This Week In History

June 7, 1780

British troops involved in the battle at Springfield (New Jersey) had burned the Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church and parsonage. Having fled to the village of Connecticut Farms (now Union, NJ, about four miles from Elizabethtown), the minister's wife, Hannah Ogden Caldwell, was killed by a British soldier on June 7, 1780. Her cold-blooded killing incensed the American public. Her husband was the Rev. James Caldwell, chaplain to the Third Battalion of Company No. 1, New Jersey Volunteers. Known as the "fighting parson," he also was killed by a soldier on November 24,1781.

June 8, 1896

On June 8, 1898, the Rev. Dr. William C. Roberts officially took over as president of Centre College founded by Presbyterians in 1819 in Danville, Kentucky. When the Northern and Southern Presbyterian church split in 1861, they also fought over control of the college. In 1867, the courts ruled that the Northern branch had ownership. In 1873, Central University in Richmond, KY, was chartered to the Southern Presbyterian church. Under Dr. Roberts' administration, the two schools were merged on July 16, 1901, as the Centre College located in Danville.

June 9, 1757

On June 9, 1757, Rev. John Martin became the first Presbyterian minister ordained in the colony of Virginia. He studied theology with Rev. Samuel Davies, and was licensed by Hanover Presbytery on August 25, 1756. He served churches without a minister and was called to the Albermarle church on April 27, 1757. Reverend Martin was appointed to the Indian Mission on January 25, 1758, to the Cherokees. But with the Cherokees joining the French, the mission was abandoned. Martin settled in South Carolina.

June 10, 1861

On June 10, 1861, the Rev. Dr. Byron Sunderland was appointed chaplain of the U.S. Senate. Serving for three years during the Civil War, Rev. Sunderland was the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC, filling that pulpit for a total of 45 years.