Benjamin F. Wade
was born in June, 1835, at Bristolville, Ohio, where he resided
till he entered the Erie Conference in 1863. He passed away at the home of
his son Frank, in Cleveland, Oct. 14, 1910.
He was one of a class of twenty-three, the largest ever admitted to the
Conference, seventeen of whom have passed over the river two are still in
the active service. In 1858 he married Harriet A.
Clark of Southington, Ohio, a lovely character, and most efficient
co-laborer in all his active ministry. To this union was born one son,
active in the church in Cleveland. Mrs. Wade
died at Chautauqua Sept. 2, 1899, and was buried at Portland. In July.
1906, Brother Wade married Mrs. Prudence Haughton,
a most estimable woman of Southington, whom he had known from boyhood. She
ministered to him faithfully, and was his noble companion the remainder of
his days. Brother Wade’s charges were
Claridon, O.; Hendersonville. Pa.; Hudson, Charlestown, Tailmadge,
Edinburg, Bedford, 0.; Edinboro, Waterford, Pa.; Randolph. Little Valley,
Mayville, Portland, N. Y.; Millerstown. Evansburg, Millvillage, Girard,
Pa., and Portland, N. Y. He came in the days when fierce discussions were
raging. In his youth he was familiar with the men who were persecuted for
liberty. His uncle “Ben,” familiarly
called, was one of the strong personalities in Northern Ohio, rough he
was, but mighty in halls of legislation. Growing up amid such clashing of
intellectual and moral forces, his very soul was permeated with the spirit
of a new age. Not that he was a battler, but the elements of strength and
nobility were strongly marked. There are placid faces, sweet faces,
beautiful faces, may be winsome, vet express nothing, have no outlines, no
virility, no passion for humanity. Tall, erect, slender, he stood like a
pillar supporting great things; wiry, graceful, he seemed meet for the
struggles, battles, toils of a long life; a scholar of no mean
attainments, he was equipped for the questions of church and state,
thoroughly furnished for every good word and work. He had not so much the skill of growing roses in his sermons
as he possessed the art of handling great thoughts and truths; stronger,
than winsome. There were no empty gold plates on his table. His people
never lacked the substantials of the gospel. Shams did not grow in his
dooryard. When a certain doctor was growing rich in his publications and
mysterious “heal everything,” he pricked the bubble of his greatness,
and publications and mystery and doctor disappeared
from view. The truths of redemption were grasped and forcefully presented.
Not a prophet heralding “maybes;” not a dweller in the good old past,
just a plodder, just a digger, just minting the coin of the kingdom, just
living in the heart of God day by day: just a plain, everyday honest,
strong, noble-minded son of God; just a true, loving father; just such a
husband as a wife loves and honors and trusts; just such a friend as holds
through thick and thin; just such a pastor as people long remember for his
Godlikeness. He was a sturdy financier for the church. He was scrupulously
exacting to the church property. A country church down at the heels is a
plague-spot, an eyesore; but a neat, well-kept house of God is a perpetual
inspiration to cheer and hope. The gospel can be in the house as well as
in the pulpit. “Mine” and “thine” in the preacher make bold
outlines in the laity. When a man’s word is slipshod, all the roses that
smile and breathe perfume will not hide the defect. When a man grows
loose-jointed in his make-up, his church will be wabbly. From within his
sanctuaries went many a strong character to enrich the centers of life in
the cities. There is more depending on the country parson than on the
city, because city churches are absorbing the country life. His life
centered in a gem, shines out to all of us. ‘‘Toil on, brother, there
are golden harvests. Look up, brother, God is overhead. All the bright
things are in the sky. Darkness, doubt are underneath.
When the day is
done thou wilt find no night, but home, and God’s eternal day.” Brother
Wade was laid to rest in the beautiful cemetery at Portland, N. Y.,
where he twice served as pastor. It was golden autumn day. Many friends
and old parishioners were present. The Rev. H. H.
Clare, pastor at Portland, had charge of the funeral service; the Rev.
R. C. Smith and the Rev. R. N. Stubbs,
classmates, assisted. After a few appropriate remarks by the writer, an
impressive burial service, we turned again to the building of the kingdom.
by R. N. Stubbs. Memoirs of Deceased Preachers, Erie Conference
Journal and Yearbook, 1911, pages 119-121.