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Sparrow, Patrick J., D.D.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

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a Presbyterian divine, was born in Lincoln County, N.C., in 1802. His father died while he was quite young, and, owing to the poverty of his mother, he was hired out to assist in supporting the family. The family in which he worked became interested in him, and placed him in the Bethel Academy, S.C., then under the care of Rev. Samuel Williamson. He remained in that institution about eighteen months, and this was all the academical education he ever received, never having enjoyed the advantages of a collegiate or theological course. After leaving the academy he engaged in teaching and studying with such assistance as he could obtain, until he was licensed by Bethel Presbytery in 1826. His first charge was Washington and Long Creek churches in his native county, in 1828 he removed to Lincolnton, N.C., where he was engaged in preaching and teaching; in 1831 he became pastor of Unity. Church in the same county; and in 1834 of the Church in Salisbury, N.C. It was while in this charge that a joint effort was made by Concord and Bethel presbyteries to build up a literary institution for the education of young men for the ministry. The men selected as suitable agents to raise the funds were Rev. P.J. Sparrow and Rev. R.H. Morrison.

They were so successful in their work that the institution was put in operation in March, 1837, receiving the name of Davidson College. Dr. Sparrow was chosen the first professor of languages in this institution, the duties of which position he continued to discharge until 1840, when he received a call from the College Church in Prince Edward County, Va., and became its pastor in 1841. He was at that time in the prime of his manhood, both intellectually and physically, was a most indefatigable student, greatly in love with work, and was willing to undertake any labor, however arduous or self denying. While thus preaching a vacancy occurred in the presidency of Hampden Sidney College, and he was invited to occupy that position temporarily; he accepted, and immediately wrote out a full course of lectures to the senior class on moral philosophy, and as a result he was elected permanent president, and continued, as long as he remained there, to perform the duties of president of the college as well as pastor of the Church. In 1847- 48 he removed to Alabama, and became principal of the Presbyterian high school in Eutaw; in 1849 was stated supply to Burton's Hill Church; in 1850 became a teacher in Newbern, and soon after began preaching at Marion, also laboring as a missionary in South Alabama Presbytery. In 1853 he settled in Pensacola, Fla., where he remained until 1861-62, when he removed to Cahaba, Ala., where he died, Nov. 10, 1867. See Wilson, Presb. Hist. Almanac, 1868, p. 369; Davidson, Hist. of Presb. Ch. in Ky. p. 40. (J.L.S.)

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Sparrow, Patrick J., D.D.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature.​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​s/sparrow-patrick-j-dd.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.