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Ballou, Adin (1803-1890), Universalist clergyman, reformer, and founder of Hopedale Community  

Len Gougeon

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....

Article

Blackstone, William (1595-1675), Anglican clergyman, horticulturist, and first European settler in what is now Rhode Island  

Paul F. Eno

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....

Article

Boehler, Peter (1712-1775), Moravian pioneer in the American colonies  

F. Ernest Stoeffler

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 ...

Article

Falckner, Daniel (25 November 1666–1741?), minister, author, and communitarian  

Donald F. Durnbaugh

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....

Article

George, David (1742-1810), lay preacher and African-American émigré to Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone  

Milton C. Sernett

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....

Article

Gorton, Samuel (1592-1677), Puritan theologian and founder of Warwick, Rhode Island  

Philip F. Gura

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 ...

Article

Hutchinson, Anne (1591?–1643), religious leader  

Elaine C. Huber

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....

Article

Rich, Charles Coulson (1809-1883), Mormon apostle and colonizer  

Philip L. Barlow

Rich, Charles Coulson (21 August 1809–17 November 1883), Mormon apostle and colonizer, was born in Campbell County, Kentucky, the son of Joseph Rich and Nancy O’Neal, pioneers and farmers. Shortly after his birth, Rich’s parents purchased land across the Ohio River in Indiana. His early family life typified the hard existence of antebellum midwestern farmers: perpetual grinding labor punctuated by religious camp meetings, contending sects, Indian conflicts, modest education (Rich got more than some—three months each year until age seventeen), temperance crusades, and abolition and antiabolition strife. Following the family’s move to Illinois in 1829, Rich became less typical when in 1832, along with his mother, father, and sister, he embraced the proclamations of Mormon missionaries then passing through Tazewell County. From that point on his existence was inexorably enmeshed with the emerging drama of the Latter-day Saints....

Article

Rosen, Joseph A. (1877-1949), agronomist and resettlement expert  

Susan Hamburger

Rosen, Joseph A. (15 February 1877–02 April 1949), agronomist and resettlement expert, was born in Moscow, Russia, and apparently raised 100 miles south in Tula. Nothing is known of his parents and early life. He once acknowledged being held in the Boutirka prison for two months at age fifteen for reading a book that said Czar Alexander was a drunkard. He attended Moscow University in 1894 but, because of anti-czarist activities, was exiled to Siberia for five years. Within six months Rosen escaped to Germany, where he supposedly enrolled at the University of Heidelberg to study philosophy and chemistry. He supported himself by writing for Russian journals....

Article

Van Raalte, Albertus Christiaan (1811-1876), Reformed cleric and founder of the Holland, Michigan, Dutch colony  

Robert P. Swierenga

Van Raalte, Albertus Christiaan (17 October 1811–07 November 1876), Reformed cleric and founder of the Holland, Michigan, Dutch colony, was born in Wanneperveen, the Netherlands, the son of Albertus van Raalte, a Reformed cleric, and Christina Catarina Harking. As a Dutch Reformed preacher’s son, Van Raalte seemed destined for the Christian ministry. He received an excellent classical education at the Gymnasium (high school) of Bergen op Zoom and the University of Leiden (1829–1835). At Leiden he experienced a conversion experience after a cholera epidemic decimated the student body. Subsequently, the new convert joined a theophilosophical movement known as the Dutch Reveil (revival), led by ...

Article

Young, Brigham (1801-1877), second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), first governor of Utah Territory, and colonizer  

Leonard J. Arrington

Young, Brigham (01 June 1801–29 August 1877), second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), first governor of Utah Territory, and colonizer, second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), first governor of Utah Territory, and colonizer, was born in Whitingham, Vermont, the son of John Young, a farmer and revolutionary war veteran, and Abigail Nabby Howe. Three years later the family moved to central New York State and in 1813 to Sherburne in South-central New York. As a typical frontier boy, Brigham fished; trapped animals; helped clear land, build sheds, and dig cellars; milked the cow; and assisted with the planting and harvest. He received only eleven days of formal schooling but learned to read and write from his mother, with whom he regularly read the Bible. He helped care for her when she became debilitated from tuberculosis. The Young family frequented revivals in that religiously active region, and most of them became active Methodists....

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Cover Young, Brigham (1801-1877)
Brigham Young. Engraving on paper, c. 1855, by Augustin Francois Lemaitre. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.