James Otis Sargent Huntington OHC

James Otis Sargent Huntington, OHC, circa 1920's

The Rev. James Otis Sargent Huntington, OHC (23 July 1854 – 28 June 1935), a priest of the Episcopal Church, was the founder of the Order of the Holy Cross, an Anglican Benedictine monastic order for men whose mother house is now located in West Park, New York.


He was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, the younger son of Frederick Dan and Hannah Huntington. While he was a child his father, a Unitarian minister, converted to the Episcopal Church, and in quick succession was ordained deacon and priest, and then consecrated Bishop of Central New York. James went to Harvard, as his father did, and later studied at St. Andrew’s Divinity School in Syracuse. He was ordained priest around 1880, and began work among working-class immigrants on Manhattan's Lower East Side.

Soon after his ordination, Father Huntington attended a retreat in Philadelphia and began to feel called to the monastic life. In 1884 he founded the Order of the Holy Cross with two companions, Robert Dod and James Cameron. They continued working in the poorest sections of the East Side, where Father Huntington became involved in the labor union and land-tax movements. He was later a founder of the Church Association for the Advancement of the Interests of Labor, and was an early member of the Knights of Labor.

The Order of the Holy Cross chose Father Huntington as Superior for several non-consecutive terms, but most of his time and energy were used in parish and missionary work. Under his leadership the Order moved to Westminster, Maryland in the 1890s, and shortly after to West Park. The cornerstone for the Order’s monastery, which now serves as its guest house, was laid in 1902, and the building was finished in 1904. Designed by Gothic-Revival Architect Henry Vaughan, it was the first building built for an Anglican religious order since the reign of Henry VIII. Father Huntington also founded St. Faith's Home for Wayward Girls, St. Andrew's School at Sewanee, Kent School, and the Mission in Liberia, Africa.

Father Huntington died on 28 June 1935, and is buried in the Monastery Church of St Augustine in West Park. The Episcopal Church commemorates his life annually on the anniversary of his entry into monastic life 25 November 1884.


Frederick S. Hills, Compiler Editor; The Argus Company, Albany, N.Y., 1910

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