Rev. Erasmus Darwin McMasters1,2

#21849, (circa 1808 - )
Father*Rev. Gilbert McMasters2 (1778 - 1854)
Mother*Jane Brown2 (s 1779 - )
He had three brothers; "The Rev. John MacMaster who died at Princeton, Ind., on Saturday, was a member of a remarkable family. The father was a Scotch Covenanter minister, and three of his sons were ministers." The article goes on to name Dr. E D MacMaster who died while a professor in the Chicago Theological Seminary; Dr. A S MacMaster; and Abbe MacMaster, editor of the Freeman's Journal. But the minister who died in 1874 was not Gilbert's son --- he was the husband of Gilbert's daughter, born in Ireland and possibly related. Gilbert's son John was still living in 1880, as recorded in the census of that year, residing with his brother Algernon. The will of the deceased John makes it clear tha he was not the son of Gilbert.3 
Birth*circa 1808He was born circa 1808 at PennsylvaniaG.4 
1825He and Rev. Algernon Sydney McMasters were graduated from Union College in 1825 at Schenectady, New York.5 
between 1838 and 1843He was President of Hanover College between 1838 and 1843.6 
24 July 1850He appeared on the census of 24 July 1850 at New Albany, Floyd Co., IndianaG.7 
1866He was a Professor of Theology at Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Chicago, Illinois, in 1866.8 


  1. [S1955] PALNI Digital Library Collections, "Erasmus MacMaster Collection Finding Aid", Duggan Library, Hanover College, Indiana, June 2015), online, "Erasmus Darwin MacMaster was born in Pennsylvania in 1806. In 1827, he graduated from Union College, becoming a minister in 1829. He worked as a pastor in New York until 1838, when he became Hanover College’s third president. In 1844, he attempted to move the college to Madison and rename it Madison University; unsuccessful, he left the college in 1845 and became president of Ohio’s Miami University. He returned to Indiana in 1850, becoming a professor of theology at the Theological Seminary in New Albany. While in Indiana, he was one of the state’s most vocal abolitionists. In 1866, he accepted the position of theology professor at the Northwestern Theological Seminary in Chicago, but died there in December."
  2. [S1954] A. A. Thomas, Correspondence of Thomas Ebenezer Thomas (n.p.: Published by the author, 1909), p. 54.
  3. [S1960] The Indianapolis News, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  4. [S20] 1850 U.S. Federal Census.
  5. [S1961] Catalogue of the Members of the Adelphic Society Instituted in Union College in 1797 (Schenectady, New York: S. S. Biggs, 1836), p. 16, both res. Duanesburgh. The 1843 Catalog for Union College places them in the Class of 1827, both A.M.. Viewed at, U.S., School Catalogs, 1765-1935. Hereinafter cited as Catalogue of the Adelphic Society.
  6. [S1963] Catalogue of Hanover College, Hanover, Indiana (Madison, Iowa: E. F. Foster, 1849), p. 11, Officers of Hanover College. Rev. Erasmus D. MacMaster, D. D., President 1838-1843.
  7. [S20] 1850 U.S. Federal Census. E D (42), b. PA, O.S.P. clergyman.
  8. [S1962] Catalogue of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary of the Northwest (Chicago) (Chicago, Ill.: Rand McNally & Co., 1873), p. 7, Former Professors of the Seminary. "Rev. Erasmus D. MacMaster, D.D. McCormick Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology from 1866 to his death, the same year."