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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BACKUS, Charles, theologian, born in Franklin, Connecticut, 9 November 1749; died in Somers, Connecticut, 30 December 1803. He lost his parents early in childhood, and was educated by his friends. After his graduation at Yale in 1769 he studied theology under Dr. Hart, of Preston, was licensed to preach in 1773, and on 10 August 1774, became pastor of the Congregational Church in Somers, where he remained until his death. Here he established a sort of divinity school, receiving theological students into his family. Nearly fifty were thus trained, among them Dr. Woods, of Andover, President Moore, of Amherst, President Davis, of Hamilton, and other eminent divines. Dr. Backus was invited to fill the chair of theology at Dartmouth, and afterward that at Yale, but declined in both cases. He was a plain but impressive speaker, and a fervent extemporaneous preacher. He published a large number of sermons (1795-1801), including one to freemasons (1795) ; "Five Discourses on the Truth of the Bible" (1797), and an historical discourse on the town of Somers (1801). He also published a volume on regeneration. An article on his divinity school, by J. Vaill, appeared in the "Congregational Quarterly" for 1864.
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