Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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C0GSWELL, Jonathan, clergyman, born in Row-ley, Massachusetts, 3 September, 1782; died in New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1 August, 1861. John Cogswell, the founder of the American branch of the family, sailed from Bristol, 23 5[ay, 1635, in his own ship "The Angel Gabriel." Her cargo consisted of his property, and comprised a large part of his valuable estate. The vessel arrived off the coast of Maine in a fearful tempest, and was wrecked at Pema-quid bay, 15 August The crew and passengers were all savecl, but a large part of her cargo was lost. After camping out for a few days, Mr. Cogswell chartered a small bark, which landed him, with his family, furniture, silver plate, and such books as he had saved, at Ipswich, Massachusetts, where many of his descendants still reside. Later in the same year he purchased an extensive tract of land and erected the third house built at Ipswich. The reasons for leaving his English home for a log house in the wilderness of a new world were identical with those that led to the foundation of Plymouth colony fifteen years before. Among John Cogswell's descendants was Nathaniel, who studied medicine with Dr. Perkins, one of the celebrities of Boston, and an intimate friend of the philosopher Benjamin Franklin. He was present when Franklin killed a pigeon with his new electric battery. Jonathan was Nathaniel's youngest son. In early life he resolved to become a minister, and persisted in his purpose, although his father opposed it and withheld pecuniary aid, wishing him to follow his own profession. He was graduated with honor at Harvard in 1806, standing second in his class. From 1807 till 1809 he was a tutor at Bowdoin, pursuing his theological studies at the same time, but finishing them at Andover theological seminary, where he was graduated with the first class that completed the course in 1810, and included his life-long friends, Richard S. Storrs and Gardner Spring. The same year he was ordained as a Congregational minister and settled as pastor of the church in Saco, Maine Here he remained for eighteen years, when his health compelled him to resign. During this period he saved a sum of nearly $1,000 with a view to purchasing a house; but when the work of foreign missions was established and an eloquent appeal was made in his church for aid, he gave every dollar of his savings to the cause. From 1829 till 1834 he was pastor of the New Britain church in Berlin, Connecticut In 1832 he was appointed trustee of his brother Nathaniel Cogswell's large estate, of which he and his family were the principal heirs. In May, 1834, he accepted the chair of ecclesiastical history m the Theological institute of Connecticut at East Windsor Hill. He not only filled this position gratuitously for ten years, but contributed liberally to the institution not alone in money, but by giving most of his large and valuable library. He resigned his professorship in 1844 and removed to New Brunswick, New Jersey There, in company with Dr. Janeway and John R. Ford, he erected a tasteful edifice known as the 2d Presbyterian church, contributing a large proportion of the cost, in addition to giving one half of the cost of the parsonage and a thousand dollars toward the support of a minister, followed by frequent gifts to the pastor and people up to the time of his death. He was one of the early members of the New York historical society, a life director of the American Bible society, a life member of the American tract society, and connected with numerous other organizations, to all of which he contributed liberally. He founded scholarships in the College of New Jersey and in Rutgers College, and was a regular annual contributor to the various boards of the church with which he was connected for threescore years. Christian beneficence marked the whole course of his long life. As a preacher Dr. Cogswell was peculiarly zealous for sound doctrine, and fearless in stating and defending it. His own faith was unwavering, and timidity in expressing what he believed was unknown to him. In 1836 he received the degree of S.T.D. from the University of New York. Dr. Cogswell was twice married, first to Elizabeth, adopted daughter of Samuel Abbott, who gave to Andover theological seminary $120,000. She died in East Windsor in 1837; and a year later he married Jane Eudora, daughter of Chief-Justice Kirkpatrick, of New Jersey, who died in March, 1864. President Harrison, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rufus Choate, and Oliver Wendell Holmes are all connected with the Cogswells through female branches of the family. Dr. Cogswell published "A Sermon delivered, 24 August, 1819, before the York County Association" (Maine); " "Farewell Discourse at Saco," Maine, 12 October, 1828; "Ten Discourses, intended as a Keepsake for the Family and Friends" (Hartford, 1842); "A Treatise on the Necessity of Capital Punishment" (1843); "Discourses" (New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1845); "Hebrew Theocracy" (1848); "Calvary and Sinai" (1852); "Discourse delivered before the Theological Institute of Connecticut" (1856); "Godliness a Great Mystery" (1857); and "The Appropriate Work of the Holy Spirit,' (1859). See "The Cogswells in America," by E. O. Jameson (Boston, 1884).
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