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Obituaries (1868-69) in the 1870 Register
Rev. John Boyden died in Woonsocket, September 28, 1869. He was born in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, on the 14th of May, 1809, and had, therefore passed his sixtieth birthday. He attended the public schools in his native town during his youth, and, like most young men of scholarly inclinations at that period, engaged in teaching school, winters, before he reached his twentieth year. In 1829 he concluded to take up the calling to which he had for some time felt drawn, and began his studies for the Christian ministry under the direction of Father Ballou. His first sermon was preached at Annisquam, near Gloucester, Mass. In the following year (1830) he was ordained at Berlin, Conn. It was his first settlement, and here he remained four years. His next location was at Dudley, Mass, where he continued as pastor until 1840, when he removed to Woonsocket, where he had before preached occasionally, and became the first pastor of the new society in that place, which had just erected a church. The services of the dedication of the new church and the installation of the new pastor took place on the same day, the 9th of April. He continued to discharge, with rare ability and scrupulous fidelity, the duties to which he was then called, and the many collateral trusts which the respect and confidence of his townsmen imposed on him, until his death. His pastorate in Woonsocket reached nearly the limit of thirty years, making his the longest settlement among his contemporaries of the Universalist ministry.
Probably no man in our ministry was more universally honored and beloved than John Boyden. His presence was felt as a benediction at every public or private gathering of the brethren. When he rose to speak, all listened. If anyone dissented, he took care to express his dissent in terms of the utmost deference. Nothing can be more beautiful than this uniform, delicate regard, on the part of all his brethren, for this unpretentious good man. Far beyond the limits of his travels in distant States, men spake of him with affectionate veneration. That he was a sincere and humble Christian, no one who knew him could doubt. His charitable judgment, perfect purity of purpose, and patient continuance in well doing, made his life singularly serene, while they caused his influence to extend and strengthen to the close. He was a reformer by instinct as well as by principle; and his tongue was never silent when he felt that truth and righteousness commanded him to speak. He loved freedom, and preached and prayed it always. He believed in temperance, and gave the testimony of his example, both in word and deed, for it. He was jealous of the rights of all, and particularly of the weak and friendless. In him the upright always had an ally; and no bad man could ever feel that he was his enemy.
As a preacher, he was one whom all appreciated, and whose words of wise counsel, expressed with felicity, and often with the charm of poetry, sank deep into the heart of the hearer. Probably no man ever had less idea of being a rhetorician; yet there was a grace and a richness of illustration in his style, particularly when speaking off hand, that combined the best effects of good rhetoric.
If goodness is greatness, he was preeminent]y a great man. And his life illustrates, with striking force, how much more valuable are high moral grace than showy intellectual gifts. If every preacher of Universalism could acquire the blessed influence for so many years wielded by John Boyden, what a power of enlightenment and regeneration our ministry would be! Beside the splendor of that just and gentle and Christ like life, how do all the exploits of mere celebrities grow dim. Who does not see that the only title worth winning or wearing is that which God and good men, yea, and even the wicked world, unite in conferring on such as he whose death we mourn?
As a citizen, no man was more respected than Mr. Boyden. While a resident of Dudley, he represented that town in the lower branch of the Legislature and has filled both the Representative and Senatorial positions in the general assembly of Rhode Island. For many years he had charge of the public schools of Cumberland, as visiting and examining committee: and his interest in the cause of education has been manifested in many other positions.
Since last spring, the disease which finally terminated his life had been steadily advancing, and he knew that all treatment for it could only be palliative. As he had met all experiences hitherto, so he encountered this, cheerfully. It was a sad pleasure to converse with him in those last months. The same lively interest in the cause, the same warmth toward his brethren, the same sense of obligation as before, only heightened by the conviction that he was fast approaching the end of his earthly journey. Serenely he went down into the valley of shadows, which for him had become a mount of vision. His faith was clear and strong to the last. Over and over he testified to its sustaining power, and fell asleep in the same confidence in the wisdom and goodness of the Father in which he had all along lived. His death, so calm and so radiant with the light from the other shore, was a fit close to such a life.
Rev. Joseph Kinney died in Iowa City, Iowa, December 22, 1868. No biographical notice of this faithful minister has appeared since his death. Neither the place of his nativity, nor the date of his birth, has been given to the public.
Mr. Kinney had been pastor at Iowa City for above three years. "Throwing his whole great soul into the work, he soon gathered the scattered flock into the old church, and attracted to himself, to a gratifying extent, the love and confidence of the whole community. .Laboring unceasingly, he built up the waste places that years of neglect had caused in the church; those who knew him so well, and confided so thoroughly in his constant efforts, viewed with pride the success which crowned his thorough and unselfish devotion to his work. At the very height of his usefulness and apparent vigor, when church and family, friends and community could spare him the least, and the parting with him was the hardest, he was stricken with consumption.. Then came a struggle for life. He spent some time, the summer before last, in the North, and last summer started overland to California, in hope to stay the disease. But he had delayed rest too long, and what might have been, came not.
"Conscious that the end was coming, he loved not life for its own sake, but for its prolonged opportunities in doing good in the work he had chosen, and he went through the last scene of trial as passing to a triumphant proof of the gospel he believed and taught. Few are there so pure in spirit and so true in life, and few that in all the trying scenes of life and the dark hour of death will lean so confidingly upon the promises of the Father of all."
Rev. Dolphus Skinner, D.D., died in Utica, New York, October 2, 1869. He was born in Westmoreland, New Hampshire, May 18, 1800, and was a younger brother of Rev. Warren Skinner, of Vermont. The years of his minority were spent in labor on a farm, attendance of a neighboring Academy, and teaching school. His theological studies were pursued with Rev. Samuel C. Loveland, of Reading, Vermont. He was licensed at the session of the General Convention, held in Warner, New Hampshire, September, 1822, in company with Revs. L. Willis, T. F. King, M. B. Ballou, and others less known. His first sermon was preached in Londonderry, Vermont, July 22, 1822, and he was ordained at the Session of the Northern Association, held in Whiting, Vermont, September, 1823. After itinerating in Vermont and New Hampshire, and being located for a season in Langdon, New Hampshire, he was settled at Saratoga Springs, in 1825. After a pastorate of two years at the Springs, he removed to Utica, New York, where and at Deerfield in the immediate vicinity of Utica, the remainder of his life was spent.
Soon after his settlement at Utica, Dr. Skinner originated, or at least took the editorial charge of the "Utica Magazine." The following year, the "Evangelical Repository," then published at Troy by his friend Rev. L. Willis, was united with this, and together they formed the "Evangelical Magazine," with which Mr. Willis was for a time associate editor. With the beginning of 1830, Mr. Skinner purchased the "Gospel Advocate," which for several years had been published at Buffalo, and his paper thenceforth became the "Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate." It would be impossible to calculate the influence which this periodical exerted through Central and Western New York, and, indeed, throughout a large portion of the United States. It gained a circulation which no paper among Universalists had hitherto attained, and which has been rarely if ever surpassed since. Dr. Skinner was devoted to it. He threw his heart and strength into it, and his industry was as untiring as his resources seemed inexhaustible. At the close of 1835, Dr. Skinner disposed of the "Magazine and Advocate," though he continued for several years after to act as associate editor. He was no less a preacher than an editor. For several years he continued pastor of the Society in Utica, and when he withdrew from that he probably did not lessen essentially his clerical labors. Next to the Rev. Stephen R. Smith, with whom he was long associated in ministerial duties, he was undoubtedly the most popular preacher ever in Central New York. Possessed of a commanding person and a voice of great volume and softness, combined with such a ready use of language as never left him to hesitate in expressing the most rapid course of thought, he was always a favorite with the people, who listened to him with unwearied pleasure. His discourses were generally doctrinal; but he never forgot the moral bearings of Christian truth, and his appeals to the conscience, and all the higher affections of nature, could hardly fail to make a good impression upon those who heard him. His kindly nature and warm sympathies made him especially desired at funerals, and he was consequently called from far and near on such occasions. Since February, 1848, he had preached three hundred and twelve funeral discourses, and in performing this service must have traveled many thousand miles. How many such sermons he had delivered prior to the date above, is not now known, but probably an equal if not a still greater number. He was very faithful in attending Associations, Conventions, and other denominational gatherings, and his influence was always in favor of progress and peace. He was calm in council, and wise in measures designed to promote the general welfare. He loved to preach, and felt that it was the appointed means for enlightening and saving the world; and he continued to perform the functions of his office as a minister of the gospel down almost to the close of his life, and long after his faltering health admonished him to husband his strength, and after his pecuniary affairs absolved him from all occasion to provide for his daily bread. During his ministry of forty-seven years he preached, as appears from his own memoranda, 5039 discourses, and of these sixteen were delivered during the present year. His last sermons were preached at Braman's Corner, and Burtonville, New York, seventy or eighty miles from Utica on the 18th of July, 1869.
Besides editing the "Magazine and. Advocate," Dr. Skinner was the author of several valuable books and pamphlets. Among these may be named his Letters to Drs. Aiken and Lansing, his discussion with Rev. Alexander Campbell, a labored article on the Tariff question, Letters on. Episcopalianism, etc., besides almost innumerable communications to our religious periodicals. He wielded a ready pen, and used it upon all occasions when he thought he could contribute to the welfare, temporal or spiritual, of his fellow men.
As he took a lively interest in all reforms, as temperance, anti-slavery, and the like, so he deserves special mention as the friend of education. To his wise counsels and patient persistent endeavors, the Clinton Liberal Institute is largely indebted for its present degree of prosperity, and in him the school has lost one of its best friends.
In his social and domestic life, Dr. Skinner was eminently happy. His temper was singularly calm, and his deportment always such as becomes the Christian and the gentleman. At home he was genial and affectionate, and among his friends ever a welcome guest. As a good citizen he was patriotic, always taking a lively interest in the political affairs of the country, and not withholding his voice when he thought it would add to a juster public sentiment or action. The late rebellion agitated him greatly, and while he gave his youngest son to the service of his country, he avowed his willingness to shoulder the musket himself rather than see treason triumph over civil liberty.
For several years his health had been failing. A few weeks before his death, he was seized with an attack of chronic difficulty, attended with typhoid fever and chills. His sufferings were great, but he retained his faculties unimpaired to the last. He was fully aware of his situation, and said to his physician, "I am an old soldier, and am about to receive my discharge." To a remark of his wife he said, "My work is done. God is calling me." As death drew nearer, his sufferings were lessened; and after a night in which little pain save a sense of great exhaustion, he passed away, as the sun rose, without a struggle or groan.
Rev. Alexander R. Abbott, died in Rockland, Maine, July 22, 1869, aged 56. He was a native of East Livermore in that State. His early life was spent in rugged toil, through which he acquired a strength of physical system, and an energy of intellect and will for which he was distinguished in his mature years. His advantages for obtaining an education were limited, but his thirst for knowledge overcame his early deficiencies. With little, if any, aid from others, he became proficient in French, Latin and the mathematics, and for many years he was successfully employed in teaching.
Mr. Abott was somewhat advanced in life, when he resolved to give himself to the ministry. His first sermon was preached while residing in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1844, and his ordination took place during that or the following year. His first settlement was in Bath, New Hampshire. For a time he was employed as a missionary, to preach in destitute places within the limits of the Boston Association. Afterwards he was settled successively in Newburyport, Massachusetts, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Gardiner, Maine, South Dedham, Massachusetts, Hudson, New York, and since November, 1865, in Rockland, where his labors were closed. For some months before going to Rockland, he conducted with much ability, the "Christian Repository," in Montpelier, Vermont, during the sickness of its Publisher and Editor, Rev. Eli Ballou, D.D.
Mr. Abbott was an indefatigable student. Untiring in preparation, his themes were thoroughly finished, before he delivered them in the pulpit or permitted them to appear in print. Clear in his thoughts, he was equally clear in expression. No useless verbiage encumbered his discourses, or marred the symmetry of his published articles. When he grappled with the rugged themes of doctrinal controversy, his tread seemed like that of a giant. He loved to discuss the more recondite questions of theology; and his ministering brethren always found him ready to give an intelligent opinion upon even the most difficult. His last sermon before the Maine Convention in Augusta, will be remembered as a clear and masterly treatment of one of the problems which has greatly occupied the religious thought of the day. He was equally strong when he enforced life's practical duties. As he never compromised with error, so he never held truce with vice and sin. He stirred the consciences of his hearers as few preachers do. He was outspoken as an anti-slavery man, when to be so was to incur the hostility of men of both political parties, and endanger his success in the places of his settlement. The temperance cause always found in him a firm, consistent, and able advocate. And while be was thus efficient in performing the more rugged duties of his calling, he was equally well fitted, by the tenderness of his heart, for the more sympathetic offices of the ministry.
Mr. Abbott's death resulted from disease of the heart, aggravated by the fracture of a limb. He was entirely conscious to the last. Calmly and peacefully he descended into the dark valley, leaning on the arm of his Father, and clearly seeing the bright shores of the spirit land beyond. No murmur escaped his lips. Without a struggle, he fell asleep in Christ.
Rev. B. B. Hallock was one of the victims of the "Mast Hope Disaster," on the Erie Railroad, July 16, 1869. Caught by the legs in the crushed timbers of the car in which he was sitting, although perfectly conscious and fully aware of his impending fate, he lifted his voice in prayer, and calmly met the devouring flame.
Mr. Hallock was a native of Brockhaven, Long Island, and was at the time of his death, 65 years of age. His original profession was that of a teacher. Preaching at first only occasionally, he finally ceased to teach, and gave himself wholly to the work of the ministry. His settlements were in Stamford and New Haven, Connecticut, with the Fifth Society, now extinct, in New York City, in Mohawk, New York, and perhaps other places. For a season he was associated with Rev. Henry Lyon, deceased, in the New York agency of the "Christian Messenger," and in the sale and publication of Universalist books. For some twelve years he had seldom attempted to preach.
Mr. Hallock was a simple-hearted, meek, Christian man. He was a good, correct, logical writer; but his delivery was not sufficiently energetic, perhaps owing to extreme diffidence, to win for him a favorable reputation as a preacher. But those who met him face to face knew his moral worth, and yielded him cordial esteem. For some years his energies were paralyzed, through adverse circumstances; but his soul rallied in all its force, under the fiery trial to which he was subjected. Resigning himself to his sad fate, after unavailing efforts for his deliverance, he urged his friends to leave him, and calmly gave his spirit into the hands of the Father.
Rev. N. Carper died in New Petersburg, Ohio, May 15, 1869, aged 65. Reared in the doctrines of the Methodist Church, at an early age he was enrolled among its preachers, and was a faithful minister of that body. Before he had labored five years, he caught glimpse of a better faith, and soon became confirmed in the belief of a world's salvation through Christ. Avowing this change of faith, he was brought into collision with those with whom he was associated. The opposition he encountered was bitter and violent. We, of the present day, little know the persecutions endured by those, who, half a century ago, embraced our doctrines, in places where they were before unknown. Both he and his family were subject to insults that would not now be tolerated in civilized communities.
Soon after his conversion, Mr. Carper removed to Ohio, settled in Green County, wrought with his hands during the week, and preached the gospel to the poor on the Lord's Day. This he continued to do till his death. He had a retentive memory, and was mighty in the Scriptures. Though not polished as a speaker, he was yet earnest, and his words carried conviction. He never asked, and seldom received, pay for his services, though having a large family dependent upon his labors.
In his last sickness he suffered severely, but he bore his sufferings with great patience. He felt them to be light, compared with those of his Master. All who visited him found him steadfast in his faith, and his gaze immovably fixed on the "house not made with hands." His last hours were calm and serene.
Rev. Day K. Lee, died in New York City, June 2, 1869, aged 53. He was born in Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York. His early opportunities were limited, and his only academy, the country store. His studies for the ministry were pursued with Rev. G. W. Montgomery, and his first sermon was preached in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1835, at the early age of nineteen. He was settled successively in Newark, New York, Salem, Massachusetts (Second Society), Southbridge, Massachusetts, Williamsburgh, Ogdensburg and Auburn, New York, and, since 1865, over the Bleeker Street Church, New York City.
Mr. Lee was both a worker and a student. Few ministers ever obtained such a knowledge of books, whether of science, philosophy, or belles-lettres; and few knew so well how to extract from them their pith and point. Himself a poet of no mean quality, he delighted in all true poetry; and no one better profited by his reading, in the acquirement of forms of expression, as well as of fact. His studies were labor,-a labor of delight; and they told, as such studies always will tell, not only upon his intelligence, but upon his personal power. In science, as well as literature, he became expert. He was especially versed in astronomy, which was a favorite study with him; and specially cultivating his powers of memory, he came to lecture on this science, without notes, even of its various and complicated arithmetic. His pulpit efforts were a proof of what resolute and systematic labor would accomplish for anyone who perseveringly undertakes it. It was a well-deserved tribute to one who would never have sought it, when Tufts College, in 1864, conferred upon him the honorary degree of Master of Arts; and again when in 1868, St. Lawrence University declared him Doctor of Divinity.
Dr. Lee's contributions to our literature were many and important. Making no pretensions to profound theological learning, he was deeply impressed with the religious spirit; and this often outflowed into our papers, in poetic or in simpler form. He was one of the editors of the "Christian Ambassador" for 1866, and did good service in its columns. Some years ago he prepared several volumes, containing Tales of Labor. These, bearing the titles-"Summerfield, or Life on a Farm," "The Master-Builder, or Life at a Trade," and "Merrimar, or Life in the Factory," are works of merit, and have had a large sale.
In his departure our Church has suffered a great calamity. He was one of the ablest and best of its ministers. Many there are who mourn him as a friend and brother, sorrowing that they shall see his face no more, as one of the purest and most saintly of men. His modesty, his conscientiousness, his devotion to duty, his affectionateness, his religious spirit, all serve to make blessed his memory, and more poignant the suffering excited by his loss. They know what his faith was,-how childlike and devout. No one could be better prepared than he, by the study and experience of life, for the extremest emergency. In his sickness he was so patient, so trusting, and so little troubled with the affairs or this life that his departure was like the sun setting in its glory at evening. He surely passed from earthly peace to heavenly. "The memory of the just is blessed!"