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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF DECEASED CLERGY AND LAYPEOPLE


Obituaries (1869-70) in the 1871 Register

Rev. Ira Adams. This young brother, who gave promise of great usefulness in the Gospel Ministry, died of consumption, at the house of his father, near Frewsburg, (Chautauque Co.) N.Y., December 21, 1869, in the 29th year of his age. He was born April 5, 1841, in Newtonville, Massachusetts, and removed with his parents in 1847 to the house where he closed his eyes in death. He began to study for the ministry with Rev. I. George, in Dunkirk, New York, in the Spring of 1864, and in the autumn of that year entered the Theological School at Canton. He was the only member of the class of 1867, but by reason of ill health was unable to complete the course of study. In February, 1867, he made an engagement to preach in Stockton and Ellery, New York, one-half of the time in each place, and at once entered on his pastoral duties. On the 10th of the following July he was married to Miss Marcia A. Simmons, a graduate of that year from St. Lawrence University, who, with two young children, are left to bear the burdens of life alone. The courage, fortitude and devotion which she displayed during those brief years of trial, won the sympathy and respect of all who observed her in her bereavement.

Mr. Adams was ordained to the work of the ministry at Stockton, New York, September 26, 1867, and notwithstanding the discouragement of ill-health, he continued to perform the duties of his chosen profession faithfully and successfully until August 1869, when he was compelled to close his regular pastoral labor. He proposed to enter into some light secular business, and to preach whenever his health would permit. But he was unable to carry out his plan. He preached his last sermon in Sherman, New York, August 8, 1869, from which time he sank steadily to his grave, leaving behind a name of good report wherever he was known. Those who were most intimate with him bear testimony to his fidelity to the Christian ministry, and speak enthusiastically of his purity, his modesty, his consecration of purpose, and of his genial qualities of character which raised up around him, and attached firmly to him, a wide circle of friends.

Rev. Thompson Barron. Mr. Barron died very suddenly in Sutton, New Hampshire, January 4, 1870, in the 54th year of his age. He was born in Billerica, Massachusetts, April 17, 1816. He lost his father when he was four years old, and at the age of eight left his mother and went to live with a farmer in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, staying with him till he was fourteen, and then worked with a carpenter and joiner in that town to obtain money to attend school. His earliest purpose, it is said, was to be a preacher. He worked at his trade awhile in Boston, and there listened to Father Ballou's preaching. He attended school for a time at Lexington, Massachusetts. It is said that a wealthy and bigoted aunt offered to pay his expenses in getting a Collegiate education, but that learning he had become a Universalist, she withheld the proffered aid and willed the money to the Sandwich Islanders. He studied for some months with Rev. John Gregory in Woburn, Massachusetts; preached his first sermon in that town, February 16, 1836; and in the following June was admitted to the fellowship of the Massachusetts Convention. His first regular engagement appears to have been in Abington, Mass., but he soon went to Bridgewater, Vermont, where he was ordained November 2, 1837. He preached in Bridgewater and in that vicinity until the Spring of 1841; then removed to Winchester, New Hampshire; then, in January, 1846, to Concord, in the same State; then, in the Spring of 1851, he removed to Dayton, Ohio; then, in the Autumn of 1853, to Marietta, Ohio; then, in December, 1856, he went to Muscatine, Iowa. In the Spring of 1858 ill-health induced him to return to New Hampshire and settle, first in Enfield, then in Wentworth, and lastly in Newport, where he bought a small farm and where he continued to live until his death. On the 4th of January, 1870, he left his home to attend a funeral in Sutton on the following day, staying over night at the house of a friend, and apparently in his usual health and spirits. On going out in the evening and not immediately returning his friend went to look for him and found him a few steps from the door, but life was extinct. He leaves a widow and a large family of children to mourn his sudden departure. He did a great amount of missionary work in the various places of his residence, and was a forcible and impressive preacher. He was a man of positive views in theology, and thoroughly denominational in his doctrinal system. But his popularity was limited. With an excitable and impetuous temperament, he had a marked and independent character; was ardent and erratic; and passed through the trials usually incident to men of such a sensitive and peculiar organization. .

Rev. Joshua Hicks. We have been able to learn only a few particulars concerning Mr. Hicks. The substance of all we can gather is that he died at Pilot Grove, Iowa, January 13, 1870, at an advanced age, after an illness of only two days, that he was a faithful preacher, and continued his labors in the ministry until quite aged, and was never so happy as when preaching the Gospel and doing all he could to extend its influence. He was well and widely known in Indiana.

Rev. George W. Gage. Mr. Gage was born in New London, New Hampshire, in 1816, and at the age of eighteen entered an Academy at Canandaigua, New York, whither his family had removed when he was ten years old. He bore from his teacher certificates of scholarship of the first order, and in the ensuing year entered Clinton Liberal Institute. Here he mastered the Greek, Latin and Hebrew languages, and was recommended by Dr. T. Clowes as a student of superior merit, both mentally and morally.

At the age of twenty-one he commenced preaching: first at New Hartford, New York, and then at Poughkeepsie, New York. In 1840 he was settled in Manchester, New Hampshire. His friends and correspondents became numerous, and were among the first in the order. He was enthusiastically devoted to his calling. At one time he was Assistant Editor of the Star of Bethlehem, published in Lowell, Massachusetts, and he was a contributor to other periodicals. He acquired a knowledge of the German language and furnished some translations from the German for their columns. After preaching in Manchester four years he married and settled in Chicopee, Massachusetts. While living here his health became impaired, and on the death of his wife and child, of whom he was bereaved two years after marriage, he was forced to desist from regular pastoral work, and became an itinerant. But a bronchial trouble at length obliged him to quit preaching altogether for two years. In 1850, his health reviving, and having an unwavering attachment to the Gospel ministry, he settled in Fort Plain, New York, but finding active exercise in the open air and rest from public speaking necessary to the preservation of his vocal organs, he retired to his father's farm in Canandaigua, preaching however in that vicinity as often as health and opportunity permitted. In 1852 he married again. When no longer a regular preacher, he became active in the Sunday School. Here he made himself a home which expressed the elegance and taste of his refined and cultivated mind, overcoming obstacles which many stouter hearts might have declined to encounter. But he was not content to live for himself or his own family, merely, and though still frail at the lungs, was tempted to accept an invitation to settle over the society in New London, Connecticut, one of the most arduous undertakings of his ministerial life. His labors there, with constant exposure through the winter of 1869, brought again to light the long concealed germs of incurable consumption. Among his papers there is a valuable MS. history of the War of the Rebellion, occupying 700 pages, which is considered by good judges who have examined it, to be one of the most accurate records of that war that has been written. It was the fruit of years of labor, and three times rewritten. Want of means has prevented its publication. From the learning, ability and industry of the author we doubt not that its publication would be serviceable to the cause of truth, and form a creditable monument to the memory of the writer.

"There were large intellectual and moral powers in the man," writes his cousin, Mr. Almon Gage, "and his scholarly attainments were good and his general information vast. The gifts and graces that make a popular preacher were not his in a very large or marked degree, and yet he was a good writer and sermonizer. I was with him some days before and at the closing scene. He was calm in the contemplation of death and unshaken in the faith he had preached. I asked him how he felt as to the future. He replied instantly and with a degree of rapture, 'I trust in the Infinite Love,' and added, with a pleasant smile, 'Is not that all-sufficient?' He was a good man, and gave heart and hand to every movement for reform, education, and the bettering of the condition of his fellow men." Thus peacefully, and in the triumphs of faith, he went to his rest at Canandaigua, New York, October 5, 1869, at the age of 53.

Rev. Terrell H. Rush of DeKalb, (Kemper Co.) Mississippi, departed this life in Pulaski Co., Arkansas, February 15, 1870. He was originally a Methodist preacher, but was converted to Universalism by the preaching of Rev. E. H. Lake some years before the war of the rebellion. He was about 60 years of age at the time of his death. He had gone to Arkansas with one of his sons, on business, and from exposure on that journey he was taken sick never to recover. He was aware of his condition, as the end drew near, and made preparation for it. Death had no terrors for him, and the hope of a world's salvation was the subject on which he delighted to talk and in which he gloried. His funeral took place at DeKalb, Mississippi, on the last Sabbath in May, 1870, in the Methodist Episcopal Church, which was kindly tendered for the purpose. Rev. S. J. McMorris, who officiated at the funeral service, writes us that Bro. Rush "was a tender husband, and kind father, a good neighbor, and remarkable for his hospitality. His home was open to everyone that came his way, and his brethren of the Methodist Ministry called on him as usual, after his conversion to Universalism, and seemed to love him still. Bigotry itself could not break the hold which he had obtained over their affections."

The Masonic Fraternity, to which he belonged, turned out in force at his funeral, and a great gathering of people testified their respect for his memory. He preached by his example, as much as, or more than, any other way, for while a very exemplary man in his life, he was timid and reserved in manner, and did not much like to appear before the public and encounter opposition. But though he preached only occasionally, he loved the cause of Universalism, greatly desired to see it prosper, and labored for it according to his ability. He had the honor of being the only preacher of our faith residing within the limits of the great State of Mississippi.

Rev. Willard C. George, M.D. Dr. George was a native of Norway, Maine. Whilst a mere lad he served two years at the printing business in Norway. In early manhood, having experienced the religion of Universal Grace, he received the fellowship of the Maine Convention of Universalists. He spent the first two years of his ministry (1836-7), in Bremen, Maine, and in that neighborhood, and in 1838 he was settled in Dresden in the same State where he remained four years. In 1842 he removed to Calais, Maine, and preached to the joint societies in that place and St. Stephen, New Brunswick, until 1851. Being convinced that to save his life he must change his occupation, he adopted the medical profession, taking a trip to Europe, to gain information from foreign sources that might aid him in his new vocation. On his return home he published a book of his travels and observations abroad. While pursuing his medical studies he supplied the pulpit of the Universalist Society at Stevens Plains, and after graduating at a Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts, he returned to Calais and commenced the practice of medicine. He removed after some years to Kinderhook, New York, then to Charlton, Massachusetts, but finally returned to his native Norway, where he died on the 3rd day of October, 1869, in the 58th year of his age.

He entered the ministry of Universalism from an ardent love of its doctrines, and never left it but when driven from it by ill health. He was an interesting, instructive and successful preacher, and though of a feeble voice his sermons were always of a high order. He was not only a sound theologian, but well versed in the physical sciences, upon which he frequently lectured.

Rev. N. Gunnison, who was his pastor in Norway for some years and an intimate personal friend, writes of him as follows: "He was one of the most modest and retiring men I ever knew, and never sought place or notoriety. He was as successful as a physician as he was as a minister. He preached till his voice utterly broke down. He never abandoned the purpose of returning to the ministry as soon as his health would allow. Not one year before he died he told me that his heart was in the ministry of Universalism, and if he ever recovered his health he should return to it. For three of the closing years of his life he was a consistent supporter of my meeting, always in his place, always ready to speak in our Conference meetings, Sunday Schools, and Church meetings when not away on business, and he always spoke well and to edification, though frequently his speeches were cut short for want of voice. A few weeks before he died I spent a day with him. He was almost worn out, but his faith was strong, and he was patiently waiting the time of his departure.

"He was a good parishioner. I would like a whole society made up of such ex-ministers as he. He was always a safe counselor, and a real help to his minister. I cannot say too much in eulogy of Bro. George. He was Christian all through, and gave his life to every good work. He left a most devoted wife and three daughters, all of them true to his faith and earnest workers in the same good cause."

Rev. Truman Strong. He was one of the oldest and best beloved of our ministers in Ohio. He was born in Poultney, (Rutland Co.) Vermont, March 7, 1790, and died in Fredericktown, (Knox Co.) Ohio, March 7, 1870, having exactly completed the 80th year of his age. For nearly sixty years he had made his home on the farm where he died, and for nearly fifty years he had been an efficient and faithful minister of the Universalist denomination. He was one of the most earnest pioneer preachers, one of those self-sacrificing spirits who preached the "glad tidings" simply because he wanted the world to hear the same "good news" which had so rejoiced his own heart. It may truly be said of him that he lived the doctrine he professed. He had for some time felt that his work on earth was done, and yet was willing, yea anxious, in the last year of his life to lift up his voice in promulgation of the great Salvation.

He leaves a widow and three children to mourn his death, but the denomination is also a loser and a mourner. "We can safely say" writes one who knew him intimately, "that no old soldier of the Cross in Ohio ever left a more pleasant memory for the comfort of his friends, or went down to his grave more generally respected and beloved in the circle in which he lived than Truman Strong. Old, when most of the preachers of our faith in Ohio were young, he possessed the esteem of the brotherhood, and was widely loved among the people for the simplicity and purity of his life. His presence at our Conventions and Associations was always a special charm of such gatherings, and no one who ever looked on his benignant face will ever forget its mild peace and beauty, and the hope and trust breathed forth in his words. His presence was itself a benediction, and lent an added sanctity to the most solemn service of the sanctuary. He was a good man, and his name will be held amongst us in honored remembrance as one of the pioneer preachers of our faith, now, alas, dropping rapidly away from us."

Rev. Tobias Ham Miller. He was the son of John and Ruth Miller, and born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, August 10, 1801, and died in Portsmouth, March 30, 1870. Losing his father while yet a child, the care of his early training was left to his mother who was a woman of great energy and piety. He gained the rudiments of education in the public school, but he was apprenticed to the printing business at thirteen years of age, and never attended school a day afterwards. While employed in the office of the Newburyport (Massachusetts) Herald, he formed the acquaintance of John G. Whittier and William Lloyd Garrison. With the latter he stood side by side at the printer's case, and a strong and life-long friendship sprang up between them. Mr. Garrison writes concerning his old friend Miller thus: "I was drawn to him magnetically from the beginning; and, whether working side by side at the case or the press, unbroken friendship subsisted between us to the end. Indeed, so far as he was concerned, it would have been extremely difficult for the most irascible to have picked a quarrel with him. He had wonderful self-command, patience, cheerfulness, urbanity and philosophic composure, far beyond his years. I never saw him out of temper for a moment under the most trying circumstances, (and a printing-office often presents such), nor cast down by any disappointment, nor disposed to borrow trouble of the future.

"He was a very Benjamin Franklin for good sense and axiomatic speech, and in spirit always as fresh and pure as a newly-blown rose. In his daily walk and conversation he was a pattern of uprightness, and from his example I drew moral inspiration and was signally aided in my endeavors after ideal perfection and practical goodness. His nature was large, generous, sympathetic, self-denying, reverent. He was as true to his highest convictions of duty as the needle to the pole. No one was ever more yielding in the matter of accommodation where no principle was involved; none more inflexible in pursuit of the right."

After serving as a printer in Newburyport and in Boston, he returned to Portsmouth and became the Associate Editor of the Portsmouth Journal; afterwards, and for seventeen years of his life, he was Associate Editor of the Portsmouth Chronicle, which he originally projected. He was also, at different times, during those years, employed as Editor of the New Hampshire Observer, the Carpet Bag, the Washingtonian, and the Teacher and Miscellany, a Universalist Magazine for Sunday Schools and Families. In early life he was an Orthodox Congregationalist, by which denomination he was ordained and first settled as a preacher. But deep and conscientious and faithful study of the Scriptures led him to accept the broader and better faith of. Universalism, and thenceforward he continued to preach that doctrine to the end of his life. It is an interesting fact, as, indicating the respect in which he was held by his former brethren, that they never cast the slightest aspersion on his character or motives. They continued to respect him and fellowship him as a Christian, and there is hardly an Orthodox church within a score of miles of his residence in which he has not stood since he became a Universalist. In the morning of his life he espoused the cause of temperance, and to the end was one of its most earnest and consistent advocates, The anti-slavery cause also shared the influence of his voice and pen years ago when it cost a man something to take such a stand, and he spoke and wrote against slavery with eloquence and power. Soon after the "Proclamation of Emancipation" was issued by President Lincoln, Mr. Miller repeated in the Universalist Pulpit in Portsmouth a sermon, which he wrote and preached nearly thirty years before on the subject of slavery, which showed how accurately he had forecast the future, and how happily to himself, and how happily to the millions of bondmen, his early auguries had been fulfilled. And on the very day that President Grant issued his proclamation declaring the Fifteenth Amendment a part of the fundamental law of the land, having seen the Salvation of the Lord, he departed in peace and "was gathered to his fathers."

Rev. Charles Smith Brown. Mr. Brown was born in Oneida County, New York, March 20, 1804. He was early apprenticed to the trade of chair-maker and ornamental painter. At the age of fourteen his employer removed to Rochester, Munroe County, where he became interested in religious things and joined the Methodist Church, though at that time believing in the final salvation of the whole world. Becoming acquainted with Rev. Stephen R. Smith, he was induced to enter our ministry, spending some time first with Mr. Smith, and then with Rev. Dolphus Skinner. He was ordained at Bainbridge, New York, in 1832. His first settlement was in South Oxford, Chenango County, from whence he removed to Upper Lisle, Broome County. For a few years he lived in Pennsylvania, then in Oneida and Cortland Counties, New York, but finally removed some thirteen years ago to Cambridge, Illinois, where he died in May, 1870. During all the years of his ministry, Mr. Brown, like so many preachers of his time, was never able to secure more than a very humble subsistence. By hard work and the severest economy and self-denial he saved enough to purchase a small farm in Cambridge, where he lived in quiet and comfort during the latter years of his life, preaching occasionally, but having no pastoral charge. He was a good, though not a brilliant preacher. His soul was full of the Gospel. He loved his faith, he loved his brethren, he loved the Lord. It is enough to say that he was a humble, sincere, honest, good man and Christian. During his last days he often spoke of the comforting and sustaining power of his faith, and charged that no one should say he mourned as he saw the end approaching; for his hope in the salvation of all men was never brighter. He left a widow and three children, all settled in Cambridge, to mourn their loss.

Rev. Alfred B. Ellis died in South Dedham, Massachusetts, the place of his birth, October 10, 1870, aged 30 years. He entered the Theological School at Canton at the age of 20, and taking the full course of three years, graduated with honor. He has been six years in the ministry, during which time his labors have been in the West, part of the time in the far West. He was settled first at Belvidere, Ill., where he remained three years doing a very good and successful work, rebuilding and permanently establishing an old and broken-down society. While here he married Miss Charlotte Bishop, who thus early in her life has been called to give him up at God's summons. In April he returned to his father's house in South Dedham, since which time his health has steadily and rapidly declined until his death. He had been fully aware from the beginning of the nature of his disease, and entertained no hope of recovery. Though standing face to face with death all these months, and having as many and as strong attachments to life as any man, yet he never for a moment murmured at what was clearly the will of God. He put his trust in his heavenly Father, and so with calmness and cheerfulness and patient trust he awaited the coming of the end. His death was happy, triumphant. The folding up of the spirit for its rest was as gentle and peaceful as the noiseless falling of the shadows of evening. The intimate friends of Mr. Ellis testify that his character was one of remarkable simplicity and purity. At school, his companions say, he seemed to be absolutely without guile. There was a gentle dignity about his nature which they remember and speak of as being very impressive. All his words and deeds, and daily walk, though in no way demonstrative, shone with the luster of so pure a soul that they spoke him every inch a Christian. And although he was a good writer and preacher of sermons, his success in the ministry was an illustration of the influence of a consecrated Christian life rather than the power of the pulpit in saving men. He had originally a profoundly religious nature which had been assiduously cultivated all his life. His aims were all high and noble. He came into the ministry from a devout sense of duty, which to him was unmistakably the call of the voice of God. And there are few men in any ministry who more deeply or clearly, or we might almost say more painfully, felt the weight of the sacred responsibilities, of that office, or more patiently and diligently strove to fulfill them than did he. One scarcely needs to add that he succeeded in the highest and best sense of the term. Death appeared in his hardest guise to our brother when thoughts of the surrendering of this precious work would crowd themselves upon him. But his ministry even on earth is not ended. The influence of so fair a life is far above the reach of death.

Rev. William Campbell was born November 21, 1781, at or near Brownsville, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and in 1797 he went to the North Western Territory, now Ohio, and settled in Gallia County when the country was an almost unbroken wilderness. He was always of a religious turn of mind and on the 11th of July, 1802, joined the Halcyon [a partialist] Church in Kenawha, now Mason County, West Virginia. It is not known at what time he was converted to the Universalist Faith, but it was many years ago, after which time he commenced preaching that doctrine, and he remained in that faith until his death, which took place at Wilkesville, (Vinton Co.) Ohio, on the 16th of March, 1870. He died rejoicing in the hope of the salvation of the whole human family.


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