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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TAPPAN, David, clergyman, born in Manchester, Massachusetts, 21 April, 1752; died in Cambridge, MASS., 27 April, 1803. The name was originally Topham. His ancestor, Abraham, came to this country from Yarmouth, England, in 1637, and his father, Benjamin, was pastor of a church in Manchester in 1720-'90. After graduation at Harvard in 1771, David studied divinity, and was pastor of a Congregational church in Newbury, Massachusetts, from 1774 till 1792, when he was chosen Hollis professor of divinity at Harvard, serving there until his death. The degree of D.D. was conferred on him by Harvard in 1794. Dr. Tappan published many sermons and addresses. After his death appeared " Sermons on important Subjects, with a Biographical Sketch of the Author," by Reverend Abiel Holmes (Boston, 1807), and "Lectures on Jewish Antiquities delivered at Harvard in 1802-'3" (1807). -His son, Benjamin, clergyman, born in Newbury, Massachusetts, 7 November, 1788; died in Augusta, Maine, 23 December, 1863, was graduated at Harvard in 1805, and was pastor of a Congregational church in Augusta, Maine, from 16 October, 1811, until his death. Bowdoin gave him the degree of D.D. in 1845.--David's nephew, Benjamin, jurist, born in Northampton, Massachusetts, 25 May, 1773; died in Steubenville, Ohio, 12 April, 1857, was the son of Benjamin Tappan, who, sacrificing his opportunity of study at Harvard for his younger brother, David, went to Boston, became gold and silversmith, and in 1770 married Sarah Homes, the great-niece of Benjamin Franklin. After receiving a public-school education, the son was apprenticed to learn copperplate engraving and printing, and devoted some attention to portrait painting Subsequently he studied law, was admitted to the bar, and began practice in Steubenville, Ohio, in 1799. In 1803 he was elected to the legislature, and after the war of 1812, in which he served as aide to General William Wadsworth, he was appointed judge in one of the county courts, and for seven years was president judge of the 5th Ohio circuit. In 1833 he was appointed by President Jackson United States judge for the district of Ohio. Being elected to the United States senate as a Democrat, he served from 2 December, 1839, till 3 March, 1845. He was an active leader of his party, but afterward joined in the free-soil movement at its inception. He was widely known for his droll-cry and wit and for his anti-slavery sentiments. Judge Tappan published " Cases decided in the Court of Common Pleas," with an appendix (Steubenville, 1831).--The second Benjamin's brother, John, philanthropist, born in Northampton, Massachusetts, in December, 1781 ; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 25 March, 1871, entered mercantile life in Boston in 1799, became a partner in his employer's firm in 1803, and in 1807 was sole manager of the large house that was known by his name, but withdrew in 1825. He was president and treasurer of the American tract society, and was actively interested in missions and in many benevolent associations of Boston. --Another brother, Arthur, born in Northampton, Massachusetts, 22 May, i786; died in New Haven, Connecticut, 23 July, 1865, was locked up while an infant in a folding bedstead. When he was discovered life was almost extinct, and headaches, to which he was subject daily through life, were ascribed to this accident. He received a common-school education, and served a seven years' apprenticeship in the hardware business in Boston, after which he established himself in Portland, Maine, and subsequently in Montreal, Canada, where he remained until the beginning of the war of 1812. In 1814 he engaged with his brother Lewis in importing British dry-goods into New York city, and after the partnership was dissolved he successfully continued the business alone. Mr. Tappan was known for his public spirit and philanthropy. He was a founder of the American tract society, the largest donor for the erection of its first building, and was identified with many charitable and religious bodies. He was a founder of Oberlin college, also erecting Tappan hall there, and endowed Lane seminary in Cincinnati, and a professorship at Auburn theological seminary. With his brother Lewis he founded the New York "Journal of Commerce" in 1828, and established "The Emancipator" in 1833, paying the salary of the editor and all the expenses of its publication. He was an ardent Abolitionist, and as the interest in the anti-slavery cause deepened he formed, at his own rooms, the nucleus of the New York city anti, slavery society, which was publicly organized under his presidency at Clinton hall on 2 October, 1833. Mr. Tappan was also president of the American anti-slavery society, to which he contributed $1,000 a month for several years, but he withdrew in 1840 on account of the aggressive spirit that many members manifested toward the churches and the Union. During the crisis of 1837 he was forced to suspend payments, and he became bankrupt in 1842. During his late years he was connected with the mercantile agency that his brother Lewis established. He incurred the hatred of the southern slave-holders by his frequent aid to fugitives, and by his rescuing William Lloyd Garrison from imprisonment at Baltimore. See his "Life," by Lewis Tappan (New York, 1871).-Another brother, Lewis, merchant, born in Northampton, Massachusetts, 23 May, 1788; died in Brooklyn, New York, 21 June, 1873, received a good education, and at the age of sixteen became clerk in a dry-goods house in Boston. His employers subsequently aided him in establishing himself in business, and he became interested in calico-print works and in the manufacture of cotton. In 1827 he removed to New York and became a member of the firm of Arthur Tappan and Co., and his subsequent career was closely identified with that of his brother Arthur. With the latter he established in 1828 the" Journal of Commerce," of which he became sole owner in 1829. In 1833 he entered with vigor into the anti-slavery movement, in consequence of which his house was sacked and his furniture was destroyed by a mob in July. 1834, and at other times he and his brother suffered personal violence. He was also involved in the crisis of 1837, and afterward withdrew from the firm and established the first mercantile agency in the country, which he conducted with success. He was chief founder of the American missionary association, of which he was treasurer and afterward president, and was an early member of Plymouth church, Brooklyn. He published the life of his brother mentioned above.
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