The second Congregational and Mystic churches.
by Charles Cummings.[Read before the Medford Historical Society, Nov. 20, 1899.] Rev. Doctor Osgood, pastor of the First and only church then existing in Medford, died in December, 1822. Early in the following year the Rev. Andrew Bigelow became a candidate for settlement as Doctor Osgood's successor. The majority of the church were pleased with his services, and proposed his installation, which took place July 9; but a minority, recognizing that his theological views did not harmonize with their own, deemed it expedient to withdraw from that church, and form a new one. Accordingly seventeen members, in a very courteous and Christian manner, asked for letters of dismission, which, accompanied with expressions of the most tender and affectionate regard for the petitioners, and of deep regret at parting with so many valuable members, were granted. Many others who were not members of the church withdrew from the congregation to unite with the seventeen in establishing separate worship. To provide for the financial wants of the new enterprise, a society called ‘The Second Congregational Society of Medford’ was organized June 22, 1823, and incorporated by legislative enactment the following February. A hall in the neighborhood was soon fitted up as a temporary place of worship, and the pulpit was supplied by neighboring clergymen, and by students from the Theological Seminary at Andover, till October 2, when [p. 50] the seventeen members from the First Church, with nine members of other churches, who had removed lately to Medford, and had brought with them letters of dismission, were organized into a church by an ecclesiastical council, of which Rev. William Greenough, of Newton, was moderator, and Rev. B. B. Wisner, of Boston, was scribe. The church adopted a name which corresponded with that of the society, but June 25, 1857, changed it to the ‘First Trinitarian Congregational Church of Medford.’ In this narrative, however, it will, for convenience, be referred to simply as the ‘First,’ or ‘Mother Church.’ The society retained its corporate name till its disbandment after the union of the First and Mystic Churches in 1874. A Sunday-school was at once organized, its first teachers being three Congregationalists and two Baptists. A movement was also made to erect a house of worship. A spot was chosen on High street, and paid for with money given to the society by the Hon. William Gray, of Boston. The building, having been completed, was dedicated to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Sept. 1, 1824; and on the same day the Rev. (since Dr.) Aaron Warner, who had been supplying their pulpit for several months, was installed pastor of the church.
Doctor Warner was born in Northampton, Oct. 20, 1794; graduated at Williams College, 1815, and at Andover, 1819; and preached to seamen in Charleston, S. C., in 1819-23. His ministry continued here a little over eight years, till Oct. 2, 1832, when he was dismissed at his own request. In 1833 he became Professor of Sacred Rhetoric in Gilmanton (N. H.) Theological Seminary. Resigning there, he became Professor of Rhetoric in Amherst College, holding the position for nine years, and died in Amherst May 14, 1876. [p. 51] His ministry in Medford was eminently successful, the church and congregation having been greatly increased.
Mr. Warner's successor was the Rev. Gordon Winslow, who was installed June 12, 1833. Aware that a few of his people were dissatisfied with his preaching, he resigned his office Sept. 21, 1834, after a pastorate of but fifteen months. The church assembled September 23, and, ‘recognizing that there were embarrassments in the path of Mr. Winslow's usefulness, voted to grant his request,’ and at the same time ordered the following record: ‘That we respect Mr. Winslow as a man of unblemished moral, Christian, and ministerial character and cannot doubt that under other circumstances and in many parts of the Lord's vineyard he may be a useful and successful minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.’ The council which met on October 15 to dismiss Mr. Winslow prescribed as one of the conditions of his dismission that he should be paid one year's salary ‘as a just and reasonable compensation for the expenses of a settlement and of those which must result from so speedy a dismission.’ The church and society did not accept the condition, and the council was again convened November 12, and decided to dismiss him unconditionally, ‘appealing to the sense of justice in the minds of the church and people in regard to the amount of compensation.’ The Society voted that he had been duly compensated for his services and refused farther payment.
the Rev. Levi Pratt, who, born in Cummington, Mass., Oct. 17, 1799, graduated at Amherst College, 1826, at Andover Seminary, 1829, preached at Hatfield, Mass., for five years, and was [p. 52] installed Aug. 19, 1835. He died in office, much lamented, Aug. 9, 1837.
Rev. (afterward Dr.) Abijah Richardson Baker, born in Franklin, Mass., Aug. 30, 1805; graduated from Amherst College, 1830, from Andover Theological Seminary, 1835; taught in Phillips Academy at Andover, 1836-37; and was ordained in Medford, April 25, 1838. After a laborious and successful pastorate of over ten years he was dismissed by the decision of an ecclesiastical council, and commended to the churches in the usual form Sept. 20, 1848. During his ministry there were several seasons of revival; the church and congregation increased, and larger accommodations in the house of worship became necessary. He was an able preacher, and fed his hearers with strong meat, but, while his discourses were scholarly and spiritual, he is said not to have been over-lenient toward those parishioners whose opinions and methods of work did not accord with his own, and that sometimes invidious personalities crept into his sermons. If that were so, the fact may have had a tendency to hasten the formation of the Baptist Church, which drew somewhat from his congregation in 1842, and of the Mystic Church, which took sixty members from his fold in 1847. He married Miss Harriet Woods, one of the refined and cultured daughters of the distinguished professor of Andover Theological Seminary. After leaving Medford she became the author of several attractive and useful books for the Sunday-school. They had five sons, of whom one became a doctor of medicine and four became Episcopal clergymen. Upon his dismissal from Medford Doctor Baker [p. 53] became an agent of the Massachusetts Sunday-School Society for one year, then preached in Lynn, 1850-56; in West Needham, 1857-63; in South Boston, 1864-66; and was afterwards without charge in Dorchester till he died there, April 30, 1876. The church, considerably crippled by the withdrawal the previous year of so large a colony, which included four of its active deacons and several of its most liberal financial supporters, remained pastorless for about three and a half years. For one or more of those years the pulpit was ably supplied by the Rev. (afterwards Dr.) Luther H. Angier, who, though a vigorous preacher and a most genial and earnest Christian, could not so perfectly harmonize the somewhat discordant elements in the congregation as to receive a call for permanent settlement. In 1852 a call was given to, and accepted by, the Rev. E. P. Marvin.
Rev. (afterwards Dr.) Elihu Parish Marvin, born in Romulus, N. Y., in March, 1819, graduated from Western Reserve College, 1842; studied theology under the guidance of different ministers, one of whom was John P. Cleveland, D. D., who was then a pastor in Detroit; preached for several years in Saline and Coldwater, Mich.; came East to improve the health of his children in 1851; and was installed in Medford Feb. 25, 1852. His eventful pastorate extended through nearly fourteen years, and was the longest enjoyed by any Congregational minister in Medford since the decease of Doctor Osgood. He was a faithful, whole-souled, and energetic worker, and allowed nothing to come between him and the performance of what he conceived to be his duty. He was endowed by nature with a sound mind in a sound body, which enabled him to manage successfully [p. 54] several very important undertakings in which his parish became involved. The church edifice was remodelled and refitted in 1853, and again in 1860, and then supplied with an organ. Disaster, however, awaited the structure, for on September 9 of the last-named year it and all it contained was reduced to ashes. Nothing daunted, Mr. Marvin took the laboring oar and urged on the erection of a new building, which was completed and dedicated June 12, 1861. A new organ was purchased and also the bell which that year had been carried in so many a street parade during the campaign in which Bell and Everett were candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States. The same now hangs in the tower of the Mystic Church. Mr. Marvin resigned his office as pastor in January, 1865, and was formally dismissed November 8 of the same year by the ecclesiastical council which installed his successor. The degree of D. D. was conferred upon him by Dartmouth College, in 1866. His resignation was given in order to assume the editorial and business management of the ‘Boston Recorder,’ and when that paper was consolidated with the ‘Congregationalist,’ in 1867, he joined the editorial staff of the united papers, and was also at the same time the managing editor of the ‘Congregational Review.’ Later he purchased and managed till his death a small paper called the ‘Daily News,’ in order to advance the cause of temperance, of which he was a stern advocate. He was twice married: first to Miss Elizabeth Burke, of Michigan, and second to Miss Julia A. Carleton, of Charlestown, who, with four daughters and two sons, survived him. His death occurred in Wellesley, Mass., March 1, 1874.
Rev. James Tomb McCollom was born in Salem, N. Y., Sept. 20, 1814; graduated from Dartmouth College, [p. 55] 1835; was tutor in that college, 1837-38; graduated from Andover Theological Seminary, 1840; was pastor at Pittston, Me., 1841-44; at Great Falls, N. H., 1844-54; at Bradford, Mass., 1854-65; and was installed in Medford Nov. 8, 1865. He was never honored with the degree of D. D., though deserving it incomparably more than many upon whom it has been conferred. He was every way fitted for his ministerial office, being genial, sympathetic, patient, liberal, scholarly, diligent, earnest, and spiritual. There was a vein of humor in his nature so marked that in college he bore the sobriquet of ‘Merry Mac,’ but his humor was always chaste and to the point. He won the affections of all who knew him, and those who knew him best loved him most. Farther reference will be made to him in connection with the union of his church with the Mystic in 1874. After a successful pastorate of nine years he died in Medford, Nov. 25, 1874, the sixth and last pastor of a church which, for half a century, had stood as a beacon in this community. During its existence it had received six hundred and twenty-four members, of whom three hundred and sixty-nine were admitted by profession. When abandoned, the church edifice was sold to the St. Joseph's Catholic Society, in March, 1876, and the avails, amounting to $8,000, were transferred to the treasury of the united societies. By his will Mr. Frederick May, who died Sept. 13, 1875, left the Second Congregational Society a legacy of $3,000; but long and expensive litigation among the heirs prevented full payment of the same, and the society was obliged to retain its organization till 1885, in order to receive the last instalment of the $2,683 which were finally realized and passed to the credit of the new society.
Mystic Church.In pursuing the history of this church quotations will be freely made from the semi-centennial address delivered Oct. 24, 1897, by the Rev. Mr. Barstow, its present pastor. Reference has been made to the unpleasant relations existing between the pastor of the Second Church and some of its members which might have intensified the desire of the latter to colonize. But there were other things that conspired to make them feel that the propitious time had arrived for the formation of a new church. ‘The town was rapidly growing, and its business life developing, especially along the line of ship-building (one hundred and eighty-five ships being built in it in the ten years from 1843), and the new railroad was just then opened to the centre of the town.’ Then, too, the size of the congregation seemed to forebode the necessity of enlarging the church edifice in the near future if there were no separation. At the suggestion of Rev. Mr. Baker, the pastor, two neighboring ministers were named by him and two by Deacon James, to whom the whole matter of organizing a new church should be referred, and their advice was to be final. They met on the 29th of March and, after listening to all the pros and cons, came promptly and decidedly to the conclusion that a new church should be formed immediately. Separate worship was begun in the Town Hall on Sunday, May 9, 1847. The largest attendance at any of the nine services held before the church was formally organized was one hundred and eighty-four. The organization was effected July 6, 1847, seven churches and four specially invited ministers composing the council. The sermon was by the Rev. Dr. Kirk, of the Mt. Vernon Church, and the address “constituting the church” was by the Rev. Dr. Edward Beecher of [p. 57] the Salem-street Church in Boston. The church consisted of sixty members. July 29 Nathaniel Jaquith, Galen James, Jotham Stetson and John Stetson were chosen deacons. All of them had held the same office in the mother church, and the last named, who had served in that church for eight years, continued faithfully to discharge the duties of the office till his death, in 1899, in the eighty-eighth year of his age. The Mystic Society was legally organized Aug. 13, 1847. The land on which the building now stands on Salem street was soon purchased, and a house capable of seating about five hundred persons was erected, and dedicated to the worship of God Feb. 14, 1849. The house contained seventy-three pews, whose appraised value ranged from ninety to two hundred and fifty dollars. About half of the pews were sold to individuals and the rest were held as ‘stock’ by five persons and rented at eight per cent. of their appraised value. Two-fifths of that stock was purchased later by Mr. William Haskins and by his will donated to the society, in addition to four thousand dollars in cash, which is now invested in the parsonage. Mr. Haskins, though not a member of the church, was deeply interested in its welfare. He died in 1871. For many years the annual expenses of the society were met by assessing a tax upon the members of the church according to their town valuation, and by the voluntary contributions of those who were not members. This method was discontinued after 1871, and since the union of the two churches, in 1874, the pew rental system has been employed. On the twentieth of September, 1847, by a hearty, unanimous vote, the Rev. A. B. Warner (a nephew of the first pastor of the mother church) was called to the pastorate, at a salary of $800.
[p. 58] Rev. Abner Barnard Warner, born in Northampton, Mass., Jan. 8, 1814, graduated from Williams College, 1833, and from Gilmanton Theological Seminary, 1838; held a very successful pastorate in Milford, N. H., from 1839 to 1846, and, having accepted his call, was duly installed pastor of the Mystic Church Oct. 27, 1847. The sermon on that occasion was by his uncle, Rev. Professor Warner, D. D. After a ministry eminently efficient and successful, as is manifest from the fact that the membership of the church more than doubled during his connection with it, he died, sincerely lamented, May 26, 1853. During his long sickness the pulpit was supplied gratuitously by neighboring pastors, and after his death the society continued his salary for several months for the benefit of his wife and daughter, who survived him. His successor was the Rev. Jacob M. Manning.
Rev. (afterwards Dr.) Jacob Merrill Manning, born in Greenwood, N. Y., Dec. 31, 1824, graduated from Amherst College, 1850, and from Andover Theological Seminary, 1853, and was ordained in Medford, Jan. 5, 1854. He was dismissed Feb. 17, 1857, to become the associate pastor, with the Rev. Dr. Blagden, of the Old South Church, Boston, where he continued till his death, Nov. 29, 1872. ‘His was indeed a most noble, useful life, devoted to his sacred calling in that one church, but reaching out and touching many other lives by his voice and pen and in whatever other ways God gave him the opportunity. One of his daughters is now the wife of Rev. G. A. Gordon, D. D., who was Dr. Manning's immediate successor in office. The strong place that he held in the hearts of his Medford people is seen by the fact that [p. 59] he returned to preach three different installation sermons: Mr. Hooker's in 1861, Mr. Cobb's in 1869, and Mr. Baldwin's in 1875.’ His memory will live on, a shining example of character, dignity, purity of life, and true worth. Before his settlement the church had no organ, but upon his suggestion that such would be an improvement upon the stringed instruments then in use, a subscription was at once made of more than enough to secure the desired object.
Rev. Elias Nason, the third pastor, was born in Wrentham, Mass., April 21, 1811; graduated from Brown University in 1835; lectured in the South upon Southern flora, 1836; published the ‘Georgia Courier,’ 1837; taught an academy in Waynesborough, Ga.; taught school in Newburyport, Mass., 1840-49; was licensed to preach in 1849; was ordained and installed pastor of the Congregational Church in Natick May 5, 1852, and from thence was called to Medford and installed Nov. 10, 1858. He published several biographies, and a gazetteer of Massachusetts, and edited a hymn book which was used for several years in the Mystic Church. He was a member of the New England Historic-Genealogical Society and of several other learned bodies. Having received a flattering call from a church in Exeter, N. H., he resigned his office Oct. 17, 1860. The church, being unwilling to part with him, declined to accept his resignation, but united with him in calling an advisory council. That council decided that he ought to remain in Medford. He, in good faith, accepted the decree and began making plans for future work; but new overtures having been made by the Exeter Church, he, in the hope that the health of an invalid son would be greatly improved in that locality, sent to the church a second letter of resignation November 6 of [p. 60] the same year and was dismissed by a council November 19. He preached in Exeter four years, and afterwards in Dracut and Lowell, Mass., and Danielsonville, Conn. He died in Billerica, Mass., in 1887. Two sons, Charles P. H. and William W., are now prominent in the ministry. ‘Mr. Nason was a man of marked personality, a linguist of great fluency, a botanist of keen penetration, a genealogist of some repute, a musician, and an orator of no mean standing.’ He was succeeded by the Rev. E. P. Hooker.
Rev. (now D. D.) Edward Pason Hooker was born in Poultney, Vt., July 2, 1834; graduated from Middlebury College, 1855, and from Andover Theological Seminary, 1861; and was ordained in Medford, Nov. 13, 1861. His pastorate continued till March 31, 1869, when he resigned through a ‘conviction that some locality farther removed from the sea-coast would be more friendly to his wife's health,’ and was dismissed by a sympathetic council. Upon accepting his resignation the church voted the following resolution: ‘That unexpected and painful as such resignation is to us, yet we can but feel most sadly the force of the one great reason which is assigned therefor; and we feel that we should not for any gratification of our own, or even for the dearer interests of our church, interpose any check to that tender and dutiful devotion which would best care for the health of one hardly less dear to us than to him. And with these convictions, and on this ground alone, so far as we are concerned, we would make as cheerful a sacrifice as we may, and hereby accept the resignation. And as we go forward with the necessary steps to perfect this action, we gladly [p. 61] record our feeling that a relation has been thus sundered which, in harmony and usefulness and sweet abiding memories, can come but rarely between pastor and people; and in the future of such a pastor we should be false to these memories and our faith if our wishes, efforts, or prayers were wanting to promote his still higher success or the health and happiness of one so dear to us and him.’ During the Civil war Mr. Hooker was drafted for the army, but his people could not spare him, and with promptness cheerfully procured a substitute. In the winter of 1866-67 there was a deep religious awakening in the evangelical churches of the town, Mr. McCollom of the First, Mr. Preston of the Baptist, Mr. Waite of the Methodist, and Mr. Hooker of the Mystic, with many laymen of those churches, working earnestly and unitedly together. A large increase of membership was the result, forty-four being added on confession to the Mystic Church. Upon leaving Medford Mr. Hooker preached one year in Fairhaven, Vt., and then for ten years from 1870 was pastor of the church in Middlebury. Jan. 12, 1880, he was installed pastor of the Eliot Church in Lawrence, Mass., from which he was compelled by impaired health to resign in 1883. Dec. 23, 1883, he began a ministry in Winter Park, Fla., and was installed there Jan. 23, 1886, and held the pastoral office till May 28, 1898. Through his untiring efforts Rollins College was founded in Winter Park in 1885. He became its first president, and held that office for seven years. He was also the president of the Florida Home Missionary Society for eleven years. From overwork in these responsible positions he was completely broken down in health and energy and compelled to seek recuperation in the most quiet way possible. He now resides in Marshfield, Mass.
[p. 62] Rev. (now D. D.) Solon Cobb, the fifth pastor, was born in Carver, Mass., Sept. 12, 1838. Completing a course of study in the academy at Plympton, Mass., he took a theological course at the seminaries in Auburn, N. Y., and Andover, Mass., and was ordained pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Oswego, N. Y., Oct. 11, 1864. From that church he was called to Medford and installed Nov. 3, 1869. His pastorate, which had been eminently successful, continued till 1874, when, without any other charge in view, he resigned it in the hope ‘that in a different field of labor he might exert a more decided and perhaps broader influence in the service of Christ.’ His flock were unwilling to lose such a shepherd, and chose a committee to induce him, if possible, to withdraw his resignation. That committee reported ‘that they could find no inducements to offer for the withdrawal of his resignation that could outweigh his decided conviction of duty to seek another and a different field of labor.’ The church then, by unanimous vote, passed the following resolutions: ‘That we, as a church, have received the resignation of our pastor with unaffected sorrow and regret; and that our desire is earnest and united that he should continue his labors with us; but feeling assured, after our best endeavors to induce him to withdraw his resignation, that he feels the act to be plainly the course of wisdom and duty for him, we do, out of respect to his choice and sense of right, reluctantly accept the same.’ He was dismissed May 12, 1874, and, in their ‘result’ the council expressed regret that, in view of the very pleasant relations existing between the pastor and his people, he should have felt constrained to resign his pastoral office; and they advised his dismissal simply in deference to his judgment. [p. 63] After leaving Medford Mr. Cobb preached two years in New Bedford, Mass., and one year in Jacksonville, Fla. In 1878 he became pastor of the Central Presbyterian Church in Erie, Pa., which he found small and worshipping in a chapel, and which, after his labor of sixteen years, he left large and worshipping in a commodious and elegant stone edifice, thus realizing his ideal as expressed in his letter of resignation to the Mystic Church. From Erie he was called five years ago to the Point Breeze Presbyterian Church in Pittsburg, Pa., where he is now (1899) laboring.
Union of the first Trinitarian and Mystic churches.For many years there had been a growing conviction among their most active members that a union of the Mystic and the First Trinitarian Congregational Churches would, under existing circumstances, much conduce to the advancement of the kingdom of Christ in Medford, and with the hope of effecting such union the Mystic Church, March 7, 1865, voted ‘that we desire to unite with the First Trinitarian Church if a satisfactory plan of union can be devised,’ and thereupon chose a committee of six to unite with a like committee, if elected, from the other church to construct such a scheme if possible. The other church acceded to the proposition and chose its committee. That joint committee, after considering the matter in its various relations, proposed that the First Church should retain its organization and house of worship, which should be enlarged as necessity required, and that, as that church had no pastor, the Rev. Mr. Hooker, pastor of the Mystic Church, should be settled over the united organizations. The overture of the Mystic Church was not made on account of any financial embarrassment, inasmuch as [p. 64] the society always had been and was then on a good financial foundation, but, as it was stated in one of the kind and fraternal letters which passed between the churches, ‘that the cause of truth and religion would be better promoted by the union.’ At a special meeting of the First Church held March 30 the majority of those present favored the union on the terms proposed, but the minority was so large that it was deemed best to let the matter drop, and the subject was not again agitated till 1874. In the meantime a Congregational church, organized at West Medford, had drawn many valuable members from the First Church, which seemed to make it the more reasonable that but one organization of that order should exist at the centre of the town, and the resignation of Mr. Cobb made it the more probable that if the subject of union were again opened a speedy and favorable result would follow. ‘The two churches had existed for twenty-seven years side by side, doing their great work always in harmony, often in fraternal union of efforts and means and with the marked blessing of God on their labors. United, it was thought they would by no means constitute an unwieldy body and might at the proper time be better prepared for church extension in any desirable direction.’ The time and circumstances seemed propitious for action. Accordingly, at a special meeting of the First Church, Aug. 20, 1874, action was taken of which the following is a part: ‘Whereas, Beyond and above all ideas of finance and economy, it is believed that the interests of Christ's kingdom would surely be advanced by a cordial union of the two churches, therefore it is Voted, That it is the earnest desire of this church that a union of the two churches should be arranged for at the earliest possible day.’ A committee of five was then chosen to report their action to the Mystic Church and confer with any committee that church might choose with reference to arranging for such union. [p. 65] The Mystic Church, by vote, expressed its cordial welcome of the action of its sister church and chose its committee of five. The joint committee, after due consideration of the subject, with entire unanimity of judgment and feeling, reported a plan of union in seven articles, of which the two principal ones are the following: ‘That the Rev. Mr. McCollom, the beloved and respected pastor of the First Church, should be called to the pastorate of the united church,’ and ‘That the Mystic Church edifice should be at once enlarged and made commodious and suitable by improvements for the worship of the united congregations.’ With a unanimity hardly to have been anticipated, each church accepted the proposed plan, and the societies connected therewith engaged at once, by a committee, in the enlargement of the church edifice on Salem street. The private ownership of pews in that church had ceased either by gift or purchase, so that the building was entirely at the disposal of the new Society. It was enlarged at each end and on the east side and given, in its one hundred and sixty pews, a seating capacity of over seven hundred. The bell and clock taken from the house on High street were placed in its tower. The organ previously used in the Mystic Church was removed from the front gallery, enlarged, and located in in its present position, behind the pulpit, and the organ of the First Church was given in part payment of the sixteen hundred dollars which the enlargement cost. The entire expense of the improvements was over $20,000. A rededication took place Jan. 12, 1876, previous to which the church had worshipped in the edifice on High street. The formal union of the churches occurred Dec. 31, 1874, when one hundred and eighteen from the First, one hundred and ninety-two from the Mystic, and others, on confession or by letter, made a total membership of three hundred and eighteen. Several months earlier [p. 66] the dear man who, by the vote of each church, was to have become their pastor when united was stricken with disease and obeyed the call to come up higher, on November 25, at the age of sixty years. Feb. 9, 1875, the following tribute was ordered to be spread upon the church records:
That we recognize in this death of our pastor and friend the blended truth so grand and yet so sad, that a wise and good man has passed away; and as a religious body and as individual members of the church we would make this as a more permanent record than has yet been permitted us of our grateful and loving appreciation of his worth and work, and of the public and private bereavement that has come to us in his death; and we would make it as the sincere and historical tribute of our hearts to a character that we feel was pure and true, and to services that we know were faithful and acceptable. In mingled sadness and thanksgiving we say, “Servant of the Lord, well done!” As the long-tried pastor of those of us who have been of his immediate flock, and as the dearly esteemed and religious friend and teacher of us all, he has in fidelity proved his mission, and established his memory and work in our hearts; and with our entire community we mourn what seems to us the untimely loss of a valued citizen, an able minister of Christ, and so a most useful man. But in the faith which he cherished so long and clearly, we can also rejoice in the belief that our loss is his gain; and in that faith we would feel his new entreaties from the better land to come up higher, and that we can leave our and his church to the guidance of the Great Shepherd who “doeth all things well,” and that we should “keep on praying” that such faith may enable us, as we believe it has him,[p. 67] In April a call was extended to the Rev. Charles H. Baldwin.To pass through Glory's morning gate
And walk in Paradise.
Rev. (now D. D.) Charles Hume Baldwin was born in Windsor, Mass., March 11, 1838; graduated from Williams College, 1863, and from Union Theological Seminary, 1866; spent one year in special study; was ordained and settled over the Second Presbyterian Church in Peekskill, N. Y., April 30, 1867; was settled in 1869 over the Presbyterian Church in Johnstown, N. Y., one of the oldest and most important in the presbytery of Albany; four years later accepted a call to the Euclidavenue Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Ohio, where he labored for ten months, when his failing health compelled him to resign. In 1874 he married Miss Elizabeth C. McMartin, of Johnstown, and for a bridal trip spent a year in European travel. On his return he accepted a unanimous call to settle over the newly-constituted church at a salary of $3,000 (five hundred of which he voluntarily relinquished after four years of service), and was installed June 30, 1875. Admirably adapted to meet the peculiar condition of the church, he was eminently successful in his work. Feb. 1, 1881, he tendered his resignation, and the church by unanimous vote ordered the following record to be made: ‘Resolved, That in accepting the resignation of the Rev. Charles H. Baldwin, after a pastorate of nearly six years, we do it with profound regret and with a clear conviction that we are to lose a most active, discreet, and affectionate pastor; a most earnest, faithful, and efficient preacher; a most genial and sympathetic friend; and a citizen most philanthropic and valuable.’ He was dismissed February 21, and a week later was installed over a large Presbyterian church in Amsterdam, N. Y., where he labored for the next seventeen years, till [p. 68] an affection of the throat demanded for him a change of climate. From Amsterdam he went to Des Moines, where in one year he put new life into a small church which seemed almost ready to die, and placed it upon a firm foundation. Thus ended his thirty-two years in the ministry, and, excepting the year spent in Europe, he had been in constant service, having preached every farewell one Sabbath evening and his opening sermon to the new people the following Sabbath morning.1 He was succeeded by the Rev. T. P. Sawin.
Rev. (now D. D.) Theophilus Parsons Sawin, the seventh pastor, a son of Rev. T. P. Sawin, Sr., was born in Lynn, Mass., Jan. 14, 1841; was a member of the class of 1864 in Yale University, and was professor of Latin and mathematics in the Milwaukee Academy from 1865 to 1871, and at the same time was engaged to some extent in journalistic work. His professional education was wholly private. He was ordained at Racine, Wis., Dec. 1, 1871, and preached in the Congregational Church there for four years; then was called to the Congregational Church in Janesville, Wis., where he preached till he came to Medford. During his pastorate in Janesville, being much interested in education, he was, by State appointment, made a visitor to the Normal School at Whitewater and a lecturer before the Teachers' Associations. He was installed in Medford Nov. 16, 1881, and dismissed May 12, 1886, to assume the pastorate of the First Presbyterian Church in Troy, N. Y., where he has most successfully labored to the present time. By a unanimous vote of the church the following record was made April 27, upon the receipt of his letter of resignation: ‘Though extremely reluctant to part with a pastor who has been so successful among [p. 69] us and is so highly esteemed by all his flock, we yet recognize the importance of the position to which he has been called, and therefore, though with sincere regret, accept his resignation.’ Rev. James L. Hill was his successor.
Rev. James Langdon Hill, D. D., a son of Rev. James J. Hill, one of the eleven who, upon graduating from Andover Theological Seminary in 1843, went to Iowa to establish Congregationalism in that new and distant territory, was born in Garnavillo, Iowa, March 14, 1848. He graduated from Iowa College in 1871 and from Andover Theological Seminary in 1875. Sept. 15, 1875, he was ordained and installed as pastor of the North Church, in Lynn, Mass. From that church he was called to Medford, and installed Jan. 12, 1887. After a pastorate of more than seven years he read his letter of resignation March 4, 1894, and a special meeting of the church was called to act upon it March 13. At that meeting remarks were made by the officers of the church, and many others, all expressive of their exceedingly pleasant and tender relations with the pastor, their kind and pleasant remembrance of his work for our church and in our city, and their sincere regret that a termination of his active personal labors here was proposed. Upon accepting his resignation the church voted unanimously as follows: ‘That this church has heard with great regret our pastor's letter of resignation and desires to place on record its appreciation of his pure Christian character, his consistent life and faithful teachings, and his devotion and loyalty in the service of this church.’ A council representing seventeen churches was convened April 25, and, having reviewed the action of pastor and people, voted to dismiss him. In their ‘result,’ the following is embodied: [p. 70]
The council expresses its high appreciation of the courteous and Christian conduct of both pastor and people in this conference, one with the other, and the integrity and simplicity of motive leading to the severance of the sacred relation of pastor and people. The council also recognizes those happy and sterling qualities of mind and heart which have made Brother Hill's ministry so earnest and fruitful in the training and efficiency of his own church in this growing city, also those generous traits of sympathy and enthusiasm which he has ever manifested in the work of the churches of our Woburn conference, and especially those large gifts of devotion and loyalty to the Master and his great work, which we feel sure will still enrich the churches in the wider fields of Christian consecration to which he may be called.Upon leaving Medford Dr. Hill retired to the city of Salem, and devoted his entire energy to literary work.
Rev. John Barstow, a son of Rev. E. H. Barstow, was born in Newton Centre, Mass., Feb. 16, 1857; graduated from Dartmouth College, 1883; spent two years in Hartford Thelogical Seminary, then one year in foreign travel, and graduated from Andover, 1887; was ordained in Groton, Mass., June 29, 887; was installed in Glastonbury, Conn., Nov. 19, 1889; and from that church was called to Medford and installed Jan. 2, 1895. During his pastorate of less than five years the church has received one hundred and sixty-six members, a larger number than the admissions under any other pastor. Including the sixty charter members, and the one hundred and eighteen received from the First Church, the total membership to the present time (Nov. 6, [p. 71] 1899) has been one thousand and twenty-six (I,026), of which four hundred and thirty-four (434) have been received on their confession of faith. The present membership is four hundred and forty-seven (447). It is fitting that in closing this narrative brief reference should be made to one layman whom both churches have been especially delighted to honor. The name of Deacon Galen James heads the list of charter members in each of the two colonies. In many ways he was a wonderful man. One of his leading attributes was his practical common sense. His convictions were intensely strong and his persistence in acting upon them was phenomenal. Whether convinced that the town ought to have a high school, or that the Congregationalists ought to have a better newspaper to speak for the denomination, or that a new church should be organized, he allowed no obstacle to block his way to the realization of his conviction. Had he been a mere worldling he would have been a menace to society, but, being thoroughly consecrated in heart, head, and purse, he was eminently qualified for leadership. He was born in 1790 and died in 1879.