Biographies

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Robert Harden Reid was born July 17, 1821 near Moffattsville, Anderson County, South Carolina.  His father was Andrew Reid, an elder for nearly fifty years in the Good Hope Presbyterian Church. His mother’s family name is Hamilton, but the sources consulted did not provide her given name.  As Robert matured he received his education locally […]

James Isaac Vance was born September 25, 1862 in Arcadia, Tennessee, to Charles Robertson and Margaret (Newland) Vance. Charles and Margaret had been married in the fall of 1860 by Rev. Daniel Rogan of Kingsport. At the time of his birth, his father was in the Confederate Army. His mother lived in Arcadia with family […]

As were many of the early Presbyterians that built the denomination in America, John Ross was from Ireland. He was born July 23, 1783, into a Roman Catholic home in Dublin where he was orphaned at a young age. When he was in his late teens, John left Ireland headed for England in hope of […]

Zelotes Lee Holmes constructed his eight-sided home with small hand-mixed batches of concrete in Laurens, South Carolina, in 1859. The building is currently known as the Octagon House Apartments. The contribution of the house to the architectural history of the state was recognized in 1973 when it was listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. The building is architecturally significant not […]

When B. B. Warfield delivered his memorial message for W. M. Paxton in Miller Chapel at Princeton Seminary, he said of his friend and colleague that “Dr. Paxton’s power always lay more in what he was than in what he did, and the best of all sermons was the sermon he preached by his life” […]

Moses Drury Hoge was the minister of Second Presbyterian Church, Richmond, Virginia, for two months shy of fifty-four years. To continue as a minister in the same church for over half a century is a length of service that very few pastors of any denomination have experienced. He was born near Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, September […]

In a historical tour of Princeton, New Jersey, Nassau Hall on the university campus is on the must-see list.  It is a grand but simple building, surrounded by trees, and its lovely presence reminds visitors of the generations of students that have passed through its doors.  After viewing the façade of Nassau Hall, the curious […]

Thomas Smyth was born June 14, 1808 in Belfast, Ireland, the sixth son of Samuel and Ann Magee Smith. Thomas’s father was a grocer and an elder in the local Presbyterian Church. Later in Thomas’s life he adopted the “Smyth” spelling to avoid confusion with another Old School Presbyterian minister in the United States named Thomas […]

James Waddell Alexander was born to Archibald and Janetta Waddell Alexander in Louisa County, Virginia, on March 13, 1804. The infant had been named for Janetta’s father, James Waddell, D.D., who had ministered in the Shenandoah Valley many years and was known as “The Blind Preacher of Virginia.” Young Alexander graduated the College of New […]

Henry Augustus was born to John and Clarinda (Starbuck) Boardman in the city of Troy on the Hudson River in New York, January 9, 1808. John was a merchant in Troy who had partnered with another man to form Hillhouse and Boardman. The business was successful and the Boardmans prospered, which would prove beneficial when […]

James Adair was born to Ezekiel L. and Mary Adair Lyon near Jonesboro in Washington County, Tennessee, April 19, 1814. He became a communing member of the Jonesboro Presbyterian Church when he professed his faith in Christ in 1831. His college education was completed in 1832 at Washington College in Tennessee; he then moved to […]

Cyrus H. McCormick, 1809-1884

December 20th, 2013, at 12:00 am

This biography is not about a minister, but instead tells the story of a Presbyterian layman who was an inventor, industrialist, and Christian who gave generously to the work of his denomination. His life began on the farm as did so many of the lives of antebellum entrepreneurs . Cyrus’s father, Robert, was born at Walnut Grove, Rockbridge […]