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Barrett, Benjamin Fiske (24 June 1808–06 August 1892), pastor, writer, and publisher, was born in Dresden, Maine, the son of Oliver Barrett, a carpenter, and Elizabeth Carlton. Young Benjamin was anxious to obtain an education and took delight in mastering his preparatory studies. Through his own labor he was able to attend Bowdoin College, graduating with a B.A. in 1832. Although not raised in any Christian denomination, Barrett became attracted to Unitarianism while in college. He subsequently attended Harvard Divinity School, graduating in 1838. He was ordained in the Unitarian church that same year and assigned to a parish at Syracuse, New York....

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Franklin, Benjamin (01 February 1812–22 October 1878), editor and itinerant preacher, was born in Belmont County, Ohio, the son of Joseph Franklin and Isabella Devold, farmers and millers. Apprenticed as a carpenter, Franklin moved in 1832 to Henry County, Indiana, where he married Mary Personnett in 1833 and built and operated a sawmill. Although baptized and raised by his parents as a Methodist, Franklin had experienced no particular religious convictions until he came under the preaching of Samuel Rogers, the pioneer itinerant preacher of the Disciples of Christ in Indiana, and Elijah Martindale, another noted Disciples itinerant. Rogers later rebaptized Franklin by immersion in 1836....

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Gillis, James Martin (12 November 1876–14 March 1957), evangelist and editor, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of James Gillis, a machinist, and Catherine Roche. Raised in a working-class Irish-American family, Gillis attended St. John’s Seminary at Brighton for the archdiocese of Boston from 1896 to 1898 and achieved a baccalaureate. He later joined the Paulist Fathers at St. Thomas College in Washington, D.C., and was ordained in New York City on 21 December 1901. He immediately matriculated to the Catholic University of America, where he earned an S.T.L. in historical theology in 1903....

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Lee, Jarena (11 February 1783–after 1849), evangelist and spiritual autobiographer, was born in Cape May, New Jersey. Although her birthplace stood in a free state, Cape May was entwined just enough by commerce and culture with Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Virginia’s northern borders that Lee probably was exposed at an early age to the inhumanities that characterized southern enslavement. The names and occupations of her parents are unknown. Details of her childhood and education are likewise sketchy. Both parents were free blacks, and poverty forced them to hire out their seven-year-old daughter as a domestic servant for a white family sixty miles away from home....

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Nast, William (15 January 1807–16 May 1899), Methodist clergyman and editor, was born in Stuttgart, Württemberg (now Germany), the son of Elizabeth Magdalene Ludovika Böhm and Johann Wilhelm Nast, merchants. He was baptized in the Lutheran church five days after birth, receiving his father’s full name, but most historical references have Anglicized his name to William. Orphaned at the age of seventeen, he lived with his eldest sister, who had married a theologian, and it was assumed that he would pursue a ministerial career. After attending schools in Stuttgart and Baihingen-an-der-Enz, Nast began seminary studies in 1821 in Blaubueren. Up to that point he had been strongly influenced by German Pietists and periodically experienced a deep sense of sin together with strong hopes for salvation. At the seminary, however, influences of a rationalistic, skeptical sort awaited him in the form of his roommate, David Friedrich Strauss. Wrestling with unresolved tensions between faith and reason, Nast turned away from the ministry and for a time (1825–1827) studied at the University of Tübingen. Thereafter, on the advice of his brother-in-law, he sought relief by traveling to the New World for a change of scene....

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Reed, Sampson (10 June 1800–08 July 1880), author and advocate of Swedenborgianism, was born in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, the son of John Reed, a Unitarian pastor, and Hannah Sampson. Reed graduated with high honors from Harvard College in 1818 and went on to study at the Divinity School. There he was introduced to the mystical writings of Emanuel Swedenborg by his roommate, Thomas Worcester, and shortly thereafter Reed abandoned his intention to become a Unitarian minister and in 1820 joined the Boston New-Church Society. At his graduation from Harvard with an M.A. in 1821, he delivered an oration on “Genius,” which rejected the current Lockean notion that at birth the mind is a tabula rasa that registers only impressions received through the senses and experience. His claim that “Locke’s mind will not always be the standard of metaphysics” and his advocacy of intuition as a way of knowing appealed to eighteen-year-old ...

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Scofield, Cyrus Ingerson (19 August 1843–24 July 1921), churchman and editor of the Scofield Reference Bible, was born near Clinton, Michigan, the son of Elias Scofield and Abigail Goodrich, pioneer farmers and sawmill owner/operators. His mother died shortly after his birth, and he was raised by his stepmother. No information is available about his education. In 1861 Scofield joined the Confederacy in the Seventh Regiment, Company H, Tennessee Infantry. Apparently he had moved to Wilson County, east of Nashville, Tennessee, to be with his sister Laura, perhaps after his stepmother’s death in 1859. After the expiration of his one-year enlistment, he was released from the service, and he dropped into obscurity until 1866, when he appeared in St. Louis, Missouri, doing case work in the law office of Sylvester Pappen, the husband of his oldest sister, Emeline. In the same year he married Leontene Cerré, the daughter of a prominent French family in St. Louis. In the late 1860s he settled in Atchison, Kansas, where he pursued a dual career in law and Republican politics. Admitted to the Kansas bar in 1869, he was elected to the lower house of the Kansas legislature in 1871 and 1872 and was U.S. attorney for the district of Kansas in 1873. For undisclosed reasons, though probably related to alcohol abuse, Scofield left his promising career and returned to St. Louis in 1879, leaving behind his wife, who secured a divorce decree in 1883, and two children....

Article

Smith, Uriah (02 May 1832–06 March 1903), writer and editor, was born in West Wilton, New Hampshire, the son of Samuel Smith, a highway and bridge contractor, and Rebekah Spalding, a poet. At age four Smith developed an ulcer on his left leg that led to amputation above the knee. This condition in turn contributed to a sedentary life. In 1844 he was baptized into adventism, adopting ...