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Obituaries (1888-1889) in the 1890 Register
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The deaths of the following-named preachers, or former preachers in the Universalist Church, twenty-one in all, have occurred since the Register for 1889 went to press, except the first, of which we have but recent information. Limited space at our command necessitates only a brief notice of each.
Daniel Brewer of Gordon, Ga., died July 26, 1887, aged seventy-six. A primitive Baptist in early life, he became a Universalist at the age of forty, and was ordained in 1869. "A man of pure life, of great charity and of untiring zeal for the spread of the knowledge of the truth."
Alonzo Bacon Copeland, born in Potsdam, N. Y., June 28, 1810, died at Cleveland, Ohio, Nov. 11, 1888. His general education was obtained at St. Lawrence Academy, Potsdam, N. Y., and he made what preparation for the ministry was possible at Clinton Liberal Institute, Clinton, N. Y. He was ordained in 1842, and spent most of his ministry in the neighborhood of Rochester, N. Y. In 1847, on account of a throat difficulty, he ceased to preach regularly. For many years prior to his decease he was an almost helpless invalid. Through all his varied experiences he was a true Christian.
James T. Powers died at Lexington, Mass., Dec. 17, 1888, aged sixty-three years. Early identified with Universalism, and for several years superintendent of our Sunday-school in Brooklyn, N. Y., he entered the ministry in 1854, and was ordained in 1855. His settlement was in Southbridge, Mass., and subsequently in the Unitarian parish at Carlisle, Mass. He won the reputation of "exceptional talent as a writer," and, though not always successful, had many friends, and lived a Christian life.
Jasiel Perry Fuller was born in Stoughton, Mass., April 7, 1803, and died at Galesburg, 1ll., Dee. 19, 1888. He began his public religious career as a Methodist exhorter, although never formally connected with the Methodist Church. In June, 1824, he was fellowshipped as a Universalist preacher by the Southern Association, having studied for the ministry with his elder brother, the late Rev. Zelotes Fuller. He was ordained at a session of the same association at South Wilbraham, Mass., June 2, 1825. His pastoral settlements were at Stafford, Conn., Dana, Mass., Beardstown, Camden, Peoria, Farmington, Tivoli [Trivoli ?] and Henderson, Ill. For four years he was at Troy, Mo. Returning to Illinois, he was at Cherry Grove and Henderson Grove for four years, when, afflicted with total blindness, his work was brought to a stop. Subsequently his sight was partially restored, and he was able to preach occasionally. A resident of Galesburg for many years, he was respected by all who knew him.
Joseph Plummer Atkinson, born in Gloucester, Mass., Nov. 17, 1809, died at the residence of his daughter, in Boston, Mass., Dec. 27, 1888. Educated in his native town, he studied for the ministry with the late Rev. Dr. Thomas Whittemore, and was ordained in 1829. His settlements were at Hingham, Mass., Dover and Weare, N. H., Marblehead, Mass., Westhrook, Me., Orleans and Orange, Mass. His residence for many years was at Laconia, N. H., where he "greatly endeared himself to the whole community." At one time at the head of the business affairs of the Universalist Publishing House, he conducted its affairs with great zeal and integrity. An early and consistent advocate of the temperance reform, he made many sacrifices in its behalf, and rendered it valuable and valiant service. Blessed in his closing hours with unimpaired intellectual power, he bore testimony to the transcendent power of his faith, and was supported and cheered by its abundant comforts.
Miles L. Langlet of Curtis, Ark., died Dee. 30, 1888, aged sixty-two. Ordained a minister of the Baptist denomination in 1850, he continued in that work, with the marked approval of his associates, until 1884, when changes of conviction led to his withdrawal from his former fellowship. Last year he sought and received from the General Convention a license as an ordained clergyman. His neighbors bear full testimony to his Christian character. During his entire life he was a resident of Arkansas, and in the years of internecine strife he was a faithful adherent of the Union. He was a member of the convention in 1864 that established a provisional government loyal to the Union: was a representative of his county in the convention of 1868 for framing a new State constitution, and was in the same year chaplain of the house of representatives."
James Partelow Weston, D.D., born in Bremen, Germany, in July, 1815, died at Deering, Me., Dec. 31, 1888. He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1840, and was ordained at the session of the Maine Convention of Universalists, held in Augusta, in 1842. His only settlement as a pastor was at Gorham, Me., from 1843 to 1850. The remainder of his life was devoted to teaching. Principal of the Liberal Institute in Waterville, Me., from 1850 to 1853, he took charge of Westhrook Seminary at Deering, Me., in the last-named year, and became President of Lombard University, Galesburg, Ill., in 1859. Retiring from that position in 1872, he became Principal of Dean Academy, Franklin, Mass., which position he filled till 1877. In 1878 he returned to Deering as President of Westbrook Seminary, where he remained during the rest of his life. His degree of D.D. was conferred by Tufts College in 1864. "He was a man of marked ability, of affectionate disposition, and great strength of character. He gained not only the respect but also the love of his pupils and teachers, and his success in building up the institutions with which he was connected bears testimony to the fact." "
Mrs. Estella Backus, wife of Rev. W. M. Backus, and a licentiate of the Ohio Universalist Convention, died in Blanchester, Ohio, Jan. 9, 1889. ... By the purity of her life and the sweetness of her spirit, she won the love and esteem not only of our own church but the entire community. She died as she had lived, firm in her faith in the gospel of God's undying, unchanging love."
Holden Ryan Nye, D.D., born in Canada, September, 1819, died at Norwood, Mass., Jan. 17, 1889. He was ordained at Methuen, Mass., Sept. 4, 1842. His pastorates were at Methuen, Mass., Bangor, Me., New York, Brooklyn, N. Y., Columbus, Ohio, Springfield, Ill., Springfield, Mass., Philadelphia, Towanda, Pa., and Norwood, Mass. From September, 1858, to January, 1863, he was associated with Rev. Dr. G. L. Demarest, in editing and publishing the "Star in the West," at Cincinnati, Ohio. His life was one of great activity, his preaching earnest, eloquent and effective. In the field of debate he took high rank as a defender of the faith; and, although his life was "beset with many cares and anxieties, he always illustrated the patience and hopefulness of the Christian."
Daniel Mortimer Reed of Rockford, Ill., died Jan. 23, 1889, aged sixty-six. Ordained at Oxford, N. H., Aug. 27, 1845, " he served several parishes in New England, and removing West, found fields of labor in Peoria, Ill., Dubuque, Iowa, and Rockford, 111., which last city had been his home for twenty-two years. His strong mental endowments and popular gifts rendered him an eloquent exponent of our faith. He was always a faithful pastor, and was successful and popular in all his churches. He was a man of great kindness of heart and of amiable character, and as the Rockford 'Register' aptly styles him, 'a preacher of sweetness and light.'"
"Elias Lyman Briggs of Wilton Junction, Iowa, died Feb. 8, 1889, aged sixty-seven. Mr. Briggs had for many years been a member and minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church; but at last, after much mental struggle, became * convinced that the Bible did not teach the doctrine of endless punishment.' In 1878 he was disowned by the Conference to which he belonged, on doctrinal grounds alone, and for ten years he had faithfully labored in our fellowship for the progress of the Divine Kingdom. In him, ' strength of intellect, sweetness of character and spirituality were all combined.'"
"George H. Hastings of Whitewater, Wis., died Feb. 14, 1889, aged thirty-four. He had come to our ministry from that of another church, but had not completed the year of probationary license. 'He was faithful to our cause in Whitewater, and though a sick man from the beginning of his pastorate, he did excellent service to our church, and was deeply mourned.'"
Benjamin Hunt, born Jan. 6, 1817, died at his home in South Alabama, N. Y., May 27, 1889. Fellowshipped by the Niagara Association in June, 1841, he was ordained at Cowlesville, N. Y., May 14, 1845. Most of bis work was done in the State of New York in pastorates at Aurora, Cowlesville, Freedom, Yorkshire, Wales and Alexander. He spent seven years, however, in Michigan. "Studious and a hard worker, his sermons gave evidence of close application and thorough preparation, and were a power for good. He held several discussions with religious opponents, and did yeoman's service for the cause of Universalisn. He commanded the respect, confidence and good-will of all who knew him. He rests from his labors, and his works not only follow him, but remain as a lasting monument to his memory."
William Queal, born in Utica, N. Y., Oct. 9, 1812, died suddenly at his home in Springfield, Mich., June 3, 1889. A student for the ministry with the late Rev. Stephen R. Smith, he served, after his ordination, at Mottville and other points in western New York a few years, when, in 1836, he made a trip to Illinois, and preached the first Universalist sermon delivered in Chicago. Returning to New York, he had an eleven years' pastorate in Bristol, Ontario County; and then, being severely afflicted with bronchial trouble, he sought a residence in Michigan, and gave up preaching. For several years he has been a magistrate. The Tecumseh "Herald" said of him: "He was plain-spoken and independent in all his views, and was a magistrate possessed of learning and integrity. A kind father, an indulgent husband, a friend of education, an honored citizen."
Samuel Binns was born in Bury, England, Aug. 22, 1816, and died at Fayette, Fulton County, Ohio, June 17, 1889. Formerly a Methodist, he became a Universalist in 1849, and was ordained in 1852. "He became at once an active and tireless missionary of Uuiversalism. He was a man of sturdy physique, and untiring industry and energy. Opponents of Universalism were promptly challenged to discussion, and, if they accepted the challenge, they found in Brother Binns a strong and ready debater. For some twenty-five years he was in active ministerial labor, and his work was fruitful of good." Failing health compelled the relinquishing of his public labors, and made him long for the time of his departure. Conscious when the end came, he was glad to be released.
"Harvey Eugene Robinson died at Williamstown, Vt., June 17,1889, aged—. Mr. Robinson had just completed the course of study in Tufts Divinity School, and, having been a licentiate of the Massachusetts Convention for a year, his ordiuation had been authorized. At the time appointed for this solemn service, however, lie was suffering from the illness which speedily terminated in death. Mr. Robinson ' was a faithful and earnest student, and especially devoted to the practical problems of the Church. ... He soon found his place among the Christian workers in the West Somerville Universalist Church, sharing in all the fortunes of the society, rejoicing in all of its good work and progress, leading in the endeavor of the young people after Christian life, and giving himself with missionary zeal and purpose to the promotion of the cause he loved.'"
Elihu Moore, born in Gallia County, Ohio, April 6, 1813, died at his home near Troy, Ohio, July 8, 1889. He began to preach as a Baptist in 1833, and in 1844 became a public advocate of Universalism. His son says of him, " I suppose father organized more churches (hiring his ministry than any other Universalist minister in the State of Ohio." His sickness was protracted, lasting about five years, during the latter portion of which he longed ardently for release. He was a true Christian minister.
Rufus Orland Williams, D.D., born in Peru, Berkshire County, Mass., May 13, 1805, died at Upper Lisle, N. Y., Aug. 29, 1889. He fitted for the ministry under the direction -of Rev. Messrs. W. S. Balch and Warren Skinner ; was fellowshipped by the Green Mountain Association at its session at Barnard, Vt., in June, 1830, and was ordained at the session of the New York State Convention at Clinton, May 12, 1831. For several years he made his home at Albany, N. Y., preaching at Amsterdam and other places in that vicinity. Subsequently he settled in Hartford, Conn., then at Barkhampsted, in the same State. Afterwards he had pastorates in Dover, N. H., Norwich, Conn., Southbridge, Mass., Exeter, N. H., and Upper Lisle, N. Y. While a resident of Massachusetts he attended medical lectures in Worcester, and received the degree of M.D. After removing to Upper Lisle, in 1861, he practised medicine for twenty years. While in Hartford he was associated with the late Rev. Dr. Williamson in editing and publishing the "Religious Inquirer and Gospel Anchor." Subsequently, when the paper became the "Universalist Union," and was moved to New York, Mr. Williams continued his connection with it, having as his associates Rev. Messrs. A. C. Thomas, T. J. Sawyer, I. D. Williamson and Mr. Philo Price. Dr. Williams was a scholar, and many of his best productions enriched the pages of the "Universalist Quarterly." He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.
Ellery Elmer Peck, born in Oppenheim, N. Y., Aug. 2, 1849, died in Bangor, Me., Sept. 10, 1889. A graduate of the Divinity School of Tufts College in 1875, he was ordained at St. Johnsville, N. Y., Feb. 10, 1876. His pastorates were at Cooperstown, Victor, N. Y., and Bangor, Me. In noticing Mr. Peck's death, the "Gospel Banner" said of him: "He was successful from the beginning of his ministerial labors, the rich fruits of his several pastorates fulfilling the promise of his college years and his class-room successes. As a student he was thorough, although his mind was quick in intellectual processes, while as a speaker he excelled. In his public ministrations he spoke his carefully prepared discourses with a force and an unction which insured large and ever-increasing audiences, and carried the troths enunciated home to the minds and hearts of the attentive hearers. There was a magnetism in the person and voice of the sincere and energetic preacher which caused the sentiments uttered to be deeply impressed upon the minds of the listeners. At the same time, their moral and spiritual natures were moved to respond to the stirring tones and impassioned appeals.
"His ministry in Bangor will be long remembered by those who labored with him. His success there has been marked. Every department of church work has felt the influence of his thoughtfulness and his unyielding energy. The church edifice has been improved and beautified; the church organization strengthened; the Sunday-school enlarged in membership ; the congregation greatly increased, and the spirituality of the people doubtless correspondingly deepened. The young people have been cared for, the social interests kept in a healthy state, and the parish has prospered financially. His influence for good in the community was felt in many ways. He was ever ready to do what he could to promote temperance and other worthy reforms. Reverent, manly, courteous and genial, he made and held friends wherever he lived, and by these noble qualities he not only secured for himself the esteem of all who knew him, but he won for his church and cause the respect of those in other sects."
Seth Chandler, born in New Ipswich, N. H., Dec. 2, 1806, died at Shirley, Mass., Oct. 4, 1889. Although not in ecclesiastical relations with the Universalist Church for many years, Mr. Chandler began his ministry in our ranks, and in his later years was heartily in sympathy with it, and in full fellowship with its faith and methods. He received the fellowship of the Providence Association of Universalists in May, 1831, and was ordained at a Conference of the same Association in October of the same year. His sympathies were with those who in that day were known as Restorationists, and for a while, as pastor of our church at Oxford, Mass., he acted with them. In 1834 he became pastor of the First Congregational (Unitarian) Church in Shirley, a pastorate which he ably filled for forty-five years. He also held important town offices, and wrote and published a valuable history of Shirley. By his will he bequeathes to the Universalist Historical Society about six hundred valuable books, embracing the periodical literature of the Restorationists, and a complete set of the periodicals published by the Unitarians. Let us keep his memory green! •
John Virgil Wilson, born in Attleborough, Mass., Sept. 10, 1809, died at his home in Waverly, Mass., Oct. 28, 1889. He fitted for the ministry under the guidance of Rev. Messrs. T. G. Farusworth and F. A. Hodsdon. He was ordained in 1835, and his pastorates were at Jaffery, N. H., Providence, R. I., Norwich, Conn., Clinton, N. Y., Marlborough and Brewster, Mass. He was a physician of skill, having gratifying success in his practice. A preacher distinguished by energy, judiciousness and spiritual fervor, he made a good record and left a blameless name.