PORTRAIT AND BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM
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REV. SAMUEL F. BRECKENRIDGE, Sc. D., Professor of Exegetical Theology in the Theological Seminary of Wittenberg College, Springfield, Ohio, was born in Kishacoquillas Valley, Mifflin County, Pa., December 1, 1833.
His father, Rev. John Brown BRACKENRIDGE, was born in Franklin County, Pa., October 30, 1806, was married in 1831 to Miss Sophia M. EHRENFELD, oldest daughter of Dr. Augustus Clemens EHRENFELD of Mifflin County, Pa. The subject of this sketch is their oldest child. His parents, at this writing, July ,1890, are both living, the father in his eighty-fifth, the mother in her seventy-ninth year.
It will be observed that Prof. Breckenridge spells his name with an "e" in the first syllable, as just given, while his father's name is spelled with an "a" -Brackenridge. The son changed the orthography of his name at the suggestion of his father, who had become convinced, upon tracing his ancestry, that BRECKENRIDGE was the more correct form of the name, although he did not think it wise to attempt a change of the form of his own name, under which he had become known professionally and as a citizen.
The BRECKENRIDGE family owes it origin to Scotch-Irish stock. The late H. M. BRACKENRIDGE, of Tarentum, Pa., upon visiting Scotland some years since, traced the genealogy of the family to a period prior to the time of John Knox, the great reformer. It was thus found that one of the early representatives of the family, a Scotchman of the "clan Campbell," went from Scotland to Ireland, and settled near Londonderry. In the latter place was born the great-grandfather of Prof. BRECKENRIDGE. He, while yet a child, accompanied his father to America early in the last century. At the time of Braddock's defeat he was employed as a teamster hauling provisions on the frontier. While thus engaged he was captured by the Indians and taken near to the present site of Coshocton, whence he made his escape, and of which a lengthy account is given in the Pennsylvania Colonial Records.
From this ancestry descended Samuel BRACKENRIDGE, the paternal grandfather of our subject, who was born at Half-Way House, Chester County, Pa., and to whom he of whom we write is said to bear a striking resemblance. He was possessed of a splendid physical development, was of a more than ordinarily bright mind, and of a genial temperament that drew around him many friends. For many years he was connected with the Presbyterian Church. He spent the closing years of his life near Brownsville, Pa., dying in 1840. His wife was likewise of Scotch-Irish birth and a woman remarkable for personal beauty and commanding presence. She lived to probably the age of ninety years.
To the parents of Prof. BRECKENRIDGE there was born a family of twelve children, six of whom are still living.
On his mother's side the records of his ancestry are official, full and continuous to A. D. 1601. Of this no more will be given here than to say that this line of his ancestry has, as far as the records run back, been an educated people, a majority of its male members in the different liberal professions, and some of them particularly eminent. It is an interesting fact that on his mother's side also he had a great-grandfather in the Colonial military service in Braddock's expedition. He was overtaken by death and buried near Braddock's field. He also was employed as a teamster in hauling supplies. Not improbably those two men, whose blood was to commingle so many generations afterwards, met in that little army and were acquainted. Besides these, two others of his maternal ancestors, in direct line, served under Washington in the War of Independence. Both of Prof. BRECKENRIDGE'S parents have been of very marked intellectual and moral characteristics. His father, while well versed in other branches and particularly skilled in mathematics, had a peculiar ardor in the study of language and for a command of choice English in conversation he has had very few equals. His mother, from her early life, was marked by a terse power of thought and speech that not only made her a powerful opponent in argument, if argument arose, though he disposition did not invite it, but enabled her often to sum up and end a whole line of discussion in an unexpected epigram. It is not too much to say that Prof. BRECKENRIDGE largely inherited the above mentioned qualities of both his parents.
To the parents of Prof. BRECKENRIDGE there were born twelve children, six of them still living. The survivors are mostly residents of Rochester, Pa. One of his brothers gave his life to his country at Vicksburg, in the war for the Union.
The subject of this sketch entered Wittenberg College in1854, with the purpose of preparing to study law. His father had prepared him for entrance into college, but was not able to meet the expense of his collegiate course. But young BRECKENRIDGE had already from his fourteenth year supported himself. This he did thenceforth. The history of his course through college would make an instructive and profitable chapter. He battled with and overcame difficulties and discouragements that would have entirely broken the resolution of most young men. Through all the trying ordeals of his college years he kept his eyes to the front, and came out of the campaign a victor and a strong man. While in college he passed through a religious experience that changed the plans of his life and determined him to enter the ministry of the gospel. He graduated in 1860. After his graduation he was an instructor in Mendota Female College, at Mendota, Ill., and subsequently became its principal. While there he was licenses to preach the gospel by the Northern Illinois synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In the same year he was united in marriage with Miss Mary A., daughter of John GARVER, of Pecatonica, Ill. During a number of subsequent years he was principal of the Leechburg, Pa., Academy; afterward was pastor of congregations near that place. Thence he was called to Ohio, where he was pastor at Bellefontaine and Plymouth. From this last pastorate he was called in 1874 to the chair of mathematics in Wittenberg College, which he occupied until called, in the fall of 1888, to the chair of exegetical theology in Wittenberg College, which he now holds. His success in the ministry as well as his recognized qualifications influenced his election as college professor. Prof. BRECKENRIDGE has few, if any, superiors as a teacher. He undertakes to teach nothing which he has not first made himself master of as thoroughly as it is possible for his faculties to compass and penetrate it in its facts and principles; and he is not satisfied with anything less on the part of his students. He already bids fair to become as famous with his pupils in his new chair, as he had become in the chair of mathematics and logic in the college. He received the degree of Doctor of Science from Pennsylvania College, Gettysburg, Pa., in 1887.
Prof. BRECKENRIDGE is widely read in history, in the sciences, in political economy, and especially in the field of controversial theology as raised by the enemies of the Christian faith. His critical reading in ancient secular as well as ecclesiastical history is shown in the luminous use he is now making of it in the chair of exegesis. It is earnestly desired by those who know him and his methods of study most intimately, that he will give the theological and religious world the benefit of his researches and acquirements.
Prof. BRECKENRIDGE is possessed of a very bright wit and as genial a humor. His company is sought for his entertaining social qualities. He is notably generous and kind-hearted, and is one of the truest and most conscientious of men.
To Prof. and Mrs. BRECKENRIDGE have been born three children, one son and two daughters, all living. Their family residence is a very pleasant one on Ferncliff Avenue, and is the center of a happy circle of refined and cultured people.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio
Chapman Bros., Chicago, Copyright 1890.
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