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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HARRIS, William, educator, born in Springfield, Massachusetts, 29 April, 1765; died in New York city, 18 October, 1829. He was graduated at Harvard in 1786. Having studied theology, he was licensed as a Congregational minister, but, finding his health not equal to the work, he began the study of medicine in Salem, Massachusetts While he was thus occupied, a copy of Hooker's "Ecclesiastical Polity" was put into his hands. Its perusal led Mr. Harris to give up independency, and, his health having been restored, he was ordained deacon in Trinity church, New York, by Bishop Provoost, 16 October, 1791, and priest the following Sunday by the same bishop. His first charge was St. Michael's church, Marblehead, Massachusetts, where he also conducted the academy. He held both offices until 1802, when he accepted the rectorship of St. Mark's church, New York city. Here also, in the vicinity of his rectory, he established an excellent classical school. In 1811 he received the degree of D. D. both from Harvard and from Columbia. On Bishop Moore's resignation of the presidency of the latter institution, Dr. Harris was chosen to succeed him in 1811, and for a few years held the office in connection with his church. In 1816 he resigned the rectorship of St. Mark's. and devoted the remainder of his life to his duties as president. Although suffering from disease in his latter years, he discharged his duties with faithfulness and diligence up to the close of his life. Dr. Harris published two sermons, one delivered before the convention of Massachusetts, the other before that of New York. He also printed his "Farewell Sermon" on leaving St. Mark's church (1816).
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