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Biographical Index of Ministers — F

Biographies are developed by PHC volunteers and staff from original research and from various published sources, such as 1884 "Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America," by Alfred Nevin. This list is constantly being updated. Corrections and additional materials, such as photos or drawings will be made from time to time. There also is a missionary biographical listing being prepared for this web site. During 2010, there will be a master index of ministers and missionaries to aid in searches. Thanks for your patience. Please email additional information or pictures to the PHC.

The Rev. Ashbel Green Fairchild, D.D.
(May 1, 1795 - June 30, 1864)
    The Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green Fairchild was born at Hanover, New Jersey, on May 1, 1795. He graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) in September 1813. He studied theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Jersey in April 1816. Subsequently he made two missionary tours, one in North Carolina, the other along the Monogehela, and on the upper branches of the Allegheny. He was taken under the care of the Presbytery of Redstone, April 21, 1818, and was appointed stated supply of the congregation of George's Creek for half of his time and on July 1 he was ordained as an evangelist by this Presbytery. On July 2, 1822, he was installed pastor of the churches of George's Creek, Morgantown and Greensboro’ for an annual salary of $133. In April, 1827, he resigned the charge of the congregations of Morgantown and Greensboro' and became pastor of the Tent Church, to which he devoted the half of his time. From this date he labored in the united pastorate of the churches of George's Creek and Tent, until, in 1854, when he resigned the former charge, that he might devote the whole of his time to the Tent congregation, of which he remained pastor until his death in Smithfield, PA, in June 1864, a period of 37 years.
    Besides frequent contributions to the weekly religious press, Dr. Fairchild published: "The Great Supper," "Scripture Baptism," "Unpopular Doctrines," and "What Presbyterians Believe," all of which are issued by the Presbyterian Board of Publication. "The Great Supper," was also translated into German.

The Rev. George Faitoute
(1753 - August 21, 1815)
    The Rev. George Faitoute was born in 1753 in New York. He acted as Tutor in the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) for a short time after graduating in 1776. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Brunswick about 1778 and was ordained and settled at Greenwich, NJ, in 1782. Between 1787 and 1789 he occasionally supplied the pulpit at Deerfield, NJ. In 1789, he moved to Long Island and became pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Jamaica. He died suddenly in Jamaica, NY, on August 21, 1815. Upon division of the Presbytery of Long Island in 1809, he was assigned to the Presbytery of New York, together with his congregation.

The Rev. William Montague Ferry
(September 8, 1795 - December 30, 1867)
    The Rev William Montague Ferry was the son of Noah and Hanhan (Montague) Ferry, and was born in Granby, Mass., Sept. 8, 1795. He was graduated at Union College in 1820. He attended the Theological Seminary at New Brunswick, NJ, for two years and finished his studies under the Rev. Gardiner Spring, D.D., of New York. He was licensed to preach the gospel and ordained by the Presbytery of New York in 1832 and under a commission from the United Foreign Missionary Society, he was appointed as missionary to the Indians of the northwest, which led to the establishment of the Mackinaw Mission on Mackinac island, Michigan.
    On November 2, 1834, Mr. Ferry moved with his family to the point where the city of Grand Haven now stands; his was the first white family in the county. He died on Dec. 30, 1867, in Grand Haven. He was the father of the Hon. T.W. Ferry, who was a United States Senator (1871 - 1883) from Michigan.

The Rev. Jacob Ten Eyck Field
    The Rev. Jacob Ten Eyck Field was the son of Jeremiah and Jane (Ten Eyck) Field, and was born in Lamington, N. J., October 31, 1787. Early in life he united with the Presbyterian Church and was prepared for college by his pastor, the Rev. William Boyd. He was graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) in 1806. He studied theology under Dr. Woodhull, of Monmouth, and was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Brunswick. In 1807 he was appointed by the Home Missionary Society to labor in Stroudsburg, Penn. In the spring of 1810 he received a call from the Presbyterian Church, Flemington, N. J., but preferred to serve as a supply for six months before deciding to accept. He was ordained and installed, November 28, 1810. He remained in Flemington until April 27, 1813. He then accepted a call to the D. R. Church, Pompton, N. J. From 1833 to October 5, 1841, he was stated supply, and then pastor, of the Presbyterian churches of Stroudsburg and Middle Smithfield, Penn. In 1839, when fifty-two years old, he was disabled by a stroke of paralysis, from which he never sufficiently recovered to resume his work. He died, May 17, 1866. He established a scholarship in Lafayette College, which bears his name.

The Rev. Robert Findley
(b. pre 1769)
    The Rev. Robert Findley was a minister in Western Pennsylvania. From June 1789 to November 1792 he is named as principal supplier of the pulpit of Pittsburg.

The Rev. James Finley
(February 1725 - January 6, 1795)
    The Rev. James Finley was born in County Armagh, Ireland, in February 1725. He was educated at Fagg's Manor under Samuel Blair. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Castle and installed pastor of East Nottingham, on the Rock, in Cecil County, Md., in 1752. Mr. Finley crossed the Alleghenies in 1765, and again in 1767, and by the direction of the Synod, supplied Ligonier and the vacancies beyond the mountains for two months in 1771-2. His pastoral relationship at Nottingham was dissolved, May 17, 1782. He was not dismissed to the Presbytery of Redstone until April 26, 1785, and he was received by that body on June 21. He was called to Rehoboth and Round Hill, both in the forks of the Youghiogheny, in the fall of 1784, and remained there until his death, January 6, 1795. On moving to the West, the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania commissioned him as a Justice of the Peace and a Judge of the Common Pleas.

The Rev. John Evans Finley
(b. pre 1760)
    The Rev. John Evans Finley was a nephew of President Finley, was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Castle about 1780, and was settled at Fagg's Manor, Penn. About the year 1795 he moved to Kentucky and became pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Bracken, Mason County, where he exercised his ministry during the great revival in the West. He occasionally supplied the pulpit at Red Oak between 1803 and 1806. As senior pastor he gave the sermon at the first meeting of the month at New Market, and the remainder of his time at Germantown, Bracken and Union, at discretion. He was noted as absent at the first meeting of the Synod of Kentucky in 1802. In 1802, he was made Stated Supply at Mr. Walls', on White Oak, for one-third of his time and at Augusta, Ky., for a half of his time. For the most part, he seems to have been appointed to preach at discretion. He appears to have lived in the neighborhood of Red Oak, Ohio. He was moderator of his presbytery ten times. At the thirty-ninth meeting of Presbytery, at Washington, Ky., October 5-7, 1813, a charge was brought against him for immoral conduct. At a subsequent meeting of Presbytery, he acknowledged his misconduct. He was suspended from the ministry and from the communion of the church. The session of Red Oak Church was authorized to restore him to the communion of the church, as soon as they may deem it consistent with the interests of religion. (The History of the Chillicothe Presbytery by R. C. Galbraith, Jr.)

The Rev. Robert Finley, D.D.
    The Rev. Dr. Robert Finley was born at Princeton, N. J., in 1772. He was graduated at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) in 1787 and, by the advice of Dr. Witherspoon, was appointed teacher of the Grammar School connected with the college. After remaining in this situation some time, he took charge of an academy at Allentown, N. J. In 1791 he moved to Charleston, S. C., and became Principal of an academy in that city.
    Having determined to devote himself to the ministry, Mr. Finley returned to Princeton and again conducted the Grammar School but was soon appointed Tutor in the college and served in that capacity from 1793 to 1795. On September 16, 1794, he was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, and on June 16 was ordained and installed pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Baskingridge, N. J., where he also conducted a school.
    About this time Rev. Finley conceived the idea of African Colonization, and he may be considered as the founder of the American Colonization Society. In 1817 he was elected to the Presidency of the University of Georgia, but he had hardly entered upon the duties of his new position when disease seized him, and he died, October 2, 1817. He published several sermons.

The Rev. Robert W. Finley
(b. pre 1775)
    The Rev. Robert W. Finley was accused of public intoxication and was ultimately deposed by the Presbytery of Transylvania, October 6, 1796. He was pastor of Ash Ridge and Concord Churches.
After being deposed by the Presbyterians, R. W. Finley turned to Methodism. He was received into the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1812.

The Rev. Samuel Finley, D.D.
(1715 - July 17, 1766)
    The Rev. Dr. Samuel Finley was born in 1715 in the county of Armaugh, Ireland. After having obtained the rudiments of an English education, his parents sent him to a school at some distance from home.
    In his nineteenth year he left his native country and arrived in Philadelphia, September 28, 1734. He resumed his studies, with reference to the ministry, put himself under the care of the Presbytery of New Brunswick, and was licensed to preach the gospel, August 5, 1740. He traveled extensively for some time after his licensure. He labored for a considerable time in West Jersey, in Deerfield, Greenwich, and Cape May. He was ordained, probably as an evangelist, by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, October 13, 1742.
    In August 1743, Mr. Finley received a call from Milford, Conn., and the Presbytery sent him to Milford "with allowance that he also preach for other places thereabouts, when Providence may open a door for him." In June 1744 he accepted a call from the congregation in Nottingham, Md. Here he instituted an academy, with a view chiefly of preparing young men for the ministry. He was chosen to the presidency of the College of New Jersey, upon the death of President Davies, in 1761. He died on July 17, 1766. Dr. Finley's publications consisted mainly of sermons, the last of which was preached on the death of President Davies, 1761.

The Rev. Samuel Finley
(d. aft 1802)
The Rev. Samuel Finley was present at the first meeting of the Synod of Kentucky in 1802, as a member of the Presbytery of Transylvania.

The Rev. Peter Fish
(November 23, 1751 - 1810)
    The Rev. Peter Fish was born on November 23, 1751, on the shore of Flushing Bay, Newtown, Long Island. Mr. Fish was converted at the age of thirteen. He was inspired by George Whitefield, an Anglican revivalist minister who preached at Newtown in 1764, when Simon Horton was pastor at Newtown. Mr. Fish graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) in 1774 and was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New York in 1779. Fish became the stated supply at Newtown in 1785.
    Fish’s uncle had donated land to build an earlier church for the Newtown church. Fish devoted his energies to erecting a church building for Newtown on the same site as the old church. The new building became known as the Old White Church.
   On June 30, 1785, he married Hannah Hankinson of Freehold, N. J. Eight children survived to adulthood. Fish refused a permanent position at Newtown, some said due to ill health. After two years, his family left Newtown in November 1788. After moving to Connecticut Farms, N. J., he quickly accepted ordination and installation the following March. He ministered in New Jersey for ten years, and then moved to upstate New York. He remained in contact with Newtown during this absence, for in 1790, the congregation accepted Nathan Woodhull on Fish’s recommendation.
His poor physical condition forced him into retirement at the age of 40. Fish moved back to Newtown and purchased a home. Upon division of the Presbytery of Long Island in 1809, he was assigned to the Presbytery of New York. After Woodhull died in 1810, he became the pastor of Newtown again at the congregation’s request. Fish died five months later.

The Rev. William Henry Foote
(December 20, 1794 - November 22, 1869)
    The Rev. William Henry Foote was born at Colchester, Conn., Dec. 20, 1794, the son of Stephen and Hannah Waterman Foote. He was a descendant in the seventh generation from Nathaniel Foote and Elizabeth Deming who came from England about 1633 and settled at Weathersfield, Conn., in 1649. He had a degree from Yale in 1816 and taught at Falmouth, Va., 1816-18 and part of 1818 at Winchester. He attended Princeton Theological Seminary 1818-19 and received an honorary doctorate from Hampden-Sidney in 1847. He was a candidate at Fredericksburg, Va., October 10, 1817. He was licensed to preach the gospel, October 20, 1819, and ordained, September 7, 1822. He was an itinerant of Patterson's Creek and South Branch (Va.) and in June of 1822 was settled at Woodstock. He organized Union Church, Shenandoah County, Va., and resided at Romney, November 1824 to Nov. 22, 1869, when he died. He was a refugee in Virginia, 1861-65. He was the pastor at old Mt. Bethel, 1824-33. He reorganized Romney, organized Springfield, Patterson's Creek, Mountain and N. River, 1833-34. He was an agent for the Board of Foreign Missions in Virginia and North Carolina, 1838-45. He was pastor of Romney and Springfield, 1845-69, Patterson's Creek, 1845-1860.
   Rev. Foote also served as principal of Potomac Academy and the historical author of Sketches of North Carolina (1846), Sketches of Virginia (1850 and 1855) and The Huguenots (1870).
   He served as stated clerk of the Presbytery of Winchester, 1834-38, trustee of Union Theological Seminary, 1838-69, Hampden-Sydney College, 51-69. He was many years the chair of Home Missions. He married, February 21, 1822, Eliza Wilson Glass, daughter of the Rev. Joseph Glass (1800-1835) and they had two daughters (Ann Waterman Foote, m. Judge J.D. Armstrong of Romney). He married a second time on October 31, 1838, to Arabella Gilliam of Petersburg, VA (1807-1892). They had one daughter, Mary Arabella Foote, d. July 29, 1817.

The Rev. William Foster
(1740 - September 30, 1780)
    The Rev. William Foster was born in 1740 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Castle on April 23, 1767. He was ordained and installed pastor of Upper Octorara and Doe Run Presbyterian Churches on October 19, 1768. Rev. Foster was a graduate of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton College) (1764). He died on Sept. 30, 1780.

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