Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Garnet, Henry Highland

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GARNET, Henry Highland, clergyman, b. in New Market, Md., 23 Dec., 1815; d. in Monrovia, Liberia, 13 Feb., 1882. He was a pure-blooded negro of the Mendigo tribe, of the Slave Coast, and born in slavery. His parents escaped with him to Bucks county, Pa., where they remained a year, and in 1826 settled in New York city. He was educated in Canaan academy, N. H., and the Oneida institute, near Utica, N. Y., where he was graduated with honor in 1840. He taught in Troy, N. Y., studied theology under Dr. Nathaniel S. S. Beman, was licensed to preach in 1842, and was pastor of a Presbyterian church in Troy for nearly ten years. For a short time he also published “The Clarion,” a newspaper. In 1846 he was employed by Gerrit Smith to distribute a gift of land among colored people. He went to Europe in 1850 in the interest of the free-labor movement, and lectured in Great Britain on slavery for three years. In 1851 he was a delegate to the peace congress at Frankfort, He went to Jamaica as a missionary for the United Presbyterian church of Scotland in 1853, but returned to the United States on account of failing health, and in 1855 entered on the pastorate of Shiloh Presbyterian church in New York city. In 1865 he accepted a call to a church in Washington, D. C. After a successful pastorate of four years he resigned to become president of Avery college, but gave up that post soon afterward, and returned to Shiloh church. President Garfield offered him the appointment of minister and consul-general to Liberia, and after the accession of President Arthur the nomination was made and confirmed by the senate. He arrived at Monrovia on 23 Dec., 1881, and entered auspiciously upon his diplomatic duties, but soon succumbed to the climate. A memorial school, organized by his daughter, Mrs. M. H. Garnet Barboza, was endowed in honor of him at Brewersville, Liberia.