This Week In History

August 26, 1808

1808 Raleigh (NC) Register newspaperOn August 26, 1808, the Raleigh (N.C.) Register ran an ad from Presbyterian educator, minister and free black John Chavis announcing the separation of his classical education school into a Day School for whites and an Evening School for black children. Since its start in 1805, the school had been integrated up to this point.

Rev. John ChavisSometime between 1792 and 1795, John Chavis from Virginia apparently resided in New Jersey, where he reportedly had taken private classes under the Rev. John Witherspoon in preparation for entering the Presbyterian ministry. In the recorded September 25, 1792, minutes of the trustees of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University), there is a recommendation by Reverend John Blair that "Mr. Todd Henry, a Virginian, and John Chavis, a free black man of that state, ... be received" on the school's Leslie Fund. After Witherspoon's death in 1794, Chavis enrolled in Liberty Hall Academy in Lexington, Virginia, in 1795. The school was renamed Washington Academy in 1798, later becoming known as Washington College and then Washington & Lee in the late 1800s.

The Presbytery of Lexington (Virginia) licensed John Chavis as Preacher on November 19, 1800 — making him the First Black Ordained Presbyterian Minister in America.


August 27, 1772

Rev. Gideon BlackburnThe Rev. Dr. Gideon Blackburn was born in Augusta County, Va., on August 27, 1772. Reverend Backburn preached extensively in the Appalachian region and was instrumental in organizing several new churches. On May 31, 1803, the Presbyterian General Assembly approved the Rev. Gideon Blackburn's proposal to establish a school for Cherokee children. He operated his schools for the Cherokees until 1810. Blackburn also is known for the churches he established in Tennessee and Kentucky. On November 12, 1823, Dr. Blackburn was installed pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Ky. He was president of Centre College, Danville, Ky., from 1827 until 1830. In October 1833, he moved to Illinois. In 1835 he was an agent to raise funds for Illinois College in the eastern States, and while thus engaged, conceived a plan of establishing a theological seminary in Illinois, which resulted, after his death, in the establishment of an institution at Carlinsville, Ill. He died on August 23, 1838..

August 29, 1647

The Westminster Confession of Faith went to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which adopted it without amendment on August 29, 1647.