Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HUIDEKOPER, Harm Jan, philanthropist, born in Hoogeveen, Holland, 3 April, 1776; died in Meadville, Pennsylvania, 22 May, 1854. After studying two years at a high school in Crefeld, he came to the "United States in 1796, and resided four years at Olden Barneveldt, now Trenton, New York During four years following he was clerk in the office of the Holland land company at Philadelphia. On 1 January of 1805 he took charge of the agency in what now constitutes the four counties of Erie, Crawford, Venango, and Warren, and by his judgment saved this part of the country from the disturbances that were experienced in western New York. Mr. Huidekoper organized the Unitarian church in Meadville, and issued, during two years, a monthly religious publication, "The Unitarian Essayist." He also purchased and gave to the Meadville theological school the building which it first used, and subsequently, by his subscription of 810,000, prompted the endowment of $50,000 that enabled it to employ two salaried professors.-His son, Frederic, born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, 7 April, 1817, entered, in 1834, the sophomore class of Harvard, but had barely begun the next year's studies when failing eyesight forced him to leave. He worked four years on a farm, devoting ten minutes daily to study, travelled in Europe in 1839-'41, and after his return pursued a private course in theology in 1841-'3. At the request of a friend he agreed to take students, a plan which was enlarged by the formation, in 1844, of the Meadville theological school, in which he took gratuitous charge during five years of the New Testament, and front 1845 till 1877 of ecclesiastical history, being also librarian and treasurer of the school. In 1853 Mr. Huidekoper was consulted by Joshua Brookes, of New York, as to the benevolent application of some money. He sketched a plan, and received in answer a draft for 85,000, to which, six months later, an additional $5,000 was added, an amount that was subsequently augmented by a bequest of $10,000. The income of this fund (vested in the trustees of the Meadville theological school) has. since 18,54, been applied, under the care of Mr. Huidekoper, chiefly in distributing nearly 3,800 smM1 libraries to ministers, exclusive of 825 added from other sources. Mr. Huidekoper has also devoted much time during twenty years of his life to redeeming a square half-mile of his native town from unsightliness, substituting wide and beautiful streets, bordered by lawns. He was, moreover, active in laying out Greendale cemetery. A painless diminution of sight, beginning probably with illness in boyhood, has imposed upon him, since 1883, the need of a guide when in the street. His writings have, on many points, been regarded as presenting and proving entirely new views of ancient history. His argument for the gospels is new, and has been deemed unusually convincing. His works are "Belief of the First Three Centuries concerning Christ's Mission to the Underworld" (Boston, 1854); "Judaism at Rome, B. C. 76 to A. D. 140" (New York, 1876); and "Indirect Testimony of History to the Genuineness of the Gospels" (1879). He also had printed the "Acts of Pilate," that had been copied for him from the Greek manuscript in the Paris library.--Harm Jan's grandson, Henry Shippen, soldier, born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, 1'7 July, 1839, was graduated at Harvard in 1862. He served in the civil war from July, 1862, till March, 1864, commanding the 150th Pennsylvania regiment, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, at Gettysburg, where he was wounded twice and lost his right arm. After the war he served in the National guard of Pennsylvania fifteen years, with one commission as brigadier-general and three as major-general. During the railroad riots of 1877 he commanded the 7th division, and at Scranton, by prompt decision and timely action, he saved the city from a mob. General Huidekoper was postmaster of Philadelphia in 1880-'5, and now (1887) resides in New York. He has published a "Manual of Service," which is an authority in military matters (Meadville, Pennsylvania, 1879).
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