Pierson, Abraham

Pierson, Abraham an American Congregational divine and educator was born at Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1641. Abraham, his father, first minister of Southampton, Long Island, (born in Yorkshire, England, in 1608, died August 9, 1678), was one of the first settlers of Newark in 1677, and was the first minister of that town. He preached to the Indians of Long Island in their own language, and contributed Some Helps for the Indians in New Haven Colony to a further Account of the Progress of the Gospel in New Ensgland (1659). His son, Abraham, Jun., was educated at Harvard University, where he graduated in, 1668. After studying theology, he was ordained colleague with his father at Newark, N.J., March 4, 1672, and was minister at Killingworth, Connecticut, from 1694 until his death, March 5, 1707. Mr. Pierson was identified with the founding of Yale College, was anxiously desired for its first principal, and did instruct for a time at Killingworth, though he never moved to Saybrook, where the commencements of Yale were held in its earliest days, because his parishioners would not suffer him to leave them. He was taken ill in the midst of the agitation regarding his college duties, and died before he could settle the case. President Clapp, in his History of Yale College, says of rector Pierson that he was "a hard student, a good scholar, a great divine, and a wise, steady, and judicious gentleman in all his conduct." See Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, 1:116 sq.; Bacoin, Genesis of the New England Churches. (J.H.W.)

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