Its People and Institutions as I knew them about Sixty Years ago.
D. O. PARKER.
Wednesday, June 2, 1897
REV. WM. CHIPMAN.
The pastor with his shaven face,
Who preached the truth of sovereign grace,
Whose even locks of silken hair,
Were always dressed with strictest care,
Who wore fine cloths and linen neat,
And shining boots upon his feet;
Although he lived two miles away,
Was here so oft to preach and pray,
And great and good his christian fame,
I here record his fragrant name,
And make the story of his days,
A sweet memorial of praise.
With faith he fled the burning mount,
And drank Siloas living fount,
And then inspired to preach and tell,
The bliss of heaven, the woes of hell,
The love of gold, he bid adieu,
And took the pulpit for the pew,
Henceforth redeeming love to tell,
His merchandise he bid farewell,
And while aloud he did proclaim,
Salvation in Messiahs name,
To all the sons of men abroad,
He magnified the grace of God,
Beside the sick he often knelt,
And shared the pangs that others felt;
And by the anxious bed of death,
Where lingered yet the fleeting breath;
He pressed the dying hand in love,
And pointed to the life above.
And to the grave with solemn tread,
Where mourners leave their cherished dead
With prayer he laid their loved away,
In peace to wait the rising day.
While from his early studious youth,
His soul was filled with gospel truth,
He had a wealth of useful lore.
For times of need, rich held in store,
With words discreet and ready pen,
He wrote the wills of dying men;
In sympathy with peoples needs,
Gave counsel free and wrote their deeds,
Disdaining quack, and patent pills,
He oft prescribed for sundry ills;
And when a surgeon there was none,
Would dress a wound and set a bone.
With all the zeal at his command,
He labored long with heart and hand,
To place within the reach of all,
The district school and college hall,
And lived to see on every hand,
Our schools the pride of this fair land.
He was our temperance pioneer;
The first to plead its interest here;
And when he spoke his friends refused,
With abstinence to be abused;
But not dismayed he labored on,
The battle fought and victory won,
At age of four score years and eight,
He entered in the pearly gate.
No more on earth, a saint above,
He wears the robes of light and love,
And fadeless crown of jewels rare;
The trophies of his faith and prayer.
Note. By some mishap this section was badly mixed up last week, but is now correctly given.
REV. WM. CHIPMAN.
The names already recorded as the teachers of the first Sabbath School in Berwick and others, all of whom come within the period of my recollection, show there were men of sterling worth and intelligence among the primitive builders of Berwick. Mr. Chipman was so long associated with them and others, and contributed so largely to its social, educational, moral and religious development, it is due that he should have more than a passing notice.
He was born Nov. 29, 1781. "Young, active, fine in form and features, respectably connected and possibly somewhat more polished than some of his companions, they were wont to look up to him as their leader." "He was small in stature, his eyes of a dark hazel hue, and his hair literally as black and as glossy as a ravens." These are pictures of his youth as given by his intimate friend, the late Dr. S. T. Rand. Card playing with his young companions was one of his favorite amusements in which he was well skilled. When about sixteen years old, absorbed in a game, but not enjoying it, the awful words, Death, Judgement, Eternity, rose in terrible reality before him. He could endure it no longer. The cards dropped from his hands, and hiding his emotions, he retired to a place of seclusion, and on his knees begged for mercy, with the promise, if the Almighty would give him pardon, that he would abandon card playing and all its evil associations forever; but in his weakness he wished to conceal his trouble from his companions so he made the reservation, that he should go back to the card table and finish the game. He did so. The next day his convictions were deepened, but new trouble came. In a neighboring village there was to be a dance in the evening. William was one of the favorite invited guests, and not to be present would make a break in the festivities of the evening, and raise the enquiry "what strange thing hash appened?" It was a day of terrible conflict. To go, or not to go, that was the question. On his knees the questions was settled, and the voice of Mercy said "Peace be still." But evening came, and from his store window he saw his companions coming, and knew they would call for him. What could he say? What could he do? He quickly turned the key, and retired to the room above. They try the door and concluding he has gone, hasten forward. From his window with an aching heart he watches them out of sight. Thus far he has won the victory, but has not found the peace and assurance of saving grace for his soul. A few days later he hears of a great religious revival in Lower Granville and obtained the consent of his father and bearing a heavy burden in his heart, reading his bible, weeping and praying, he makes the journey alone on horseback. He reaches the place, there is song, and joy and gladness all about him. Day after day he attends the meetings, heavy laden, and his darkness is only intensified by the joy and gladness of others. In despair he gives up all hope. "There was nothing before him but fiery indignation and everlasting woe." He bade the people of God farewell, - he never expected to see them again. They would be in heaven, and he was glad; but as for himself he was lost." He left for home, and the first night stopping at Thomas Handley Chipmans, so great was anguish of his heart, he could not sleep. "Toward morning exhausted nature gave way. He sank into a slumber, from which he awoke, refreshed, calm, peaceful and happy." But soon another trial awaited him. His new found peace was gone. He was wrapped in dense darkness. "He thought himself deceived, and all his hopes a solemn mockery, that he was abandoned of God and given over to a reprobate mind. Almost demented he wandered from the house into the pasture, resolved once more in some retired spot to plead the prayer of the publican. But before the prayer found utterance in words he sank unconscious to the ground, and so remained for some time. But the light of heaven shone upon him. He awoke. The sun had made a long journey through the sky. He was in a new world. Everything was praising God. "Old things had passed away and all things become new." With a new and happy heart he hastened to his old home, and at once set up the family altar in his fathers house. He told me shortly before his death that time onward he never doubted for a moment his acceptance with God. His subsequent history will be given in the next section, this much is substantially his own story.