Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BANGS, Nathan, clergyman, born in Stratford, Connecticut, 2 May 1778: died in New York City, 3 May 1862. He received a limited education, taught school, and in 1799 went to Canada, where he spent three years as a teacher and land-surveyor. Uniting with the Methodist Church, he labored for six years as an itinerant minister in the Canadian provinces, and, on returning to New York, took a prominent part in the councils of the denomination. In 1820 he was transferred from a pastorate in New York to the head of the Methodist book concern. Under his management debts were paid off and the business much extended. He was also editor of the "Methodist Magazine." In 1828 he was appointed editor of the "Christian Advocate." When the "Methodist Quarterly Review" replaced the "Methodist Magazine" in 1832, the general conference continued Dr. Bangs in the editorship. He was the principal founder and secretary of the Methodist missionary society. Besides his editorial labors he exercised the censorship over all the publications of the book concern. When appointed secretary of the missionary society in 1836, he devoted his chief energies to its service, until appointed president of the Wesleyan University, at Middletown, Connecticut, in 1841. In 1842 he resumed pastoral work in New York, and in 1852 retired and employed himself during his remaining years chiefly in literary labors. His most important work was a "History of the Methodist Episcopal Church from its Origin in 1776 to the General Conference of 1840 " (4 vols., New York, 1839-'42). His other published works were a volume directed against "Christianism," a new sect in New England (1809) ; "Errors of Hopkinsianism" (1815) ; "Predestination Examined" (1817) ; "Reformer Reformed" (1818) ; "Methodist Episcopacy" (1820) ; "Life of the Rev. Freeborn Garettson" (1832); "Authentic History of the Missions Under the Care of the Methodist Episcopal Church" (1832); "Letters to a Young Preacher" (1835); "The Original Church of Christ" (1836);" Essay on Emancipation "(1848) ; "State and Responsibilities of the Methodist Episcopal Church" (1850); "Letters on Sanctification" (1851) ; "Life of Arminius" ; "Scriptural Vindication of the Orders and Powers of the Ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church"; and numerous occasional sermons. See "Life and Times of Nathan Bangs, died D.," by Abel Stevens (New York, 1863).*His son, Francis Nehelniah, lawyer, born in New York City, 23 February 1828 ; died in Ocala, Florida, 30 November 1885. He was educated at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, and at the University of the City of New York, where he was graduated in 1845. He then studied at Yale, was admitted to the bar in New York in 1850, formed a partnership with John Sedgwick, and soon became prominent in his profession, with abundance of business in bankruptcy cases. On his elevation to the bench in 1871, Judge Sedgwick retired from the firm, which was afterward known as a railroad law firm, in charge of several important international eases. Mr. Bangs was active in the Cesnola suits, the Havermeyer estate suits, and various phases of the litigation growing out of the failure of Grant & Ward. He displayed great activity in his professional career from its beginning to its close, and it is believed that his death resulted from overwork. He was one of the original members of the Bar Association of New York, and was its president in 1882 and 1883. He was active in the proceedings instituted by the bar against Judges Bar-nard and Cardozo in 1872, and was a witness at the trial of Barnard, who was convicted on every charge in regard to which Mr. Bangs testified. Interesting anecdotes are related of his courage and address in resisting some of the acts of Judge Bar-nard and Judge McCunn during the period of ring rule. Mr. Bangs was a republican in politics, and was one of the originators of the Union League Club in New York city.
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