Samuel Brown Wylie was born in the townland of Moylarg, Cullybackey, on the 21st May 1773, son of Adam Wylie, a farmer and Margaret Wylie, née Brown.  Samuel was educated locally before studying at the University of Glasgow where he graduated with an M.A. in 1797.  He began teaching at a school in Ballymena but after a few months he had to leave not only the school but also the country following his discovery of his involvement in the United Irishmen.  

Fleeing to America he arrived in Philadelphia in October 1797 where he was appointed as a tutor at the University of Pennsylvania, while also studying to become a minister under the direction of the Reverend William Gibson and was licensed by the Reformed Presbytery in Coldenham, New York in 1799, the following year he was ordained by a Reformed Presbytery in Ryegate, Vermont, becoming the first Covenanter minister to be ordained in the United States.  He was part of a commission and travelled with the Rev. James McKinney trying to abolish slaveholding in the American South. 

On the 5th April 1802 Samuel married Margaret Watson of Pittsburgh who was originally from Scotland.  He also returned to Ireland as a delegate to the convention of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Ireland and Scotland.  On returning to America he was installed in 1803 as Pastor of the First Reformed Presbyterian Church, ministering there until his death fifty years later.  He also taught at the Theological Seminary of Philadelphia from 1810 until 1817 and was a contributor to the American Philosophical Society, and was assistant editor of the “Presbyterian” in 1821-22.

Samuel was able to read fourteen languages, teaching Hebrew, Greek and Latin.  He was the author of “The Faithful Ministry of Magistracy and Ministry Upon a Scriptural Basis” and the “Life of Alexander McLeon”. 

Few men have ranked higher than the Revered Wylie in classical literature and theological attainments as a teacher, a good pastor or a practical Christian.  He retired from academic life in 1845 and died on 13th October 1852 in Philadelphia. Samuel and his wife had seven children.



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