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The Rev. Jacob Lindley, seventh son of Demas Lindley, one of the early settlers of Washington county, Pennsylvania, was born in that county, June 13, 1774. At the age of eighteen he was sent to Jefferson college, Pennsylvania, and from there went to Princeton, New Jersey, where he graduated in 1798. After a course of theological study he was license] to preach by the ” Washington Presbytery,” and in 1803, he removed to Ohio, settling first at Beverly, on the Muskingum. Having been selected by the first board of trustees of the Ohio university to organize and conduct that institution, he removed to Athens in 1808, and opened the academy there. For several years he had entire charge of the infant college, which he conducted with distinguished ability and success. He was the prime mover in securing the erection of the college buildings, and also in founding the Presbyterian church at Athens. He labored assiduously here for about twenty years, during part of which time he was the only Presbyterian minister in this portion of the state. He returned in 1829 to Pennsylvania, where he spent the rest of his life, and died at the residence of his son, Dr. Lieutellus Lindley, in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, January 29th, 1857.
Dr. Lindley was no common man, but an earnest thinker and conscientious worker. The leading trait in his character was an inflexible and unswerving devotion to moral principle. His whole life was a continuous effort to promote the moral welfare of others. He was of an amiable disposition, possessed an eminent degree of sound common sense, and an unerring judgment of men. His kindness of heart and known purity of life and conduct gave him great influence with all classes during his long residence at Athens. One who knew him well says : ” I have seen him go into a crowd of rough backwoodsmen and hunters, who used to meet at the village tavern every Saturday, and settle and control them in their quarrels and fights, as no other man in that community could.” His control of the students under his charge was equally extraordinary, and was always marked not less by gentleness of manner than by firmness of purpose. He led a laborious life at Athens, and his works live after him.