Presbyterians of the Past

The lives, places, writings, and events of Reformed history



The first line of the Westminster Confession of Faith mentions the insufficiency of the light of nature regarding salvation through Christ as it opens the doctrine of Scripture. Although the light of Nature, and the works of Creation and Providence do so far manifest the Goodness, Wisdom, and Power of God, as to leave men […]

Cyrus H. McCormick, 1809-1884

September 10th, 2018, at 1:00 pm

This biography is not about a minister but instead tells the story of a Presbyterian layman who was an inventor and industrialist. 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 County, Virginia, June 4, 1780, into the household of a […]

The surnames of Alexander, Miller, Hodge, and Warfield represent familiar  faculty from the history of Princeton Theological Seminary, but despite his having taught in the seminary for nearly thirty years, Alexander Taggart McGill is not very well known. He was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, February 24, 1807, to his Scots-Irish parents, John, who was a weaver, […]

If you have not read the previous articles of this series you may want to do so by visiting the first part,  “J. Gresham Machen, France 1918, and then continue through the series by using the link at the end of each article. Having relocated to Paris following his escape from the advancing Germans at the […]

The recent release from Log College Press of Meditations on Preaching by Francis James Grimké (1850-1937) provides a collection of nearly two-hundred thoughts on the practice of pulpit ministry. Entries collected in the blazer-pocket-size book vary in length from as short as a few lines to about three pages, but most selections are two or […]

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 serving in the Confederate Army. His mother lived in Arcadia with […]

The Second General Presbyterian Council of The Presbyterian Alliance convened representatives from all over the world in Philadelphia beginning September 23 and continuing to its adjournment on the Lord’s Day of October 3, 1880. Both the Pennsylvania governor and Philadelphia mayor heartily welcomed the convention when it first assembled in the Academy of Fine Arts. […]

Even though the United States did not enter the First World War until 1917, there were several Americans that defied President Wilson’s policy against U.S. involvement and left the country to help in the war effort. One of the many men and women that decided to cross the Atlantic and assist France in its fight against the […]

Presbyterians in the American Colonies and then the United States not only delivered God’s Word from pulpits to worshipping congregations but also operated schools for children where they taught from masters’ desks. Ministers often prepared young adults for college, or in lieu of college tutored them in college subjects, and long before there were seminaries […]