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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF DECEASED CLERGY AND LAYPEOPLE


Obituaries (1866-67) in the 1868 Register

Rev. D. C. O'Daniels died in Westminster, Massachusetts, February 5th, in the thirty-ninth year of his age. Of his early history, we have no information, other than that he was reared in another faith than that which he spent his mature life in promulgating. His first settlement was in the town where he departed his life. After that he went to Athol; and then to the State of New York, where he ministered to various societies, feeble health sadly interfering with his plans of usefulness. He was a very honest man, and never knew an opinion to conceal it, and perhaps, he was sometimes too ready, for his own interests, to avow convictions at variance with those of his brethren. His heart was in sympathy with every movement which tended to the amelioration of human suffering and woe; and both the temperance cause and that of anti-slavery early found in him a devoted advocate. In consequence of ill health he was for several years partially incapacitated for the full, active duties of a pastor's life; and accordingly, he had devoted a part of his time to the work of a canvassing agent for the "Ladies' Repository." While thus engaged he visited Westminster. His last sermon was preached in the pulpit there; his theme was Immortality; and those who heard him felt, as they beheld the feebleness of the speaker, that the subject gained renewed importance, as presented by one so near the confines of the world, to which he endeavored to lead their thoughts.

Mr. O'Daniels left a wife and three little children, to mourn the loss of a devoted husband and indulgent father. For their sake he desired to live, but he knew in whom he had trusted, and he was able to resign them and all he held dear, into the hands of the everlasting Father.

Rev. Sebastian Streeter passed to the heavenly rest June 2d. Mr. Streeter was a native of North Adams, Massachusetts, and the date of his birth is April 15, 1783. While yet in his infancy his parents removed to Richmond, New Hampshire, and afterwards to Swanzey, in the same State. His early advantages were limited; but by great industry and persistence he was able to lay the foundation of a good professional education. Quite early in life he was a successful teacher of common schools, at which time he was also an outspoken advocate of the doctrine of Universal Salvation. His first sermon was preached at the age of twenty-two; and he continued to preach from time to time, though designing to enter the profession of the Law. Accepting an invitation from the wilds of Maine, he spent a year in travelling from place to place on horseback, frequently going sixty or seventy miles to preach a single lecture. At that time opposition to the doctrine was very bitter; and he was often assailed by dogs which the owners set upon him as he passed; and in one instance, he was stoned by a member of a Christian Church, while preaching in a Christian house of worship.

In 1807, Mr. Streeter settled in Weare, New Hampshire, and divided his time between that place and Hopkinton. He was ordained at the General Convention, in Washington, New Hampshire, September 21, 1808. From Weare, after a ministry of four years, he removed to Haverhill, Massachusetts, remaining there till called to the pastorate of the society in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 1824, he removed to Boston, and took charge of the First Universalist Church in Hanover Street, where he was installed on the 13th of May, retaining the pastorship till about six years before his death, when he retired from all public labors. He was a great sufferer for many years, but he now sleeps in peace.

Father Streeter was a man of many gifts. His eloquence was real and spontaneous, lifting his hearers into the heavenly places, and making the spiritual world a reality to them. His manner was easy and full of action. No man was more gifted in prayer. Few ministers were so frequently called to attend funerals, and few were so happy in speaking consolation to the bereaved. He was at home in the Conference meeting, and had the peculiar faculty of drawing out the timid, to utter their feelings in the Conference room. He was philanthropic, giving with a generous hand, and carrying tokens of sympathy and words of encouragement to the homes of the poor. He married more couples than any other man in the land; and his cheerful laugh in seasons of joy made him always a favorite in the social circle.

Mr. Streeter contributed much to the literature of the denomination, as we find it twenty-five and thirty years ago. He was associate editor of two periodicals. Many articles of his authorship may be found in the volumes of the old Expositor; and his name was associated with that of his brother, Rev. Russell Streeter, in issuing a collection of Hymns, which for a long time were in general use in our churches.

The aged companion of Father Streeter, with whom he lived most happily for over sixty years, still survives him; and several children remain to bless the memory of an honored father.

Rev. John Nichols died in Beverly, Massachusetts, February 24th. Mr. Nichols was a native of Cohasset, Massachusetts, where he was born April 10, 1808. His studies with a view to the ministry were pursued with the late Rev. A. A. Folsom, in Hingham, where he was ordained. After engagements with the societies in Newton, Watertown and Quincy, he was settled in Claremont, New Hampshire, where his ministry of four years is remembered with much interest. He afterwards ministered to the Second Society in Lynn and the Society in Holliston nine years, in South Framingham one year, and in Beverly ten years. During his ministry in Holliston, he represented the town in the Legislature of 1848 and 1849.

Mr. Nichols was one of the most faithful pf our ministers. The purity of his life, his deep sincerity, his consecration to the work to which he had been ordained, and his love of the gospel, always secured the confidence and esteem of the people among whom he resided. In every settlement he did good; and the influence of his life and labors made not only the minister, but the cause he advocated, respected. He was in deep, working, sacrificing sympathy with every moral reform. His sermons always contained solid thought, and his delivery of them was not infrequently truly eloquent. In every community in which he had lived, he won the affections of all who knew him; and at his funeral all classes united in bearing testimony to his worth as a citizen and as a minister of Christ.

The circumstances attending the death of this excellent minister were peculiarly affecting. He was about to close his ministry in Beverly, and the Sunday of his valedictory had arrived. In the morning he met the Sunday School, and addressed the scholars in a tender and affectionate manner, and apparently in his usual health. In the afternoon he preached his farewell sermon. No appearance of illness was noticed during the preliminary services. In commencing his discourse, he omitted to tell as usual, where his text was to be found. The first and second divisions of it were treated with his usual clearness; but when he entered upon the closing division, he wandered and was incoherent. At the close, he failed to read a notice he held in his hand and attempted to give. Friends conducted him to his home, and a physician was called. Becoming utterly unconscious, he expired about eleven o'clock. His physician pronounced it a case of paralysis of the brain; and it had evidently been induced by the excitement attending the closing of his labors with the parish, which had occurred much against his own feelings and wishes. His farewell sermon was thus his farewell to earthly scenes!

Rev. Robert L. Killam, of West Scituate, Massachusetts, died in the month of December, 1866. A native of Hanover, Massachusetts, where he was born, June 29th, 1790, he became a convert by reading the writings of Rev. H. Ballou. He was settled in the ministry, first in Marlborough, from 1819 to 1821; then in Attleborough from 1821 to 1829; and he was pastor of the society in West Scituate from 1829 to 1837. His residence continued in the latter place, till the time of his death. In consequence of bodily infirmities and a derangement of his mental powers, he had been unable to preach for many years, and his death occurred in a retreat for the insane. One who had known him long and well, thus speaks of him: "Whenever he preached he fed the people with knowledge and understanding. He was a Bible Christian, treating his subjects in a common-sense way. He was an earnest man, and early saw and illustrated the duty of applying the gospel to all the affairs of life. He therefore joined the advancing hosts in the grave questions which have convulsed the land, his countenance aglow with youthful fire, when he argued the equal rights of man. As a man he was genial and upright. A good citizen, a tender husband and father, he was much respected where he was well known. . . . He was a good ex-minister. He did not turn his back upon the pulpit from which he had retired, nor fail to cooperate with his parish when they had obtained a successor. . . . He has left two sons, (his wife and only daughter having been sent forward long ago to welcome him home,) who remain on the old homestead, and honor the name and faith of their father, at the altar where he so long ministered and worshipped."

Rev. George E. Allen departed this life, at his late residence in Scitico, Connecticut, February 23rd, at the age of forty-two, after a painful illness of nine weeks. But few data have been furnished, out of which to form even a brief sketch of his life; yet those who knew him uniformly testify to the rare excellence of his character as a Christian minister. He was born and passed his life in the community where he breathed his last. For eleven years he was pastor of the Church in Poquonnock, and he had performed much missionary work in the State. He was always an acceptable preacher; always welcome at Associations, and always Standing Clerk of some of those bodies. His gentleness, kindness, good-neighborship, modesty and worth commanded the respect and esteem of a very wide circle of acquaintances. In many homes he had administered the consolations of religion to the bereaved, and he will be greatly missed by very many to whom, in various places, he had declared the unsearchable riches of Christ. He had been a laborer in the ministry for fifteen years, and was greatly beloved by both ministers and laymen. He died as he lived and preached, in his last words breathing the joy and peace our faith affords, and adding another to the long list of those who have victoriously met death through its heavenly power. A widow, two children and an aged mother mourn the departure of a devoted husband, indulgent father and dutiful son.

Rev. Elhanan Winchester Reynolds died in Milwaukie, Wisconsin, August 31, aged thirty-nine years. For three years past, his health had been very precarious, and for some months he had declined rapidly. His difficulty was consumption superinduced by asthma, a disease from which he was always more or less a sufferer. He entered the ministry twenty years ago, at the age of nineteen, a young man of evident parts, but at that time with no very happy faculty of commending himself to the public. He was first settled in Java, Erie County, New York. Subsequently in Sherman, New York; in Norwich, Connecticut; Lynn, Massachusetts; Buffalo, Jamestown, Watertown and Lockport, New York. From the latter place he returned, after a brief pastorate, to his farm in Cuba, New York, a prematurely exhausted and dying man. Here he endeavored to establish a society, when so weak that, as he said, he was "fighting with death daily." His fast failing health admonished him that he must seek relief, if it were to be found at all, in the restoring climate of Minnesota, whither he went a few months since. But the disease appeared to have been too deeply seated; its progress was sure and steady; and he now sleeps in peace. He had no fear of death. His faith was never firmer than amid the gathering shadows of his last days. His trust in God was serene and strong. As one who falls into a gentle sleep, he passed away, the act seeming not

"So much even as the lifting of a latch;
Only a step into the open air
Out of a tent already luminous
With light that shone through its transparent walls."

Rev. E. W. Reynolds had developed from an awkward and rather unpromising youth of nineteen to a man of thirty-nine, of as many and rare accomplishments as we often meet in any one, reared under whatever advantages. As a preacher, he was strong and often brilliant; as a scholar, his explorations were extensive, and his acquisitions, the gold refined from innumerable heaps of dross, patiently searched out; and as a writer, he was master of a style which would have been his passport to the first literary circles of America. He wrote several books, the most successful of which is the Records of Bubbleton Parish, a volume of great power and lively humor. He has left an honorable record, which cannot but be helpful to all who give it an appreciative consideration. The denomination has met with a great loss in his death. It is a sad thing for a great cause to lose such a man, when cultivated minds and consecrated hearts are so necessary to it.

Mr. Reynolds has left a wife, with a family of children to mourn his departure.

Rev. W. B. Linell of Muncie, Indiana, died in Indianapolis, September 6th. Leaving home to attend the State Convention in Terra Haute, he was taken sick of typhoid fever, in Indianapolis, and was unable to reach his place of destination. He lay in a stupor, for several days, at the house of a friend, from, which he never awoke, till his eyes beheld the beatific world.

But few incidents have come to us of the life of this departed brother. He was born in Birmingham, England, in the year 1804, and moved to this country in the year 1825. Was married March 5th, 1830, to Celesta Stoddard in Stowe, Vermont. Commenced his labors in the ministry in the year 1842. Made his first settlement in Springboro, Ohio, in 1844, and continued to live and labor there successfully for the space of seven years. Went from Springboro to Oquawka, and remained one year. Left Oquawka for Fairfield, Indiana, where he labored two years. Went from Fairfield back to Oquawka and remained two years. Went from there to Mount Pleasant, Iowa—lived there one year and returned to Oquawka and continued his labors until the breaking out of the war. He then enlisted in the service of his—not the less loved because adopted—country as chaplain of the 10th Illinois Regiment. Health failed him, and he returned to his home after enduring the hardships of camp life for nearly a year. After recovering his health he took charge of the church in Vevay, Indiana, in 1864, where he remained one year, during which time his wife, after a long protracted illness, died. Leaving Vevay, he next settled in Muncie, Indiana, where he was married to Mrs. Jane Charman, who survives him.

He was always remarkable for his robust health and bodily vigor, and few but would have judged him to be less that fifty. One of the pioneers of our faith in the West, he had done good service for his Master, in the places where he had preached. Having much of the Missionary spirit, his appointments were always numerous, and they were made many weeks ahead. As a preacher, though not particularly brilliant, he was always efficient; and his public life was eminently useful.

Mr. Linell inherited the traditional shrewdness and humor of the Yorkshire people, among whom he was born, in such a degree as to make him a marked character among Our ministers. He was a pleasant companion, on whom care sat lightly, and with his merry laugh and ready fund of anecdote, made himself a general favorite in the social circle. He was frank and open in his manners, and kind and tender-hearted to a fault. Yet his will was unbending, and when his mind was once made up it was difficult to change him.

Joshua Smithson died in Vevay, Indiana, June 24, 1867, in the seventy-fifth year of his age. He was born in Randolph County, North Carolina, in A. D. 1792; removed to Hillsboro, Ohio, when he was nine years old; in 1816, was married to Sarah Goddard at Flemingsburg, Kentucky, and came to Vevay the same year, and lived here and in this vicinity a period of fifty-one years. Father Smithson was at one time a member of the Methodist Church, and afterwards a member of the Christian Church, but never found rest to his soul, until he was brought to believe in God as the Father and Savior of all, especially of those that believe. In 1852, when the Universalist Church was organized in Vevay, he was among the first to unite with it, and remained a firm believer, and died full of faith. He was greatly esteemed by the membership of the Church, and was one of the Trustees at his death. He took effects of its doctrines upon his own life. By hard labor and a judicious economy, he and his faithful companion, acquired more than enough of this world's goods to sustain them in their old age; and by his will, he has provided that their surplus shall be so invested, as to cause those who remain behind, to revere his memory; and that his good deeds shall "follow him." His will provides—1. That all his property goes to his wife. 2. At her death, one-third goes to the Universalist Church at Vevay, the interest of the same to be expended for the support of preaching. 3. The remaining two-thirds goes to the Northwestern Conference, for the purpose of building a Denominational School in Indiana.

Rev. Seth Stetson died in Brunswick, Maine, July 12th. Father Stetson, as he was affectionately called by all who knew him, was born in Kingston, Massachusetts, July 17, 1776, and consequently, at the time of his death, wanted but a few days of being ninety-one years old. He was reared in the faith of the Puritan fathers, near the old Plymouth Rock. In early life he learned the trade of a ship-carpenter, at which he wrought for several years. Emigrating to the then Province of Maine, he felt called to enter the Congregational ministry. He pursued his studies with settled ministers of the order, teaching school during the time, to pay his way. His first settlement was in Norridgewock, Maine, where he labored three years, when he returned to the Old Colony, settled in the Manumet Pond parish, in Plymouth, continuing his pastorate there seventeen years. When the Unitarian controversy broke out in Massachusetts, he became interested; and, reading with care the arguments of the late Rev. Noah Worcester, D.D., he became a convert to Unitarianism. For a time he was employed as a Unitarian missionary in Maine. In 1829, he made a further advance in his faith, becoming a happy believer in the salvation of a world through Christ, in which hope he continued till the day of his death. In that year he fulfilled a temporary engagement with the society in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and thence removed to Salem, where he preached three years. In 1828, he returned to Maine. His engagements there were with the societies in Brunswick, Bath, Bowdoinham, Buckfield, Durham and Bristol. In 1835, he purchased the house in Brunswick, in which his last years were most happily spent.

No Universalist ever more truly enjoyed his religion, than did Father Stetson. From the hour of his conversion, he never had one feeling of distrust in the love of the Father. He lived in the conscious presence of the Everlasting One, and he felt the smiles of His love resting upon him. His heart went out to all men, and everybody loved him in return. Wherever he went he carried the spirit of Christ, and his presence was always felt to be a benediction, in the hundreds of homes in Maine, to which he was ever joyfully welcomed. No man ever lived nearer to the requirements of the Gospel, and in none was the spirit of Christ more visibly manifest. That "he was a good man and full of the Holy Ghost," was the testimony of all who knew him.

Father Stetson died as he had lived. Serenely he passed down into the dark valley, which was all light to him, falling asleep without a struggle. An aged companion, with whom he had journeyed sixty-six years of his life; a most devoted daughter, who tenderly cared for him in his decline, and two sons, mourn his departure.

Mr. J. J. Near, Principal of one of the schools in that city, and a preacher in fellowship with the Murray Association, in Ohio, was suddenly killed July 5th, in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Accompanied by a party of friends, he was visiting the Louisville Water Works above the city, and while they were examining the machinery and operations of the force-pump, he unfortunately took a position under the revolving beam, which came down upon his head with such force as to crush it to atoms. He was a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and he has left many friends in the northern part of the State, who respect his memory as a teacher of youth and a preacher of the gospel.


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