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Biographical Index of Ministers — G

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 Gelston
(1692 - October 22, 1782)
    The Rev. Samuel Gelston was born in the north of Ireland in 1692 and came as a probationer to New England in 1715. He was received in the fall under the care of the Presbytery of Philadelphia. He labored for a short time to the people of Kent, in Delaware; then went to Southampton, Long Island, where he became colleague of the pastor, being installed April 17, 1717, and remaining about ten years. In August 1728 he took into consideration a call to New Castle. The next month he was called to New London, Penn. (Rock Church at the head of Elk River). He left his charge in 1733 and served the "High Lands of New York" where he was accused of drunkenness and fell under censure, which, however, was soon removed. In April 1736 he joined the Presbytery of Donegal and was sent to Opequon, Conestoga and Conodoguinet in Pennsylvania. In May 26, 1736, he was commissioned to visit some new settlement at Peken in Virginia, which had requested a visit from him. In the fall he was directed to supply Pequea, and in the spring, being about to move from the bounds of Presbytery, was dismissed. He has no further record as a Presbyterian minister. He is said to have died on Oct. 22, 1782.

The Rev. George Gillespie
(1683 - January 2, 1760)
    The Rev. George Gillespie was born in 1683, in the town of Glasgow, and educated at the University there. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Glasgow early in 1712, and came to New England in the spring. He first settled at Woodbridge. He was ordained, May 28, 1713, having received a call from the people of White Clay Creek. Red Clay, Lower Brandywine and Elk River, besides White Clay, seem to have formed his charge for several years. He is said to have organized the congregation of the Head of Christiana, and he served it until his death on Jan. 2, 1760.

The Rev. Adam Baird Gilliland
(February 22, 1794 - 1885)
    The Rev. Adam Baird Gilliland was born February (or January) 22, 1794, in Lincoln County, NC. He moved with his father's family to Ohio about 1805 and attended school at Chillicothe, Ohio, boarding at the home of his uncle, Robert G. Wilson. Mr. Gilliland graduated from Jefferson College, Penn., in 1821. He studied theology with his own father, the Rev. James Gilliland, of Red Oak, Ohio. He was licensed to preach the gospel, April 24, 1824, and spent the summer as missionary in the then thinly settled Scioto Valley. In the fall he took his family to Hillsboro where he was ordained, June 1, 1825, and installed as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. He taught a private school for young ladies in order to eke out his small salary. This relationship was dissolved, at his request, the church concurring, April 1, 1828, after he presented the following question to the Presbytery: "Is it expedient for half a dozen of members of the Presbyterian Church, living within two and four miles of their minister, to form a weekly prayer-meeting and invite another preacher to attend and preside and exhort statedly, without having invited their own pastor, or asked his advice, or that of the Session?" The Presbytery answered: "It is not expedient, as it is calculated to produce divisions in the church, and to weaken the hands of the pastor and church session, and is inconsistent with their promise to their pastor that they will give all proper support and encouragement and obedience in the Lord."
    He was dismissed to the Presbytery of Cincinnati and he went to Bethel Church, in Butler County, Ohio, in 1829 and stayed there ten years. While there he learned the cabinet maker's trade. He was then called to Riley and was stated supply at Venice from 1839 to 1859. At one time he had a call to become pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Dayton, Ohio. While debating it he happened to go to the cemetery at that place and immediately declined the offer, saying, "There are too many small graves there, I cannot bring my little ones to so sickly a place."
(Mary Lizzie Anderson, Dayton, Ohio, 1905.)

The Rev. James Gilliland
(1769 - 1845)
    The Rev. James Gilliland received his preparatory schooling under the Rev. William C. Davis, near Yorkville, SC. He graduated from Dickinson College at the age of twenty-three, where he received his diploma from Dr. Charles Nesbit. While attending college, he formed strong anti-slavery convictions which were instrumental in his leaving Bradaway (now Belton) where he had been ordained and installed pastor in 1796. Twelve members of his congregation had remonstrated against his ordination, charging that he preached "against the government." When called to account by the presbytery, Gilliland denied the charge but admitted that he had preached against slavery. The presbytery advised him to discontinue such preaching, and he appealed to the Synod. The Synod refused to support him, suggesting that he should try to convince his parishioners of the evils of slavery privately. After spending eight years at this charge, he moved to Red Oak, Ohio (the church being at that time under the Presbytery of Washington, KY), in 1805, accompanied by several relatives and many of his congregation.
    He was installed as pastor of the Red Oak and Straight Creek Presbyterian Churches in April 1806. Gilliland was also ordered to occasionally supply the pulpit at Williamsburgh. In 1814, Red Oak Church requested his full-time services and he served that church until the latter part of 1841.
From 1805 until his death forty years later he preached at Red Oak against slavery and for the first seventeen years of that time was pre-eminent among abolition leaders in southern Ohio. In 1830 he spearheaded an effort to compose a pastoral letter, together with Samuel Crothers, on the subject of slavery. The Presbyterian churches at Ripley, Georgetown, Russellville, and Decatur, which became well-known for their abolition sentiments, sprang from Gilliland's church at Red Oak.

The Rev. James Gilliland, Jr.
(b. pre-1784)
    The Rev. James Gilliland, Jr., was not the son of the Rev. James Gilliland, but a relative. He was called junior to distinguish the two of them since they were both members of the Synod of the Carolinas at the same time. He was ordained to the gospel ministry by the Second Presbytery of South Carolina in 1804. He was the teacher of an academy at Spartansburg, SC.

The Rev. Joseph Glass
(1774 - Oct. 27, 1821)
    The Rev. Joseph Glass was born in Greenwood, Frederick County, Va., in 1774, son of Joseph Glass and Eliza Wilson, grandson of Samuel Glass and Mary Gamble. who came from Ireland in 1735 and settled on the Opequon in 1736. He was educated under the Rev. Moses Hoge and became a candidate, November 4, 1796. He was licensed to preach the gospel, in October 1797 and ordained, October 26, 1799. He was the pastor of Back Creek Church, VA, 1799-1806, Gerrardstown, 1799-1818. He died at Stephen's City on October 27, 1821. He married Ann McAllister (1780-1831) and had ten children. His daughter, Eliza Wilson Glass, married the Rev. William Henry Foote. His sister, Sarah (1770-1850), was married to the Rev. John Lyle.

The Rev. Benjamin Goldsmith
(1735 - November 19, 1810)
    The Rev. Benjamin Goldsmith was a graduate of Yale College and was ordained at Aukabang, Long Island, by the Presbytery of Suffolk, June 27, 1764. He was pastor of the church of Riverhead, Long Island, for 45 years. He died on Nov. 19, 1810.

The Rev. John Goldsmith, D.D.
(ca.1795 - 1854)
    The Rev. Dr. John Goldsmith was the son of the Rev. Benjamin Goldsmith, the 45-year pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Riverhead, Long Island. A graduate of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) (1815, D.D. 1848), he was installed pastor of Newtown, Long Island, in 1819. Dr. Goldsmith was president of the Long Island Bible Society from 1843 to 1853. Dr. Goldsmith helped create the Astoria Presbyterian Church in the 1840s. He died in 1854.

The Rev. Ebenezer Gould
(b. pre 1727)
    The Rev. Ebenezer Gould was a charter member of the self-organized Presbytery of Suffolk, Long Island, N. Y., in 1747. In 1748 he returned to his native New England.

The Rev. William Graham
(December 19, 1745 - June 8, 1799)
    The Rev. William Graham was born, December 19, 1745, in the township of Paxton, near Harrisburg, Lancaster (now Dauphin) County, Pennsylvania. He was graduated at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) in 1773. He studied theology under the tuition of the Rev. Mr. Roan and was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Hanover, October 26, 1775. Mr. Graham began his labors as a teacher in a classical school at Mount Pleasant, VA, from which came Washington College. The school was subsequently moved to Timber Ridge meeting-house. The income from the Academy being small, and Mr. Graham's salary for preaching to the two congregations of Timber Ridge and Hall's meeting-house (now Monmouth) being paid in depreciated currency, it was impossible for him to support his family. He resolved to engage in farming and purchased a small farm on the North River, within a mile or two of the present site of Washington College. After relinquishing the establishment at Timber Ridge, Rev. Graham opened a school in his own house until, in 1782, it was incorporated under the name of Liberty Hall. After an endowment by General Washington, the school was renamed Washington College. Rev. Graham died on June 8, 1799.

The Rev. Ashbel Green D.D., LL.D.
(1762 - May 19, 1848)
    The Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green was born at Hanover, Morris County, New Jersey, a son of the pastor, the Rev. Jacob Green. In 1778, at the age of sixteen, he was teacher of a school but dismissed it and entered the army. He entered the Junior class, half advanced, and graduated at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton), in 1783, with the highest honors. After acting for a while as Tutor, then as Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, he entered the ministry. Declining invitations from Charleston and New York, he was ordained to the gospel ministry as a colleague to Dr. Sproat, in the Second Church, Philadelphia, May, 1787. From 1792 till 1800 he served as Chaplain to Congress, along with Bishop White. In 1812 he was made President of the College of New Jersey. In 1822 he resigned and returned to Philadelphia, where he edited the Christian Advocate for twelve years.
    In 1824 Dr. Green was elected Moderator of the General Assembly. He was a member of the Assembly in the years, successively, 1837, 1838, and 1839, and took a decided stand in favor of the Old School party. He died on May 19, 1848.
    His printed works, comprising an Autobiography and "Lectures on the Shorter Catechism," fill several volumes.

The Rev. Enoch Green
(d. 1776)
    The Rev. Enoch Green was graduated in the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) in 1760 and was ordained to the gospel ministry by the Presbytery of New Brunswick in 1762. He was installed pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Deerfield, N. J., June 9, 1769. In the old brick parsonage, on the eastern side of the road, he sustained a classical school. He was pastor of the church over nine years. While pastor of this church he was a missionary on the coast of New Jersey. During the Revolution he served as a chaplain. He died November 20, 1776 (or December 2, 1776).

The Rev. Jacob Green
(ca. 1724 - May 24, 1790)
The Rev. Jacob Green was a native of Malden, Mass., was graduated at Harvard College in 1744 and was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New York, in September 1745. He was soon called to Hanover, and was ordained in November 1746. The support of a large family led him to engage in the practice of medicine and he continued it for thirty years. During the Revolution he was elected to the Provincial Congress and was Chairman of the Committee which drafted the state Constitution. He died on May 24, 1790.

The Rev. Zachariah Green
(1760 - June 20, 1858)
    The Rev. Zachariah Green was born at Stafford, Conn., in 1760. In the Revolutionary War he joined the army and was wounded by a ball in the shoulder. On his recovery he entered Dartmouth College (1782). His health failed and he did not remain to graduate. His theological course was completed under Dr. Jacob Green of Hanover, N. J., and in 1785 he was licensed to preach the gospel by the Associated Presbytery of Morris County, and by them, in 1787, ordained pastor of the Church of Cutchague. Ten years later he was settled at Setaukhet, where he remained for fifty-one years. He died on June 20, 1858.

The Rev. Nehemiah Greenman
(pre-1728 - 1779)
    The Rev. Nehemiah Greenman was born at Stratford, Conn., graduated at Yale, in 1748, and was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Suffolk very soon after. The first year of his ministry he spent at Moriches and Quogue, now Westhampton. He was called, April 4, 1750, to the New Society in South Hanover, N. J., and was probably ordained by the Presbytery of New York while laboring there. He joined the Presbytery of Abingdon in May 1753 and began preaching at Pilesgrove (now Pittsgrove), and was installed December 5, continuing to be pastor until April 9, 1779. He died before the next November. Mr. Greenman spent part of his time at "Aloes Creek." He also gave one fourth of his time to Penn's Neck (probably Quihawken).

The Rev. Isaac Grier, Sr.
(ca. 1768 - August 23, 1814)
    The Rev. Isaac Grier, Sr., was one of the eleven members that constituted the Presbytery of Huntingdon, Penn., April 1795 and one of the five who constituted the Presbytery of Northumberland, at its organization, in October 1811. His parents' names were Thomas and Martha, Scotch-Irish emigrants. He was graduated at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Penn., in 1788; was received under the care of the Presbytery of Carlisle, April 15, 1790, and studied theology under Dr. Charles Nisbet. He was licensed to preach the gospel, December 21, 1791, and appointed a missionary to supply, during the winter and spring, the churches of Harrisburg, Paxton, Upper and Middle Tuscarora, Bedford, Great Cove, etc., and was as far west as Pittsburg, preaching several times in that place.
In the spring of 1792, Rev. Grier was appointed as a missionary on the west and northeast branches of the Susquehanna and on through the State of New York. He was ordained, April 9, 1794, at Carlisle, and at the same time he was installed pastor of the congregations of Lycoming, Pine Creek and Great Island. In the spring of 1794, he moved to Lycoming County, near the Jersey Shore, and in 1802, owing to his small salary, took charge also of a classical school. He received a call to the united churches of Sunbury and Northumberland and moved to Northumberland, in the spring of 1806. In addition to his pastoral charge, and supplying Shamokin Church once a month, he took charge of the academy in Northumberland. He died on August 23, 1814. Rev. Grier was the father of the Hon. Robert C. Grier, one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the United States.

The Rev. James Grier
(ca. 1752 - November 19, 1791)
    The Rev. James Grier was a native of Bucks County, Penn., and was graduated at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) in 1772, with the highest honors of his class, and acted as Tutor for about one year. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the First Presbytery of Philadelphia in 1775 and ordained and installed pastor of Deep Run Presbyterian Church, Penn., in 1776, where he remained until his death on Nov. 19, 1791.

The Rev. John Nathan Caldwell Grier, D.D.
(June 8, 1792 - September 12, 1880)
    The Rev. Dr. John Nathan Caldwell Grier was born at Brandywine Manor, Penn., June 8, 1792. He was graduated at Dickinson College, in September 1809 and began the study of theology with his father, the Rev. Nathan Grier, in the year 1810. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Newcastle, April 7, 1813. In September 1814 he received a call to the Church at Brandywine Manor, where he remained as pastor fifty years. For sixteen years before his death he occasionally assisted the pastor of the church. He died on Sept. 12, 1880.

The Rev. John Walker Grier
(1789 - March 25, 1864)
    The Rev. John Walker Grier was born in Bucks County, Penn., in 1789. He was graduated at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Penn., in 1809 and studied theology at the Theological School of the Rev. Dr. J. M. Mason of New York and also at the Theological Seminary at Princeton, N. J. Due to ill health, he was delayed in his preparations for the ministry but was finally licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Castle, October 1, 1818. Mr. Grier, for a few years, taught a classical school, but having received a commission as Chaplain in the United States Navy, he was ordained by the Presbytery of Philadelphia, May 25, 1826. In 1859 he resigned his commission, passed the remainder of his days in the families of his children, and died, March 25, 1864. Mr. Grier was the father of the Rev. Dr. M. B. Grier, one of the editors of The Presbyterian.

The Rev. Nathan Grier
(September 1760 - Mmarch 31, 1814)
    The Rev. Nathan Grier was born in Bucks County, Penn., September, 1760. He was graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1783. He studied theology under the direction of his elder brother, the Rev. James Grier, of Deep Run. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Philadelphia in 1786 and in the same year received and accepted a call from the Forks of the Brandywine, Chester County, Penn., and was installed as their pastor in 1787, in which relationship he served for twenty-seven years until his death, March 31, 1814.
    His wife was Susanna Smith.

The Rev. Robert Smith Grier
(May 11, 1790 - December 28, 1865)
    The Rev. Robert Smith Grier was the son of Nathan Grier and Susanna (Smith) Grier, and was born at Brandywine Manor, Chester County, Penn., May 11, 1790. He was graduated at Dickinson College in 1809. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Castle, September 1812, and soon after was called to the churches of Tom's Creek and Piney Creek, near Emmettsburg, Md., where he was ordained and installed by the Presbytery of Carlisle, in April 1814. This was his only charge. He died, December 28, 1865.

The Rev. Edward Dorr Griffin, D.D.
(January 6, 1770 - November 8, 1837)
    The Rev. Dr. Edward Dorr Griffin was born at East Haddam, Conn., January 6, 1770, and was graduated at Yale College, with one of the highest honors of his class in 1790. He pursued his theological studies under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Jonathan Edwards, of New Haven, and was licensed to preach the gospel in October 1792 by the West Association of New Haven County. He was pastor of the Congregational Church at New Hartford from June 4, 1795 until October 20, 1801, at which time he was installed as colleague pastor of the Rev. Dr. McWhorter, of the Church at Newark, NJ.
    In 1808 Dr. Griffin accepted an appointment to the Bartlett Professorship of Pulpit Eloquence in the Theological Seminary at Andover and on July 31, 1811, was installed pastor of the Park Street Church, Boston. On June 20, 1815, he was installed pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Newark, N. J. During this second period of his residence in Newark, he was one of the original founders of the American Bible Society and had also an important part in establishing the United Foreign Mission Society and in promoting the interests of the school established by the Synod of New York and New Jersey, for the education of Africans. About 1821 he was elected President of Williams College. On account of enfeebled health, he resigned this position, in 1836, and moved to Newark, where he died on Nov. 8, 1837.

The Rev. Timothy Griffith
(ca. 1717 - 1754)
The Rev. Timothy Griffith taught a classical school in Philadelphia in 1737 and was graduated at Yale in 1742. The Presbytery of New Castle ordained him to the gospel ministry in 1743 as successor to Rev. Thomas Evans, in Penncader. He supplied the Church of Tredryffryn once a month for several years. When the province was threatened with invasion, he was elected Captain of the company raised in New Castle County, in September 1748. He was a missionary in Western Virginia in 1751. He moved to a farm in Appoquinimy and lived there until his death in 1754. During that time he probably supplied New Castle and Drawyers.

The Rev. Joseph Grover
    The Rev. Joseph Grover was the oldest son of Ebenezer. He was ordained as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Parsippany, N. J., in 1775. But feeling that his ecclesiastical freedom was infringed by being a member of Synod, he withdrew from Presbytery in 1779. (See Gillett's Presbyterian Church, Vol. 1, p. 210.) He was settled over the Church in Bristol, N. Y., where he died, age 84.

The Rev. Stephen Grover
(July 16, 1758 - June 1836)
    The Rev. Stephen Grover was born at Tolland, Conn., July 16, 1758. His father, Ebenezer, had a family of six children. Stephen Grover was the youngest son. Early converted from his youth he was devoted to the ministry. His education was delayed by his efforts to support himself. At the breaking out of the Revolution he was a student in Dartmouth College. He at once volunteered as a soldier in the Continental army and served until the close of the war. He then returned to college and was graduated with honor in 1786. He at once came to New Jersey, where his brother Joseph was located, and in two years was licensed to preach the gospel.
    He was the first pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Caldwell, N. J., and was mainly instrumental in the erection of the first edifice, the corner-stone of which he laid in 1794. He continued in that charge until his death, in June 1836.

The Rev. Robert C. Grundy, D.D.
(1809 - June 27, 1865)
    The Rev. Dr. Robert C. Grundy was the son of Samuel and Elizabeth (Caldwell) Grundy, and was born in Washington County, Ky., in 1809. He was graduated at Centre College. He studied theology at Princeton and was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Transylvania. He was installed by Ebenezer Presbytery as pastor of the Church of Maysville, Ky., in 1836. This relationship existed for twenty-two years. In 1858 he was installed pastor of the Church in Memphis, Tenn. In 1863 he became pastor of the Central Presbyterian Church, Cincinnati, Ohio. He died on June 27, 1865.

The Rev. Peter Johnson Gulick
(March 12, 1797 - December 8, 1877)
    The Rev. Peter Johnson Gulick was born at Freehold, New jersey, March 12, 1797. He was graduated at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) in 1825 and immediately entered Princeton Seminary, remaining there two years. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, August 7, 1827, and was ordained by the same Presbytery, as an evangelist, October 3, 1827. Immediately after his ordination, November 3, 1827, he and his wife, Fanny, embarked at Boston for the Hawaiian Mission, under commission from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and labored at Waimea on the island of Kaui, from 1828 until 1835; at Koloa until 1843; on the Island of Malokai until 1847; then at Waiallua, on Oahu, until 1857. After this he resided at Honolulu, until his move to Japan, in June 1874. There he labored more than forty-six years on the Sandwich Islands. In his old age he went to Kobe, Japan, and spent his last days in the home of one of his sons, where he died on December 8, 1877. Five of Mr. Gullick's children were missionaries of the ABCFM, in Spain, China and Japan, and a sixth, who was a missionary, was agent of the American Bible Society in Japan.

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