From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)
Atwell, Joseph Sandiford
(born: 1831 - died: 1881) Rev. Joseph S. Atwell, from Barbados, was the first colored man ordained a Deacon of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Kentucky, according to his obituary on p.5 of the New York Times, 10/10/1881. Rev. Atwell was Rector at St. Phillips Protestant Episcopal Church on Mulberry Street in New York City when he died of typhoid fever in 1881. He had attended Codrington College in Barbados, and came to the United States in 1863 to attend the Theological Seminary of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated in 1866 and next came to Kentucky where he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Benjamin B. Smith who was named the first bishop of Kentucky in 1832, two years after his arrival in Lexington. Rev. Atwell was a missionary worker in Kentucky and next went to Petersburg, VA, where he was ordained a priest in 1868 and became Rector of the St. Stephen's Church and was head of a parish school. He then went to Savannah, GA, in 1873 and was Rector of the St. Stephen's Church. He went to New York in 1875. Rev. Joseph S. Atwell was the husband of Cordelia Jennings Atwell, a mulatto from Pennsylvania, and the father of Joseph, Robert, and Earnest Atwell [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. The family lived at No.112 Waverley Place.