Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Odenheimer, William Henry

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ODENHEIMER, William Henry, P. E. bishop, b. in Philadelphia, Pa., 11 Aug., 1817; d. in Burlington, N. J., 14 Aug., 1879. He was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1835 and at the General theological seminary, New York city, in 1838. In the latter year he was made deacon, and in 1841 he was ordained priest. In 1840 he was appointed assistant rector of St. Peter's church, Philadelphia, and when the rector, William H. De Lancey, was elected bishop of western New York in 1839, Mr. Odenheimer was appointed to be his successor. During his rectorship he became intimate with Bishop Doane, of New Jersey, and when the latter was on his death-bed he requested his friend to preach his funeral sermon. In 1859 Mr. Odenheimer was elected to succeed Bishop Doane in the diocese of New Jersey. His duties were performed at times amid great physical suffering, as about 1869 he broke one of his knee-caps, and three years afterward, while he was attending a confirmation at South Amboy, N. J., he fractured the other. This interfered greatly with his work, but he always insisted on preaching standing and on climbing the pulpit-stairs alone. During the first fifteen years of his episcopate he confirmed nearly 16,000 persons, and it is estimated that the number reached 20,000 before his death. He resided in Burlington until 1874, when the state of New Jersey was divided into two dioceses. It being considered that the parishes of northern New Jersey were more accessible than those of the southern part of the state, he chose that see and changed his residence to Newark. About this time he visited England for his health. Although he was never perfectly well and had the care of a large diocese, Bishop Odenheimer found time to write frequently for the press, and published many valuable works. Among them are “The Origin and Compilation of the Prayer-Book” and “The Devout Churchman's Companion” (New York, 1841); “The True Catholic no Romanist” (1842); “Thoughts on Immersion” (1843); “The Young Churchman Catechised” (1844); “Bishop White's Opinions” (Philadelphia, 1846); “Essay on Canon Law” (New York, 1847) : “The Clergyman's Assistant in Reading the Liturgy” (Philadelphia, 1847); “The Private Prayer-Book” (1851); “Jerusalem and its Vicinity,” being the result of a visit there in 1851 (1855); and “F. Ringelburgius on Study.” He was also joint editor of “Songs of the Spirit: Hymns of Praise and Prayer to God the Holy Ghost” (New York, 1871).