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David Brainerd (1718-1747)

David Brainerd was born in Haddam, Connecticut, British North America. His father died when Brainerd was eight years old and his mother when he was fourteen, causing the boy to deep reflection on religion. In 1739 Brainerd entered Yale to prepare for the ministry and in that same year came under evangelical influence. He was expelled in his third year for criticising one of his lecturers as a man with no more grace than a chair.

In 1742 Brainerd started work among the Mohican Indians as a missionary for the Society in Scotland for Propogating Christian Knowledge. During the next few years, he moved regularly from one location to another, but with no great success. He was affected for much of the time with poor mental and physical health and died of tuberculosis in Northampton, Massachusetts.

At the time of his death Brainerd was engaged to the daughter of the famous evangelist Jonathan Edwards. His prospective father-in-law published Brainerd's journal after the young man's death and it achieved the status of a minor devotional classic.

Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

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