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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PIERRON, Jean, French missionary, born in France; died there toward the end of the 17th century. He belonged to the Society of Jesus, and arriving in Canada on 27 June, 1667, devoted himself to the study of the Mohawk language, and was soon able to preach in that dialect. He preached constantly in the seven Mohawk towns, and his success, though temporary, was remarkable. He was a skilful artist, and effected more conversions by exhibiting vivid pictures, symbolizing the deaths and destinies of a Christian and pagan Indian, than by his sermons. In his efforts to gain converts he followed the Mohawks everywhere, even to battle. He drew pictures on cards symbolizing the Christian life from the cradle to the grave, and formed with them games which the Indians learned by their camp fires. Once he was ordered from the council by a chief who wished to perform a superstitious ceremony which he knew the missionary would not sanction; but Pierron turned the insult to his advantage, and, by hints of what might happen if he left the Mohawk valley, excited the fears of the chiefs, who dreaded a rupture with the French. On 26 March, 1670, they assembled in the chapel, promised to renounce their god, Aireskoi, and to abandon their worship of evil spirits and their superstitious dances. The medicine-men burned their turtle-shell rattles and the other badges of their office. There were eighty-four baptisms during the year. Christianity made rapid progress among the tribes. These results were not lasting, however, and when Pierron was recalled to govern the mission of St. Francis Xavier at La Prairie. most of the Mohawks relapsed into paganism. He continued his missionary labors up to 1679 and perhaps later. He returned to France, but nothing is known of his life afterward, or of the time of his death. PIERSON, Abraham, clergyman, born in Yorkshire, England, in 1608; died in Newark, New Jersey, 9 August, 1678. He was graduated at Cambridge in 1632, and ordained to the ministry of the established church, but. becoming a non-conformist, emigrated to this country in 1639, and united with the church in Boston. He accompanied a party of emigrants to Long Island, New York, a short time afterward, and in 1640 became pastor of the church at South Hampton. He removed with a small part of his congregation to Branford, Connecticut, in 1647, organized a church there, and was its pastor for twenty-three years. His ministry was eminently successful, especially in his efforts to evangelize the Indians, to whom he preached in their own language, also preparing a catechism (1660). He served as chaplain to the forces that were raised against tile Dutch in 1654. In the contentions between the colonies of Connecticut and New Haven in 1662-'5 he opposed their union, and, when it took place, resolved to remove with his people out of the colony. He accordingly left Branford in June, 1667, and settled in Newark, New Jersey, carrying away the church records, and leaving the town with scarcely an inhabitant. Mr. Pierson exercised a commanding influence in the colony. Governor John Winthrop, who was his personal friend, pronounced him a "godly man," and Cotton Mather said of him : "Wherever he came, he shone." He published "Some Helps for the Indians in New Haven Colony, to a Further Account of the Progress of the Gospel in New England" (1659).--His son, Abraham, educator, born in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1641; died in Killingworth, Connecticut, 7 March, 1707, was graduated at Harvard in 1668, ordained to the ministry the next year, and was successively pastor in South Hampton, L. I., Bran-ford, Connecticut, Newark, New Jersey, and Killingworth, Connecticut He was one of the ten principal clergymen who were elected to " found, form, and govern a , college in Connecticut" in 1700, and the next year was chosen its first president, under the title of "rector of Yale," holding office until his death. He composed a system of natural philosophy, which was used as a manual in that college for years, and published an "Election Sermon " (New Haven, 1700). A bronze statue of him, by Launt Thompson, was erected in the grounds of Yale in 1874.-The first Abraham's descendant, Hamilton Wilcox, clergyman, born in Bergen, New York, 22 September, 1817, was graduated at Union college in 1843, and at Union theological seminary, New York city, in 1848, and became an agent of the American Bible :society in the West Indies. He labored in Kentucky in 1853-'8, then became president of Cumberland college, Kentucky, and in 1862-'5 taught freedmen and colored troops, and was a secretary of the Christian commission. Union college gave him the degree of D. D. in 1860. He has published "Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, or the Private Life of Thomas Jefferson" (New York, 1862); "In the Brush, or Old-time Social, Political, and Religious Life in the Southwest" (1881); edited the "American Missionary Memorial" (1853); and contributed to the religious press.
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