Schumman, Johannes

Schumman, Johannes, a distinguished clergyman of the (Dutch) Reformed Church, a medical practitioner of considerable skill, and a Revolutionary patriot whose services to his country were most vigorous and fearless, was born Aug. 18, 1712, of German parents, at West Camp, N.Y., studied theology under Frelinghuysen and Goetschius, and received and accepted a call to the united churches of Catskill and Coxsackie, N.Y., upon condition that, at their expense, he should go to Holland to complete his education. This he did in 1752; and in 1753, after a rigid examination, he was licensed and ordained by the Classis of Amsterdam, and returned to take charge of the churches, in which he spent his entire ministry of forty-one years. His powerful voice, earnest manner, and burning fervor of piety, with uncompromising attachment to the principles of theology, his honest zeal and indefatigable perseverance and industry, were the secrets of his success. He was a warm coetus man in the great controversy of his Church respecting independence of the mother Church in Holland. In the same spirit, his patriotism made him a famous leader of the people of the whole region of which Catskill is the center against British rule. Indians and Tories abounded in that country and around his own residence. Emissaries of George III were frequently passing through those river counties carrying messages between New York and Canada and stirring up the savages and the Tortes to treacherous plots and deeds of cruelty. Of course he was the chief object of their hatred. But he prayed and thundered from his pulpit. He rode undaunted to discharge his official duties in his church at Coxsackie, fifteen miles distant from Catskill and through a wilderness that exposed him to constant dangers from his country's foes. He aided in organizing committees of safety and in the military defenses. He went armed, but his chief trust was in God. Nothing daunted or depressed his lofty daring for liberty and his native land. To this day Ulster, Greene, and Albany counties are full of traditions of his fame. He is the hero of a historical novel entitled The Dutch Dominie of the Catskills, by the late Rev. David Murdock, D.D., who was his successor at Catskill, 1842-51. His medical services were gratuitously rendered for the benefit of his people, "and without respect of persons." A few days before he died he preached at Coxsackie his last sermon, on the Savior's words "It is finished;" and then he went home to finish his own work in the full assurance of faith, May 6, 1794. See Sprague, Annals of the Amer. Pulpit, vol. 9. (W.J.R.T.)

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