Wylie, Samuel Brown (1773–1852), presbyterian minister, and oriental and classical scholar, was born 21 May 1773 at Moylarg, Co. Antrim, son of Adam Wylie, a prosperous farmer, and Margaret Wylie (née Brown). Educated locally, he entered the University of Glasgow, where he graduated MA (1797). Returning to Ireland he taught in Ballymena, but was forced to leave the country after a few months, following discovery of his involvement in the United Irishmen. Arriving in Philadelphia (October 1797) he quickly rose to prominence as a talented educationalist. In 1798 he was appointed an instructor at the grammar school in the University of Pennsylvania, while he also studied to became a clergyman. Receiving his licence to preach on 24 June 1799, he was ordained 25 June 1799 in Vermont; he is believed to have been the first covenanter to be ordained in America. Appointed to a commission to investigate whether any reformed presbyterian church members still owned slaves, despite a prohibition, he embarked on a tour of the American South. In 1802 he returned to Ireland as part of a church delegation to the convention of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Ireland and Scotland.
Returning to Philadelphia in 1803, he established a congregation in the city and was installed as the pastor. The same year he published The two sons of oil; or, The faithful witness for magistracy and ministry upon a scriptural basis, a well written mission statement for the church, soon considered the best presentation of the position of the covenanter church in America. The congregation soon expanded rapidly and Wylie remained in charge till his death. When the church opened a theological seminary in the city in 1810, he was appointed professor of theology, and held the post from 1810 to 1817 and again in 1823–8. He was an excellent scholar, able to read fourteen languages, and was a patient but persistent teacher. In 1828 he became professor of Latin and Greek at the University of Pennsylvania and he also served as vice-provost (1836–45). Retiring from academic life in 1845 he was appointed professor emeritus.
He died 13 October 1852 in Philadelphia. He married (5 April 1802) Margaret Watson of Pittsburgh; they had seven children.