Samuel Dunham.

An historical discourse delivered at West Brookfield, Mass. (Volume 2) online

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to repair the old house by simply "patching the Euff;" and
at the same time (October 29, 1792,) they voted "to build a
mccting-house for Publick worship on the land given to the
first precinct in Brookfield by the late Lieutenant John Barnes
for that purpose."


On the 17th of December following, it was agreed " to ex-
cept one of the Plans for a meeting-house presented by the
committee chosen for that purpose," and —

" Voted, That the meeting-house be built by the sale of the pews,
if the same shall be sufficient, if not, the remaining sum to be assessed
on the Polls and Estates of the Precinct."

A committee of seven was chosen to superintend the sale
of the pews, (as delineated in the plan adopted) and the
building of the house ; which committee subsequently (Janu-
ary 29,1793) reported that they had sold the pews for eleven
hundred and seven pounds. Arrangements were further
made for procuring timber and other materials, and INIarch 10,
1794, it was " voted to set the new meeting-house partly where
the old one now stands."

Two months later the parish voted " that the new meeting-
house stand on flat stones on the soil, as the ground is now
staked out, and that the committee ask and provide for as
many hands as shall be needed for raising the new meeting-
house." Accordingly, the house in which we hold these serv-
ices to-day soon began to rise ; was finished the following
year, and dedicated November 10, 1795, the sermon on the
occasion being preached by Rev. Enos Hitchcock, D. D. of
Providence, Rhode Island. The original dimensions of the
house, as would appear from the plan which it was voted to
adopt, were, length sixty-three feet, breadth fifty feet.

The old meeting-house was removed, so as to give place to
the new, to " the south corner of the lot of land formerly
owned by Nathaniel Gilbert, late of Brookfield, deceased,"
and was devoted to town and parish uses. In 1809 it was
sold at '■'■ imhlick vendue'' for the sum of one hundred and
eighty-six pounds.


In the Spring of 1798 a second attempt was made to
procure a bell, but, like the first, resulted in failure. But a
better success was achieved the following year, when the
parish raised the sura of four hundred dollars — half by sub-
scription and half by tax — for the purchase of a Bell and an
Eight Day Clock for the new meeting-house ; the surplus
money, should any remain, to be "appropriated to procure
furniture for the Desk and Desk Window in said meeting-
house." A bell of six hundred and seventy-one pounds
weight was duly purchased of Mr. Paul Eevere at Boston,
and was "raised and hung," the whole at an expense of
three hundred and forty-four dollars and fifty-six cents. For
lack of funds the project of obtaining a clock was abandoned.
(A clock, at that period, was an expensive piece of furni-
ture.) It may be a matter of interest to know that the cost
of transporting the bell from Boston to Brookfield, a dis-
tance of seventy miles, in those days of slow locomotion,
was four dollars and fifty cents — pretty lean wages, one
would think in these times of inflated currency, as the work
must have consumed at least two or three days of time for
man and team. The present bell was purchased in 1855.
The first introduction of stoves here, as elsewhere, evidently
did not meet with universal favor. The parish voted, De-
cember 8, 1818, " to raise the sum of one hundred and fifty
dollars for the purpose of erecting two stoves in the meeting-
house." But they immediately reconsidered this action, and
voted " that individuals belonging to the parish be permitted,
if they choose, to place a stove or stoves in the meeting-
house." How soon thereafter this desideratum was obtained,
docs not appear.

In 1826 measures were taken to procure an organ, which in


due time, was accomplished. This instrument was replaced,
in 1856, by a new and better one, which is still in use.

In 1838, forty-three years from the time of its erection,
this house was thoroughly remodeled, at an outlay, apart
from stoves, chandelier, and other incidentals, of five thousand
four hundred and sixty-one dollars and sixty-eight cents. It
was turned around to a right angle with its former position,
and moved back about a rod in the rear of its orio-inal site.
An addition was also built on each side of the old porch, the
extent of the building, making the body of the house eighty
feet in length, with a capacity, including gallery, for eight
hundred sittings. Instead of the former cupola, a steeple
ninety-two feet in height was erected, bearing the same vane
that crowned the old meeting-house. Besides, a projection
of six feet, with four pillars, was added in front ; a new base-
ment story was made, sixty-five by fifty-two feet, which, in
1840, was finished at a cost, inclusive of furniture for the
vestry, of four hundred dollars, and divided into two apart-
ments — one for a Vestry, and the other for a Town-house,
which continued to be so used until our new and spacious
Town Hall was completed in the spring of 1860. This
house, as thus remodeled, was dedicated January 1, 1839.
The introductory prayer on the occasion was offered by Rev.
Mr. Smalley, of Worcester ; reading of select portions of
Scripture by Rev. Micah Stone of South Brookficld ; sermon
by Rev. Hubbard Winslow of Boston ; prayer of dedication
by Rev. John Fiske of New Bralntree; concluding prayer by
Rev. Dr. Snell of North Brookficld.

This house was again thoroughly retouched in 1840, and
yet other alterations made a few years later, in the early part
of the ministry of Mr. Byington, through the enterprise and


energy of the ladies, as evinced by the following : At a

meeting of the directors of the "Union Society" of West

Brookfield in the Spring of 1854, it was

" Voted, That the said Society present, gratuitously, to the parish all
the improvements they have made in the interior of the meeting-house,
and embracing the pulpit, fourteen globe lamps, and clock."

In response to which the parish

"Resolved, That they accept the same; and that, in consideration of
the courtesy and generosity of the Union Society in thus presenting
those valuable and ornamental fixtures, the thanks of the parish be ten-
dered to said Society, and that this resolve be entered on the records of
the parish,"

Durino- the present year also, a few hundreds of dollars
have been expended upon the exterior for painting and other
needed repairs. The work of thoroughly renovating and
beautifying the now marred and dingy interior has been re-
served till after the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary only
because the anniversary came one year too soon. It is confi-
dently expected that the year 1868 will find us within a sanc-
tuary rendered far more elegant and attractive by the intro-
duction of some of the more modern improvements in church


Enos Hitchcock was born in 1744 ; was graduated at
Harvard College in 1767 ; and was settled as colleague pastor
with Rev. Mr. Chipman of Beverly, Massachusetts, in 1771,
where he continued nine years.

In 1780 he became chaplain in the revolutionary army,
which office he held till 1788. In that same year, (October
1st,) he was installed pastor of the Benevolent Congregational
Church of Christ, in Providence, Rhode Island, which after-


wards became a Unitarian church. In 1788 he received the
degree of Doctor of Divinity. In 1802 his health failed, and
on the 27th of February of the following year, consumption
terminated his life, at the age of fifty-nine, in the twentieth
year of his ministry at Providence.

Dr. Hitchcock prepared a catechism, called " The Parent's
Assistant," and published several books upon education.
Among his publications is "A Discourse delivered at the
Ordination of the Rev. Jonathan Gould to the ministerial
office in the Christian Church, at Standish, September 18,
1793." He also preached the sermon at the dedication of
this house, November 10, 1795.

Joshua Crowell, son of Joshua and Mary (Field) Crowell,
was born September 15, 1777. His parents were both mem-
bers of this church until their death. He studied for a time
at Leicester Academy, and also at Salem. He was converted
under the labors of Eev. Elijah Bachelor, a Methodist minis-
ter who preached on circuit at the house of Widow Crowell,
(Joshua's mother,) on "Ragged Hill;" soon became a Meth-
odist itinerant preacher, and labored successfully for a number
of years in several of the New England States, until 1809,
soon after which he removed to Ware, where he resided for
many years, partly engaged in secular pursuits. The last
few years of his life were spent with his daughter in Stur-
bridge, where he died July 21, 1858, in the eighty-first year
of his age, and fifty-seventh of his ministry. He was one
of the founders and trustees of the Wesleyan Academy,

Asa Kent was born May 9, 1780. Early consecrated to
God by a devotedly pious mother, in the hope that he would
become a preacher of the gospel, at the age of eighteen he


yielded his heart to Christ ; at twenty-one was licensed to
exhort, and was immediately employed on the circuit in Ver-
mont. The following year he was placed on another circuit
in the same State, and revivals in various places attended his
labors. Afterwards he was stationed at various points in
Vermont ; still later in Lynn, Massachusetts, and Bristol,
Rhode Island.

In 1814 he was made Presiding Elder over the New Lon-
don District, which office he held four years. Subsequently
he preached at several important centers, as Providence, New
Bedford, Newport, Charlestown, until 1838, when increasing
infirmities compelled him to abandon the labors of a ministe-
rial charge. He removed to New Bedford, where he lived,
beloved and revered, the remainder of his days.

In 1840 he was chaplain to the house of correction in New
Bedford, and after that, for four years, preached regularly
once a Sabbath in some of the churches, and gave instruction
in a Sabbath school. During his life he often enriched the
columns of the INIethodist religious journals with the produc-
tions of his ready pen. His days were filled up with useful-
ness ; and, calmly trusting in the atonement of Christ, he
died at New Bedford, September 1, 1860, aged eighty.

Charles Gilbert, son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Gilbert,
was graduated at Dartmouth College in 1801, a classmate and
intimate friend of Daniel Webster, with whom, after leaving
college, he used to hold friendly correspondence. But death
made him an early victim, and he died March 12, 1805, at
the age of twenty-seven. His grave is in the Old Burying
Ground. On his tombstone we read : " He had a collegiate
education ; had completed his theological studies, and com-
menced a preacher of the Gospel with pleasing prospects


of success and usefulness ; but they were soon blasted by

Caleb Sprague Henry, son of Silas Henry, was born at
Rutland, Massachusetts, Avigust 2, 1804, and removed with
his father's family to AVest Brookfield in 1818. The main
facts in his history are to be found in Appleton's New Ameri-
can Cyclopedia. He was graduated at Dartmouth College in
1825; studied theology at Andover and New Haven; was
licensed to preach by the Brookfield Association in 1828, and
was settled the following year as Congregational minister, at
Greenfield, Massachusetts. From 1832 to 1835 he was asso-
ciate pastor with the venerable Dr. Perkins, at West Hart-
ford, Connecticut. In 1834 he published a pamphlet on the
"Principles and Prospects of the Friends of Peace." About
this time he also established a journal called the "American
Advocate of Peace," which, after the first year, became the
organ of the American Peace Society. In 1835 he was
ordained in the Protestant Episcopal Church, by Bishop On-
derdonk of New York; soon after which he became Professor
of Intellectual and Moral Philosophy in Bristol College,
Pennsylvania ; which position he retained until 1837, when
he removed to New York City, and, in conjunction with Dr.
Hawks, established the New York Review. The same year
the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by
Geneva College, New York. He edited the Review until
1839, when he became Professor of Philosophy and History
in the New York University. In 1847, in addition to the
duties of his professorship, he took the rectorship of St.
Clement's Church, New York. His health failing from over-
work, he resigned the care of the church in 1851, retaining
however his professorship, and performing, for some part of


the time, the duties of the chancellorship of the University
also. In 1852 ill health compelled him to resign his profes-
sorship, since which time, by the direction of physicians, he
has lived in the country. His present place of residence is
Xewburgh on the Hudson.

Dr. Henry has published, besides the works already men-
tioned, a translation of Cousin's Lectures on Locke's " Essay
on the Human Understanding," with notes and additional
pieces, the work appearing under the title of " Cousin's Psy-
chology," (1834,) and since revised and enlarged; also, a
"Compendium of Christian Antiquities" (1837); "Moral
and Philosophical Essays" (1839); an "Epitome of the His-
tory of Philosophy," translated from the French (1845) ;
"Guizot's General History of Civilization, with Notes;"
"Household Liturgy;" Taylor's "Manual of Ancient and
Modern History," revised, Avith a chapter on the History
of the United States (1845); "Dr. Oldham at Greystones
and his Talk There" (1859) ; "Considerations upon the Ele-
ments and Conditions of Social Welfare and Human Progress"
(1860) ; an Oration on " Patriotism and the Slaveholder's
Rebellion" (1861); "Politics and the Pulpit," and many
articles in the "Continental Monthly," and other journals,
numerous addresses, etc.

Lucius Watson Clark, son of James and Jerusha (jNIarcy)
Clark, was born in Mansfield, Connecticut, July 2, 1801 ; re-
moved with his parents to this place in 1812 ; was converted
under the ministry of Rev. Mr. Phelps in the revival of 1818,
and united with this church December 13, of that year. He
was graduated at Brown LTnlverslty in 1824 ; pursued his
theological studies with Dr. Ide of Medway ; was licensed to
preach by the Mendon Association in 1826 ; was ordained


pastor of the church in Wilbraham, (Massachusetts,) in 1829,
where he continued three years. lie was afterwards, for five
years pastor at Plymouth, and five years at Amcsbury ; after
which, on account of insufficient health, he labored only as
temporary supply. Some eight or nine years previous to his
death, he removed to Middlcbury, Vermont, where he died
of lung fever after only a few days' illness, January 2, 1854.

From an obituary published in the Boston Recorder soon
after his death, I take the following brief passage : — " As a
man, a friend, a Christian, they only knew his worth, who knew
him well. Reliable, conscientious, and generous even to a
fault ; frank in his words, transparent in his motives, steadfast
to principle, and to duty ; kind, sympathizing, and true to his
Master ; a meek, humble and prayerful follower of the Lord
Jesus Christ, whose earnest desire was that God be honored
and men redeemed." Almost his last work on earth was to
address a company of grieving mourners from the inspiring
words, " Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from
henceforth : yea saith the spirit, that they may rest from their
labors ; and their works do follow them."

John C. Nichols, son of Isaac and Abigail (Cutler) Nichols,
was born November 17, 1801. In the summer of 1818, he
united with this church, and is still a member of it, having
never removed his relation. He was graduated at Yale Col-
lege in 1824; pursued his theological studies at New Haven;
was licensed by the New Haven West Association in 1830,
and, for three years following, was a Home Missionary in
Canada. In the meantime, — in 1831, — he returned to the
states, and was ordained in North Brookfield for his mission-
ary work.

In 1834 he was installed pastor of the Second Church in


Stonington, Connecticut, and was dismissed in 1839. In 1840
he became pastor of the First Church in Lebanon, Connec-
ticut, where, in 1855, he discontinued his labors on account of
failing health. Soon afterwards he removed to Old Lyme,
Connecticut, and there he has remained ever since, teaching
and preaching, as health and opportunity have permitted.

Sewall Laraberton, son of Samuel D. and Lucy E. Lam-
berton, was born August 6, 1818. He was hopefully con-
verted at the age of thirteen, and, the following year, was
admitted to the communion of the Methodist Episcopal
Church. During the years 1835 and 1836 he held license as
an exhorter, and, in that capacity, labored more or less in
different towns. April 24, 1837, he was licensed to preach at
Chicopee Falls ; after which his time was devoted to study
and the work of the ministry, laboring at South Hadley,
Palmer and Wilbraham, this State ; and in Norwich, Enfield,
East Windsor, Colchester, Pladdam, and South Windsor,
Connecticut, until bodily infirmity obliged him to relinquish,
for the most part, ministerial duties.

In connection with his earlier labors, he spent two and a
half or three years at the Wesleyan Academy, Wilbraham.
In July, 1844, he became connected with the Providence
Conference, and received his first ordination by vote of that
body. Much of the time for twenty years past, he has been
unable to perform regular ministerial service. Within that
period he has spent several years in Southwick, preaching
more or less for the different churches of that town. For
the last five years he has lived in Westfield, where he still
continues to preach occasionally.

Solomon B. Gilbert, son of Ezra and Euth (Barnes) Gil-
bert, was born January 25, 1811 ; entered Amherst College


in 1832, where having remained one year, he went to Bangor,
Maine; studied for a time in the preparatory department,
then entered the Theological Seminary in that place, where
he was graduated in 1837. lie was licensed to preach a
short time previously by the Penobscot Association in Ban-
gor. He was ordained as an Evangelist at Lyman, Maine,
November 15, 1837. From thence he went to Newfield in
the same State, where he was installed pastor in the spring
of 1841. Three years later he accepted a call to Kenne-
bunkport, Maine, where he preached without settlement till
the spring of 1847, when he removed to Western New York
and had charge of the church in Parma and Greece two
years, and of the church in Fairport three years. In 1852
he returned to Massachusetts; subsequently spent a few
months in Augusta, Maine, for the benefit of his health,
acting meanwhile as city missionary, and in February, 1858,
was installed pastor of the church in Prescott, Massachusetts,
where he remained one year, when he accepted a call to
Wendell, Massachusetts, and was installed in November, 1854.
In December of the following year he went to Lyme, Ohio,
where he preached until May 1857, when he was taken sick
with congestion of the lungs, and died on the twenty-second
of that month, after an illness of but one week. His remains
repose in the cemetery at Lyme. Through life of a delicate
constitution, his bodily sufferings' during his last sickness
were great, but his soul was at peace, and " he died praising
the Lord."

William B. Bond, son of Thomas and Jemima (Bush)
Bond, was born January 12, 1815 ; removed to Springfield
at about the age of eleven years ; fitted for college at Westfield
Academy, and at a boarding-school in South Hadley, the


principal of which was Rev. David R. Austin, afterward
pastor of the church in Sturbridge. It was in this school
that he experienced religion, in the summer of 1831. He
was graduated at Amherst College in 1835 ; studied theology
two years in Lane Seminary, Ohio, and graduated at New
York in 1839 ; was licensed to preach by the Third Presby-
tery in New York, April 8, of the same year, and ordained
pastor of the Congregational Church in Lee, Massachusetts,
March 18, 1840, where he labored successfully during a
ministry of about seven years, and was permitted to see a
general revival of religion, as the result of which nearly one
hundred persons united with the church by profession of
their faith. He was installed pastor of the Second or North
Congregational Church in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, October
15, 1847, where he remained about eleven years, during
which time the church was blessed with two seasons of
special religious interest, and about one hundred and twenty-
five persons were added to its membership. On account of
a failure of health, he was unable, for several years there-
after, to assume any charge. In February, 1865, he became
acting pastor of the First Congregational Church, in Palmer,
in the village of Thorndike, which still continues to be his
field of labor.

Josiah Addison Cary, son of Deacon Josiah and Betsey
(Henry) Cary, was born March 29, 1813. He united with
this church September 2, 1827, when but fourteen years of
age. He prepared for college at Hadley and Amherst acad-
emies, and was graduated a Amherst College in 1832, rank-
ing among the foremost of his class for talent, scholarship,
and piety. He had set his heart upon the missionary work,
but the providence of God ordered otherwise. Soon after


leaving college, he was appointed a professor in the New York
Institution for the deaf and dumb. While thus engaged in
that Institution, he, at the same time, carried on his theolog-
ical studies, and was graduated at the Union Seminary in
1837. In 1839 he was licensed to preach by the Third Pres-
bytery of New York ; was ordained as an Evangelist at the
Mercer Street Church in 1844 ; and installed in 1849 pastor
of a Dutch Reformed Church, worshiping in Blecker Chapel,
New York, still continuing, however, to discharge his duties
as instructor of the deaf and dumb. But these combined
labors overtasked his strength, and after a little more than a
year he was obliged to resign his pastorate in consequence of
impaired health. In the spring of 1851 he visited the Island
of Cuba, whence returning after an absence of two months
with little benefit to his health, he was induced, by the hope
that a change of residence might prove beneficial, to accept
the appointment of superintendent of the Ohio Deaf and
Dumb Asylum at Columbus. But this hope was a delusive
one : for he had discharged the duties of his new and import-
ant trust less than one year, when he was thrown upon a sick
bed from which he never rose. He died greatly lamented, at
Columbus, August 7, 1852, having given nineteen years, or
iust one half of his life, to the instruction of the unfortunate
deaf mute. Mr. Cary was a man of more than ordinary ex-
cellence of mind and character. In what estimation he was
held by those who knew him is shown in various articles
published, and resolutions passed, soon after his death. At a
convention of the instructors of the deaf and dumb held at
Columbus, among other resolutions that were adopted, were
the following : —

''Resolved, That we deeply doijlore die death of tlie Rev J. Addi-


son Gary, the Superintendent of the Ohio Deaf and Dumb Asylum,
both on account of his many amiable qualities which were so constantly
manifested in all the relations of life, and that distinguished success
which had attended bis labors for the intellectual, moral and religious
improvement of deaf mutes.

''Resolved, That we will ever treasure among the most sacred trusts
of our memories the virtues of the departed, believing that his life pre-
sented a model as teacher and superintendent, rarely equalled, and
never surpassed."

By the Board of Directors of the New York Institution in

which Mr. Gary was for many years professor, it was

''Resolved, That in the lamented decease of Professor Gary, in the
midst of his career of usefulness, the science of deaf mute instruction
has been deprived of one of its most able and accomplished advocates,
the cause of Christian benevolence of an earnest and devoted supporter,
and the circle of his attached friends of one universally beloved for the
many virtues of his personal character."

He died in the triumphs of faith, testifying, in the hour of
his dissolution, to the sustaining power of the Christian reli-
gion. A son of Mr. Gary is now a member of Yale Gollege.

William B. Stone, son of Francis and Hannah Stone, was
born in North Brookfield, January 24, 1811. He removed

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Online LibrarySamuel DunhamAn historical discourse delivered at West Brookfield, Mass. (Volume 2) → online text (page 5 of 9)