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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Alexander Viets Griswold

GRISWOLD, Alexander Viets, P. E. bishop, born in Simsbury, Connecticut, 22 April, 1766; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 15 February, 1843. He manifested great precocity in childhood, and learned to read fluently at three years of age. It was intended that he should receive a collegiate training at Yale, but the Revolutionary war prevented. Instead of going to college, young Griswold took to himself a wife in 1785. He next devoted himself to the study of law, at the same time continuing his labors on the farm. He was confirmed by Bishop Seabury, on his first visit to Simsbury parish, and became a communicant at the age of twenty. Not liking the law as a profession, he resolved to study for the ministry. He was received as a candidate for holy orders in the summer of 1794, and during his preparatory course officiated as lay reader in several neighboring towns. He was ordered deacon by Bishop Seabury, 3 June, 1795, and ordained priest by the same bishop, 1 October, 1795. During the next ten years he had charge of three parishes where he had served as lay reader before ordination--Plymouth, Harwinton, and Litchfield, Connecticut He also taught the district school in the winter, and did not disdain manual labor among his parishioners. In 1804 he accepted an urgent call to the rectorship of St. Michael's church, Bristol, Rhode Island Six years later he was invited to Litchfield, and was preparing to remove thither, when he was elected to the episcopate over a diocese of which he was the first and only bishop, i. e.," The Eastern Diocese," consisting of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode island. This was in May, 1810. At first, through modesty and self-distrust, he positively declined the office; but others urged his acceptance, and he at last yielded. He was consecrated in Trinity church, New York, 29 May, 1811. He received the degree of D. D. from Brown in 1810, from Princeton in 1811, and from Harvard in 1812. In addition to his episcopal duties, Bishop Griswold continued in charge of his parish at Bristol, Rhode Island, but in 1830 removed to Salem, Massachusetts, as it was nearer to Boston, and accepted the rectorship of St. Peter's church. In 1835, however, he resigned this charge, and devoted himself wholly to his episcopal work. Suffering from the infirmities of age and from ill health, he proposed to the convention, in June, 1838, the election of an assistant. An eminent presbyter was chosen, but declined. In 1842 another election was held, and the Reverend Dr. Eastburn, of New York, was chosen. It was the last ordaining act of the venerable diocesan to consecrate Dr. Eastburn to his office, which was done in Trinity church, Boston, 29 December, 1842. On the death of Bishop White, in 1836, Bishop Griswold, under the canon, became the presiding bishop. With health much broken he continued to work to the last, and the end came suddenly. He was on his way to call on Bishop Eastburn on 15 February, 1843, when, just as he reached the door, he fell, and died instantly of heart disease. Bishop Griswold's publications were various sermons and addresses on special occasions; "Discourses on the Most Important Doctrines and Duties of the Christian Religion" (Philadelphia, 1830); "The Reformation and the Apostolic Office" (Boston, 1843); and "Remarks on Social Prayer Meetings" {1858). See " Life of Bishop Griswold," by Reverend I. S. Stone, D.D. (Philadelphia, 1844.)--His grandnephew, Casimir Clayton, artist, born in Delaware, Ohio, in 1834, is the son of Ezra Griswold, who assisted his editing and publishing the first newspaper in Columbus, Ohio. Casimir studied wood-engraving in Cincinnati, and removed to New York about 1850. His only instruction in painting was from an elder brother. His first picture was exhibited at the National academy in 1857, and he was made an associate in 1866, becoming an academician in 1867. In 1859 he was one of the original members of the Artists' fund society. Mr. Griswold has lived in Rome since 1872. Among his works are "December" (1864); "Winter Morning" (1865); "The Last of the Ice" (1867); "August Day, Newport" (1868); "Early Spring" (1869); "Purgatory Point, Newport" (1870); "Lago de Nemi" (1874); "Monte Spinelli, Unitria"" and "Mar Albano."

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