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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 He was baptized in the Lutheran church five days after birth, receiving his father’s full name, but most historical references have Anglicized his name to William.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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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....