President's Park (White House)

Phineas Gurley

Photo of Phineas Gurley
Phineas Gurley
Phineas Gurley
Library of Congress

Quick Facts

Significance:
Lincoln family minister in Washington, D.C.
Place of Birth:
Hamilton, NY
Date of Birth
November 12, 1816
Place of Death:
Washington, DC
Date of Death
September 30, 1868

Phineas Densmore Gurley was pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. and Chaplain of the U.S. Senate when President Lincoln and his family arrived in the capital in the spring of 1861. Lincoln began attending Gurley's services shortly thereafter, and even reserved a pew in his church, though he never formally joined Gurley's congregation. Gurley conducted the funeral for Lincoln's son, Willie, in 1862, and was at Lincoln's side when the president died on April 15, 1865. Reverend Gurley subsequently delivered the funeral oration at the White House and then accompanied the body back to Illinois where he oversaw burial rites for the president. He continued to serve as pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church until his death in 1868.