A CENTENNIAL DISCOURSE,
REV. CHARLES BURNHAM
ACTING PASTOR OF THE
"Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation." — JOEL I:3.
"Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live forever?" — ZECHARIAH I:5.
To-day we stand in the entrance and upon the threshold of the second century of our history as a church. Through the good providence of God, we are permitted to see this epoch in our history, and to stand upon this post of observation, where we are compelled to look back over the past century, which is mapped out distinctly before us, and where we may see and learn the hardships, toils and conflicts that the pioneers in town and church were obliged to encounter ; where we may see how they met their responsibilities, how they removed or overcame the obstacles in their path.
We look over this congregation, and call upon those pioneers to come forward in their own persons and tell us of the conflicts through which they passed; — but there is no response. "Your fathers, where are they?" Gone, all gone. The grave covers their mortal remains. Where is Hezekiah Taylor, the first pastor of this church, who served it from the day of its organization, June 30, 1774, till September, 1811, more than thirty-seven years? He, too, is gone. "And the prophets, do they live forever?" No ; by reason of death there must be a succession in the ministry, but the great Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ, "because he ever liveth, hath an unchangeable priesthood."
The church lives, though its individual members die; the church is built upon the "Rock of Ages," and like its Divine head, it will ever live. If, as we stand upon this post of observation, we turn our minds to the century before us, who can tell what its successive years will reveal? Little very little dare we predict. Of one thing, however, we may be confident; as the successive years of the century pass away, they will bear, one after another to the grave, all here present to-day. Probably not one of us, probably not one now in town, will see the end of the century upon
which we have entered. Those who will celebrate the second centennial of the town and church will say of us, as we are compelled to say of those who were here one hundred years ago, all, all are gone.
All that pertains to our well-being in time and eternity, is essentially included between two fixed and definite hours, the hour of birth, and the hour of death. Our present life involves the future ; the future will be colored, stamped and fixed by the present.
Says Scott, in one of his beautiful hymns:
" This season of your being, know,
Is given to you your seeds to sow ;
Wisdom's and folly's differing grain,
In future worlds, is bliss and pain.
Then let me every day review,
Idle or busy, search it through;
And while probation's minutes last,
Let every day amend the past."
We are now called upon especially to review the past, and gather up its lessons of instruction for our future guidance.
The history of this church the past century has lessons, important lessons, for us to consider, and it is my purpose now to set forth these lessons, as well as I may.
1. The first thing to be noted is the settlement of the town and the establishment of the institutions of religion.
The town was organized May 17, 1774. The church was organized and the first pastor, the Rev. Hezekiah Taylor, was settled about six weeks later, on June 30, 1774.
The Gazetteer of Vermont, published at Montpelier, in 1824, gives the date of Mr. Taylor's settlement as August, 1774. This is a mistake, as the records of the church clearly show. The same authority also says: "There were but six families when the church was organized." This is a mistake. Luke Knowlton, Esq., moved into town in 1772, and his family was the fourteenth in town. It is currently reported by some of the elderly people here, that they have often heard from their ancestors there were fourteen families in town when the church was organized. This is without doubt correct.
Are there now fourteen families in town, who would willingly and cheerfully make provision to sustain the ordinances of religion? It may well be doubted. These pioneers manifestly loved the gospel, and were willing to make sacrifices, many and great, if, thereby, they could sit beneath the droppings of the sanctuary. They were poor in worldly goods, but rich in faith ; rich, too, in works, the fruits of faith. This was the eleventh Congregational church organized in the State. It was organized at a time which, emphatically, tried men's souls. It was only two years before the Declaration of Independence, when the whole country was agitated by those events which resulted in the Revolutionary war. Here there were neither roads nor bridges ; neither horses, oxen, nor wagons, and the traveler must guess his way along, or find it by marked trees. All supplies must be brought on foot from Hinsdale, twenty miles distant. Yet poor as were the people, they were quite too poor to live without the gospel. What they invested in the gospel of Christ was doubtless the best investment they made. It blessed them, it has blessed their descendants till this day, and it will continue to bless those who shall come after for years to come. We, who are here to-day, inherit the fruits of the toil, the hardship, and the self-denial of those godly men and women, who lived and labored here one hundred years ago.
This fact imposes upon us solemn and weighty responsibilities. We ought not merely to do as much to bless those who shall come after us, as those who have gone before have done to bless us. We ought to do far more. Our abilities, opportunities and facilities are far greater. If they did not do more than could reasonably be expected of them, we may well ask ourselves if we are doing that which could be reasonably expected of us. Who were those heroic, self-denying people? Their names and deeds should be embalmed in the memory of us all.
The church, at its organization, consisted of the following persons: Luke Knowlton and wife, Thomas Green and wife, John Wheeler and wife, Jonathan Park and wife, and the wife of Mr. Henry Balcom. On the fourteenth of December, 1774, the church made choice of Luke
Knowlton, Esq., as Deacon. Moses Kenney was chosen the second Deacon, March 11, 1783. Brother Knowlton was appointed to wait on the communion table and read the psalm. To the younger portion of this audience this statement may need some explanation. One hundred years ago books were scarce, and there might have been but one hymn book in the whole congregation, and that in the hands of the minister. He would select the psalm, and hand the book to the deacon, who would read two lines. Then the chorister, pitchpipe in hand, would pitch the tune, and the singers would sing them. The deacon would then read two more, which would be sung, and so on to the end of the psalm.* To be sure, this was not very pleasant, but it was the best they could do.
2. Consider the method adopted to raise the salary of the minister.
Whether Mr. Taylor was settled by the town at the time of his ordination the records do not show. It would appear, however, that he was not, for we find upon the nineteenth of November, 1781, a town meeting was called "To see if the inhabitants of Newfane will vote the Rev. Mr. Taylor to be their minister." Also, "To see what means they would choose in regard to having the salary of the Rev. Mr. Taylor assessed upon the inhabitants." At this meeting it was "Voted unanimously that the town approve of and accept the Rev. Mr. Taylor to be minister of the gospel for said town." Also, "Voted to raise two hundred HARD DOLLARS to pay the salary due to the Rev. Mr. Taylor on the thirtieth day of December next." Also, "Voted a salary of sixty pounds, meaning two hundred Spanish milled dollars, per annum, to be assessed annually so long as the Rev. Mr. Taylor, remains a minister of the gospel in said town."
Thus it appears the minister's salary was raised by assessment, the same as other taxes, on all the inhabitants. This course assumed the fact that all the people were under as much obligation to sustain the gospel, as to sustain the government. The gospel benefits all the people, and so all
*At the conclusion of the centennial service a psalm was read and sung, according to the old fashion.
should pay for its support. At that time this was well enough, as the people were of one way of thinking, or were all Congregationalists. It was not felt to be any more improper to tax the people to sustain the institutions of religion, than to tax them to sustain the civil government. It may well be doubted whether our present views of religious freedom are, so far as a support of the gospel is concerned, in any degree in advance of our fathers of a hundred years ago. Now we let every man do, in this regard, what is right in his own eyes, and he may pay as he pleases, little or much. Formerly each paid according to his ability. This made the burden upon each as nearly equal as possible, and no one could claim that he was doing more than he ought — no one could complain that his neighbor was not doing his share.
We pride ourselves somewhat upon our liberal, democratic views, and our religious freedom. We pass around a subscription paper, and let every man pay for the support of the gospel whatever he pleases. We regard taxing as a kind of despotism, which gives no play to benevolence. We flatter ourselves that our present system has this advantage: It gives every man the opportunity to show of what material he is made; in short, the subscription paper is an index of character, where every man puts his own estimate upon himself.
We see by the record that the minister's salary was paid in hard dollars. Those dollars were hard in more senses than one. They were hard because they were in coin, and they were hard because they were so scarce, and so difficult to obtain. Our forefathers, the pioneers of the town and church, prized the gospel; they believed it lay at the very foundation of all good and permanent government, and so they suffered privations, toils and hardships, to enjoy its privileges, and to transmit them to their posterity. We do not now realize under what difficulties they labored, or how hard and long they struggled ere they could "go up to the House of the Lord."
3. Let us consider their efforts to build a meeting-house. September 17, 1792, at a town meeting, the following action was taken: "Voted to build a meeting-house, forty
feet by fifty. Voted to set said house betwixt the court house and Mr. Taylor's lane. Voted the sum of fifty pounds for the purpose of setting up a frame for a meetinghouse. Voted to appoint Lieut. Ward Eager, Capt. Ephraim Holland, Deacon Moses Kenney and Mr. Ebenezer Morse a building committee."
After many delays, embarrassments and changes, on the eighth of January, 1798, arrangements were made, by which the materials for the house were to be delivered at the place of building. One man agreed to furnish four sills of specified dimensions, for a certain price ; another undertook to furnish the plates, rafters, or braces, and so on. In this way the materials for the house were furnished by some twenty or thirty persons. On the seventeenth of July, 1799, the house was raised. The raising of a meeting-house, in those days, was an affair of great importance and the master workman must have picked men, trusty and true. Accordingly the men were selected from all the neighboring towns, and to distinguish them from all others, each wore a handkerchief around his head. Col. Tyler, of Townshend, fell from the frame and was taken up for dead; but he revived at length, and in due time recovered. On the twelfth of November, 1799, a contract was made by the building committee with Mr. Joseph Pond, of Warwick, Mass., to finish the house. The materials were all to be furnished for him, except the sash and pews, which were to be made at Warwick and brought to this place. The workmen were to be furnished with board while here, and twenty-five gallons of West India rum was to be supplied for their use. Mr. Pond was to do the work "in a workman-like manner," and to receive therefor $1146; $50 in cash within one year from date, and $1096 was to be paid in beef at cash price in the month of October next ensuing after date. Mr. Pond's receipt for his pay on the contract bears date November 19, 1800.
What a struggle! what toils, anxieties and vexations in securing a house in which to worship God! Do you not think the dollars paid for that house were "HARD DOLLARS?"
The whole cost of the house, as shown by the bill, was $3731.32. The pews were sold at public auction, to raise the
money to pay for finishing the house. The first pew sold in the lower part of the house was to Deacon Moses Kenney for $95 ; this was the highest price paid. The lowest price paid for any of the pews on the floor of the house was $34; this was given by Ebenezer Morse. The pews in the gallery were sold October 1, 1800. The highest price paid was $36, and Silvanus Sherwin was the purchaser ; the lowest price was $16, and Joseph Ellis was the purchaser.
These pews were paid for in the following manner : One-fifth part in cash at ninety days, or in beef at twenty days ; the other four-fifths in cash at the end of one year.
4. Let us now look at some of the spiritual results from the means of grace thus enjoyed.
During the pastorate of the Rev. Mr. Taylor, of something more than thirty-seven years, there were received into the church, not including the nine at its organization, one hundred and twenty-six members, forty-eight males, and seventy-eight females.
The Rev. Jonathan Nye, the second pastor of this church, was installed November 6, 1811, and was dismissed December 29, 1819. During his pastorate of eight years and more, there were received into the church eighty-eight members, twenty-seven males and sixty-one females.
The Rev. Chandler Bates, the third pastor, was settled July 4, 1821, and was dismissed January 12, 1831. During his pastorate of nearly ten years, eighty-five were received into the church, eighteen males and sixty-seven females.
In 1832-3 the Rev. C. M. Brown supplied the pulpit and received six into church fellowship, one male and five females. Mr. Brown preached the first temperance sermon in the place. It produced some sensation, as such sermons were apt to do, at that early period in the temperance reformation. He apologized for preaching such a sermon upon the Sabbath, saying he "could not catch 'em (the people) at any other time." One man present, not over much pleased with the discourse, was heard to say, when the meeting was out, "The minister says he preached this sermon upon the Sabbath because he could not catch 'em at any other time, but, by the laws," (a favorite expression of the man), "he won't catch me here again." It appears, however, that upon reflection,
he thought better of the discourse, and taking off his hat and holding it out in his hand, he said, "I do not doubt I have paid out my hat full of four-pences for flip and toddy."
The world has moved a long way in its temperance orbit since then. God speed the day when the circuit shall be complete, the battle fought, and the victory won for temperance.
In 1833 the Rev. Rodger C. Hatch labored here eight weeks. The Rev. John F. Griswold was installed pastor of this church April 1, 1834, and was dismissed July 30, 1839. Rev. L. S. Coburn was settled here October 2, 1839, and this present house was dedicated to the worship of God, at the same time. Because of continued ill health Mr. Coburn was dismissed June 14, 1842.
May 18, 1843, the Rev. Dana B. Bradford was installed pastor of this church, and was dismissed June 10, 1845. The Rev. Darwin Adams was installed pastor of the church January 28, 1846, and was dismissed February 21, 1850. The Rev. Mr. Plimpton supplied about ten months, in 1850, and was followed by Rev. Charles Whiting, who continued here till his death, in May, 1855. The Rev. Mr. Estey supplied about six months, in 1855, and was followed by the Rev. Mr. Eastman in 1856. The Rev. Mr. Bixby came in 1851, and remained five or six years. He was dismissed from the church in May, 1863, and was succeeded by the Rev. Benjamin Ober, who continued about five years, and was followed by the Rev. Messrs. Parkinson, Chase, Shurtleff and Dow, who averaged about one year each.
During the past hundred years this church has had twenty pastors and acting pastors, beside those who have supplied for a few weeks only. The average pastorate has been less than five years. Such frequent changes in the pastoral office is disastrous to the best interests of the church, since it cultivates an unsteady, fickle disposition in both church and people.
Your experience, in this respect, has been remarkable, and one by no means desirable to continue or repeat. Sometimes, often perhaps, ministers are in fault, in the matter of frequent changes, and sometimes the people. We gain
knowledge by experience, and experience ought to lead us to do better in the future than we have in the past. You are called to-day to review your past history, and gather up its lessons of instruction.
In a serious review of the past you may see where you have made mistakes. It should be your purpose to avoid these mistakes in the future. You have just entered upon the second century of your history as a church. Improve upon the past. Be more active and enterprising as a Christian church. Do more for Christ.
One thing is greatly to your credit. You have uniformly felt that you must have the regular ministrations of the gospel. This has been a right feeling, and as a result of it, this people for the past century have enjoyed a stated ministry, with very small or inconsiderable interruptions.
The whole number of members in this church from its organization until this time has been four hundred and seventy-one ; one hundred and eighty-eight males, and two hundred and eighty-three females. The present number of members is ninety-five; twenty-four males, and seventy-one females. The present number is more than ten times the original one. God has not forgotten this church, nor left it to die. While many have finished their course, and have gone to their reward; while many more have removed to other places, God has raised up others to fill their places. Your losses in numbers have been made more than good by additions. You commence this century of your history with nearly one hundred members ; one hundred years ago, and nine, all told, constituted Christ's flock in this place. How much better your position in this respect, than it was one hundred years ago!
Your ability to sustain religion at home, and to send it to the destitute has increased even more rapidly than your numbers. Your facilities and opportunities for doing good are vastly greater than they were a century ago. If so, then a corresponding degree of responsibility rests upon you. Let it be your aim to meet fully and manfully these responsibilities. To this providence now calls you. Do not prove recreant to the high trust committed to you. Who can estimate the amount of moral influence this
church has exerted during the past century? What would this place have been had no Christian church ever existed in the town? Here from Sabbath to Sabbath the people have assembled to worship God, and seek his protection and guidance. For nearly three quarters of the past century, the people here emphatically "went up to the house of the Lord," when they assembled upon the top of Newfane hill. Then the great mass of the people assembled upon the Sabbath, nor thought of absenting themselves from the sanctuary, if health permitted them to be present. They went through the storms and cold of winter, — yes, and remained all day, and sat in a cold house, in a house that never smelt fire. The summer's heat did not wilt them. They met to worship God, and clasp hands in friendship and sympathy. On this point, we ought to learn a lesson from the past. We, too, should hold fast to the worship of God, and cultivate a stronger sympathy with each other. Let there be more hand-shaking and kindly greeting, and we shall see more in God's house upon the Sabbath. If we would see fewer vacant seats in the sanctuary, we must greet all those around us with greater cordiality, and with a deeper and more heart-felt sympathy.
Revivals of religion are the crowning glory of our churches, and a very marked characteristic in the history of Christianity in our land. This church has repeatedly been visited by rich effusions of the Holy Spirit, and as the fruits of these revivals many have been added to the membership of the church. Under the pastorate of the Rev. Chandler Bates there was a revival of much power. Hollis Read, a native of Newfane, and at this time a member of Williams College, spent a vacation here, and took a deep interest in the spiritual condition of the people, and was greatly instrumental in promoting and helping forward this work of grace. His labors of love and his fidelity are held in grateful remembrance by many now living in this community. In 1843-4, under the pastorate of Rev. D. B. Bradford, there was a season of deep religious interest, and numbers connected themselves with the church. There was special interest also under the labors of Messrs. Bixby,
Shurtleff and Dow. These seasons of refreshing are to be desired and sought for ; then Christians grow in grace, and "Zion lengthens her cords, and strengthens her stakes." God grant that the century upon which you have now entered may be far more fruitful in revivals than the past has been.
6. Sabbath Schools.
The first Sabbath School was opened here in the summer of 1818, by Miss Lucy Burnap, sister of Dea. Asa Burnap. Some still remember that school with gratitude and love; and some of the little cards, given as rewards for attendance, or good behavior, are still preserved. They had no superintendent then, no question books, or beautiful books for the library, as we now have. Miss Burnap was accustomed to open the school with prayer. The exercises consisted almost wholly in repeating passages of scripture, or some little hymn. It would be very interesting, could we tell who, and how many have been connected with the school from its origin, and trace their subsequent history. This cannot now be done. How much progress has been made in Sabbath School instruction, during the fifty-six years since 1818! How many facilities we have for understanding the Bible, above those who started and attended this school in its small and feeble beginnings! Honored and revered be the name and memory of Miss Lucy Burnap! We are reaping a glorious harvest from her sowing.
Another influence for good this church has exerted must not be overlooked. Seven Congregational ministers have here been nurtured, trained and sent forth into the world to do their work.
The Rev. Bliss Burnap was brought up in the family of the Rev. Aaron Crosby ; he was a good man, and still lives to bless the world by his example, faith and prayers. He has preached in Malone and Bangor, N. Y., and in other places of which I am not informed.
The Rev. Luke Whitcomb was born in this town in 1789. He possessed a strong mind, and was fond of books, and ardently desired an education. After many struggles he fitted for college, and was admitted to the Junior Class, at Middlebury, where he graduated in due course. "He
left college," says his biographer, the Rev. H. Beckley, of Dummerston, "with an excellent character as a man, as a scholar and as a Christian." He became pious during a revival in college, in 1811. His convictions of sin were deep and pungent, and his conversion thorough. He commenced the study of theology immediately after he graduated, but under private instruction. He preached in several places while a licentiate, but soon received a call to settle in Townshend, Vt., which he accepted. The church at Townshend had been much distracted by divisions, but by his wise and judicious labors, it became united and prosperous. This was his only settlement, which continued about five years, until his death. Without being dismissed, he sought restoration to health by going south to spend the winter, and died in Savannah, Ga., Jan. 2, 1821, about two weeks after his arrival there. He was a good man, "full of faith and the Holy Ghost." He died loved, respected, and greatly lamented by the people of his charge.
The Rev. Hollis Read graduated at Williams College, and was sent by the A. B. C. F. M., as a missionary to the Mahratta mission, in India. Here he continued till the failure of his health led him to return to his native land, where he still lives. He is the author of a number of works of great value: "God in History," "India and her People," "The Palace of the Great King," "The Footprints of Satan in History," a counterpart to "God in History," and a Prize Essay, "Commerce and Christianity." This last is a work of rare merit, and does honor to the head and heart of its author.
Rev. Ephraim H. Newton, D. D., was born in Newfane, June 13, 1787. In his younger days he assisted his father in the blacksmith's shop, but having an ardent desire for knowledge, and after many hard struggles be fitted for college and entered at Middlebury, in 1866, graduating in 1810. He then entered the Theological Seminary, at Andover, and graduated there in 1813. His first settlement was at Marlboro, Vt., March 16, 1814. His ministry there continued nearly twenty years and was very successful. 133 additions were made to the church under his ministry. He was afterwards settled at Glen's Falls, N. Y., where
he continued more than three and a half years. In 1837 he was settled at Cambridge, Washington county, N. Y. In each of these places he was greatly blessed in his labors. He was a great lover of the natural sciences, and collected a very fine cabinet of minerals. These specimens attracted much attention from learned and scientific men ; he was often solicited to sell them, but declined to do so. He finally gave them to the Theological Seminary, at Andover, Mass., and spent weeks in arranging and putting them in order. He valued this cabinet at $3000. The seminary puts a much higher value upon it. Mr. Newton died October 26, 1864. It is not a little credit to a church to have raised up and sent out into the world such a man. His influence yet lives and will continue to live for years to come ; and through his works, like Abel, "Though dead, he yet speaketh."
The Rev. Lewis Grout was born in the southwestern part of Newfane, January 28, 1815, the eldest of nine children, of whom eight were sons. His father, John Grout,* was for some years one of the deacons of the Congregational church in Marlboro, where he and his family were accustowed to attend church. In 1836 they removed from New-fane to West Brattleboro. Lewis graduated at Yale College, in 1842, after which he was engaged for a time in teaching at West Point, N. Y. He spent two years in the study of theology at New Haven, and one at Andover, where he graduated in 1846. In the autumn of this year he was
*The genealogy of the Grout family is briefly as follows: Deacon John Grout, of Newfane, was son of John Grout, of Westminster, Vt., who was the son of Thomas, of Spencer, Mass., who was the son of John, of Sudbury, Mass., who was the son of John, of the same town, who was the son of Capt. John, of Watertown and Dudley, who came over from England to America, about 1634, at the age of eighteen, who is supposed to be the son of Richard Grout, or Groutte, of Walton, in the county of Derby, England, whose family is supposed to have settled in Cornwall, in the west part of England during the reign of Henry I., 1154-89, and to have originated in Germany, where they bore the name of Grotius or Groot, alias Grote, Gross, Gros, or Graus, who are believed to be the descendants of the Grudii, or the Great, of whom Cæsar speaks as among the daring tribes of Belgic Gaul, upwards of fifty years previous to the Christian era. — See Genealogy of the Descendants of Capt. John Grout, by Rev. Abner Morse, A M., member of the New England His. and Geneal. Soc. [L. G.].
ordained as a missionary and married in Springfield, Vt., and went out under the American Board to the Zulus, in South Africa. Here he spent fifteen years. In 1862 he returned to this country, and preached for a year at Saxton's River, Vt., after which he was settled for two years as pastor of the Congregational church, at Feeding Hills, Mass. In 1865 he entered the service of the American Missionary Association, as their agent for New Hampshire and Vermont, in behalf of the freedmen, in which he is still engaged, having his residence at West Brattleboro.
Among the fruits of Mr. Grout's literary labors are the following:
"An Essay on the Zulu and other Dialects in South Africa;" Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1849. "A Plan for Effecting a Uniform Orthography of the South African Dialects;" Journal American Oriental Society, 1851. "An Essay on the Phonology and Orthography of the Zulu and Kindred Dialects of South Africa;" Journal American Oriental Society, 1853. "Observations on the Prepositions, etc., of the Isizulu and its Cognate Languages;" Journal American Oriental Society, 1859. "History of the Zulu and other tribes in and around Natal;" printed by the Colonial Government, Natal, 1853. "Reply to Bishop Colenso on Polygamy;" pp. 56, 8vo, Natal, 1855. "Answer to Dr. Colenso's Letter," etc.: pp. 103, Natal, 1856. "The Lord Loveth the Gates of Zion; a Sermon at the Dedication of the Congregational Church in Durban;" Natal, pp. 24, 1857. "The Religion of Faith and that of Form;" two discourses, pp. 48, Natal, 1857. "The Christian Ministry," etc. ; two discourses, pp. 48, Natal, 1858. "The Primitive Polity of Christian Churches;" an Installation sermon, pp. 39, Natal, 1857. "The Isizulu: A Grammar of the Zulu Language, with Historical Introduction and Appendix;" pp. 474, 8vo, Natal, 1859. "Zulu-Land, or Life among the Zulu-Kafirs of Natal and Zulu-Land, South Africa;" pp. 351, Philadelphia; 1864. "Translations of Psalms, Acts and other portions of the Bible into the Zulu Language;" printed and published in Natal. "Reminiscences of Life among the Zulu-Kafirs;" Boston Review, November, 1865. "Colenso on the
Doctrines ; A Review of his Notes on Romans;" Congregational Review, September, 1869. "The Church-Membership of Baptized Children;" Bib. Sacra., April, 1871. "The Early History of the Congregational Church in West Brattleboro;" a discourse preached December 31, 1876.
Rev. Admatha Grout was born in Newfane, February 19, 1817, fitted for college at Brattleboro Academy, graduated at Dartmouth College 1845, and at Union Theological Seminary, in 1851. But failing health did not allow of his being settled in the ministry. He died in Kansas, in 1855.
Rev. Henry Martyn Grout, brother of Lewis and Admatha, was born May 14, 1831. Graduated at Williams College, in 1854, after which he taught for a time as Principal of the Brattleboro Academy, and subsequently as Principal of Monson Academy. He was licensed to preach in 1856, and labored for a time in Marlboro. He was ordained and installed over the church in Putney, September 1, 1858. Subsequent to this he was called to the church in West Rutland, where he was installed, August 26, 1862. His next pastorate, a term of four years, was over the church in West Springfield, Mass. He is now settled in Concord, Mass. He was, for several years, associate editor in the literary department of the Congregationalist of Boston. Among the fruits of his pen aside from the above, are the following:
"A Sermon, commemorative of the Hon. Edward Southworth," West Springfield, Mass., 1869. "Trinitarian Congregationalism in Concord ; An Historical Discourse," etc. ; 1876. Among the "Sermons by the Monday Club," of Boston, the following were written by Mr. Grout: In the first series, "David and Jonathan," "Honest Industry," "The Early Christian Church," "Philip and the Ethiopian;" in the second series, "Elijah on Carmel," "The Famine in Samaria," "Paul at Athens," and "Paul at Jerusalem."
Another name here deserves mention, though it cannot be numbered with the ministers. Willard Keyes was born and brought up in this town ; while quite a young man he went to the then far west, and settled in Quincy, Adams
county, Ill. There he purchased land at government price, and became wealthy by its increase in value. He was a pillar in the Congregational church at Quincy. He was a stanch, unwavering anti-slavery man. One branch of the underground railroad passed through Quincy, and I suspect the cars often stopped at his door, to let out passengers. He gave $10,000 to the Congregational Theological Seminary at Chicago, and one of its halls is named "Keyes Hall," in honor of his memory and his noble benefaction. I am persuaded, he also gave a large sum to Knox College, Galesburg, Ill., but the amount I am not able to state.
Thus have the sons of the town and the church, as they have gone out from the old homestead, from the school-house and from the sanctuary, gone to bless the places where they have lived, build up society upon that only sure and permanent foundation, the Bible. Would you willingly have the influence, which this church has exerted during the past century all blotted out? " No, no!" you all will say with united voice, "let the church live, and let her influence, during the present century upon which she has just entered, be increased ten fold." "God bless the church for what it has done, and preserve it for generations yet to come!"
The church has had a goodly array of deacons in its past history. There have been two deacon Knowltons, Luke and Nathan ; two Holdens, Josiah and Forbes; two Pratts, Putnam and Morton. The other deacons were Moses Kenney, Jonathan Park, Caleb Mayo, John Wilder, Jonathan Hall, Asa Burnap, Lyman Gould, Jacob Allen, John Kimball, W. A. Stedman, Asa Kidder and Ephraim C. Walker, eighteen in all. Those who have occupied this position need not be ashamed of it, or of the service they have been called to render. It is an important and responsible office, and like the ministry, it does not always receive an adequate reward in this world. Patience will sometimes be tried, and benevolence taxed beyond measure. Let it be remembered that the Bible says: "For they that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus." The success and prosperity of a church are greatly dependent upon the piety, ability and
efficiency of its deacons. These ministers, deacons, and church-members, who have been here in the past, where are they? Very many of them have passed from earth, and have, as we trust, "entered into the saint's everlasting rest."
"Your fathers, where are they? and the prophets, do they live forever?" "One generation passeth away, and another cometh," and "instead of the fathers shall be the children." It is so to-day, the fathers of the town and church are not here ; some of their descendants are; so it will be in the future. When the second centennial shall come round, we shall none of us be here, though some of our descendants may be. The memory or history of what we say and do on this occasion, will perhaps pass down to that second centennial. Let it be a memorial worthy of us. These exercises and this occasion are our memorial, the stone we set up; and like Israel of old let us inscribe upon it "Ebenezer," for "hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
You can not only gather wisdom from your past history, but strength also, and encouragement for the future. You have experienced trials, toils and discouragements ; there have been dark days in your history, but in the good providence of God, the trials and the toils have been courageously borne, the discouragements are things of the past, and the dark days are no more. Prosperity now smiles upon you. Let your motto be "Onward and upward," and hand in hand, and shoulder to shoulder, unitedly let us march along the king's highway, to do and dare more for the Master in the future than in the past. Let us strive together "To keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace," and "God's banner over us shall be love." "Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, we will press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Amen and amen.