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This Day In Presbyterian History
March 1 1844 On Friday evening, March 1, 1844, "A meeting of the citizens of Oneida Depot and vicinity was held in the reading room on Mill Street (now Madison) ... for the purpose of forming a Presbyterian Society ... known by the name and title of the Oneida Depot Presbyterian Society, and whenever a church is to be organized in this society they are to apply to a presbytery which is in connection with the Old School General Assembly for such organization," noted an early Oneida Presbyterian Church pastor.

2 1771 On March 2, 1771, Rev. Robert Hett Chapman (1771-1833) was born at Orange, New Jersey. Graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1789, he was licensed by the New York Presbytery on October 2, 1793, as a missionary to the south. From 1812 - 1817, Chapman served as the President of the University of North Carolina.
  3 1821 On March 3, 1821, Charles William Forman was born in Washington, Kentucky. He was converted at a revival meeting when he was twenty. He attended Centre College in Kentucky and then Princeton Theological Seminary. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister on July 7, 1847 and immediately set out for India as a missionary under the Presbyterian Foreign Mission Board. Settling in Lahore in north India (now Pakistan) during 1849, he founded the Rang Mahal School. In 1865, the school added a college curriculum, and later became known as Forman Christian College.
  4 1798 On March 4, 1798, Presbyterian minister John Nicholson Campbell was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Reverend Campbell served as pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC, where Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, as well as Vice President John C. Calhoun, worshipped in the 1820s. He also was active in the American Colonization Society. On November 18, 1820, the 22-year-old Reverend Campbell was named chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1830, Rev. Campbell and others were accused by Peggy Eaton of repeating the rumour that before her marriage, she dined with John Eaton in Philadelphia without a chaperone. Appointed Secretary of War by Jackson, John Eaton and his wife became a social controversy. As the social snubbing and other issues divided politicians, President Jackson's entire cabinet resigned, Vice President Calhoun resigned and Reverend Campbell stepped down from his pulpit. In 1831, he was called to the First Presbyterian Church in Albany, New York, and remained there until his death on March 27, 1864.
  4 1829 On March 4,1829, Presbyterian Missionary to China Rev. John Livingston Nevius was born. Nevius (March 4, 1829 - Oct. 19, 1893) promoted the strategy that missions should work to establish self-propagating, self-supporting, self-governing indigenous churches from the very beginning. The theory also was espused in slightly different form by Henry Venn and Rufus Anderson. Nevius (shown at right) was very influential in getting the theory put into practice by the Presbyterian missions to Korea. Nevius articulated this mission concept in the Chinese Recorder journal during 1885 and published a book — The Planting and Development of Missionary Churches — in 1886. He served in China from 1854 till his death.
  5 1771 On March 5, 1771, the Rev. Samuel Dorrance stepped down after nearly 48-years of continuous service as pastor of the Voluntown (now Stirling, CT) Presbyterian Church. Graduated from Glasgow University and licensed in 1719 by the Dumbarton Presbytery in Scotland, Rev. Dorrance came to America and settled at Voluntown in 1723. The town's newly Presbyterian Church was organized on Oct. 15, 1723. He died November 12, 1775, at the age of ninety, leaving a large family. The church allfiliated in 1779 with the Congregational denomination.
  6 1815 On March 6, 1816, the Presbytery of Mississippi was formally organized at its first meeting under authority of the Synod of Kentucky's action on Oct. 15, 1815.
  6 1922

On March 6, 1922, former U.S. Postmaster General and Presbyterian Deacon Will H. Hays started his job as the first president of Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA), the industry's self-censor.

At a $100,000 annual salary, Hays goal was to restore the image of the movie industry in the wake scandals and amid growing calls for federal censorship of the movies. He sought to persuade individual state censor boards to not ban specific films and to reduce the financial impact of the boards' cuts and edits, which studios were required to pay.

Hays was an unsuccessful candidate for moderator of the General Assembly in 1927.

  8 1740 On March 8, 1740, Rev. Gilbert Tennent preached a sermon entitled "The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry." In the new revival tradition of George Whitfield, Tennant's sermon at his New Brunswick Presbyterian Meeting House led to the first split in the American Presbyterian church between the self-styled New Lights vs. the Old Lights, 1741 - 1758.
  9 1824 On March 9, 1824, the Second African Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia was organized by 75 members from the original African Presbyterian Church. The church was located at 2nd & Norris Alley.
  10 1901 Rev. B. T. McClellanOn March 10, 1901, the Rev. B. T. McClelland died. Rev. McClelland (at right) was the first president of Daniel Baker College, the first Presbyterian college in west Texas, founded in 1888. The college was named for the Rev. Dr. Daniel Baker (at left), a Presbyterian minister, who helped organize the first presbytery in Texas in 1840 and Austin College in 1849.
  11 1883

On March 11, 1883, eleven elders of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church met at the home of Supreme Court Justice William Strong (see below left). This group was the start of the Covenant Presbyterian Church, in Washington, DC. Officially organized on October 13, 1885, the church became the place of worship for many Washingtonians, including Presbyterians U. S. President Benjamin Harrison (below middle) and inventor Alexander Graham Bell (below right).
Supreme Court Justic William Strong, PresbyterianU. S. President Benjamin HarrisonInventor Alexander Graham Bell, Presbyterian

  11 1995 Rev. Dr. Lloyd John OgilvieOn March 11, 1995, the Rev. Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie was named the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. He served as chaplain until 2003. Rev. Ogilvie was the pastor for the Presbyterian Church, Hollywood, California, from 1972 - 1995.
  12 1887 On March 12, 1887, Presbyterian missionary to Ceylon Rev. James Read Eckard died. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on November 22, 1805, Eckard practiced law in 1826 - 1830, and served as Rev. Dr. James Read Eckarddirector of public schools in Philadelphia in 1828. Eckard was ordained after completing studies at Princeton Theological Seminary as a Presbyterian evangelist on July 21, 1833. He was a missionary in the Island of Ceylon from 1833 - 1843. Eckard served as an agent of the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions in Georgia during 1844, principal of the Chatham Academy, Savannah, Georgia, in 1844 - 1846. He served as pastor of a Presbyterian Church in Washington, D. C., from 1848 - 1858. From 1858 - 1872, he was professor of rhetoric and history in Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, where he received a doctorate of divinity.
  13 1815 Dr. James HepburnOn March 13, 1815, James Hepburn was born in Milton, Pennsylvania. In his Presbyterian medical missionary work in Japan, he compiled the first Japanese-English dictionary and supervised the first complete translation of the Bible into Japanese, published in 1888.
  13 1854 On March 13, 1854, the Lebanon Theological Seminary opened in Lebanon, Tennessee. The new seminary served the Cumberland Presbyterian Church denomination. In 1962, the denomination voted to relocate the institute to Memphis and in 1964 the name was changed to the Memphis Theological Seminary.
  14 1820 On March 14, 1820, the Sentinel of Freedom (Newark, NJ) offered the following advice to Presbyterians singing church music —
"When you come to very high notes, be sure to sing as loud as you can bawl, and let noone but yourself be heard, and then you may pass for a GREAT SINGER; and as those strict old Presbyterians will not admit (musical) instruments in the church, I would most seriously recommend to every well wisher to harmony, to sing at least one half through the nose; then the music will be half vocal and half instrumental...."
  15 1842 On March 15, 1842, the Rev. William Plumer Jacobs was born in Yorkville (now York), S. C. The Presbyterian minister founded Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., in 1880. Rev. Jacobs also founded The Thornwell Home and School for Boys and Girls. He died in Clinton on September 10,1917.
  16 1906 On March 16, 1906, various denomination representatives agreed in Charlotte, NC, to form "The Council of the Reformed Churches in America holding Presbyterian System." The Council sought to develop spiritual unity, promote closer relations and cooperation among the Presbyterian denominations, as well as better cooperation in home and foreign missions. Signing the agreement were delegates from the Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Church in America, the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, the United Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church in the United States, the Reformed Church in the United States, and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
  16 1972 On March 16, 1972, for the first time Presbyterians with Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Taiwainese and Southeast Asian roots meet at White Sulphur Springs in St. Helena, California, to form the Asian Presbyterian Caucus. The groups aim was to assure the self-development and "cultural integrity" of these churches.
  18 1837 On March 18, 1837, the Ohio state legislature granted a charter to a group of New Concord citizens to establish a college — Muskingham. In 1877, Muskingum College became associated with the Synod of Ohio of the United Presbyterian Church of North America. With the merger of the Presbyterian Church in the Unitede States of America and United Presbyterian churches in 1958, Muskingum became associated with the merged United Presbyterian Church in the USA. The college's direct affiliation is with the three-state Synod of the Covenant.
  19 1860 On March 19, 1860, William Jennings Bryan was born in Salem, Illinois. Raised a Methodist and Baptist, Bryan was baptized in 1874 into the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. As an adult, he joined the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. A three-time presidential candidate, he was Wilson's secretary of state. In May 1923, Bryan was a leading and conservative candidate for moderator of the General Assembly. He led on the first two ballots, before being defeated by the Rev. Dr. Charles F. Wishart, president of Wooster College, who advocated tolerance. Wishart said: "I believe an overwhelming majority of Presbyterians are thoroughly loyal to our historical evangelical faith, yet willing to find room for different opinions within reasonable limits."
Bryan would go on to be one of the prosecuting attorney, representing the World Christian Fundamentals Association, at the famous Scopes Trial (1925) in Tennessee.
  20 1747 On March 20, 1747, David Brainerd, a Presbyterian missionary to the Native American Indians (1743 - 1747) in New England and the mid-Atlantic regions, quit his ministry among the Delaware Indians in New Jersey because of tuberculosis. He died on October 9, 1747.
  20 1928 On March 20, 1928, Frederick McFeely Rogers — later known to millions of TV viewers as Mr. Rogers — was born. An American educator, ordained Presbyterian minister, songwriter and television host, Rogers was the host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, in production from 1968 to 2001.
  21 1811 On March 21, 1811, Presbyterian missionary and teacher Melinda Rankin was born in Littleton, New Hampshire. In 1840 she moved to Kentucky, where she established schools and taught for two years before moving on to Mississippi to continue in educational work. In 1847 she came to Texas as a missionary to Mexicans. She taught at the Huntsville Male and Female Academy and wrote for religious publications. In 1852, she opened an informal school for Mexican girls in Brownsville, Texas. With Presbyterian support, the Rio Grande Female Institute opened in 1854. With the increase of religious freedom in Mexico, she began distributing Spanish language Bibles and other religious materials, supplied by the American Bible Society, across the border. During the Civil War she was forced from the school between 1862 and the end of the war. In 1866, Rankin returned to Monterrey, Mexico, purchased a building, and opened the first Protestant mission in Mexico. In 1872, poor health forced Rankin to give up mission work. She died at her home in Bloomington, Illinois, on December 6, 1888.
  22 1758 On March 22, 1758, Presbyterian minister Jonathan Edwards dies from the effects of a smallpox vaccination after arriving in New Jersey to accept the presidency of what is now Princeton University. Edwards is considered one of America's great theologian.
  23 1806 On March 23, 1806, the Rev. Philip Milledoler (shown at right ) preached “A Discourse Delivered in the Presbyterian Church in Wall-Street March 23, 1806 for a Society of Ladies Instituted for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children.” The pastor of the Collegiate Presbyterian churches of New York City beginning in 1804, Reverend Milledofer was ordained in German Reformed and served as pastor of both Dutch Reform and Presbyterian Churches. Women of the church began to play an increasingly important role in the church by fundraising efforts for such relief efforts, for educating ministerial students and other programs.
  24 1869 On March 24, 1869, the Pennsylvania legislature chartered Wilson College, one of the first colleges for women in the United States. Founded by the Reverend Tryon Edwards and the Reverend James W. Wightman, pastors of Presbyterian churches in nearby Hagerstown, Maryland, and Greencastle, Pennsylvania, the college was approved by the Presbytery of Carlisle in April 1868. Miss Sarah Wilson (1795-1871), a resident of nearby St. Thomas, provided two generous donations for the establishment of the new institution, which the Trustees voted to name in her honor. Instruction began on October 12, 1870.
  24 1879 On March 24, 1879, The Rev. Dr. Joseph J. Bullock was appointed chaplain of the U.S. Senate and served until 1883. He served as pastor to Presbyterian churchs in Frankfurt, KY, Baltimore, MD, Alexandria, VA, and Washington, DC.
  25 1871 Early in 1871, Presbyterian minister Ephraim D. Saunders, offered a two-and-a-half-acre property at 39th Street and Powelton Avenue to the Philadelphia Presbyterian Alliance for use to build the Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia. The donation was in memory of his son Courtland, who had been killed in service during the Civil War. The Alliance stipulated that the hospital mission was "to provide for the needs of the sick and disabled regardless of race, color or creed." On March 25, 1871, the hospital charter was approved. At right is the hospital in the 1920s.
  26 1892 On March 26, 1892, African Congo Presbyterian Missionary Samuel N. Lapsley (shown right) died. He and William Sheppard (shown left), an African-American ordained Presbyterian minister went to the Congo for the Presbyterian Church (US) in 1890.
  27 1799 With the approval of the Synod of Virginia, on March 27, 1799, the Transylvania Presbytery was divided into 3 new presbyteries -- Transylvania, West Lexington and Washington. The Presbytery of Washington encompassed parts of Kentucky.
  28 1707 On March 28, 1707, Presbyterian Rev. Francis Makemie wrote to Rev. Benjamin Coleman of Boston, describing Makemie's ongoing trial in New York for preaching and the meeting of the first Presbytery in America :
"Since our imprisonment we have begun correspondence.... the penall laws are invading our American Sanctuary, without the least regard to the Toleration, which should alarm us all...."
Regarding the Presbytery, Makemie wrote: "Our design is to meet yearly, and oftener if necessary, to consult the most proper measures, for advancing religion, and propagating Christianity, in our Various Stations...."
  28 1895 On March 28, 1895, Donald Grey Barnhouse was born in Watsonville, California.The American Presbyterian clergyman and pioneer radio preacher, the Reverend Dr. Barnhouse would become one of the America's most widely known preachers, although sometimes abrupt and controversial. In 1928, the conservative Rev. Barnhouse (below) launched "The Bible Study Hour" and would use a national radio network to expand his reach across the country. He was one of the early religious programming pioneers, taking advantage of the mass communication of that period — radio. In 1931, he founded and edited Eternity Magazine. For 33 years (1927 - 1960) until his death, he served as the pastor of Philadelphia’s historic Tenth Presbyterian Church. The above photo was printed on the cover of the memorial issue (March 1961) of Eternity Magazine.
  30 1730 The Rev. John Moorhead was born in 1703 near Scot-Irish Belfast. Educated at the University of Edinburgh, Moorhead came to Boston in 1727. He began services to a growing Scot-Irish congregation which was commonly known to Bostonians as the "Church of the Presbyterian Strangers." Rev. Moorhead was ordained as the Boston congregation's pastor on March 30, 1730. On April 16, 1745, the first presbytery in New England was formed by Rev. Moorhead and other Presbyterian ministers in the region. Moorhead died December 2, 1773. (The photo at right of a 1749 portrait of Rev. Moorhead is courtesy of Childs Gallery, Boston.)
  31 1839 The oldest church in Houston, Texas, First Presbyterian Church was founded on March 31, 1839, by The Rev. William Youel Allen.
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