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Biographies of Co. Tyrone Men in USA

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Biographies of Co. Tyrone Men in USA
Extracted from Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume 5; edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske 1888

Extracted, Transcribed & Submitted by Teena Troock

Potter, James b.1729
Robinson, Stuart b.1814; d.1881
Robinson, William Erigena b.1814
Shields, James b.1810; d.1879
Starrs, William b.1807; d.1873

POTTER, James - Revolutionary soldier b in Tyrone Ireland in 1729 d in Centre county Pa. in November 1789. He came to this country with his father John POTTER in 1741 and the family settled in Cumberland county Pa. of which the father became high sheriff in 1750. At the age of five, the son was a lieutenant in the border militia and in 1755 he was a captain under Gen ARMSTRONG in the victorious Kittanning campaign, after ARMSTRONG and POTTER were attached friends. In 1763- 4, he served in the militia as major and lieutenant-colonel. He sympathized ardently with the colonies in their contest with the mother Country, in 1775 was made a colonel and in the following year was a member of the Provincial convention, of which Benjamin FRANKLIN was president. In April 1777, he was made a Brigadier - General of Pennsylvania troops and he remained in almost continuous service until the close of the war. In 1777, with the troops under his command in the counties of Philadelphia Chester and Delaware, he obtained important information for Washington and prevented supplies reaching the enemy. On 11 Dec. while the army under Washington was on its way to Valley Forge, after part of it had crossed Schuylkill at Matson's ford, it was found that the enemy under Cornwallis, were in force on the other side. "They were met", writes Washington "Gen. POTTER, with part of the Pennsylvania Militia, who behaved with great bravery, and gave them every possible opposition, until he was obliged to retreat from their superior numbers." In the spring of 1778 Washington wrote from Valley Forge "If the state of Gen POTTER's affairs will admit of his returning to the army, I shall be exceedingly glad to see him, as his activity and vigilance have been much wanted during the winter". He was chosen a member of the supreme executive council of Pennsylvania in 1780 ,in 1781 became its vice- president and in 1782 was a candidate for the presidency against John Dickinson, receiving thirty-two votes to Dickinson's forty one. He became a member of the council of censors in 1784 and in 1785, one of the commissioners of rivers and streams. He was a farmer and he left at his death large and valuable landed estates.

ROBINSON, Stuart - clergyman b in Strabane Co. Tyrone Ireland 14 Nov 1814 d in Louisville Ky 5 Oct 1881. The family settled in New York city in 1817 and several years later removed to Berkeley county Va. The son was graduated at Amherst in 1836, studied theology at Union seminary Va. and at Princeton and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister on 8 Oct 1841. He preached and taught for six yrs at Maiden Va. From 1847 - 1852, he was pastor of the church in Frankfort Ky., where he established a female seminary. He accepted the pastorate of an independent church in Baltimore in 1852 but resigned in 1854 and with a large part of the congregation, organized a regular Presbyterian church. He established and conducted a periodical called the Presbyterial Critic 1855- 6. In 1856- 7, he was professor of church government and pastoral theology at Danville seminary. In 1858 he took charge of a church in Louisville Ky., which removed soon afterward into a large new edifice. He purchased the 'Presbyterian Herald', changed its name to the 'True Presbyterian' and in its columns maintained with zeal the doctrine of the non- secular character of the church, which brought him into sharp conflict with the section of the Presbyterians in Kentucky, who upheld the contrary view. His loyalty being called in question, his paper was suppressed in 1862 by the military authorities and the editor removed to Canada where he preached to large audiences in Toronto , till the close of the war. In April 1866 he returned to his church in Louisville and resumed the publication of his paper changing the title to the 'Free Christian Commonwealth'. He was expelled from the general assembly of 1866 at St Louis, on account of his action in signing what was known as the Declaration and Testimony, which protested against political deliverences by that body. Dr Robinson and his colleagues of the presbytery of Louisville were, by an order of that body, debarred from seats in the courts of the church and after an earnest controversy with the Rev Dr Robert J Breckenridge, he induced the synod of Kentucky to unite with the general assembly of the Southern Presbyterian church, in 1869 of which he was chosen moderator by acclamation. He was instrumental in inducing the Southern church to join in the Pan- Presbyterian alliance at Edinburgh in 1877, which he attended as a delegate, and in securing the adoption of a revised book of government and discipline. From the period of his ministry in Frankfort, he was accustomed to expound the Old Testament on Sunday evenings. These lectures were widely read in pamphlet form and subsequently published in a volume. One of these discourses delivered in Toronto in February i860 on the subject of 'Slavery as Recognized by the Mosaic Civil Law and as Recognized also and Allowed in the Abrahamic Mosaic and Christian Church' was expanded and published Toronto 1865. He was also the author of 'The Church of God as an Essential Element of the Gospel Philadelphia ' 1858 and of a book of outlines of sermons entitled 'Discourses of Redemption' (New York 1866)

ROBINSON, William Erigena - Journalist b near Cookstown County Tyrone Ireland 6 May 1814. He attended Cookstown classical school and entered the Royal academical institution at Belfast but was compelled by sickness to leave. He emigrated to the United States in 1836, was graduated at Yale in 1841, and studied in the law school there. While a member of the college he founded the 'Yale Banner' and wrote editorial articles for the daily press. He was engaged as editor of the New Haven Daily Courier but left it on account of its 'Know Nothing ' sentiments and became a journalist in New York City. His articles signed 'Richelieu' in the 'Tribune' established his reputation. He was editor for a time of the 'Buffalo Express' and subsequently of the 'Irish World'. He organized the movement for the relief of Ireland in 1847 and procured the authorization by congress of the sending of the frigate Macedonian, with provisions to Ireland. In 1848- 9, he edited a weekly paper called 'The People.

An address on 'The Celt and the Saxon ' that he delivered before a college society in 1851, at Clinton NY was published and provoked animadversions in English newspapers and reviews and in the debates of parliament. In 1854 he entered on the practice of law in New York city. He was appointed US assessor of internal revenue for Brooklyn in 1862 and held that office for five years. He was elected to congress as a Democrat in 1866 and was again elected in 1880 and continued in his seat by re- election in 1882. His management and persistent advocacy secured the passage in 1868 of a bill asserting the rights of expatriation and naturalization which resulted in the abandonment of the doctrine of perpetual allegiance by Great Britain and Germany. Besides his political writings in the daily press, he has produced popular poems and delivered lectures and addresses on literary subjects. He is preparing for publication a book on Irish American genealogies

SHIELDS, James - soldier b in Dungannon County Tyrone Ireland in 1810 d in Ottumwa Iowa 1 June 1879. He emigrated to the United States in 1826, studied law and began practice at Kaskaskia ILL. in 1832. He was sent to the legislature in 1836, elected state auditor in 1839, in 1843 appointed a judge of the state supreme court and in 1845 made commissioner of the general land office. When the war with Mexico began, he was appointed a brigadier -general, his commission dating from 1 July 1846, and was assigned to the command of the Illinois contingent. He served under Gen. Zacharv Taylor on the Rio Grande, under Gen. John E. Wool in Chihuahua, and through Gen Winfield Scott's campaign. At Cerro Gordo ,he gained the brevet of major -general and was shot through the lung. After his recovery he took part in the operations in the valley of Mexico commanding a brigade composed of marines and of New York and South Carolina volunteers and at Chapultepec he was, again, severely wounded. He was mustered out on 20 July 1848 and in the same year, received the appointment of governor of Oregon territory. This office he resigned on being elected US senator from Illinois, as a Democrat, and served from 3 Dec 1849 till 3 March 1855. After the expiration of his term he removed to Minnesota and when the state government was organized he returned to the U S senate as one of the representatives of the new state, taking his seat on 12 May 1858 and serving until 3 March 1859. At the end of his term he settled in California and at the beginning of hostilities in 1861 was in Mexico where he was engaged in superintending a mine Hastening to Washington, he was appointed a brigadier- general of volunteers on 19 Aug. He was assigned to the command of Gen Frederick W Lander's brigade, after the latter's death. and on 23 March 1862 at the head of a division of Gen. Nathaniel P Bank's army in the Shenandoah valley. he opened the second campaign with the victory at Winchester Va. after receiving a severe wound in the preparatory movements on the preceding day. He was in command at Port Republic on 9 June and was defeated by Gen. Thomas J Jackson. Resigning his commission on 28 March 186,3 he settled in California but soon removed to Carrollton MO. where he resumed the practice of law. He served as a railroad commissioner and was a member of the legislature in 1874 and 1879


STARRS, William - clergyman b in Drumquin County Tyrone, Ireland in 1807, d in New York City 6 Feb 1873. After receiving a good education, he studied theology at Maynooth college near Dublin Ireland, came to this Country in 1828, was received into the diocese of New York, completed his theological course at St Mary's seminary Baltimore and in 1834 was ordained a priest at St Patrick's Cathedral in New York, remaining curate there for ten years. In 1844 he was made pastor of St Mary's Church in Grand street, New York serving until 1853. when he was appointed rector of St Patrick's cathedral and vicar general of the archdiocese of New York. After the death of Archbishop Hughes in 1864, Dr STARRS was administrator of the diocese, until the bishop was appointed ,to whom he acted as theologian in the plenary council in Baltimore in 1866 and also filled this office at two councils of the province. For twenty years, he was the spiritual superior of the Sisters of Charity and president of the trustees of St Vincent's hospital. He was instrumental in instituting the Sisters of and Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

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