Lucius R. (Lucius Robinson) Paige.

History of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register online

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been called, held a meeting, October 1, 1827, " to see if they will
grant the orthodox party the privilege of drawing their propor-
tionable part of the money already raised and not expended, for
such preaching as they shall choose, and also the use of the meet-
ing-house their proportion of the time." The meeting was ad-
journed to October 9, and was then dissolved, without any defi-
nite action upon the subject.

At length, in 1827, the " orthodox party," embracing a major-
ity of the church and holding the church records, seceded from
the original parish and organized a separate society : and thence-
forth those who remained were styled the Congregational Society,
embracing a minority of the church, and holding the church and
parish property, as legal representatives of the original organiza-
tion. In what follows I shall notice the two divisions separately,
— the old society first, and the new society afterwards.

Congregational Society. In the official records, under
date of February, 1828, it is stated that " The minority withdrew
from said sodety, and formed a new religious society called The
First Calvinistic Society in Hardwick." To induce the seceders
to refrain from erecting a new meeting-house, and to return to
their old home, the Congregational Society made a proposition,
May 5, 1828, which certainly appears very generous, especially
when it is considered as an offering from a majority to a minor-
ity : — " That the Calvinistic Society have the use of the meet-
ing-house forty-six Sabbaths in a year, on condition their min-
ister, Mr. Tupper, will exchange with Mr. Thompson, of Bar re,
Mr. Wilson, of Petersham, and Mr. Harding, of New Salem, as
with other ministers, not less than once a year with each of
them." This conciliatory offer was rejected by the Calvinistic
Society, as involving at least the countenancing of Unitarianism.
Thereupon the Congregational Society with a minority of the
church, extended to Rev. John M. Merrick an invitation to be-
come their pastor, and he was ordained August 27, 1828. On
the first day of November, 1829, " at a regular meeting of the
church the following resolution was passed : — Whereas, by the
secession of a part of this church from the Congregational Society,
the records and covenant of the church have passed into other
hands, and are not now to be had by us, we agree to offer the
following profession of faith to those who may present themselves



ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. 211

for admission into this church : — Impressed with a sense of duty,
you offer yourself for admission to this Christian church. You
regard this transaction as a profession of your belief in the one
only living and true God; as a testimony of your faith in Jesus
Christ as the Son of God and the Saviour of the world ; and as
an acknowledgment of the sacred scriptures as containing a reve-
lation from God to man and a perfect rule of faith and duty.
You design to commemorate the Author and Finisher of our
Faith in the way that he hath appointed, resolving, by the divine
favor, to live in obedience to the divine commandments, and
hoping, through the mercy of God to obtain everlasting life. In
a humble and grateful reliance upon God for the pardon of sin
and for assistance in duty, you now enter upon the Christian pro-
fession ; and you intend to walk with this church in Christian
ordinances and in the exercise of Christian affection." March 5,
1832. The society voted " to accede to the request of Rev. John
M. Merrick, that his pastoral relation to said Society shall be
dissolved." Mr. Merrick was subsequently for many yeai's pas-
tor of the Unitarian Church in Walpole, Mass., and was also a
Senator in the General Court, 1857, 1858. On the first of April,
1869, he became pastor of the church in Charlestown, N. H.,
where he died March 20, 1871, aged nearly 67 years.

The successor of Mr. Merrick was Rev. John Goldsbury, who
" was born in Warwick, Mass., Feb. 11, 1795 ; fitted for college
at different schools, and academies, and under private instruc-
tion ; graduated at Brown University in 1820 ; commenced
the study of divinity at Harvard College in 1821, under Pro-
fessors Ware, Norton, and Willard ; taught in Taunton
Academy several years ; was ordained in North Bridgewater,
Wednesday June 6, 1827, where he remained till Sept. 4,
1831." 1 He was unanimously invited, June 11, 1832, to become
pastor of the Congregational Church and Society in Hardwick,
and was installed July 4, 1832. In connection with his parish
work, he established and instructed a High School. He labored
faithfully, both as pastor and teacher, until June, 1839, when,
at his own request, he was dismissed, removed to Cambridge, and
was master of the High School there about five years. He after-
wards returned to Warwick, where he still survives in a ripe old
age, honored and respected.

For nearly three years afterwards, the society had no settled

1 Kingman's Hist, of North Bridgewater, p. 48.



212 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

pastor, but hired occasional supplies. Their number liad become
small, by the formation of other societies, and it was difficult to
pay a sufficient salary. At length an arrangement was made
with the Universalist Society (then worshipping in the Town
Hall, under the ministry of Rev. Rufus S. Pope), to build a new
meeting-house, and unite their strength for the maintenance of
public worship. The details of this arrangement are entered on
the records of the Society. After other ineffectual negotiations,
it was voted May 17, 1841, " That this Society will proceed to
take down the old meeting-house, and will unite with the
Universalist Society in rebuilding a meeting-house on the same
ground. Voted, to choose a committee, to fix on terms of agree-
ment between the Congregational and Universalist Societies, in
relation to the rebuilding of the meeting-house." May 24, 1841.
The committee submitted a report, recommending that the
materials of the old house, so far as practicable, might be used
in the construction of the new edifice, with certain reservations ;
and it was provided, that " The above recommendation take
effect when the Universalist Society shall agree, as an offset or
consideration for the use of the materials above specified, and
for the benefit they are to receive by the joint occupancy of the
spot on which the old meeting-house now stands, that they, the
said Universalist Society, will furnish all the funds required to
pay the expense of taking down the old meeting-house, and also
funds to pay the owners of pews in said old meeting-house, the
sums at which the respective pews shall be appraised ; ^ and
said Universalist Society also agree that said Congregational
Society shall have the right to supply the desk in said new meet-
ing-house, whenever it is not occupied by a minister procured
by said Universalist Society. And said Universalist Society are
further to agree that whenever the owners of pews in said new
meeting-house, or any of them, shall express a desire to have the
desk occupied a part of the time by a Unitarian preacher, such
pew-owners shall be entitled to that privilege for such a portion
of the time as the original cost of their pews bears to the original
cost of the whole number of pews in the house." This report
was accepted (aff. 17, neg. 10), and the agreement was confirmed
by both societies. To prevent any possible doubt concerning its
legality, a town-meeting was held June 15, 1841, " to see if the
town will permit the First Universalist Society in Hardwick to
erect a meeting-house on the site now occupied by the old meet-

1 The sum total of the appraisal was $817.88.



ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. 213

ino - hoase, to be used as a union meeting-house by the Congrega-
tional and Universalist Societies in such proportion of time as
said Societies shall agree." Permission was granted, by a vote of
92 afE., 44 neg.

No time was lost in camang the foregoing agreement into
effect ; within twenty-four hours after permission was granted by
the town, the work was commenced. On the parish records is
this memorandum : " Note. The work of taking down the old
meeting-house was commenced June 16"\ 1841." The new house
was erected with commendable dispatch, and was dedicated
January 25, 1842. It was by no means equal to the former edi-
fice in size and general magnificence ; but sufficiently capacious to
accommodate the congregation which remained after the Calvin-
istic Society was formed, together with the Universalists, who
had hitherto worshipped in the Town Hall, but had now taken
possession of the new house. Instead of claiming the use of the
house a portion of the time, for the employment of a " Unitarian
preacher," this society wisely preferred to make a temporary
union with the Universalists, and to employ one pastor for both
societies. They accordingly voted, April 4, 1842, that " preachers
should be obtained as far as practicable, for terms not less than
one year ; and that we coincide in the propriety and expediency
of endeavoring to retain the services of Rev. R. S. Pope for the
ensuing year." They also voted to add the amount of their sub-
scriptions to the funds of the Universalist Society, provided that
the same should be repaid if the Congregational Society should
be obliged to furnish a preacher for the United Society.

Upon the removal of Mr. Pope, at the close of his engagement,
the Rev. Norwood Damon, a Unitarian preacher, was employed
as acting pastor. At a meeting, November 27, 1843, it appeared
that the Congregational Society had raised about <|300, and yet
lacked about |>200 of enough to pay " Mr. Damon for his services
one year." A communication from the clerk of the Universalist
Society was read, stating that after repaying to this society the
sum which it advanced last year, there remained in their treasury
about $140, which they would loan " to this Society, to be re-
placed hereafter ; " which offer was accepted. Mr. Damon re-
mained here about two years, and was succeeded by Rev. Benton
Smith, a Universalist, who was ordained July 2, 1845. The two
societies acted together for a considerable length of time, as a
united body, though I have found no record of a formal union. I
do find, however, that this society voted, April 30, 1847, " that



214 HISTORY OF HARD WICK.

the sum we pay for the supply of the desk be paid to the treas-
urer of the Union Society for the present year ; " and a similar
vote was passed in 1848 and 1849. Mr. Smith remained pastor
until 1850, when he removed to Shirley Village, and afterwards
to South Reading, 1854 ; Chatham, 1859 ; and Waltham, 1865.
He was the State Missionary for several years. In 1879 he re-
moved to South Newmarket, N. H., but subsequently returned to
Waltham.

For some years after the departure of Mr. Smith, the desk was
supplied by occasional preaching. A formal union of the two so-
cieties seemed necessary to their mutual prosperity. The Uni-
versalists were more numerous and had more financial strength
than the Unitarians ; but as the Congregational Society had cer-
tain corporate rights w^hich it was important to preserve, the Uni-
versalists allowed their own organization to slumber, and became
members of the Congregational Society, which was thenceforth
substantially a Universalist Society, in fellowship with the State
Convention, though retaining the original name, and inheriting
the rights and immunities of the original parish. In November,
1855, Rev. George J. Sanger, who was ordained at Sippican,
September 8, 1847, and removed to Sandwich, 1849, and to
Gloucester, 1851, was invited to take charge of this society, which
invitation he accepted, and was installed May 7, 1856. His min-
istry was very acceptable, and continued for eight years, except a
slight intermission in 1862, when he accepted a commission as
lieutenant in the armj'^ of the Union (which was afterwards ex-
changed for another as chaplain), and offered a resignation of his
pastorate. At a meeting, September 25, 1862, it was voted,
"that the Society request Mr. Sanger to continue his connection
with this Society as their pastor ; and after leave of absence for
the term of nine months in his Country's service, hope that he
will be able to resume all the pastoral duties of said Society."
He performed his military duty, was taken prisoner at Galves-
ton, and " endured hardness as a good soldier." He resumed his
labor after his return, but resigned June 1, 1864, and removed to
Webster ; he removed again, in 1869, to Danvers, where he still
resides, devoting a portion of his time to secular affairs.

The successor of Mr. Sanger was Rev. John Harvey Moore,
who was ordained at Warren Maj'^ 23, 1844, removed to South
Reading, 1849 ; Concord, N. H., 1855 ; and returned to Warren,
1862. He commenced preaching here in 1864, continuing to re-



ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. 215

side in Warren, where he preached in the afternoon, after sup-
plying the desk here in the forenoon. This arrangement contin-
ued until 1874, after which he ceased preaching in Hardwick, and
became pastor of the society in Webster. In 1878 he removed
to Newark, N. Y., where he now resides.

Rev. Henry Jewell was ordained at Salem, N. H., August 24,
1836, and removed to South Reading, 1838 ; Lynn, 1840 ; Cin-
cinnati, O., 1847 ; Stoneham, 1852; Lynn again, 1855 ; Canton,
1858 ; Terre Haute, Ind., 1866 ; Manchester, Iowa, 1868; Rome,
N. Y., 1870 ; Bristol, N. Y., 1872. In 1875 he removed to
Hardwick, and remained pastor of this society until April 1,
1878, when he resigned, and removed to Maiden. In 1881 he re-
moved to Merrimac, and became pastor of the society in that
town.

Rev. Lucan S. Crosley of Waterloo, P. Q., graduated at the
St. Lawrence Theological School in 1874, and preached at Plain-
field, Vt., 1875, and Weymouth, 1876, 1877. He commenced his
ministry here in September, 1878 ; was ordained November 13,
1879 ; resigned in September, 1880, and removed to Woodstock
Vt.

The present pastor is Rev. Benjamin V. Stevenson, who was
ordained in Boston, June, 1844, and preached in Barre six years,
from April 1, 1844, to 1850 ; he was afterwards settled in Win-
chester, N. H., 1850 ; at South Hingham, 1851 ; at New Bed-
ford, 1854 ; at Chicopee, eleven years, from 1857 ; at Shelburne
Falls, six years, from 1868 ; and at Southbridge, seven years,
from 1874. Having thus labored constantly for the long period
of thirty-eight years, he took charge of this ancient parish, in
connection with a society at Ware, April 1, 1882.

Calvinistic Society. A minority of the congregation, with
a large majority of the church, withdrew from the original parish,
and on the 13th of November, 1827, organized the first " Calvin-
istic Society in Hardwick." Rejecting an offer of a joint occu-
pancy of the old meeting-house, although the " lion's share " was
tendered to them, they proceeded without delay to erect a new
house at the south end of the Common. The corner-stone was
laid in September, 1828, when an address was delivered by Rev.
Parsons Cooke of Ware, setting forth the reasons for separation
from the parent stock. A year afterwards, September 9, 1829,
the house was dedicated ;^ and the sermon on that occasion, by

^ This meeting-house was taken down in 1860, and a more commodious edifice
erected on the same place.



216 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

Rev. John Wilder, Jr., of Charlton, was devoted to a considera-
tion of " the present pi'ospects of evangelical religion," which was
thus defined : " The doctrine of the Triune Deity ; the doctrine
of the divine inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures; the doctrine
of the entire native sinfulness of the human heart ; the doc-
trine of redemption by the Blood of Christ ; the necessity of re-
generation b}'' the influences of the Holy Spirit, ^. g., repentance
and faith in Christ in this life, essential to the obtaining of God's
favor ; the doctrine of the sovereign Purposes of God ; the doc-
trine of the perseverance of the Saints unto eternal life ; and the
doctrine of an Endless Retributive State beyond the grave.
These are, summarily, the Evangelical Faith." Both this ser-
mon and the previous address were published.

Before the erection of the meeting-house a unanimous invitation
was given to Rev. Martyn Tupper to become pastor of the church
and new society, which he accepted, and was ordained April 16,
1828.^ He was a diligent and zealous woi-kraan, and his labors
were rewarded by forty-six admissions to his church in 1831,
this being the last extraordinary harvest enjoyed by that body.
Soon after this religious awakening, the church was for some
reason induced to adopt a modified creed, or confession of faith,
which is here inserted : —

" The Confession of Faith and Covenant adopted by the Con-
gregational Church 2 in this place, March 2*^, 1832. (1.) We
believe that there is one God, the Creator and rightful disposer of
all things, existing as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and that to
these three persons, as the one God, all divine perfections are to
be equally ascribed. (2.) We believe that the Bible was given
by inspiration of God, as the only unerring rule of faith and
practice. (3.) We believe that mankind are fallen from their
original rectitude, and are, while in a state of nature, wholl}^ des-
titute of that holiness which is required by the divine law.
(4.) We believe that Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, became
man, and by his obedience, sufferings and death, made an atone-
ment for the sins of the world. (5.) We believe that they, and
they only, will be saved, in consequence of the merits of Christ,
who repent of sin, and believe in him. (6.) We believe that,
although the invitations of the gospel are such that all, who will,
may come and take of the water of life freely, yet the wickedness

^ A further notice of Mr. Tiijiper is in- majority of the members, they claimed to

serted at the close of his second pastorate be the " Congregational Churcli," the le-

here. gitimate successors of the original found

2 Ketaining the deacons, records, and a ers.



ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. 217

of the human heart is such that none will come, unless drawn by
the si^ecial influences of the Holy Spirit. (7.) We believe that
the sacraments of the New Testament are Baptism and the Lord's
Supper, — Baptism to be administered only to believers and their
households, and the Supper only to believers in regular church
standing. (8.) We believe that God lias appointed a day in
which he will judge the world, when there will be a resurrection
of the dead, and when the righteous will enter on eternal happi-
ness, and the wicked will be sentenced to eternal misery." ^

The successor of Mr. Tupper, who resigned April 29, 1835,
was Rev. Edward J. Fuller, who was born at Plainfield, Conn.,
January 5, 1806, grad. at A. C. 1828, and at Andover 1831, was
ordained at Chelsea, January 11, 1832, and dismissed in 1835. He
was installed in Hardvvick November 3, 1835, and dismissed
March 21, 1837. His ministry here was short and uneventful.
For the next three years I do not trace him distinctly ; but from
1840 to 1845, he was lecturer for the Western Anti-Slavery So-
ciety. In 1845, repeated attacks of epilepsy compelled him to
retire from active mental labor. He died of apoplexy at Brigh-
ton, O., March 12, 1876. See " Obituary Record of Grad. of
Amherst College," 1876.

Rev. William Eaton was the next pastor. He grad. at W. C.
1810, and at Andover 1813 ; was ordained at Fitchburg, August
30, 1815, and dismissed June 4, 1823 ; installed at Middlebor-
ough March 10, 1824, and dismissed April 10, 1834. He was
at Charlotte, Vt., about two years, after which he was installed
here September 6, 1837. The connection between pastor and
people seems to have been very pleasant ; but the failure of his
health compelled him to cease from his labors. He resigned
March 26, 1840, and before a council could assemble to dissolve
the connection, he died at West Brookfield, April 15, 1840, aged
56 years.

The successor of Mr. Eaton was Rev. Barnabas M. Fay, who
was born at Berlin, July 27, 1806, and grad. Y. C. 1833. He
was a professor in the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, New York city,
from 1833 to 1836 ; studied in the Union Theological Seminary,
1837 and 1838 ; was ordained in Hardwick May 20, 1840, and
was dismissed August 23, 1843 ; was a teacher in Durham,
Conn., 1843, 1844; pastor at Wilmington, 1845 to 1850; profes-

1 Substantially the same confession is cessity of a change of heart, and that this
now in use by the church, with one addi- change is wrought by the Holy Spirit."
tional article: "We believe in the ne-



218 HISTORY OF HARDWICK.

sor at the Blind Asylum, Indianapolis, Ind., 1850 to 1854 ; pro-
fessor at the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, Flint, Mich., 1854 to
1864 ; a banker at Saginaw, Mich., 1864 to 1869 ; without
charge, Saratoga Springs, 1869 — . See " Gen. Catalogue Union
Theol. Sem. 1876."

Mr. Fay was succeeded by Rev. Asa Mann, who was born at
Randolph, Vt., April 9, 1816, grad. at A. C. 1838, and at Ando-
ver, 1842. He was ordained in Hardwick June 19, 1844, and
resigned October 14, 1851 ; after which he was pastor at Exeter,
N. H., 1851 to 1858; stated supply at Wellfleet, 1862, at Gran-
ville, 1863, at Springfield, Vt., 1864, 1865, and Bath, N. H.,
1866 ; pastor at Bath, 1867 to 1872 ; at Raynham, 1873, 1874 ;
at Carlisle, 1875, 1876 ; stated supply at South Plymouth, 1878,
1879, and at Hardwick again, 1880 to 1881.

Rev. Martyn Tupper, the successor of Mr. Mann, was born in
West Stafford, Conn., January 6, 1800, grad. Nassau Hall, 1826,
was ordained here April 16, 1828, and resigned April 29, 1835,
as before mentioned. He was next installed at East Long-
meadow in October, 1835, dismissed in September, 1849, soon
afterwards installed at Lanesboro, and dismissed May 19, 1852.
He was reinstalled in Hardwick June 23, 1852, and after a peace-
ful ministry of more than eighteen years, resigned, September 1,
1870, and removed to Waverly, III. His wife died there July
27, 1871. About a year afterwards Mr. Tupper conveyed her
remains to Hardwick, where two daughters had previously been
buried. Having accomplished this pious task, he visited his
friends at West Stafford, where he sickened and died July 31,
1872, and was buried in his family lot in the new cemetery.

Rev. Elbridge W. Merritt succeeded Mr. Tupper. He took
a partial course at Union College, and also at the Union Theo-
logical Seminary (then in Connecticut, now in New York). He
was ordained in 1866, preached at Stafford, Conn., 1867, at
Charleston, S. C, 1868, at AVilliamsburg, 1869, 1870, and be-
came a stated supply in Hardwick, October, 1870, acting pastor,
April 1871, and was installed as pastor June 5, 1873. He re-
signed October 1, 1876, and after laboring for a time at the
West, returned and settled in Dana, supplying also a parish in
Petersham.

Rev. Augustus C. Swain was ordained in 1873, preached at
Needham 1873, 1874, at West Warren 1875, and at Hardwick
from February, 1877 to July, 1879, when he removed to Hyde
Park. He was not installed here.



ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY.



219



The present pastor of the church is the Rev. Gilbert B. Rich-
ardson, who graduated at A. C. 1853, and at the Bangor Theol.
Seminarj^ 1856. He was first settled in Douglass, Mass. ; after-
wards at Bath, Me., from 1860 to 1874, and at Alstead, N. H.,
from 1874 to 1881. He commenced preaching here 17th July,
1881, and was installed 7th December, 1881.

Deacons.





Elected.




Held Office until


Age.


Christopher Paige . .


Dec. 3, 1736.


Resigned.


Apr. 13, 1749.




Joseph Allen


Dec. 3, 1736.


Died.


Aug. 18, 1793.


84


Samuel Robinson . . .


Ap. 30, 1746.


Resigned.


Mar. 2, 1749.




John Cooper


1749.


Removed.


1769.




William Paige


Nov. 9, 1769.


Died.


Feb. 14, 1770.


66


John Bradish


Ap. 28, 1774.


Removed.


1778.




Ebenezer Willis. . . .


May 12, 1785.


Died.


Feb. 5, 1813.


78


Nathaniel Paige . . .


May 12, 1785. Removed.


About 1812.




Joseph Allen


Aug. 16, 1810. Died.


Nov. 11,1822.


73


James Paige


Aug. 10, 1812. Died.


Feb. 18, 1818.


70


Benjamin W. Childs .


Aug. 10, 1812.


Removed.


About 1819.




Henry Fish


Ap. 18, 1819.


Resigned.


May 20, 1830.




Josiah C. Chandler . .


Ap. 18,1819.


Removed.


About 1816.




Elijah Amidon ....


Mar. 10, 1824.


Removed.


About 1830.




Anson Winchester . .


Mar. 10, 1824.


Removed.


About 1830.





The portion of the church which remained with the Congre-
gational Society, elected to the office of Deacon : —



Online LibraryLucius R. (Lucius Robinson) PaigeHistory of Hardwick, Massachusetts. With a genealogical register → online text (page 24 of 73)