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Breckinridge, John (04 July 1797–04 August 1841), Presbyterian clergyman and editor, was born at “Cabell’s Dale,” near Lexington, Kentucky, the son of John Breckinridge, the U.S. attorney general under President Thomas Jefferson, and Mary Hopkins Cabell. He entered the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1815 and graduated with distinction in 1819....

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Cornish, Samuel Eli (1795–06 November 1858), clergyman and newspaper editor, was born in Sussex County, Delaware, the son of free black parents. Cornish was educated after 1815 in Philadelphia, where he studied for the ministry with John Gloucester, pastor of the First African Presbyterian Church. During Gloucester’s illness, Cornish served as minister to the church for a year. In this brief tenure Cornish learned much about the tenuous finances of black churches, knowledge that would serve him later. Cornish gained a probationary license to preach from the Presbyterian synod in 1819. He then spent six months as missionary to slaves on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where his license gave him greater credibility than most black preachers enjoyed. In 1821 he moved to New York City, where he worked in the blighted ghetto around Bancker Street and organized the first black Presbyterian congregation in New York, the New Demeter Street Presbyterian Church. Ordained in 1822, Cornish preached at New Demeter until 1828, while itinerating among blacks in New York and New Jersey. In 1824 he married Jane Livingston; they had four children....

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Corrothers, James David (02 July 1869–12 February 1917), journalist, poet, and clergyman, was born in Chain Lake Settlement, Cass County, Michigan, a colony first settled by fugitive slaves in the 1840s. His parents were James Richard Carruthers (spelling later changed by Corrothers), a black soldier in the Union army, and Maggie Churchman, of French and Madagascan descent, who died when Corrothers was born. Corrothers was legally adopted by his nonblack paternal grandfather, a pious and respected man of Cherokee and Scotch-Irish origins, who raised young Corrothers in relative poverty. They lived in several roughneck towns along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, where Corrothers attended school and became aware of racial hostility. In his boyhood family members introduced him to a rich vein of African-American folk tales that he would later draw upon for a number of his dialect sketches....

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Davies, Samuel (03 November 1723–04 February 1761), Presbyterian minister, author, and educator, was born in the Welsh Tract in Pencader Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware, the son of David Davies (whose family name appears also as David and Davis) and Martha Thomas, farmers. After his mother shifted her allegiance from the Baptists to the Presbyterians, Davies enrolled at the classical academy conducted by the Reverend Samuel Blair at Fagg’s Manor, Pennsylvania. Blair, one of America’s best teachers of the mid-eighteenth century, trained Davies thoroughly in the classics, initiated him into the experiential piety of revivalistic Calvinism, and prepared him for the Presbyterian ministry. Shortly after Davies finished his study with Blair, he was licensed by the New Side (or revivalistic) Presbytery of New Castle on 30 July 1746. Later that year he married Sarah Kirkpatrick, who died giving birth on 15 September 1747....

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Linn, John Blair (14 March 1777–30 August 1804), poet and clergyman, was born in Big Spring (now Newville), Pennsylvania, the eldest son among seven children of William Linn, pastor of the Presbyterian church there, and Rebecca Blair, the daughter of a theology professor at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University). In the course of a distinguished career William Linn became president of Washington College in Maryland in 1784 and was appointed co-pastor of the Collegiate Dutch Reformed Church in New York in November 1786, moving there with his family....

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Lovejoy, Elijah Parish (09 November 1802–07 November 1837), abolitionist editor and preacher, was born near Albion, Maine, the son of Daniel Lovejoy, a Congregational preacher and farmer, and Elizabeth Pattee. Lovejoy graduated from Waterville (now Colby) College in 1826 and a year later moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he conducted a private school and edited the ...

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Roe, Edward Payson (07 March 1837–19 July 1888), author and minister, was born in Moodna (now New Windsor), Orange County, New York, the seventh child of Peter Roe and Susan Williams. Peter Roe had moved to Moodna from New York City, where he had been a successful wholesale grocer and importer. In Moodna he became president of the Newburgh Whaling Company and a leading abolitionist. Young Edward learned lifelong standards of honor and moral integrity from his father. Susan Roe, an invalid, had an inquisitive mind and a strong reading interest in the Bible and the classics; from her, young Edward received his interest in religion and literature. He was educated at home and at private and boarding schools before President ...

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Sprague, William Buell (16 October 1795–07 May 1876), pastor, collector, and biographer, was born in Andover, Connecticut, the son of Benjamin Sprague and Sibyl Buell. Nothing is known about what his parents did for a living. Sprague entered Yale College in 1811 and, despite a brief leave of absence due to eye problems, graduated with honors in 1815. Early in life Sprague expressed an interest in the ministry, but he delayed entering Princeton Theological Seminary until 1816 in order to tutor the children of Major Lawrence Lewis, a nephew of ...

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van Dyke, Henry (10 November 1852–10 April 1933), Presbyterian minister, poet, and diplomat, was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Jackson van Dyke, a prominent Presbyterian minister, and Henrietta Ashmead, the daughter of a notable Philadelphia attorney. Van Dyke studied at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and attended Princeton College, where he wrote Princeton’s “Triangle Song,” received a B.A. in 1873, and earned an M.A. in 1876. The following year he graduated from Princeton Seminary and then studied at the University of Berlin for two years before being ordained a Presbyterian minister....

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Wallace, Henry (19 March 1836–22 February 1916), cleric and journalist, was born in West Newton, Pennsylvania, the son of John Wallace and Martha Ross, farmers. Initially choosing the ministry rather than farming as a career, Wallace graduated from Jefferson College in 1859 and Monmouth Theological Seminary in 1863. After taking up his duties in the Presbyterian pulpit, he married Nancy Ann Cantwell in 1863. They had seven children, five of whom lived into their adult years....

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Zubly, John Joachim (27 August 1724–23 July 1781), clergyman, politician, and pamphleteer, was born in St. Gall, Switzerland, the son of David Zubly, a Reformed minister, and Helena (maiden name unknown). After completing his studies at the Gymnasium there, he followed his father to London and was ordained at the German Church in London on 19 August 1744. That same year he joined the Swiss German migration to Purrysburg, South Carolina, settling with his father and other Zubly family members who had removed there in 1736. Zubly preached among Swiss-, German-, and English-speaking settlers in South Carolina and Georgia and assisted the Reverend ...