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Barnes, Albert (01 December 1798–24 December 1870), Presbyterian pastor, was born in Rome, New York, the son of Rufus Barnes and Anna Frisby (also spelled Frisbie), farmers. After attending Fairfield Academy in Connecticut, Barnes entered the senior class at Hamilton College. His reading of Thomas Chalmer’s entry on the “Evidences of Christianity” in ...

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Beecher, Lyman (12 October 1775–10 January 1863), Protestant clergyman, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of David Beecher, a blacksmith, and Esther Lyman. On his mother’s death within days of his birth, Lyman was sent to the Guilford, Connecticut, farm of a maternal aunt. Catharine and Lot Benton became his foster parents; David Beecher proved to be a distant and disparaging father....

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Blackburn, Gideon (27 August 1772–23 August 1838), Presbyterian minister and missionary to Indians, was born in Augusta County, Virginia, the son of Robert Blackburn, a farmer. (His mother’s name is not known.) Raised by his grandfather and then his uncle, Blackburn was fifteen years old when he became a Presbyterian, joining the church so dear to many of his Scotch-Irish predecessors. After rudimentary schooling, he migrated to eastern Tennessee and studied theology at the home of Robert Henderson. In 1792 the Abingdon Presbytery granted him a license to preach. His first pastorate centered on Fort Craig, later named Maryville, where Blackburn often accompanied soldiers in their efforts to forestall marauding Indians. He was not content to work in only one place, and so he ranged the countryside within a fifty-mile radius to organize new churches and preaching stations among the settlers. Blackburn was noted for carrying a loaded rifle along with his Bible as he sought to extend what he considered the blessings of civilization and religion in frontier regions. In 1793 he married Grizzel Blackburn, a second or third cousin, and they produced eleven children....

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Burr, Aaron (04 January 1716–24 September 1757), Presbyterian minister and college founder, was born in Upper Meadows, Fairfield, Connecticut, the son of Daniel Burr, a prosperous farmer, and his wife Elizabeth. (By the Old Style form of dating, his year of birth was 1715.) After graduating from Yale College in 1735, he remained in New Haven to study theology, during which time he was caught up in the colonial revival of religion known as the Great Awakening. With several other Yale classmates, Burr underwent a moving personal conversion and also came under the influence of the most capable defender of the Awakening, ...

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Cattell, William Cassady (30 August 1827–11 February 1898), clergyman and college president, was born in Salem, New Jersey, the son of Thomas Ware Cattell, a merchant and banker, and Keziah Gilmore. Cattell received his early education at local schools and also studied under a brother in Virginia for two years. He returned home to enter the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), from which he graduated with an A.B. in 1848. After spending a year teaching in Goochland County, Virginia, he again returned to New Jersey, entering the Princeton Theological Seminary, where he completed his studies in 1852. Cattell remained in Princeton for the following academic year and undertook special Oriental studies with Professor ...

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Cox, Samuel Hanson (25 August 1793–02 October 1880), New School Presbyterian minister and educator, was born in Rahway, New Jersey, the son of James Cox, a merchant, and Elizabeth Shepard. The Coxes were Quakers, descended from a family that had immigrated to Maryland from England in the seventeenth century. Cox grew up in Philadelphia and received his early education at the Friends’ Academy in Westtown, Pennsylvania. After working briefly as a store clerk, he studied to become a lawyer in Newark, New Jersey. During the War of 1812, he saw combat sporadically as a volunteer rifleman....

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Duffield, George (04 July 1794–26 June 1868), Presbyterian minister, was born at Strasburg, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of George Duffield, comptroller general of Pennsylvania, and Faithful Slaymaker. Duffield graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1811. At about the same time, he underwent a period of religious searching culminating in a decision to study for the ministry. For four years he read theology under the direction of the Reverend John M. Mason. In May 1815 the Presbytery of Philadelphia licensed him as a preacher. Shortly thereafter the Presbyterian church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the community where his paternal grandfather, George Duffield (1732–1790), had served as minister, requested that he become pastor. In 1816 he was ordained to that post. Two years later he married Isabella Graham Bethune; the number of their children is unknown....

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Witherspoon, John (05 February 1723–15 November 1794), Presbyterian minister, college president, and American patriot, was born in the village of Gifford in the parish of Yester, Scotland, eighteen miles east of Edinburgh Castle, the son of James Witherspoon, a minister of the Church of Scotland, and Anne (or Anna) Walker. At home Witherspoon was instructed in the New Testament and the hymns of Isaac Watts and early developed a facility for rapid, accurate memorization. He entered the University of Edinburgh when only thirteen and received a master of arts in February 1739. He then studied theology, was licensed to preach on 6 September 1743, and in January 1745 was called as minister of the Church of Scotland parish in Beith, Ayrshire. The next year he helped raise troops to fight against Charles Stuart, the Young Pretender, but rebel forces captured him when he went to observe the battle of Falkirk. He underwent a brief but harsh imprisonment in Castle Doune near Stirling that permanently damaged his nervous system. In 1748 he married Elizabeth Montgomery; they had ten children, five of whom died during childhood....