Index by Last Name
+ index is incomplete
Back to Dictionary

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

Obituaries (1885-1886) in the 1887 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


Eight of our Clergymen have died since the Register for 1886 went to press. Such notice of the deceased as is pos- sible from the data obtained, and the limited space allowed by these pages, is here given.

Daniel Reed Biddlecome died at his home in Richmond, Ind., on the 19th of December, 1885, in the eighty-first year of his age. Mr. Biddlecome was born in Deerfield, Oneida Co., N. Y., on the 30th of July, 1805. Of his early life we have no information. He studied for the ministry under the direction of Revs. Stephen R. Smith and W.I. Reese, preached his first sermon at North Bloomfield, N. Y., in May, 1832, and was fellowshipped by the Genesee Association at its session in East Bloomfield, in October of the same year. He was ordained at the session of the New York State Convention at Utiea, on the 30th of May, 1833, and shortly after settled with the Societies at Cohocton and Springwater Valley, N. Y. In 1835 he began a two years' pastorate at Perrysburg, Ohio. From 1837 to 1839 lie itinerated in Ohio, Virginia, Pennsyl- vania, New Y'ork, New Hampshire, and Maine. In the fall of the latter year he returned to Ohio, preaching in Mt. Ver- non, Fredericktown and Newark. From 1841 to 1845, he was pastor at Dayton, then for a year at Montgomery. After a year spent in the state of New York, engaged in set- tling the estate of his father, he returned to Ohio, making his home at Hamilton, preaching there and in the neighbor- ing towns, and doing a great amount of missionary work in other portions of the State. In 1854 he moved to Griggs- ville, Ill., where, and at New Salem, he preached for two years. In 1856 he removed to Galesburg, and became the successful financial agent of Lombard University. In 1863 he returned to Dayton, Ohio, removing thence to Richmond, Ind., in 1867. During these years he was a faithful mis- sionary in South-western Ohio and Eastern Indiaua. For a while he was financial agent for Smithson College, and sub- sequently was associated witli Prof. P. R. Kendall in the canvass to secure funds for a new building for Clinton Lib- eral Institute. Having completed this canvass, he resided a few years in Akron, Ohio, and in 1882 returned to Richmond, Ind.

Mr. Biddlecome was of tall and commanding presence, genial in spirit, keen in intellect, interesting in public dis- course. He was a powerful debater, unwearied in his efforts to expose error and spread the knowledge of the truth, and a pure man in thought and life. He married Miss Mary A. Edmonson, at Dayton, Ohio, in 1842, and his domestic life was blessed with great happiness. Favored with far more than the ordinary lot of health and strength, he was active in pulpit labors until within a few weeks of his death. He died in great trust, peace, and calmness and leaves an hon- ored memory in the church. His wife and children, two daughters, survive him.

Sumner Ellis, D.D., died at his home in Chicago, Ill., on the 26th of January, 1886, in the fifty-eighth year of his age. The parents of Dr. Ellis were Seth and Susanna Ellis, residents of North Orange, Mass., where he was bora on the 17th of May, 1828. His educational advantages the first eighteen years of his life were such as a district school, kept eight or ten weeks during the year, could afford. Sub- sequently he was at the Academy in New Salem, Mass , one year, and at the Melrose Seminary, West Brattleboro', Vt., three years. His father was for man}- years the leading mem- ber of the North Orange Universalist parish, the minister of which during the son's boyhood, was Rev. Levi Ballou, a brother of Rev. Dr. Hosea Ballou, 2d. His preaching and personal counsels were a great help to the lad during his early years, and an influence on his after life. During 1850, and until October, 1851, he was a student in theology with Rev. Dr. Hosea Ballou, 2d. He was fellow- shipped and ordained by the Boston Association, at the Han- over street Church, on the 11th of November, 1851. In the same service he was installed as junior pastor of the Church, his associate being the venerable father, Sebastian Streeter. His subsequent pastorates were at Salem, L3-nn. Boston (Sliawmut Avenue, as associate pastor with Rev. Dr. Thayer,) Mass.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Newark, N. J.; Church of the Redeemer, Chicago, Ill.; and later at St. Paul's Church, in the same city. ,-

Between his Salem and Lynn pastorates, — a period of lit- tle more than a year and a half, — lie pursued special studies in Cambridge, not in formal connection with an}- of the Uni- versity classes, but attending lectures in the Academic, Scientific, and Theological departments. Dr. Ellis developed literary power of a high order early in his professional career, manifest not only in his finished ser- mons, but in his contributions to the denominational press, and later in his published essays, "At Our Best," his " Hints on Preaching," and his last and most finished work, "The Life of Rev. E. H. Chapin, D.D." His personal presence was commanding, and his refinement and purity were strikingly manifest in his manly face, index as well of his amiability and gentleness. With no love for polemic discourse, pre- ferring rather to present spiritual and practical themes, he could, when occasion required, deal vigorous blows and skill- fully wield a trenchant sword. He loved his church, and was loyal to its highest demands.

Dr. Ellis was twice married; first to Miss Mary Jane Mor- ton, on the 25th of October, 1851, who died in May, 1880; and second to Mrs. Addie M. Hall, on the 5th of February, 1883. He had but recently returned, with his wife, from a fifteen months' tour in Europe, when he was severely at- tacked with typhoid pneumonia, which from the first he regarded as fatal, and calmly surveying the prospect made known his desires with regard to his funeral services and place of burial.

Thomas Baldwin Thayer, D.D., died in Boston, Mass., on the 12 th of February, 1886, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. Born in the city of Boston on the 10th of September, 1812, he received the advantages of its public schools and entered Harvard College, which he left at the end of his first year, to become an assistant in the Hawes Grammer School. Shortly after he was associated with Mr. F. P. Leverett, his former instructor in the Boston Latin School, in a private institution designed to prepare students for college. While thus em- ployed, his attention was turned towards the Christian minis- try^ and his first engagement was as the supply of the pulpit in South Dedham, — now Norwood,—for several months. He was fellowshipped by the Boston Association in June, 1832, and was ordained by the same body, the following

December. In April, 1833. he entered upon a twelve years' pastorate with the First Universalist Society in Lowell. Dating from 1845 lie was pastor for six years in Brooklyn, N. Y. He then returned to Lowell where he remained until 1859, when he accepted a call to the Warren Street, — now Shawmut Avenue, — Church in Boston. On the purchase of the Shawmut Avenue property, Rev. Sumner Ellis, was for a little more than a year his associate in the pastoral work. In 1867, Dr. Thayer resigned, and never after resumed pastoral service, though he continued to preach until a short time before his decease.

Dr. Thayer was a man of slight physique, but until 1859, when he met with an accident which permanently crippled him, was of quick movement and uncommon activity. He was blessed with an exceedingly sunshiny spirit, and was eminently serviceable as a Christian helper and comforter of the sick and bereaved. Possessing a well-stored mind, capable of great versatility in his selection and treatment of themes, he was full of kindly sympathy and performed many helpful offices for those who were diffident of their own powers, or were in need of wise counsel for their direction. With the late Rev. Abel C. Thomas he originated The Lowell Offering, a literary magazine of great fame, the con- tributors to which were operatives in the Lowell cotton mills, some of them afterwards becoming eminent in the world of letters. He was the author of the following books: "Chris- tianity vs. Infidelity," "Bible Class Assistant," "History of the Origin of the Doctrine of Endless Punishment," "The- ology of Universalism," " Over the River".

In 1862, Dr. Thayer took the editorial charge of the Universalist Quarterly, a work in which he was intensely interested, and which he, not without success, sought to keep on the high plane of excellence and usefulness where it had been placed by his successor, Rev. Dr. Ballon, and to commend it to the notice of the entire Christian world. His heart was in this work, and his pen was busy in enrich- ing its pages till disease compelled him to lay it down. During several years he was one of the Board of Overseers of Harvard College, and in 1865, Tufts College, in recogni- tion of his abilities, honored itself by conferring on him the honorary D. D. His wife, to whom he was united in 1853, preceded liim to the immortal world in 1871. His fatal1 sickness was brief in duration, and when informed of its- nature he calmly dropped his work, and in great resignation and peace passed awa}- from our sight. A daughter sur- vives him.

Warren Joshua Hicks died at his home at Strawberry Point, Iowa, on the Gth of May, 1880, aged 02 years. Mr. Hicks was the son of Jacob and Betsy Hicks, and was born' in Keadsboro', Vt., the 3d of March, 1824. His education was obtained in the public schools of Readsboro' and the neighboring towns, and he fitted himself by home study for the ministry. He commenced preaching in Whitingham, Vt., during a revival, about the year 1857, and was ordained at the same place, on the 21st of March, 1869. His pastoral settlements were at Whitingham, Searsburg, Jacksonville, and Halifax, in Vermont, and Strawberry Point, in Iowa. To the latter place he moved in 1870, supplying the church there one half of the time; the remainder of his time being spent with the societies of Elkader, Greeley, Manchester, Oelwin, Hazelton, and Castalia, in Iowa, and Blooming Prairie, in Minnesota, lie died of pneumonia following a cold contracted while attending a funeral.

Mr. Hicks is described by those who knew him as a val- uable laborer in the church, a loving husband and father, a man of conspicuous integrity, and a preacher whose loss is severely felt. He leaves a wife to whom he was united in marriage in 1845, and three daughters.

Nelson Doolittle died at Washington, D. C, on the 6th of May, 1886, aged 81 years. He was born in New Milford township, Susquehanna Co., Penn., the 17th of March, 1805; his father, Benjamin Doolittle of Cheshire, Litchfield, Co., Conn., having moved to the northern part of Pennsylvania in 1798. The early life of Nelson was spent on his father's farm, and he received the common school and academical education of that period. He was early trained in the Pres- byterian faith, and on reaching his majority turned his atten- tion toward the profession of medicine, and began to fit himself to practise the healing art. It was not long, how- ever, before his attention was seriously directed towards Universalism. He became convinced of its truth, proclaimed his faith in it and determined to enter its ministry. He studied for his life-work under the direction of Rev. Charles R. Marsh, and was ordained on the 2d of October, 1828, at the session of the Cayuga Association at Sempronius, N. Y. His first preaching was near his home in Pennsylvania, but the soon moved to Chenango Co., N. Y., and was settled at Oxford and Norwich, preaching also in various other places near by. In 1838 he went to Portage Co., Ohio, where hi9 ■father's family had settled, and gave himself to general mis- sionary service in that State, visiting nearly every portion, and preaching wherever opportunity offered. His labors were greatly blessed, and he succeeded in establishing numerous congregations and churches. In 1841 he settled in Akron, Ohio, where, as pastor and editor of The Glad Tidings, his influence was widely felt. From Akron he moved to Columbus, where he remained about seven years, when, in 1851, he accepted a call to the Callowhill-Street Church in Philadelphia. Completing his work there in 1854 he went to Brooklyn, Susquehanna Co., thus returning to the place of beginning his public career. Here, and in the ■vicinity, he preached till he had passed his seventieth year, when failing powers compelled him to desist.

Mr. Doolittle was of commanding stature; a strong, pleas- ant voice; a mind of logical cast, and well stored with bib- . lical knowledge; was full of enthusiasm for the Christian cause, and had the power of interesting and instructing his hearers. He was twice married; first, to Catherine D. Stephens, of Bridge water, Penn., who died in February, 1860; and second, to Mrs. Christiana Capwell, of Factory- ville, Penn., who died in January, 1885. A son and two daughters survive him ; and in the home of one his daughters he passed the last days of his mortal life.

Thomas Wheeler died at the residence of his daughter, Forest Hill, Cook Co., Ill., on the 13th of May, 1886, aged 85 years. He was born at New Fane, Vt., the 22d of March, 1801. Pinched by poverty in the days of his early childhood, and so crippled by accident that he could do little or nothing to aid his widowed mother in caring for her numerous chil- dren, he became strong enough when 17 years of age to enter an apprenticeship in millwrighting and other mechanical labor, and also to attend during a portion of his time an academy, where he laid the foundation for his professional career. Several seasons lie was a teacher in the district schools of his native town and elsewhere. For some months a member of the family of the celebrated Margaret Fuller, in Boston, he gave all his leisure time to study ; and, after be ing in business a few years in Canada, took up the study of medi- cine, but was soon convinced that his health was too feeble to warrant the exposures and risks which would be incident to that profession. He then came to Boston, and, under the instructions of Rev. I-losea Ballon, prepared for the ministry. Returning to Vermont, in the spring of 183:5. he received a letter of fellowship from the Green Mountain Association, and was ordained at Fayetteville, Vt., in the fall of 1834. For several years, dating from 183."), he was preaching at Rochester and Romeo, Mich. Afterwards he was in Ohio; then, for ten years at Waukegon, Ill., engaged in business, but preaching as opportunity offered. In 1854 he located in Muskegon, Mich , where his residence continued to be, till within three years of his decease. Here he was honored with positions of trust, which he filled with great honor to himself and advantage to the place. He was a good man and a useful minister.

Jeremiah Gifford died in Wilmington, Vt., on the 7th of September, 188G, aged 67 years. lie entered the minis- try about the year 1851, and was ordained in 18.V2. His early ministry was in Monroe, Florida, Savoy, and adjacent towns in Western Massachusetts; then in Wilmington, Readsboro' and Whitingham, Vt. He was greatly respected wherever known, for his moral and religious character; and his services were in great demand in seasons of bereavement; his power in presenting the comforts of the gospel, and his warm sympathizing nature endearing him to those who were in trouble. For many months prior to his decease, lie was in failing health, hut he kept at his work till near the last, when he was compelled to take to his bed where he lingered a few weeks, and then in great quietness and peace, and appar- ently without pain, joined the immortals.

George Washington Lawrence died in Jamesville, Wis., the 13th of September, 1886, in the seventieth year of his age. He was born in the Susquehanna Valley, Penn., on the 25th of September, 1816. His early education was in the District Schools and in Franklin Academy, afterwards Hartford University. Leaving the latter, be was for a time engaged in teaching, but in the summer of 1838 went with his father to Wisconsin. After being employed a short time in a printing-office in Chicago, he studied for the ministry, and was ordained in 1843. His first settlement was at Au- rora, III., where he remained about three years, when failing health compelled him to abandon the pastorate. Since then his labors were those of an itinerant, chiefly in Southern Wis- consin, and particularly in Rock County.

His labors, fidelity, spirituality of life and speech, justly gained for him the reputation of being " a patriarch in our Western Zion, and one of the true saints of our Church." His sympathies were with the masses in their struggles and conflicts, and it may be truly said of him, as is recorded of the Master, "the common people heard him gladly." A philanthropist and reformer, he labored unselfishly in the temperance cause all the days of his activity, and for many years was an intelligent and enthusiastic prohibitionist. While living in Aurora, in 1817, lie married Mrs. Maria Douglas, who died about two years ago. Two sons were born to them, both of whom survive their parents. . .


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.