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David Wiley circa 1768-1812

David Wiley
David Wiley circa 1768-1812

Oil on canvas, circa 1800
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C.

David Wiley, a surveyor and Presbyterian minister, moved to Georgetown around 1800 to serve as principal of the Columbian Academy and teach natural philosophy, mathematics, geography, and Greek. Advertisements for the academy mention an “Electrical Machine”; this may be the instrument depicted in this portrait by Charles Peale Polk. Polk shared Wiley’s interest in science, for he was Charles Willson Peale’s nephew and had grown up in his household, where he absorbed Peale’s interest in natural history, and also learned to paint.

Polk’s rendering of the electrical machine is puzzling. It is not likely that he misunderstood its use or construction, yet it is unlike more standard machines of this type. The cushion, which generates a charge by turning against the glass, is on the bottom rather than the side of the cylinder. The metal spikes just visible at the top of the cylinder, which collect the charge (only positive in this machine), should also be on the side. Other inconsistencies in the machine, all parts of which sit on a wooden base atop the table, may indicate that it was an unusual one, perhaps designed by Wiley. He poses proudly beside it, holding a Leyden jar, which would have been used to store an electric charge for future use.

Submitted by Jan Wiley Holmes

Robert Wylie, 1839

WYLIE, Robert, artist, born in the Isle of Man in 1839; died in Brittany, France, 4 February, 1877. He was brought to the United States in childhood, and first studied art at the Pennsylvania academy. In 1863 he went to France, and in 1872 he received a second-class medal at the Paris salon. His professional career was in France, and his pictures deal mostly with the life of the Breton peasants.

His “Death of a Vendean Chief” (1876-‘7) is in the Metropolitan museum, New York.

Ragpicker and Pottery Seller by Robert Wylie
“Ragpicker and Pottery Seller”
Circa 1875
10 x 12-1/2 inches

J W Hathaway

Mon Valley Biographies

J W Hathaway of Carmichaels, Greene Co., Pennsylvania

From: Biographical History of Greene County by Samuel P Bates,

Nelson, Rishforth, and Co, Chicago, 1888, p 621

Surnames: Hathaway, Estel, Carson, Anderson, Wiley, McGinnis

J W Hathaway, deceased, who was a merchant in Carmicheals for many years, was born in Jefferson Township, this county, May 19, 1821, and was a son of Samuel Hathaway and Elizabeth Estel Hathaway.

His mother was born in New Jersey and his father in Pennsylvania, and they were of English an Dutch descent. when Mr Hathaway was only one year old his father died, and he was reared by his grandfather, Matthias Estel, who sent him to school and induced him to learn a trade. He chose the chair maker’s trade, served a regular apprenticeship, and worked at the business for a time in Newtown. There he began business as a clerk in a store at the age of sixteen. At nineteen years of age he went to Carmichaels as clerk. He was for many years junior member in the firm of Carson & Hathaway, merchants; afterwards buying his partner’s interest he became sole owner of the large merchandising establishment there. He was an energetic, careful and thrifty manager of business, always exercising the keenest tact in his venture and investments, yet conducting the same with a motive of honesty and fair dealing toward all, bearing the respect of everybody.

Years ago, when Carmichaels was the business center of Greene County, Mr Hathaway added to a continued large retail trade, did considerable business at wholesale. He also dealt quite extensively in stock and real estate, and at the time of his death was the owner of 550 acres of valuable land.

He was united in marriage January 1, 1846, with Miss Ary Anderson, daughter of William Anderson and Keziah Wiley Anderson, who were of Scotch Irish descent. Her father was a millwright, and she had two brothers in the War of 1812. To Mr and Mrs Hathaway a family of ten children were born, six of whom, together with Mrs Hathaway, survive the deceased.

The children are: Charles Hathaway; Samuel Hathaway; William Hathaway; Jacob Hathaway; Lawrence Hathaway; of Carmichaels; and Mrs Mary McGinnis of Lincoln, Illinois. Mr Hathaway was well known and was regarded as a man of great business ability, sound judgment and sterling integrity. He had been a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for over forty five years, and was a ruling elder in that church for thirty two years. He was without question a true Christian.

Andrew Wiley (1815)

Combination Atlas Map of Huntington County, Indiana; Kingman Brothers, 1879



Surnames: Wiley, Brierly, Wright, Fall

Andrew Wiley, son of William and Mary Wiley, was born in the State of Virginia, in the year 1815. He was reared to farm-life, and owing to the absence of educational facilities, was deprived of the opportunity of attending school during his childhood. His education was acquired, principally, in later life, by individual effort. He adopted, in mature years, the occupation in which he is engaged during childhood, and adding to this the trades of cooper and carpenter.

He was united in marriage with Miss Harriet Brierly, who bore him two sons – Caleb Warren and Sylvester B. But the sacred tie was subsequently severed by the decease of the wife and mother, and her gentle influence forever from earth.

In 1846, he came to Jefferson Township, Huntington Co., Ind., and in 1857, was united in marriage with Jane Wright of Darke County, Ohio. She is the daughter of Thomas and Matilda Fall Wright. This second union was blessed by six children, named, respectively, Lotitia, Norman, William, Charles, Sarah E. and Sadie.

The father died January 11, 1873. During his life, he was an enterprising farmer, and his labors were crowned with financial success.

He was universally respected by his neighbors and acquaintances, and was often solicited to accept the nomination of his party for political offices, but only yielded once to their request. In 1862, he was the candidate of the Democratic party for the office of County Commissioner, to which office he was elected, and during his term of service in that capacity, he was instrumental in bringing about many projects which resulted in the general good of the county. He was a cordial supporter of the Bluffton, Warren & Frankfort Narrow-Gauge Railroad, and contributed liberally toward the success of that enterprise. He was also permanently connected with the Huntington & Warren Gravel-road.

He was a supporter of the Calvinistic doctrine, and throughout his life, was a devout Christian. He had but few enemies, if any and his death was lamented throughout the community.

Officers in the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution

Officers in the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution

Source Information: American Biographical Library.
Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, 1996.

Wiley, Aldrich (Mass). Corporal and Sergeant of Sergeant’s Massachusetts Regiment, May to December, 1775; Ensign 16th Continental Infantry, 1st January to 31st December, 1776; 1st Lieutenant 8th Massachusetts, 1st January, 1777; killed at Stillwater, 7th October, 1777. [p.592] Wiley, Aquilla (Pa). Captain York County, Pa., Militia in 1777.

Wiley, John (Mass). Captain of Gridley’s Regiment Massachusetts Artillery, May, 1775; superseded 25th June, 1775; Captain 16th Continental Infantry, 1st January to 31st December, 1776; Captain 8th Massachusetts, 1st January, 1777; Major 14th Massachusetts, 15th December, 1779; retired 1st January, 1781. (Died 1805.)

Wiley, John (N. Y.). Captain 1st New York, 24th February to ? November,1776.

Wiley, John (Pa). 1st Lieutenant Pennsylvania State Regiment, 18th April, 1777; regiment designated 13th Pennsylvania, 12th November, 1777; resigned 25th January, 1778.

Wiley, Robert (Mass). Ensign 8th Massachusetts, 1st January, 1777; wounded at Bemus’ Heights, 19th September, 1777; resigned 14th August, 1778.

Wiley, Robert (Pa). Captain of Flower’s Artillery Artificer Regiment,1779, and served to close of war.

Willey, John (Conn). Captain in Lexington Alarm, April, 1775; Captain Lieutenant 2d Connecticut, 1st May to 17th December, 1775; Captain of Wadsworth’s Connecticut State Regiment, June to December, 1776.

Wyley, Aldrich. See Wiley.

Wylie, Thomas (Pa). Captain Lieutenant of Flower’s Artillery Artificer Regiment, 17th February, 1777; Captain, 1st February, 1778, and served to close of war.

Wylley, Thomas (Ga). Was an Ensign 2d Georgia in May, 1778; Captain and Deputy Quartermaster General of Georgia troops, 1779–1781.

Wyllys, Hezekiah (Conn). Captain of Chester’s Connecticut State Regiment,20th June to 25th December, 1776; served subsequently as Lieutenant-Colonel Connecticut Militia. (Died 29th March, 1827.)

Wyllys, John Plasgrave (Conn). Adjutant of Wolcott’s Connecticut State Regiment, January, 1776; Brigade-Major to General Wadsworth, 7th August, 1776; taken prisoner 15th September, 1776, on the retreat from New York; exchanged 20th December, 1776; Captain of Webb’s Additional Continental Regiment, 1st January, 1777; Major, 10th October, 1778; transferred to 3d Connecticut, 1st January, 1781; transferred to 1st Connecticut, 1st January, 1783; retained in Swift’s Connecticut Regiment, June, 1783, and served to 25th December, 1783; Major United States Infantry Regiment, 9th June, 1785; Major 1st Infantry United States Army, 29th September, 1789; killed 22d October, 1790, in action with Indians on the Miami, Ohio.

Wyllys, Samuel (Conn). Lieutenant-Colonel 2d Connecticut, 1st May, 1775; Colonel, 1st July to 10th December, 1775; Colonel 22d Continental Infantry, 1st January to 31st December, 1776; Colonel 3d Connecticut, 1st January,1777; retired 1st January, 1781. (Died 9th June, 1823.)

Source Information:

American Biographical Library.
Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, 1996.

Dr. J. A. Wylie (1808) Obituary

Dr. J. A. Wylie.
(Died May 1, 1890.)
by Rev. C. A. Salmond, M.A., Edinburgh.
The Free Church Monthly, August 1, 1890.

Reprinted with the permission of

In the lamented removal of Dr. Wylie, the leading representative of a Church and also of a cause has been taken from us. Surviving as he did the younger M’Crie, he was the most notable living representative, for years past, of the majority of the Original Secession body, who joined the Free Church in 1852. And, as everybody knows, he has long been the leading Protestant authority, not in Scotland only, but in English-speaking Christendom, on all questions relating to the Romish controversy.

Born at Kirriemuir on 9th August 1808, he had nearly completed his eighty-second year when he died, on 1st May of the present year; but such was his vitality even as an octogenarian, that at the time of his death he had in contemplation an amount of literary work, the thought of which would have burdened many a younger man. He hoped, for one thing, to finish his “History of the Scottish Nation,” by adding other three volumes to the third lately issued; and he had expressed his willingness, when Mr. Cusin died, to undertake if called upon– a task happily committed since to his friend Mr. M’Crie of Ayr– the preparation of the next series of the Cunningham Lectures.

His name– James Aitken Wylie– is itself suggestive, to those familiar with Scottish Secession history of the surroundings and influences among which as a boy he was reared. James Aitken, his minister and name-father, was one of the most godly and in every way estimable leaders of the “Old Light Anti-burghers,” and Dr. Wylie felt and owned to the last how much he owed to his nurture in that school of robust primitive piety. It may interest modern readers about “Thrums” to find the old man writing thus, not long ago:–

“My heart often goes back to Kirriemuir. Its Communion Sabbaths, though now eighty years behind me, are still green and fragrant in my memory. I bless God that I was born in the Original Secession Church. I know see that it was an essential preparation for doing the work to which I have been called; and if I have done any good in the world, the ordering of my birth has been one of the main subordinate causes. The ‘History of Protestantism’ has its roots in the feelings, the kindlings, and the aspirations of my boyhood, and in the sympathy for the oppressed and downtrodden which was wrought in me by the derision and persecution which Mr. Anderson [author of ‘The Ladies of the Covenant’] and myself daily endured from a set of reprobate school-fellows, who termed us ‘Aitkenites.'”

His education was begun in the parish school of his native place. Then he passed to Marischal College, Aberdeen, for three years, completing his Arts course by a session at St. Andrews, under Dr. Thomas Chalmers. In 1827 he entered the O. S. Divinity Hall in Edinburgh, and there came under the influence of a man who impressed him even more than Chalmers had done– Dr. Thomas M’Crie, the biographer of Knox. He was admitted to intimate fellowship by M’Crie, and he carried the memory of his friend and teacher with him as a life-long inspiration.

In 1828, James Aitken Wylie was one of eleven divinity students who, with twenty-one ministers and seven probationers of the Original Secession Synod, “renewed the Covenants” in Edinburgh; and in him the last survivor of this little band of jurants has passed away. Referring to the abiding influence on Dr. Wylie’s mind and character of this early environment, Principal Rainy has fitly said: “His religious life was nourished in some of the richest lines of the Scottish pious tradition; and from that circle and centre of influence he had derived impresssions which gave a special character– and an attractive one– to his modes of view and feeling. He always retained a full sympathy with the characteristic tendencies of the Old Secession in matters religious and ecclesiastical; yet with a certain largeness of construction, and with a literary instinct, which enabled him in various respects to keep pace with his time, and to perceive the new form in which old forces must work.”

His license took place on 1st December 1829, and he was ordained at Dollar on 20th April 1831. His pastoral sphere there was a very limited one, but its duties were faithfully and cheerfully discharged for the next fifteen years, during which period, however, his pen had found for him a much wider constituency. To the time of the Dollar ministry belong his “Modern Judea,” “Scenes from the Bible,” and other works, which were most favourably received, and ran into numerous additions.

In 1846, Mr. Wylie had an important offer from Hugh Miller, which, by the advice of the younger M’Crie and with the eager approval of Dr. Candlish, he felt it his duty to accept– the joint-editorship, namely, of The Witness. This involved his transference to Edinburgh, on whose streets, for the succeeding forty-four years of incessant literary activity, he has been one of the most familiar figures. His association with Hugh Miller on The Witness was a very happy one; and some eight hundred of the leading articles in that almost epoch-making journal were from Mr. Wylie’s hand.

His exuberant energy found outlet the while in the publication of several separate volumes, the most notable of which appeared in 1851, and was entitled “The Papacy: its History, Dogmas, Genius, and Prospects.” This treatise gained for him, by the unanimous award of Drs. Wardlaw, Cunningham, and Eadie, the Evangelical Alliance prize of a hundred guineas. It also won for him a European reputation,– to which the savage attacks of Romish critics, at home and on the Continent, brought added lustre,– and it helped to give direction to his future life.

In 1852, as already mentioned, Mr. Wylie joined the Free Church of Scotland; and in the following year he became editor of the Free Church Record– a post which he held for the next eight years. The degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him by Aberdeen University in 1856. Of his separate literary ventures at this time, one was a competitive essay on “The Gospel Ministry: the Duty and Privilege of Supporting It.” He secured by it the prize of £150; and in this connection Dr. Joseph Parker, who obtained proximos honores, writes: “On procuring Dr. Wylie’s essay and reading it, I said, ‘This should have won both the prizes: it is infinitely the best.'” The “Pilgrimage from the Alps to the Tiber,” “The Waldenses,” and “The Great Exodus,” also found many readers.

In 1860, mainly through the instrumentality of Dr. Begg, the Protestant Institute was established; and Dr. Wylie, by acclamation, was invited to be the lecturer. The appointment in his case was for life; and though the subject of Popery is not in itself attractive, it is true– and it is much to say– that for thirty successive years Dr. Wylie’s treatment of it has continued to be a living influence in our land. In him the Churches had no mere holder of an office, but a man with a mission, who, while centering his energies on the functions of his chair, was ready to devote his life in every possible way to the exposure of Papal errors and the clear and fervid counter exposition of the principles of the Reformation. If the members of even his first class felt that they were sitting at the feet of one who was a past-master in his subject, the successive relays of students who, to the number of about two thousand, went through his classes, had equal reason to know that in their teacher they had one not only familiar with Popish theory, but keenly awake to Popish practice in all its contemporary developments.

Besides holding his classes, Dr. Wylie addressed countless meetings in his time throughout the country. His “delivery,” it must be said, contrasted unfavourably with the grace of his written style; but he rose on occasions to a genuine eloquence which fairly carried his audience along with him. This was notably the case once and again in Exeter Hall, where his appearance was latterly hailed with the utmost enthusiasm; and in many parts of England the announcement of Dr. Wylie’s name would draw a large audience together at any time. This was partly to be accounted for by the greater urgency of the Romish question in England. It was partly, no doubt, also due to the great circulation of his writings in the sister country, where his magnum opus, for example– “The History of Protestantism,” 3 vols., 2,000 pp., 1874-77– has sold in scores of thousands.

Dr. Wylie was not one to whom any large share of outward honours fell; nor did he covet them. But that he held a high place in the esteem and a warm place in the affections of many, came unmistakably out at the time of his jubilee in 1881. The meeting, presided over by Sir Henry Moncreiff, at which his portrait, now hanging in the Institute, was presented, was of the most genuinely appreciative character; and the £300 gift, handed to him by Dr. Whyte and the writer about the same time one day in his study, came in so freely from the few friends applied to throughout the country as to indicate that a much larger sum might readily have been gathered had a wider movement been set afoot. The intention of the gift, however, was completely realized; for in the following spring, at the age of seventy-four, the doctor accomplished his tour in Egypt and Palestine, of which he has given a graphic account in his “Land of the Pharaohs,” and his “Over the Holy Land.”

We cannot enter further here into the details of his busy life. It was a life of great simplicity both in purpose and in habit. Spent mostly at the desk, or rather at the desk and mantlepiece on which a great part of his writing was done, it was varied by two regular daily “constitutionals,” at daybreak and in the afternoon, when he was at home, and by an occasional excursion to one or other of the historic lands of Europe, in the intervals of his class work. The day was ordinarily crowned by an hour or two of cheerful converse by the hearth. Those favoured with his intimate friendship will bear the writer out in saying, as he has already done elsewhere, that to be with Dr. Wylie at such times, and to listen to his rich and sparkling conversation, on whatever subject might come up, meant both education and enjoyment.

Men spoke of him sometimes as a “fanatic;” but if his utterances on the Papacy were strong, his detestation of the system was equalled by his tenderness for its unhappy votaries. To virile strength he united a woman’s sensibility. It was a profound mistake to fancy in him an acrid, self-assertive, one-idead controversialist. He was one of the best informed, most genial, and sympatric of men, and his deep unaffected humility was one of his greatest charms. You could not be long with him without perceiving in him a lover of Christ and of all good men, and his mellow unostentatious piety gave an unmistakable savour to all his life.

And now he has gone to be with Christ, for whom he lived and in whom he died. His end was as simple as his life had been. Influenza seized him at the close of his last session, when, through [extensive] work of various kinds, his system was [unusually weak]. For three or four weeks he was confined to bed. Though nothing serious was apprehended, [he was] greatly cheered, as were his two attached [disciples] by the occasional visits of his minister and [fellow] townsmen Dr. Whyte, in whose congregation he had long been an elder, and whose weekly pulpit ministrations had been to him a fountain of [life]. He said to me on the Sabbath evening before he died, “I have often been a very unworthy [worship]per, but I can truly say, ‘Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, the place where thine honour dwelleth.'” It was not till the day before [the end] came that it was a settled conviction with him [that] he was to die. But by that time he had relenquished all his literary plans, asking anything or [nothing to] be done with his papers, as might seem to be best. His mind was reverting to early Kirrie days, and anon going forward to the eternal world, on [which] he was so soon to enter. I said, “You are [relying] on Christ, doctor?” “Yes,” he replied; “[He is] Christ the Rock. If there’s a piece of adamant [any]where in the universe, it’s there– Christ the Rock.” Next morning I was again by his bedside. [Death] was now plainly written on his face. He spoke with difficulty some words of blessing, and as he [entered in] his breathless closing struggle with the last enemy, I could hear him say in the words of the old [psalm]

“Upon the Lord, who worthy is
Of praises, will I cry:
And then shall I preserved be
Safe from mine enemy.”

He remained conscious for a short [time after this], and could give a look of recognition [still], and a farewell pressure of the hand to those [close] to him. But he never spoke again; and [it will] ever be suggestive of a hallowed memory [and laud]able, after a lifelong friendship with him, to [quote] him in turn what he wrote to me of [the dear] M’Crie: “I watched by his bedside when [he was] dying, and I was the last to whom he [addressed] mortal speech.”

Dr. Wylie’s earthly remains were laid in the [New]ington cemetery, just a few yards from the [grave of] Dr. Begg. Principal Rainy made [impressive] reference to him in Free St. George’s on the [follow]ing Sabbath, in the absence of Dr. Whyte[.] [In] speaking cordially of Dr. Wylie’s work, his [literary] power, various knowledge, and “the [inexhaustible] fertillity of mind which age seemed [unable to] weaken or exhaust,” Dr. Rainy said, [and with] these words we close: “Besides his [service we recognized in him the antique atmosphere and [light] and shade of an older time. We feel the [passing] away of memories and associations we [would gladly] have retained among us– interesting, [edifying,] endeared. We are the poorer for the loss. [We see] the old order changing. We shall do well [to cleave] to the truth it lived by, and to reproduce [it with] the fidelity to truth and goodness, to Christ [and the] gospel, which inspired it.”

Rev. Samuel Wylie (1790)

Bethel Reformed Presbyterian Church, Sparta, IL

The history of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Randolph County goes back to the year 1818. To the Rev. Samuel Wylie belongs the credit of the planting of the church.

He was born in County Antrim, Ireland, February 19, 1790; came to the United States in 1807; entered the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in the class of 1811; prepared for the ministry in the Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, under the care of his uncle, Dr. S.B. Wylie, and was licensed to preach in May, 1815, at Philadelphia, by the Middle Presbytery.

In the summer of 1817 he visited various places in the West, passing through Illinois and continuing his travels as far as Boonville, Missouri. On his return he again passed through Illinois and spent the winter in supplying the vacancies in Tennessee and South Carolina.

At the meeting of the Synod in Pittsburgh in the latter part of May, 1818, he reported his travels and the prospect for church extension in the West. Synod ordered the Middle Presbytery to take him on trial for ordination, and he was accordingly ordained in Pittsburgh, PA, on the 2nd of June, 1818, and sent as a missionary to Southern Illinois. Mr. Wylie reached Kaskaskia the last day of July following and immediately entered upon his work.


  • University of Pennsylvania Archives.
  • PCA Historical Center: Bethel’s Early History, by Rev. W.J. Smiley.

Joseph Patterson Engles

Joseph Patterson Engles (1793-1861)

He was the son of Silas and Annie (Patterson) Engles, and was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 3d, 1793, and graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1811. In 1813 he was appointed co-master of the Grammar school of that institution. In 1817 he was associated with Samuel B. Wylie, D.D., in conduction an academy, and, after Dr. Wylie’s withdrawal from it, it was under his sole charge for twenty-eight years. In February, 1845, Mr. Engles was elected by the Board of Publication as its Publishing Agent, and in this position realized the expectations of the friends of the Board. He was an elder in the Scots Presbyterian Church until the time of his death, April 14th, 1861.

Source: Alfred Nevin, 1884, Enclyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America: Including the Northern and Southern Assemblies Presbyterian Encyclopedia Publishing Co. Philadelphia, PA.