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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MEARS, John William, clergyman, born in Reading, Pennsylvania, 10 August, 1825; died in Clinton, New York, 10 November, 1881. He was graduated at Delaware college, Newark, Delaware, in 1844, and at the Yale divinity-school in 1851, and held pastorates in Camden, New Jersey, Elkton, Maryland, and Milford, Delaware He became assistant editor in 1860, and afterward editor and proprietor, of the "American Presbyterian," a weekly paper published in Philadelphia in the interest of the new-school branch of the Presbyterian church. In 1870 this was merged into the "New York Evangelist," and he was called to the chair of ethics and metaphysics in Hamilton college, which he held until his death. In 1878 he was chosen president of the New York state teachers' association, and was chairman of the university convocation at Albany. In 1881 he arranged for a meeting of metaphysicians in Saratoga for the centennial celebration of the appearance of Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason," at which he read a paper that he afterward repeated at the Concord school of philosophy. He was a leader in the cause of temperance, and was nominated as candidate for congress in 1878, and for governor of New York in 1879 by the Prohibition party. For many years he labored to overthrow the Oneida community which had been formed in 1848 by John H. Noyes (q. v.), and he was finally successful in his efforts. He received the degree of D. D. in 1870. He was the author of "The Bible in the Workshop" (New York, 1857);" The Martyrs of France" (Philadelphia, 1860); "The Beggars of Holland" (1867) ; "The Story of Madagascar" (1873) ; "The Heroes of Bohemia" (1879); and " From Exile to Overthrow" (Philadelphia, 1881).
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