N.H.) Congregational Church (Sanbornton.

Addresses and proceedings at the centennial anniversary of the Congregational Church, in Sanbornton, N. H., November 12 and 13, 1871 online

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Online LibraryN.H.) Congregational Church (SanborntonAddresses and proceedings at the centennial anniversary of the Congregational Church, in Sanbornton, N. H., November 12 and 13, 1871 → online text (page 6 of 7)
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Franklin, were they present, as had been expected, might more ap-
propriately respond to this sentiment ; " for they have known you a
quarter of a century or more, while I am but a babe of less than two
years in my accpiaintance with you. However, as children are al-
lowed at family gatherings to say something, I would add, as a repre-
sentative of (he Church of Northfield and Tilton, that we are not
ashamed of the mother church at Sanbornton Square, but rather
proud of our connection with the noble men whose lives have been
referred to so touchingly and appropriately in the address of the day."

In conclusion he reminded the company that little had been said of
the mothers and sisters in Israel and much of the fathers and broth-
ers ; he also playfully criticised the orator in this respect ; but being
informed that the omission would be made good, he yielded the
tloor.

(2.) " Our sister churches of other names in Sanbornton and vicin-
ity. May they cast the mantle of charity over that' mistaken affec-
tion which would have retained them longer than seemed desirable
within the old family circle of the original Church.

Now, as for many years past, may we all as churches walk together
' in the unity of the spirit and in the bond of peace.' "

Responded to by Rev. Geo. D. Ballentine, of the First Baptist
Church, Sanbornton, and Rev. E. P. Moulton, of the Free Will
Baptist Church, Union Bridge.

Mr. Ballentine said : " Like my friend who has just preceded me,

I feel that I am but a child in knowledge, so far as the history of the

neighboring churches is concerned, having been a resident in town

but a little over a year. But in behalf of my own church, and for myself,

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I can say that we most cordially extend to this church and their be-
loved pastor, both our hearts and our hands in the great interests of
our common Lord and Master. I can freely add that I have felt as
much at Jiome to-day, as I should have done at a similar gathering in
my own denomination. I was deeply interested in the very able ad-
dress made this forenoon by Dr. Bodwell, and think that this church
has abundant reason to be thankful for the very remarkable degree of
prosperity which they have enjoyed for the century which has just
come to so successful a close."

Mr. Moulton's remarks not reported.

(3.) " The two first deacons of this Church, Benjamin Darling
and Nathaniel Tilton. For both were we indebted to that part of the
original parish which now holds up the name of one of the two — through
his numerous and influential descendants — the name of 'Tilton,'"

The Rev. C. W. Millen, of the Methodist Church, Tilton, responded
substantially as follows :

" This sentiment would more naturally fall upon some one of the
descendants of the old Dea. Tilton, inasmuch as we have them with
us. However, it gives me pleasure to have some part in the festivi-
ties of this occasion. The eminence we occupy to-day enables us to
survey one hundred eventful years in connection with this grand old
town.

I observed in Dr. Bodwell's discourse that the Sanborns played a
prominent part in its early history, and I have taken it for granted
that the town took its^name from them. In this section they resided,
and here was the centre of commercial enterprise ; but the manufac-
turing facilities of the valley drew the people thither, and at length
the most populous part of Sanbornton was that portion now called
Tilton, from the fact that the Tdtons were involved, to a great extent,
in the prosperity of the village. In that part of old Sanbornton it
seems the first deacons of this church resided. I am glad that a
century ago the Tiltons were noted for their piety. They are now
noted, at least, for their wealth. There is an intimate relation be-
tween piety and prosperity ; even between the piety of parents and
the prosperity of children. Deacon Nathaniel Tilton, I doubt not,
was like Nathaniel of old, 'an Israelite indeed, in whom there was no
guile.' His children, ' blessed after him,' I hope will yet become dea-
cons'themselves ;"at least be in every way qualified for the office —
' grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of
filthy lucre, holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.'
The other deacon was Benjamin Darling. It appears that he also



67

lived in the same portion of the town. His descendants, I think, are
not numerous in this section. I remember of having read of a dar-
ling Benjamin, but this seems to have been a Benjamin Darling. I
suppose as the former was the darling son of his father, so the latter
was the darling father of a numerous offspring.

May the memory of each of these deacons — so green to-day — be
cherished a hundred years to come."

Capt. Jonathan P. Sanborn, also from Tilton, corrected the impres-
sion, in part entertained by the last speaker, that Sanbornton was so
named because of the great number of settlers by that name ; rather
because many of the proprietors were Sanborns. He also stated the
fact that during a portion of the first winter, his grand-father, Sergt.
John Sanborn, already mentioned, spent in that part of Sanbornton,
which is now Tilton, no less than jive families were domiciled in the
single room which he had finished off in his house, the beds being
turned up in the day time and entirely covering the floor at night!

This prepared the way for the next sentiment. (See Appendix,

Note G.)

(4.) "The Sanborns of our ancient town. Prominent alike among
its original grantees, its earliest settlers and its most distinguished,
useful and exemplary citizens, 'through all their generations.' Their
name is most appropriately as well as permanently embalmed in the
name of Sanbornton."

Response by N. H. Sanborn, Esq., of Franklin : " I should have
been glad had some abler name-sake been called to respond to this
sentiment.

I am proud of the family name of Sanborn you have so generous-
ly honored, and I venerate the fathers for having left us so good a
name. I rejoice to be numbered among the sons of " Old Sanborn-
ton," and I still claim to be a citizen of Sanbornton as it was, al-
though a more recent reconstruction of municipal lines places my resi-
dence in a neighboring town. The name of Sanborn, so far as we
are able to trace it, originated with John Sanborn, of Derbyshire,
England. He was born about 1600, and married a daughter of Rev.
Stephen Bachilor, by whom he had three sons.

Two of these, John and William Sanborn, better known as Lieut.
John and Esq. William, settled permanently in Hampton ; and from
them have descended the large family of Sanborns in this country—
their descendants numbering more than 5000. As a race they have
been robust, industrious and frugal ; and although they may not have
attained distinguished eminence, they have left us a family name



68

alike creditable for respectability and honesty. John Sanborn, of
Hampton, grand-son of Esq. William, obtained the original grant of the
township of Sanbornton (dated December 31, 1748,) from the proprie-
tors of lands purchased of John Tufton Mason. His name stands at
the head of the long list of the grantees of the town, in honor of
whose family name the town was called.

He was a man of ability and influence, and represented the town of
Hampton for many years in the Provincial Government.

One of the first concerns of the early settlers of the town was to pro-
vide for and maintain religious public worship, and. to establish the
Christian Church, on the faith and polity of the Pilgrim fathers. We
meet to-day to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the accom-
plishment of that noble purpose.

Of the seven original members of the church then established, four
bear the Sanborn name, and the records of the church for the past
century show that more than one hundred of the same name have
been enrolled among its members.

What a power for good has resulted from the planting of this
church ! Who can estimate its influence in mouldins: the character
and institutions of this town which for so long a time took high rank
among the towns of the State!

I am glad to be with you to-day in this re-union of the sons of old
Sanbornton, to commemorate the noble work of" the Fathers, who,
amid the difficulties and hardships of a new settlement far removed
into the interior, sacrificed so much to establish here the principles of
the Chrisiian faith, and lay the foundation of the future prosperity
and happiness of the town.

In conclusion allow me to congratulate you on the success and
felicity of this occasion, and to thank you for the generous hospitality
and the friendship and cordiality that have characterized the en-
tire celebration."

(5.) " The Hon. Nathan Taylor, foremost among the then citizens
of Sanbornton in the war of the Revolution : foremost in peace, and
foremost both in the esteem of his fellow townsmen, and in the hearts
of his Christian brethren of this church."

The Rev. Frederic T. Perkins being called upon remarked that he
would cheerfully respond to the sentiment proposed as best he could ;
for that it seemed to him befitting the character of that noble man,
who in many respects strongly resembled the " Father of our Coun-
try," and also because of a just pride in him as a relative, and as one
of the noblest citizens and most perfect Christian gentlemen that ever



lived in the town. That portrait of the Hon. Nathan Taylor brings
up before us a man of fine symmetrical form, of graceful and dignified
manners ; and, though of great decision and energy, yet also of great
courtesy and refinement ; a beautiful type of the Christian gentle-
man who commanded the respect of all. We all felt honored and
improved by his presence ; and gladly would we have shown him the
respect formerly paid to " Priest Woodman," as, on the Lord's day,
he approached the meeting-house, when, all arranged in file, stood
with uncovered heads, as he passed in. No other man ever so im-
pressed upon this community the beautiful lesson of Christian
courtesy as did Mr. Taylor.

Recognized as a man of sound judgment and pure motives, he was
respected and trusted by all.

In all local affairs, his words, though few, had great weight ; and
his judgment, when given, was, with many, decisive. He was called
to fill many positions of responsibility and honor. He was a man of
the purest patriotism. Entered the army at the beginning of the
Revolutionary war, served his country well, bore his scar of honor
through life, and the pension to which entitled he nobly refused till
the death of his father, (also an officer in the army,) saying that " one
pension in a family was enough."

The speaker thought that by virtue of his connection, through his
father, with the Hon. Nathan Taylor, and with old " Master Per-
kins," and through his mother, with old Doctor Sanborn, and that
grand woman, the Doctor's wife, he had about as much of Sanborn-
ton in him as any other living man ! Alluding to the interest felt in
the historical address he said : " The Lord makes some very queer
things ; and Brother Bodwell here is one of them. He is veri/ dry
looking, and yet we sat two whole hours listening to him — and it did
not seem long — so intensely interested were we in his discourse !
There was not a dry thing in it ! And my good brother here, though
so lean, is — as was his discourse — all full of the sweet juices of wit
and humor. But as to swallowing all he said about the size of the
old meeting-house on the hill, as only 60 by 43 feet ; all that won't
go down ! Just as if any body who ever saw that old house were to
believe any such thing ! That stately old house, not so large as this
newer one ! Why, that was the biggest house ever seen ! How high
it stood ! How grand it looked to all the people on this side of the
circling hills, from the Gilford to the Ragged Mountains."

The speaker said he had seen the Trinity and other large churches in
New York, (where they have many big things, besides big thieves and



70

other political rascals,) and the large churches of Chicago which the
flames have made so small ; but never saw any that seemed half so
large as the " old meeting-house " on the hill ! Why, so large was
it, that to help the sound, so that the minister could be heard by all the
people, there was that curious thing up over the minister's head ! The
great interest felt by the youngsters in that " sounding boai'd," was in
the fact that it looked as though it might come down some day ! and
our speculations used to be on the probable results to the minister's
head, being wickedly curious to see how it would strike !

Among other notable things about tlie old meeting-house, reference
was made to the great singing of those days. We hear famous sing-
ers, choirs and choruses, in our day ; but nothing like the singing up
there in that old gallery, under the lead and inspiration of Charles
Jesse Stewart. How he loomed up — all full of music from head to
foot — fit to be the leader of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthan ; with
" Dea. Joe," Robert Hunkins, Mr. Ordway, Mary Edmunds, Betsy
Brown, Julia Morrison and others ; how they used to sing ! O, for
an old " fugue" by such a choir, as in those days made the great house
tremble from top to bottom !

After some other playful remarks, the thought was seriously and
earnestly presented that the cumulative influences and forces of the
past have come down to make the present generation what it is ; that
what we have received of good we are bound to transmit ; that by
what we are and do we help shape the character of coming gener-
ations ; that we should improve upon the past and make the future
better than the present ; so that the blessing of the God of our
fathers and mothers may, with ever increasing richness, rest upon
our beloved old church and town.

(6.) " The oldest present member of this church, and the oldest
living citizen of the town ; — a wonderful instance of a cheerful, use-
ful and vigorous old age — himself the grand-son of the first and
longest continued instructor of youth in Sanbornton. May he ever
be young."

The venerable Capt. John B. Perkins, in response to the above,
came forward to the stand with the sprightUness of youth, amid the
applause of the audience and humorously remarked :
" You'd scarce expect one of my age
To speak in public on the stage,"

(renewed applause) alluding to the fact that this was the first time he
had ever attempted to make a public speech. " Although," said he,
" I shall be 88 years of age the 16th of next May, almost old enough to



71

be reckoned among the aborigines, from whom they used to tell me
I was descended ! "

He then spoke of his well-remembered school days under the in-
struction of his grand-father, "Master" Abraham Perkins, when
the days of his going home from school without a flogging were the
exception and not the rule, and were always attended as he left the
school-room, with a peculiarly grateful sensation !

He acknowledged that he was the young man alluded to by Dr.
Bodwell in his address, who was selling "the ardent" or rather aid-
ing in that work, on the day of his father's ordination ; but pleaded in
extenuation the great difference in public sentiment between that age
and the present.

" Formerly everybody drank, and the standard of respectability
was found not, as now, in total abstinence, but in being able after par-
taking of the usual drams, to go tlirough the door of the room (point-
ing to the door with his cane) without hitting both sides of the
entrance ! "

In conclusion, he again gratefully alluded to the good old age to
which a kind Providence had spared him, and to the satisfaction he
took in being present on this centennial anniversary of his beloved
church, together with the companion of his youth, now nearly as old
as himself, and with all three of their children.

This, for popular effect, was decidedly the speech of the occasion,
to which his son, the Rev. F. T. Perkins, added : " When the mar-
shal of the day intimated to me that he was about to call out my
father for a speech, and that perhaps it might be well for me to fol-
low him with a few words, I supposed it was on the idea that the old
gentleman might " get stuck " or " break down," or something of
that sort. If he had any such apprehension, I am quite sure he will
not have the next time when he may call him out. For plainly the
youngish gentleman has outdone us all, and I am very confident that
with time and practice he will be able to make his own speeches.
This, his opening speech, shows that he may come to something
yet."

(7.) "Prominent among the officers of. the town and of the church,
ever loved and respected in the sacred ministry, and in various private
walks of life, appears the name of Lane."

Response by Dea. Redford W. Lane, of Nashua, Avho spoke of
the commingled feelings of pleasure and sadness he experienced on
being present on that occasion. It gave him pleasure to look upon



72

the hills and the valleys that in former days were so familiar, and
which remained unchanged, as also many of the dwellings, appearing
very much as in the days of his boyhood ; but there was a feeling of
sadness in the thought of the great changes that had taken place in the
occupants of those dwellings. There was pleasure, too, in meeting
and exchanging cordial greetings with so many of his former friends
and acquaintances, but a shade of sadness in the thought that, in all
probability, it would be his last and only opportunity of so doing with
most of them. As they had been invited by the marshal to talk
over the remembrances of the past, he related some of his recol-
lections of the old meeting house upon the hill, with its broad aisle
from the entrance in front to the elevated pulpit in the rear, with
gallery in front for the singers and extending around upon either side,
with the square pews upon the wall where unruly boys would some-
times so forget the proprieties of the time and place as to occasion an
admonition by a loud rap from some sober minded person present,
calling their attention to the fact as well as that of the congregation,
and designating them by the pointing of his finger. In those days
'' we had no bell to admonish us of the time for commencing services,
and making our way to church on Sabbath morning from the neigh-
borhood where I resided, when we came in sight of the residence of
the Hon. Nathan Taylor, (already alluded to, whose portrait hangs
before you,) and saw his horse harnessed to the chaise and standing
at the door ready to take the family to meeting, we were all right,
for he was not only constant in attendence but prompt as to time."

"The good people of Sanbornton then attended the sanctuary
through the cold winter season without any of the conveniences and
comforts of the present day, with no relief from the stinging cold as
they sat there through the long service except the small foot stoves
brought by some of the ladies with a few coals from the hearth, to
keep their feet warm ; and yet there were as few then who would
allow themselves to be detained from attending public worship on
account of inclement weather as there are now, when we have our
meeting houses warmed and made comfortable."

(Note. — Had there been time the speaker would have alluded to
the Lanes of Sanbornton. Four brothers, Samuel, John, David, and
Joshua, — sons of John Lane, of Kensington, — settled in Sanbornton
prior to 1800. Of these, Samuel was the 3d Deacon of the church
and a man of rare benevolence and excellence of character. John
S. Lane, the sixth child of Dea. Samuel, was also a deacon of the



73

church [see Appendix, notes B. and H.]. The widow of a fifth broth-
er, Joseph, with her nine children, moved to town in 1813. Of
these children were the Rev. Joseph Lane, — first a missionary among
the Indians, then a pastor in Franklin three years, and lastly Secre-
tary of the New Hampshire Bible Society ten years, till his death in
1850, — Richard Lane, an earnest Cliristian who was deacon of this
church for 14 years, — and the speaker, of whom, as we go to press,
we are pained thus early to make the following announcement from
the Boston Journal of March 18th : "Mr. R. W. Lane, one of the
first citizens of Nashua, N. H., and for 22 years Clerk of the Jack-
son Manufacturing Company, died on the 16th inst., after a brief
illness of pneumonia, aged 63 years. Mr. Lane was a deacon in the
Pearl street Congregational Church, and a kindly gentleman of man-
ifold virtues, whose sudden death has c^st a gloom over the commu-
nity.")

At this stage of the meeting the orator of the day improved his
opportunity to reply to the Rev. Mr. Perkins, and said : " It is evident
from his remarks that my brother Perkins thinks he is better look-
ing than I am. I admit it, and I can tell you the reason ; his ances-
tors were born in Sanbornton, mine were not. There can be little
doubt that if my grandfathers and grandmothers had been born
among these hills, as his were, I should have been nearly as hand-
some as my brother, and as portly as our friend Dea. Bodwell
Sanborn.

I can assure you that I was a very goodlookiug individual in my
earlier days. When I was a boy, in the Academy we had an " ex-
hibition " at the close of the term, and as the part of a young lady
was assigned to me, I had to appear in female costume, and the
Hon. Nathan Taylor, to whom my brother has alluded, mistook me
for the prettiest girl in town. I grew very homely after that.

I want to say another word, in pursuance of the second sentiment
and the remarks of Bro. Ballentine, — about good " Elder Crockett,"
whom I so well remember. His benevolent countenance and large
head sat on ample shoulders. He wore top boots and breeches, and
sat well in the saddle, riding a horse which appeared as if it had been
made to order for his particular use, and carrying always a stout cane
with a crook. In this way he and my father 'rode many miles
together over these jjleasant hills, and very beautiful was their mutual
love and friendship, \vhich lasted till death separated them. They
met often in social circles, and would be seated side by side at the
tea table, when Elder Crockett would become so absorbed, as on
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74

one occasion, in conversation with my father, that he would press
closer and closer to him, and at last quite unconsciously appropriate
his cup of tea !

Some of you remember the singing to which our brother Perkins
has referred, in that old meeting-house on the hill. My impressions
quite agree with his. There was the choir of men and women that
nearly filled the front of the long gallery opposite the pulpit, with
the accompaniment of stringed instruments and sometimes of flute,
clarionet, and bassoon besides.

How well I remember the portly form of Dea. Joseph Sanborn,
with bass voice like the stop of an organ, and Richard Hazleton,
with tenor of surpassing purity and sweetness, and Betsy Brown,
whose rich soprano suited well the beauty of her countenance, and
many others of varied excellence, all under the grand leadership of
Charles Jesse Stuart, the lawyer, who stood so erect and proudly at
their head, the green plaid cloak, which was the fashion of the day,
hanging carelessly from his ample shoulders. Don't you remember
old " Denmark" on Thanksgiving day?

" Before Jehovah's awful throne."

I was a child then, and I have not often heard singing since which
has moved me as that did. As I look back it seems to have made
quite as large a part of the pleasures of my Thanksgiving day as
plumb pudding and mince pie.

I think I may say that the singers in this congregation in those
days were rather remarkable, both for time and tune. Yet they
sometimes made mistakes. You remember " Uncle William," the
father of Deacon Joseph Sanborn, who used to sit in the square cor-
ner pew, next to that of Lieut. Perkins. A man of stalwart pro-
portions and great muscular power, who came to meeting in breeches,
Lis ample calves covered with those thick woolen stockings, colored
to deep blue in the " dye pot," always standing in the chimney cor-
ner of the huge fire place, in every farm house in that day, his broad
shoulders covered by a drab great coat of stout English cloth, which
no rain could penetrate. That coat is still extant. Our friend
Deacon Bodwell Sanborn, the grandson, finds it an excellent pro-
tection when he has to go in a heavy rain storm to fetch the cows.

Uncle William had been a grand singer in his day, but had retired
from the singers' gallery to the family pew. On a certain pleasant


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Online LibraryN.H.) Congregational Church (SanborntonAddresses and proceedings at the centennial anniversary of the Congregational Church, in Sanbornton, N. H., November 12 and 13, 1871 → online text (page 6 of 7)