Blackburn, Gideon, was born in Augusta county, Virginia, August 27, 1772; he was a nephew of Gen. Samuel Blackburn.
His parents removed to East Tennessee. and he was placed under the instruction of the Rev. Mr. Doak. He was licensed
to preach by the Abingdon Presbytery between 1792 and 1795, and with his Bible, hymn book, knapsack and rifle,
plunged into the wilderness, and made his first preaching at a fort built for the protection of the frontier; established
churches at Marysville, and several surrounding places. In 1833 he undertook a mission to the Cherokee Indians,
and in 1811 became principal of Harpeth Academy, preaching at the same time and organizing several churches. From
1823 to 1827 he preached at Louisville. Kentucky, and in the latter year became president of Centre College, holding
the office until 1830. He then removed to Versailles, where he preached and acted as agent of the Kentucky State
Temperance Society. In 1833 he went to Illinois and in 1835 began to raise money for Illinois colleges, a work
which resulted in Blackburn University at Carlinville, Illinois. He did not live to see its organization or the
erection of its buildings, and it did not reach higher than a college grade. In 180 the College of New Jersey conferred
on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and Dickinson College gave him those of Master of Arts and S. T. D. He
died in Carlinville, Illinois, August 23, 1838.
Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography
By: Lyon Gardiner Tyler, LL. D.
Lewis Historical Publishing Company
New York 1915
Vol. 2 Prominent Persons in Virginia
Vol. 2 Judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals
Vol. 2 United States Senators
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