Home | Collection | Library/Online Resources | Donations | Montreat History | Exhibits/Wish List | About Us | E-Mail List
This Day — January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
This Day In Presbyterian History
January 1 1833 On January 1, 1833, John Brooke Pinney sailed alone from Norfolk, Virginia, as the first American Presbyterian missionary to Africa. He arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, on February 16. Pinney soon would be followed by several other associates, including James Temple, “a young Negro who has been taken under the care of the Presbytery of Philadelphia as an assistant missionary.” Pinney served in Liberia for the next four years, during which time he was acting Agent and Governor of the Board of Managers of the American Colonization Society, “who had been favorably impressed by his character and ability.” However, he was forced to temporarily retire from the mission field in 1837, in ill health. He would later go back to Africa. More info click here.
  3 1816 On January 3, 1816, the first issue of The Boston Recorder was issued. One of the early religious news periodicals in America, the Boston Recorder was founded by Nathaniel Willis.

4 1947 U.S. Senate Chaplain Peter MarshallOn Jan. 4, 1947, the U.S. Senate appointed The Rev. Peter Marshall as chaplain. Reverend Marshall was the pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.
  4 1968 Donaldina Cameron, missionaryOn January 4, 1968, Donaldina Cameron (shown right ) died. She was the long-time superintendent of the Presbyterian Mission House in San Francisco, working at that facility from 1895 to 1934. The Mission House was charged with rescuing Chinese girls and women from abusive circumstances, including forced prostitution.
  5 1877 On January 5, 1877, Henry Sloan Coffin was born. The self-described "liberal evangelical," Reverend Coffin would lead those promoting the Auburn Affirmation. The Affirmation argued that presbyteries had latitude in licensing and ordaining ministers. It was a culmination of a 30-year battle between self-described Fundamentalists and Moderates. Eventually, the Presbyterian Church (USA) would affirm "the power of its faith to hold together diverse views and beliefs." Rev. Coffin served as pastor of the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church and then president of Union Theological Seminary (New York City) from 1926 - 1945, as well as moderator in 1943 of the Presbyterian Church (USA). At right is the Time Magazine cover from Nov. 15, 1926.
  6 1867 On Jan. 6, 1867, the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Fe was organized with 12 members. The oldest Protestant Church in New Mexico, the church (shown right in its first structure) was served by the Rev. David McFarland of Mattoon, Illinois (shown below). He was commissioned by the Board of Domestic Missions of the Presbyterian Church, and arrived in Fall 1866. Supported by the Territorial Governor's wife, Mrs. Jennie Mitchell, the Rev. McFarland held the first Presbyterian service in the Council Chambers of the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe on Sunday, November 25, 1866, with 40 present. On December 10, 1866, he opened a school with ten scholars.
  6 1883 Lucy LaneyOn January 6, 1883, Lucy Craft Laney (shown right ) opened the first school for black children in Augusta, Georgia. Supported by the Christ Presbyterian Church (USA), the school started with six students in the basement of the church then located at 10 and Telfair Street. In 1885, the first class was graduated. At that time, the school had grown to 234 students. Thye school was later expanded and renamed the Haines Normal School in honor of financial benefactor Mrs. Francine E. H. Haines, President of the Woman's Department of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
  7 1869

On Jan. 7, 1869, Rev. Thomas DeWitt Talmage accepted the pastorship of Central Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn. His fiery oratory led the church to a growth in membership to more than 5,000, while his sermons were printed in newspapers across the country. The church's Brooklyn Tabernacle building would burn three times, being rebuilt larger each time (picture right shows the second Tabernacle church, 1873-1889).

  8 1907

On Jan. 8, 1907, Montreat was transferred to Presbyterian stockholders of the revised Mountain Retreat Association. While the intent was to transfer control to the Presbyterian Church in the United States, the conference center continued to be run by the MRA Board, elected by primarily individual Presbyterians who owned MRA stock and had long-term leases on lots. Eventually, these leases were converted to outright ownership.

At right is the following day's Washington Post story which mis-identified Montreat as Montreal.

  9 1969 On Jan. 9, 1969, the U.S. Senate appointed Presbyterian Rev. Dr. Edward L. R. Elson, D.D., S.T.D., Litt.D., LL.D., L.H.D., D.Hum., D.Min. as chaplain. He was pastor of The National Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. Rev. Elson served as chaplain until February 1981.
  10 1863 On January 10, 1863, the Rev. Lyman Beecher died. President of Lane Theological Seminary and a noted preacher, Rev. Beecher was the father of novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe (Uncle Tom's Cabin) and Rev. Henry Ward Beecher.
  11 1759 1909 Ad for Presbyterian Ministers' FundOn Jan. 11, 1759, the first American life insurance company is incorporated in Philadelphia — the "Corporation of Poor and Distressed Presbyterian Ministers and of the Poor and Distressed Widows and Children of Presbyterian Ministers." Known as the Presbyterian Ministers Fund for Life Insurance, and as the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company of Philadelphia in the late 1990s, the firm was demutualized and acquired in 2002 by Nationwide Insurance. Pictured is one of the company's sesquicentennial ads in 1909.
  12 1662 On January 12, 1662, Presbyterians in the town of Jamaica on Long Island voted to build a “minister’s house” or manse. The first pastor of the Jamaica church, which had an informal Presbyterian orientation in this pre-Presbytery era, was Rev. Zechariah Walker, who was educated at Harvard and served the church as a licentiate from 1663 to 1668. He did not graduate from Harvard. Reverend Walker was born on Sept. 15, 1637, and died on Jan. 20, 1700 (using the present calendar system).
  12 1846 On Jan. 12, 1846, the New York Herald ran a story describing the new First Presbyterian Church (New York City) building at Fifth Avenue & 12th St., which is still in use today:
"The interior of the edifice presents a novel and yet a very agreeable and impressive aspect. It is of the perpendicular Gothic Style, without columns to sustain the long extending arch, which makes the seats in a remarkable degree available and unobstructed. This is a new feature in modern architecture. The slips [pews] are of black walnut of native growth, most beautifully and tastefully carved.... The ceiling is formed by a system (if it may be so called) of groined arches, with intersecting ribs and pendants forming the keystone of this massive structure."
  13 1868 On Jan. 13, 1868, James Lennox and a group of Presbyterians met at the First Presbyterian Church in New York to organize a new hospital, which would in February become chartered as the Presbyterian Hospital in the City of New York (an early drawing of the hospital is at right ).
  14 1890

On Jan. 14, 1890, the Executive Committee of Foreign Missions on the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) commissioned two ministers, the Rev. William Henry Sheppard (at left) and the Rev. Samuel Norvell Lapsley (at right), to establish the Presbyterian Mission in Central Africa. The appointment of a black and a white minister to be the first PCUS missionaries to Africa marked the beginning of an interracial mission that was unique in most of Africa.

In May 1890, Sheppard and Lapsley landed at Banana Point in the mouth of the Congo River and began seeking a suitable field for work in the Congo Free State. Their quest eventually led them almost a thousand miles inland to Luebo, a small Belgian trading post on the banks of the Lulua River in the Kasai Valley, where they established the first Protestant mission station in inland Congo.

  15 1903 On January 15, 1903, the Rev. Dr. William E. McIlwain was named president of the new Presbyterian College in Aniston, Alabama.
  16 1756 On January 16, 1756, property (lot K) was given to Presbyterian settlers to build the Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, which burned in 1796. In 1800, the church rebuilt on a different lot.
  16 1832 On Jan. 16, 1832, the Executive Committee of the Western Foreign Missionary Society appointed John Brooke (or sometime spelled Brooks) Pinney, a student at Princeton Seminary, to be the first American Presbyterian missionary to Africa. On January 1, 1833, Pinney sailed alone from Norfolk, Virginia, arriving in Monrovia, Liberia, on February 16. Pinney soon would be followed by several other associates, including James Temple, “a young Negro who has been taken under the care of the Presbytery of Philadelphia as an assistant missionary.” Pinney served in Liberia for the next four years, during which time he was acting Agent and Governor of the Board of Managers of the American Colonization Society, “who had been favorably impressed by his character and ability.” However, he was retired from the commission in 1837, due to ongoing health issues. He had served in Liberia from 1833 through 1835. Pinney would later return to Liberia several times in various capacities (see bio page link under his name above).
  16 1920 On Jan. 16, 1920, Prohibition became the law of the United States. Ever the showman, Presbyterian minister and evangelist Billy Sunday and 10,000 of his followers met a special train from Milwaukee carrying John Barleycorn’s simulated coffin. The noted evangelist and former major league baseball player then conducted a "burial" with the words: ”Goodbye, John. You were God’s worst enemy, and Hell’s best friend, I hate you with a perfect hatred.“
  17 1884 On January 17, 1884, Alexander D. Hail and J. B. Hail founded the Wilmina Girl's School in Osaka, Japan, as a mission for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The school was named by combining the names of the first donors, William Saunders and his wife, Armina (right).
In September 1886, Ann E. Garvin founded the Osaka United Girls School for the Presbyterian Church (USA). On April 1, 1904, the two schools merged. On October 22, 1940 the name was changed to Osaka Jogakuin Girls School because of a then new government policy that all foreign names must be changed to Japanese names.
The school is now Osaka Jogakuin College.
  18 1759

On January 18, 1759, Presbyterian Minister James Campbell in the Colony of North Carolina subscribed to the required oath that he would not oppose the doctrine, discipline, and liturgy of the Anglican Church of England — thus he became legally allowed to preach or perform marriages in the Colony. Since the Anglican Church was the official state church, marriages performed by other ministers who hadn't subscribed to the oath were not officially recognized.

Reverend Campbell commenced his preaching among the Cape Fear river basin Scots, in both Gaelic and English, in three locations: at the home of Roger McNeill, near Tranthams Creek, at the home of Archibald McKay on the Long Street (the Yadkin Road), and at John Dobbin’s Ordinary on Barbecue Creek. Reportedly, he delivered two sermons at these churches as he rotated weekly among them. One sermon was in Gaelic and the other in English. The fourth Sunday, he was said to have visited other communities and preached, including some in the Colony of South Carolina.

  19 1736 On Sunday, Jan. 19, 1736, ordained Presbyterian minister John McLeod from the Isle of Skye opened a worship service in Gaelic on that mild winter day along Coastal Georgia. Attending the service, were some of the 177 Highlanders who had newly emigrated to the new colony. "Thus was born Presbyterism in Georgia, and Darien became its cradle," wrote Savannah Presbytery historian, the Reverend Frank C. King. The Scots had just landed at "Barnwell's Bluff," one mile east of today's Darien, GA. On Sunday, February 22, 1736, General James Oglethorpe visited Darien and participated in worship. Oglethorpe later spoke of this group as his "favorite colonists."
  20 1905 On Jan. 20, 1905, the Bell Green Orphanage in Montreat burned. This partially finished building was located on Oak Lane. (see article at right, click on it for a larger image). The orphanage was run by the sisters Whalen. An earlier rented house occupied by the orphanage also burned in 1904, according to the news story.
  20 1953 On January 20, 1953, a private pre-inauguration morning service was held at The National Presbyterian Church at the request of General Dwight David Eisenhower. President-elect Eisenhower had asked the Rev. Dr. Edward L. R. Elson, NPC pastor, to conduct the service of dedication. Attending were 181 people, including the President, Vice President, members of the Cabinet, members of the White House staff, officials of the Inaugural Committee, and their families.
  21 1918 On Jan. 21, 1918, Nurse Annabel Roberts death was reported in The New York Times. A member of First Presbyterian Church of Madison, NJ, she was serving with the New York Presbyterian Hospital unit which treated American troops in France during World War I.
  21 1924 On Jan. 21, 1924, fire broke out around 9 a.m. in the Montreat Hotel, the conference center's original hotel built in 1900-1901 and opened for business in 1901. The fire destroyed the building, although the Annex was saved as well as some furnishings. Assembly Inn was built on the location of the old hotel.
  22 1818 In 1817, Rev. Elias Cornelius had been sent on a missionary journey by the Conecticut Missionary Society through the Southwest, with special instructions to visit New Orleans. He arrived in New Orleans on Dec. 30, 1817. On Jan. 22, 1818, Rev. Cornelius was joined by the Rev. Sylvester Larned, and their their efforts led to the establishment of the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans, which laid its corner stone of which was laid on January 8, 1819.
  23 1825 On Jan. 23, 1825, The First Protestant Society in Detroit adopted Articles of Faith and became the First Presbyterian Church. The initial congregation consisted of 12 male and 37 female members. The Rev. Noah M. Wells became the first minister in May 1825 for the new church.
  25 1758 On January 25, 1758, Rev. John Martin was appointed by Rev. Samuel Davies to an Indian Mission to the Overhill Cherokees on the Little Tennessee River, the first Protestant to preach the gospel in the Tennessee Country or in the Southern Trans-Alleghany region. But with the Cherokees joining the French during the ongoing war with the English colonies, the mission was abandoned. Reverend Martin then settled in South Carolina.
  25 1818 On Jan. 25, 1818, the Rev. Benjamin Morgan Palmer was born. (Portrait circa 1845, courtesy of the Louisiana State Museum). In addition to serving in numerous churches, he also was a professor of church history and polity at the Theological Seminary in Columbia, SC, and the moderator at the formation of the Presbyterian Church of the Confederate States of America (later the Presbyterian Church, U.S.). He served as a director at Columbia Theological Seminary, Southwestern Presbyterian University (Clarksville, TN) and Tulane University. He co-founded The Southern Presbyterian Review (1847). He died on May 28, 1902.
  25 1949 Rev. Peter Marshall, chaplain U.S. Senate 1947 - 1949On Jan. 25, 1949, Rev. Peter Marshall died in the early morning hours from a heart attack. Reverend Marshall was the pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and the chaplain of the U.S. Senate (1947 - 1949).
  27 1982 On January 27, 1982, the Rev. Dr. Charles Leonidas King died. Former moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.) in 1944 - 1945, Reverend King was born near Covington, Georgia, on November 9, 1892. Graduating from Davidson College and then the Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, King was ordained in 1919 as pastor of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Richmond. On January 3, 1932, he became pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas, serving until September 1, 1961. King was also instrumental in the Synod of Texas decision to purchase a ranch near Kerrville owned by Dan Moran, president of Continental Oil Company. "Mo-Ranch" became a Presbyterian conference center. He was a professor at Austin Theological Seminar for three years.
  28 1724 On January 28, 1724, the Rev. Thomas Craighead joined New Castle Presbytery. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, he had emigrated to New England in 1717, but had trouble making a living. But in Delaware Rev. Craighead would serve as the pastor of the church at White Clay Creek (installed on February 22, 1724) for seven years — greatly expanding Presbyterianism in that area. In 1733, Rev. Criaghead moved to Lancaster in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, serving as pastor of the Pequea and then Hopewell churches. He died in the pulpit in April, 1739, just as he had pronounced the benediction. He was the father of Rev. Alexander Craighead who expanded Presbyterianism into the Piedmont of the Carolinas and forming the Sugar Creek (now spelled Sugaw Creek) Presbyterian Church in Charlotte.
  29 1827

Rev. Jeremiah GloucesterOn Jan. 29, 1827, the Rev. Jeremiah Gloucester (1799 - 1827), pastor of the Second African Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, died. (Shown at right) Second African Presbyterian Church was a small congregation originally located at 2nd & Norris Alley; it moved to 7th & St. Mary Street before being burned in Philadelphia’s August 1842 anti-black riots.

Rev. John GloucesterHis father, John Gloucester, was a slave in Tennessee, who was freed by Rev. Gideon Blackburn, who also arranged for Gloucester's education. Rev. John Gloucester (at left) became the minister for the First African Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Freeing his wife and sons, including Jeremiah, John Gloucester and his family became well known.

  30 1841 On Jan. 30, 1841, the Republic of Texas legislature chartered the second college in the state — Galveston College — organized by Presbyterian minister W. L. McCalla in December 1840 with five students. By the end of 1841, the school had 100 students. McCalla served as the first president. After a brief time, he went to England, then returned to Philadelphia to promote Texas. The college was short-lived and ceased operations by the 1850s.
© 2017. Presbyterian Heritage Center at Montreat.
PO Box
207, Montreat, NC 28757
Website design & hosting by CSI/ISI