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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CLARK, Laban, clergyman, born in Haverhill, New Hampshire, 19 July, 1778; died in Middletown, Connecticut, 28 November, 1868. In his childhood his parents removed to Bradford, Vermont, where he obtained a fair academical education, in 1798 he united with a Methodist church, and soon became active as a class-leader and exhorter. He began preaching in 1800, and in 1801, joining the New York conference, entered upon itinerant work in which he continued with great success for fifty years, in New England, New York, and Canada. In 1819 he offered the first resolution in favor of forming the Missionary society of the Methodist Episcopal church, and, in conjunction with Nathan Bangs and Freeborn Garretson, prepared its constitution. In 1829 Mr. Clark, then presiding elder of the New Haven district, heard that the buildings formerly occupied by Capt. Partridge's military academy in Middletown were for sale, and at once offered to be one of ten to purchase them, with the idea of founding a Methodist College. Soon afterward the trustees of the buildings offered to give them to the New York and New England conferences, on condition that a College should be established and provided with an endowment fund of $40,000. Mr. Clark was active in the matter, and the result was the establishment of Wesleyan University in 1831. Mr. Clark became the president of the board of trustees, and held the office till his death, withdrawing from active labor in 1851, and settling at Middletown.
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