Westervelt, John P
Westervelt, John P.
a Reformed (Dutch) scholar, was born at Paramus, N. J., Nov. 7,1816. He was a teacher in Lafayette Academy, Hackensack, in 1838, and afterwards in private seminaries in New York and vicinity until 1844. He then studied theology for one year under the Rev. Albert Amerman. After engaging in various pursuits, he joined the Presbytery of Albany in 1855, and removed to Princeton, N. J., where he gave much time to the study of languages and Biblical criticism. He was familiar with the ancient languages. Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and spoke fluently the German, French, and Dutch. Especially was he skilled in the last, and held familiar intercourse with the theologians and poets of the Low Countries. He preached as fluently in the Dutch language as in his own. Bilderdyk, his favorite poet, he esteemed equal to any of our English poets. When Dr. Cohen Stuart came from Holland to attend the Evangelical Alliance, so great had the fame of Mr. Westervelt become as a Dutch scholar that Dr. Stuart visited Paterson, to which place Mr. Westervelt had moved in 1866, in order that he might see the renowned scholar. Dr. Stuart afterwards spoke of his "eminent attainments being equaled only by his modesty." By request of the doctor, Mr. Westervelt was made a member of the Leyden Society of Netherlandish Literature, June 16, 1876. Although Mr. Westervelt was in doctrine a Calvinist, yet he was one of the most catholic of men. Among his brethren his opinion of difficult passages of Scripture was considered sufficient authority. His piety was fervent and deep, his character pure and spotless, his faith trustful and strong; and in his last hours, when utterance was difficult, he declared Christ to be his satisfaction. He died Jan. 15, 1879. He published a Translation from the Dutch of Van der Palm's Life and Sermons (1865). He contributed to the Princeton Review articles on Van der Palm (1861), Bilderdyk (1862), Strauss, and Schleiermacher (1866); also articles to this Cyclopaedia. See Corwin, Manual of the Ref. Church in America, p. 550. Westervelt, Ralph, a (Dutch) Reformed minister, studied under his father-in-law, the Rev. S. Froeligh. He was licensed by the Ciassis and served at Paramus in 1801, at Rochester and Wawarsing from 1802 to 1807, at Clove in 1808, at Bethlehem and Coeymans until 1816, and at Wynantskill from 1816 to 1822, in which latter year he died. See Corwin, Manual of the Ref. Church in America, s.v.