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John Price Durbin
(1800-1876)

John Price Durbin was born on October 10, 1800 in Bourbon County, Kentucky, the eldest of five sons. Shortly after his father died, he was apprenticed to a cabinet maker at the age of 13; he worked for several years until his religious conversion at age 18. Through tutors and self-education, he began to study English grammar, and later Latin and Greek. Durbin soon became a licensed preacher and in 1819 traveled to Ohio to enter the ministry. In 1821 he began to minister in Hamilton, Ohio, and at the same time took up studies at nearby Miami University. The following year he moved again and was forced to continue his studies independently. Durbin resumed formal studies at Cincinnati College and received both a bachelor's degree and a master of arts degree in 1825. Immediately following his graduation, he became a professor of languages at Augusta College in Kentucky. He married Frances B. Cook of Philadelphia on September 6, 1827, and in 1831 was selected to be Chaplain of the United States Senate. This appointment was followed in 1832 with a position as editor of the Christian Advocate.

In 1833 Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania came under the management of the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Church. As a result, a new faculty of Methodist instructors was assembled, and Durbin was chosen to be president. Under Durbin, Dickinson College increased its enrollment and increased its size with the addition of a new building for student housing, recitation, and housing for the president. In 1842 Durbin began a tour of Europe and the Middle East; upon his return home, he authored two books about these travels. Within two years of resuming his duties at the college, Durbin tendered his resignation to the Board of Trustees, explaining that he wished to return to the ministry. Around this same time, Durbin married Mary Cook, the sister of his deceased first wife.

After retiring from the college, Durbin began preaching in Philadelphia, and in 1849 he was elected presiding elder of the North Philadelphia area. In 1850 he was elected as the secretary of the Missionary Society, a position he held until 1872, when he was forced to retire for health reasons. On October 18, 1876, John Price Durbin died in New York; he was buried in Philadelphia.

Please visit the following link for materials authored by John Price Durbin maintained in the Their Own Words database:

Durbin, John Price, 1800-1876.

Researched, authored, and edited by John Osborne, Ph. D., and James Gerencser.


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