Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BURTON, Asa, clergyman, born in Stonington, Connecticut, 25 August, 1752; died in Thetford, Vermont, 1 May, 1836. His parents removed to Preston, Connecticut, in his infancy, and in his fourteenth year to Norwich, Vermont, where for the next six years he aided his father in clearing the land for cultivation. It is said that he was one of a few that cut away the forest-trees from the spot where the Dartmouth College buildings now stand. Somewhat against his father's will he entered Dartmouth soon after its foundation, and was graduated in 1777. During his course the students were frequently on guard all night, fearing attacks from hostile Indians or Tories of the neighboring province. He remained at College after graduation, reading theology, and in August or September, 1777, with what would now be thought absurdly little preparation, was licensed to preach. After officiating in various towns and continuing his studies he was ordained, 19 January, 1779, as pastor of the Congregational church at Thetford, Vermont, where he remained more than fifty years. During the first years of his ministry there was no church building in Thetford, but services were held in private dwellings in winter and in barns in summer. Besides discharging his duties as minister, Mr. Burton taught a singing-school for two years that the church music might be improved. In 1804 he received the degree of D.D. from Middlebury College. Dr. Burton was noted as a theological teacher, and from 1786 till 1816 trained about sixty young men for the ministry. His congregation gave him a colleague in 1825, and after 1881 Dr. Burton retired altogether from his labors. He published many occasional sermons and "Essays on some of the First Principles of Metaphysics, Ethics, and Theology" (Portland, Maine, 1824). Thomas Adams has published a memoir of him.
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