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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor

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Jonathan Dickinson
Founder of Princeton University


DICKINSON, Jonathan, clergyman, born in Hatfield, Massachusetts, 22 April 1688; died in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, 7 October 1747. He was graduated at Yale in 1706, and in 1709 was installed pastor of the Church at Elizabethtown, where he had gone the year previous, and in charge of which he remained nearly forty years, or until his death. The adjoining townships of Rahway, Westfield, Union, Springfield, and a part of Chatham, were included in his parish, to which he ministered not only in spiritual things, but also in things temporal, as he was a practicing physician. 

After the separation of the New Jersey Churches from the synod of Philadelphia in 1741, a charter was obtained for the College of New Jersey (originally known as Nassau hall), the first classes were opened in Elizabethtown, and Dr. Dickinson was chosen president, 22 October 1746. In assuming this office he did not change his habits, as he had been accustomed during a portion of his ministry to receive young men for instruction in different branches preparatory to their entering on the study of some profession. He died the year following, but lived long enough to leave upon the institution the permanent impress of his character. 

His works are largely controversial, being written in defense of what he considered fundamental truths. Among them are "Reasonableness of Christianity: Four Sermons" (173,2); "The True Scripture Doctrine Concerning some Important Points of Christian Faith," etc. (1741); and "Familiar Letters to a Gentleman" (1745; 3d ed., Edinburgh, 1757). A collection of many of his writings was published in 1793.  -- Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, by Louis K. - Upper St. Clair High School, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM


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