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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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David Brainerd

BRAINERD, David, missionary, born in Haddam, Connecticut, 20 April, 1718; died in Northampton, Massachusetts, 9 October, 1747. From early childhood he had strong" religious feeling, and after entering Yale College in 1739, at the time of the great revival under Whitefield, his zeal led him into indiscretions. The' attitude of the College toward the "New Lights" was cold, and students had been forbidden to attend their meetings. Brainerd, then in his junior year, disobeyed this rule, and was also heard to say of one of the tutors that he had "no more religion than the chair on which he sat." Refusing to make public confession of these offences in chapel, Brainerd was expelled. He never ceased to regard this action as unjust, though acknowledging that he had been at fault. After leaving College he began to study theology, and on 20 July, 1742, was licensed to preach by the Danbury association of ministers. He had for some time been interested in missions, and in the autumn after he was licensed received an appointment from the society for the propagation of Christian knowledge as missionary at the Indian village of Kaunameek, twenty miles from Stock-bridge, Massachusetts. He arrived at his post on 1 April, 1743, and labored there for a year, living in a wig-wam and enduring many hardships. After he had persuaded the Indians to move to Stockbridge and place themselves in charge of the minister there, Mr. Brainerd was ordained by the New York presbytery at Newark, New Jersey, and went to the forks of the Delaware, where he remained for about a year, making two visits to the Indians of the Susquehanna, but meeting with little success. He next went to Crossweeksung, near Freehold, New Jersey, where his labor had a wonderful result. In less than a year he had baptized seventy-seven persons, of whom thirty-eight were adults, and the lives of most of these were permanently reformed. In 1747 Brainerd's health, exhausted by his labors, broke down completely. He had never been strong; while he was in College a severe illness had almost ended his life, and after that he suffered from consumption. By advice of his physician, he determined to visit his friends in New England. July, 1747, found him in Northampton, Massachusetts, at the house of Jonathan Edwards, to whose daughter he was betrothed, and here he remained till his death. Brainerd wrote an account of his labors at Kaunameek, which was published with the sermon delivered at his ordination. His journals, under the titles "Mirabilia Dei apud Indices" and "Divine Grace Displayed," appeared in 1746. His life, compiled chiefly from his diary, was written by Jonathan Edwards (1749), and a second edition, including the journals mentioned above, was edited by Serene Edwards Dwight (New Haven, Connecticut, 1822). J. M. Sherwood edited a third edition, with an introductory essay on Brainerd's life and character (Yew York, 1884). An abridgment, by John Wesley, of Edwards's life, was also published in England (2d American ed., Boston, 1821). See also Sparks's "American Biographies " and Sprague's "Annals of the American Pulpit." --His brother, John, missionary, born in Haddam, Connecticut, 28 February, 1720; died in Deerfield, New Jersey, 18 March, 1781, was graduated at Yale in 1746, and in April, 1747, became his brother's successor at the settlement of Bethel, near Cranberry, New Jersey, whither the Indians under his charge had removed from Crossweeksung. He encountered great difficulties, owing to troubles about the ownership of the land, the enlistment of many of his flock in the army, the breaking out of hostilities on the border, and the opposition of the Quakers to his work. He was obliged to move twice with his congregation, and paid nearly $2,000 out of his own pocket for various expenses. The society in whose employ he was, dissatisfied with the state of affairs, twice dismissed him, and as many times asked him to undertake the work again. He preached for some time at Newark, New Jersey, and also at Mount Holly, New Jersey, and from 1760 till 1777 preached about five hundred times in filling vacancies near Egg Harbor, New Jersey In 1777 he removed to Deerfield, New Jersey, and remained there until his death. --Thomas, clergyman, born in Leyden, New York, 17 June, 1804 ; died in Scranton, Pennsylvania, 21 August, 1866. He passed most of his childhood in Rome, New York, and after his graduation at Hamilton College began the study of law, but left it to enter Andover theological seminary, where he was graduated in 1831. After studying under the Rev. Dr. Patterson, of Philadelphia, he was ordained as a Presbyterian on 7 October of that year, and went to Cincinnati, where he took charge of the 4th Presbyterian Church until 1833. From 1833 till 1836 he edited the " Cincinnati Journal" and the "Youth's Magazine," and also assisted in editing the "Presbyterian Quarterly Review." He espoused the cause of Dr. Lyman Beecher, who was then the head of the newly established Lane theological seminary, and was encountering much opposition because of his "new-school" theology. From 1837 until his death Dr. Brainerd was pastor of the old Pine street church in Philadelphia. During the civil war he was earnest in his support of the government, both in the pulpit and in conversation, and so great was his influence that 130 young men of his congregation volunteered either in the army or the navy. He published a "Life of John Brainerd, the Brother of David Brainerd, and his Successor as Missionary to the Indians of New Jersey" (Philadelphia, 1866), and numerous sermons and tracts. He was also a frequent contributor to the magazines. See "Memoir of Thomas Brainerd," by Mary Brainerd (Philadelphia, 1870).

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