Biographies

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Edward Payson Davis was born in Rutherfordton, North Carolina, July 12, 1851. His father, Thomas, was from South Carolina but had moved across the state line to complete his college program in Davidson, and then he travelled further north into Virginia to study for the ministry in Union Theological Seminary in Farmville. Thomas was ordained […]

Samuel James Pierce was born to Anne Walthall Spencer and Sterling C. Anderson in Mt. Hybla, Prince Edward County, Virginia, Dec. 25, 1814 (or Dec. 5). The early years of his life were spent in the country on the family farm where his preparation for college included attendance in a local school and instruction from […]

John Holt was born July 23, 1818 in Petersburg, Virginia, the first son of Martha Alexander and Benjamin Holt Rice. At the time his father was pastor of the recently established Tabb Street Presbyterian Church. His mother was the younger sister of founding professor of Princeton Seminary, Archibald Alexander. Newly born John was named for […]

A special service was held at five o’clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, May 5, 1885, on the campus of Union Theological Seminary to dedicate a memorial plaque honoring Rev. John Holt Rice, D.D. At the time, the seminary was located on the campus of Hampden-Sydney College, but it relocated in 1898 to Richmond where […]

Samuel Rhea was born to Capt. John F. and Jane Rhea Preston in Abington, Virginia, September 4, 1849. He began his college education at Emory and Henry College in Emory but finished his Bachelor of Arts degree at King College in scenic Bristol. King College was named for Presbyterian minister James King and was established […]

It started in the Garden of Eden. The serpent was craftier than all the other creatures and he used his skills of deception and trickery as he asked Eve a brief question, “Yeah, hath God said?” That is, when God presented our first parents with the revelation of his will prohibiting their eating the fruit […]

Ezra Stiles was born in Lebanon, Connecticut, June 13, 1786, to Rev. Zebulon and Sarah Ely. Zebulon tutored his son to prepare him for college at Yale which was the haven of New England theology. Following graduation from Yale he returned home for a period of theological studies with his father. Ezra was licensed to […]

Cornelius Washington Grafton (1846-1934) pastored the Union Church Presbyterian Church in Jefferson County, Mississippi for sixty-one years. He has recounted his life as a minister through two-thirds of his tenure in A Forty-Three Year Pastorate in a Country Church, which was originally published in 1916. The pamphlet has been reprinted by Log College Press which […]

In the history of Presbyterianism in the United States the surname Rice is a common one. For example, influential in Kentucky were David Rice (1733-1816) known as “Father Rice” for founding the Presbyterian Church in the state, and there was also the polemicist, minister, and educator Nathan Lewis Rice (1807-1877). In Virginia, key figures included […]

Michael Demetrius Kalopothakes was born in Aeropolis, Laconia, Greece, December 17, 1825. At the time of his birth the Greeks were involved in a revolution for independence from the Ottomans who had ruled them since the middle of the fifteenth century. The Greeks’ desire for freedom was encouraged by the successful revolutions in America and […]

John Wesley was born February 1, 1885 to Jacob and Elizabeth Roth Ischy in their home just across the Ohio River from West Virginia in Hannibal, Ohio. Both Jacob and Elizabeth were immigrants from German-speaking Bern, Switzerland. The selection of the name “John Wesley” may indicate the desire of his Swiss parents to ease his […]

William Richmond Smith was born May 10, 1752 in Pequea, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to Rev. Robert Smith and his wife, Elizabeth Blair Smith. He was one of seven children, two of whom died in infancy, two became physicians, and three—Samuel Stanhope, John Blair, and William Richmond became ministers. However, William would not enjoy the same […]