1. Records of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, embracing the Minutes of the General Presbytery and General Synod, 1706-1788 (Phila., 1904), p. 171.
2. Richard Webster, A History of the Presbyterian Church in America, from its Origin until the Year 1760 (Phila., 1857), p. 484.
3. Presbyterian Historical Society, Phila.
4. The history and background of the school are
reviewed by Thomas Clinton Pears, Jr., “Colonial Education among
Presbyterians,” Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society, vol. 30 (1952), pp. 115-26, 165-74.
5. On Tennent: Horace Wemyss Smith, Life and Correspondence of the Rev. William Smith (Phila., 1879), vol. 1, p. 103’.
6. In a religious denomination where thought and
concern are equally alive, innumerable shades of opinion will appear, and
one finds men of these two parties sometimes nearly of the same complexion,
at others radically different. Pelagius, a British monk who fl. 400 A.D.,
denied Original Sin. Few New Siders went as far as that, but many Old Siders
were willing to imply that they did. Benjamin Rush, explaining the situation
to Charles Nisbet in Scotland, Aug. 27, 1784, is more temperate: “The Irish
are in general Presbyterians. They compose about 1/6 or 1/8 of the state,
and as they are a modern society and not very
remarkable for industry, they possess not more than 1/20 of the wealth of the state. They are subdivided into four lesser sects,
viz. Old Lights, New Lights, Seceders and Covenanters. The Old and New Lights agree in all the essentials of the Westminster
Confession of Faith. The former are thought to be more attached to the doctrinal, the latter to the practical parts of Christianity.
The ministers of the former are in general the most learned. The ministers of the latter are the most animated but least connected in their public discoveries. Both parties belong to our synod, and both sides claim many able divines and pious ministers. The
Seceders and Covenanters; are the same kind of people here as they are in Scotland.” Lyman H. Butterfield, ed., Letters of
Benjamin Rush (Princeton 1951), vol. 1, p. 336
7. As described by Saul Sack, History of Higher Education in Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, 1963), pp. 39-40, an excellent and definitive work to which the author of this is more largely indebted than footnotes will declare.
8. John S. Brubacher and Willis Rudy, Higher Education in Transition (N.Y., 1958), p. 17.
9. MS. Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia.
10. George Morgan, “The Colonial Origin of Newark
Academy and of Other -Classical Schools from which arose Many
Colleges and Universities,” Delaware Notes, vol. 8 (1934), pp. 26- 30, states that Newark trained some 5,000 boys, but
names only a few of the Colonial period, notably the Signers, Thomas McKean, George Read and Col. James Smith. Edward
D. Neill, “Matthew Wilson, D.D., of Lewes, Delaware,” PMHB, vol. 8 (1884), p. 46n, includes John Dickinson in a list of 17
students of the early period. Pears, p. 169, more conservative, omits Dickinson from the list of 9 for whom he has found
positive evidence of attendance.
11. Obituary of Alison by Matthew Wilson, Pennsylvania Journal, April 19, 1780.
12. William A. Hunter, Forts on the Pennsylvania Frontier, 1753-1758 (Harrisburg, 1960), pp. 176-77. Conway Phelps Wing and others, History of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania (Phila., 1879), p. 51. Rev. D. K. Richardson, A Historical Discourse delivered in the Presbyterian Church of Greencastle, Penn’a.., August 9th, 1876 (Chambersburg, Pa. 1876), p. 13, recalls Captain Steel as “a brave and fearless man,” yet “not unmindful ... of the higher commission he held as messenger of the Prince of Peace,” and illustrates this synthesis with a remembered incident: “it was the Sabbath. The congregation had assembled in a barn standing on the farm now owned by Mr. Adam Wingerd They brought their arms with them. When Mr. Steele entered the rude pulpit, which had been erected, he hung his hat and rifle behind him. The male members of the congregation sat listening to the Gospel message with their arms at their side. While in the midst of his discourse some one appeared and quietly called a member of the congregation out, and told him of the murder of a family, by the Indians, of the name of Walter, at what is now known as Rankin’s Mill. The awful story was soon whispered from one to another. As soon as Mr. Steele discovered what had taken place, he immediately brought the services to a close, took down his hat and rifle, and at the head of the members of his congregation, went in pursuit of the murderers.”
13. Hunter, pp. 369, 406, 4129 564.
14. Ibid., p. 431.
15. Ibid., p. 432. Leonard W. Labaree, ed., Papers
of Benjamin Franklin, (New Haven & London, 1963), vol. 7, p. 105.
Wing, p. 58. Steel’s letter of April 11, 1756, calling upon Gov. Robert
H. Morris for arms and equipment for 54 men, is at
16. Smith, vol. 1, p. 137.
17. Edinburgh Magazine, vol. 3 (1759), p. 179.
18. Mrs. Duffield and Mrs. John Armstrong were sisters, daughters of Archibald Armstrong (d. 1775) of New Castle County, Del., and so identified in his will.
19. Minutes of Donegal Presbytery, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia.
20. Allan D. Thompson, The Meeting House on
the Square (Carlisle, 1964), p. 29, citing Thomas Penn’s letter of
1760, to John Armstrong (Penn MSS, HSP), in which Penn states that he has granted the land on the square and supposes that the church is now being built. Three years before, Armstrong had obtained stone for “a Meeting House on the North Side of
the Square,” an incident noted in all histories of the Carlisle church as establishing its date of origin, though no building was then
erected. It. is, however, evidence of the Colonel’s primary voice and influence in church affairs. Now, coincident with
Armstrong’s application for a deed for the site, Steel had obtained permission from the provincial authorities to hold a lottery to finance his own building program (p. 30.).
21. Duffield’s opposition had a head start. Steel had been called to the churches of Upper and Lower Pennsborough (Carlisle and Silver Springs), April 3, 1759, and installed on April 17, according to Duffield’s letter to Blair. Carlisle was to have two-thirds of his time. Duffield, whose call was laid before the Presbytery on Aug. 21, 1759, and who was installed on Sept. 19, nevertheless claimed prior rights which a secretly and hastily contrived conspiracy had invaded. Webster pp. 484, 672. Conway Phelps Wing, A History of the First Presbyterian Church of Carlisle, Pa. (Carlisle, 1877), pp. 67-71. The Centennial Memorial of the Presbytery of Carlisle (Harrisburg, 1889), vol. 1, p. 69. Joseph A. Murray, A Contribution to the History of the Presbyterian Churches, Carlisle, Pa. (Carlisle, 1905), pp. 6-9. Thompson, pp. 33-34.
22. George Duffield, One Hundred Years Ago: An Historical Discourse Delivered ... during the Centennial Celebration of the First Presbyterian Church of Carlisle, July 1, 1857, p. 11.
23. Records of the Presbyterian Church, p. 297.
24. The Bureau of Land Records, Harrisburg, records lands in Bedford
County, warrant of June 8, 1762, and on Shawnee
Creek, May 16, 1767. A Bedford County plantation is mentioned in Steel’s will, Court House, Carlisle.
25. Pears, p. 137. Morgan, p. 20, gives Alison’s first salary as L20, Steel’s as £15, later raised to £40 and £20.
26. John Steel, MS sermons. Presbyterian Historical Society, Phila. Wing, First Presbyterian Church, p. 109.
27. P. 333. Sypher’s MS, HSP, gives no source.
28. Wing, Cumberland County, p. 151.
29. The boy was the Rev. William Linn (1752-1808)
(Centennial Memorial, vol. 2, p. 56); and the theological student, the
Rev. Robert Cooper (c. 1732-1805), who was licensed to preach, Oct. 24, 1764. William B. Sprague Annals of the
American Pulpit (N.Y., 1858), vol. 3, p. 270,
30. PMHB, vol. 29 (1905), p. 366.
31. MS. Presbyterian Historical Society, Phila.
32. Colonial Records, vol. 9, p. 464. Charles A. Fisher, The Snyder County Pioneers (Selinsgrove, Pa. 1938), p. 91.
33. Wing, First Presbyterian Church, p. 85.
34. Steel’s prompt and eager response to the summons, dated Carlisle, Feb. 27, 1768, is at HSP. His report for himself and the three other commissioners, Fort Cumberland, April 2, 1768, is at the Public Record Office, London. They met with both settlers and Indians and persuaded a few of the settlers to leave. The others, however, determined to await the making of a treaty and move only if the Indians should “appear dissatisfied.”
35. Alfred Nevin, Churches of the Valley (Phila., 1852), p. 70. The agreement is printed, pp. 327-28.
36. Wing, First Presbyterian Church, pp. 75-76.
37. Records of the Presbyterian Church,
pp. 366-67. On May 21, 1767, the Synod of Philadelphia received a letter
from John Elder and John Steel, “as moderator and clerk of the Presbytery
which they call the Presbytery of Donegal,” threatening to leave the jurisdiction
of the Synod unless granted separate status. This met with flat rejection
on the next day. On June
23, 1767, the official Presbytery of Watchman on the wall of this part of Zion.” Minutes, Presbyterian Historical Society, Phila.
The Synod of the next year, May 25, 1768, attached Steel, Elder and other dissidents to the Second Presbytery of
Philadelphia. Records, p. 384.
38. Lyman H. Butterfield, John Witherspoon Comes to America. A Documentary Account based largely on New Materials (Princeton, 1953), p. 3. This work is the primary source for the events centered at Princeton.
39. Donegal Minutes, 1773. Typescript, p. 313.
40. James Seaton Reid, History of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (Belfast, 1867), vol. 3, p. 305.
41. To Ezra Stiles. Butterfield, Witherspoon, p. 13. Samuel Purviance, Philadelphia merchant and ardent Old Side politician, was pushing to have “4 able professors appointed & Dr. Alison at their Head” (p. 4).
42. Butterfield, Witherspoon, p. 59.
43. Ibid., pp. 87-88.
44. Wing, First Presbyterian Church, p. 92.
45. Webster, p. 480.
46. Wing, First Presbyterian Church, p. 105.
47. Murray, pp. 49-53, printing the contracts in full.
48. Thompson, p. 32.
49. MS, Presbyterian Historical Society, Phila.
50. Murray, p. 13.
51. The announcement was first quoted by James Mulhern, A History of Secondary Education in Pennsylvania (Phila., 1933), pp. 86-87.
52. Wing, First Presbyterian Church, pp. 93-96. The original charter is in the Cadwalader Collection, HSP.
53. Maryland Gazette, Aug. 13, 1761.