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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CONE, Spencer Houghton, clergyman, born in Princeton, New Jersey, 30 April, 1785; died 28 August, 1855. At the age of twelve he entered the freshman class at Princeton, but the sickness of his father obliged him to relinquish his studies when only fourteen. At sixteen he was master in a school at Burlington. He soon removed to Philadelphia, and associated himself in teaching with Dr. Abercrombie, principal of an academy. Finding his salary insufficient for the family dependent on him, he at first resolved to study law, but after some preparation for the bar abandoned this purpose, and turned to the stage, though this step was contrary to his own tastes as well as opposed to the wishes of his devout mother. He appeared in July. 1805, as Achmet in the tragedy of "Mahomet,." and subsequently acted with success in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Alexandria. His profession, distasteful to him from the first, and adopted only from necessity, soon became disgusting. In 1812 he entered the office of the Baltimore "American " as treasurer and bookkeeper. Soon afterward, in connection with his brother-in-law, he purchased and published the Baltimore "Whig," whereupon he abandoned the stage. He was converted in November, 1813, and baptized, 4 February, 1814, into the fellowship of a Baptist church. Having obtained a clerkship in the treasury department at Washington, he removed to that City, where he soon began preaching with remarkable success. In 1815-'6 he was elected chaplain of the house of representatives. After seven years spent with a small church at Alexandria, he was called to the Oliver street church, New York, where he remained for eighteen years. He then became pastor of the 1st Baptist church, in which relation he continued until his death. In 1832 the degree of D. D. was conferred upon him by Princeton, and the same year he was chosen president of the Baptist triennial convention, and was re-elected until 1841. From 1837 till 1850 he was president of the American and foreign Bible society. On the formation of the American Bible union, he was made its president, and so continued until his death. At the zenith of his career he was probably the most popular and influential Baptist minister in the United States.
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