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Samuel Brown Wylie (1773-1852)


Samuel Brown Wylie (1773-1852)

James Dodson

Biographical Sketch

Born in County Antrim, Ireland, May 21, 1773. Entered the University of Glasgow, Scotland, where he distinguished himself as a scholar, and graduated with the honorary degree of Master of Arts in 1797. He began teaching a school in Ballymena, Ireland, but was compelled to flee from his native land in consequence of his connection with the efforts in favour of Irish independence. He emigrated to America, in October, 1797, settling in Philadelphia. In 1798, he was appointed a Tutor in the University of Pennsylvania. He studied theology privately, and under the direction of the Rev. William Gibson, being licensed by the Reformed Presbytery, at Coldenham, New York, June 24, 1799. He was ordained sine titulo by the Reformed Presbytery, at Ryegate, Vermont, June 25, 1800, and was the first Covenanter minister ordained in America. He accompanied the Rev. James McKinney throughout the South to abolish slavery from the pale of the Covenanter Church. He preached for some time in newly organized societies of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Baltimore, Maryland. He was installed pastor of the Philadelphia congregation, November 20, 1803. At the organization of the Theological seminary in Philadelphia, he was chosen the Professor, and remained in the function from 1810 until his resignation in 1817. He was re-elected, and served from 1823 until he resigned in 1828. His most noted publication, “The Two Sons of Oil,” first published in 1803, was lauded as the best presentation of the position of the Covenanter Church in America. Additionally, his sermon on the “Obligation of Covenants,” sets forth in clearest terms the old doctrine of the Covenanters. Wylie died, at his residence in Philadelphia, October 13, 1852.