Walter D. Addison

Walter Dulaney Addison (January 1, 1769 – 1848) was an Episcopal clergyman who served as Chaplain of the United States Senate (1810–1811).

Early years

Walter Dulaney Addison was born at Annapolis, Maryland on January 1, 1769, the son of Thomas Covington Addison and Rebecca Dulaney Addison. Their home was Oxon Hill Manor, overlooking the Potomac River opposite Alexandria, Virginia, where the family lived in great state, driving a coach and four with liveried outriders.[1] Along with Mount Vernon, Belvoir (Crownsville, Maryland) and Carlisle House, it was one of the great mansions of the Colonial era. The Addison Plantation, as it is sometimes called, was a large agricultural plantation. Acquired by John Addison in 1687, the site was the estate of successive generations of the Addison family.[2]

At the age of fifteen, Addison and two of his brothers were sent to England to be educated there under the care of his uncle, Dr. John Boucher. He returned to Maryland in 1789. He studied for the ministry under the direction of Thomas John Claggett and was made deacon in the parish of Saint Peter's Church, Talbot, on May 26, 1793. Addison was the first rector to be ordained by Bishop Claggett after he became Bishop of Maryland (1793).[3]


Walter Dulaney Addison was Rector of Queen Anne Parish, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (Bowie, Maryland), 1793–95.[4]

While there, he established a school at his home, Oxon Hill. In 1799 he became assistant rector and in 1805 he became rector of St. Matthew's Church (Seat Pleasant, Maryland) also known as Addison Chapel, which had been founded by his ancestor, Col. John Addison. The current Addison Chapel building was erected between 1809 and 1816, under Walter Dulaney Addison's rectorship.[5]

Addison became the first rector of St. John's Church in Georgetown, in 1801.[1][6]

He officiated at the funeral of George Washington.[5] In 1810, Addison sold most of the original Oxon Hill property to Zachariah Berry.[7] Addison was appointed as U.S. Senate Chaplain on December 12, 1810.[8]

He was an incorporator of the Georgetown Lancaster School Society and vice-president of the Bible Society of the District of Columbia.[9]

Personal life

Walter Dulaney Addison married Elizabeth Dulaney Hesselius, the daughter of well-known portrait painter John Hesselius and Mary Young, on June 5, 1792 in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Their children include: Lloyd Dulaney Addison.[10] In 1792, Walter Dulaney Addison and his bride leased Battersea House for a year. Elizabeth Addison gave Battersea its new name, Harmony Hall, which it retains to this day.[11]


Religious titles
Preceded by
Obadiah Bruen Brown
Chaplain of the United States Senate
December 12, 1810 – November 13, 1811 1
Succeeded by
John Brackenridge, D.D.
Notes and references
1. *
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