Biography of Alger, William Rounseville

Alger, William Rounseville, son of Nahum and Catherine Sampson (Rounseville) Alger, was born in Freetown, Bristol County, December 28, 1822.

He attended the common schools from the age of four to ten, then began to work for a livelihood; he worked five years in a cotton mill at Hookset, N. H., studied attentively in all available house, educating himself in the various branches of an academic course. He attended an academy in Pembroke, N. H., two years, and one year at Lebanon, N. H. He entered the divinity school of Harvard University in 1844, and was graduated in the class of 1847. He was pastor of the Unitarian church in Roxbury, from 1847 to 1855; then settled in Boston until 1873; then four years minister of Church of the Messiah in New York City. He is now engaged in preaching, lecturing and literary work.

Mr. Alger was married in Roxbury, in September 1847, to Anne Langdon, daughter of Giles and Abigail Harris (Langdon) Lodge. Of this union were seven children: Henry Lodge, Abby Langdon, Caroline Rounseville, Arthur Martineau, William Ellerton, Philip Rounseville and Anne Langdon.

He has held many offices and delivered many addresses in Masonic bodies and lectured for twenty-five years very extensively through the country before lyceums and literary societies. When chaplain of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1863, the prayers he offered were so much appreciated, that the speaker, Hon. Harvey Jewell, had them taken down by a stenographer and the members had them published in a volume entitled “Legislative Prayers,” which passed through several editions.

He gave the annual election sermon before the Legislature in 1863. He gave the Boston Fourth of July oration in 1857, which created a sensation by its bold treatment of the slavery question. The city government refused the usual vote of thanks and request for publication. Seven years later, when the prophecies of the orator had been fulfilled, the city government gave him a unanimous vote of thanks and ordered the oration printed.

He has published, besides a multitude of articles in reviews, and occasional discourses, the following books: “Symbolic History of the Cross of Christ”; “The Poetry of the Orient,” a volume of translations from the Persian, Arabic and Sanscrit tongues (four editions); “The Genius of Solitude” (eleven editions); “The Friendship of Women”(eleven editions); “A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life” (fourteen editions); “The Life of Edwin Forrest, the American Tragedian, with a History of the Dramatic Art”—two royal octavo volumes. He is now preparing for publication a work in two volumes entitled, “The Greatness of Human Nature and the Glory of Human Life.”

Allen, Alexander Viets Griswold, the son of Rev. Ethan and Lydia Child (Burr) Allen, was born in Otis, Berkshire County, Mar 4, 1841.

His early education was received in the public schools of Nantucket. He entered Kenyon College, Ohio, 1859, and was graduated there from 1862. He began his theological studies in the Theological Seminary at Gambier, Ohio, and pursued them later on in Andover Theological Seminary, graduating there from 1865.

Mr. Allen was ordained deacon in 1865 and priest in 1866. He became rector of St. John’s Church, Lawrence, the same year, this church having been established by him as a mission in 1865.

In 1867 he was called to the professorship of ecclesiastical history in the Episcopal theological school, Cambridge, where he has since remained.

Professor Allen was married in Cambridge, 1872, to Elizabeth Kent, daughter of Rev. Dr. John S. and Mary (Kent) Stone. Of this union are two children; Henry Van Dyke and John Stone Allen.

Professor Allen is the author of Princeton Review Articles, 1882, entitled “Renaissance of Theology in the Nineteenth Century,” “The Continuity of Christian Thought, a Study of Modern Theology in the Light of its History,” 1884 (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.), and “Life of Jonathan Edwards,”1889 (Houghton, Mifflin & Co.)

He received the degree of D. D. from Kenyon College, 1878, and from Harvard College, 1886. He was elected a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1886.



Rand, John Clark. One of a Thousand: A Series of Biographical Sketches of One Thousand Representative Men Resident in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, A.D. 1888-'89. Massachusetts: First National Publishing Company, 1890.

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