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Ballou, Hosea, 2d (18 October 1796–27 May 1861), Universalist minister and educator, was born in Guilford, Vermont, the son of Asahel Ballou and Martha Starr, farmers. His parents were hard-working, frugal, intelligent, and affectionate people, and these values shaped his personality.

Ballou’s limited formal education scarcely satisfied his passion for learning, but he mastered Latin with the help of a neighboring minister and also became proficient in Greek, French, German, and Hebrew. At fifteen he worked briefly as a schoolteacher in the nearby town of Marlboro. His parents considered sending him to college but, as Universalists, were suspicious of the New England colleges, which they felt were controlled by Congregationalists and so kept him at home....

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Beardshear, William Miller (07 November 1850–05 August 1902), United Brethren minister and college president, was born on a farm outside of Dayton, Ohio, the son of John Beardshear and Elizabeth Coleman, devout members of the United Brethren church. William enlisted in the 184th Ohio Infantry in 1864 and served in the Civil War until its conclusion in 1865....

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Beaver, Robert Pierce (26 May 1906–20 November 1987), minister and missions scholar, was born in Hamilton, Ohio, the son of Joseph Earl Beaver, an employee of the Game and Fish Commission of Ohio, and Caroline Neusch. He received the B.A. and M.A. in art history at Oberlin College (1928) followed by post graduate studies at Munich (1931–1932), a Ph.D. in history from Cornell University (1933), and postdoctoral study at Yale (1938). He married his high school classmate Wilma Manessier, a kindergarten teacher, in 1927; they had three children....

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Clewell, John Henry (19 September 1855–20 February 1922), Moravian clergyman and educator, was born in Salem, North Carolina, the son of John David Clewell and Dorothea Schultz. Following his primary education in Salem, Clewell entered Moravian College and Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he earned an A.B. in 1875 and a B.D. two years later. He pursued postgraduate study at Union Theological Seminary in New York City between 1878 and 1879. Moravian College awarded him a Ph.D. in 1900. In 1882 Clewell married Alice Cornelia Wolle, daughter of a prominent Moravian family in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; they had five children. Alice Clewell took an active role in her husband’s professional life, particularly during his tenure at Salem Female Academy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The institution recognized her contributions through its construction of the Alice Clewell Memorial Dormitory....

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de Schweinitz, Edmund Alexander (20 March 1825–18 December 1887), leader of the Moravian church in America and first president of Moravian College and Theological Seminary, was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the son of Lewis de Schweinitz, a pastor and amateur botanist, and Louise Amalie Le Doux. De Schweinitz grew up in the Moravian village of Bethlehem during the period when its character as a closed religious community was crumbling. He studied classics and theology at Moravian schools in Nazareth and Bethlehem until 1844, when he spent several months at the University of Berlin. There he attended lectures in church history, a subject that would be the core of his academic writing. He taught briefly in Zeyst, Holland, before returning to the United States in 1847. From 1847 to 1850 he taught classics at his old school, Nazareth Hall. In 1850 he married Lydia de Tschirschky in Herrnhut, Germany; they had two sons and two daughters. Also in 1850 he was ordained and served in a number of short pastorates, including Dover, Ohio, and Lebanon, Philadelphia, and Lititz, Pennsylvania, before settling in Bethlehem. He was regarded as a good preacher with a scholarly and “ornate” style. He was also known to be formal and at times imperious as a pastor. These traits are evident in his published works....

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Finney, Charles Grandison (29 August 1792–16 August 1875), evangelist and president of Oberlin College, was born in Warren, Connecticut, the son of Sylvester Finney and Rebecca Rice, farmers. The family moved to the town of Kirkland, Oneida County, New York, when he was two and in 1808 to Henderson, Jefferson County, near Lake Ontario. Finney attended common school and perhaps Hamilton-Oneida Academy in Clinton, and he taught school as an older teen in Henderson. At age twenty he enrolled at Warren Academy in Connecticut, decided against going on to Yale, and taught in New Jersey from 1814 to 1818, when he returned to Jefferson County to apprentice at law. Practicing in an Adams, New York, law firm and directing the local Presbyterian church choir, he began to study the Bible. Having grown up during the Second Great Awakening, Finney was aware of the strengths and weaknesses of every Protestant denomination’s evangelistic style. During an 1821 revival, at age twenty-nine, he experienced a religious crisis. He promised God, as he recalled in his ...

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Jacobson, John Christian (08 April 1795–24 November 1870), Moravian church educator and administrator, was born Christian Jacobsen in Burkal, Denmark, the son of Jens Jacobsen and Anna Maria (maiden name unknown), home missionaries of the Moravian church. Jacobson was educated at the Moravian school in Christiansfeld, Denmark, where he developed musical interests that would remain an avocational pursuit throughout his life. He studied for the ministry at the Moravian school in Niesky, Germany. There he received an education stressing the classical languages and theology. In 1816 he emigrated to the United States. Immigration authorities gave him, upon his arrival in New York City, an additional first name and changed the spelling of his family name....

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Johnson, Theodore Elliott (09 September 1931–20 April 1986), librarian, scholar, and Shaker brother, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Elmer Carl Johnson, a purchasing agent, and Ruth D. Collins Johnson. In 1953 he graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, with a B.A. in Latin. Johnson, who never married, spent the next year studying medieval Latin literature in Strasbourg, France, on a Fulbright fellowship, and in 1955 he received an M.A. in the teaching of classics from Harvard University School of Education. Then, from 1955 to 1957 he studied at Harvard Divinity School. As a member of the Episcopal church, Johnson attended a parish administered by the Cowley Fathers of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, and both scholarship and religion remained the central interests of his life....

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Kephart, Ezekiel Boring (06 November 1834–24 January 1906), clergyman and college president, was born in Decatur Township, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Kephart and Sarah Goss, pioneer farmers. Kephart was raised in a log cabin on a mountain farm. His early education consisted of the daily lessons of pioneer living as well as several months each winter in a schoolhouse two miles from his home. When Kephart was fourteen, he and his elder brother began their own lumber business. They cut trees and constructed large timber rafts, which they navigated on adventurous journeys down the Susquehanna River. At the age of seventeen Kephart made a religious commitment to the Christian faith that prompted his ministerial interests....

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King, Thomas Starr (17 December 1824–04 March 1864), Universalist minister and lecturer, was born in New York City, the son of Thomas Farrington King, a Universalist minister, and Susan Starr. Since his father moved from one pastorate to another, young King spent most of his formative years in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Charlestown, Massachusetts. He had little formal schooling and even that was terminated when he was fifteen years old because his father died. Forced to work in support of the family, he was at times a clerk, a bookkeeper in a dry-goods store, an assistant teacher in a grammar school (1840), a principal at another (1842), and in 1843 a bookkeeper at Charlestown Naval Yard. Throughout this time King actively pursued intellectual maturation. A voracious reader, he absorbed information at a remarkable pace and took advantage of lectures offered in Cambridge or Boston. His vigorous mind and thirst for knowledge drew the attention of Unitarian clergy and social reformer ...