Reeve, Rev. John B.

Rev. John B. Reeve

Religious leader and social activist

Scholar and pastor, Reverend Doctor John Bunyan Reeve (1831-1916) was born in Mattatuck, Suffolk county, New York. After graduating from New York Central College in 1858, he attended the Union Theological Seminary in New York City as its first African American student, graduating with honors in 1861. He was therefore ordained as a minister and installed as pastor of the Lombard Street Central Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, where he served for ten years. A man of deep learning, he was honored in 1870 with the degree of Doctor of Divinity by Lincoln University. In 1871, at the invitation of General O.O. Howard and the American Missionary Association, Reverend Reeve went to Washington, D.C. to organize and teach at the theological department of Howard University where he remained until 1875. That year, he returned to Philadelphia to resume the duties of pastor at Central Presbyterian Church, serving for the next thirteen years. In 1899, he assisted Dr. Matthew Anderson in the founding of the Berean Institute of Philadelphia. Reverend Reeve helped many people with his counsel and influence. He died at home in Philadelphia at the age of 84.


Simmons, William J. Men of mark: eminent, progressive, and rising. Cleveland, Ohio: G.M. Rewell and Co., 1887.

White, Charles Frederick. Who's who in Philadelphia: a collection of thirty biographical sketches of Philadelphia colored people ... together with cuts and information of some of their leading institutions and organizations. Philadelphia: The A.M.E. book concern, 1912.

An Eminent Scholar And Faithful Pastor Laid To Rest. (1916, Jan 22). Philadelphia Tribune (1912-2001) Retrieved from

Rev. J. B. Reeves Buried. (1916, Jan 29). Afro-American (1893-1988) Retrieved from

By Aslaku Berhanu