Born: March 27, 1830, St. George (near Bur­ling­ton), Ver­mont.

Died: De­cem­ber 13, 1889.

Buried: Em­mits­burg Me­mo­ri­al Ce­me­te­ry, Em­mits­burg, Mar­y­land.



Elnathan was the son of state le­gis­lat­or Lew­is Hig­bee and Sar­ah Bak­er, and hus­band of Lu­cinda Mot­ter.

He was ed­u­cat­ed at the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont, gra­du­at­ing in 1849.

By the time of his gra­du­a­tion, he had al­rea­dy be­gun teach­ing school in Bur­ling­ton at age 16. His first per­ma­nent po­si­tion was as an as­sist­ant teach­er at an acad­emy in Wood­stock, Ver­mont.

He stayed there on­ly a short time be­fore mov­ing to ano­ther teach­ing po­si­tion in Em­mits­burg, Mar­y­land, be­com­ing head of the ma­the­ma­ti­cal and class­ic­al de­part­ments at a school or­gan­ized by his bro­ther-in-law, George W. Augh­in­baugh.

In 1850, he ac­cept­ed a po­si­tion s a pri­vate tu­tor in the fa­mi­ly of Jo­shua Mot­ter of Em­mits­burg, among whose daugh­ters he found his fu­ture wife.

Around late 1851 or ear­ly 1852, Hig­bee en­tered the The­o­lo­gic­al Se­mi­na­ry of the Re­formed Church at Mer­cers­burg, Penn­syl­van­ia, where Phil­ip Schaff was among his teach­ers.

Af­ter se­mi­na­ry, he taught ma­the­ma­tics at the high school in Lan­cas­ter, Penn­syl­van­ia, for a year.

In 1845, Hig­bee was li­censed to preach the Gos­pel by the Mar­y­land Clas­sis of the Re­formed Church. His first pas­tor­ate was at the Con­gre­ga­tion­al Church in Beth­el, Ver­mont.

In 1858, he re­turned to Em­mits­burg, and 1859 to the First Re­formed Church of Tif­fin, Ohio, where he al­so filled the chair of La­tin and Greek at Hei­del­berg Col­lege.

In 1862, he moved to Pitt­sburgh to be­come pas­tor of Grace Church. In 1864, he be­came pro­fess­or of Church His­to­ry and New Tes­ta­ment Ex­e­ge­sis at the The­o­lo­gic­al Se­mi­na­ry of the Re­formed Church in Mer­cers­burg, Penn­syl­van­ia. While there, he was of the prime mov­ers in the foun­da­tion of Mer­cer­sburg Col­lege in 1865.

In 1881, Gov­er­nor Hoyt ap­point­ed him State Su­per­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic In­struct­ion of Penn­syl­van­ia. While in that post, he found one of his old pu­pils had be­come prin­ci­pal of the Lan­cas­ter high school he had at­tend­ed.




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