Cossett Franceway Ranna, Dd
Cossett Franceway Ranna, D.D., a prominent minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He was born in Claremont, New Hampshire, April 24, 1790. His parents were Episcopalians, his grandfather being the founder and for many years the pastor of the first Episcopal church of Claremont. He studied at Middlebury College, Vermont, and graduated in 1813. From the same institution he received in 1839 the degree of Doctor of Divinity, which degree was also conferred upon him in after years by Cumberland College, Kentucky. Soon after leaving college he engaged in teaching a classical school in Morristown, N. J. After two years he accepted a call as principal of Vine Hill Academy, N. C., where he taught several years, when, his health being poor, he returned to New England, where soon after he was converted. He felt deeply impressed with the duty of preaching the Gospel, and soon after entered the Episcopal Theological Seminary at New Haven. From the seminary he went to Tennessee, with the commendation and sanction of the bishop as a "lay preacher." Here he became acquainted for the first time with Cumberland Presbyterians, "participated in their extraordinary revivals, attended their delightful camp-meetings." He was especially pleased with their success in winning souls to Christ, and, after a long, prayerful, and hard struggle, he felt it his duty to cast his lot with them. In the year 1822 he was ordained by the Anderson presbytery of this church. He taught very successfully for some time in a classical school in Elkton, Ky. He was the first president of Cumberland College at Princeton, Ky., over which he presided for years with great honor and success. When Cumberland University was started some years later at Lebanon, Tennessee, he accepted a call to the first presidency of that institution. He presided over it until it had arisen to be one of the foremost institutions in the entire South. He was for years, and up to his death, president of the Board of Foreign and Domestic Missions of the C. P. Church. He also started and maintained for several years successfully a weekly religious paper called the "Banner of Peace," which is still (1867) being published at Nashville, Tenn. Dr. Cossett published The Life and Times of Ewing, which contains a history of the early years of the C. P. Church. Mr. Cossett was a man of great learning and ability, and in his younger days was a very successful preacher. He was indefatigable in his efforts to promote education among all classes, but especially in the ministry. In all his intercourse with men, either personally, by letter, or as a controvertist, he never deviated from the rules of honorable Christian discussion, or the manners of the Christian gentleman. He died at Lebanon, Tennessee, July 3,1863.