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Ballou, Adin (23 April 1803–05 August 1890), Universalist clergyman, reformer, and founder of Hopedale Community, was born in Cumberland, Rhode Island, the son of Ariel Ballou and Edilda Tower, farmers. A largely self-educated preacher, Ballou’s earliest religious experience was Calvinist in nature, and he later recalled the “very solemnizing effect” of the preaching he heard as a youth. At about age eleven, however, Ballou experienced a religious conversion, and a year later he was baptized into a Christian Connection church that emphasized a more enthusiastic and fundamentalist religiosity. Ballou developed a deep interest in religious matters over the next several years and eventually became a self-proclaimed preacher. At age eighteen, in the autumn of 1821, he was received into the fellowship of the Connecticut Christian Conference, a Christian Connection body. In 1822 he married Abigail Sayles; they had two children before Abigail died in 1829....

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Blackstone, William (05 March 1595–26 May 1675), Anglican clergyman, horticulturist, and first European settler in what is now Rhode Island, was born in Whickham, Durham, England, the son of John Blackstone, a wealthy landowner and poultryman, and Agnes Hawley. At Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Blackstone (sometimes Blackston or Blaxton) took his B.A. in 1617 and his M.A. in 1621. He at once took orders in the Church of England....

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Boehler, Peter (31 December 1712–27 September 1775), Moravian pioneer in the American colonies, was born in Frankfurt on the Main, Germany, son of John Conrad Boehler, an innkeeper and later comptroller of the corn office, and Antoinette Elizabeth Hanf. Peter was sent to school at age four, commenced the study of Latin when he was eight, and soon thereafter entered the Gymnasium at Frankfurt. His family wanted him to study medicine, so he entered the University of Jena on 20 April 1731. On 16 June 1734 he matriculated at the University of Leipzig but soon returned to Jena, where he was given the title ...

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Clayton, William (17 July 1814–04 December 1879), chronicler of early Mormonism, pioneer, and musician, was born in Penwortham, England, the son of Thomas Clayton, a schoolteacher, and Ann Critchley. He was schooled by his father and learned to play both the piano and the violin. While employed as a clerk in a Preston textile factory, he listened to the preaching of ...

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Collier, Price (25 May 1860–03 November 1913), writer and minister, was born Hiram Price Collier in Davenport, Iowa, the son of Robert Laird Collier, a Unitarian clergyman who collected European labor statistics for the U.S. government, and Mary Price, whose father, Hiram Price, was a U.S. congressman. After his mother’s death in 1872 Collier spent five years in Europe with his father and became fluent in French and German. In 1882 Collier finished Harvard Divinity School, where he was the youngest student to graduate up to that time. He first occupied the pulpit of the First Parish Church in Hingham, Massachusetts, and in 1888 arrived at the First Unitarian Church of Brooklyn, New York, where he almost instantly became both a sought-after preacher and a man about town. Early in 1890 the New York ...

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Escalante, Silvestre Vélez de (fl. 1768–1780), Franciscan missionary and explorer, was born in Spain and arrived in New Spain in 1768. Very little is known of his early life and parentage. Known as Vélez to his contemporaries, Escalante became a Franciscan friar at the convent of San Francisco in Mexico City in 1768. From time to time he performed missionary duties in the province of Sonora and at the Laguna Pueblo of New Mexico before becoming head of the Mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe at Zuni Pueblo in the 1770s....

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Falckner, Daniel (25 November 1666–1741?), minister, author, and communitarian, was born near Zwickau in Langen-Reinsdorf (now Reinsdorf), Saxony, the son of Daniel Falckner. (His mother’s name is unknown.) Both his father and grandfather were Lutheran clergymen. While pursuing theological education, the young Daniel Falckner was closely associated in religious conventicles at Erfurt with August Hermann Francke, a noted leader of the Pietist reform movement within German Protestantism....

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Garcés, Francisco Tomás Hermenegildo (12 April 1738–19 July 1781), Franciscan missionary, explorer, and martyr, was born in Morata del Conde (Aragón), Spain, the son of Juan Garcés and Antonia Maestro, occupations unknown. Educated by his uncle Moisés Garcés, the local parish priest, in 1753 he entered the Franciscan order of the province of Aragón and studied theology and philosophy at the monastery of Calatayud, where he was ordained a priest in 1762. The following year at Madrid, Garcés presented himself to the commissary of the college of Santa Cruz of Querétaro, Fray Juan Crisóstomo Gil, and volunteered as a missionary in New Spain. In 1766 Garcés reached the college, where he held the post of confessor....

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Garry, Spokan (1811–14 January 1892), teacher and tribal leader, was born in a village near where Latah Creek flows into the Spokane River in what is now the state of Washington, the son of Chief Illim-Spokanee, head of the Middle Spokans. His mother’s name is unknown. The three branches of the Spokans—Lower, Middle, and Upper—numbered about 1,000, all of whom looked up to Illim-Spokanee. Garry’s boyhood name is forgotten. At age fourteen he was chosen as one of a group to be educated at the Hudson’s Bay Company mission school on the Red River near what is now Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Nicholas Garry was deputy governor of the company. The Spokan chief’s son was given his name. The group, mostly sons of chiefs, were subject to the same Spartan discipline that prevailed in English public schools. They were instructed in the reading and writing of English and the religion of the Church of England. Also included was training in agriculture, for the missionaries believed that only by developing a settled agricultural life could the Indians compete with white people. The boys were above average in intelligence, and once the language barrier was overcome, the missionaries had little trouble....

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George, David (1742–1810), lay preacher and African-American émigré to Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, lay preacher and African-American émigré to Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone, was born on a Nottoway River plantation in Essex County, Virginia. His parents, slaves known as John and Judith, were of African origin and had nine children. While a youth David labored in the corn and tobacco fields and witnessed frequent whippings of other slaves, including his mother, who was the master’s cook....

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Gorton, Samuel (1592–1677), Puritan theologian and founder of Warwick, Rhode Island, was born in Gorton, England. Little is known of his background, but his father evidently had been a merchant and guild member in London. Instructed by competent tutors, Gorton became skilled in the classics and in English law but never attended university, engaging instead in the respectable middle-class trade of a clothier. He received his religious training in the English church but by the 1630s, under the influence of Puritan preachers, decided to leave London, where he had been in business, for New England. In 1636 he arrived in Boston with his wife, Mary Maplet, his eldest son, Samuel, and one or more other children. Gorton reached Boston at the height of the Antinomian controversy instigated by ...

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Hiacoomes (?–1690), member of the Pokanauket band of the Narragansetts, who became a Calvinist minister, lived near Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Little is known about his early life, but he had one son who also became a minister.

In 1641 Thomas Mayhew, Sr....

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Hutchinson, Anne (1591?–1643), religious leader, was born in Alford, Lincolnshire, England, the daughter of Francis Marbury, minister of the Church of England, and Bridget Dryden. She learned scripture and theology from her father, who had been silenced and imprisoned for long periods of time by his bishop for complaining about the poor training of English clergymen....

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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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Kino, Eusebio Francisco (10 August 1645–15 March 1711), Jesuit missionary, explorer, and cartographer, was born in Segno (Tirol), near Trent in northern Italy, the son of Francisco Chini and Margarita (maiden name unknown). Later in his life, as a missionary in the New World, he was to alter the spelling of the surname, Chini or Chino, so that it would be pronounced as it is in Italian....

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Jason Lee. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113753).

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Lee, Jason (28 June 1803–12 March 1845), missionary and pioneer, was born near Stanstead, Vermont (now part of Quebec, Canada), the son of Daniel Lee, a farmer and former revolutionary war soldier, and Sarah Whittaker. The Lees had moved from Massachusetts to the vicinity of Stanstead five years before their son’s birth, and there Daniel Lee continued his occupation as a farmer. Little is known about Jason Lee’s early life and education, but it has been established that he was converted to Methodism in his early twenties. In 1829–1830 he lived in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, where he attended Wilbraham Academy for the purpose of receiving training as a Methodist preacher. With the encouragement of the academy’s president, the Reverend ...

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Marquette, Jacques (01 June 1637–18 May 1675), Jesuit Nicolas missionary and explorer, was born at Laon, France, the son of Nicolas Marquette, a municipal councillor, and Rose de la Salle. His family was of the minor nobility with a long history of military and governmental service. He began studies at the Jesuit college in Reims in 1646 and entered the Jesuits (Society of Jesus) at Nancy in 1654. His training as a Jesuit, which included philosophy and mathematics but little theology, was mainly at the University of Pont-à-Mousson. He taught between 1656 and 1664 at the Jesuit colleges at Auxerre, Reims, Charleville, Langres, and Pont-à-Mousson. In 1658 he petitioned the Jesuit general to be sent to the foreign missions. Immediately after his ordination to the priesthood at Toul in March 1666, his religious superiors assigned him to New France (Canada); he arrived at Quebec on 20 September....

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McCoy, Isaac (13 June 1784–21 June 1846), Baptist missionary, surveyor, and U.S. Indian agent, was born near Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the son of William McCoy, a clergyman. His mother’s name is unknown. When he was six years old, his family moved to Kentucky, where he attended public schools. At nineteen he married Christiana Polke, who had strong religious convictions and missionary spirit and became his dedicated partner throughout his life. They had thirteen children....

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Niza, Marcos de (1495–25 March 1558), missionary and explorer, was probably born in Nice, Duchy of Savoy (now in France), of French parentage; little else is known about his parents. Niza arrived in the New World at Santo Domingo in 1531, professing his final vows as a Franciscan friar in the same year. Niza arrived in Peru with Pedro Alvarado in January 1534; although many sources claim he witnessed the execution of the famous Inca leader Atahualpa on 29 August 1533, he probably did not. He arrived at Santiago, Guatemala, on 25 September 1536 and wrote a report of Alvarado’s Peruvian expedition. Bishop Fray Juan de Zumárraga, to whom he wrote about experiences in Peru, spoke highly of him, stating that he was “reliable, of approved virtue and fine religious zeal.”...