Palfrey, John Gorham
- Robert L. Gale
Palfrey, John Gorham (02 May 1796–26 April 1881), clergyman, author, and politician, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Palfrey, an unsuccessful merchant and shipmaster, and Mary Sturges Gorham. After his mother’s death in 1802, his father left him (the eldest) and his four brothers with relatives. Two years later his father moved permanently to New Orleans, taking only his four youngest sons with him, and became a plantation owner and slaveholder. Meanwhile, left behind, young John attended the Berry Street Academy in Boston and Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, where he was a charity student. With no encouragement and little financial support from his father, Palfrey attended Harvard as a scholarship student, graduating in 1815. He studied at the Harvard Divinity School from 1816 to 1818, graduated and was ordained in 1818, and served as pastor of the prestigious Unitarian Church at Brattle Square, Boston, from 1818 until 1831. He developed into a respected religious, social, and intellectual leader known throughout Boston and beyond....