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Wilbur Fisk (1792-1839)

Wilbur Fisk was born in Vermont. He was educated at the University of Vermont and Brown University, graduating in 1815. Fisk originally intended to become a lawyer, but answered a call to the Methodist ministry in 1818. In 1825 he was elected principal of the newly founded Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham in Massachusetts. His success in building a thriving institution, led to his appointment in 1830 as the first president of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.

As a member of the General Conferences of 1824, 1828 and 1832, Fisk was an advocate of increased educational facilities. He was also active in the formation of temperance societies and in promoting missions. His opposition to the abolition movement was controversial.

In 1828, Fisk was elected Bishop of the Methodist Church in Canada, which office he declined on account of poor health and a devotion to New England Methodism. In 1835 he travelled to Europe for the benefit of his health and to study educational institutions. He attended the British Wesleyan Conference in 1836 before returning to the United States. In his absence, he was elected Bishop but again declined because of his health.

Fisk died Feb. 22 1839.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of American Biography

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