Person:John Sergeant (1)

Rev. John Sergeant
b.0 ___ 1710 Newark, NJ
m. 1699
  1. Mary Sergeant1700 - 1779
  2. Thomas SergeantAbt 1703 - 1766
  3. Rev. John Sergeant1710 - 1749
  4. Jonathan SergeantAbt 1712 - 1777
  5. Daniel SergeantAbt 1714 - Abt 1732
  6. Hannah SergeantAbt 1716 -
  7. Martha SergeantAbt 1718 - Bef 1756
m. 16 Aug 1739
  1. Electa Sergeant1740 - 1798
  2. Dr. Erastus Sergeant1742 - 1814
  3. John Sergeant1747 - 1824
Facts and Events
Name Rev. John Sergeant
Gender Male
Birth? 0 ___ 1710 Newark, NJ
Graduation? 1729 Yale College
Marriage 16 Aug 1739 Stockbridge, Massachusettsto Abigail Williams
Occupation? Minister
Death? 27 Jul 1749 Stockbridge, Massachusetts
Reference Number? 01-188s

His grandfather, Jonathan, was a founder of Newark in 1667. John was graduated at Yale in 1729, and served as tutor there in 1731-'5. He began to preach to the Indians at Housatonie, in western Massachusetts, in 1734, and the next year permanently settled among them and taught them in their own language. In 1736, when the general court, purchased of the Indians all the land at Skatehook, and in return granted them the township which is now called Stockbridge, he was made owner of one sixtieth part, and ordained "settled missionary to the Indians" there and at Kaunaumeek. A short time before his death he established a manual-labor school at Stockbridge that was in successful operation several years. He translated into the Indian language parts of the Old Testament and all of the New except the book of Revelation, and published a "Letter on the Indians" (1743) and "A Sermon" (1743).

His son, Erastus, physician, born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 7 August, 1742; died there, 14 November, 1814, passed two years at Princeton, and studied medicine with his uncle, Dr. Thomas Williams, in Deerfield, Massachusetts He then settled in Stockbridge, and was the first practitioner in that town. He was a skilful surgeon, and the principal operator within a circle of thirty miles radius. He entered the Revolutionary army in 1775 as major of the 7th Massachusetts regiment, and served with it on Lake Champlain from December, 1776, till April, 1777, and subsequently till Burgoyne's surrender.--

Another son of John, John, missionary, born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in 1747" died there, 8 September, 1824, studied at Princeton two years, was ordained to the ministry of the Congregational church, and in 1775 took charge of the Indian part of the Stockbridge congregation. When they removed to New Stockbridge, New York, he followed them and labored among them until his death. One of his daughters established a temperance society for Indian women. Mr. Sergeant possessed little worldly wisdom, and was better known for his useful and blameless life than for his intellectual gifts, but he exercised great influence among the Indian tribes, and, on hearing of his expected death, one of the chiefs said" We feel as if our sun was setting, and we do not know what darkness will succeed."--

The first John's nephew, Jonathan Dickinson, lawyer, born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1746; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 8 October, 1793, was the grandson of Jonathan Dickinson, the first president of Princeton. He was graduated there in 1762, studied law, and began practice in his native state. He took his seat in the Continental congress a few days after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, served in 1776-'7, and in July, 1777, became attorney general of Pennsylvania In 1778, congress having ordered a court-martial for the trim of General Authur St. Clair and other officers in relation to the evacuation of Ticonderoga, he was appointed by that body, with William Patterson, of New , Jersey, to assist the judge-advocate in the conduct of the trial. He resigned the office of attorney-general in 1780, settled in his profession in Philadelphia, was counsel for the state of Pennsylvania in the controversy with Connecticut concerning the Wyoming lands in 1782, and was conspicuous in the management of many other important cases. When the yellow fever visited Philadelphia in 1793 he was appointed one of the health committee, and in consequence refused to leave the city. He distributed large sums among the poor, nursed the sick, and was active in sanitary measures, but fell a victim to the epidemic.--

Jonathan Dickinson's son, John, lawyer, born in Philadelphia, 5 December, 1779; died there, 25 November, 1852, was graduated at Princeton in 1795, and, abandoning his intention to become a merchant, studied law, and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1799. For more than half a century he was known throughout the country as one of the most honorable and learned members of his profession and its acknowledged leader in Philadelphia. He entered public life in 1801, when he was appointed commissioner of bankruptcy by Thomas Jefferson, was a member of the legislature in 1808-'10, and of congress in 1815-'23, 1827-'9, and 1837-'42. In 1820 he was active in securing the passage of the Missouri compromise. He was appointed one of the two envoys in 1826 to the Panama congress, was president of the Pennsylvania constitutional convention in 1830, and Whig candidate for the vice-presidency on the ticket with Henry Clay in 1832. He declined the mission to England in 1841, and his last public service was that of arbitrator to determine a long-pending controversy. The question at issue concerned the title to Pea Patch island as derived by the United States from the state of Delaware, and by James Humphrey claiming through Henry Gale from the state of New Jersey. This involved the question of the boundary between the two states, or, in other words, the claim to Delaware river, and the decision in favor of the United States incidentally decided the boundary dispute in favor of Delaware.--

Another son of Jonathan Dickinson, Thomas, jurist, born in Philadelphia, Pc., 14 January, 1782; died there, 8 May, 1860, was graduated at Princeton in 1798, studied law under Jared Ingersoll, and was admitted to the bar of Philadelphia in 1802. He was in the legislature in 1812-'14, in the latter year was appointed associate justice of the district court of Philadelphia, and was secretary of the commonwealth in 1817-'19. While holding that office he began the formation of the state law library at Harrisburg. He was attorney-general in 1819-'20, postmaster of Philadelphia in 1828-'32, and in February, 1834, became associate-justice of the state supreme court, which office he held till his resignation in 1846. His judicial decisions were esteemed for their brevity, clearness, and accuracy, and it is said that he was the only judge that ever sat on the Pennsylvania bench not one of whose decisions was reversed. He was the chief expounder of the limited equity jurisdiction of the court, and was of service in bringing this into an intelligible and convenient shape. He returned to the bar in 1847, and successfully practised until the failure of his health compelled his gradual abandonment of professional labor. He was provost of the law-academy of Philadelphia in 1844-'55, for many years president of the Pennsylvania historical society, a member of the American philosophical society, and a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. He married, on 14 September, 1812, Sarah Bache, a granddaughter of Benjamin Franklin. His publications include " Treatise upon the Law of Pennsylvania relative to the Proceedings by Foreign Attachment " (Philadelphia, 1811) ; "Report of Cases adjudged in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania," with William Rawle, Jr. (17 vols., 1814-'29) ; "Constitutional Law" (1822) ; " Sketch of the National Judiciary Powers exercised in the United States Prior to the Adoption of the Present Federal Constitution" (1824); and " View of the Land Laws of Pennsylvania " (1838). Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM


Konkapot, chief of the Mahicans Massachusetts, came to a hard decision. Since he could not hope to defeat the white invaders who were pressing on his lands, he would join them. His tribe would become Christians. In 1734, he asked for missionaries. After negotiations, the Puritans responded by sending John Sergeant. John took a deep interest in the fortunes of this declining tribe who needed much more than spiritual assistance. One of his first efforts was to open a school for their children. When he returned east to complete his own education, he took two Mahicans with him to further theirs. Then the Yale graduate returned to work among the Indians. At that time they lived as two bands many miles apart. He and his assistant Timothy Woodbridge were exhausted traveling between them. He suggested the two groups unite in a central location. In this way they founded Stockbridge, Massachusetts and he built the first house there. The Massachusetts colonial government funded a school and a meeting house. Although the missionaries lived separate from the Indians, the town government did become integrated, with Indians and whites sharing power. Using English methods, the Indians harvested bumper crops. Interested Englishmen contributed funds for the success of the experiment.

However, unscrupulous whites began to seize land that was promised to the Indians in perpetuity. Among them was John's father-in-law. He had married Abigail Williams, daughter of the Rev. Ephraim Williams. Ephraim did much harm to the Mahicans. John died on this day, July 27, 1749. With his passing, the Indians lost their champion and the terms of their settlement were increasingly violated. A general who was appointed to manage the town married John's widow and sold liquor to the Indians. John is little remembered today. However, his legacy of concern for the Indians lived on when Jonathan Edwards took over the mission post for a few years. But John's legacy found its most ardent expression in the young man who hoped to become the son-in-law of Jonathan Edwards. Many have heard of David Brainerd, the missionary to American Indians who died young but bequeathed a spiritual journal to posterity that has inspired dedication in countless later Christians. His inauguration as a missionary was owing to John Sergeant. John had visited Indians along the Delaware River and asked the Scottish Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK) to send them a missionary. Brainerd was the result.

above dates disagree with "Weis, CC&CC, pg 182" Rev.John Sergeant, s.of Jonathan, jr & Mary ( ) S.; YC 1729 AN,AM; Tutor 1731-5; Ord. Deerfield for work in Stockbridge 31 Aug 1735, inst. Stock. 31-Aug-1735; Sett. 1734-49, d. Stockbridge 27 July 1749 age 39