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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BAKER, Osmon Cleander, clergyman, born in Marlow, New Hampshire, 30 July 1812 ; died in Concord, New Hampshire, 20 December 1871. Having received good preliminary training, Mr. Baker, at the age of fifteen, entered the academy at Wilbrahmn, Massachusetts, and remained there as a student for three years. At that time (1831) the Rev. Wilbur Fisk was principal of the academy, and, as one of the leading educators of the Methodist Church, was invited to become president of Wesleyan University, newly chartered, at Middletown, by the state of Connecticut. Mr. Baker entered as one of the first class, arid studied for three years, failing, through ill health, to complete the full course. Such was his proficiency, however, that he received the usual degree. In 1834 he accepted an invitation to teach in the seminary at Newbury, Vermont, and from 1839 till 1844 was its principal. During this period ha became first a local and afterward an itinerant preacher, and, under the conviction that his duty lay in this direction, he resigned the charge of the seminary, and for the next three years was engaged in pastoral work in the neighborhood of Rochester and Manchester, New Hampshire In 1817 he was appointed presiding elder, and the same year was chosen a professor in the general biblical institute in Concord, New Hampshire, which has since become the school of theology of Boston University. This chair he accepted with great reluctance, such was his devotion to pastoral work, but filled it so acceptably that he was elected president of the school, and remained there until 1852, when he was elected bishop by the quadrennial general conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was by nature a scholarly, unassuming man, but an excellent presiding and administrative officer, and proved himself highly efficient. As a preacher he was able, though not impassioned, and was an earnest advocate of thorough theological training for all ministers. He published "Guide-Book in the Administration of Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church " (New York. 1855).
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