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Bishop, Robert Hamilton (26 July 1777–29 April 1855), Presbyterian minister and educator, was born at Cult, Linlithgowshire, near Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of William Bishop and Margaret Hamilton, tenant farmers. His parents were devout Presbyterians, and his father was an elder in the Associate Reformed church. He entered Edinburgh University in 1793 and completed his A.B. in 1798 with some financial assistance from his professors. He studied under James Finlayson and Dugald Stewart and imbibed their liberal outlook. Afterward he completed studies at the Associate church’s seminary at Selkirk. He was licensed by the presbytery of Perth in response to a call for ministers from the Associate Reformed church in the United States in 1802. Shortly before leaving for America that same year, he married Ann Ireland; they had eight children....

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Caldwell, David (22 March 1725–25 August 1824), Presbyterian minister, self-trained physician, and schoolmaster, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Andrew Caldwell and Ann Stewart, farmers. At the age of seventeen Caldwell became a carpenter’s apprentice and four years later a journeyman carpenter. At age twenty-five he experienced a religious conversion and a call to the ministry. He studied at the Reverend ...

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Chavis, John (1763–13 June 1838), Presbyterian minister and teacher, was born in Granville County, North Carolina; the names of his parents are unknown. He grew up as a free black near Mecklenberg, Virginia. By his own account, Chavis was born free and was a revolutionary war army veteran. Details of his military service and the events of his life immediately following the war are not known, but he began his studies for the Presbyterian ministry in 1792 at the age of twenty-nine. According to an apocryphal account, one planter had a wager with another that it was impossible to educate a black man. In order to settle their dispute, they sent Chavis to the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University). More than likely, Chavis’s religious fervor and potential for scholarship attracted the attention of Presbyterian leaders in Virginia, who believed a black clergyman might do a better job of evangelizing slaves and free blacks than white ministers....

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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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Doak, Samuel (01 August 1749–12 December 1830), Presbyterian minister and educator, was born in Augusta County, Virginia, the son of Samuel Doak and Jane Elizabeth Mitchell, farmers who had emigrated from northern Ireland. Doak began his classical studies at age sixteen under Robert Alexander, founder of Augusta Academy (now Washington and Lee University), and later attended West Nottingham Academy in Colora, Maryland, where he paid some of his expenses by working as an assistant teacher. In 1773 he entered the College of New Jersey (now Princeton), where he studied with ...

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Howe, George (06 November 1802–14 April 1883), Presbyterian clergyman and professor, was born in Dedham, Massachusetts, the son of William Howe, a tavern owner and later a cotton mill superintendent, and Mary Gould. In 1822 he graduated with first honors from Middlebury College and entered Andover Theological Seminary, an institution established to combat the growing influence of Unitarianism in New England and to advocate a united front by orthodox Calvinists....

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Jones, Charles Colcock (20 December 1804–16 March 1863), Presbyterian clergyman, professor, and missionary to African-American slaves, was born at Liberty Hall plantation in Liberty County, Georgia, the son of John Jones, a wealthy planter, and Susannah Hyrne Girardeau. Jones attended Sunbury Academy, in Sunbury, Georgia (1811–1819); Phillips Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts (1825–1827); Andover Theological Seminary (1827–1829); and Princeton Theological Seminary (1829–1830). After graduating from Princeton, he returned to Georgia and married his first cousin Mary Jones. They had three children. Ordained by the Georgia Presbytery, in May 1831 he accepted a call to be pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Savannah. Eighteen months later he resigned his pastorate, returned to a family plantation in Liberty County, and began his work as a missionary to the African-American slaves of the region....

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MacCracken, Henry Mitchell (28 September 1840–24 December 1918), educator and clergyman, was born in Oxford, Ohio, the son of John Steele MacCracken, a Presbyterian clergyman, and Eliza Hawkins Dougherty Welch, a teacher. He attended Miami University at Oxford (1852–1857) and taught school before entering United Presbyterian Seminary at Xenia (1860–1862). After graduating from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1863, he became a minister of the Presbyterian Church in the USA. In 1867 MacCracken traveled to Europe where he studied theology and philosophy at the Universities of Berlin and Tübingen before returning to pastoral and synodal duties in 1868. His letters from Europe were printed in the Cincinnati ...

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McCorkle, Samuel Eusebius (23 August 1746–21 January 1811), Presbyterian minister and educator, was born near Harris’s Ferry in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Irish immigrants Alexander McCorkle and Nancy Agnes Montgomery, farmers. In 1756 the McCorkle family relocated to Rowan County, North Carolina, settling on a farm near the town of Salisbury. Upon the family’s move to North Carolina, McCorkle took up classical studies, first under the Reverend Joseph Alexander and then under the tutelage of the Reverend ...

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Miller, Samuel (31 October 1769–07 January 1850), minister and professor, was born near Dover, Delaware, the son of John Miller, a Presbyterian minister, and Margaret Millington. Miller received his early education from his family. From 1788 to 1789 he studied at the University of Pennsylvania and then returned home to read theology with his father. After the death of the elder Miller in 1791, Samuel continued his theological studies with Charles Nisbet, the first president of Dickinson College. Miller later confirmed his intellectual indebtedness to Nisbet in ...

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Morris, Edward Dafydd (31 October 1825–21 November 1915), minister and professor, was born in Utica, New York, the son of Dafydd Edward Morris, a shoemaker and grocer, and Anne Lewis. Both parents being of Welsh descent (his father migrated to the United States as a youth), Morris grew up in Utica speaking both Welsh and English. Enrolling at Yale as a sophomore in 1846, he paid his own expenses, campaigned for the Free Soil party, wrote scholarly articles, and compiled an impressive academic record. Following his graduation in 1849, he completed a degree in 1852 at Auburn Theological Seminary, where he was strongly influenced by leading New School Presbyterian theologian ...

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Thornwell, James Henley (09 December 1812–01 August 1862), Presbyterian polemicist and educator, was born in Marlboro District, South Carolina, the son of James Thornwell, a plantation overseer, and Martha Terrell. The death of his father shortly after his eighth birthday left the family in distress, but James was patronized by two prominent local men who recognized his precociousness and provided for his education. He studied at a local “field school” and nearby Cheraw Academy and entered the junior class of South Carolina College in Columbia in January 1830. He had already read widely in the classics and could discuss such works as John Locke’s ...