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A Prominent Preacher and Educator In Bucks County

Updated: Nov 29, 2020

Doylestown Presbyterian Church

Uriah DuBois was born on 16 February 1768 in Pittsgrove Township, Salem County, New Jersey. He was the youngest son of Peter and Amey (nee Greenman) DuBois.

He received his early academic education near the home of his DuBois ancestors in Orange County, New York. He then attended the University of Pennsylvania in 1787 and graduated in 1790. While a student there, he boarded with the family of Robert M. Patterson, a professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at the University. Patterson was later appointed the first Director of the U.S. Mint at Philadelphia by President Jefferson in 1805, serving in that position until 1824. Uriah would later marry his daughter Martha.

On his graduation Uriah accepted a position as a teacher at an academy in Charleston, South Carolina, where he spent one year. Returning to New Jersey, he taught at Woodbury and Bordentown for three years before traveling to Philadelphia to pursue his studies for the ministry under the Reverend Ashbel Green. Reverend Green later became the 8th president of the College of New Jersey (renamed Princeton University in 1896) from 1812-1822.

He was licensed on 20 October 1796 by the Presbytery of Philadelphia and preached as a licentiate at Allentown, as well as at Deep Run and Red Hill in Bucks County. The Presbyterians of the latter two churches were pleased with him and he was elected their pastor in 1798. On 20 June 1798, he married Martha Patterson. In December of that same year he took up his pastoral labors exclusively in Bucks County, residing for one year at Dublin before removing to the parsonage farm near the Deep Run church. He preached alternately at Red Hill and Deep Run.

In 1745 the Doyle family built an inn, resulting in the founding of a town that was referred to early on as "William Doyle's Tavern" and "Doyle's Town." William Doyle went on to construct seven taverns in the mid-eighteenth century, including "The Fountain House" which is the only remaining of the seven taverns built by Doyle. The first part of the building was constructed in 1758. The tavern also served as a stagecoach stop. "William Doyle's Tavern" marked the crossroads in the Delaware Valley wilderness for tradesmen who met there to arrange transport of their goods to the major cities of the day: New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.

In 1804 the inhabitants of the growing village of Doylestown built the Union Academy which provided an opportunity for the first religious services in the community. Reverend DuBois was invited to become its principal instructor. The congregations of both churches to which he ministered had decreased by the removal of the English settlers from that locality. He decided to accept the offer and moved to Doylestown, meanwhile continuing his pastorate. In 1805 Uriah built a house in what was then a “two acre blackberry patch." He later built the house adjoining the academy and lived there from 1807 to 1814. He moved back to the first home where he spent his remaining days.

The builders of the Union Academy had provided that religious services were to be held therein, and Uriah frequently preached there. This was the nucleus of the present Presbyterian church at Doylestown. In 1813, the year after Doylestown was made the county seat, the Presbyterians built their first church building on a lot purchased for $400. The new building was dedicated on August 13, 1815. It was constructed of stone and cost about $4,200 to build.

Reverend DuBois was a fine classical scholar and an excellent instructor. He was an assiduous worker and the infant academy and church both prospered under his guidance. He continued his work at both institutions as well as at Deep Run until his death. He was also the clerk of the Orphans Court of Bucks County for the last six years of his life. His eldest son Charles E. performed the clerical work.

Uriah and Martha had 8 children between 1799 and 1817 (Charles E., Emilia, Robert P., Samuel F., William E., Matilda, Louis P., and Mary).

He died on 19 September 1821 and was buried in the Doylestown Presbyterian Church's cemetery.


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