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Adams, William (25 January 1807–31 August 1880), minister and seminary president, was born in Colchester, Connecticut, the son of John Adams, an educator, and Elizabeth Ripley. Adams grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, where his father was the principal of Phillips Academy. He entered Yale College in 1824, where he received his A.B. in 1827. After college he returned home to study at Andover Theological Seminary and to assist his father in teaching. He completed his seminary training in 1830 and was ordained a Congregational minister. He began service as the pastor of a church in Brighton, Massachusetts, in 1831. He married Susan P. Magoun in July 1831. His wife’s illness forced him to resign from the Brighton pastorate in early 1834, but following her death in May, he accepted a ministerial call to the Broome Street (later Central) Presbyterian Church in New York City. Since the Congregational and Presbyterian denominations then enjoyed a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, Adams switched denominations and was installed as pastor in November 1834. In August 1835 he married Martha B. Magoun, the sister of his first wife....

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Alison, Francis (1705–28 November 1779), Presbyterian minister and educator, was born in the parish of Leck, County Donegal, in the province of Ulster in Ireland, the son of Robert Alison, a weaver. His mother’s name is not known. Circumstantial evidence suggests that he was educated at one of the clandestine Presbyterian academies, probably that of Francis Hutcheson in Dublin. He received the bulk of his collegiate instruction before attending the University of Edinburgh, where he was awarded an M.A. in January 1733. He then studied divinity for two years, probably at the University of Glasgow, which awarded him a doctor of divinity degree in 1756, an honor that was usually extended only to an alumnus. Alison returned to Ireland and was licensed by the presbytery of Letterkenny in June 1735. He immediately sailed to Pennsylvania....

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Anderson, Matthew (25 January 1845–11 January 1928), Presbyterian pastor, educator, and social reformer, was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, the son of Timothy Anderson and Mary Croog. One of fourteen children, he was raised in the comforts of a rural, middle-class home, less than thirty miles from historic Gettysburg. On a typical day of his youth, he faced the physical demands of farm life and experienced the movement back and forth between two cultures. One, dominated by commerce and materialism, was uncharacteristically open to the Andersons, who owned lumber mills and real estate at a time when most black Americans were dehumanized and disenfranchised by chattel slavery. The other was a culture defined by close family ties and Presbyterian piety. At home Matthew heard Bible stories and dramatic tales of runaway slaves; indeed, religious piety and the pursuit of racial freedom were dominant themes in his life. These early experiences inspired Anderson so deeply that, by the time he left Greencastle in 1863, he had decided on the ministry as his vocation. Study at Oberlin College was the first step toward serving his religious faith, his racial group, and his vision of social justice....

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Baker, Daniel (17 August 1791–10 December 1857), minister and educator, was born in Midway, Georgia (now in Liberty County); his parents’ names are unknown. Orphaned at the age of fourteen, he moved to Savannah, Georgia, where he worked as a store clerk. The religious atmosphere of Savannah had an enormous influence on this young man, and he soon chose a career in the ministry. Baker also understood the importance of an education, and in 1811 he enrolled in Hampden-Sidney College in Virginia. In 1813 he continued his education at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), graduating in 1815....

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Barrows, John Henry (11 July 1847–03 June 1902), minister and college president, was born near Medina, Michigan, the son of John Manning Barrows, a Congregational minister and college professor, and Bertha Anthony Butler, a teacher. He was educated by his parents and in the preparatory department of newly opened Olivet College, where his father became professor of natural science in 1860. Barrows graduated from the college in 1867 and with his brother Walter spent 1867–1868 at Yale Divinity School and the following year at Union Theological Seminary. His brother’s ill health then forced them to leave school and join their family in Osage County, Kansas....

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Beman, Nathan Sidney Smith (26 November 1785–06 August 1871), Presbyterian clergyman and educator, was born in New Lebanon, New York, the son of Samuel Beman and Silence Douglass. Beman matriculated at Williams College in 1803 but withdrew after the second term; following a year’s teaching at Fairhaven, Vermont, he continued his studies at Middlebury College. After graduation in 1807, Beman became preceptor at Lincoln Academy, Newcastle, Maine, where he studied theology with Kiah Bailey. He returned to Middlebury as tutor in 1809....

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Aaron Burr. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102555).

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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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Campbell, William Henry (14 September 1808–07 December 1890), college president and clergyman, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of William Campbell, a merchant, and Ann Ditchfield. His mother died when Campbell was less than a month old, and he was subsequently raised by his sisters. After attending a private academy conducted by the Reverend John Gibson, he continued his education at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1828. Anticipating a career in the ministry, Campbell studied at Princeton Theological Seminary but left abruptly in 1829 when his father declared bankruptcy. Denied the opportunity for formal instruction, he continued his studies under his brother-in-law, the Reverend Thomas M. Strong, who later obtained for Campbell the post of assistant teacher at Erasmus Hall in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. In 1831 Campbell secured his license to preach from the Second Presbytery of New York, and also that year he married Katherine Elsie Schoonmaker. They had four children....

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Carrick, Samuel Czar (17 July 1760–17 August 1809), Presbyterian minister and educator, was born in York (now Adams) County, Pennsylvania. Nothing is known of his parents. Shortly after his birth his family moved to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, where he studied under the tutelage of the Reverend William Graham at Liberty Hall (now Washington and Lee College). He was a member of the school’s first graduating class. In 1779 he married Elizabeth Moore, and they had three children. In 1782 Carrick was licensed to preach by the New Providence Presbyterian Church, and the following year he was ordained and installed as minister of the Rocky Spring and Wahab Presbyterian Church in Augustana County, Virginia....

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William Cassady Cattell. With the page boys whom he tutored in Albemarle, Virginia. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ6-2025).

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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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Samuel Hanson Cox. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZC4-4152).

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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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Finley, Samuel ( February 1715–17 July 1766), Presbyterian minister and college president, was born in the County of Armagh in Ulster, Ireland, the son of Scots-Irish parents, but little is known about them or about Finley’s childhood and early education. He immigrated to the colonies at the age of nineteen, arriving in Philadelphia in September 1734. After a few years of preparing and studying for the Presbyterian ministry, he was licensed to preach in 1740. He most likely received his ministerial education in Neshaminy, Pennsylvania, at ...

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Gale, George Washington (03 December 1789–13 September 1861), Presbyterian clergyman and educator, was born at Stanford, Dutchess County, New York, the son of Josiah Gale, a farmer, and Rachel Mead. Gale’s mother died in 1797, and his father died in 1798. Until 1808, when he went to Middlebury Academy in Middlebury, Vermont, Gale lived with several of his older sisters and spent short terms teaching common school. He entered the junior class of Union College, Schenectady, New York, in 1812 and graduated in 1814. Gale studied theology at Princeton Seminary, beginning in late fall 1814. In 1816 he received a ministerial license from the Hudson Presbytery and began preaching in several small churches in Dutchess County, New York. In 1817 he went to Schenectady to study theology privately. Gale worked for six months on behalf of the Female Missionary Society of Western New York but went back to Princeton in 1818. He left without graduating in 1819 when he received an invitation to preach from Presbyterians at Adams, Jefferson County, New York. Gale was ordained and installed as the minister of the Presbyterian Church of Adams on 27 October 1819. Gale married Harriet Selden in 1820. Due to poor health, Gale announced his resignation in 1823 and left Adams in 1824. While at Adams, Gale had given theological instruction to ...

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Gibbs, Jonathan C. (1827–14 August 1874), clergyman, educator, and politician, was born free in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Maria Jackson and Jonathan C. Gibbs, a Methodist minister. He learned carpentry as a youth and followed that trade until the Presbyterian Assembly helped him enroll at Dartmouth College in 1848. Gibbs, who was one of only two black students at Dartmouth, claimed that he had been rejected by eighteen colleges before being accepted. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1852 he attended the Princeton Theological Seminary. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and pastored churches in Troy, New York, and in Philadelphia. While in New York Gibbs campaigned for the extension of black suffrage in the state. When he moved to Philadelphia in 1859 he became prominent in the local Underground Railroad. During the Civil War he joined the freedmen’s relief efforts, campaigned against segregated city streetcars, encouraged black enlistments in the army, served as vice president of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League, and continued his participation in the black convention movement. He represented Philadelphia at the black national convention in Syracuse in 1864, which severely criticized the Republican party for its failure to endorse black suffrage and which gave birth to the National Equal Rights League....

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Hall, Charles Cuthbert (03 September 1852–25 March 1908), Presbyterian minister and educator, was born in New York City, the son of William Cooper Hall, a successful businessman, and Jane Agnes Boyd. The sickly boy, often called by his middle name, was educated largely by tutors until he entered Williams College on his sixteenth birthday. Here he improved his musical gifts, found his religious faith deepened in part through the influence of president ...

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Junkin, George (01 November 1790–20 May 1868), Presbyterian clergyman and educator, was born near Kingston, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Junkin, Jr., and Eleanor Cochran, farmers. After attending frontier schools, he accompanied his family as they relocated westward to Mercer County, Pennsylvania, in 1806. Junkin then worked in a variety of professions (farming, carpentry, lumbering, milling, and wool-carding) until 1809, when he entered the grammar school associated with Jefferson College (now Washington and Jefferson College) in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, graduating in 1813 with a B.A. from the college itself. He then went to New York City, where he studied theology in a seminary (the forerunner of the Union Theological Seminary) established by the Reverend John Mitchell Mason. By September 1816 he had been licensed to preach by the Associate Reformed Presbytery of Monongahela, and he then engaged in missionary work in the region; he was formally ordained by the Associate Reformed Presbytery of Philadelphia on 29 June 1818. In 1819 he married Julia Rush Miller, the wealthy daughter of John and Margaret Miller of Philadelphia; the Junkins had two children....

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McCormick, Samuel Black (06 May 1858–18 April 1928), Presbyterian clergyman and educator, was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, the son of James Irwin McCormick, a physician and classical scholar, and Rachel Long. His early education began at home and continued at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, from which he graduated with highest honors in 1880. For the next two years he supported himself by teaching Greek at his alma mater and by instructing younger students at the Canonsburg Academy. In his free time he studied law with his uncle Henry H. McCormick, the U.S. district attorney for the western district of Pennsylvania. He was admitted to the Allegany County Bar in 1882. In September of that year, McCormick married Ida May Steep; they had four children. The couple moved to Denver, Colorado, in 1883, where McCormick opened a law practice with R. D. Thompson....