John Frederick Oberlin
John F. Oberlin was a Alsatian pastor and philanthropist. Oberlin College, an American liberal arts college in Ohio, was named for him upon its founding in 1833. In 1766, after studing theology in his hometown, he became pastor of Waldersbach, a remote and barren region in Steintal, a valley in the Vosges on the borders of Alsace and Lorraine. He set himself to better the material, and spiritual, condition of the inhabitants. He began by constructing roads through the valley and erecting bridges, inciting the peasantry to the enterprise by his personal example. He introduced an improved system of agriculture. Substantial cottages were erected, and various industrial arts were introduced. He founded an itinerant library, originated infant schools, and established an ordinary school at each of the five villages in the parish. In the work of education he received great assistance from his housekeeper, Louisa Scheppler. He died in 1826, and was interred with great manifestations of honor and affection at the village of Urbach.
By the author of Peter Parley's Tales Lives of Benefactors (New York, NY: Bradbury, Soden & co, 1884)