Index by Last Name
+ index is incomplete
Back to Dictionary

+ Digitized Directories
+ 1846-1922 Unitarian
+ 1840-1920 Universalist

Obituaries (1877-1878) in the 1879 Register

The text on this page may contain errors.
It was generated by Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.
To view original scanned images of these biographical sketches at the library: CLICK HERE


[Note.—The material used in preparing the following sketches of deceased Clergymen has been gathered from very many sources, and sincere thanks are returned to all those through whose kindness we have received the informa- tion embodied in these short blographles.J

I. Rev. Moses Grant Mitchell, only son of John and Emily (Gillin) Mitchell, was born at Piqua, Ohio, Aug. 9, 1812, and died at Abington, Wayne Co., Ind., Jan. 1st, 6 a.m., 1878. His ancestors were of Scotch origin, one line connecting him with Gen. O. M. Mitchell, the astronomer, and the other with Ex-President Grant. The thoughts of Mr. Mitchell were very early turned to the subject of religion, and at the age of thirteen he joined the M. E. Church. His parents died when he was about fourteen, and not long after, his two sisters, leaving him at an early age alone in the world—without father, mother, brother or sister. He attended school for a time at Dayton, Ohio, and was after- wards a student at Miami Univ., Oxford, O. He studied medicine with his uncle, Dr. Samuel Mitchell of Indianapo- lis, Ind., but never received the degree of M.D., though he was for many years a practising physician. He was married Nov. 6, 1831, to Miss Ellen M. True, by whom he had twelve children, six sons and six daughters, ten of whom are still living. His son Charles was killed at Perryville, in the war of the Rebellion, and Henry died at homo of disease contracted in the army.

In earl}- life Mr. Mitchell was licensed as a local preacher in the M. E. Church, but was not ordained. In 1841 he was ordained as a Free-will Baptist, and labored quite suc- cessfully in that connection for about ten years; then, hav- ing so large a family to provide for, he found it necessary to devote his whole time to the practice of medicine, preaching only occasionally, and being again connected with the Meth- odists on account of the convenience of church privileges. In 1859, a change having taken place in his religious views —a change which was the result of many years of careful investigation—he united with the Universalist Church, and for the last fifteen years he has ardently advocated the blessed truths which filled his soul with the tenderest love for all mankind. Mr. Mitchell was widely known throughout Indiana. He was settled at Oakland for ten years, and the growth and prosperity of that parish are largely owing to his zealous and efficient ministry. He cherished the memory of that pastorate with peculiar tenderness to the close of his life, always speaking of it with the warmest interest. He was also settled over the churches at Devon and Dayton, and as a Missionary anent was well known through the State. His declining health prevented his preaching much the last three years of his life, but the work of grace was steadily progressing in his own soul, and his faith in a glorious im- mortality grew brighter and stronger to the last. One who knew him very intimately says, "his closing years were full of tenderness." Mr. Mitchell was through life a close stu- dent and careful reader, and the extent and versatility of his knowledge were verj' great. His social qualities and kindness of heart were very marked, and wherever he was known he commanded esteem and affectionate reverence by the integ- rity and purity of his life. His death was from ossification of the heart, and occurred immediately after exchanging a New Year's greeting with his wife.

II. Rev. Russel Tomlinson was born in Newtown, Conn., Oct. 1st, 1808, and died in Plymouth, Mass., March 4th, 1878. His parents were David and Polly (Sherman) Tom- linson. They had a family of eleven children, of whom Russel was the youngest. Owing to the narrow means of his parents, his early educational advantages were quite limited. He made the most of these, however, and kept up a habit of study through life, becoming a thorough English scholar. His parents dying when he was quite young, he went to live with an uncle, and during his youth followed the trade of a carpenter. As he grew up to manhood, his thoughts were turned towards the gospel ministry, and he studied for a time with Rev. Mr. Sampson. At what age he began to preach we have no means of knowing, but he was licensed by the Niagara Association, N. Y., Oct. 3d, 1832, and was ordained in 1833. In his early ministry, he entered the field as a Missionary in western New York, where he labored for two years, travelling on horseback hundreds of miles and preaching wherever opportunity offered, receiving slender compensation for his services, and often none at all. His first regular settlement was at Le Roy, N. Y. He was afterwards settled at Buffalo, Ridgeway, and Rochester. He accepted a call to Plymouth, Mass., in 1838, and removed there in May, 1839. He had a long and unbroken pastorate of twenty-seven years, working zealously for the advance- ment of all good enterprises and diligently practising the doctrines which he taught. He resigned his charge in 1866 and thenceforth devoted himself to the practice of medicine of the Homoeopathic school, to which he had previously given much study, obtaining a good deal of practice and considera- ble reputation. Mr. Tomlinson was married in Oct.. 1849, to Miss Harriet W. May of Plymouth. His married life was very happy but brief, as his wife died three years after, leaving an infant daughter who survived her mother but a few months. Since that time, he has made a home for the father of his wife, who still survives at the age of eighty-six, caring for and ministering to him with true filial tender- ness and love.

Mr. Tomlinson was a man of ver}r dignified demeanor that sometimes conveyed to strangers an idea that he was cold and austere in his nature, but those who knew him in- timately speak in the highest terms of his kind and tender heart, that was instant in response to any appeal from the unfortunate, the sick or the afflicted. Since his decease, in- stances of his unostentatious charity have come to light that were never suspected by his nearest friends. He did not allow his left hand to know the acts of his right. He was a man of strong will, and when he had once come to a decision he was inflexible. If such rigidity of purpose sometimes made enemies, even they respected the man while they disliked his methods. If opposition seemed at times to create a spirit of antagonism in him, his own better judg- ment would not approve it. His early energies were enlisted in the temperance reform, and he wai. through life an earnest and unflinching worker in that cause. He was interested and active in educational enterprises, serving for many years on the School Board of Plymouth, and under Gov. Boutwell he was appointed a member of the School Board of Mass.

As a man and citizen, he was highly esteemed, and his friends and neighbors for nearly forty years bear emphatic testimony to his high moral worth, his strict integrity, his benevolent disposition, and that he was pre-eminently a good man. He was through life a constant and discriminating student, reading much and wisely. He was an honest, devout Chris- tian, and a preacher of no ordinary talent. A faithful worker in the Master's vineyard, he was an instrument in God's hands of leading many from the ways of sin into paths of holiness and peace.

III. Rev. Elbridge Gerry Brooks, D.D., son of Oliver and Susan Brooks, was born in Dover, N. H., July 29th, 1816, and died in Philadelphia, Pa., April 8th, 1878. Soon after the birth of Dr. Brooks, his parents removed to Ports- mouth, and there he passed the years of his boyhood. He was a strong, manly boy, full of life and activity, fore- most in all daring feats both on land and water, willing and eager to aid all who needed help, the champion of the weak and oppressed, showing in his early youth generous and noble traits of character which grew with his growth and strengthened with his strength. He was peculiarly blessed in having a father of strict integrity and strong religious principles, and a gentle, pure and devoted mother, who, at a great age, still survives him. In his early boyhood, a sailor's life was very attractive to him, and his youthful dreams were of the excitement and perils of a life upon the sea. Just pre- vious to his ninth birthday, a sad accident occurred by which his leg was so severely injured that amputation became neces- sary. He bore the painful operation with manly fortitude, and during the consequent confinement he saw all his childish visions of an adventurous life scattered. When he rose from his bed of pain, and again mingled with his schoolmates, tho' it was hard to relinquish his former active habits, his brave nature did not brood over his misfortune, but his heart was made more tender by his affliction, and as he grew older was filled with love to God and man, and he earl}' decided to devote himself to the Christian ministry. His pious parents, rejoicing in the zeal and enthusiasm of their crippled boy, did all in their power to encourage his aspirations and to have him suitably fitted for his chosen calling.

At that time, Rev. T. F. King, of blessed memory, was settled in Portsmouth, and discerning the rare promise of his voting friend, he gave him hearty encouragement, and aided im in every possible way. Although always quick to learn, e had previously been more fond of out-door life than of his books ; but now, fired with a new zeal, he gave himself up to study and never relaxed his efforts till he had acquired such knowledge as the Portsmouth schools could give him. After he left school, his faithful pastor continued to direct his studies, and at the early age of nineteen lie began to preach. His first sermon was delivered in Portsmouth, and gave great satisfaction to the faithful friends who heard it, giving prom- ise of those rare pulpit gifts which delighted his hearers in later years. He was first settled in Exeter, N. H. From there he went to Amesbury, Mass., where he was ordained Oct. 19, 1837. He was next settled in East Cambridge, Mass., in 1838, and while living there was married Nov. 7, 1839., to Miss Martha F. Monroe. Their union was a very happy one, and blessed with three children, two daughters and a son. The wife with the son and eldest daughter is still living; the youngest child, a lovely and cherished daughter, died in 1871, in the bloom of early womanhood.

Mr. Brooks' next pastorate, was for a single year over the 2d Church in Lowell, Mass. In the autumn of 1846 he took charge of the parish of Bath, Me. In 1850, he returned to Mass.. an :1 settled in Lynn, where he remained nine years, when he was called in 1859 to the 6th Church in N. York, where he remained eight years, and till he was chosen in 1867 General Secretary of the United States Convention. His duty was to direct and take the lead of the Missionary enterprises and to visit all sections of the country. His labors were manifold and arduous. He went East and West, North and South, aiding with his voice and pen, cheering feeble societies struggling to obtain a foothold, inspiring weak and timid brethren with a portion of his own hearty enthusi- asm, bringing order out of chaos by his magic power of organ- izing and carrying life, energy and courage wherever he went. But even his powerful physique was not strong enough for such labors, and at the close of the year he was obliged to resign his office, and he returned to his family with health so impaired as to excite the gravest apprehensions. He rested for a few months, and then, having partially recovered, ac- cepted in Nov., 1869, an invitation to the church of the Mes- siah in Philadelphia, to which he gave the last years of his useful life, and where he joyfully resigned that life Apr. 8, 1878, dying, as he had long prayed he might, with the har- ness on, being absent from his pulpit but one Sunday before his death.

Dr. Brooks was a very strong man physically, Intellectu- ally and morally, and in whatever field he labored, he labored with all his might; the good seed was planted deep, the ground was carefully watched, the weeds of error were plucked up with a powerful hand, and in the fullness of time he or his successors reaped an abundant harvest. As a preacher, he was in the front rank of our ministers. He was entirely consecrated to his work, and in the pulpit he spoke as one having authority. His sonorous voice and majestic bearing were in perfect harmony with his clear and forcible presentation of his thought, and emphasized his urgent appeals to the conscience of his hearer, lie was by nature an ardent reformer, and he was alwaj-s true to his convictions. He could not keep back the smallest fragment of what he believed to be God's truth. He early threw himself heart and soul into the anti-slavery cause, and during the war of the Rebel- lion his clarion voice gave no uncertain sound. The heroic grandeur of his soul could never stoop to ask if a measure was expedient, but when he was convinced of the righteousness of a cause, he advocated it with all the force of his ardent nature. He was ever an uncompromising advocate of truth against falsehood, right against wrong and freedom against slavery. Throughout his life, his inner thought was of "whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely;" and his outer life was an earnest exhortation to honesty, justice, purity and love. Whatever the cause espoused, he was thoroughly in earnest, and no one could misunderstand his position. His hearers might not be convinced of the truth of his cause, but at least they were In no doubt of the sincerity of his belief in it.

Dr. Brooks was a strong and vigorous writer; he wrote much for our periodicals and newspapers, and he published two books which are valuable contributions to our denomina- tional literature: "Universalism in Life and Doctrine," and "Our New Departure." Tufts College, in 1867, conferred on him the degree of D.D., in recognition of his rare intellect- ual gifts. Dr. Brooks loved his church and rejoiced in her growth and prosperity; he believed in Universalism as a positive doctrine ; he believed in the infinite love of the Father and the divine nature of the Son, and the fervid devotion of is own character was the offspring of this belief. But while his love for his own church was very tender and strong, he was no bigot; he loved the truth wherever he found it, and his sympathies were as broa 1 as his faith. Wherever lie lived, he won the devoted love of many hearts; he was so genial a companion, so true a friend, so thoughtful and con- siderate as a pastor, so tender and true in his domestic rela- tions, that he was loved in life and lamented in death. When the report of his illness flashed over the country, and was so speedily followed by the announcement of his death, the feel- ing everywhere was that not only had a great man — a tower of strength — fallen, but that a good man, a humble and de- vout Christian had gone to his reward.

IV. Rev. Stacy Haines Matlack, son of Samuel G. aud Mary Matlack, was born in Dixon Township, Preble Co., Ohio, Aug. 8th, 1847, and died a', liaton, Ohio, April 15th, 1878. Mr. Matlack's parents were originally Quakers, but for many years they have been firm believers in the doctrine of Universal Salvation. Growing up amid the quiet and un- demonstrative influences of such a parentage, the subject of this sketch was from childhood modest and unassuming, con- scientious and keenly sensitive. While a boy, his thoughts were turned towards heavenly and divine things, and he early expressed a desire to enter the Christian ministry. On attaining his majority, he entered, in the fall of 1868, the Theo- logical department of St. Lawrence University and graduated in the class of 1871. He soon after received a call to settle over the parish in Northfleld, Vt., and immediately entered upon the active duties of the ministry. He was ordained at Northfleld, Jan. 2, 1872, and labored there for about one year, greatly endearing himself to the people by his fidelity, purity and goodness. On account of his failing health, he was obliged to resign, greatly to the regret of his charge, aud he accepted a call to Springfield, Ohio, hoping to be benefitted by a change. This hope was not realized, and his health con- tinuing to decline, at the end of six months, he relinquished his chosen calling, and returned to his father's house in Eaton. His disease, inflammation of the spine, caused him at times intense suffering, but was ever borne with patience and forti- tude. In the fall of 1877, consumption developed itself, and rapidly hastened his release. He was sick and confined to the house most of the time for five years. Tenderly watched over and ministered to by loving hands, he would gladly have lived, for the world was very bright before him, and he loved the work to which he had devoted himself, but he cheerfully resigned his own will, and submitted to the will of his Heavenly Father. His faith in God as the Universal Father and Christ as the Universal Saviour, was clear and strong to the last; and this blessed faith which he loved to proclaim in health, strengthened him in sickness, and supported him in the hour of death.

V. Rev. Giles Bailey, eldest of the four sons of Elipha- let and -Abigail (Silsby) Bailey, was born in Acworth, N. H., May 7, 1815, and died in Reading, Pa., May 14, 1878. Mr. Bailey obtained his earlier education in the common schools of his native town. A singular circumstance in connection with his later school days seems worthy of note. In the years of 1834 and '35, he, with two other 3'oung men of about the same age and the same family name, attended school at the academies in Cavendish and Chester, Vt., and afterwards they were all students at a school in Unity, N. II., then under the charge of the present Rev. Dr. A. A. Miner of Boston. The three friend- were James W., Giles, and George W. Bailey. The two first were own cousins and second cousins to the last. They entered the Universalist ministry at about the same time, were all ordained in 1840, were all faithful, earnest and conse- crated ministers, and achieved honorable positions in their profession. The two first have finished their earthly career; the last is still living, in Springfield, Vt. Giles Bailey was a diligent and careful scholar. He ac- quired considerable knowledge of Latin and Greek, receiving instruction in those branches from Hon. Horace Maynard. At the age of seventeen, he began a successful career as a school teacher in Vt. and N. II., and was through life warmly interested in educational movements,—serving as Superin- tent of Schools in many towns and using his influence for the establishment and growth of our denominational Insti- tutions.

The parents of Mr. Bailey, though not pronounced Uni- versalists, were liberal in their religious opinions, and he be- came a believer in Universalism, and his mind was inclined the ministry as early as 1835. He was at that time rather conservative as a Universalist, holding to what was then known as Restorationism. He pursued his theological stud- ies under the late Rev. Lemuel Willis. He was licensed in 1839, and ordained in Winthrop, Maine, May 27, 1840. He was settled in Winthrop for two years, then removed to Brunswick where he remained seven years, then lived three years in Oldtown, three in Dexter, two in Claremont, N. H., then returned to Maine and lived eight years in Gardiner and two in Belfast, and finally, in the fall of 1869, here- moved to Heading, Pa., where, after nearly nine years of faithful labor, he closed a noble and useful life. The larger part of Mr. Bailey's ministerial work was per- formed in Maine, and that State became the home of his heart; living in so many different sections of the State, he knew the people very intimately, and had a peculiarly strong and tender affection for her institutions and for the hosts of generous and warm-hearted friends whose love he highly prized. He left Maine with regret, and in absence ex- pressed in his letters the strongest attachment for the State ende .red to him by so many precious memories; and as he loved, so was he beloved and honored, and his memory is very tenderly cherished wherever he was known, not only by those of his own faith, but by the community generally which esteemed him for his lofty sense of justice, his strict integ-ity and his pure life.

Wherever he lived, he devoted all his energies to his work, allowing nothing to draw him away from his chosen calling. He was an able, instructive and interesting preacher, often thrilling his hearers by his impressive fervor. He was strongly interested" in all reform movements and the ener- getic bol Wherever he lived, he devoted all his energies to his work, allowing nothing to draw him away from his chosen calling. He was an able, instructive and interesting preacher, often thrilling his hearers by his impressive fervor. He was strongly interested" in all reform movements and the ener- getic bol Though he was a decided, denominational Universalist, he never thought the truth was confined to his own church, but was broad and generous in his sympathies, "with malice towards none and charity to all." His work in Reading, as it was the last, was perhaps also the best of his life. He seemed to be the man for the place, and his efficient labors encouraged and stimulated his people, so that the growth and prosperity of his parish was very marked. The local papers, at the time of his decease, spoke of him in very eulo- gistic terms both as a minister and as a citizen. In addition to his regular work as a preacher and pastor, Mr. Bailey was a frequent and valuable contributor to our denominational papers. He wrote many years ago, a series of letters over the signature of " Lucius" for the Christian Ambassador which attracted a good deal of attention. They were fresh and racy, revealing unusual literary ability and grasp of thought, and exciting much curiosity in regard to their authorship. Later he wrote a good deal for the Star in the West and the Universalist, and for a time occupied the editorial chair of the latter paper, and was for two or three years editor of the Register. Upon whatever topic he wrote, he left the imprint of a strong and vigorous mind, and there was a freshness and point about his articles that made them very welcome. Mr. Bailey was thrice married. His first wife was Miss Jane M. Damon, the second Miss Sarah Murphy, and the third Miss Mercy Bassett who with four sons survives him.

VI. Rev. Joseph Harsh, son of Joseph and Catherine (Yohe) Harsh was born in Stark Co., Ohio,in the year 1827, and died in Clyde. Jasper Co., Iowa, May 27, i878. He was one of eighteen children, twelve of whom lived to matu- rity, and of these, all save one, with their parents embraced the Universalist faith, and nine have died firm and rejoicing in the hope of universal salvation. Mr. Harsh lived in Ohio, and most of the time in Wayne Co., till 1855, when he removed to Iowa, where he spent the remaining years of his life. In youth, his intellectual and religious growth was very marked. At the age of twenty, he made a public profession of religion and united with a branch of the Lutheran church. Not very long after, finding his expanding!views more in harmony with the doctrine of a full salvation, he joined the Universalist church. His early opportunities for educa- tion were limited; but after he arrived at manhood, by diligent study at home, and the aid of private instruction at Wooster, Ohio, he acquired what might justly be called a liberal education.

Mr. Harsh was ordained at Clyde, Iowa, Oct. 20, 1868, but had been preaching many years previous to that time. His principal work as a preacher, was done at Clyde, Edenville and Chelsea, Iowa, though he preached a good deal at various points where there is no organ- ization of Universalists. He was a man of elevated thought and large sympathies; he was earnest in every good work, and by his labors in the pulpit and school-room, by his pen and the quiet influence of his character, he has helped to make the world better. Mr. Harsh was twice married. Two sons by the first marriage, and the second wife with four children survive him.

VII. Rev. Wm. Brice was born in the State of New York, Jan. 23, 1801. He was educated in England, and after his return travelled over most of the Atlantic States, preaching the doctrine of universal salvation. He finally settled in Missouri, and was married Apr. 23, 1855 to Mrs. Nancy Kimball. He moved to Washington Territory in 1870, and died June 19, 1878. He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence, a good man and a life-long Univer- salist.

VIII. Rev. Levi Chandler Marvin, son of William and Mary (Crosby) Marvin, was born in Alstead, N. H., Sept. 21, 1808, and •lied at his residence in Clinton, Mo., July 5th, 1878, in the seventietli year of his age. He was dis- abled from active business by an injury received on leaving the cars at Clinton, on a very dark night in August, 1872. Much of the time thereafter he was confined to his room, and a part of it to his bed.

Mr. Marvin was, in some respects, a very extraordinary man, and achieved his position in life by his own unaided efforts. His first work in a literary course, be3Tond the com- mon schools, was done in an academy in Chesterfield, N. H., in the fall of 1828. In 1829, he appears as teacher in a common school at Rhinebeck, N. Y. In a letter from that place under date of Feb., 1831, received by a gentleman in Albany, and addressed in part to Rev. I. D. Williamson, Mr. Marvin acknowledges an invitation from Mr. William- son to enter his household as a student of theology, and he •decides to accept. Here he spent some months in study, and then began his preaching. He received fellowship in 1881, went to Buffalo in the winter of 1832, but returned the next year, and afterwards preached for a while in Am- sterdam and Duanesburg. He was ordained in 1834. In the spring of 1835, he removed to Newark, N. J., where he continued as pastor of the Universalist society until 1838. He then spent a short time in preaching among his old friends in Duanesburg (Braman's Corners). On the 27th of July, 1836, lie was married to Miss Ann M. Moores, a very excellent lady of Hudson, Y., whose peculiar tempera- ment was fitted to bless him alike in his joys and in Irs sor- rows, and to cheer him in despondency.

In 1841, he removed to Missouri, and took up his residence Oct. 17th in Arrow Rock, Saline Co. A few years later found him a resident of Boonville, Cooper Co., where he had & quasi discussion with Rev. Mr. Slocum, a new school Pres- byterian, formerly an antagonist of Rev. T. J. Sawyer, D.D. The disiussion embraced twelve lectures on each side and extended with unabated interest through six weeks, Mr. Slocum occupying his own church and Mr. Marvin the Court House. In the spring of 1848, ':.e removed to Jacksonville, 111., where he had a discussion with Rev. C. W. Lewis, Methodist. Two years later, Sept., 1850, he became a resi- dent of Springfield, 111., where, by the assistance of friends and their own mean;, his widow says, " we lived in our own house." Here, too, he made the acquaintance and secured the warm personal friendship of the late President Lincoln. From that place, in 1856, he returned to Missouri, and Clin- ton thereafter became his permanent home. After his return to Missouri, he had two public discussions, one at Spring- field, 111.,with Rev. Mr. Johnson, Campbellite, and the other at at Georgetown, Mo., with Rev. W. W. Suddath, Presbyterian. The labors of Mr. Marvin were generally very arduous. Much of his ministry was spent as an itinerant, and his re- muneration was very small, requiring extra efforts in teach- ing school to make up the deficiency. He was a man of unbending integrity, never varying in the smallest point from the line of rectitude and truth. His genial nature and social qualities were of a very high order, securing for him warm friendships and life-long devotion. In his family relations he was tender and affectionate, beloved and revered. During the Rebellion he was a strong Union man—the only man in the county where he lived who gave a vote for Abraham Lincoln for President. His efforts in beha'f of the Union awakened a bitterness of feeling which often endan- gered both his person and his life. During that period he was for two sessions a member of the Legislature of Missouri, taking his seat in the fall of 1862. At one session he was chosen Speaker of the House. At the same time his brother, Hon. A. C. Marvin, was a member of the Senate and acting Lieutenant Governor. On one occasion the two houses met for the transaction of some social business, when the un- usual scene occurred of two brothers presiding over the joint session. He afterwards paid some attention to the study of law, and was admitted to practice at the bar in 1867. He had little opportunity, however, for achieving greatness in that direction, for in 1872 he was disabled from all active business.

It was during his long confinement that the great qualities of his soul were more fully manifested—manifested specially in a meek, uncomplaining, Christian resignation. He knew from the first that his active work was done. It was a pain- ful thought, and sometimes even the sunshine, which he could never again enjoy under the open canopy, seemed to sadden him; but his great soul soon took a wider scope, aud be saw both a blessing and a hope in all the ways of God to man.

[This sketch of Mr. Marvin is from the pen of his friend, Rev. R. O. Williams, of Upper Lisle, N. Y.]

LX. Rev. Lemuel Willis, son of Lemuel and Fanny (Cobb) Willis, was born in Windham, Vt., April 24, 1802. The family removed to Westmoreland, N. H., in 1813, and that was the home of Mr. Willis until he entered the minis- try. His father was a zealous and devoted Universalist, converted to the doctrine by the eloquent preaching of Rev. Elhanan Winchester, many years before the birth of his gifted son; he read his Bible much, and the truths there re- vealed were often explained in the family circle, and thus the hearts of his children were early impressed by the blessed doctrine taught by Christ. His son Lemuel felt a call to the ministry at an early age, and in 1822 he went to Pleading, Vt., and was for a time a student of Rev. S. C. Loveland, a man eminent in the denomination for his rare scholarship, and whose simple dignity of character made a deep impression upon all those who came within the sphere of his influence.

Mr. Willis preached his first sermon in Reading, in July, 1822, and was fellowshipped by the General Convention in Warner, N. H., the following September, and ordained at Whiting, Vt., in Sept., 1823. His first labors were in Stod- dard, Marlow and Acworth, N. H. He was afterwards set- tled in Trojf, N. Y., for two years, and from there went to Salem, Mass., where he was installed March 25, 1829. His pastorate at Salem extended over nine years, and there he performed what may be truly called the great work of his life. By his untiring patience, by his persistence in every good work, by the silent influence of his noble, Christian character, no less than by his public ministrations; he placed the Church in Salem upon a solid foundation which has never been shaken. He organized a Sunday School in May, 1823, which was one of the earliest in the denomination, and has been the means of great moral and spiritual good to the Society and Church. He was also instrumental in forming a Samaritan Society to aid the worthy poor of Salem, and he took a deep interest in all moral, benevolent and Christian enterprises.

Mr. Willis was subsequently settled in Lynn and Cam- bridgeport, Mass., and in Washington, Claremont and Ports- mouth, N. H.; but more than twenty years ago he withdrew from the active duties of the ministry, and has since resided in Warner, N. H. In whatever place he lived, he won golden opinions from all. He never lowered the dignity of his sacred calling by laying aside his ministerial character. He was ever a wel- come guest in the homes of his people and lovingly en- shrined in their hearts. His presence at the public gather- ings of his Church was felt as a perpetual benediction. He carried his own atmosphere with him, and all were impressed by his saintly presence, which testified that he was indeed called of God. Guileless as a child, and too upright and pure to be ever swerved from the path of rectitude himself, he could not believe evil of others. He truly possessed that greatest of Christian graces, Charity, which endureth all things and thinketh no evil. If dissensions arose, lie was the peace-maker, pouring oil upon the troubled waters. He was devoted, heart and soul, to the Church of which he was a beloved and honored member and leader for more than half a century and he ever earnestly labored to extend its boundaries, strengthen its influence and maintain its dig- nity. As a preacher, he was clear, forcible and fervent. If his hearers were never electrified by bursts of eloquence, they were always impressed by the devout piety, the strong good sense, and the entire consecration which marked all his efforts. His love for his Divine Master, and his faith in the blessed truths he came to reveal, were strong and bright to the last, and on the 23d of July, 1878, he quietly finished his earthly career and entered into rest.

Mr. Willis was twice married, first Nov. 11, 1824, to Miss Amanda R. Simmons, of Windham, Vt., who died Sept. 23d, 1846. Four of their five children are still living. March30th, 1847, he married Mrs. Abigail P. (Bean) George, who, though long an invalid, survives him.

X. Rev. Jonathan Shepard, son .of Harris and Martha Shepard, was born in Haverhill, X. H., April 10, 1792, and died in Linden, Michigan, Aug. 20, 1878. In his youth he became deeply interested in the subject of religion and was licensed by the Methodists in 1812, and began the work of the ministry in Littleton, N. H. He remained in fellow- ship with that denomination till 1830, when he withdrew from it, having become by diligent study of the Bible, without aid from commentaries or preachers, a firm believer in the doctrine of Universalism. He was then living in Stafford, N. Y. He removed to Michigan in 1836, and settled in Fenton, Genesee Co., where he felled the first tree where the village of Linden now stands. He was for a time largely engaged in secular business, building mills and laboring steadily through the week for the support of those dependent upon him; but he used his leisure moments for study and preached on the Sabbath wherever he could find an audience. He was ordained in Linden, in 1844, but was never regularly settled over any parish. His work was of a missionary character and a labor of love for the cause. He preached chiefly in the vicinity of Linden, in Mundy, Gaines, Davisonville and Grand Blank. He was a man of deep feeling and his pulpit efforts were generally earnest exhortations to practical piety. Till he was seventy years old, he rarely missed preaching somewhere every Sabbath, but his infirmities have prevented active labor for many years. His presence however has always been expected and welcome at associations and conferences. The last public, meeting he attended was at Corunna, in 1876, when, having had a slight paralytic shock not long before, he bade his brethren a very tender and affectionate farewell, allud- ing briefly to the sorrows, sufferings, and defeats that were behind him, and looking joyfully forward to the brightness of the eternal morning which he saw dawning before him.

Some months before his death he was again stricken with paralysis from which he never rallied. Mr. Shepard was married Feb. 11, 1816, to Miss Lucinda Sweet of llardwick, Vt. She died Nov. 5, 1848, leaving seven children. In 1850, he was married to Mariah Edny Smith of Vermont, who died in 1875. He leaves behind him a large circle of children and grand-children and many friends who loved, honored and revered him, and who speak of him as a grand, Christian, old man.

XI. Rev. Charles Chapman Clark was born in Rum- ney, N. H., in Aug., 1813, and died in Brattleboro', Vt., Oct. 14, 1878. His early advantages for an education were quite limited and he had much to do to make himself the acceptable preacher and minister he afterwards became. In early life Mr. Clark was a zealous Methodist, but by read- ing the Uiiiversalist publications which came in his way, his faith was enlarged and he became a firm believer in the doctrine of Universalism. His change of belief gave him great joy and he devoted all his leisure to study, and in due time entered the ministry. He was ordained in 1841, in Thornton, N. H., in which placa he preached for some time. He was afterwards settled in E. Jaffrey and Brookline, N. H., Concord and Hartland, Vt., Susquehanna, Pa., Essex, Pigeon Cove and West Townsend, Mass. He was a man of sound common sense with a sincere and devout spirit and a good knowledge of the Scriptures. His aspirations as a minister were always for usefulness rather than popularity; he had a keen spiritual insight and ardent spiritual inclinations. .

Main Page  |  About the Project  |  Contact Us  |  Fair Use Policy

All material copyright Unitarian Universalist History & Heritage Society (UUHHS) 1999-2020
Links to third-party sites are provided solely as a convenience. DUUB does not endorse materials on other sites.

CREDIT LINE: From the biography of _______ written by ________ in
the Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography, an on-line resource of the Unitarian Universalist History & Heritage Society.