William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan
Finding aid for
Finding aid created by
Alexander Taggart McGill Papers, 1833-1851
Rob S. Cox, August 1997
Alexander Taggart McGill papers
McGill, Alexander Taggart, 1807-1889
The McGill papers are a small, but informative series of letters addressed to Alexander Taggart McGill from fellow Presbyterian ministers. The letters are concerned primarily with facets of the life of the Presbyterian Church, particularly in western Pennsylvania, including ministerial relations, church politics, and theology.
The material is in English
William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
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The collection is open for research.
Copyright status is unknown.
Alexander Taggart McGill Papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan.
Alexander Taggart McGill was born at Canonsburg, Pa., on February 24, 1807, the son of John and Mary Taggart McGill. After graduating from Jefferson College, then at Canonsburg, Alexander entered the Associate Presbyterian (Seceder) Seminary in Canonsburg, but for reasons of health, was forced to suspend his studies. Venturing south, McGill taught school at the Baldwin Academy in Milledgeville, Ga., and later studied law, gaining admittance to the Georgia bar in 1830. He was also appointed by the state legislature Surveyor of the Cherokee Land Reservation. In 1831, he returned to Canonsburg to resume his preparation for the ministry, and in 1835 was ordained by the Associate Presbyterian Synod at Carlisle, Pa., and installed as pastor of four small congregations.
The decade of the 1830s was a period of crisis in Presbyterian loyalties, and in 1838, McGill left the Associate Synod, transferring his membership to the Old School Presbytery of Carlisle. From 1842 to 1852, and 1853-1854, he was Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Government at Western Theological Seminary (now Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) in Allegheny, and for one year, 1852-53, he taught at Columbia Seminary in South Carolina. In 1854, the General Assembly (Old School) appointed him Professor of Pastoral Theology at Princeton Seminary, N.J., a chair he held until his retirement in 1883. He was author of many books and pamphlets, including several discussing the position of the Presbyterian Church with respect to slavery.
McGill became Moderator of the General Assembly (Old Style) in 1848, and was Stated Clerk from 1850 to 1870. His honorary degrees included a D.D. from Marshall College (1842) and an L.L.D. from the College of New Jersey (1868). He was married on May 18, 1837, to Eleanor A. McCulloch of Lewistown, Pa., and was father of three sons and three daughters. Nine years after Eleanor McGill died on March 6, 1873, McGill remarried to Catherine Bache Hodge of Princeton, who died on July 3, 1884. McGill died in Princeton on January 13, 1889.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The McGill papers are a small, but informative series of letters addressed to Alexander Taggart McGill from fellow Presbyterian ministers. The letters all correspond to McGill's years in western Pennsylvania, between the time of his return from the south in 1831 and his departure for New Jersey in 1854. This period coincides with McGill's change in denominational ties, however nothing in the collection relates directly to that switch.
The letters are concerned primarily with facets of the life of the Presbyterian Church, particularly in western Pennsylvania, including ministerial relations, church politics, and theology. Of particular note are letters documenting ties between several of the Presbyterian synods, which, in legend at least, detested one another. Perhaps reflecting McGill's own trajectory between synods, these letters suggest a greater degree of cross-fertilization between synods than has traditionally been suggested.
- Associate Presbyterian Church.
- Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
- Literature--Societies, etc.
- Presbyterian Church--Clergy.
- Presbyterian Church--Doctrinal and controversial works.
- Western Theological Seminary (Allegheny, Pa.)
Additional Descriptive Data
A substantial collection of correspondence of Alexander Taggart McGill is located in the Department of History and Record Management Services of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Philadelphia Pa.
McGill, Alexander Taggart. The presence of God a people's prosperity. (Philadelphia, 1841). C2 1841 Ma
McGill, Alexander Taggart.An inaugural address, delivered before the board of directors. (Pittsburgh, 1843). C2 1843 Ma
Princeton Theological Seminary.Discourses at the inauguration of Rev. Alexander T. M'Gill, D.D. (Philadelphia, 1854) C2 1854 Pr
McGill, Alexander Taggart. Sinful but not forsaken. (N.Y.: 1861). C2 1843 Ma
McGill, Alexander Taggart.The hand of God with the black race. (Philadelphia, 1862). C2 1862 Ma
McGill, Alexander Taggart. Life by faith. (Philadelphia, 1862). C2 1843 Ma
McGill, Alexander Taggart.American slavery, as viewed and acted on by the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. (Philadelphia, 1865). C2 1865 Ma
American Tract SocietyArminianismAssociate Presbyterian ChurchAssociate Reformed Presbyterian ChurchBooks--PricesBuildingCarlisle (Pa.)--Description and travelChurches--New York (State)--New YorkCumberland (Pa.) Presbyterian Church
Dayton (Ohio)--Description and travelDickinson CollegeKentucky--Description and travelLiterature--Societies, etc.
- 24 May 1844; 24 December 1847
- 29 March 1836; 31 July 1846; 21 August 1850
MarriageMissions--ChinaPresbyterian Church--ClergyPresbyterian Church--Doctrinal and controversial works
- 17 July 1838; 8 July 1844
- 3 April 1836; 17 July 1838; 20 July 1847; 24 December 1847
Presbyterian Church--Missions--ChinaPsalmodyScotlandUnited States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--CausesWestern Theological Seminary (Allegheny, Pa.)
- 3 April 1836; 17 July 1838
- 26 September 1843; 24 December 1847; 15 January 1851