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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LYELL, Thomas, clergyman, born in Richmond county, Virginia, 13 May, 1775; died in New York city, 4 March, 1848. His parents were members of the Protestant Episcopal church, but, as there were no clergyman of that denomination in the neighborhood, young Lyell was early thrown with the Methodists. When only fifteen years old he began to exhort, and after teaching for two years he saved enough money to purchase a horse, and in 1792, after examination, was admitted to preach on trial as an itinerant. He labored on the Fred-crick circuit in Virginia, and subsequently in Providence, Rhode Island, and was chaplain to congress during the closing years of the administration of John Adams and the early part, of that of Thomas Jefferson. He often spoke of the shock he experienced at the first official dinner that was given by the latter on finding the usual blessing omitted, although both congressional chaplains were present. Subsequently Mr. Lyell received orders in the Protestant Episcopal church from Bishop Claggett in 1804, and at the close of that year he became rector of Christ church, New York city, where he remained for over forty years. He was given the degree of A. M. by Brown in 1803 and that of D. D. by Columbia in 1822. He was secretary of the convention of the diocese from 1811 until he declined re-election in 1816, a member of the diocesan standing committee from 1813 until his death, a deputy to the general convention from 1818 until 1844, a trustee of the General theological seminary from 1822, and an active member of nearly all the institutions of his diocese.
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