There was a time when most people followed the same profession as their parents. Today the choice of employment is much more varied. There are, however, still quite a few people whose career is still influenced by their ancestors. Today’s subject is an example.
Mary Douglas Glasspool
(b.1954) was consecrated as a suffragan bishop in the diocese of Los Angeles on
15 May 2010. This not only made her the first openly lesbian bishop in the
American Episcopal Church but it made her the first openly lesbian bishop in
the worldwide Anglian church (Bishop Eva Brunne, consecrated in 2009, is of the
Swedish Lutheran Church). This wasn’t the first “first” achieved in the
Episcopal Church by a member of her family. In 1841 Mary Glasspool’s
great-great-grandfather Alfred Lee (1807-1887) was the first Bishop of Delaware
when that diocese was created.
Even though Mary Glasspool
was consecrated in a diocese on the west coast of the USA her ancestry is based
mainly on the east coast where she was born and raised. She returned “home”
this year when she became an Assistant Bishop in the diocese of New York, her
Mary’s father, Rev.
Douglas Murray Glasspool (1927-1989), was the Episcopal Rector of St. James’s
Church in Goshen, New York. Douglas is the maiden name of his Scottish-born
mother. The Glasspools, though, were English, originally from the village of
Cocking in Sussex (this village will be mentioned again in my “Out of Their
Tree” article in August).
New York plays a large
part in Bishop Glasspool’s ancestry. Her mother’s grandfather, William Henry
Adams (1841-1903), was a Justice of the Supreme Court in New York, and her
great-grandfather, Elbridge Gerry Lapham (1814-1890), was a New York Senator.
Having mentioned the name Adams you might wonder if there’s any link to the two
US Presidents of that name. The answer to that is yes. There’s a direct
male-line ancestry from Bishop Glasspool’s mother, Anne Adams, to the immigrant
Lt. Thomas Adams (1612-1688) whose brother was the ancestor of Presidents John
Adams and John Quincy Adams.
More recent presidential
links emerge through the above-mentioned Bishop Alfred Lee of Delaware. His
sister Emily was the grandmother of Mrs. Edith Roosevelt (1861-1948), the
second wife of President Theodore Roosevelt.
To return to Bishop Mary
Glasspool’s ecclesiastical heritage further we look at her ancestors who sailed
on the Mayflower. Those Pilgrims were escaping religious persecution in England
and they laid the foundations of the American nation. Among the Mayflower
Pilgrims who are the bishop’s ancestors are William Bradford and John Howland.
Through them Mary Glasspool is related to actors Clint Eastwood, Christopher
Reeve and the Fonda dynasty, and Olympic gymnastic twins Paul and Morgan Hamm.
Among the members of the lgbt community Mary is related to actors Anthony
Perkins and David Hyde Pierce, writer Marion Zimmer Bradley, artist Ellen Day
Hale, and Olympic figure skater Toller Cranston.
Mary’s Mayflower ancestor
William Bradford was the first Governor of Plymouth Colony. There are other
colonial governors in her ancestry. George Wyllys (d.1645) was Governor of
Connecticut in 1645, and John Haynes (1597-1654) was the previous governor and
before that was Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Through several of her
ancestors Bishop Mary Glasspool has royal blood. Through the above-mentioned
Governor Wyllys she is descended from King Edward III, son of the gay King
Edward II, and through the Adams family she is descended from their ancestor
King Henry II. The bishop is also descended from several Magna Carta surety
barons and, in this year celebrating the 950th anniversary of the
Battle of Hastings, is descended from the only known gay Norman baron who is
believed to have fought there (more of this in October). The bloodline of
William the Conqueror also flows through Mary Glasspool’s veins.