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Obituaries (1879-1880) in the 1881 Register
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF DECEASED MINISTERS.
Rev. William Shepherd Bates, son of Anciel and Temperance (Coleman) Bates, was born in Madison Co., Ohio, in 1815, and died of consumption in Nevada, Iowa, Oct. 30, 1879.
Mr. Bates availed himself, in his boyhood, of the slender opportunities offered in the schools of Ohio, to a student at that time. He was afterwards one of a company of young people who formed an association to study together, and help each other in the acquisition of knowledge, though his studies were mainly pursued by himself. His father was a decided Universalist, and the son never swerved from the faith of the father. Early in life he manifested a talent for public speaking, and before his formal entrance into the ministry, he labored zealously and successfully in promulgating the doctrines of the Universalist Church. He was fellowshipped in 1842, and ordained January, 1852. His first labors for about ten years were in Madison Co., Ohio, and in Clinton, Ill. He was at Chillicothe, Ill., from 1851 to 1855, preaching there, and in Stark Co., and at various other points in the State, either statedly, or as a missionary, till 1863, when he moved, principally on account of failing health, to Benton Co., Iowa. From that time his work was often interrupted by reason of his constantly waning strength. In 18G9 he moved to Ionia, Dixon Co., Neb., and preached, when his health would permit, in that vicinity, and also in Yankton and Vermillion in Dakota, till 1877, when he returned to Iowa, too feeble to admit of further labor.
Mr. Bates was often employed as a teacher in connection with his other work, and was also Superintendent of Schools for several years in Nebraska. His life was an active and useful one. Besides his regular pulpit work, he did a great deal as a missionary, and attended many funerals, even when it involved travelling long distances, and subjecting himself to unusual fatigue and exposure which his declining health should have prompted him to avoid. He loved his chosen work, and it was a heavy trial to him when he realized that he could no longer labor in the Master's vineyard; but he patiently submitted, and after a long season of weakness and suffering, tenderly cared for by those he best loved, with a clear mind and unclouded faith, he entered into rest. He had everywhere won respect and confidence, and he left his family the rich legacy of an honored name.
Mr. Bates was married in Madison Co., Ohio, May 21, 1838, to Miss Lucinda Taylor. She survives him, with two sons and a daughter.
Rev. William A. Drew was born in, Kingston, Mass., Dec. 11, 1798, and died in Augusta, Me., Dec. 2, 1879.
Mr. Drew fitted for college in early life; but owing to adverse circumstances, he abandoned his studies and went to Bath, Me., in 1813, where he was employed as a clerk in the store of his brother-in-law for two years. He then spent four years at work on a farm in Hallowell. In 1819 he accepted an invitation to take charge of Farmington Academy, and remained in that position five years. He preached his first sermon in Farmington, Oct. 1, 1821, and was fellowshipped the same year. He remained in Farmington, engaged in the double duties of preacher and teacher, till 1824, when he began preaching in Belfast, and removed there Jan. 1, 1825. He remained in Belfast two years, preaching also in Camden, in Thomaston, and in other towns in the vicinity. In December, 1825, he began the publication of a religious paper called The Christian Visitant. This paper was afterwards merged in The Christian Intelligencer, published at Portland by Rev. Russell Streeter, and Mr. Drew was associated with him in the editorial work. In January, 1827, he removed to Augusta, and his home was in that city for the remainder of his life. The Intelligencer was moved to Gardiner at the same time, and he became sole editor. He established the Gospel Banner in 1835, and edited it with marked ability till 1857. The paper was valued highly by the denomination which it represented, and found many readers and friends in other churches. After his connection ceased with the Banner, Mr. Drew was editor of the Rural Intelligencer for a few years, and was at different times connected with the Maine Cultivator, the Augusta Courier, and perhaps some other papers. After his regular editorial work was ended, his vigorous pen contributed frequent and valuable articles to the Gospel Banner, even after the burden of years and infirmities pressed heavily upon him.
Mr. Drew organized the First Universalist Church in Augusta in 1833. A meeting-house was built two years later, and he was ordained to the ministry and became pastor of the church Nov. 26, 1835, the building being dedicated the same day. He had solemnized marriages for many years previous to his ordination, by virtue of a commission as justice of the peace. He remained in charge of the Augusta parish till 1848, and was never a settled pastor afterwards. It would hardly be possible to overestimate the debt of gratitude due to Mr. Drew from the Univcrsalists of Maine for his manifold and successful labors in advancing the cause of truth in the State. When he was in the vigor of his manhood there were very few preachers of his faith in the State, and he, from his temperament, talents, and position as editor, took the place of leader. He was bold and aggressive, ever ready with a reason for the faith that was in him, a keen controversialist, and he possessed instant command of all his varied resources. His ready wit and biting sarcasm, added to his powerful logic and often brilliant rhetoric, made him the chosen advocate of his friends, and a formidable antagonist in the field of controversy. His style was clear and forcible ; his points were well made and sharply defined; he was thoroughly in earnest in presenting his thought, and, however widely his hearer might differ from him in faith, he could not but admit the sincerity of his convictions, and also the power with which he advocated them.
Mr. Drew was not only zealous in teaching the doctrines of Universalism, but his paper always took a fearless and decided stand upon all reform movements, and he ever labored to promote the highest interests of humanity. He was warmly attached to his adopted State, deeply interested in her schools, and in everything which tended to promote her prosperity. Thirty years ago he was a popular lecturer in the State, and continued to lecture occasionally upon educational and other topics till within a few years of his death. In 1851 he went to England to attend the World's Fair, and spent a little time in travelling both in Great Britain and on the Continent. He afterwards published a book giving an account of his travels, which his vivid imagination and rare descriptive powers made unusually interesting. His last literary work was an autobiography of about three hundred and fifty written pages, prepared for his children, which has not been published.
Mr. Drew suffered very much at intervals during the last years of his life; but his faith was clear and unfaltering, and he looked forward with joyful anticipations to meeting the loved ones who had gone before him.
Mr. Drew was married in February, 1821, to Miss Melinda Morrill of Hallowell. She died June, 1871, a few months after the celebration of their golden wedding. Seven children were born to them, of whom four are still living.
Rev. Ezekiel Walker Coffin was the sixth of nine children of Stephen and Elizabeth (Patterson) Coffin. He was born in Gilead, Me., Aug. 14, 1810, and died from paralysis in Bernardston, Mass., Dec. 11,1879.
Mr. Coffin was born of Methodist parents, but in his youth had his attention called to the doctrines of Universalism by the preaching of the late Rev. Sylvanus Cobb, and finally he resolved to consecrate his life to the work of the Universalist ministry. In pursuance of this purpose, lie studied for a time by himself, and afterwards with Rev. Mr. Averill of Eddington, Me. He was licensed by the Maine Convention in June, 1838, and ordained June, 1840. He was first settled at Centre Harbor, N. H., for four years; then at Weymouth, Mass., two years; then over the Canton Street Church in Boston, two and a half years; afterwards at North Attleborough, Annisquam, Beverly, and Shirley, Mass., Jaffrey, N. H., Bryant's Pond, Me., Orange, Mass., West Concord, Vt., and Bernardston, Mass. His ministerial life covered about forty-three years.
Those who knew Mr. Coffin longest and best bear ample testimony to his many excellent traits, both as a minister and a man; that he lived the doctrine which he taught, and that in his last sickness "he gave the whole community a lesscfn of patience and resignation in suffering." His illness extended over a period of three and a half years, and was very painful; but he never lost his faith and courage. After he had become so helpless that he could not walk, or even stand, he still continued his work. Faithful friends bore him in his chair to the pulpit on each returning Sabbath for more than two years. Weak in body, but strong in soul, he gave his people living lessons that can never be forgotten. Parishioners, brethren in the ministry, all who knew him, testify to the sterling qualities of his character, to his faithfulness, his integrity, his purity, his reliance upon God, and his love for humanity. Mr. Coffin was married in Boston, Mass., May 30, 1847, to Miss Mary E. Webber, who, with a son and daughter, is still living.
Rev. William Livingston was born in Unity, N. H., Oct. 12, 1815, and died at Galesburg, 111., Dec. 29, 1879.
Mr. Livingston was educated at Norwich University, Norwich, Vt., and was graduated in the class of 1839. After finishing his course there, he studied for the ministry. He was licensed by the Green Mountain Association in June, 1843, and ordained at Hartland, Vt., Jan. 8, 1846. He preached for several years in Windsor County, Vt., at Hartland, South Woodstock, and Barnard. While living at South Woodstock he taught the high school for several terms, and was a highly acceptable teacher. He was also superintendent of schools for the town of Woodstock. In 1851 he took charge of the parish in West Concord, and remained there till 1855, when he accepted the position of Professor of Natural Science in Lombard University, Galesburg, Ill. He left Vermont almost overwhelmed by the weight of great domestic afflictions. He had been married in November, 1842, to Miss Eliza A. Pierce of Hartland. Two daughters were born to them, who both died in the fall of 1854, and in 1855, just as he was about starting for Illinois, his wife also died after a brief illness, and he was left to begin life anew, alone, among strangers, and in a new sphere of duties. He was connected with Lombard University for twenty-four years; first as Professor of Natural Science, then as provisional President, and lastly as financial agent. He was faithful and conscientious in the discharge of his duties, deeply interested in the welfare of the institution with which he was so long connected, and he continued his work even after his declining strength seemed to demand a rest from his labors. He also continued to preach as opportunity presented till near the close of his life. His sermons were marked by thoughtfulness, sincerity, and earnestness.
Professor Livingston ever proved himself to be a high-minded, noble, self-sacrificing Christian man, ready and anxious to use all his strength for the good of humanity. Naturally diffident and unobtrusive, it required time to become acquainted with his many estimable traits of character. His illness was long and painful, but he bore it with patience and resignation, the faith which had sustained him in life proving sufficient in the hour of death.
Mr. Livingston was married the second time in 1858, to Miss L. A. Stillman of Chillicothe, Ill., who survives him. He also leaves two sons and one daughter.
Rev. Russell Streeter, son of Barzillai and Nancy (Brown) Streeter, was born in Chesterfield, N. H., April 15, 1791, and died in Woodstock, Vt., Feb. 15, 1880.
The parents of Mr. Streeter lived during his boyhood in the towns of Chesterfield, Richmond, and Swanzey, N. H. When he was about thirteen years of age he was brought under the influence of a revival among the Freewill Baptists; his religious nature was aroused, and he began the study of the Bible, of which he was thenceforth a diligent and thoughtful student during his long life. At the age of fifteen his religious faith was settled, and he had become a sincere and earnest believer in the doctrine of Universalism. About this time he read Ballou's Treatise on the Atonement, which had a marked influence in shaping his own future thought. He had hitherto had no opportunities for study beyond what the district schools afforded; but he now determined to be a minister, if he could obtain the necessary education. He attended school for a term at the Academy at Chesterfield, and afterwards studied for some time with his elder brother, Rev. Sebastian Streeter, then settled at Weare, N. H. He began to preach when he was eighteen, and though so young and inexperienced, met with decided success. He received fellowship from the General Convention at Langdon, N. H., in September, 1810, and soon after began his career as an itinerant preacher in Vermont and New Hampshire. He made a tour into Maine two years later, but not meeting with the desired success he returned to his home in Swanzey. He was ordained Sept. 16, 1812, at the session of the General Convention at Cavendish, Vt. In 1813 he settled over the societies in Springfield and Rockingham, Vt., preaching also at other places in Vermont and New Hampshire a portion of the time. Believers were few, the people poor, and the times hard, so that he received but a pittance for his services; but he kept on with his work there till March, 1821, when he was invited to Portland, Me. He accepted the invitation, and organized the First Universalist Society in that city. A church edifice was immediately built, and dedicated Aug. 16, 1821; and Mr. Streeter was installed as pastor the same day. The next month he published the first number of the Christian Intelligencer, a quarterly, of which he was the editor for some years. He found his work in Portland peculiarly fitted to his tastes and temperament. He was in the vigor of his early manhood, ardent, sanguine, and delighting above all things in religious controversy. He understood his own doctrine perfectly, was eager to give hard blows, and willing to receive them in turn from an honorable adversary. He found a wide field for his talents, and remained there six years, during which the society was placed upon a firm foundation. He was an excellent pastor, genial, interesting, with a pleasant word for every one, and gifted with a brilliancy in conversation rarely equalled.
Mr. Streeter terminated his engagement in Portland April 18, 1827, and removed to Watertown, Mass., where he was installed the following August. A church was organized immediately, and a meeting-house built. He also entered upon new editorial duties, being associated with Rev. Thomas Whittemore for a time in conducting the Trumpet and Universalist Magazine. He and his brother Sebastian published a new hymn-book about this time, which was generally adopted by the denomination. He moved to Shirley in 1829, and for several years lived upon a farm, preaching in that town and elsewhere, and also lecturing all over the State upon the subject of temperance. While living here he published a pamphlet entitled Latest News from Three Worlds; also Familiar Conversations, setting forth in the form of dialogues the distinctive doctrines of Universalism. It was received with great favor by the denomination, was widely circulated, and read with great profit. In November, 1834, he removed to the beautiful village of Woodstock, Vt. He gathered together the relics of a former parish and reorganized a church and society. He labored with the greatest zeal and pleasure in repairing the waste places, not only in Woodstock, but in other towns in the vicinity. He organized a society in South Woodstock; he still devoted a great deal of time to the temperance cause, and was perhaps the most popular preacher and the most widely known of any in his own denomination in the State. His quick sympathies and ability to comfort the sorrowing, made his services very precious to those in affliction. In 1835 his people erected a chapel and he was formally installed pastor. He preached at Woodstock and South Woodstock till 1847, when he went to Portland, Me., to visit his former home and friends. He was joyfully received, and his visit was prolonged for nearly seven years, when his failing health induced him to return to his Woodstock home, where he remained in comparative quiet till the end of his life.
Father Streeter, as he was long familiarly called, was a preacher seventy years; he was an ordained minister almost sixty-eight, and was the oldest in fellowship of any in the Universalist Church. To him must the credit be given of having been the first one to teach the doctrine of the spiritual coming of Christ in his kingdom at the destruction of Jerusalem. He wrote a great deal for the religious papers, especially for the Christian Repository, published at Montpelier, Vt. He also published many sermons in pamphlet form. As a preacher, he possessed remarkable power over his hearers, moving them to smiles and tears at will. As an extempore speaker, when he felt he had the sympathy of his audience, he was sometimes surpassingly eloquent, carrying them with him to the very gates of heaven. He was a clear and accurate thinker, keenly critical, quick to perceive a point, firm and decided in his opinions, ami he expressed his convictions with great force and boldness. One who was accustomed to hear him often during his early labors in Vermont, and whose own religious opinions were confirmed and strengthened by his teachings, loved to recall through a long life the memory of those early efforts, and, after a lapse of fifty or sixty years, would repeat long passages from sermons which Mr. Streeter's impressive earnestness and oratorical power had imprinted upon his youthful mind. He never wearied of recalling the peculiar delight he experienced in hearing him read the most familiar hymns and passages from the Bible, which acquired new meaning and added beauty from his melodious voice and graceful elocution. In later life, when maturer judgment and wider experience bad only increased his admiration of Mr. Streeter's great brilliancy and versatility of talents, he said that a prayer that Mr. Streeter offered, on an occasion of touching and melancholy interest, melted judges and bar to tears, and was the most tender, beautiful, and elevating that he ever heard from mortal lips.
In private life, among his friends, Mr. Streeter was a most genial and entertaining companion. He had warm sympathies, a fund of humor, a keen wit, quickness of repartee, a memory which seemed never to lose a date or fact, and a rare tact in adapting himself to circumstances. His attachments were strong and lasting, and he never lost an opportunity to speak a kind word or do a generous deed. A complication of diseases confined him to his house for many years; but his friends were always welcomed with the warmest interest, and the absent ones, especially those in affliction, were remembered with most tender and loving words.
Mr. Streeter was twice married, and was the father of nine children, of whom only two survive him.
Rev. Henry Codman Leonard, one of the four children of Lemuel and Cynthia (Claggett) Leonard, was born in Northwood, N. H., April 25, 1818, and died of disease of the heart, at Pigeon Cove, Mass., March 7, 1880.
Mr. Leonard pursued his studies for the ministry with the late Rev. Henry Bacon, in Haverhill and Marblehead, Mass. He began preaching in 1840, and was ordained in 1841. His earliest labors were on Cape Ann, at Gloucester, and perhaps other places in the vicinity. In 1842, he went to East Thomaston (now Rockland), Me., where he was settled four years. He removed to Orono in 1847, where he remained about eight years, going thence to Waterville in December, 1854. At the breaking out of the war, in 1861, he closed his labors in Waterville and accepted the position of chaplain in the Third Maine Infantry, under Col. (now Gen.) O. 0. Howard. He remained with that regiment rather more than a year, when he was transferred to the Eighteenth Maine Infantry, -- which was afterwards changed to the First Maine Regiment of Heavy Artillery, -- where he remained, greatly beloved by officers and soldiers, till his term of service expired, Aug. 1, 1864. He then returned to his family, not having lost a day during his absence. He was publicly pronounced by Gen. Howard the most faithful chaplain he ever saw.
In December, 1865, he took charge of the Universalist Society in Albany, N. Y., where he remained three years. He moved to Philadelphia in April, 1869, and was pastor of the Lombard Street Church two years. He then returned to Pigeon Cove, the early home of his wife, -- a place endeared to him by many pleasant associations,-- and decided to make a permanent home there; but he afterwards preached for two years at Deering, Me., and was Professor of Belles-lettres at Westbrook Seminary at the same time. His last pastorate, at Annisquam, began in December, 1875. He preached for the last time Sept. 28, 1879.
While living in Waterville, in 1860, Mr. Leonard became editor of the Gospel Banner; but the arrangement was a temporary one, and continued but a few months. After he left Philadelphia, he also occupied the editorial chair of the Universalist for a season. In 1856, he published a volume of sermons, under the title of " A Sheaf from a Pastor's Field." The book was warmly received and commended, even beyond the circle of his friends and those of his own faith. In 1873, he published another delightful little book, called "Pigeon Cove and Vicinity." It gives glowing descriptions of the natural scenery of Cape Ann, graphic sketches of its early history and traditions, and complete accounts of its flora, fauna, and mineral productions. It is made attractive by numerous illustrations, and still more so by the author's vivid fancy, his quick appreciation of all that is beautiful in nature, and the bright glimpses it gives of his poetic soul.
Mr. Leonard was a frequent writer for the denominational press. In former years, many exquisite poems from his pen found a place in the Ladies' Repository. Everything he wrote gave evidence of his keen observation, his love for the pure and beautiful, the intensity of his affections, and the richness and vitality of his spiritual nature. Had he chosen literature for a profession, and cultivated more fully his rare poetic gifts, his name might have become prominent among the writers of the country. But it was in the private circle of his intimate friends that his nature unfolded itself most fully-; there its hidden wealth was unconsciously poured out, and he lavished on them the flue gold of his deepest thought.
He had, too, many gifts that would have fitted him for a naturalist. He loved nature in all her visible forms. He was especially a close observer of the habits and songs of birds.
The rarest wild-flowers, by a mystic spell, lured him to their secluded haunts; he heard the murmuring sound of waving trees, and turned it into song; the ocean, with its solemn voice, spoke words to him unheard by other ears.
If he was not pre-eminent as a logician or a theologian, his sermons were always interesting, and breathed a sweet and trustful spirit. He saw the bright side of life, he infused, his own faith and hope into his teachings, and he threw over all a halo of the poetic imagery that his eye was quick to discern and his hand to paint. He had a sunny nature, and, wherever he lived, won hosts of friends by his geniality' and the radiant joyousness of his heart. The truest, most cultivated and intelligent of all denominations welcomed him to their companionship, and recognized the purity of his life, the elevation of his thought, and his rare intellectual endowments.
Mr. Leonard was married Sept. 14, 1845, to Miss Adelia D. Norwood, of Pigeon Cove. She is left, with two daughters, to mourn the loss of him who was the light of their home.
Rev. Wellington Sisson, eldest of the five children of Gideon and Marv (Couts) Sisson, was born in Friendship, N. Y., July 20,1845, and died in Perry, N. Y., March 9, 1880.
Mr. Sisson was a studious, thoughtful, pure-minded, and conscientious boy. He entered Tufts College in 1864, and was graduated in 1868. His thoughts were, in boyhood, much occupied with the subject of religion, and, while he was obtaining his education, he formed his plans to enter the ministry, and soon after his graduation he began to preach. His first settlement, in 1808, was in Orland, Me. In 1870, he moved to Stockton in the same State; but, the climate proving unfavorable, he was obliged to close a very successful pastorate the following year, leaving behind him a circle of sincere and attached friends. He next settled in Farmington, Mich., where he was ordained Dec. 20, 1871. He remained there three years; then, after one year in Lansing, he spent nearly four years at Tecumseh, in the same State. He then accepted an invitation to Perry, N. Y., where he had been laboring eighteen months at the time of his death.
In all the parishes of which Mr. Sisson had charge, -- in Maine, in Michigan and in New York, -- he was a true, earnest, and successful pastor. His gentle courtesy, his kind and amiable disposition, his frankness, his constant devotion to religion and to the growth of his people in spiritual things, as well as to all moral and reformatory enterprises, won him very many warm friends, not only in his own parishes, but in the different communities where he lived. Though he was strongly denominational in his feelings, his love and sympathy were broad enough.to embrace Christians of all sects. He was enthusiastic in his nature, his heart was in his work, and he was a forcible, persuasive, and popular preacher, who found his highest pleasure in serving his Master and laboring to advance his spiritual kingdom.
Mr. Sisson was married, in July, 1HG8, to Miss Sophronia King, of Friendship, N. Y. The wife and three young sons survive him.
Rev. Oliver Perry Kimmell, son of Jacob and Matilda Kimmell, was born at Johnsville, Montgomery Co., Ohio, June 3, 1854, and died of heart disease, at Eaton, Ohio, March 14, 1880.
Mr. Kimmell entered the Theological School at Canton, N. Y., in 1876, and was graduated in 1879. He was licensed in 1877, and received ordination at Sharon Centre, Medina Co., Ohio, Jan. 29, 1880. He had been preaching at Sharon Centre for a short time previous to his ordination, but he was then laboring under disease which was increased by his enthusiastic devotion to his work, and immediately after he returned to his father's house, where he rapidly declined and died a few weeks later.
Mr. Kimmel was a young man of unblemished reputation. He was endowed by nature with unusual talents, and to these were added a rare devotion and sincerity of spirit, an ardent love for the Gospel ministry, and a pure and lofty purpose to consecrate himself to his work. Though a bright and promising future seemed opening before him, his faith and loving confidence in the Father enabled him to welcome death with serenity. A circle of near and dear friends mourn his early departure and the blighting of many fondly-cherished hopes.
Rev. Browning Nichols Wiles, son of Daniel and Myra (Nichols) Wiles, was born in Madison County, N. Y., Dec. 25, 1815, and died of typhoid fever at Macomb, Ill., May 6, 1880.
When Mr. Wiles was quite young, his parents moved to Perry, Genesee Co., N. Y., where he attended school, learned the trade of shoemaking, and grew to manhood. He was married, April 26, 1842, to Miss Isabella Conover who survives him. Soon after his marriage, he removed to Sandusky, N. Y., where he continued to work at his trade, devoting all his leisure to study. His early life was passed under Methodist infuences; but when he grew to manhood, his vision became clearer, his faith was enlarged, and he became a Universalist. He was aided and encouraged by the late Rev. J. S. Brown, of Perry, to enter the ministry, and he fitted himself for that position while working daily at his trade for the support of his family. He was ordained Oct. 12, 1854, and his first pastorale was at Sandusky. He removed to Gainesville in 1855, and remained there six years, when he moved to Olcott. In 1862, he responded to the call of his distressed country, enlisted in Company K, 151st N. Y. Infantry, was elected Captain, and served for three years in the army. He was in sixteen hard-fought battles, and was three times wounded. When he left the army he returned to Olcott, and, after preaching there one year, removed to McHenry, Ill., where he was settled five years. He then went to Sycamore, DeKalb Co., where he preached till 1873, when he took charge of the parish at Macomb, which was his last settlement. At the time of his death, it was one of the best parishes in the State, -- the fruit of his zealous and faithful labors.
Mr. Wiles was one of the prominent ministers in the West; ever faithful to his convictions, energetic and active, whether he was struggling in the field to save his beloved country, or engaged in the peaceful warfare of a Christian minister. He was successful both as pastor and preacher, and was an honorable, upright, and good man, and few are more esteemed and beloved than was he. His illness was severe and protracted. He knew he could not recover, and peacefully and quietly awaited death, and finally fell asleep," sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust."
Rev. Norris Coleman Hodgdon, fifth of the nine children of Alexander and Betsey (Smith) Hodgdon, was born in Epping, N. H., Aug. 22, 1818, and died in Benton, Me., July 11, 1880.
Mr. Hodgdon's means of education in the beginning of life were somewhat limited, but he was fond of books and studj-, and was earnest and persevering in his search for knowledge. After he became a conscientious believer in the holy faith of Universalism, he bent all his energies to make himself acquainted with whatever would aid him in strengthening his own convictions, and in awakening the attention of others to its pre-eminent claims. He preached his first sermon July 23, 1841. In 1842 he preached four months in Baltimore, Md., and a few times in Philadelphia, New York, and Brooklyn. He went to Maine in 1843, and was ordained in Paris, December 28, of the same year. He preached in that vicinity for a short time, and removed June, 1844, to Ludlow Vt., where he remained a few months. He was afterwards settled in East Randolph, Chester, Jacksonville, and Vernon, Vt., in Kingston, N. H., Harvard, So. Dedham, Marlboro', and Foxboro', Mass. His last settlement was for one year in Pittsfield, Me., and began in January, 1875. While living in Vernon, Vt., he compiled and published a book called A Denominational Offering; from the the Literature of Universalism. It contains extracts from different writers in exposition and enforcement of the doctrine and spirit of Universalism. The book was well received by the friends of our church.
While attending a conference meeting near Wilton, Me., Jan. 25, 1877, Mr. Hodgdon was stricken with paralysis of the left side; he rallied somewhat from the shock, and was afterwards able to read, and write and visit his friends. Though it was evident to others that his work was done, he was himself hopeful for a long time that he might again be able to preach. After his illness he moved on to a farm in Benton, where he passed the last years of his life, carefully watched over by his faithful and excellent wife.
Mr. Hodgdon was married to Miss Mahala A. Hadley, of Cavendish, Vt., Oct. 16, 1845. She died March 10, 1873. He married his second wife, Mrs. Sarah J. Farrington, of Pittsfield, Me., June 25, 1876. He left but one child, a daughter by the first wife.
Rev. Jotham Melzar Paine, son of J. L. and Jerusha (Streeter) Paine, was born in Westmoreland. N. H., Oct. 25, 1842, and died in Hallowell, Me., Sept. 19, 1880.
Mr. Paine entered Tufts College in 1864, and after remaining there two years, he went to Canton Theological School, where he spent three years, and was graduated in 1869. He was ordained at Gardiner, Me., July 16, of the same year, and immediately settled over the parishes at Gardiner and Hallowell. He was married to Miss Persie M. Bodwell, Jan. 2, 1871. He continued his labors with these parishes for three years, and then accepted an invitation to Norwich, Conn., in January, 1872. In consequence of a serious accident to his ankle, he resigned at the close of a year, and returned to Hallowell, where he passed the remainder of his life, being in the employ of the Hallowell Granite Company while his health permitted. He was never afterwards strong enough to engage in the active work of the ministry; indeed, he never had a well day after the injury to his ankle. His whole system suffered from the shock, his health gradually declined, and his sufferings were at times so intense as to demand the use of the most powerful opiates. A few months before his death he had a hemorrhage of the lungs, and his life was terminated by consumption.
Mr. Paine was of modest and pleasing manners; his scholarly attainments secured him high rank in his class at Canton; he had fine literary abilities; his sermons were prepared with unusual care; he entered the ministry with bright hopes of future success and usefulness, and he might have won a prominent position among his brethern but for the loss of his health. When his laudable ambition was blighted, and he was no longer able to preach, he became a model layman, zealous in the support of public worship, generous in helping on every charitable enterprise, a most appreciative and indulgent hearer, and always manifesting the warmest and most loyal love for his faith. A wide circle of friends and associates hold him in loving memory, and a wife and little son mourn his early loss.
Rev. Abel C. Thomas, third son of Dr. Aimer and Esther Thomas, was born in Exeter, Berks Co., Penn., July 11, 1807, and died at his home in Tacony, Philadelphia, Sept. 27, 1880.
Mr. Thomas was of Quaker lineage, his grandfather, Abel Thomas, having been a distinguished preacher of the Society of Friends for a period of fifty-six years. His father was a physician, a man fond of books and scientific pursuits. In 1825, while teaching school in Marietta, Penn., he made the acquaintance of his life-long friend, Rev. A. B. Grosh, and then received his first knowledge of Universalism. Discussions of this new doctrine soon led to its joyous acceptance. Speaking of that time, he says: "What a realm of beauty, because of concord, was opened to us in the boundless universe of the God of love. Our visions were of the living bread and the living waters. We drank, and the spirit of prayer was satisfied; we ate, and hungered no more." The fire then kindled in his soul grew brighter and brighter until the mortal was lost in immortality.
His school having been broken up by sectarian prejudice, he learned the printer's craft, and in 1827 he went to Philadelphia as a printer. Encouraged by the resident pastors there, Revs. S. R. Smith and T. Fisk, he resolved to become a preacher of Universalism, and his first sermon was delivered in the Lombard Street Church, Philadelphia, in November, 1828. In January, 1829, he became publisher and co-editor with Mr. Fisk of the Gospel Herald and Universalis Review, in New York city, writing editorials, putting them in type, conducting the correspondence, and, as he says, "writing his sermons on a pine board by night"; for he had begun his ministerial labors April 5, 1829, preaching in a small frame meeting-house on Grand Street. The printing establishment was in the rear of the building, and became the headquarters of Universalism in New York. In less than a year from the delivery of his lirst sermon, Mr. Thomas responded to a cordial invitation to become pastor of the Lombard Street Church, Philadelphia, which connection continued under happiest conditions for ten years. In 1834 and 1835, the Ely and Thomas discussion took place, which was afterwards published in book form, and has probably been more widely circulated, and had a more permanent interest and usefulness than any other theological discussion in our country. Through this publication, Mr. Thomas's ability and fame were heralded far and wide, and when, soon after, he visited New England, immense crowds of people of all beliefs were drawn together wherever he preached, and hung entranced upon his eloquent utterances.
In the fall of 1839, Mr. Thomas removed to Lowell and took charge of the Second Church. While living there he established the Lowell Offering, which had so great and unexpected success, and attracted so much attention both in New and Old England. Here, too, he and his co-laborer, Rev. T. B. Thayer, started in 1841 the Star of Bethlehem. which was an ellicient agency iu building up the cause of truth in that city. After three years, his health being impaired by overwork, he left Lowell, intending to spend some months in travel, but was soon persuaded to accept an invitation to Brooklyn, N. Y., where he organized a society and was one of eight men who built the first Universalist church in that city. From Brooklyn he went to Cincinnati, in 1844; but his health was so broken by the climate and previous overwork, that he was obliged to resign his charge in 1847. After a year's rest he returned to his old parish iu Philadelphia. Twelve years later, his ever-increasing feebleness led to a proposal from his friends that he should go out as a Missionary of Universalism to England and Scotland; the required funds were promptly raised, and, accompanied by his family, in May, 1852, he departed on his mission with unlimited leave of absence from his parish. He spent his time chiefly in London and Edinburgh, though he preached in all the principal cities of the United Kingdom and made careful investigation of the state of religious thought there. At the close of a year's labor, he was joined in London by his Lowell yoke-fellow, Rev. T. B. Thayer, and wife, and for six months they travelled together on the Continent. He then returned to Philadelphia and resumed his labors there.
The breaking out of the war, with its manifold excitements and fatigues, the visiting and caring for the sick and wounded in the hospitals, and his active interest in assisting the soldiers constantly passing to and fro, made serious inroads on his long enfeebled frame, so that he was obliged to resign his charge in 1863. He removed to Ilightstown, N. J., where he preached for two years one sermon a Sunday, as a labor of love. He then spent two years in Bridgeport, Conn., preaching in Danbury and other places as his strength permitted. In the spring of 1867, he purchased a small farm at Tacony, Philadelphia, which was thenceforth his home.
Mr. Thomas was the author of several volumes besides the "Ely and Thomas Discussion,"-- his "Autobiography," "The Gospel Liturgy," "The Songs of Zion," "A Century of Universalism," etc. He wrote also some very useful and popular Tracts; among them, "213 Questions without Answers," which has had a wider reading and attracted more attention than any other tract ever issued from our press. It has had a circulation of at least a million of copies.
As a preacher, Mr. Thomas was a man of wonderful gift. His sermons were largely doctrinal, expository, and defensive, as the position of our church at the time he began preaching demanded. He was clear, terse, and logical, and original in the statement and discussion of his subject, with just enough of quaint Quaker phrase to give it spice, yet alive with the beauty and the glow of the poet's vision and illustration; and sometimes, when a sudden burst of feeling and inspiration came upon him, he rose to the highest demands of oratory, his eloquence became electric, and like a full-charged buttery thrilled the entire congregation until every heart beat with the pulses of his own faith and fervor.
As a controversalist, he had few equals. He was thoroughly acquainted with the Scriptures, and his arguments from reason, justice, and divine goodness, always clear, concise, and convincing, were sure to be attested and sealed by a "Thus saith the Lord." His discussion with Dr. Ely, as an exhibition of the Universalist argument, was, and still is, the best and most persuasive work of the kind in our denominational history, and admirably displays the skill, logic, fairness, and manly courtesy of Mr. Thomas as a debater. The incident mentioned on pages 403-405 of his autobiography, shows with what tact and tenderness he could deal with the doubts and difficulties of those who were crushed and tortured by the terrors of the popular creeds.
As a Christian gentleman, he was distinguished for the grace an 1 courtesy of his manners, for his thoughtful kindness towards all, for his remarkable conversational gifts, and for the personal magnetism by which he attracted to himself all with whom he came in contact, young and old, strangers and friends alike. He was always mindful of his younger brethren, and often in the height of his populaiity, when it was considered a privilege to know him and to talk with him, we have seen him quietly slip away from the charmed circle of which he was the centre, to offer his hand and say a pleasant word to some one who seemed alone and neglected. He was positive in his opinions and in the expression of them; but at the same time so considerate of others, and so choice in his language, that he never wounded the feelings of those from whom he differed. In a word, he was the perfect type of the Christian gentleman.
As a friend, he was devoted and constant in his attachments, generous in his sympathies, and always helpful in time of need. He never shrank from any service, or sacrifice in behalf of those whom he had taken to his heart. In a strong personal friendship of more than forty years' continuance, during which the fires of memory and love have been kept bright by unbroken intercourse and correspondence, the writer has had abundant reason to appreciate his loyalty, trueness, and tenderness.
The disease which finally terminated his life on earth, completely shut him out for the last three years from all those activities of the preacher and writer which had been the joy of his life; and so he sat patiently by the "silent sea" and waited for the snowy sails which should bear him across to the Everlasting Home.
Mr. Thomas was married Feb. 14, 1843, to Miss M. Louise, Palmer of Pottsville, Penn., who survives him. He also leaves two sons: Abner C, a lawyer in New York city; and Frank H., a physician in California.
Rev. Abraham Norwood was born in Gloucester, Mass., in 1806, and died in Meriden, Conn., Oct. 7, 1880.
Mr. Norwood was the eldest of fifteen children. His parents were both members of the Congregational church, and their son, during the excitement of a great revival, joined the same church; but his belief brought him no peace, and his suffering drove him to a careful examination of the Bible. He had a clear and vigorous mind, and, little by little, the fears and anguish which had troubled him fled, and in early manhood ho became a firm believer in the doctrine of universal salvation, and through his agency his parents and other members of the family embraced the same faith. He soon began to feel that he must publicly teach the new doctrine which he had received, and during a visit to Boston he was introduced to Father Ballou, who strengthened his inclinations and advised him to devote his life to the ministry. In order to fit himself for such a work, he went to Malden and was for a time a student of the late Rev. Sylvanus Cobb. He began preaching in Annisquam, and in 1833 he was ordained. He was afterwards settled in South Dennis and Marblehead, Mass., in Fiskville, R. I., in Canton, Mass., and in Salisbury from 1845 to 1855. He then went to Meriden, Conn., and performed the duties of State missionary with rare fidelity for six years. Since then he has only preached occasionally, but has never lost his interest in the welfare of the church.
Mr. Norwood was widely known in Connecticut. Besides his work as a preacher and pastor, he wrote and published two books: "The Book of Abraham" and " The Pilgrimage of a Pilgrim." He was also for some years editor of the Connecticut Department of the Trumpet.
After the close of his regular ministerial labors, he served the town of Meriden in several positions of trust. He was warmly interested in education and a faithful and devoted laborer in the temperance cause. Many of his brethren and friends who have known and loved him for years, have borne eloquent witness to his truth, loyalty, and sincerity as a Universalist, to his tenderness and loving-kindness in his domestic relations and towards his friends, and to his genuineness and fervor as a man and a Christian.
Mr. Norwood was married Dec. 8, 1829, to Miss Ruth S. Penson, who is still living. Three of his four daughters also survive him.
Rev. Horace James Bradbury died in Standish, Me., Oct. 9, 1880. He was ordained in Hampton, Me., Feb. 26, 1840. He had then been preaching in that town about two years, and continued his pastoral relations there till 1844, when he removed to Yarmouth, where he was settled two years. He was afterwards pastor for several years at Saccarappa, and after he closed his ministerial labors there, continued to reside in the place while supplying the pulpits in Yarmouth and New Gloucester. He moved to Portland in 1871, and was Register of Probate for Cumberland Co., from 1875 to 1879. His health began to fail in 1878, and he thenceforth gradually decliued.
Mr. Bradbury was an amiable, kind-hearted man, of pure morals, and his labors were very acceptable to the different parishes over which he was settled. He was a firm believer in the Gospel of the Grace of God which bringeth salvation, and he faithfully taught what he believed. While living in Saccarappa, he buried his first wife who left three sons who are still living. In 1864 he was married to his second wife who survives him.
Rev. Orren Perkins was born at Savoy, Mass., Aug. 11, 1823, and died at Chicago, 111., Oct. 30, 1880. Mr. Perkins obtained his education at the common schools of his native town, and at the academy at Shelburne Falls. He preached his first sermon at So. Adams, and was ordained at Bernardston by the Winchester Association in June, 1847. He was settled at Bernardston four years. He afterwards had a short pastorate at Wilmington, Vt., and then moved to Winchester, N. H., where he remained twelve years. For five of those years he was a member of the State Legislature, being three years in the House and two in the Senate. He was also for ten years State Superintendent of Schools. Later, he took charge of the Academy at Cooperstown, N. Y., with which he was connected some years. He was settled at West Concord, Vt., the last two years of his life, and about the first of October left there for Chicago, where he was to be employed in editorial work on the Star and Covenant. It was a kind of work with which lie was familiar, as he had been a regular correspondent or editorial contributor to the Gospel Banner at different times, and had also written a good deal for the New Covenant. Mr. Perkins had a peculiarly sensitive and nervous temperament, and during the last few years was subject to great depression of spirits caused by the loss of his property and the almost total failure of his voice. Infirm in health, discouraged by his misfortunes, a gloomy cloud hung over him; he felt that his usefulness was at an end; his mental anguish became insupportable, and, in a moment of frenzied despair, his mind, affected by hereditary insanity, gave way, and he freed himself from the burden which he no longer had the courage to bear.
Mr. Perkins was an accurate scholar, a .very successful teacher, and an able and interesting writer. He was much beloved as a pastor and friend, and his sermons were thoughtful, instructive, and elevating. His life was blameless; he was true to every trust, and was an honorable and upright man. He leaves a widow, Mrs. Sarah C. Perkins, and three daughters.