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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Archibald Alexander

ALEXANDER, Archibald, educator, born in Rockbridge County, Virginia, 17 April 1772" died in Princeton, New Jersey, 22 October 1851. His grandfather, of Scottish descent, came from Ireland to Pennsylvania in 1736, and after a residence of two years removed to Virginia. William, father of Archibald, was a farmer and trader. At the age of ten Archibald was sent to the academy of Rev.William Graham at Timber Ridge meetinghouse (since developed into Washington and Lee University), at Lexington. At the age of seventeen he became a tutor in the fatally of General John Posey, of The Wilderness, twelve miles west of Fredericksburg, but after a few months resumed his studies with his former teacher. At this time a remarkable movement, still spoken of as "the great revival," influenced his mind and he turned his attention to the study of divinity. He was licensed to preach 1 October 1791, ordained by the presbytery of Hanover 9 June 1794, and for seven years was an itinerant pastor in Charlotte and Prince Edward cos.

In 1796 he became president of Hampden Sydney College, Virginia, but in 1801 resigned, and visited New York and New England. During his tour he went to see the Rev. Dr. Waddel, the celebrated blind preacher mentioned by Wirt in his "British Spy." The result of this visit was his marriage to Dr. Waddel's daughter Janetta. Immediately after he resumed his presidency, but, owing to insubordination among the students, retired, and became in 1807 pastor of the Pine Street Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. The degree of died D. was conferred on him by the College of New Jersey in 1810, and in the same year he was elected president of Union College in Georgia, a fact which remained unknown even to his family until after his death. On the organization of the theological seminary at Princeton in 1812 Dr. Alexander was unanimously chosen as the leading professor. As the number of students increased and other professors were added to the faculty, he was enabled to direct his attention more particularly to the department of pastoral and polemic theology, in promoting which, with the general interests of the institution, he labored with zeal and success till his death, a period of nearly forty years. His powers both for pulpit oratory and polemic disquisition were extraordinary. He was always busy, and from 1829 to 1850 scarcely a number of the "Princeton Review" appeared without an article from his pen. His style was idiomatic and forcible. With the exception of occasional sermons and contributions to periodicals, he published nothing until he had entered his fifty-second year. His first work was "Outlines of the Evidences of Christianity" (1823), which has been translated into various foreign languages and is used as a textbook in Colleges. It was reprinted in London in 1828, and again with a new edition in 1833, accompanied with introductory notes by Rev. John Morison, D.D. This was followed by a "Treatise on the Canon of the Old and New Testaments" (1826); "Lives of the Patriarchs" (1835) ; "Essays on Religious Experiences" (1840) ; "History of African Colonization" (1846); "History of the Log College" (1846); "History of the Israelitish Nation" (1852), and other works. He also contributed largely to periodicals. He left several works in manuscript, of which the "Outlines of Moral Science" (1852) was pronounced by the "Westminster Review" to be a "calm, clear stream of abstract reasoning, flowing from a thoughtful, well-instructed mind, without any parade of logic, but with an intuitive simplicity and directness which• gives an almost axiomatic force." Other posthumous works were "Duties and Consolations of the Christian "; "Patriarchal Theology "; "History of the Presbyterian Church in Virginia "; "Biographical Sketches of Distinguished American Clergymen and Alumni of the College of New Jersey"; and "Church Polity and Discipline." He left five sons, of who three became ministers, and one daughter. The eldest son wrote the life of his father, and edited his posthumous works (New York, 1854). *His son, James Waddel, clergyman, born near Gordonsville, Louisa County, Virginia, 13 March 1804; died at the Red Sweet Springs, Virginia, 31 July 1859. He received his academicals training at Philadelphia, was graduated at Princeton in 1820, and studied theology in Princeton seminary. In 1824 he was appointed a tutor, and during the same year he was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of New Brunswick, New Jersey During 1825-'28 he was in charge of a Church in Charlotte County, Virginia, and from 1828 to 1830 was pastor of the first Presbyterian Church in Trenton, New Jersey His health failing, he resigned this charge and became editor of "The Presbyterian," in Philadelphia. He was professor of rhetoric and belles lettres in Princeton College from 1833 till 1844, when he assumed charge of the Duane Street Church in New York City. From 1844 to 1851 he was professor of ecclesiastical history and Church government in Princeton theological seminary, and in 1851 he was called to the pastorate of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, where he remained until his death. Among his published works are "Consolation"; "Thoughts on Family Worship"; "Plain Words to a Young Communicant"; a series of essays entitled "The American Mechanic and Workingman "; "Discourses on Christian Faith and Practice" (New York, 1858); " Gift to the Afflicted"; a biography of Dr. Archibald Alexander (New York, 1854); and more than thirty volumes for the American Sunday-school ninon. He was also a frequent contributor to the "Princeton Review" and the "Biblical Repertory." "Forty Years' Familiar Letters of James W. Alexander," was published by the surviving correspondent, the Rev. John Hall, died D., of Trenton, New Jersey (2 vols., New York, 1880).*His son, William Cowper, lawyer, born in Virginia in 1806; died in New York City, 23 August 1874, was graduated at Princeton in 1824. He was admitted to the bar in 1827, and soon gained a reputation for legal knowledge and eloquence and took part in political affairs. For several years he was president of the New Jersey state senate. He was nominated for governor, and lacked but a few votes of election. After being a member of the peace congress of 1861, over which he was frequently called to preside, he withdrew from polities and devoted himself entirely to the business of insurance, having been elected president of the Equitable Life Insurance Company when it was organized in 1859, of which he was president at the time of his death.

His son, Joseph Addison, clergyman, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 24 April 1809; died in Princeton, New Jersey, 28 January 1860, was graduated at Princeton, with the first honor in his class, in 1826, and associated himself with R. born Patton in the establishment of Edgehill seminary at Princeton. From 1830 to 1833 he was adjunct professor of ancient languages at Princeton, after which he spent some time abroad studying languages. In 1838 he was made professor of oriental literature in Princeton Theological Seminary, and in 1852 was transferred to the chair of biblical and ecclesiastical history, which he held until his death. He was master of almost all of the modern languages of Europe, and as an orientalist had few superiors. This great linguistic knowledge is shown in his numerous exegetical works, which include "The Earlier Prophecies of Isaiah" (1846), "The Later Prophecies of Isaiah" (1847), "Isaiah illustrated and explained" (1851), "The Psalms translated and explained" (1850), "Commentary on Acts" (1857), and "Commentary on Mark" (18,58). He also published a series of "Essays on the Primitive Church Offices" (1851), and numerous articles in the " Biblical Repertory" and "Princeton Review." Since his death his " Sermons " have been published (1860), and also a" Commentary on Matthew" (1861), and "Notes on New Testament Literature," prepared in conjunction with Dr. Charles Hodge (2 vols., 1861). His biography, by his nephew, Henry Carrington Alexander, was published in 1869. His son, Samuel Davies, clergyman, born in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1819, was graduated at Princeton in 1838, and studied theology in Princeton seminary. He preached in various places, and in 1855 was settled over the Phillips Presbyterian Church in New York city. He has contributed numerous papers to the "Princeton Review," and published "Princeton College during the Eighteenth Century" (1872); and a " History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland."

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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