From GW Encyclopedia
Trustee of the University
Burgiss Allison, a Trustee of Columbian College from 1821-26, was born in Bordentown, New Jersey on August 17, 1753. A clergyman by profession, he became a convert to the Baptist faith early in life and began to preach when he was sixteen years old. He studied at Rhode Island College (now Brown University) but did not graduate, but was awarded an honorary degree from Brown in 1804. He had charge of a small congregation in Bordentown where he established a classical boarding school which attained a great reputation. In 1796 he withdrew from his teaching and devoted several years to inventing. Improvements to the steam engine and its application to navigation resulted from his efforts. In 1801 he resumed his school and his pastorate, but ill health forced him to relinquish both. Rev. Allison was elected chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1816 and later became chaplain at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. He was also one of the secretaries of the American Philosophical Society for several years, helped found the American Academy of Fine Arts, and was vice president of the Baptist convention. Rev. Allison's daughter married Col. James Lewis Edwards, and Virginia Edwards Parker (the late wife of John E. Parker) is a direct descendent of this couple. Rev. Allison died in Washington on February 20, 1827.
Photographic Credit: n/a
Author or Source: University Archives subject files
Document Location: University Archives
Date Added to Encyclopedia: December 16, 2006
Prepared by: Lyle Slovick, Assistant University Archivist
For more information about GW history
Special Collections Research Center 
The Melvin Gelman Library 
The George Washington University 
2130 H Street, NW Suite 704
Washington, DC 20052
Please send us your questions and comments about the encyclopedia.
This site is maintained by the Special Collections Research Center and the Web Development Group.