Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Cleveland, Aaron

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CLEVELAND, Aaron, clergyman, b. 29 Oct., 1715; d. in Philadelphia, 17 Aug., 1757. He was a son of Capt. Aaron Cleveland, one of the wealthiest freeholders of Medford, Mass., and was graduated at Harvard in 1735. He was a man of great personal comeliness, strength and activity, and the best skater, swimmer, and wrestler in the college in his day. In 1739 he was made pastor of the church in Haddam, where his father possessed landed property. The preaching of Whitefield produced a great impression on his mind, and led to subsequent changes in his religion. In 1747 he removed to Massachusetts, but soon afterward took an active part in the emigration from New England for the settlement of Nova Scotia. He established the first Presbyterian church in Canada, at Halifax, in 1750, and the congregation is continued to this day; but the Scottish Calvinists became its directors, overriding the New Englanders, and in 1755 Mr. Cleveland went to London, where he received holy orders, and returned to America as a missionary of the venerable Society for the propagation of the gospel. While in England he became satisfied that the original spelling of the family name was “Cleveland,” as he and his descendants have since written it, while other American branches of the family generally retain the form “Cleaveland.” During his voyage the vessel sprung a leak, and he lent his muscular aid to the sailors with good results, but inflicted an injury upon his strong frame, from the effects of which he never recovered. He was rector of the church in Newcastle, Del., but visiting Philadelphia for medical treatment, when he died under the hospitable roof of his friend, Dr. Franklin. A beautiful tribute to his character appeared in Franklin's newspaper. Mr. Cleveland married in 1739 Susannah Porter, a lady celebrated for her personal beauty and character. She was a granddaughter of Maj. Sewall, of Salem, and connected by her parentage with the best families of the colony. — His son, Stephen, naval officer, b. in East Haddam, Conn., in 1740; d. in Salem, Mass., in 1801. He went to sea at the age of fourteen, was taken by a British press-gang in Boston in 1756, and kept in service till 1763. Soon after the Declaration of Independence he was commissioned a captain in the navy, and brought from Bordeaux valuable munitions of war. His commission is supposed to have been the earliest issued by the American government. He was promised the command of one of the frigates, but was delayed so long in France that they were given to others, in consequence of which he resigned. — His son, Richard Jeffry, who was U. S. vice-consul at Havana, Cuba, in 1829-'34, was the author of an autobiographical work entitled “Voyages and Commercial Enterprises” (Boston, 1850). H. W. S. Cleveland has published “Voyages of a Merchant Navigator of the Days that are Past,” compiled from the journals and letters of R. J. Cleveland. — Another son of Aaron, Aaron, b. at Haddam, Conn., 3 Feb., 1744; d. 21 Sept., 1815. His father's early death deprived him of the privilege of a college education; but he pursued his studies while apprenticed to a manufacturer in Norwich, Conn., and at nineteen years of age produced his fine poem, “The Philosopher and Boy,” in which he refers to his botanical pursuits. In 1779 he was a member of the provincial legislature of Connecticut, but he declined a re-election. Late in life he became a Congregational pastor near Hartford, Conn. He was twice married, and his son, William, b. 20 Dec., 1770, was the grandfather of President Cleveland. He published several sermons and a few poems. — Richard Jeffry's son, Henry Russell, author, b. in 1809; d. in St. Louis, Mo., 12 June, 1843, was graduated at Harvard in 1827, and became one of the band called the “Five of Clubs,” his associates being Charles Sumner, Henry W. Longfellow, Cornelius C. Felton, and George S. Hillard. He published an edition of Sallust's works, with English notes (New York); “Remarks on the Classical Education of Boys, by a Teacher” (1834); the “Life of Henry Hudson” in Sparks's “American Biographies”; and review articles and addresses. A selection from his writings, with a memoir by George S. Hillard, was printed privately (Boston, 1844). — Another son of Richard Jeffry, Horace William Shaler, b. in Lancaster, Mass., 16 Dec., 1814, established himself as a landscape-gardener about 1845, and has designed many public parks, cemeteries, and private grounds in all parts of the United States and British North America, notably the parks of Minneapolis, where he resides, South park and Drexel boulevard in Chicago, and Roger Williams park in Providence. Besides numerous papers relating to his profession, he has published “Hints to Riflemen” (New York, 1864); “Landscape Architecture” (Chicago, 1873); and “Voyages of a Merchant Navigator” (New York, 1886). —

Appletons' Cleveland Aaron - Charles.jpg
Appletons' Cleveland Aaron - Charles signature.jpg

Charles, clergyman, son of the second Aaron, b. in Norwich, Conn., 21 June, 1772; d. in Boston, Mass., 5 June, 1872. He went to live with an uncle at Salem at the age of twelve, made a voyage to the Cape of Good Hope before the mast, after his return passed through a mercantile apprenticeship, and was appointed deputy collector at the Salem custom-house, which place he retained until 1802. He was next a clerk in Charlestown for seven years, and then began business for himself in Boston as a broker. From 1822 till 1829 he was senior member in the dry-goods firm of Cleveland & Dane, and then a broker again for four or five years, after which he abandoned business to devote himself to charitable works. In September, 1816, the Society for the moral and religious instruction of the poor was organized at his house, and he applied himself to the work of collecting funds for a mission-house, which was dedicated in May, 1821. Nine years later he entered upon the duties of a missionary to the poor of Boston, being associated with the Revs. Ethan Smith and D. D. Rossiter. In 1835 he received a license to preach, and on 10 July, 1838, was ordained as an evangelist. From that time until his final sickness he was incessantly employed in charitable undertakings in Boston, where he was known as “Father” Cleveland. He was connected with benevolent institutions; but his work was independent of them. A number of wealthy citizens placed in his hands certain fixed sums annually. These he called his patrons, and he published a report each year of the way their benefactions had been disposed of. — His son, Charles Dexter, educator, b. in Salem, Mass., 3 Dec., 1802; d. in Philadelphia, Pa., 18 Aug., 1869, was graduated at Dartmouth in 1827, and entered a counting-house, but in 1832 became professor of Latin and Greek in Dickinson college, in 1834 of Latin in the University of the city of New York, and from 1834 until his health failed taught a young ladies' school in Philadelphia. From 1861 till 1867 he was U. S. consul at Cardiff, Wales. He is best known by his compendiums of “English Literature” (Philadelphia), “English Literature of the 19th Century,” “American Literature” (1869), “Classical Literature,” and “Grecian Antiquities,” but wrote a large number of text-books. He published also “The Moral Characters of Theophrastus” (1827); “Epitome of Grecian Antiquities” (1828, enlarged in 1831); “Address of the Liberty Party of Pennsylvania to the People of the State” (Philadelphia, 1844); “Hymns for Schools” (1850); an edition of Milton's poetical works, with a complete index (1853); “Lyra Sacra Americana” (New York, 1868). His concordance to Milton's works was republished in England.