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Biographical Index of Ministers — E

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. Samuel Eakin
(c. 1742 - 1784)
    The Rev Samuel Eakin graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) on September 26, 1763 and received the degree of Master of Arts, September 24, 1776. The Second Presbytery of Philadelphia licensed him to preach and ordained him in 1770. He was installed as pastor of the Third (old Pine St.) Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, from 1771 - 1773. From 1773 to 1776 or 1777, he served as pastor at Penn's Neck Presbyterian Church, in West Jersey; but his zeal for American independence caused problems with local Tories and he stepped down from his pastorate. Reverend Eakin apparently served as a chaplain to the New Jersey Salem County militia. In 1776 or 1777, he moved to Delaware, where he served as pastor of the Pencader Presbyterian Church until 1783. He died in 1784 and is buried at Pidgeon Run, near Red Lion, Delaware.

The Rev. Joseph Eastburn
(August 11, 1748 - January 30, 1828)
    The Rev. Joseph Eastburn was born on Aug. 11, 1748, in Philadelphia. Eastburn worked as a carpenter both before and after the Revolutionary War. He married Ann Owen on June 12, 1771, in Philadelphia. Joseph Eastburn served two or three tours of service during the Revoluntionary War. He was with the Americans at the Battle of Princeton in 1777.
    In 1783, it was proposed to allow Eastburn to be a trial preacher without meeting the educational requirements, but this was rejected by the Synod of New York and Philadelphia. Eastburn served as a clerk and assistant in the Second Presbyterian church for years. In May 1805, the Presbytery of Philadelphia appointed Eastburn as chaplain (not as an ordained minister) to the hospital, jail and local mission. Eastburn also filled in, preaching at Presbyterian, German Reformed and Methodist churches in addition to his public institution chaplain duties. After his wife died in 1811, he turned his full attention to ministry and ceased his cabinetmaking business.
    Rev. Eastburn began his preaching to mariners in October 1819 in a sail loft. He served as the stated pastor of the Mariner's Church in Philadelphia, which opened its building in 1824. He died on January 30, 1828.

The Rev. Johnston Eaton
(February 7, 1776 - June 17, 1847)
    The Rev. Johnston Eaton was born in Rocky Spring Congregation, Franklin County, Penn., February 7, 1776. He was graduated at Jefferson College in 1802, studied theology with the Rev. John McMillan, and was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Ohio, August 22, 1805. After visiting southern Ohio, he took up his abode, in 1806, in Erie County, Penn.
    Rev. Eaton was ordained by the Presbytery of Erie, June 30, 1808, and installed at the same time pastor of the congregations of Fairview and Springfield. Released from the charge of Springfield, November 8, 1814, he then divided his time between Fairview, Erie and Northeast. In 1818 Northeast was dropped and his time divided between Erie and Fairview until 1823. In 1813, during the war with Great Britain, he was employed as a government chaplain, and ministered to the troops stationed at Erie. He also preached for a portion of his time at Harbor Creek, Waterford, Washington and McKean, in Erie County, Penn. He continued to labor in the congregation of Fairview until the close of his earthly toils. He died, June 17, 1847. His wife was Eliza (Canon) Eaton and he was the father of the Rev. Dr. Samuel John Mills Eaton (1820 - after 1881).

The Rev. Dr. Samuel John Mills Eaton, D.D.
(April 15, 1820 - July 16, 1889)
    Samuel John Mills Eaton was born on April 15, 1820, in Fairview, Erie County, Pennsylvania. His father was Rev. Johnston Eaton. Samuel J. M. Eaton studied at Jefferson College and then at the Western Theological Seminary. He was licensed and ordained in 1848 by the Presbytery of Erie. He served as pastor to Presbyterian churches in Franklin and Mt. Pleasant, PA. On Nov. 5, 1850, he married Clara T. Howe. In 1855, he gave up the pulpit at the Mt. Pleasant church and continued at Franklin until February 1882. He received a Doctor of Divinity from Washington and Jefferson College in 1869. He was stated clerk of the Presbytery of Erie from 1853 to 1889. He stated also served as stated clerk for the Synod of Erie for several years.
   Reverend Eaton also was very active in the Chautauqua summer conferences in upstate New York.
    He died on July 16, 1889.

The Rev. Sylvester Eaton
(August 12, 1790 - May 14, 1844)
    The Rev. Sylvester Easton was born in Chatham, NY, August 12, 1790. He was graduated at Williams College in 1816 and studied theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Albany in 1818. He was ordained pastor of the Congregational Church in Norwalk, Conn., in 1820, and was dismissed in 1827. He was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, from April 1829 to September 1834. He was pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Paterson, N. J., from 1834 to about 1837. He was settled shortly after in Poughkeepsie, N. Y., where he remained about four years. He died on May 14, 1844.

The Rev. John Todd Edgar, D.D.
(April 13, 1792 - November 13, 1860)
    The Rev. Dr. John Todd Edgar was born at Sussex County, Del., April 13, 1792. His father moved to Kentucky in 1795. He was at the Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky., a short time, but was not a graduate. He graduated at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1816 when he was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Brunswick. In 1817 he was installed pastor of the Church at Flemingsburg, Ky. He was subsequently pastor at Maysville, Ky., and in 1827 became pastor of the church at Frankfort, the capitol of Kentucky. In 1833 he accepted a call from Nashville, Tenn. He died, November 13, 1860.

The Rev. Thomas Edgar
    The Rev. Thomas Edgar was the minister for the Seven-Mile Congregation in Butler County, Ohio, in 1834.

The Rev. Jonathan Edwards
(October 5, 1703 - March 22, 1758)
    The Rev. Jonathan Edwards was a president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton). He was born at Windsor, Conn., October 5, 1703. He was graduated at Yale College in 1720. He lived in college nearly two years after taking his first degree, preparing himself for the office of a minister of the gospel. In 1722 he went to New York, at the request of a small congregation of English Presbyterians, and preached a number of months. In 1724 he was appointed a Tutor in Yale College and he continued in that office till he was invited, in 1726, to preach at Northampton, Mass. Here he was ordained to the gospel ministry as a colleague with his grandfather, Mr. Stoddard, February 15, 1727. He continued in this place more than twenty-three years. In spite of his popularity, his strict views of Christian discipline and purity caused him to be released from his charge by an ecclesiastical council, June 22, 1750.
    In August, 1751, he succeeded Mr. Sergeant as missionary to the Housatonic Indians, at Stockbridge, in Berkshire County. Here he continued for six years. In January 1758 he reluctantly accepted the office of President of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) as successor to his son-in-law, Aaron Burr but he had not entered fully upon the duties of this station before an inoculation for smallpox was the cause of his death, March 22, 1758. He left three sons and seven daughters.
    President Edwards' Inquiry into the Freedom of Will is generally regarded as having forever settled the controversy with Armenians by demonstrating the untenableness of their principles. His other works which are most celebrated, are his books on Original Sin; his treatise on The Affections; his dissertation on the Nature of True Virtue, and that on the End for which God Created the World.

The Rev. John Elder
(1706 - 1792)
    The Rev. John Elder was born in the county of Antrim, Ireland, in 1706. He came to this country as a licentiate to preach the gospel and was ordained and installed by the Presbytery of New Castle, as pastor of the churches of Paxton and Derry, near Harrisonburg, Penn., November 22, 1738.
Mr. Elder joined the Second Presbytery of Philadelphia, May 19, 1768. In the formation of the General Assembly he became a member of the Presbytery of Carlisle. He died in 1792, having been a minister of the gospel sixty years and the pastor of the congregations in Paxton and Derry fifty-six.

The Rev. David Elliott, D.D., LL.D.
(February 6, 1787 - March 18, 1874)
    The Rev. Dr. David Elliott was born at Sherman's Valley, now Perry County, Penn., February 6, 1787. He was graduated as valedictorian at Dickinson College, September 28, 1808. His first preceptor in theology was his pastor, the Rev. John Linn, with whom he spent two years as a student. His last year was spent with the Rev. Joshua Williams, D.D., of Newville, Penn. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Carlisle, September 26, 1811. He was the pastor of the Church at Mercersburg, Penn., 1812-29. While there, the Franklin County Bible Society, in 1815, began as a result of his appeal through the newspapers. From 1829 to 1836 he was pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Washington, Penn. He declined the presidency of Washington College. He consented, however, in connection with his pastoral charge to become "Acting President and Professor of Moral Philosophy," until a permanent president could be secured, and in the spring of 1832, handed over the institution to Dr. McConaughy, by whom the presidency had been accepted. In 1835, he was called, by the General Assembly, to take a Professorship in the Western Theological Seminary, Allegheny, Penn. By an arrangement, this was the Chair of Theology. In 1854 he was assigned by the Assembly to the department of Polemic and Historical Theology.
    He was frequently sent as a commissioner to the General Assembly. He was Moderator of the Assembly of 1837, which held its sessions in Philadelphia. Dr. Elliott died on March 18, 1874.
Chief among his publications was a volume of "Letters on Church Government," and biographical sketches of the labors of Elisha McCurdy and the other pioneers of the Presbyterian Church in Western Pennsylvania.

The Rev. John Millot Ellis
(July 14, 1793 - August 6, 1855)
    The Rev. John Millot Ellis was born in Keene, N. H., July 14, 1793. He was graduated at Dartmouth College in 1822. He completed his theological course at Andover Seminary, September 28, 1825, and was ordained to the gospel ministry the following day in the Old South Church in Boston. Mr. Ellis moved to Illinois. He first settled at Kaskaskia. During his residence there, he expended a considerable part of his labors west of the Mississippi. In 1828 he moved to Jacksonville, where he was responsible for the establishment of the Female Seminary at Jacksonville. He attended the first meeting of the Presbytery of Centre in 1829. His pastorate in Jacksonville ended in 1831. Subsequently, Mr. Ellis became Secretary of the Indiana Education Society, and while so engaged took an active part in the deliberations which resulted in the foundation of Wabash College at Crawfordsville. In 1834 and 1835 he served the Education Society in New England. Afterwards he entered into the designs for the aid of Marshall College, Mich. Having organized a church at Grass Lake, he became its pastor in 1836. In 1840 he was settled as pastor of the Church of East Hanover, NH, and in 1844 entered the service of the Society for Promoting collegiate and Theological Education at the West, in which he continued until his death on August 6, 1855. He was Stated Clerk of his Presbytery in Illinois. He was the chief agent in organizing the Presbytery of Marshall, and was its first Moderator.

The Rev. Daniel Elmer
(1690 - January 14, 1755)
    The Rev. Daniel Elmer was born in Fairfield, Conn., in 1690 and graduated at Yale in 1713. For some time he served in Brookfield, Mass., which he left before 1715. He taught at a classical school, married and preached several years in Massachusetts. He came to Fairfield, in Cohanzy, West Jersey. Here, probably, in 1727, with his wife and five children he purchased a farm near the church and became its pastor in 1729. In this region, while Whitefield was preaching, November 19, 1740, the whole congregation was moved. Mr. Elmer's congregation divided, in 1741. He died on January 14, 1755. He was the father of Hon. Theophilus Elmer and grandfather of Hon. Jonathan Elmer.

The Rev. Jonathan Elmer
(June 4, 1727 - June 7, 1807)
    The Rev. Jonathan Elmer was graduated at Yale in 1747, licensed to preach on May 4, 1748, and was ordained by the Presbytery of New York in October 1750. His first ministry was at Florida, Orange County, New York, where he worked until 1757. He married Amy Gale, near Goshen, NY, and they had four children. He became the stated minister to Turkey (as New Providence was then named) Presbyterian Church, New Jersey, on Oct. 1, 1757. He was installed as pastor of the New Providence church on Nov. 13, 1765. One source cites thay he preached at the execution of Morgan, a Tory, who shot Rev. James Caldwell (The Fighting Parson) in 1781 on Elizabethtown Point. He resigned his charge at New Providence, October 14, 1793. He acted as stated supply at Millstone, and occasionally at other places, and died on June 7, 1807. (Another source states death as June 5th).

The Rev. Dr. Ezra Styles Ely
(June 13, 1786 - June 18, 1861)
    The Rev. Dr. Ezra Styles Ely was born in Lebanon, Conn., June 13, 1786. He was graduated at Yale College in 1803. He pursued his theological studies under the direction of his father, the Rev. Zebulen Ely, and was licensed to preach the gospel in 1804 and ordained, by the Presbytery of West Chester, pastor of Colchester (Congregational) Church, Connecticut, in 1806. He was taken from this charge to act as Chaplain to the New York City Hospital. In 1813 he was installed pastor of the Pine Street Church, Philadelphia, as successor of Dr. Alexander, moved to Princeton, but his strong anti-Hopkinsian tenets led to the division of the church. As one of its Trustees, Dr. Ely bought the lot and erected the building where Jefferson Medical College now stands. From 1825 until 1836 he was Stated Clerk of the General Assembly. In 1828 he was chosen Moderator of the General Assembly.
In 1834 he became an active patron of Marion College in Missouri. It was started as a manual labor college, and the products of the land belonging to the institution were expected to defray all expenses. A large number of students were collected but the scheme failed to succeed. In 1844, Dr. Ely became pastor of the Church of the Northern Liberties, Philadelphia. He retained this post until struck down by paralysis, August 1851. He died on June 18, 1861.
    His published works were, "Visits of Mercy," "The Contrast," "Collateral Bible," memorial of his father, Rev. Zebulon Ely, and the religious weekly, The Philadelphians. He wrote, also, a "History of the Churches of Philadelphia" which is in manuscript and unpublished [1884].

The Rev. William M. Engles, D.D.
(October 12, 1797 - November 27, 1867)
    The Rev. Dr. William M. Engles was born in Philadelphia, October 12, 1797. He was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1815, studied theology with Dr. S. B. Wylie, and was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Philadelphia, October 18, 1818. On July 6, 1820, he was ordained pastor of the Seventh or Tabernacle Church, in Ranstead Court, afterwards famous as the scene of the disruption. In 1834 he was obliged to resign on account of a diseased throat. He succeeded Dr. James W. Alexander as editor of the Presbyterian, in which post he continued for thirty-three years. In May 1838 he was appointed editor of the Board of Publication, which post he held for twenty-five years. In 1840 he was chosen Moderator of the General Assembly, Old School; and then filled the office of Stated Clerk for six years. He died on November 27, 1867.
    Dr. Engles took an active part in the Board of Education’s inception and progress. Mention may be made of the little volume, entitled, "Sick Room Devotions," and "The Soldiers' Pocket Book," of which three hundred thousand copies were circulated during the Civil War.

The Rev. Benjamin Erwin
(c. 1760)
The Rev. Benjamin Erwin graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1776. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister on October 28, 1778 by the Presbytery of Hanover in Virginia, according to one source. He served congregations at Cook's Creek and Mossy Creek, VA. On July 23, 1782, Rev. Erwin married Sarah Bruster in Rockingham County. In October 1782, Rev. Erwin was appointed as a trustee to the Liberty Hall Academy in Rockbridge, Virginia, which was incorporated that year. Around 1788, he had been preaching to several congregations, including Harrisonburg, Cook's Creek and Mossy Creek, VA. His ministry ceased on 1808 when he was dismissed to the Presbytery of Transylvania (serving Kentucky), although he apparently moved back to Virginia by at least the early 1820s.

The Rev. David Evans
(d. 1751)
    The Rev. David Evans was of Welsh extraction. In 1713 he was graduated at Yale College, after which he received a call from the people of Welsh Tract and was ordained, November 3, 1714. He was the recording clerk of the Presbytery of New Castle for six or seven years. He was released from his charge in 1720 and was called to Great Valley but he declined to accept the call for several years. He was one of the first supplies sent to Sadsbury, west branch of Brandywine, and Conestoga. When he moved to Tredryffryn, he was directed to spend one-fourth of his time at Sadsbury. He died before May 1751.

The Rev. Robert Evans
(d. 1727)
    The Rev. Robert Evans was one of the earliest preachers of a Presbyterian congregation at Derry, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania, during the mid-1720s. He died in Virginia in 1727.

The Rev. Thomas Evans
(b. pre 1700)
    The Rev. Thomas Evans was received by the Presbytery of New Castle, as a student, from the Presbytery of Caermarthen, in Wales, and licensed to preach the gospel, May 28, 1720. A call from the congregation of Welsh Tract was placed in his hands, March 12, 1723, and he was ordained at Pencader, May 8.

The Rev. John Ewing, D.D.
(June 22, 1732 - September 8, 1802)
    The Rev. Dr. John Ewing was a native of Cecil County, Maryland. He was born on June 22, 1732. He was a pupil of Dr. Francis Alison, at New London, Penn., and for three years a tutor. In 1754 he graduated at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton), then at Newark, N. J., Aaron Burr being President. Here also he served as Tutor. He was then engaged as an instructor in the College, afterward University, of Philadelphia. He was the minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia from 1759 to 1802. In 1774 and 1775 he visited Great Britain to solicit aid for Newark Academy, Del. The University of Edinburgh conferred on him the degree of D.D.
    Dr. Ewing was made Provost of the University of Pennsylvania in 1779. In 1789 he was a commissioner from the Presbytery of Philadelphia to the first meeting of the General Assembly. Dr. Ewing died, Sept. 8, 1802.
    His lectures on Natural Philosophy in two volumes and a volume of sermons were published after his death.

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