The story of Lincoln University dates back to the early years of the nineteenth century and to the ancestors of its founders, John Miller Dickey, and his wife, Sarah Emlen Cresson. The maternal grandfather of John Miller Dickey was a marble merchant in Philadelphia who made contributions to the education of African-Americans in that city as early as 1794. Dickey’s father was a minister of the Oxford Presbyterian Church. After serving as a missionary and preaching to the slaves in Georgia, John Miller Dickey became pastor of that same church in Oxford, Pennsylvania, in 1832. Sarah Emlen Cresson inherited a long tradition of service and philanthropy through the Society of Friends in Philadelphia. John Miller Dickey was active in the American Colonization Society, and in 1851 took part in the court actions leading to the freeing of a young African-American girl who had been abducted from southern Chester County by slave raiders from Maryland. At the same time, having been unsuccessful in his efforts to gain college admission to even the most liberal of schools for a young freedman named James Amos, Dickey himself undertook to prepare the young man for the ministry.