 29-year-old Tuttle the Missionary Bishop of Montana, with responsibilities also in Utah and Idaho.  On May 1, 1867, at the age of 30 years (the minimum age for an Episcopal bishop) he commenced his episcopate.  Our saint proceeded to establish Episcopal churches and other institutions–including St. Mark’s Cathedral (the first non-Mormon church in Utah), St. Mark’s School, and St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City–on the frontier.  Life for Tuttle and his family in the West was primitive, certainly compared to conditions in New York City.  In 1880 his title changed to Missionary Bishop of Utah and Idaho; Montana became the responsibility of another bishop.  Tuttle, who, after meeting Brigham Young, considered the Mormon leader “unscrupulous” and someone to avoid, built up The Episcopal Church in his jurisdiction in such a way as to win the respect of many Mormons.  An official Latter-day Saints source called the bishop “a consistent adversary.”  His task, as he understood it, was to build up The Episcopal Church, not to tear down the Mormon Church:

My plan for dealing with Mormonism, and for putting down Mormonism, immoral as it is, infidel as it is, heathenish as it is, in God’s own time, is by preaching the full truth of the everlasting Gospel, as contained in the Holy Bible and embodied in the Church, and by striving constantly, with His help, to do unto others as I would that others should do unto me.

Tuttle translated to the Diocese of Missouri in 1886.  There he remained for the rest of his life.  During his tenure the diocese, out of necessity, divided, giving birth to the Diocese of West Missouri  in 1890.  Our saint was a busy man, for he doubled as the acting Missionary Bishop of Salt Lake (with responsibilities in Utah and parts of Nevada and Wyoming) from late 1903 to late 1904 and as the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church from 1903 to 1923.  He was the last man to serve as the Presiding Bishop on the basis of seniority; the General Convention changed the system in 1919.

Tuttle died in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 17, 1923.





Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Daniel Sylvester Tuttle,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 718



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