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Obituaries (1887-1888) in the 1889 Register
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Nineteen of our Preachers have died since the Register for 1888 went to press. "We present such notice of their life and labors as is possible from the data obtained, and the limited space here afforded.
David Cook Davis died at Duanesburg, N. Y., Nov. 10, 1887. He was for many years an active layman in Brooklyn, N. Y., and did not enter the ministry until quite advanced in life, having been ordained in June, 1876, at Braman's Corners, N. Y., where he preached two years; then two or more years at Dexter, in the same State. He had resided at Duanesburg several years. He is described as " a man of fine natural ability and large enthusiasm, greatly devoted to the work of the Church."
John Lyon died at Bridgeport, Conn., Dec. 14,1887, aged 44. Mr. Lyon was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and came to the United States in 1867. In 1871 he took Orders in the Episcopal Church, but withdrew therefrom three years later, and in 1874 became pastor of the Unitarian Church in Ware, Mass., from which he was called to the Universalist Church in Bridgeport, in 1876, where he remained in active and efficient service during the remainder of his life. In 1881 he was chosen Secretary of the Connecticut Convention, in which office he also continued, doing noble service, until death took him away. At the time of his decease, the Bridgeport Standard paid the following worthy tribute to his memory: "Mr. Lyon was a most active worker in his church, and took a deep interest in all the social events connected with it. In the pulpit he was fearless in his attacks upon sin and evil-doers. He commanded the respect of the entire community, was tireless in every good work, and under him his church had reached a high degree of prosperity and usefulness. His death is a general bereavement."
Henry C. Vose died in Marion, Mass., Dec. 16, 1887, aged 71. He was born in Stoughton, Mass., Oct. 1, 1816. His preparation for the ministry was under the direction of Rev. William Fishbough, in whose pulpit, in Taunton, he preached his first sermon. Shortly after this he took charge of the parishes in Mattapoisett and Sippican (now Marion), and was ordained at Mattapoisett in 1841. From these parishes he went to Watertown, where he was pastor seven years. In 1852 he became pastor at Clinton, N. Y., but returned to New England in 1855, broken in health, and for a while made his home with a brother, in Providence, R. I. From Providence he returned to Marion, then, for a brief settlement, to Watertown, and finally, at the urgent solicitation of the parish, he entered on a third pastorate at Marion, which continued twenty-two years. His own feeble health and that of his wife led him to the study of Medicine, and finally to become a Homoeopathic practitioner. In his own and the adjoining towns, he had a large practice; but the ministerial profession always occupied the first place in his affections and efforts. He was a man of great excellence of character; " gentle yet resolute ; lenient yet firm in requiring righteousness; catholic in spirit and conduct towards all other churches, but uncompromising in loyalty to his own; he was modest in his estimate of himself, and generous in his estimate of others ; he was scholarly, deeply religious and of great moral excellence, yet a man of the world; he could be on familiar terms with all the people of his parish, both old and young, and with the people of the community in which he lived, and yet compel their respect."
William Stevens Balch, D.D., died Dec. 25, 1887, at Elgin, Ill., in his 82d year. Mr. Balch was born in Andover, Vt., April 13, 1806. At sixteen years of age, having obtained all the education which the public school of his neighborhood could impart, he left home for the purpose of being under the tuition of Rev. Samuel C. Loveland, then residing at Reading, Vt. On his way thither he was deflected from his purpose by accepting an offer to teach a district school. Subsequently he assisted his brother Aaron, who was engaged in a private school in the city of New York; and afterwards returned to his former school in Ludlow, Vt. In 1824 he entered Mr. Loveland's family, and began a course of studies in Greek, Latin and mathematics. He entered Chester Academy, to fit for college, in the fall of 1825, but finding that he would not be able to meet the expense of a collegiate course, he again went to New York and became assistant to his brother. While thus engaged he became a member of the Universalist Church, then under the charge of Rev. Abner Kneeland. Not long after this he started out as a Lecturer on Language, in which he was successful until sickness forced him to abandon the platform. He had already resolved to enter the ministry as soon as he was able, and so, on recovering his health, he again put himself under the charge of Rev. Mr. Loveland, and entered on a course of study to fit him for his chosen profession.
He was fellowshipped by the General Convention, at its session in Saratoga, N. Y., Sept. 20, 1827, and ordained at Claremont, N. H., May 28, 1828.
After preaching in Newfane, Vt., several months, and teaching school the following winter, besides continuing his studies with Rev. Mr. Loveland, he took charge of the parish in Albany, N. Y., for a short time; then he went to Watertown, Mass.; thence in 18152 to Claremont, N. H.; then to the First Society in Providence, R. I., in 1836; to Bleecker Street, New York, in 1842; Ludlow, Vt., in 1859; Galesburg, Ill., in 1865; Elgin, Ill., in 1871. For two or three years he was pastor at Dubuque, Iowa, though still retaining his residence in Elgin, where his long and useful life was, as to its earthly career, terminated.
No one was more instrumental in establishing our Theological School at Canton, N. Y., than was Mr. Balch. He devoted much time and labor to this object, and succeeded where others could only have failed. He was the author of the first "Manual or Sunday-school Service Book" published by Universalists, the first edition of which was printed in 1837. His other publications were: "Lectures on Language," 1838; "A Grammar of the English Language," 1839; "Ireland as I Saw It," 1849; "A Peculiar People," 1881; besides several pamphlets and tracts.
He was a man of untarnished reputation, always a popular preacher with the masses, and a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus Christ.
David P. Bunn died at Decatur, Ill., Dec. 28, 1887, in his 76th year, having been born in Ross County, Ohio, Aug. 16, 1812. Educated in the tenets of the Methodist Church, of which he was for several years a member, he became a Universalist not far from 1840, and began preaching Universalism in 1842 at Mt. Pulaski, Ill. He was ordained in 1844. In 1848 he became pastor of the church at Iowa City, Iowa, but returned to Mt. Pulaski a year later, remaining there till his removal to Decatur in the spring of 1854. For eighteen months, dating from February, 1862, he was connected with the army as Chaplain of the 56th Illinois Regiment. He left the service on account of ill health. "His later years have been given up to the active ministry, preaching in Decatur, Mt. Pulaski, Sadorus, Vermilion, Ind., and at Boody." His death was sudden and painless. He was a good man, "noble and genial," " a man of refinement and intelligence — a true friend." He was highly esteemed in his own church, and greatly respected by all who knew him.
Orlando Adelbert Rounds died in Waterford, Me., Dec. 27,1887, in the 39th year of his age. He was "born at Brownville, N. Y., June 30, 1849; graduated from Canton Theological School in 1873, in which year he was also ordained; settled in Bridgton, Me., 1873-77; married in 1875 Miss Florence Brown of Waterford, Me.; was pastor at Potsdam, N. Y., 1877-82 ; at Utica, 1882-87." He was a man of rare mental gifts, " a sermonizer of unusual power and charm," and of a moral excellence which has caused him to be called by one of his most intimate friends, — a class-mate, — "Conscience incarnate." "His blameless life and inspiring example raised the standing of the church in every community where he dwelt."
Abraham M. Soule died at North Farmington, Mich., Jan. 7, 1888, aged 77. He entered the ministry in the Christian denomination after receiving theological training at Meadville Theological School; and about twenty years ago connected himself with the Universalist Church in Ohio, where he at once had pastorates at Woodstock and Clyde. Two years during the war " he was the honored Chaplain of the 74th Indiana Regiment." His pastoral settlements in Michigan were at Farmington and New Hudson, and perhaps other localities. His later years were spent on his farm near Farmington. "He leaves an honored memory of a simple and devoted character as neighbor, friend, citizen, minister and man." "The day of his burial was the fifty-fourth anniversary of his marriage with Thankful Allen of Saratoga County, N. Y., with whom he had passed a joyous and happy life."
Frederick Page died at Bartonville, Vt., Jan. 28, 1888, aged 89. Mr. Page came to us from the Baptists when past middle life, and never had a pastorate in our church, but did considerable itinerant preaching in Vermont, New York and adjoining States. He was quite active till the infirmities of age compelled a suspension of labors.
William Henry Ryder, D.D., died in Chicago, Ill., March 7, 1888, in his 66th year. He was born in Provincetown, Mass., July 18, 1822, of Universalist parents, his father, Capt. Godfrey Ryder, being prominent among the Universalists on the Cape. His academical training was at Pembroke, N. H., and his theological preparation for the ministry was at Clinton, N. Y. He was ordained at Concord, N. H., Oct. 11, 1843, where he was then pastor. In 1846 he took charge of the parish at Nashua; and on resigning his charge there made an extensive tour abroad, visiting Palestine, and spending seven months in study in Germany. On his leturu he took charge of the church at Roxbury, Mass., where he remained ten years, and in 1860 became pastor of St. Paul's Church, Chicago, holding the position with great advantage to that church and to our cause throughout the West, till 1882, when he resigned. Harvard College conferred'on him the degree of A.M. in 1860, and Lombard University that of D.D. in 1863.
Dr. Ryder was an eminently successful preacher and pastor, the cause of true Christianity being greatly strengthened wherever he labored. "His example of fidelity to conviction, of patriotism, of interest in home and foreign missions and in reforms calculated to advance society, will continue to inspire our people." Greatly prospered in his financial investments, he remembered the church of his love in the final disposition of his affairs, making generous bequests to the General Convention, Lombard University, St. Paul's Church, Chicago, First Universalist Society, Provincetown, Mass., Illinois Universalist Convention, the Divinity Schools at St. Lawrence, Tufts and Lombard, Buchtel College, and the Universalist Publishing House. By the great good thus made possible through his devotion to our permanent interests, his memory will be kept perpetually green, and, though dead, he will continue to speak to us.
Miles Goodyear Todd died at Lodi, Wis., March 19, 1888, in his 67th year. He was born in Homer, Cortland County, N. Y., Aug. 4, 1821. He began to preach in 1856, was ordained in 1858, and had settlements at Lodi, Mazomanie and Columbus, Wis. "For several years he was active as minister at large, being employed two years as State Missionary." "In almost every community in Central and Southern Wisconsin his voice has been repeatedly heard, and his face was that of a welcome friend. He was a good man, au upright citizen, a capable and efficient minister of the word."
Alfred Constantine Barry, D.D., died in Lodi, Wis., March 26, 1888, in his 73d year. He was born in Delaware County, N. Y., July 1, 1815; was educated in the public schools, and at the age of nineteen began to preach. He was ordained in 1836, and spent the first twelve years of his ministry in Central and Western N. Y., during a portion of that time being associated with Rev. D. Skinner and others in editing the Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate. In 1846 he settled over the society at Racine, Wis., became greatly interested in the Temperance Cause, and published a Temperance paper. In 1855 he assisted in making a geological survey of Wisconsin, and in the same year was appointed by the governor, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. At the breaking out of the war in 1861, he was appointed Chaplain of the 4th Wisconsin Regiment, and subsequently of the 19th Regiment. After this he was pastor at Fond du Lac, Elkhorn and Lodi. Lombard University gave him the honorary degree of D.D. in 1870. His life " was a long and eventful one, and many a heart has he comforted, many a weak soul made strong, many an unfortunate one has he blessed. In our church in Wisconsin he was many years a leader. His life was one of toil and devotion to the church he loved, and the good influence he has exerted in the cause of God, truth and humanity, will long live to bless the world."
Walter Bullard died at Armenia, Bradford County, Penn., March 80, 1888, aged eighty-five. He was ordained to the work of the ministry in Saquoit, N. Y., Nov. 10, 1830, and was pastor at Augusta, Beaver Dams, Woodhull, New Berlin, Cortland and Elmira, N. Y., and subsequently was settled in several places in Pennsylvania. His health failing, he retired to a farm, and for many years preceding his death he had preached only occasionally.
James Dickerson Lauer died at Conover, Ohio, April 28, 1888, in his sixty-seventh year. He was born in Philadelphia, Penn., March 19, 1822, and began preaching in the fellowship of the Christian (New Light) Church, about 1843. He united with the Universalist Church at Eaton, Ohio, in October, 1870, and a month later received the fellowship of the Ohio Convention. After supplying several months at Eaton, he accepted a call from the church at Conover, and afterwards was pastor at Caledonia. For the last three years he has been in feeble health, "but maintained the integrity of his faith by a consistent walk and conversation, and commanded the respect of people of all denominations."
Edwin Thompson died in East Walpole, Mass., May 22, 1888, aged seventy-eight. He was a native of Lynn, Mass., where his father was an active Quaker, and a pioneer in the anti-slavery agitation. The son early followed his father's example of interestedness in this great reform, and also became prominent in the temperance cause. He was several years the efficient agent of the old Massachusetts Temperance Society. Bigots opposed his re-election at one of the annual meetings, on account of his Universalism, and in the course of debate some one, speaking in praise of Mr. Thompson's work for the Society, said, "He is the main spoke in the wheel." Whereupon, Dr. Lyman Beecher, who was presiding, exclaimed: "Indeed, it seems to me that he has been the hub and all the spokes and a considerable part of the rim!" Mr. Thompson was ordained in 1841, and had charge of the Society at South Dedham, now Norwood. Always true to his faith, and preaching as opportunity offered, he devoted himself, after leaving his pastoral charge, to the advancement of the reforms. It was at his solicitation that Frederick Douglass began his career as a lecturer against slavery. "He was the most unselfish man that could be engaged in the reform movement. Without salary, as well as with it, he worked with equal earnestness, and all the funds that he could spare were given to advance reforms and to aid reformed men."
John Crabbs died at Morenci, Mich., June 15, 1888, aged sixty-four. He had been a preacher forty-three years, having begun among the Methodists, with whom he continued until 1878, when, his faith having become enlarged, he was fellowshipped by our Church in Ohio, and settled over the parish at Lyons. Failing health compelled him to resign at the expiration of two years, and since that time he was unable to preach except on funeral occasions. His health was impaired by his exposures in the army, while Chaplain of the 67th Ohio Regiment. He died firm in the faith of universal salvation.
David Leavitt died at Bloomfield, Ontario, Canada, July 26, 1888, aged seventy-nine. He was a native of New York, and, before becoming a preacher, was a school teacher in Hastings, Ontario. His first sermon was preached in a private house near West Lake, in 1838. Shortly after this he began to preach with considerable regularity in various parts of the Province, extending his field " from the Ottawa River on the east to the river Detroit on the west; from Lake Erie and Lake Ontario on the south to the far settlements on the north." He was ordained in 1846. He was the founder and first pastor of the church at Bloomfield, and also the founder of the church at Port Dover. He was a man of intellectual strength and of irreproachable character. For many years an invalid, his later days were days of enforced inactivity.
Anna E. Fleming died in West Lebanon, Ind., her native place, July 31, 1888, aged thirty-eight. Having graduated at Buchtel College, in 1874, she entered upon the profession of teaching, which she followed, with great success, for ten years. She then felt herself called, with an emphasis she could not resist, to enter upon the Christian ministry, and spent two years in the theological department of Lombard University, where ' she developed marked talent for this higher and more spiritual work.' She was ordained in 1885, becoming pastor of our church in Avon, Ill., where her success was marked. Miss Fleming was 'strong but tender, wise but winning, in all her ways. Her devotion to the Church was such as only a consecrated heart can feel. Her faith was precious to her as her life, and she gave herself wholly to the inculcations of it. Her sermons were of a high spiritual order.' Hers was a pure, true, faithful Christian spirit."
Orin Hutchinson died in Carthage, N. Y., Aug. 18, 1888, aged about seventy-five. An active layman for many years, he had been licensed to preach since 1876. From 1837 to 1839 he was associated with the late Rev. A. B. Grosh in the publication of the " Magazine and Advocate," at Utica, N. Y. He resided many years in the city of New York, "where he was concerned as a publisher and agent for the sale of Universalist books. He was greatly interested in the progress of the cause of peace, being editorial correspondent of the American Peace Association." He was "a man of probity, and of genuine Christian experience and practice."
Orlando Dana Miller, D.D., died at South Merrimac, N. H., Oct. 11, 1888, aged sixty-seven. He was born in Pomfret, Vt., and educated at the Military University at Norwich, Vt. He was ordained at Whiting, Vt., Jan. 26, 1848, having studied a short time with Rev. John Gregory. His pastoral settlements were East Middlebury, Vt., Republic, Ohio, Albany, N. Y., North Adams, Mass., Nashua and Alstead, N. H. He was a scholar whose fame extended to other lands, and was especially classed among the experts in Oriental studies. The Victoria Institute, the Philosophical Society of Great Britain, made him an honorary member, in recognition of his learning in this branch of letters, and several of his papers were published abroad. For several years he contributed valuable articles for the "Universalist Quarterly." He received, in course, the degree of A.M. from his Alma Mater, and in 1882 Tufts College, in recognition of his scholarship, gave him his degree of Doctor of Divinity. His health was greatly impaired and his days shortened by his devotion to study. "He goes down to the grave with the affection of a large circle of kindred, and the respect of all who came within the circle of his acquaintance. Peace and honor to his memory."