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Ashmun, Jehudi (21 April 1794–25 August 1828), colonial agent and missionary in West Africa, was born in Champlain, New York, the son of Samuel Ashmun, a justice of the peace, and Parthenia (maiden name unknown). An intensely devout Christian from the age of sixteen, Ashmun studied theology and classics at Vermont’s Middlebury College and the University of Vermont in Burlington. Following his graduation from the latter in 1816, he was appointed principal and instructor at the Maine Charity School, a Congregationalist college in Hampden, Maine. In 1818 he married Catherine Gray; it is not known if they had any children....

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Auchmuty, Samuel (16 January 1722–04 March 1777), Episcopal minister and Loyalist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Scottish-born Robert Auchmuty, a judge of admiralty in Massachusetts, and Mary Julianna. He would have been a graduate in the Harvard class of 1742 but dropped out during his junior year. At the encouragement of his uncle, James Auchmuty, dean of Armagh, Samuel prepared for holy orders by reading under the direction of the Reverend Alexander Malcolm of St. Michael’s Church in Marblehead and the Reverend Benjamin Bradstreet of Gloucester. Based on the recommendation of these two ministers as to Samuel’s character and learning, Harvard awarded him his B.A. in 1745 and his M.A. in 1746....

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Bailey, Jacob (1731–26 July 1808), Anglican missionary and Loyalist, was born in Rowley, Massachusetts, the son of David Bailey and Mary Hodgkins, farmers. The details of Bailey’s early education are unknown, but by the age of ten he was able to read and write. Frustrated by the ignorance of the townspeople and a lack of books, he began to devote his leisure time to “scribbling” essays on various topics. One inadvertently came to the attention of the Reverend Jedediah Jewett, pastor of the First Congregational Society, who then offered to tutor Jacob gratis. Bailey matriculated at Harvard in 1751. He depended primarily upon charity for his fees and expenses but successfully graduated in 1755. Bailey then undertook a series of positions as a schoolmaster while preparing for the A.M. degree, which he received in 1758. In June of that year he was approved as a Congregational preacher. He failed to find a permanent parish and continued his precarious career as itinerant teacher and preacher until the end of 1759....

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Clarke, John (08 October 1609–20 April 1676), Baptist preacher and colonial agent, was born in Westhorpe, Suffolk, the son of Thomas Clarke, a man of unknown occupation and middling rank, and Rose Keridge. John Clarke had some college education (possibly at Cambridge) and some medical training (possibly at Leyden). He studied Hebrew. While still in England he married Elizabeth Harges, daughter of John Harges, lord of the manor of Wreslingworth, Bedfordshire. They had no children....

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Cooper, Myles ( February 1737–20 May 1785), Anglican priest, president of King's College, and Loyalist, Anglican priest, president of King’s College, and Loyalist, was born near Broughton-Furness, Cumberland County, England, the son of William Cooper and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown). Myles Cooper’s date of birth is not known, but he was baptized probably on 19 February 1737 in Cumberland County, England. In 1753 he entered Queen’s College, Oxford, earning the B.A. in 1756 and the M.A. in 1760. That year he also taught school in Kent. In 1761 he returned to Queen’s College, was appointed chaplain until he was ordained a priest, and published with collaborators ...

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Hall, Prince (1735–04 December 1807), Masonic organizer and abolitionist, was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, the son of a “white English leather worker” and a “free woman of African and French descent”; his birth date is variously given as 12 Sept. 1748 (Horton). He was the slave of William Hall, a leather dresser. At age seventeen, Hall found passage to Boston, Massachusetts, by working on a ship and became employed there as a leather worker. In 1762 he joined the Congregational Church on School Street. He received his manumission in 1770. Official records indicate that Hall was married three times. In 1763 he married Sarah Ritchie, a slave. In 1770, after her death, he married Flora Gibbs of Gloucester, Massachusetts; they had one son, Prince Africanus. In 1798 Hall married Sylvia Ward. The reason for the dissolution of the second marriage is unclear....

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Heathcote, Caleb (06 March 1666–01 March 1721), merchant, manor lord, and Anglican activist, was born in Derbyshire, England, the son of Gilbert Heathcote, a trader in hides and iron who served as mayor of Chesterfield, England, and Anne Dickens. While living in England Heathcote became a merchant specializing in trade with New York, where he settled in 1692 after the woman to whom he was betrothed fell in love with his brother Samuel and married him instead....

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Hooker, Thomas (07 July 1586–07 July 1647), Puritan minister, an architect of the New England Way, and a founder of Hartford, Connecticut, was born in Marfield, a village in Leicestershire, England, the son of Thomas Hooker, a steward for the Digby family, and his wife, whose name is unknown. He probably attended the grammar school that had been endowed by Sir Wolstan Dixie in nearby Market Bosworth, since at Cambridge he held a Dixie Fellowship, restricted to relatives of Sir Wolstan or graduates of his school. Before going to Cambridge, he may have taught school briefly in Birstall, Leicestershire. He matriculated at Queens College, Cambridge, in 1604, although he soon transferred to Emmanuel College, which had already acquired a reputation for the Puritan sympathies of its members. He received his B.A. in 1608 and his M.A. in 1611. He subsequently served as lecturer and catechist at Emmanuel College until 1618. As a fellow at Emmanuel he experienced a spiritual rebirth that validated his career as a Puritan minister and provided the substance for many of his popular sermons that were collected and published during his lifetime. He apparently preached at Emmanuel a series of sermons on the nature of the conversion experience....

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Inglis, Charles (1734–24 February 1816), Anglican minister, Loyalist, and first bishop of Nova Scotia, was born in Glencolumbkille, Donegal, Ireland, the son of the Reverend Archibald Inglis (mother’s name unknown). For four generations his family supplied pastors for important Anglican parishes, but Charles, orphaned at eleven, grew up in a poor parish, where his Protestant family was outnumbered five to one by Roman Catholic neighbors. Charles had hoped to follow the family tradition of attending Trinity College, Dublin, but poverty blocked any college education. Because of his Irish origins, poverty, religious minority status, and lack of a university education, Inglis held a lifelong antipathy to dissenters and deeply craved respectability and social status....

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Krol, Bastiaen Janszen (1595–1674), representative of the Dutch Reformed church (first colonial "comforter of the sick") and colonial administrator in New Netherland, representative of the Dutch Reformed church (first colonial “comforter of the sick”) and colonial administrator in New Netherland, was born in Harlingen in the province of Friesland, the Netherlands, the son of Jans Krol and Annetjen Egberts. Bastiaen Krol had little formal education. He was employed in the fabric industry as a plush or velours worker when in 1615 he married Annetjen Stoffelsdocter, with whom he had three children. Krol signed his marriage certificate with a cross, suggesting he was unable to write his name at this time....

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Leverett, John ( July 1616–16 March 1679), Puritan leader and governor of Massachusetts, was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, the son of Thomas Leverett and Anne Fisher. Thomas Leverett was a landowner and a protector in England of the great Puritan minister John Cotton...

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Mayhew, Thomas, Jr. (1621–1657), missionary and settler of Martha's Vineyard, missionary and settler of Martha’s Vineyard, was born in Southampton, England, the son of Thomas Mayhew, a merchant and proprietor of Martha’s Vineyard. (His mother’s name is unknown.) Thomas accompanied his father to Medford, Massachusetts, in 1631 and was educated in Medford and Watertown schools. He was tutored for the ministry with training in the classics and languages. Instead, he first assisted his father in operating their corn and timber mills. In 1641 he shared his father’s proprietorship of Martha’s Vineyard (known then variously as “Noepe” or the “Isle of Capswack”) and took the first colonists there. He was a farmer and an early trader with the Indians. Until his father arrived in 1646 to assume personal charge of the property, Mayhew was sole agent, but he was anxious to work with the Indians. His marriage in 1647 to Jane Paine, his father’s stepdaughter from his second marriage, brought six children who were responsible in coming years for the increase of the Mayhew family in the Vineyard....

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Odell, Jonathan (25 September 1737–25 November 1818), Anglican clergyman, Loyalist, and poet, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of John Odell, a skilled carpenter, and Temperance Dickinson, the daughter of President Jonathan Dickinson of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University). Odell’s father provided in his will for a college education for his son. After graduating from the College of New Jersey in 1754, Odell conducted the college’s grammar school, receiving in payment two-thirds of the school’s proceeds. In 1756 he studied medicine and then joined a regiment of the British army, serving in the West Indies as an army surgeon. He received his A.M. from the College of New Jersey in 1757. During this period he decided to seek ordination as an Anglican clergyman, in spite of his family’s historic ties to the Congregationalist church. While in England studying for the ministry, he taught at James Elphinston’s Academy in Kensington and published his first poems. He met ...

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Penn, William (14 October 1644–30 July 1718), founder of Pennsylvania and eminent English Quaker, was born in London, England, the son of Sir William Penn, an admiral, and Margaret Jasper Vanderschuren, the daughter of a Rotterdam merchant. Penn was educated at Chigwell Free Grammar School, Essex, and Christ Church College, Oxford, where he studied from 1660 until 1662, when he was expelled for openly criticizing the Church of England. In an effort to prevent him from becoming a dissenter and to prepare him for the life of a gentleman, his father sent him to tour the Continent. In France the younger Penn studied Huguenot theology at L’Académie Protestante de Saumur. He returned to England in 1664 a more sophisticated man and the next year entered legal study at Lincoln’s Inn. He then assisted his father in business and military affairs. These activities required attendance at court, where he made acquaintances that would later prove useful, especially his friendship with Charles II’s brother, James, duke of York....

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William Penn. Print, c. 1897. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-106735).

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Peters, Richard (1704?–10 July 1776), clergyman and colonial official, was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Ralph Peters, a lawyer and local official, and Esther Preeson. He attended Westminster School, where he is said to have finished before turning fifteen. While there he married, apparently a servant where he lodged. His parents then sent him to Leyden, where he spent three years in further study. After his return, he acceded to his father’s wishes that he study the law at the Inner Temple, although his personal predilections tended toward the ministry. After five years at the Inner Temple, Peters prepared for the priesthood, and in 1730 he was ordained deacon. He became a priest the following year. In 1731 he also began further study at Wadham College, Oxford. At the age of twenty-eight he was appointed to Lytham Chapel in the diocese of Chester. Peters, believing that his first wife was dead, in 1734 married a woman with the surname of Stanley, with whom he had a child who died in infancy. Six months after their marriage Peters’s first wife reappeared, and in the ensuing scandal, in 1735 Peters left England for Pennsylvania....

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Pierson, Abraham (1609–09 August 1678), colonial minister, missionary, leader of Branford, Connecticut, and cofounder of Newark, New Jersey, was born in Yorkshire, England. Nothing is known about his parents or his youth. He prepared for the ministry at Trinity College, Cambridge University, graduated in 1632, and was subsequently ordained as pastor at Newark, Nottinghamshire, before emigrating to America in 1639 or 1640. Pierson settled in Southampton, Long Island, which at the time was part of the Connecticut Colony. However, he preferred the religious climate of the New Haven Colony, which required prospective church members to present evidence of spiritual conversion and undertake a public profession of faith. Consequently, sometime after 1643 he, his wife, Abigail (Wheelwright), and their children crossed Long Island Sound to the New Haven Colony, which, under the influence of Puritan divine ...

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Shippen, Edward (1639– August 1712), merchant, religious martyr, and political leader, was born in Yorkshire, England, the son of William Shippen, a prominent landholder, and Mary Nunnes (or Nuns). Although his older brother earned degrees at Oxford and became an Anglican clergyman, Edward in 1668 emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, a wilderness town of about 3,500. In 1671 he married Elizabeth Lybrand; they had eight children during their seventeen years together. Not long after he joined an artillery company, Shippen converted to his wife’s faith and became a member of the Society of Friends....

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Sir Henry Vane. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101796).

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Vane, Sir Henry (1613–14 June 1662), Puritan political figure, was born at Debden, Essex, England, the son of Sir Henry Vane, a knight and the comptroller and treasurer of the English royal household, and Frances Darcy. He attended Westminster School and entered Magdalen Hall, Oxford. By the age of fifteen, however, he had become a Puritan; he left Oxford and matriculated at Leyden, on the Continent. When he first brought up the idea of immigrating to New England, his father strongly objected, but the king himself intervened on his behalf....