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Freeman, James

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Born: 1759 AD
Died: 1835 AD, at 76 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Clergymen, Evangelists

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1759 - Born on April 22nd in Charleston, Massachusetts. Minister of King's Chapel in Boston for 43 years, was the first preacher in America to call himself a Unitarian.

1773-1777 - He attended Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts and, despite the disprutions caused by the Revolutionary War, for a time afterwards pursued theological studies as a graduate resident.

         - James Freeman began as an Episcopalian minister.

1780 - Freeman chartered a small ship bearing a cartel (a safe-conduct) and took his sister and brother to Quebec to rejoin their father, who lived there at that time.

1782 - En route he was captured by a privateer and confined in a prison ship in Quebec for several months. He then remained in Quebec on parole.

1783 - He married Martha Clarke, he accepted her nine-year-old child, Samuel, as his own.

1784 - Freeman preached a series of sermons on the unity of God, stating his dissatisfaction with certain parts of the liturgy, and giving his reasons for rejecting the Trinity.

         - Freeman found support for his ideas from the English Unitarian, William Hazlitt, who visited Boston. Hazlitt promoted Freeman's ministry and told him that he thought lay ordination scriptural.

1787 - Freeman was made "Rector, Minister, Priest, Pastor, and Ruling Elder" of Stone Chapel.

1792 - Freeman promoted Unitarianism outside the Stone Chapel as well. He donated to libraries tracts that had been sent to him by Lindsey.

         - A Unitarian congregation was formed in Portland, in the district of Maine, by an Episcopalian minister and friend of Freeman, Thomas Oxnard, to whom Freeman had given books by Lindsey and Priestley.

1811 - Harvard gave him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.

1825 - Freeman was appointed to a committee charged with considering the creation of a formal body. The work of this committee led, to the founding the American Unitarian Association.

1826 - Because of poor health, Freeman was encouraged by his physician to retire. He then resided full-time in Newton, where he was often visited by parishioners and friends.

1835 - Died on November 14th at the age of 76.


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Page last updated: 9:09pm, 08th May '07