Charles Henry Fowler

Charles Henry Fowler

Fowler, Charles Henry, 1837-1908, American Methodist bishop and educator, b. Canada. For 11 years he held pastorates in Chicago churches. He was president of Northwestern Univ. from 1873 to 1876. After his election as bishop in 1884, he traveled in several mission fields and helped found the universities of Beijing and Nanjing in China, Nebraska Wesleyan Univ., and the Twentieth Century Forward Movement.
Charles Henry Fowler (11 August 1837 – 1908) was a Canadian-American Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, elected in 1884.

Birth and Family

Charles was born in Burford Ontario, Canada. At the age of four he was taken to Illinois, U.S.A.


Charles spent some time at the Rock River Seminary in Illinois. Then he entered the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary at Lima, Livingston County, New York (which became Syracuse University), graduating in 1859. He received the honors of his class.

His original plan to enter law changed when he was converted to Christ. Instead, he entered Garrett Biblical Institute, Evanston, Illinois, from which he graduated in 1861.

Ordained Ministry

The Rev. Fowler joined the Rock River Annual Conference in 1861. He served in the pastorate for twelve years, all in the city of Chicago. He collected $40,000 in Eastern cities for the relief of Chicago's churches following the Great Chicago Fire.

In 1872 the Rev. Dr. Fowler became the President of Northwestern University in Evanston, having declined this same position in 1861. Four years later he was made Editor of the Christian Advocate based in New York City, an important Methodist periodical of that day. In 1880 he was elected Missionary Secretary of his denomination.

Episcopal Ministry

In 1884 he was elected to the Episcopacy by the General Conference of the M.E. Church. During a large part of his episcopal service his residence was in San Francisco.

Founding the College of Puget Sound

Fowler was the main founder of the College of Puget Sound (now the University of Puget Sound). He came up with the idea while in Tacoma, Washington for a methodist conference.


  • "Our New Bishops," Western Christian Advocate, 1884.

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