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Berg, Joseph Frederic (03 June 1812–20 July 1871), German and Dutch Reformed clergyman, was born on Antigua in the British West Indies, the son of Christian Frederic Berg and Hannah Robinson Tempest, Moravian missionaries. Berg was the first white child born on the island. At the age of four, he was sent to England to be educated at a Moravian school in Falneck; a decade later he went to the Moravian academy in Nazareth, Pennsylvania. There he showed himself to be unusually energetic and a precocious learner, teaching chemistry at age seventeen and receiving his license to preach two years later....

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Bertholf, Guiliam (1656–1726?), Dutch Reformed minister, was born in Sluis, in the Dutch province of Zeeland, the son of Crijn Bertholf and Sara Guiliamse van Coperen. Bertholf was reared in the heartland of Dutch Pietism at a time when this movement was seriously roiling the Reformed Dutch Church. (Contrary to church traditionalists, Pietists favored an experiential approach to religion, emphasizing the necessity for personal conversion; stressed a literal reading of the Bible and the priesthood of all believers; and believed that spontaneous prayer and extemporaneous preaching were indications of the presence of the Holy Spirit.)...

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Boehm, John Philip (25 November 1683–29 April 1749), founder of the German Reformed church in America, was born in Hochstadt near Hanau, in the principality of Hesse-Cassel, the son of Philip Ludwig Boehm, a clergyman, and Maria (maiden name unknown), his first wife. At Hochstadt his father was the pastor of the Reformed church. Little is known about John’s youth or education. On 11 March 1708 he was elected to the position of schoolteacher in the Reformed parish at Worms. Before he moved to Worms he married Anna Maria Stehler. They had four children at Worms, two of whom apparently died young. After a protracted controversy he resigned his post in 1715 and accepted a similar position at nearby Lambsheim. His first wife having died, he married another woman, Anna Maria Scherer, and they had four more children. Largely due to the prevailing conditions in the Palatinate, which were the result of raids by Louis XIV of France as well as crop failures, the family immigrated to Pennsylvania. They arrived in Philadelphia in the fall of 1720 and settled in Whitpain, Montgomery County....

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Samuel Willard Crompton

Bogardus, Everardus (1607–27 September 1647), minister, was born at Woerden, the Netherlands, the son of Willem Bogardus. The occupation of his father and the name of his mother are unknown. He attended Leiden University from 1627 until 1630, but his studies were interrupted when he was sent by the Consistory of Amsterdam to act as a comforter of the sick in Guinea. Bogardus served faithfully in that capacity until 1632. Upon his return to the Netherlands, he was examined and ordained to the ministry. On 15 July 1632 he was accepted for service as the new minister for New Netherland. His pastorship included both New Amsterdam (now New York) and Fort Orange (now Albany), 150 miles apart....

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Bomberger, John Henry Augustus (13 January 1817–19 August 1890), pastor and theologian, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of George H. Bomberger, a tailor, clothing merchant, and clerk of the orphan’s court, and Mary Hoffmeier. Bomberger’s maternal grandfather was the Reverend John Henry Hoffmeier, who had come to the United States from Köthen in the Anhalt of Germany and served as pastor of the First Reformed Church in Lancaster. John Henry Augustus was his only grandchild and the special concern of the grandfather, who dedicated the boy for service in the ministry....

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Child, Robert (1613–1654), physician and Remonstrant against Puritan rule in Massachusetts, was born in Kent, England, the son of John Child, a gentleman farmer (mother’s name unknown). He attended Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, receiving his B.A. in 1632 and his M.A. in 1635. He then studied medicine in Europe, first at the University of Leyden and then the University of Padua, from which he received his M.D. on 13 August 1638....

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Corwin, Edward Tanjore (12 July 1834–22 June 1914), minister and historian, was born in New York City, the son of Edward Callwell Corwin and Mary Ann Shuart. Descended on his father’s side from English founders of New Haven, Connecticut, Corwin seems to have been more influenced by his mother’s ethnic heritage. Her ancestors were Dutch, early settlers in New Amsterdam, and the whole family found sustenance in Reformed theological traditions. In 1853 Corwin graduated first in his class from the Free Academy, a school soon to be named College of the City of New York. Three years later he graduated from New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the oldest and best Dutch Reformed ministerial academy in the country. In 1856 he was also licensed by the church in Bergen, New Jersey. Staying a fourth year at the seminary, he received ordination at Paramus, New Jersey, in 1857. That same year Corwin began his first pastorate in Paramus, devoting himself to ministerial duties there until 1863. In 1861 he married Mary Esther Kipp; the couple had four children, two of whom survived to adulthood....

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Dubbs, Joseph Henry (05 October 1838–01 April 1910), clergyman, educator, and historian, was born of Swiss-American parentage in rural North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph S. Dubbs, a German Reformed pastor, and Eleanor Lerch. In his mid-teenage years he enrolled at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1856. In 1859 Dubbs completed his ministerial training at the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Church at Mercersburg, which was then guided by the scholar and churchman ...

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Freeman, Bernardus (1660–1741 or 1743), Dutch Reformed minister, was born in the Netherlands; nothing is known about his parents. With very little schooling, he first earned his living as a tailor, but his real ambition was to become a Reformed minister. After the Dutch Reformed church in Albany, New York, petitioned the Classis of Amsterdam for a minister in 1699, Willem Bancker, an Amsterdam merchant and patron to pietistic clergy, took it upon himself to commission Freeman for the vacancy, even though Bancker knew full well that the Classis, which claimed responsibility for the colonial churches, had already designated Johannes Lydius for the post. The Classis of Amsterdam refused to ordain Freeman, ridiculing the young tailor as someone “who had neither ability for his own craft, much less that demanded of a pastor.”...

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Frelinghuysen, Theodorus Jacobus (1691–1747), Dutch Reformed minister, was born in Lingen, Germany, near the Netherlands border, the son of Johan Henrich Frelinghaus, a Reformed pastor, and Anna Margaretha Brüggemann. Frelinghuysen received his early education from his father, from Otto Verbrugge, later a professor at Groningen, and at the Reformed Gymnasium in Hamm. In 1711 Frelinghuysen matriculated at the University of Lingen, at that time a hotbed of pietism, which emphasized religious fervor and godly living over theological scholasticism. At Lingen Frelinghuysen fell under the influence of teachers who styled themselves Voetians, pietistic followers of Gysbertus Voetius; Frelinghuysen retained his pietistic sympathies throughout his career....

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Goetschius, John Henry (08 March 1718–14 November 1774), German Reformed clergyman, was born Johann Heinrich Götschi in Rheinegg, near Zürich, Switzerland, the son of Moritz Götschi, a minister, and Esther Werndli. The family name was often spelled Goetschy; John Henry preferred the Latinized version, Goetschius. After elementary schooling and tutoring in arts and ancient languages by his father (an excellent scholar), he entered the Latin school in Zürich at the age of sixteen, completing one-half year. His parents removed him from the school to emigrate to the New World. The father led a colony of some 250 emigrants who left Zürich in early October 1734. According to the account of a fellow passenger, Götschi’s father was promised by a prominently placed Dutch official in The Hague an amply salaried position as a pastor if he would settle in Pennsylvania rather than in his intended destination, the Carolinas. More than half the band of emigrants accepted the change in destination along with the Götschi family. They arrived in Philadelphia on 29 May 1735, barely surviving a stormy passage, inadequate food and drink, and a tyrannical ship’s master....

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Good, James Isaac (31 December 1850–22 January 1924), clergyman and educator, was born in York, Pennsylvania, the son of William A. Good, a clergyman, and Susan B. Eckert. Early in his life Good evidenced potential for intellectual vigor and literary expression. When he graduated with honors from Lafayette College in 1872, his work on Alexander Pope was published as the college’s Fowler Prize Essay of that year. After graduating in 1875 from Union Theological Seminary in New York City, he was ordained as a minister in the German Reformed church. He served three pastorates in Pennsylvania during the next three decades: the Heidelberg Reformed Church in York (1875–1877), the Heidelberg Reformed Church in Philadelphia (1877–1890), and the Calvary Reformed Church in Reading (1890–1905). While serving at Reading, Good also entered upon the second, and ultimately more significant, part of his career. In 1890 he began teaching in the theology department of Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania....

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Griffis, William Elliot (17 September 1843–05 February 1928), educator, clergyman, and author, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Captain John Limeburner Griffis, a coal dealer, and Anna Maria Hess, a pious young woman who for many years taught at an infant’s nursery school and at a Bible school for young women at the First Independent Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia....

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Gros, John Daniel (1737–25 May 1812), clergyman, college professor, and philosopher, was born in the Bavarian Palatinate at Webenheim, near the city of Zweibrücken, Germany, the son of Lorenz Gros and Anna Magdalena. Little is known of Gros’s upbringing and early education. His name is sometimes spelled Gross. Gros entered the University of Marburg in 1758 and then matriculated at the University of Heidelberg in 1761, partaking in theological studies. Having intentions of entering the pastoral ministry of the German Reformed church, Gros journeyed to America, landing in Philadelphia in 1764. As the North American population continued to increase, a growing need for pastors existed. Gros’s esteemed German education and some influential connections led the German Reformed Coetus of Pennsylvania to ordain him in 1765. The coetus enacted the ordination without first receiving ratification from the Dutch Church Synod in Holland, which was the mandated procedure at that time. This was a precedent-setting act, as the German Reformed denomination in America began to break free from the church authorities in Europe....

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Harbaugh, Henry (28 October 1817–28 December 1867), clergyman, author, and publisher, was born near Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, the son of George Harbaugh and Anna Snyder, farmers. His early life in a rural mountain valley is reflected in his Pennsylvania Dutch poems, particularly “Das Alt Schulhaus an Der Krick” (The old schoolhouse on the creek). Confirmed at age nineteen, he wished to enter the ministry of the German Reformed church, but his father, who wanted him to continue farming, refused financial support. He trained instead as a carpenter and in 1836 went west to Ohio to earn money for his education in the thriving new towns there....

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Hardenbergh, Jacob Rutsen (1736?–30 October 1790), Dutch Reformed minister and first president of Queens College (later Rutgers University), Dutch Reformed minister and first president of Queens College (later Rutgers University), was born in Rosendale, New York, the son of Colonel Johannes Hardenbergh, a wealthy landowner, and Maria Dubois. Hardenbergh’s exact date of birth is not known, but his baptismal date is 22 February 1737. Raised in an evangelical Dutch Reformed household, Hardenbergh acquired some formal education at an academy in Kingston, New York, including enough classical language training to enable preparation for the ministry....

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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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Laidlie, Archibald (04 December 1727–1779), Church of Scotland and Dutch Reformed minister, was born in Kelso, Scotland, the son of William Laidlie and Jean Dickson. After receiving his early education in Kelso, he attended the University of Edinburgh, where he received an MA degree and served as a lecturer. He received a call to the Scotch Church at Vlissingen, the Netherlands, and was installed as minister there in September 1759. He preached to this small congregation of transplanted Scots, learning the Dutch language to communicate with the townspeople and gain the respect of local dignitaries. In 1763 the Amsterdam Classis, the governing body of the Reformed Church, received a request from New York City's Dutch Reformed Church for an English-language preacher, and Laidlie was recommended for the position by the English ministers of Amsterdam. He seized this opportunity to take up a post in a large congregation in an important British colonial city. After being installed by the Classis of Amsterdam, Laidlie traveled to New York by way of London, arriving in 1764....

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Le Mercier, André (1692–31 March 1764), French Reformed (Huguenot) minister, French Reformed (Huguenot) minister, was born in Caen, Normandy. Details of his early life are sketchy because Protestantism had been outlawed in France since 1685. He studied for the ministry at the Geneva Academy (currently the University of Geneva), founded by John Calvin and other reformers in 1559. At the behest of André Faneuil, a prosperous Boston lawyer and fellow Huguenot, he came to Boston in 1716 to serve as pastor of the French Church. There are no records of his marriage, but we know that his wife was named Margaret. They had five sons (two died in infancy) and two daughters between 1719 and 1727. In 1730 he petitioned and was granted the rights of a naturalized citizen along with four other Boston Huguenots....

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Livingston, John Henry (30 May 1746–20 January 1825), Dutch Reformed pastor and educator, was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, the son of Henry Livingston, a business assistant to his uncle Henry Beekman, a member of the provincial assembly, and the clerk of Dutchess County, and Susanna Conklin. He was the great-grandson of ...