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Obituaries (1861-62) in the 1863 Register

Rev. Lucius Leslie, born in Sullivan County, N. H., in 1825, died in Troy, N. H., July 17, 1861, aged 36 years, leaving a wife and one child. He was pure hearted and noble minded, a Christian in practice as in faith, and beloved by friends, and esteemed by all who knew him.

Rev. Asher A. Davis, died in Sunbury, O., July 18, 1861, aged about 50 years. His name first appeared in our Register for 1836, residence unknown. In 1837-39, he was located in Sunbury, O. In 1840, in Marion, O. In 1841-44, in Danvers, Mass. He removed to Providence in 1844, and for a short time edited the "Gospel Messenger." In 1845-50 he was at Glenn's Falls, N.Y. In 1850, in Iowa City, Iowa; and in 1851, in Zanesville, O. About this time, under the pressure of disease and other afflictions, he united with the Lutherans; after which we lost sight of him. But we learn from his family that of late years, his faith in God as "the Saviour of all men," was resumed and strengthened unto death. His physical frame was delicately framed and nervously sensitive.

Rev. Otis A. Skinner, D.D., born in Royalton, Vt., July 3, 1807, died in Naperville, Ill., (while there on an exchange,) Sept. 18, 1861, aged 54 years. When 19 years of age, Dr. Skinner commenced teaching school in Lempster, N. H., and preaching on Sundays there and in the vicinity. In 1828, he settled in Westmoreland, preaching half the time in Jaffrey. In 1829, he removed to Woburn, Mass., and to Baltimore in 1831, where for some years he edited the "Southern Pioneer." In 1836, he returned to New England, and settled in Haverhill, Mass, where he edited the "Gospel Sun." About this time the First Universalist Society was organized in Boston, and in 1837 be me its pastor, and under his care it became a large and strong organization. In 1842 he wrote and published "Universalism Illustrated and Defended,"-in 1843 his "Book of Prayer,"-and in 1844, in company with Rev. E. H. Chapin, he commenced editing the "Gospel Miscellany." About this period he also wrote several works for Sunday Schools, and edited a new and improved edition of Balfour's First and Second Inquiries. In 1846 he removed to New-York and became pastor of the Orchard-street Church. In 1848, he accepted the agency to raise the funds for establishing Tufts College, in which he labored with much zeal and success for several years. In 1849 he returned to the pastorship of the Fifth Church in Boston, where he remained until 1857, when with his brothers he removed to the West, and settled in Elgin, Kane county, Ill. But he was soon called to the Presidency of Lombard University, and the pastorship of the Church in Galesburg. Here he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity. In 1860, the death of his brother, Rev. Samuel P. Skinner, and the condition of that brother's estate, constrained his resignation of the Presidency of the University, and he subsequently became the pastor of the Society in Joliet. Here he labored, not only in attention to his brother's estate, and as pastor, but preached frequently-too frequently in various places in the vicinity-sometimes four sermons in a day. This constant wear of mind and body in cares and labors, gradually weakened and undermined a strong frame and hardy constitution, so that when disease came, there was not vital power left to rally against it. His death was an exemplification of the faith be had so ably preached-calm, peaceful, loving and happy. Dr. Skinner was eminently a persevering, steady student and worker-pleasing in person, manners and voice, and pure in speech and life, he was popular as a preacher, and beloved as a pastor and friend, and in all the relations of social and domestic life.

Rev. Amos A. Richards, died in Milo, Me., Sept. 24, 1861, aged 61 years. His death was caused by injuries on his head, received two years before. He failed gradually, and was insane a portion of the time; but when rational, he was ever patient and resigned. He had been actively engaged in the ministry for many years, having been fellowshipped in 1829, and resided in Parkman, at least from 1835 to 1839-then in Milo until 1844, when we find him registered in Prospect until 1846, when he is registered in Lincolnville until 1860, when he is again in Milo, where he resided until his decease. He was a worthy man and preacher, and esteemed by all who knew him.

Rev. Joseph Ward, born in Hebron, Washington county, N.Y., Feb. 21, 1795, died in East-Randolph, Wis., Oct. 2, 1861, aged 66 years. Educated in the Calvinistic faith, he suffered intensely from its "Five Points," and would gladly have exchanged his chances with the beasts that perish. When 17 years old be became satisfied that Calvinism was false, and for two years tried to believe Methodism, but failing, he became an avowed skeptic for four years. After his marriage, the contest of doubt and faith was renewed with increased intensity and resulted in belief in Christianity as a revelation of the fatherhood of God and the salvation of all souls; and immediately he began to spread his views abroad. But when charged with believing "Universalism," he indignantly denied the charge! As soon, however, as he ascertained what "Universalism" really was, which he learned from "Ballou on Atonement," he cheerfully assumed the name, and welcomed its reproach; and shortly after (in 1824) preached his first sermon in the school-house of his native district. A Baptist challenged him to preach on Matt. xxv. 46, in an adjoining district, which he did in presence of about 400 persons, including two Partialist clergymen and their deacons. As he concluded, he gave liberty to any one to speak, which being unaccepted, he invited the clergymen by name, when they refused. As the congregation was dismissed one of the deacons asked his minister what he thought of the sermon, and was answered, "the devil helped him-the devil helped him!" But the deacon declared it to be the first intelligible exposition he had ever heard of the subject, and stepping up to the young preacher, said, "Friend Ward! you can preach and you must preach!" And thenceforward he did preach, far and near. In 1826, he received the fellowship of the General Convention, and was ordained at its next session, in 1827. His labors now extended into Canada-East. In 1828, he settled in Barnard, Vt.. In 1832, he was located at Lenoxville, C. E, and preached half the time on a circuit of 70 miles. In 1848 he returned to the States, and after a winter spent in Ohio, removed to Wisconsin where he has been an active missionary, depending mainly for the support of his family on the cultivation of a few acres of land which he owned. In 1857, a stroke of palsy impaired his speech and enfeebled his frame. Since then, he has declined gradually. In September, 1861, he had another attack, and suffered intensely for some weeks-but his departure was easy, and he went cheerfully. Father Ward was a man of great energy and activity, combined with due prudence and consideration. He leaves a wife (his second) and a large family, among whom are ten daughters now living. He was buried with Masonic honors.

Rev. J. Urner Price, died Oct. 4, 1861, of a wound received the preceding day in the reconnaissance at Cheat Mountain, Va., aged 25 years, leaving a truly widowed wife. He was a graduate of Union College. While he and his wife were conducting an Academy at Urbana, Ill., he became converted from Methodism to Universalism, under the preaching of Rev. T. C. Eaton, and shortly after entered our ministry, receiving our fellowship in 1860. He settled in Terre Haute, and soon became an eloquent preacher. "His whole soul was enlisted in behalf of the principles embodied in the Declaration of Independence, and when this wicked and accursed rebellion broke out, and the President issued his proclamation, calling for 75,000 volunteers, Mr. Price promptly left the sacred desk, where he was rapidly rising in popular favor, to respond to the call of his bleeding country, and enlisted as a private in the 14th Indiana Regiment. And when, upon the expiration of the three months' service, the call was renewed for the war, he, with his entire Regiment, gallantly responded, and were soon ordered to Western Virginia, where he so gloriously fell." He was promoted to be first sergeant of Co. E. of the regiment, and by his cheerful activity in service and his Christian deportment, won the confidence, esteem and love of his fellow officers and soldiers. His thigh was shattered by a minnie ball, and though amputation was resorted to, he died the next day-in the morning of life; of usefulness, and of honor-beloved warmly as a minister and a man.

Rev. J. W. Ford died at Kendall's Mills, Me., Dec. 16, 1861 aged 65 years. He was educated for the medical profession, but soon after entered the ministry. His name first appears in the Register for 1841 as a new preacher, located at Claremont, N. H. At Morristown, Vt., from 1842 to 1844. At Glover, Vt., 1844 to 1847. At Winchester, N. H., 1847 to 1851. At Springfield, Vt., 1851. At Springfield, Mass., 1852 and 1853. At Holyoke, Mass., 1854 and 1855. At Norway, Me., 1856 to 1860. At Kendall's Mills from 1860 until his decease. Wherever he resided he was respected as a physician and a preacher. After an illness of several months he passed away quietly and peacefully, leaving a family and numerous friends to cherish his memory. He was buried with masonic honors, and two Methodist clergymen assisted in the funeral services.

Rev. Theodore Harding died in Troy, Me., Jan. 8, 1862, aged 76 years, leaving a wife and ten children. His name first appears in our Register for 1850, as a new preacher in our ministry-a convert from a Partialist ministry-located at Dixmont, Me., where we find him put down to the present year. Though not officially fellowshipped, he always had the confidence and good will of the denomination as a worthy and useful man and minister.

Rev. Justus Todd, born in Vermont, May 5, 1785, died in Ellington, N. Y., February 27, 1862, in his 77th year. He was the son of a close-communion Baptist preacher, and united with that Church at 22 years of age. In 1825 he embraced Universalism, and soon after commenced preaching it, but was not ordained until 1834. He located at Ellicottville in 1832, where he resided until 1850, when be removed to Ellington-Centre, where he died. He had buried 7 children-his first wife died in 1824, and his second in 1858-the first was sick eight years, and the second was helpless for more than six years before her death. Father Todd himself was in feeble health ever since 1850-in 1852 he was prostrated with hip disease, and so continued feeble until his decease. He leaves several children. His confidence in the Gospel of life and immortality for all, continued strong in all his trials and afflictions.

Rev. Lucius Austin Spencer, of Lempster, N.H., died in the military hospital at Concord, N.H., March 31, 1862, aged 33 years. Through great labor and trials he prepared himself to enter the ministry, and preached to good acceptance. But feeble health prevented his devoting his entire time to his profession. And when his country called her sons to preserve its government and its life, he felt it his duty to enter the army. But typhoid fever soon ended alike his military and his earthly career. That resignation which only assurance of faith can give, was his during his illness and dying.

Rev. J. S. Phelps, of Caneyville, Ky., fell on Shiloh's bloody field, with his face to the rebel foe, on April 6, 7, 1862. His name first appears in the Register for 1844, as a new preacher, residence Welsh's Creek, Ky. He continued in that State, sometimes itinerating on a large circuit, until the outbreak of this rebellion, when he volunteered his services at his country's call, and was chosen Captain of a company in a Kentucky Regiment.

Rev. Seth Jones, died at Sackett's Harbor, N.Y., June 2,1862. Speaking of the annual session of the Western (now Central) Association, held at New-Hartford, N. Y., in 1813, Rev. S. R. Smith, in his "Historical Sketches," says-"At this session 'Letters of Fellowship' were granted to S. Jones, J. Gowdy, S. Miles and S. R. Smith, as preachers of the everlasting Gospel. Mr. Jones had been a Baptist preacher some twelve years; and had already preached the Restitution for a season when he received the fellowship of the Association. He was profoundly destitute of that species of knowledge derived from books, but possessed a remarkable fluency in the delivery of his discourses. His mind was strong and clear, and his language-which frequently defied all grammatical rules-rolled on in one steady and unbroken current from the beginning to the end of his sermons. He was perfectly enamored of the doctrine of illimitable grace, and he preached it in all its fullness and power, at all times, in all places, and on all occasions-in sermons of almost interminable length. For when his tongue was once set in motion, the theme was so vast, the subject so grand, so good, so transporting, that he seemed never to know when to stop. He had a noble face and an expressive countenance, and when lighted up by the animation inspired by his subject, and accompanied by the music of a most flexible and powerful voice, few men appeared to better advantage, and none commanded more profound and fixed attention. His constant practice of delivering a whole body of divinity in every discourse, gave a sameness to his pulpit labors that was unsuited to the wants of any single congregation-but this very circumstance rendered him eminently useful as an itinerant preacher." This admirable portrait of one of our oldest and most eccentric and humorous, as well as eloquent ministers, will at once be recognized by all who knew the original-who, in the general outline and expression of his countenance, greatly resembled the portrait of Dr. Priestly. It is said that while Mr. Jones was a Baptist preacher, he frequently stammered and hesitated in his public utterances; and that, referring to his marvelously increased fluency of speech and aptness of quotation and illustration immediately on becoming a Universalist, a Baptist neighbor tartly remarked that "the d-l always helps his own." Mr. Jones humorously replied, that "Calvinism was so crooked, and perplexed, and contradictory that I had to look ahead and behind all the time to see that I did not contradict myself continually; and hence with all the help I could get from man and the d-l, I could not help stammering. But Universalism is so clear, plain and consistent all through and all over, that all I have to do is to speak right onward!" Once, when illustrating the pride and selfishness induced by partial schemes of salvation, he burst out with-"it is just like the Pharisee's prayer, five big 'I's,' and only one 'God'! (See Luke xviii. 12.) He resided in Oneida county until about 1835, when be removed to Jefferson county, where he died at an advanced age, probably about 85 years old-one of the last of those singularly gifted and eccentric preachers we received from the old-fashioned Baptist denomination.

Rev. Jason Lewis, died in Keating, Potter county, Pa., June 23, 1862, in his 60th year-after an illness (typhoid fever,) of only nine days-leaving a wife, three sons (two in the army,) and a daughter. He was born in Middletown, Conn., January 27, 1803 and in childhood was removed to Upper-Lisle, N.Y., where he attained his manhood. His father was and is a Baptist preacher; but Jason became a Universalist some years before he himself knew what Universalism meant, while yet a mere lad. In 1830, when in such feeble health that he had to sit in a chair, he delivered his first sermon, and soon after commenced itinerating in the bounds of the present Alleghany Association-which he subsequently aided to organize. In 1831 he received the fellowship of the Chenango Association, in which he bad been reared, and was ordained in 1833. He early attained a high rank as a clear and forcible writer for the "Magazine and Advocate," Utica; and his Letters to Clergymen, inviting their candid examination of Universalism, were several times published in pamphlet form and widely circulated. His late valuable work on the Resurrection is the only book from his pen, and is the result of many years of thought and research. The Register gives his residence in Boston, N.Y., 1836 to 1840; Spring-Mills, N.Y., 1840; Ulysses, Pa., 1841 to 1845; Whitesville, N.Y. 1845.; Ulysses, Pa., 1846 to 1851; Homer, Pa., 1851 to 1854; Philips' Creek, N.Y., 1854 to 1856; Homer, Pa., 1856 to 1861; Candersport, Pa., 1861 to 1862, (probably his nearest post-office.) Br. Lewis was of very slender and frail frame-health always delicate-voice a feeble treble-hence never a popular preacher; but always acceptable to those who regarded matter before manner; for his sermons not only showed reading and careful study, but original thought, and his style was terse and lucid: his scholarship, beyond a common English education, was self-acquired under many and great disadvantages. He was remarkably pure in life-modest and rather reserved-but in the family and friendly circle, free and affectionate. His neighbors floored and lined his grave with evergreens, and wreathed it with flowers-fit emblems of immortal life, affection and beauty.

Abel Tompkins, (the publisher for 26 years of our "Ladies Repository,"-for 14 years, of our "Register,"-for 13 years of our "Quarterly,"-for 12 years of our "Rose of Sharon," and, during the past 25 years, of a large proportion of our Sunday School and other denominational books,) died in Boston, April 7, 1862. Born in Boston, June 22, 1810, he was reared there, and learned book binding. In 1830, he became much interested in Father Ballou's preaching, and exerted himself to get up the Sunday School in his church, and to effect improvements in the appearance of our books. In 1836, he purchased the "Ladies' Repository," and opened a small bookstore. From this period, his name is intimately connected with our literature, the encouragement of our literary talent, and the general progress of our cause in Boston and the region round about. Whatever he touched showed his correct taste and improving skill. He was one of the earliest members of the Warren street church, and among the first to discern and encourage the merit of our early writers-Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Mayo and her husband, Mrs. Jerauld, Mrs. Soule, E. H. Chapin and others. When the "Universalist Expositor," after several ineffectual efforts was abandoned, he revived it, and as the "Universalist Quarterly," continued it to his death, leaving an injunction to continue it, if possible. Yet it was never a profit, often a loss to him. The "Rose of Sharon," (1840-1852) was one of the best annuals of its time, and did more than any other work, to introduce favorably to the outside world, Universalists and their writings. He was ever planning and working to exalt, improve and extend a knowledge of the character of our denomination, and his first thought in undertaking any publication, seemed to be whether it would be creditable and usefu1 to our cause. Yet admirable as was his denominational spirit, he was equally estimable for his public and social, and beloved for his domestic and private life. He honored nobility of soul, and goodness, scholarship, and genius of whatever sect-whatever was beautiful in nature or art, or excellent in humanity. Thus intelligent, genial, and affectionate-forbearing, generous and charitable-he died as he lived, a Universalist; and those who knew and loved him, in their admiration of the man, and sorrow at his death, forget (if they knew) that he had any of the imperfections and frailties of our common humanity.

T. Southwood Smith, M. D., died in Florence, Italy, Dec. 10, 1861, in the 75th year of his age. He was born in Somersetshire, England, and entered the Unitarian ministry, but the sufferings of the poor, (and, we have been informed, the death of his idolized wife by malpractice,) led him into the medical profession. His entire life was devoted to sanitary reforms and general benevolence. His works on Fevers, Quarantines and Cholera, are standard medical treatises. His Report to Parliament, as Chairman of a Board to inquire into the condition of dwellings of the London poor, is a wonderful monument of his great labors, sound judgment, extensive knowledge and great humanity. His "Philosophy of Health" is one of the ablest and most interesting of all the popular treatises on the laws of life. But he is best and most extensively known among Universalists, by his "Treatise on the Divine Government," a philosophical, theological work in fascinating style, of which several editions have been published in this country. Few books have been more read and admired for its matter and its manner, than this volume. He was engaged in preparing improved editions of these two last named works at the time of his death.

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