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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF DECEASED CLERGY AND LAYPEOPLE


Obituaries (1865-66) in the 1867 Register

Rev. Ammi Bond died in Conneaut, Ohio, Jan. 3, 1866, aged 63. A native of New Hampshire, his early life was spent in that State and in Vermont. At 16 he became a member of the Methodist Church. He afterwards resided two years in Quebec (where he married) and in Montreal, removing thence to Philadelphia. Here he attended upon the ministry of the late Rev. S. R. Smith, and became a confirmed and happy Universalist. His attention was soon called to the gospel ministry. Removing to Vermont, he was fellowshipped by the Green Mountain Association, in 1832. The next year he was ordained, and he was afterwards settled in Carroll, N.Y., Saybrook, Ohio, Adrian, Mich., Monroe, Ohio, Beaver, and Pittsburg, Pa. He had resided in Conneaut, Pa., and vicinity since 1843, till last summer, when he removed to Conneaut, Ohio.

Mr. Bond was an acceptable preacher in our connection some thirty-five years. Having a strong and logical mind, He possessed more than ordinary pulpit power. For two years he had suffered much from disease, his mind failing with his body; but he died as he had lived, in hope of a reunion with all he had loved and lost, in the Home Immortal. He left a widow and seven children to mourn his loss.

Captain Nathaniel G. B. Dexter, familiarly known as Grandpa Dexter, died in Pawtucket, R.I., April 8, 1866, aged 77. He was a native of Groton, Mass., but removing early in life to Pawtucket, he became a member and subsenquently a teacher in a Sunday School established there, after the model of the English Sunday Schools. An interest in Sunday Schools was thus awakened, which he retained after they assumed a strictly religious character, and which he carried with him to the day of his death. In his old age it was his greatest delight to visit them, and to address the pupils, who always hailed his coming with joy. He was an earnest advocate for temperance, never having tasted a drop of liquor in his life. Captain Dexter was a devoted Universalist, and a member of the Church in Pawtucket. He died calmly and sweetly in the faith he had adorned by a long and exemplary life. He was a teacher in the first Sunday School in the United States.

Silvanus Packard, long connected with the School Street Church, Boston, died in April, 1866, at the advanced age of 76. He was blest with great wealth, the larger portion of which he gave to Tufts College. He had been a generous benefactor of the institution from its start, and, dying without issue, he bequeathed the bulk of his large estate to promote its usefulness in years to come. It is understood that besides other and far greater benefits to the College, his will contemplates the endowment of a theological professorship, the education annually of ten students free of charge, and the expending of $200 annually for prizes, to encourage general excellence. By his generosity to the cause, he still speaks, bidding our men of means to "go and do likewise."

Rev. Theodore Clapp died in Louisville, Ky., May 16, 1866, aged 74. He was a native of Easthampton, Mass., and a graduate of Williams College, in the same class with William Cullen Bryant. His theological studies were pursued at Andover, and he was licensed as a minister of the Presbyterian Church in 1817. "In 1822," says the Star in the West, "he became pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans, succeeding the brilliant and eloquent Sylvester Larned, whose fame as a pulpit orator is yet one of the traditions of the Mississippi Valley. As pastor of this church Mr. Clapp achieved great celebrity, and became widely known for effective pulpit gifts and the highest order of sacred eloquence. Henry Clay pronounced him the most natural pulpit orator he ever heard. His church in New Orleans was invariably crowded, and for many years he was one of the most popular pulpit orators of America. Some ten or twelve years after his settlement in New Orleans, changes occurred in his theological opinions, which led to the dissolution of his relations with the Presbyterian Church. He was deposed from the office of the gospel ministry for heresy, and was afterwards known as an independent minister, cherishing Unitarian and Universalist opinions. The change in his relations with the Mississippi Presbytery did not, however, involve a separation from his parish. The church building at an earlier date had passed under the control of the well-known Hebrew millionnaire, Judah Truro, and by his liberality Mr. Clapp occupied the church and preached to his old hearers, deriving his salary from the income of the pew rents, which income was placed under the immediate control of Mr. Clapp. His pastoral services will long be remembered with gratitude in New Orleans. During twenty seasons of epidemical cholera and yellow fever, Mr. Clapp was at the post of duty, and by his ministry of consolation carried comfort to the great multitudes stricken by the pestilence. His "Autobiographical Recollections" is largely devoted to incidents pertaining to these memorable seasons, and is one of the most interesting volumes ever published. Several years ago, failing health compelled him to relinquish the pastoral charge of the church at New Orleans, since which time he has lived in comparative retirement in Louisville. His death, it seems, was not unexpected, his health being very feeble for some time previous to his decease. The Louisville Journal, in announcing his death, says: "He seemed to have no particular disease, and his dissolution seems to have been the result of a general giving away of the whole system, mental and physical. The mortal machinery was worn out, and at length ceased to perform its functions. His reason forsook her august throne weeks ago, and did not, so far as we are advised at the present writing, return to it." Mr. Clapp leaves a widow and two sons to weep over his departure.

Major General Lysander Cutler died at his home in Milwaukee, July 30, 1866. A native of Royalton, Mass., early in life he removed to Dexter, Me., where he acquired the reputation of being an enterprising business man. Much of the prosperity of that growing manufacturing town is owing to him. At last, meeting with reverses, he removed to Milwaukee, where he resided at the breaking out of the rebellion. Tendering his services to the Governor of the State, he was appointed to the command of the 6th Wisconsin regiment. In the second battle of Bull Run he was severely wounded in the thigh, from the effects of which he never fully recovered, though in a few weeks he resumed his post in the army, and was promoted to a Brigadiership. He led the first column that met the rebels on the bloody field of Gettysburg, and was in the whole of that terrible strife, having three horses shot from under him, but escaping unharmed. He was with the Army of the Potomac in its terrible struggles in the march of the Wilderness and the siege of Richmond. Receiving a wound in the face at the taking of the South Side Railroad, he was granted leave of absence, and was finally detailed, on account of infirmities, on special service in Michigan. At the close of the war, after receiving the appointment of Major General by brevet, he resigned his commission, and re-engaged in business in Milwaukee.

If his army record was honorable, his devotedness to Universalism was no less so. In Dexter, Me., he was for many years the heaviest paying member of the society. When in Milwaukee there was no Universalist meeting, he was an attendant of the Unitarian Church; but when the time arrived for the establishment of a Universalist Society, he was one of the first to enroll his name as a member, and to give his means and influence in favor of the movement. He did not live, however, to see but the beginning, and he passed away before his hopes for a permanent society in his Western home were fully realized. In his death a loyal people were bereaved, a young society met with a heavy loss, and a widow and several children and grand-children were left to mourn. He died at the age of 59.

Rev. Seth Barnes, the successful and beloved pastor of the church in Minneapolis, Minn., died suddenly in a fit of apoplexy, Sunday morning, August 12, 1866.

Awaking that morning, he conversed in a cheerful, hopeful spirit, and was feeling better than usual, his health having been poor for some time. After partly rising from his bed, he laid back again, and passed away without a groan. We have heard that he often expressed a wish to die in this way. His sermon was lying on the table, and the last words were these: "He hath tasted death for every man." In this faith Br. Barnes died. In the full belief of God's love, and power, and eternal goodness, he passed victoriously on. His last delivered sermon was from the text, "For the spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God."

Brother Barnes was much beloved by his congregation, with whom he had been connected eleven years, and for whom he had labored well and faithfully. As a man and a citizen he enjoyed a large share of the confidence of his neighbors and fellow-citizens, arising from his kindness and urbanity, no less than from his interest in all that concerned the prosperity and welfare of his place of residence. The end of such a man is peace; the pain is to those who are left behind. His loss falls heavily upon our whole church in the West, and especially upon the Universalists of Minnesota.

He left. a wife in feeble health, to whom he had been more than husband, to mourn her irreparable loss.

Of Mr. Barnes' age, and the history of his ministry, we have no particulars. This short notice we have culled from our Western papers. The biography of such a man should be written and preserved.

Dr. John Brooks, long and favorably known in the Universalist denomination, died at the place of his residence in Bernardston, Mass., Sept. 9, 1866. He was born in Worcester, Jan. 12, 1783. His early advantages for obtaining an education were limited, and he was religiously taught the strictest doctrines of the Calvinistic faith. But a retentive memory enabled him to overcome, to some extent, the deficiencies in his early school-life, while it made him thoroughly familiar with the doctrines in which he was reared. At the age of sixteen he commenced teaching, by which he obtained means to attend an academy a few terms. His preparatory medical studies were pursued with the celebrated Dr. Kittredge, of Walpole, N. H.; and he commenced practice in Newfane and Dummerston, Vt., at the age of 23.

While pursuing the duties of his profession, his attention was called to questions of religious doctrine; and a diligent study of the Scriptures brought him to the belief of the final salvation of a world. In connection with his practice, he entered upon the duties of a Christian minister. In 1822, he removed to Bernardston, Mass., and became the pastor of the Universalist Society there, preaching also in neighboring towns, as opportunity offered. After a few years, a difficulty in his throat compelled him to relinquish regular public speaking, and he gradually withdrew from the ministry, devoting himself entirely to the practice of medicine, which he steadily pursued till within a few months of his death.

Dr. Brooks was an excellent citizen, and his interest in every good cause made him to be respected in the community. His townsmen showed their appreciation of his worth by electing him seven years to the State Legislature; and he filled the duties of his office with dignity and honor.

As a physician, he was skilled and faithful. Few excelled him. His interest in his patients was not one of dollars and cents, but of hearty sympathy. He is remembered with gratitude in many families.

Aged as he was, he emphatically lived in the present rather than in the past, being deeply interested in and thoroughly conversant with the religious and political affairs of the country to the day of his death. Of commanding presence, with a large fund of knowledge, a perfect treasury of anecdote and story, he was a pleasant and instructive companion, and could entertain a philosopher or amuse a child.

As a preacher, he is favorably remembered by the older citizens of Bernardston and vicinity; and much of the liberal sentiment prevailing there is to be ascribed to his early labors. He was one of the ex-ministers who are a blessing to the society with which they are connected. He was deeply religions in his nature, and benevolent in his disposition. Till within a few years of his death he occupied a place in the choir, and nothing but absolute necessity could keep him from church on the Sabbath. He died, as he had lived, in the faith of the gospel, falling sweetly and gently to sleep on the Lord's day—that of all the week he loved best.

Rev. Henry Lyon died in Williamsburg, N. Y., Sept. 16, 1866, aged 52. We have no means of learning the exact date of his entrance upon the ministry, which extended over a period of about thirty years. He was long and favorably known to the Universalist public as the Publishing Agent of the "Ambassador," and the publisher of Universalist books in New York City. Those who a few years ago were accustomed to frequent the "Ambassador" office, will always remember his genial smile, his quiet demeanor, and his accommodating spirit, manifested alike to all. Free from jealousy, from envy, from peevishness, from all the foibles which make the character unamiable, he possessed the positive virtues of a loving heart, a true fidelity, a consecrated devotion to what he deemed Christian truth, and to the means by which that truth is to be disseminated among men.

Three years before his death, while attending the New York Convention, he contracted a violent cold, which rapidly developed a pulmonary consumption. Violent hemorrhages of the lungs followed, by which he was completely prostrated, and brought near the grave. He rallied, however, and, though subject to frequent attacks of bleeding, was able to attend to business, and even preach at intervals. His disease reached its crisis about ten days before his death. He was conscious that the inevitable hour was at hand, and, making such preparations as were necessary, he committed himself, with child-like confidence, to the hands of his Heavenly Father. A wife and a large family of children, with a wide circle of attached friends, mourn the loss of a good man and a sincere and devout Christian.

Rev. H. L. Bingham, a recent graduate of the Canton Theological School, died in the autumn. Dr. Fisher says of him:

"He entered the Theological School in September, 1865, and, after remaining in it some months, left under the sad coercion of failing health; but with a hope, destined never to be realized, of returning under more favorable conditions to consummate the cherished purposes of his life. The great love and longing of his heart was for the Christian ministry; and such earnest devotion, joined to good talents, and a winnning disposition, sincere, generous, and manly, would no doubt have made him useful and beloved therein.

"Had his life been spared, his work would, I doubt not, have been at once honorable to God, useful to man, and gratifying to himself. However bright such prospects might seem, our Heavenly Father has called him away from them all to himself; because he had a better use and service for him. This must be true, if our Father acts on a wise and true economy, which of course he does.

"His decease is a loss to the denomination; for such noble young men are our jewels. His name will often be recalled with a kind remembrance, and a sympathetic word, by many who knew and loved him."

Mr. Bingham left a wife, amiable and talented, and quite widely known by the productions of her pen, with whom he had been united but a few months, to mourn his loss.

Rev. Charles W. Mellen, pastor of the church in Taunton, Mass., departed this life, after a short but distressing illness, Oct. 22, 1866. A native of Phillipston, Mass., he was born June 18, 1818. At the age of seven he removed with his parents to Greenfield. He received his education in the town of Hardwick. With a view to the ministry, he studied with Rev. J. H. Willis, preaching his first sermon in Stafford, Conn., where Mr. Willis was then settled. His first settlement was in Royalton, Mass., in 1839. His several subsequent settlements were in Orange, Foxboro', Canton, Chelmsford, Weymouth, Dorchester, and Taunton.

Mr. Mellen was a consecrated minister. It is great praise to say, that he never did harm; it is greater praise to add, that he always did good. His manners were simple. He had no ostentation. He always felt what he said. In his entire ministry, he was profoundly and thoroughly sincere. He had unusual ability and excellent culture, though not or that showy quality which is called popular. He was industrious. He knew his duties, and he performed them. He was heartily devoted to every good work. The cause of temperance had in him a champion; and in his death the slave and the freedman may sincerely mourn. He was habitually cheerful. When he gave his hand, a smile always accompanied the act. By his decease, a denomination of Christians suffers a loss that will long be felt. He was respected by all persons of all denominations, and his sudden death was mourned by the whole community in which he lived.

He left a wife, with whom he had lived twenty-six years, to mourn the loss of one of the kindest of companions.

Rev. Sylvanus Cobb, D.D., departed this life at his residence in East Boston, Mass., Oct. 31, 1866. Dr. Cobb was born in Norway, Me., July, 1788, and died at the venerable age of sixty-eight years and three months. His early education was wholly under Orthodox influences; but early in life he became a Universalist, and this without the help of any teacher, or any book but the Bible. For several years, when quite young, he was a successful teacher in the winter schools of his native county. His preparatory theological studies were pursued with the Rev. Sebastian Streeter, and his first sermon was preached in the pulpit of his honored teacher, in Portsmouth, N.H., at the age of twenty-one. He was ordained at the session of the Eastern Association (now the Maine Convention), held in Winthrop in 1821. His first settlement was in Waterville, Me., where his earnest labors resulted, not only in the establishment of a vigorous society, but also in the wide diffusion of the doctrine through the entire Kennebec valley. From Waterville he removed to Malden, Mass., and became pastor of the society there, with equally successful results. After a pastorate of ten years he removed to Waltham. While there he started the Christian Freeman. In 1849 he moved to East Boston, where he resided till his death. Three years of the time he was the pastor of the East Boston society. His intellect and strength, however, were given the care of the Freeman, and the toil and labor he bestowed upon it would have broken down a less vigorous constitution. In 1862 the Freeman and Trumpet were united, Dr. Cobb remaining as Theological editor. Two years ago he retired from editorial labor, after a service in that capacity of about thirty years.

Dr. Cobb was constantly engaged in writing. His teeming brain was ever elaborating ideas, to which he felt that he must give expression. Many of his earlier controversial sermons were published and widely circulated in Maine and elsewhere, doing good service for the cause. His "Discussions" with Dr. Adams and Mr. Hudson, involving the subjects of everlasting punishment and the annihilation of the wicked, were also put into book torm, after appearing in the columns of the Freeman. The "Compend of Divinity" is an elaborate work, and recognized as a standard in the denomination. This series of books very fitly closed with his "Commentary on the New Testament," which is received with favor wherever it is known.

The Trustees of Tufts College, recognizing his ability and learning, conferred upon him, two years before his death, the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. It is seldom the degree is so worthily bestowed, or so gracefully worn. His merits as a writer, preacher, and theologian, are universally conceded, both in and out of the denomination. Among the stalwart minds which have done so much to establish the doctrine of universal salvation on a permanent basis, his will ever hold a conspicuous position. And he was a Universalist, not only in his creed. He was in hearty sympathy with the denomination. For it it was alike his pride and joy to labor. He saw, with a clearness of vision that few have, that the cause should be established on a right basis and, therfore, he was the earnest advocate of temperance, freedom, and every true reform.

Dr. Cobb had been in declining health for many months previous to his death, and was fully conscious that his work was finished. During the summer he was accustomed to converse freely with his family of his approaching departure. He was always strong in the faith, always resigned, always cheerful and full of hope. Though his closing hours were those of unconsciousness, yet even in his delirium he was continually preaching, rehearsing the texts, "Praise the Lord;" "How great is his goodness." In a ripe old age he has passed away, and not only a family, but a denomination mourns. "The memory of the just is blessed."

Rev. Calvin Gardner, whose decease should have been noticed in our last issue, died very suddenly in Waterville, Me., March 23, 1865, aged sixty-six. He was a native of Hingham, Mass., and in his early life wrought steadily at his trade, in one of the mechanic arts. Becoming interested in the doctrine of universal salvation, he entered the ministry in 1825, and the following year was settled over the society in Charlestown, Mass. He afterwards preached in Duxbury two years, and in 1830 accepted a call from the First Universalist society in Lowell. While in that city he projected and published, in company with another, the "Universalist and Ladies' Reposltory," now known simply as "The Ladies' Repository." In 1833 he removed to Waterville, Me., to take charge of the Universalist society there, made vacant by the removal of Rev. Sylvanus Cobb to Malden, Mass. His pastorship in that beautiful village continued for twenty years. Afterwards he was settled two years in Provincetown, Mass., at the expiration of which he returned to his home in Waterville, and devoted his time to the culture of his land, and the work of an itinerant. During his residence in Maine, he was for several years an associate editor of the "Gospel Banner," and one year represented Waterville in the State Legislature.

Br. Gardner was an able preacher. In the days of his manly strength few ministers exerted a wider influence. At the conventions and associations of Maine which he generally attended, he was usually selected to deliver the closing sermon, as one who was sure to leave a good impression on the minds of those present. He always had something to I say, and his hearers were sure to remember what he said. Some of the best sermons the writer ever listened to came from his lips.

No man could be more highly respected in the community in which he lived, and none more lamented in death. He was twice married, leaving a widow, two daughters, and several grandchildren to mourn his loss.


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