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Haas, Francis Joseph (18 March 1889–29 August 1953), priest and government official, was born in Racine, Wisconsin, the son of Peter Haas, a grocer, and Mary O’Day. He studied at St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, was ordained a priest in 1913, and received a Ph.D. in sociology from the Catholic University of America in 1922....

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Judd, Gerrit Parmele (23 April 1803–12 July 1873), physician, medical missionary, and Hawaiian government official and adviser, was born in Paris, New York, the son of Elnathan Judd, Jr., a physician, and Betsey Hastings. Being the eldest son of a physician, Judd took an early interest in the medical profession and attended medical school in Fairfield, Herkimer County, where he received his M.D. in 1825. In 1826 Judd dedicated his life to the missionary cause as directed by the Boston-based Congregational American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). At this time the board was recruiting missionaries for the third company to join the Sandwich Islands Mission in Hawaii in the fall of 1827....

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Muhlenberg, Henry Augustus Philip (13 May 1782–11 August 1844), clergyman and member of the U.S. Congress, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Muhlenberg, a Lutheran minister and botanist, and Mary Catherine Hall. He received his education under the personal direction of his father, who in 1787 became the founding president of Franklin College in Lancaster. Henry A. Muhlenberg received his theological training from his uncle, ...

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Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Photograph by James J. Kriegsmann. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-38826).

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Powell, Adam Clayton, Jr. (29 November 1908–04 April 1972), minister and congressman, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., and Mattie Fletcher Shaffer. The Family moved to New York City in 1909 after the senior Powell became minister of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, then located at Fortieth Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues. In 1923, at the elder Powell’s urging, the church and the family joined the surge of black migration uptown to Harlem, with the church moving to 138th Street between Seventh and Lenox avenues....

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Hiram Rhoades Revels. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-98798)

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Revels, Hiram Rhoades (27 September 1827?–16 January 1901), senator, clergyman, and educator, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the son of free parents of mixed blood. Little is known of his family or early years. At eight or nine he enrolled in a private school for black children, where he was “fully and successfully instructed by our able teacher in all branches of learning” (Revels, p. 2). About 1842 his family moved to Lincolnton, North Carolina, where Revels became a barber. Two years later he entered Beech Grove Seminary, a Quaker institution two miles south of Liberty, Indiana. In 1845 he enrolled at another seminary in Darke County, Ohio, and during this period may also have studied theology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio....

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Seelye, Julius Hawley (14 September 1824–12 May 1895), clergyman, educator, and U.S. congressman, was born in Bethel, Connecticut, the son of Seth Seelye, a merchant and farmer, and Abigail Taylor. Nearsighted as a child, he was mistakenly considered unintelligent by his parents, who originally planned a career in his father’s store for the boy. Seelye, however, doggedly pursued a course of self-education, and in January 1846, on the advice of a friend, he entered the freshman class at Amherst College. He graduated in 1849 and immediately began study at the Auburn Theological Seminary, completing the course in 1852. Seelye had been offered a tutorial position at Amherst in 1851 but instead went to Europe, where he studied philosophy at the University of Halle. Returning to the United States in 1853, he was ordained to the ministry on 10 August of that year in Schenectady, New York, where he held the pastorate of the First Reformed Dutch Church for the following five years. During this period he continued the study of Kantian philosophy under the direction of his uncle Dr. ...

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Smith, John (1735–30 July 1824), minister, merchant, and U.S. senator, was born in Virginia. Nothing is known about his parents, and very little is known about his early life. Smith appeared in the new settlement of Columbia (just east of Cincinnati) in May 1790. He had traveled from the forks of the Cheat River in what is now West Virginia, where he had been a Baptist minister. Apparently, he had had no education, was relatively poor, and was looking to improve the situation of his household. Described by contemporaries as large, handsome, and dark complected, he had as his only assets a talent for public speaking and a winning personality that expertly balanced seriousness and gregariousness. But they were enough to win the confidence of a small Baptist congregation who engaged him as their pastor. In 1791 Smith established his wife, Elizabeth Mason Hickman, and seven children in Columbia. With characteristic enthusiasm, the new preacher went to work to spread the gospel: he helped to design and construct the first Protestant church in the region in 1793, ordained other men as Baptist preachers, and led in the formation of the Miami Baptist Association in 1797....

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Reed Smoot Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-110940).

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Smoot, Reed Owen (10 January 1862–09 February 1941), senator and Mormon apostle, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Abraham Owen Smoot, a businessman and politician, and Anne Kirstene Morrison. Smoot’s father had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in Kentucky and moved with the church to Illinois and then on to Utah in 1847. Abraham Smoot was a polygamist, and Reed was the third child of the fifth wife, a convert from Norway. Anne Morrison Smoot influenced all her children to have faith, be industrious, and practice prudence. Abraham Smoot was mayor of Salt Lake City for ten years and then moved south to Provo, where he served in that same office for twelve years. Abraham served simultaneously as the president of the Mormon church’s Utah Stake, which covered all of Utah County....