JEREMIAH REED BRITTAIN, D. D., late pastor of the United
Presbyterian Church of Greenville, but now located in Englewood Ill.,
was born near Beaver Falls, Beaver Co., Penn., July 26, 1839, and is a son
of Joseph and Belinda (Clark) Brittain,
natives of the same county. The Brittains were originally from Maryland,
and removed to Berwick, in Eastern Pennsylvania, whence, about. 1796, Jeremiah
Brittain, grandfather of our subject, immigrated to Beaver County,
where, during a long residence, he was widely known as one of the most
prominent farmers and sheep growers of that section of the State. Both he
and his wife died on the old homestead in Beaver County. They reared a
family of seven sons and three daughters, Rev. Brittain's father, Joseph,
being the ninth and youngest son. He inherited the old homestead, and
reared a family of three sons and two daughters, all of whom are living.
He now resides with his daughter, Mrs. W. C.
Chamberlain, of East Palestine, Ohio, where his wife died August 5,
1886. Rev. Brittain was the oldest of the family, and his boyhood days
were principally spent on his father’s farm. His first schooling was
obtained in White’s school-house, which stood near his home and not far
from the site of Geneva College. In his fourteenth year he attended one
term at Darlington Academy, in Beaver County, and when seventeen again
spent some time in the same institution, then under the charge of Joseph
B. Kiddo, afterward a brigadier-general in the Union army. He
taught one term of school when seventeen years of age, and from that time
till attaining his majority worked on the farm. In September, 1850, Mr.
Brittain entered Beaver Academy, then under Simon B.
Mercer, and the next autumn cast his first vote for Abraham Lincoln
for President. He spent two years at Beaver Academy, and then entered
Westminster College, New Wilmington, Lawrence County, then under the
presidency of Dr. James Patterson, where he
graduated with first honors in June, 1863, delivering the Greek salutatory
on commencement day. Immediately after graduating he enlisted in a company
of volunteers, made up chiefly of students, Dr.
George C. Vincent, captain, but only experienced a brief service.
In the fall of 1863 Mr. Brittain entered the United Presbyterian
Theological Seminary of Allegheny City, where he spent three years
studying for the ministry, but was licensed at the end of the second year.
In March, 1866, Dr. Brittain received a call from the United Presbyterian
congregation of Greenville, where be entered on his work July 1, and where
he was ordained and installed pastor by the Lake Presbytery in September,
1866. The following year the present church building was erected, and
under his pastorate the congregation increased from 100 to 300 members.
Dr. Brittain has been a member of the board of trustees of Westminster
College ten years, and in June, 1885, that institution conferred upon him
the title of Doctor of Divinity. He has also been a director of the United
Presbyterian Theological Seminary six years. Dr. Brittain was married
August 30, 1864, to Miss Nannie D. King, of
Illinois, who has borne him nine children, eight of whom are living, two
sons and six daughters. During his pastorate in Greenville of nearly
twenty-two years Dr. Brittain received several calls from other churches,
but his popularity among his people was such as to deter his departure
from the field wherein he had labored so long and faithfully, until his
acceptance of the call from the United Presbyterian congregation of
Englewood, Ill, in February, 1888. He is one of the ablest men of his
church, and throughout his long residence in Greenville was recognized as
a hard-working, successful minister, and an enterprising, influential
of Mercer County,
1888, pages 778-779