Richard Furman (1755-1825) was a Baptist clergyman and educator. Born in Esopus, New York, Furman came to Charleston with his family as an infant. They moved to the High Hills of the Santee in May 1770, where he joined the Baptist Church. By his 19th birthday, Furman had been ordained as the pastor of a local church. He was a member of the 1790 convention that drew up a constitution for South Carolina repealing the special privileges of the Episcopal Church and granting all religious denominations the right of incorporation. He became a leader of the Baptists of his state and the South, serving as the first president of the Baptist State Convention and the president of the Baptist Triennial Convention of the United States, which met in Philadelphia. Furman was most influential in the field of education. As the Baptists had no school of theology in the state, Furman would often take young men into his home and train them to be ministers. In 1789, he began raising funds for the establishment of a Baptist college for South Carolina and Georgia. He did not live to see the fruits of his efforts. Fifteen months after his death, his name was given to the theological institution which soon became Furman University. He was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Charleston when he died in 1825. From the Baptist Historical Collection.
Courtesy of the Furman University Archives Special Collections Department.