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. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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FURMAN, Richard, clergyman, born in 2Esopus, New York, in 1755; died in Charleston, South Carolina, in August 1825. While he was an infant his father removed to Sumter district, S.C. His education, though obtained in an irregular way, became considerable, including knowledge of the Latin. Greek, and Hebrew languages, He was converted at an early age, and soon began to preach, and when nineteen years old was ordained pastor of the High Hills, Baptist Church. On one occasion he was not allowed by the sheriff to preach in the Courthouse at Camden because he was not a member of the established (Episcopal) Church.
At the beginning of the Revolution he actively promoted measures for removing the disabilities under which dissenters labored. During that struggle he became so conspicuous as a patriot that Lord Cornwallis offered a reward for his apprehension, and for a while he retired to Virginia, where Patrick Henry was a regular attendant on his ministry. In 1787 he became pastor of the 1st Baptist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in which relation he continued for thirty-seven years. He was a member of the convention that framed the first constitution of South Carolina, and vigorously opposed in that body the provision, which excluded ministers from certain offices.
He was unanimously elected in 1814 the first president of the triennial convention, a representative organization of all the Baptists of the country. For several years he was president of the South Carolina Baptist convention. In various ways he promoted the establishment of schools and Colleges for ministerial and general education among the Baptists. Furman University, of South Carolina, was named in his honor. In 1800 he received the degree of D. D. from Brown University. He published several sermons and discourses, including one commemorative of George Washington, delivered by appointment of the Society of Cincinnati.
His son, James Clement Furman, educator, born in Charleston, South Carolina, 5 December 1809, was educated at Charleston College, but was not graduated, owing to a severe illness in his senior year. He entered the Baptist ministry in 1828, serving as pastor of Churches in Camden and Fairfield till 1834, and in Society Hill, with an interval of fifteen months at Charleston, till 1843. In that year he accepted a professorship in the Furman theological institution, and has ever since been connected with its faculty, teaching mental and moral philosophy, rhetoric, and logic. When the institution was expanded into Furman University at Greenville, South Carolina, he was made its president, and still (1887) remains in that office. He has published various sermons and addresses, and has for several years been one of the editors of the "Baptist Courier," of Greenville.
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