This Week In History

November 15, 1794John Witherspoon

On Nov. 15, 1794, Rev. John Witherspoon (born Feb. 5, 1723) died. He was a Presbyterian clergyman, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Continental Congress member (1776 - 1782) and president of Princeton University (elected Dec. 1767; took office in August 1768). Photo courtesy of Independence National Historical Park

November 16, 1839

On Nov. 16, 1839, a letter was published in The Presbyterian rebutting criticism of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions sending wives with missionaries to the Far East. The writer (initials S. C.) argued that wives could be a teacher to "heathen children" and work "for an extension of that system which has done so much for her."

November 17, 1831

On November 17, 1831, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church's Columbia Synod published a paper resulting from its recent (Nov. 4) meeting in Pulaski, Tennessee, the list of organizing members for the new Mississippi Presbytery. The original members of the Cumberland's Mississippi Presbytery were Thomas J. Bryan, Robert Molloy, Samuel W. Sparks and Isaac Shook — who were to first meet on the fourth Thursday in April 1832 in Gallatin, Miss.

November 18, 1820

On November 18, 1820, 22-year-old Presbyterian minister John Nicholson Campbell was named chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives. Rev. Campbell was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 4, 1798, and died in Albany, New York, on March 27, 1864. Reverend Campbell served as pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC, where Presidents John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, as well as Vice President John C. Calhoun, worshipped in the 1820s. He also was active in the American Colonization society, In 1830, Rev. Campbell and others were accused by Peggy Eaton of repeating the rumour that before her marriage, she dined with John Eaton in Philadelphia without a chaperone. Appointed Secretary of War by Jackson, John Eaton and his wife became a social controversy. As the social snubbing and other issues divided politicians, President Jackson's entire cabinet resigned, Vice President Calhoun resigned and Reverend Campbell stepped down from his pulpit. In 1831, he was called to the First Presbyterian Church in Albany, New York, and remained there until his death.