|JAMES WILSON BIXLER, A.M.,
B.D., the pastor of the Second Congregational Church of New London, was
born in Hanover, York County, Pa., February 28, 1861. A son of David D.
and Almira (Wilson) Bixler, he comes of German and Swiss descent. David
Bixler, his grandfather, born in Hanover, Pa., in 1798, was a son of Peter
Bixler, of Carroll County, Maryland. A merchant in trade in Hanover for
a number of years, David acquired a competency, and left a good estate
at his death, which occurred in Hanover in 1873, when he was seventy-five
years old. Active in local affairs, he served in a number of public offices.
He married Susan Long, of Hanover. She was a daughter of Samuel Long, who
was one of the Revolutionary soldiers who experienced the hardships of
Valley Forge. Mrs. Susan Bixler lived to be ninety-one years of age, dying
in 1891. She rests with her husband in the cemetery at Hanover. They were
members of the Lutheran church. Of the six children reared by them, three
daughters and three sons, four are living today.
David D. Bixler was born in Hanover in 1830.
After spending some time in business with his father, he became the latter's
successor, and is still conducting a store there. He married Almira Wilson,
of York, Pa., a daughter of John A. and Rachel (Mantle) Wilson. The Wilsons
are of Scotch-Irish origin. Mrs. Almira Bixler's paternal grandfather,
who was a native of the north of Ireland, was educated for the Presbyterian
ministry, and for a number of years was the pastor of a church in York
County, Pennsylvania. A close student, gifted with literary talent, he
was the author of a number of books. John A. Wilson was also educated for
the ministry, but his health was too uncertain to allow of his assuming
pastoral duties. He found employment as a scrivener, and was for a number
of years clerk of the York County courts. His wife died in February, 1896.
She was the mother of four children, namely: James Wilson, the subject
of this sketch; Samuel Lincoln and Charles Saxton, who are in business
with their father, the firm name being D. D. Bixler & Sons; and David
Ilervey Bixler, who graduated from Amherst College in the class of 1896,
and is now in the employ of the Vermont Marble Company at Proctor, Vt.
Samuel L. Bixler has a wife and one son.
James Wilson Bixler attended school in Williamsport,
Pa., and graduated from Amherst in 1882, an honor man and one of the class
officers, with a class of sixty-five. In that college he took several prizes
for a scholarship, and received the degree of Master of Arts. He then took
a divinity course at Yale, spending the fourth year in fellowship. From
Yale he received the degree of Bachelor of Divinity. After finishing his
college course, he travelled and studied in Germany for a year, and then
for a year was assistant to Dr. George L. Walker, the pastor of the First
Church in Hartford, Conn. He was ordained in October, 1889, and installed
as pastor of the North Congregational Church in Haverhill, Mass. This pastorate
he resigned in 1891 to take charge of the Second Congregational Church
in New London, which society, formed in 1836, is one of the oldest and
wealthiest religious organizations in the city, and has a membership numbering
over five hundred. The church edifice is a granite structure, erected in
1870, with richly colored stained glass windows and a fine granite spire.
The music is rendered by an accomplished organist and a cultured quartette.
This church requires a scholarly and eloquent pastor, and Mr. Bixler has
acceptably filled the pulpit for five years. The pastoral residence, which
is a very beautiful one, was built and endowed by Mrs. M. S. Harris, in
memory of her deceased husband, the Hon. J. N. Harris, who was a Deacon
of the church. Church, chapel, and parsonage, together, cost over one hundred
and fifty thousand dollars.
Mr. Bixler was married in Amherst, August
4, 1891, to Elizabeth James, a daughter of President Julius H. Seelye,
of Amherst College. She was a Smith College student and an accomplished
pianist. She died April 10, 1894, leaving one son, Julius Seelye Bixler,
who was born April 4, 1894. Mr. Bixler is a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity,
of Amherst, and is one of the overseers of the charity fund of that college.
He is a trustee of the Smith Memorial Home, which was founded and richly
endowed by the late Dr. Seth Smith. In 1897 he was elected a corporate
member of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
Biographical Review Volume
Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens
of New London County Connecticut
Biographical Review Publishing Company
pgs 329 - 330