Francis Herron (1774-1860)

Francis Herron (1774-1860)

Francis Herron was born on June 28, 1774 near Shippensburg in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. He enrolled at nearby Dickinson College and graduated in 1794. He was determined on a career in the Presbyterian ministry, and so studied theology under his pastor Robert Cooper, and was licensed by the Carlisle Presbytery in October 1797.

His immediate work began as a missionary, moving through Pittsburgh and then west through the backwoods of Ohio as far as present day Chillocothe. He also made a name for himself by camping several nights with the Native Americans, who were then numerous around what is today the town of Marietta, Ohio. Despite being asked to lead several congregations in the west, Herron eventually was installed as pastor of the Rock Spring Church, closer to his home, in April 1800. After ten years of service in Cumberland County, he did return, however, as he was appointed as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh in June 1811. The remainder of his service was spent in that city.

He became a Moderator of the General Assembly in 1827 and was influential in several areas of the administration of the Presbyterian Church. He retained his early interest in missionary work with his long term support for the Western Foreign Missionary Board. He was also prominent in educational affairs, serving as trustee of Jefferson College from 1817 to 1849, and was instrumental in the founding of the Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, on whose board of directors he sat as president from 1827 until his death.

Francis Herron retired from the ministry in 1850 and died on December 6, 1860, aged eighty-six years.

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Dickinson College Archives
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