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James Sloan


REV. JAMES SLOAN, D.D. James Sloan was born in Hopewell township, Washington County, Sept. 16, 1807, of James and Martha Sloan, who came from County Tyrone, Ireland, about 1804. He was reared in the church of Upper Buffalo, and in early life made a public confession of his faith in Christ. At fourteen years of age he entered a select school taught by Rev. Thomas Campbell, father of the distinguished Alexander Campbell, and there laid the groundwork of his classical education. From this time, with that strong will and determination which came to him as a natural inheritance, he supported himself by means of teaching in schools and academies during his vacations, defraying the expense of his collegiate and theological education. En this sense, like so many of our strong and useful men, James Sloan was a selfmade man. After an interval of teaching he entered Washington College, then under the presidency of Dr. Andrew Wylie, but on the suspension of the college in 1828 be transferred his relation to Jefferson College, and was graduated in the class of 1880. On leaving college he taught for a time the Pleasant Hill Female Seminary, and then in the adjoining village of Middletown, and while thus engaged was married in 1831 to Sarah, daughter of William Lindsey, of the latter place. She departed this life after a happy union of three years, leaving a daughter, who still survives. During the same period be placed himself under the theological instruction of his venerable pastor, John Anderson, D.D., and was the last of the candidates for the ministry trained under his care, having been preceded by McFarren, Stockton, Anderson, Koontz, McKennan, and others not unknown to fame. After the death of his wife, the subject of this sketch united with Robert Fulton in establishing an academy at Florence, Pa. While thus engaged he was licensed to preach April 22, 1835, by the Presbytery of Washington. The next year he was ordained, and was Instrumental in organizing a church at Frankfort Springs, and was its first and useful pastor for about eight years, being associated also with Thomas Nicholson, Esq., In charge of an academy at that place. 

During his residence at Frankfort Springs he was married a second time to Margaret, daughter of the late Hon. James Gordon, of Monongahela City, a most estimable Christian lady, who survived him several years, and died Dec. 12, 1881, leaving one son, James G. Sloan, M.D., of Monongahela City.  Dr. Sloan was called to the ministerial charge of the Presbyterian Church of Pigeon Creek April 15, 1844, and was installed pastor in December of the same year. This relation, continuing over a period of eighteen years, was dissolved In October, 1862. From the commencement of his pastorate he showed his profound appreciation of the power of prayer in awaking and supporting all spiritual vitality. One of his first steps was the establishment of a regular weekly prayer meeting in portions of the congregation previously destitute of this important means of grace. His constant presence at the meetings, his earnest, heart-searching, and tender appeals to the impenitent, and his importunate pleadings at the mercy seat for their conversion eloquently attested his faithfulness as a pastor and the sincerity of his faith in the Hearer and Answerer of prayer. 

Second only to the power of the Holy Spirit bestowed in answer to prayer, he placed the power of personal Christian example. In this connection he also immediately commenced a regular system of pastoral visitation. Old and young, rich and poor, cultivated and uncultivated, all alike shared in the sunshine of his genial courtesy. 

Hardly inferior in importance to the regular dispensation of the gospel from the pulpit, Dr. Sloan regarded the work of Sabbath-school and Bible-class instruction. To these important agencies for good he gave the sanction of his constant presence and influence. The Bible class was never so prosperous as when under his care, frequently numbering as high as sixty members. His clear, forcible, and impressive expositions of truth were deeply appreciated by them, and resulted in the edification and advancement of the church.

In his pulpit ministrations, Dr. Sloan laid peculiar stress on the practical duties of religion. While distinctly stating and enforcing the cardinal doctrines in a logical, impressive, and oftentimes eloquent manner, he let no opportunity pass of insisting on the vital necessity that all true and genuine faith must be illustrated by good works. As might be supposed, this preaching was bountifully blessed During his pastorate three hundred and ninety-one persons were received into the communion of the church, two hundred and ninety-nine of whom were received on confession of faith. 

Upon his retirement from this charge, Dr. Sloan supplied the chapel pulpit of Jefferson College and the church of Canonsburg for a time, and then became more permanently a stated supply of the church at Waynesburg, Greene Co., Pa., where he labored with great acceptance until ill health compelled his retirement from the active works of the ministry. During the remaining two years of his life his resigned, humble, hopeful spirit found repose in the promises of Christ. Peacefully, though suddenly, at last he yielded his spirit, March 11, 1871, in the sixty-fourth year of his age, in the blessed hope of the gospel. 

Dr. Sloan was a man of ardent friendship, of decided purpose, of earnest Christian zeal. As a husband he was kind; mildness and tenderness, were manifested in all his domestic life. As a parent be performed his duties to his children with rare fidelity. 

As a citizen he was warmly attached to the government, and always careful to aid every effort to exalt and dignify the race. As a man he was without guile; as a preacher he bestowed great care on his sermons. He was a logical thinker, an impressive and eloquent speaker. He was a faithful Presbyter. He was a friend of education. He spent a number of years in teaching, was a trustee of Jefferson College, and afterwards of Washington and Jefferson College. He was at one time chosen President of Franklin College, Ohio, which was regarded as a fitting tribute to his personal worth and high character as a Christian and scholar.

Dr. Sloan was an earnest advocate of the cause of temperance; it was through his influence the first temperance society was organized in his native township. On the question of human slavery he occupied no doubtful ground, having made a speech on the subject condemning it, and claiming its unconstitutionality as early as 1828, in a word, be was prominent among the leaders in morals, polities, and religion from the grand old county of Washington.

History of Washington County, pages 599-600


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