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David Brainerd

1718-1747. Pioneer missionary to North American Indians. Born at Haddam, Connecticut, he had a profound conversion experience in 1739 and thereafter went to Yale College. Expelled in 1742 through misdemeanors arising out of “intemperate, indiscreet zeal” (Edwards), he studied divinity privately and was licensed to preach. The Scottish Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge appointed him missionary to the Indians, and he labored diligently in eastern Pennsylvania amid severe hardships until overcome by disease. By November 1745 he had ridden over 3,000 miles on horseback, and in the years 1745-46 saw, in his own words, “a remarkable work of grace.” By March 1746 more than 130 Indians had been converted. Increasing illness forced his retirement, and his work was taken over by his brother John. He died at the New England home of Jonathan Edwards.* His Journal became a devotional classic, influencing hundreds to become missionaries.