Pillsbury, Ithamar

Pillsbury, Ithamar an American Presbyterian evangelist and missionary, was born in Dracutt, Mass., Aug. 22, 1794. His parents being both very pious, his early discipline and religious training were very strict and thorough. He prosecuted his academic course under many difficulties and discouragements being obliged to interrupt his studies from time to time and to engage in teaching, in order to raise funds. He entered Union Academy, in Plainfield, N. H., in 1815; graduated at Yale College in October, 1822; studied theology in New York under the direction of Rev. Drs. Gardiner Spring and E. W. Baldwin; was licensed in October, 1824, and on June 19,1825, was at his own request and by the unanimous vote of the Presbytery ordained as an evangelist. For several months after he labored as city missionary in and around the cities of New York and Boston. The character and results of his labors in those two cities laid the foundation for that extensive system of religious effort which aims at the spiritual good of the poor and destitute, known as City Missions. Desirous of a pastoral charge, in September 1827, he accepted an invitation to supply the Church at Smithtown, Long Island, for one year, but continued to labor in that capacity until April 1830, when he was installed their regular pastor. At his own request, in 1863 this relation was dissolved, and until May 1834, he spent the time in traveling as an agent of the American Sunday-School Union. In 1835 he was appointed a commissioner to the General Assembly at Pittsburgh, Pa., after which he started on a tour of exploration to the state of Illinois, with a view to the founding of a colony. In September of the same year he returned to New York, and succeeded in organizing a company with a capital of some $40,000, to be invested "in the purchase of land, and the establishment of a colony for promoting the cause of education and piety in the state of Illinois." From this time onward to the end of his life he was identified with the West, especially in all that pertained to the growth and prosperity of the Presbyterian Church. To the scheme of Christian colonization he gave much thought, time, labor, and prayer. From the spring of 1836 his labors as a missionary and an evangelist fairly set in; and with untiring energy and devotion he addressed himself to his work. He organized fourteen churches, and assisted at the organization of several others. In 1837 was organized the Church at Andover, in the Andover colony, and in 1841 he was installed its pastor, and continued to minister unto it until September 1849. In May, 1850, he was installed pastor at Princeton, Bureau Co., where he had previously organized a Church; in 1853 he was chosen president of McDonough College, at Macomb; in 1855 he began to labor as stated supply in the Presbyterian Church at Macomb; in 1860 he returned to Andover, and took charge of the Church which he founded there. He died April 20, 1862. Mr. Pillsbury was a prudent and wise counselor, a sincere and constant friend, and an able and faithful minister of the Gospel. See Wilson, Presb. Hist. Almanac, 1863, p. 195. (J. L. S.)

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