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Barrett, Benjamin Fiske (1808-1892), pastor, writer, and publisher  

David B. Eller

Barrett, Benjamin Fiske (24 June 1808–06 August 1892), pastor, writer, and publisher, was born in Dresden, Maine, the son of Oliver Barrett, a carpenter, and Elizabeth Carlton. Young Benjamin was anxious to obtain an education and took delight in mastering his preparatory studies. Through his own labor he was able to attend Bowdoin College, graduating with a B.A. in 1832. Although not raised in any Christian denomination, Barrett became attracted to Unitarianism while in college. He subsequently attended Harvard Divinity School, graduating in 1838. He was ordained in the Unitarian church that same year and assigned to a parish at Syracuse, New York....


Franklin, Benjamin (1812-1878), editor and itinerant preacher  

Allen C. Guelzo

Franklin, Benjamin (01 February 1812–22 October 1878), editor and itinerant preacher, was born in Belmont County, Ohio, the son of Joseph Franklin and Isabella Devold, farmers and millers. Apprenticed as a carpenter, Franklin moved in 1832 to Henry County, Indiana, where he married Mary Personnett in 1833 and built and operated a sawmill. Although baptized and raised by his parents as a Methodist, Franklin had experienced no particular religious convictions until he came under the preaching of Samuel Rogers, the pioneer itinerant preacher of the Disciples of Christ in Indiana, and Elijah Martindale, another noted Disciples itinerant. Rogers later rebaptized Franklin by immersion in 1836....


Gillis, James Martin (1876-1957), evangelist and editor  

Richard Gribble

Gillis, James Martin (12 November 1876–14 March 1957), evangelist and editor, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of James Gillis, a machinist, and Catherine Roche. Raised in a working-class Irish-American family, Gillis attended St. John’s Seminary at Brighton for the archdiocese of Boston from 1896 to 1898 and achieved a baccalaureate. He later joined the Paulist Fathers at St. Thomas College in Washington, D.C., and was ordained in New York City on 21 December 1901. He immediately matriculated to the Catholic University of America, where he earned an S.T.L. in historical theology in 1903....


Nast, William (1807-1899), Methodist clergyman and editor  

Henry Warner Bowden

Nast, William (15 January 1807–16 May 1899), Methodist clergyman and editor, was born in Stuttgart, Württemberg (now Germany), the son of Elizabeth Magdalene Ludovika Böhm and Johann Wilhelm Nast, merchants. He was baptized in the Lutheran church five days after birth, receiving his father’s full name, but most historical references have Anglicized his name to William. Orphaned at the age of seventeen, he lived with his eldest sister, who had married a theologian, and it was assumed that he would pursue a ministerial career. After attending schools in Stuttgart and Baihingen-an-der-Enz, Nast began seminary studies in 1821 in Blaubueren. Up to that point he had been strongly influenced by German Pietists and periodically experienced a deep sense of sin together with strong hopes for salvation. At the seminary, however, influences of a rationalistic, skeptical sort awaited him in the form of his roommate, David Friedrich Strauss. Wrestling with unresolved tensions between faith and reason, Nast turned away from the ministry and for a time (1825–1827) studied at the University of Tübingen. Thereafter, on the advice of his brother-in-law, he sought relief by traveling to the New World for a change of scene....


Reed, Sampson (1800-1880), author and advocate of Swedenborgianism  

Peter Hawkes

Reed, Sampson (10 June 1800–08 July 1880), author and advocate of Swedenborgianism, was born in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, the son of John Reed, a Unitarian pastor, and Hannah Sampson. Reed graduated with high honors from Harvard College in 1818 and went on to study at the Divinity School. There he was introduced to the mystical writings of Emanuel Swedenborg by his roommate, Thomas Worcester, and shortly thereafter Reed abandoned his intention to become a Unitarian minister and in 1820 joined the Boston New-Church Society. At his graduation from Harvard with an M.A. in 1821, he delivered an oration on “Genius,” which rejected the current Lockean notion that at birth the mind is a tabula rasa that registers only impressions received through the senses and experience. His claim that “Locke’s mind will not always be the standard of metaphysics” and his advocacy of intuition as a way of knowing appealed to eighteen-year-old ...


Smith, Uriah (1832-1903), writer and editor  

Gary Land

Smith, Uriah (02 May 1832–06 March 1903), writer and editor, was born in West Wilton, New Hampshire, the son of Samuel Smith, a highway and bridge contractor, and Rebekah Spalding, a poet. At age four Smith developed an ulcer on his left leg that led to amputation above the knee. This condition in turn contributed to a sedentary life. In 1844 he was baptized into adventism, adopting ...