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Ebenezer Garnsey Sermons

Identifier: MSN/COL 9404

Scope and Contents

The collection includes forty-four sermons, sermon fragments, and sermon notes written by Ebenezer Garnsey, on sheets sewn into 16 cm. pamphlets. None are signed, though the final page of one pamphlet (MSN/COL 9494-24) bears copybook exercises with the inscription "Ebenezer Garnsey Eius Charta Eiusque Manus" ("Ebenezer Garnsey his book and his hand"). In any case, notations on the manuscripts indicating where the sermons were preached are sufficient to determine authorship. Few of the manuscripts are dated, though it may be presumed that all were written during Garney's years of theological study and preaching (1757-63). There are also seven individual leaves which have become detached from sermon pamphlets, one page of theological notes, and one newspaper clipping from ca. 1822.


  • Creation: 1757-1763


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Ebenezer Garnsey (or Guernsey) was born on 26 February 1737/8 in Durham, Connecticut, the son of Capt. Ebenezer Garnsey (1704-1785) and Rhoda Garnsey (1704-1767). He graduated from Yale College in 1757 and spent the following two years studying theology under Rev. Robert Breck, receiving a license to preach from the Hampshire South Association of Ministers in August 1759. Garnsey preached at various locations in the Connecticut River Valley before being invited as a candidate for settlement by the proprietors of Pontoosuk (now Pittsfield), in western Massachusetts. After four months the proprietors offered Garnsey a call to settle, with the unusual condition that he submit to examination and approval by the Hampshire North Association (apparently because of Breck's supposed Arminian sympathies). Garnsey refused to undergo this second examination but consented to continue preaching at Pontoosuk. In December 1760 the call was renewed without conditions. Garnsey declined again, in part due to poor health, and returned to Durham. A letter from Rev. Chauncey Whittlesey of New Haven to Rev. Ezra Stiles, dated 20 January 1762, addresses Garnsey's situation at this time: "I have a few Words to say in Behalf of an ingenious young Gentleman, and in behalf of the publick, which ought not to be deprived of the good Service he is capable of Doing. I mean, Mr. Garnsey of Durham; he preached for me some time since, and appears to me quite an honest, ingenious, serious, religious young Gentleman; he lived with Mr. Brick [Breck], and for that Reason, and because in the late Controversy he has appeared upon the side of Liberty, he is not set up, but rather frowned upon by Mr. Clap, Mr Eells, and some such great Folks; and I fear they will at present hinder his settling in these parts. Should you know of any Place, where such a Candidate is wanted, I would recommend him." (Extracts from the itineraries and other miscellanies of Ezra Stiles . . . , New Haven, 1916, p. 584). Garnsey sought but did not find a settlement around Durham. He died on 26 October 1763.


.25 Cubic Feet (1 container; 53 folders)

Language of Materials



A collection of more than 40 manuscript sermons and sermon fragments of the Congregational preacher Ebenezer Garnsey (or Guernsey), written and preached in Massachusetts and Connecticut ca. 1757-1763.


Materials are sequenced by type, in the following order: 1. Sermons; 2. Sermon notes; 3. Sermon fragments; 4. Miscellaneous.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Garnsey sermons were purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2008, from Paper Trails of Leicester, Massachusetts. Arranged and described 2012, by Kathleen Monahan. Finding aid 2012, by Kathleen Monahan and George Rugg.

Ebenezer Garnsey Sermons
Kathleen Monahan
November 2012
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556