Robert Cathcart (1759-1849)

Robert Cathcart

Robert Cathcart was born in 1759 to Alexander and Mary Cathcart near Colerain, Londonderry, Northern Ireland. He studied science and theology at the University of Glasgow and graduated in 1780. Cathcart immigrated to the United States, arriving in Philadelphia in 1790. For the next three years, he served the Presbytery of Philadelphia. In 1791, Cathcart was sent to York County to preach at the churches of Yorktowne and Shrewsburg, now Round Hill. He was officially transferred to the Presbytery of Carlisle on April 9, 1793, and was again installed as paster at York and Shrewsburg in October of that year. Cathcart lived in York, riding out every other Sunday to preach at Shrewsburg. During his many years of service to both congregations, he only missed one Sunday sermon.

In 1794 Cathcart was appointed a trustee of Dickinson College. He served until the Methodist transition in 1833, and never missed a commencement during those thirty-nine years. When “New College” burned in 1803, Cathcart traveled to Philadelphia to solicit donations for the rebuilding of the college. In addition to his dedication to Dickinson, Cathcart helped to found the York County Academy, now York College, serving on the York Board of Trustees for fifty years. He also served as commissioner to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Synod for thirty years; for twenty of those he was the clerk of the Assembly. Robert Cathcart died on October 19, 1849.

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Dickinson College Archives
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