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The Bishop White House

Mansion of the Bishop who founded the American Episcopalian Church

The Bishop White House

The Bishop White House Credit: Independence National Historical Park


The Experience

Defying the King of England, risking the (considerable) family fortune and siding with the patriots, Dr. William White was spiritual advisor to many of our nation’s founders. After independence was declared, he established and became the first bishop of the American Episcopalian Church.

Tending to parishioners at St. Peter’s Church and Christ Church kept Bishop White busy, but not too busy to entertain the city’s elite in his posh 1787 home. We should all live like this. Hundreds of first edition leather bound books and elegant furnishings have been handed down through the family and are preserved in this lush home. Evidence of the family’s wealth is the indoor privy, one of the city’s first. Tour includes Dolly Todd House.


For some, the decision to side with the Crown or the Colonies was a matter of religion not politics. The King of England was also head of the Anglican Church. Renouncing his rule also meant renouncing one’s religion and excommunication. The call for independence caused a shattering crisis of faith, forcing many colonists to make a painful decision.

Other Information

Free tickets at Independence Visitor Center, 6th and Market Streets. Tours vary daily by season. Call for times.

Insider Tip

Bishop White and his daughters launched the nation’s first Sunday school to teach children the “three R’s”. The program was secular, not religious. It was called Sunday school because most children worked and Sunday was their only day off.

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