Skip to main content

Full text of "Fiftieth anniversary of the organization of the Village Congregational Church, Medway, Mass., Friday, Sept. 7, 1888"

See other formats

GO M-^ 






3 1833 00825 1909 



Tillage Coiigreptional Qiurch. 

Medwav. Mass. . 

Friday, September 7, 18^ 


Beacon Press, i Somerset Street. 




WE have felt constrained to put into permanent form tlie 
sayings and doings of our " Anniversary Day," from 
the consideration that so many of those who would have been 
interested participants in its exercises were prevented by distance 
and engagements. 

In order to furnish for such, so much as we are able, of that 
which those present so greatly enjoyed, we have reproduced the 
things spoken, and now send them forth as messengers to report 
to the absent these home doings. 

We trust our publication will be of value likewise to those 

1^ who were present ; recalling impressions and emotions " which it 

c^ is not possible for a man to utter," but profitable for him to recall. 

We have also had in mind those who will become interested in 

the Village Church in the future, who, we believe, will be grateful 

^ to us, when they " consider the years of many generations," that 

^ we have written these things " for a memorial in a book." So we 

o publish the first chapter of our history, in grateful testimony that 

^ " hitherto hath the Lord helped us." 

Committee on Publication. 


AT a meeting of the Village Church held May 27, il 
x~\. it was unanimously voted to observe with appropriate 
services the fiftieth anniversary of the organization of this 
church, which occurs September 7th next. It was also voted 
that the parish be invited to unite with the church in this 
celebration, and. that a joint committee, consisting of five 
representatives of the church and four of the parish, be 
chosen to arrange the details of the celebration. The church 
subsequently chose on this committee : 

Rev. R. K. Harlow, 
Dea. M. M. Fisher, 
Dea. J. W. Richardson, 
Francis W, Cummings, 
Thomas F. Mahr. 

The parish, having accepted the invitation of the church, 
chose on this committee : 

Henry E. Mason, 
E. C. Wilson, 
Jesse B. Hopkins, 
J. Warren Thompson. 

This committee, having duly organized, 

Voted, That the pastor, Rev. R. K. Harlow, be invited to pre- 
pare, from the records and other sources, and deliver, a historical 
discourse relating to the organization of the church, Sabbath- 
school, church music, pastorates and superintendence, benevolent 
agencies and work, and membership to the present date. 

Voted, That the clerk of the society be invited to prepare, 
from the records and other sources, a statement relating to the 


erection and plan of the meeting house, its subsequent changes, 
ownership and renting of pews, the acquisition and use of lands 
and grounds, and other financial agencies and accessories for the 
enjoyment and support of public worship. 

Voted, That the pastor arrange the order of exercises, and 
request such assistance in the services as the occasion may 

Voted, That the several churches and pastors in Medway and 
Millis be invited by letter, to attend the celebration, as guests of 
the Village Church and Society. 

Voted, That surviving absent and past members of the church, 
and society and congregation, be also invited, including pastors and 
members of the Mendon Conference of Churches. 

Voted, That this committee appoint special committees on 
hospitality and reception of guests, on finance, collation, decora- 
tions, music, printing and publication of services in book form, 
and also appoint ushers at the church. 

These committees vi^ere chosen as follows : 

On Invitations. 

Rev. R. K. Harlow, Mrs. Luther Metcalf, 

Dea. M. M. Fisher, Mrs. Frank Clark, 

Harlan P. Sanford, Mrs. John W. Richardson, 

Mrs. Henry E. Mason. 

On Hospitality and Reception of Guests. 

Dea. John W. Richardson, Mrs. J, P. Plummer, 
Henry E. Mason, Mrs. O. A. Mason, 

James M. Grant, Mrs. Anson F. White, 

Lucius H. Taylor. 

Oji Collation. 

Samuel Hodgson, Sumner H. Clark, 

Francis W. Cummings, Mrs. Daniel Rockwood, 

Thomas F. Mahr, Mrs. Wm. A. Jenckes, 

Mrs. Mary H. Wilder, Mrs. Alfred Daniels, 

Mrs. Wm. B. Hodges, Mrs. James M. Grant, 

Mrs. Sumner H. Clark, Mrs. Samuel Hodgson. 


On Finance. 

Francis W. Cummings, Frank P. Plummer, 
Wm. a. Hopkins, Orion T. Mason. 

On Decoratmis. 

Thomas F. Mahr, Miss Bertha F. Wilder, 

Mrs. Maria C. Newell, Miss Tacie P. Hawkes, 
Mrs, H. C. Holbrook, Miss Mary E. Fisher, 
Miss Grace H. Wilder, Miss Sarah E. Haskell, 
Miss Hattie B. Gary. 

Oji Music. 

Wm. D. Gilpatrick, Mrs. S. F. Bucklin, 

George H. Clark, Mrs. Jason E. Wilson, 

James M. Grant, Mrs. Addison Ramsdell, 

Addison Ramsdell, Mrs. Myrtie G. Fiske, 

Miss Lilla M, Crooks. 

On Printing and Publication. 

Rev. R. K. Harlow, Robert Bell, M.D., 

Frederick L. Fisher, Mffis-F. L. Fisher, 
Miss Sarah E. Haskell. 

For Ushers at the Church. 

George H. Clark, Frank W. Clarke, 

Clark P, Harding, Palmer A. Woodward, 

George H. Dame. 

The following program was arranged : 



Friday Morning at lo o'clock. 


ANTHEM "Ye shall dwell in the Land." 

READING OF SCRIPTURES . . Rev. George Washburn, Everett. 

PRAYER Rev. George E. Lovejoy, Franklin. 


HYMN 625 . 

By Dea. Milton M. Fisher. 
Tune: "St. Ann." 

O, where are kings and empires now 
Of old that went and came ? 

But, Lord, Thy Church is praying yet, 
A tliousand years the same. 

We mark her goodly battlements, 
And her foundations strong ; 

We hear within the solemn voice 
Of her unending song. 

For not like kingdoms of the world 
Thy holy Church, O God ! 

Though earthquake shocks are threatening her 
And tempests are abroad ; 

Unshaken as eternal hills. 

Immovable she stands, 
A mountain that shall fill the earth, 

A house not made by hands. 

Frederick L. Fisher. 

HYMN 133 Time. 

'■ Dundee." 

O God, our help in ages past. 
Our hope for years to come ; 

Our shelter from the stormy blast, 
And our eternal home : 

A thousand ages, in Thy sight, 

Are like an evening gone ; 
Short as the watch that ends the night, 

Before the rising sun. 

Time, like an ever-rolling stream, 

Bears all its sons away ; 
They fly, forgotten, as a dream 

Dies at the opening day. 

O God, our help in ages past. 
Our hope for years to come. 

Be Thou our guard while troubles last, 
And our eternal home. 

SALUTATIONS from the "Grandmother Church," First Church of 

Christ in Millis . . By Rev. Ephraim O. Jameson, Pastor. 


SALUTATIONS from the "Mother Church," Second Church of West 

Medway .... By Rev. Augustus H. Fuller, Pastor. 

SALUTATIONS from the Sister Churches of Mendon Conference, 

By Rev. Jacob Ide, of Mansfield. 

HYMN 597 Tune: "Hamburg." 

Blest be the tie that binds We share our mutual woes ; 

Our hearts in Christian love : Our mutual burdens bear ; 

The fellowship of kindred minds And often for each other flows 

Is like to that above. The sympathizing tear. 

Before our Father's throne When we asunder part, 

We pour our ardent prayers ; It gives us inward pain ; 

Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, But we shall still be joined in heart. 

Our comforts and our cares. And hope to meet again. 

This glorious hope revives 

Our courage by the way ; 
While each in expectation lives. 

And longs to see the Day. 

LETTERS, SHORT ADDRESSES, etc., from former members and friends. 

HYMN 734 Tune: "Cambridge." 

O Lord, our fathers oft have told. As Thee their God our fathers owned, 

In our attentive ears. Thou art our sovereign King : 

Thy wonders in their days performed, O, therefore, as Thou didst to them. 

And elder times than theirs. To us deliverance bring. 

To Thee the triumph we ascribe. 

From whom the conquest came ; 
In God we will rejoice all day. 

And ever bless Thy name. 

COLLATION from 12.30 to 1.30 p.m. 

Afternoon at 1.30 o'clock. 


ANTHEM, "The God of Abraham Praise" Buck. 

RESPONSIVE READING. 75th Lesson. Conducted by 
Rev. Webster Woodbury, Milford. 

PRAYER By Rev. Edmund Dowse, D. D. 




Time : " Portuguese Hymn. 

September's robe now clothes the landscape so fair, 

All woven of sunshine and soft silver haze ; 
Her incense ascends through the pure Autumn air 

From fields that bear fruit to the great Maker's praise. 

As plenteous as grain-slieaves that greetingly nod 

In th' land of our fathers wherever we rove, 
As countless as blossoms of bright golden-rod, 

Our wishes and prayers for the church that we love. 

Here harvests of souls have been garnered to grace 

The Kingdom of Glory, forever and aye ; 
Here smiled P'ather Sanford, whose love-beaming face 

Shed sunshine that ripened rich fruitage alway. 

Sweet Spring fifty times has awakened the flowers. 

Stern Winter led forth fifty seasons of snow, 
Since Medway erected her Zion, whose towers 

Give refuge to saints and alarm to the foe. 

Her watchman, discerning each danger from far. 

Keeps ward on the walls, ever faithful and true ; 
Her " army with banners " shines forth like a star, 

Christ's name on each forehead, the name ever new. 

Then welcome, good brothers and sisters, today ! 

Clasp hands once again in the home church so dear. 
Weep not the departed ! as oft as we pray. 

Their pure, gentle spirits are hovering near. 

Sweet, wandering strains from their loftier sphere 
Float down through our singing, and thrill it with love. 

Great Father, we pray the church militant here 
Be fitted to join the triumphant above ! 

Mary E. Fisher. 

HISTORICAL DISCOURSE by the Pastor, Rev. Rufus K. Harlow. 

HYMN 735. 

Let children hear the mighty deeds 
Which God performed of old ; 

Which in our younger years we saw, 
And which our fathers told. 

He bids us make His glories known, 
His works of power and grace ; 

And we'll convey His wonders down 
Through every rising race. 

Our lips shall tell them to our sons. 

And they again to theirs. 
That generations yet unborn 

May teach them to their heirs. 

Thus shall they learn, in God alone 
Their hope securely stands ; 

That they may ne'er forget His works. 
But practice His commands. 


ANNIVERSARY HYMN, sung by the younger scholars of the 
Sabbath- school. 



Dear church, the children greet you ! 

Dear pastor, loved so long, 
We come today to meet you 

With melody and song ! 
Through fifty years of sowing 

The saints have labored on ; 
Trusting the Lord, and knowing 
. Rich harvests would be won. 

All hail, sweet day of gleaning — 
Of fruits and flowers gay ! 

So full of tender meaning. 
Sweet Anniversary day ! 

Within the churches olden 

No Sunday-school e'er smiled ; 
But now the times are golden 

For every little child. 
We're " merry workers " ever, 

We sing on festal days. 
Our Bands of young " Endeavor" 

Shall sound the Saviour's praise. 

Baptismal dewdrops glisten 

On many a childish brow. 
And angels stoop to listen 

To this, our sacred vow. 
We'll give our life's bright morning 

To Jesus and His Word, 
Like dewy buds adorning 

The Garden of the Lord. 



Mary E. Fisher. 


Now in parting. Father ! bless us ; 

Saviour ! still Thy peace bestow ; 
Gracious Comforter ! be with us, 

As we from this temple go. 
Bless us, bless us, 

Father, Son and Spirit ! now. 

Tune: "Sicily. 

Bless us here, while still, as strangers. 
Onward to our home we move; 

Bless us with eternal blessings 
In our Father's house above. 

Ever, ever. 
Dwelling in the light of love. 



in the Vestry, in the evening, with Reminiscences, etc. 



Friday, the 7th of September, 1888, was a perfect 
autumnal day. The sky was cloudless, and the air crisp and 
bracing. The meeting house, fresh and clean with its new 
coat of paint, was in harmony with the well-kept grounds sur- 
rounding it. Beds of flowers, brilliant with the colors of 
autumn, added a charm to the green lawn in front. 

The interior of the church was artistically decorated with 
flowers arranged by the committee under direction of Mr. 
Thomas F. Mahr. An oil portrait of the Rev. David Sanford, 
the first pastor, stood upon an easel at the right of the plat- 
form, wreathed with flowers. 

At the appointed hour the church was well filled with 
friends and invited guests, among whom were the pastors and 
representatives of the neighboring churches. After the invo- 
cation by the pastor, an anthem was sung by a select choir, 
led by Mr. E. B. Stowe, who conducted the music throughout 
the day. The various exercises followed in the order of the 
published program, the pastor presiding and introducing the 

T^y^cy A.HleJtc''-i- 




Brethren and Friends : The experience of the past has 
not only taught us as individuals that it is wise and well both 
to look and to press forward to higher attainments in all best 
things, but quite as important occasionally to take a back- 
ward look, both for guidance and inspiration for the future. 
It seems equally proper that institutions should be subjected 
to review — to criticism and censure if need be, or to ap- 
proval if deserved — and so to become better equipped, and 
stimulated to a deeper consecration to their special work 
and to higher achievements in uplifting the social status of 
the people whom they would benefit and bless. 

A period of fifty years has elapsed since an institution, 
consisting of a religious society and a Christian church, was 
organized in this community; and this day and this occasion 
have been selected to review and to commemorate the work 
accomplished by it. The power of a Christian church is 
measured, not only by its direct influence upon the com- 
munity where it exists, but in the streams that flow out into 
the world in a living personality of those whose character 
was largely formed by its ministrations ; and in those benefi- 
cent charities which go out from it to bless other and perhaps 
less favored communities and people. You have been cor- 
dially invited to participate with us in the exercises and 
festivities appropriate to this occasion. We welcome you, 
and extend to you a Christian salutation in this house of the 
Lord, hallowed as it has been by a Divine Presence for half 


a century, and by the memories of the saints who have wor- 
shiped within its walls, but have now gone to their reward. ^ 

A small remnant of the original band, a few of their 
children, more of their children's children, and still others 
who knew not our fathers, salute you on this day of jubilee 
in the name of the Lord. Although our faith is as old as 
that of the great apostle to the Gentiles, we boast not that 
we are the seed of Abraham, or of the tribe of Benjamin 
according to the flesh, but we believe we are surely built 
upon the "foundation of the prophets and apostles, Christ 
Jesus Himself being the chief corner stone." We are not 
ashamed that, in common with yourselves, we inherit the 
blood of the Puritans from the days of Cromwell, and the 
religious symbols and traditions of the Pilgrim fathers. Yet 
we have believed nothing because it was old, and much less 
discarded anything because it was new. 

As the apostle recommended, so our ministry has largely 
served this church in newness of the Spirit and not in the 
oldness of the letter; for the letter killeth, but the Spirit 
maketh alive. 

As an individual church we are young as compared with 
our ancestral church in Dedham, or with many of that large 
family having the same ancestry and who are represented on 
this occasion. We have not the prestige of titled and dis- 
tinguished divines, scholars, or civilians upon our records, 
but they bear at least eighteen good family names found 
among the English immigrants to old Dedham previous to 
1647. Though this half-century of our church life, or the 
centuries even of any church life, are but the merest point of 
time compared with the age of the solar system, or even 
of the Chinese Empire, yet to a human life or a church life 
in an Anglo-Saxon village in this nineteenth century, when 
reckoned by the marvelous changes often wrought, fifty 
years may seem an age. Such a period properly demands a 
pause in the current of life long enough to consider what has 
been done and whither life is tending. 

It is not for me to speak in detail of the work and 


the many happenings, for better or for worse, in this part 
of the Lord's great vineyard. It is said of one noble soul of 
the present age, in a wonderful chorus of song often heard 
and sung upon our streets, that, while " John Brown's body 
lies mouldering in the grave, his soul is marching on." 
Whether the departed souls of our old pastor, after thirty- 
three years of active service in this church, and those of his 
flock who died in the Lord, are still " marching on " in the 
life of their successors, or whether this vine of the Lord 
planted by our fathers has been, and still is, a fruitful branch 
of the True Vine, you may perhaps better judge when the ser- 
vice of this day closes, or much better when all human his- 
tory shall be more fully revealed. 

It is well, however, to consider that the value and impor- 
tance of the church, and its ministrations to a particular com- 
munity, are not to be measured by the great length or brevity 
of its pastorates, or merely by the number upon its church 
rolls, or by the amount of its charities at home or abroad ; 
but whether in all its varied conditions it has " fought a good 
fight" with all wickedness in high and low places from with- 
out, or whether it has had the higher grace to keep, within the 
fold, the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

Frequent or permanent changes in the industrial popula- 
tion of a community are often such that it is more than a 
faithful few, or even many, can do to hold their own, much 
less to elevate the general standard of Christian morality and 
piety in the community and bring large numbers under its 
dominating and saving influence. 

What might have been the spiritual and moral status of 
this and other New England communities had the population 
remained homogeneous for the last fifty years, it is not diffi- 
cult to conceive. It is safe to say that many churches have 
been a moral leaven which, " by patient continuance in well- 
doing," may yet leaven the whole lump, and so unify the mass 
of the people into a higher type of Christian manhood for a 
Christian commonwealth. For such results a missionary 
spirit, love for children, provision for their enjoyment, and 


Christian nurture are absolutely essential. For this reason 
we shall remember our children on this " glad anniversary 
day," hoping they will remember their fathers and mothers 
fifty years hence as they are remembered today. 

And now, friends, we bespeak your kind and charitable 
judgment of the first half-century's work of the Village 
Church. Conscious that much greater attainments in Chris- 
tian life and work might have been secured, we trust your 
inspiring presence today, and your encouraging words, will be 
to us an inspiration to greater fidelity and zeal in the Master's 
service, so that greater success may be achieved than the past 
reveals. And so, brethren and friends, we cordially welcome 
you again to the festivities of this semi-centennial anniversary 
of this Village Church and Society. 

Without special reference to the Old Mendon Associa- 
tion and Conference — always welcome — or to any ancestral 
church more remote, we gladly welcome our grandmother 
church upon our eastern horizon — baptized again in her old 
age by her new name of Millis. We rejoice with her in the 
prestige of youthful vigor which her new name and her new 
environment may impart, and in the hope of continued vital- 
ity from her foster child at Rockville. 

We welcome our mother church. Though resting upon 
a sunset hill, she reflected the true light upon our fathers and 
mothers in the dawn of their spiritual life. We devoutly 
thank her for the Christian nurture bestowed upon their 
youthful minds, and shall never forget to honor the memory 
of their devoted pastor, who, with a magnanimity rarely 
excelled since the days of Abraham, gave them, upon their 
" new departure " to plant another branch of the same vine, 
his gracious benediction, and followed them with paternal 
solicitude and prayer, and has welcomed most of them to the 
Father's "house not made with hands." 

And what shall we say of our younger sister, a later 
branch of the same vine, and having drunk from the same 
spiritual Rock with our fathers and mothers .-• May we not 
say, as Solomon sings of a " little sister," very young and ten- 


der, " If she be a wall, we will build upon her a turret of 
silver; and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards 
of cedar ? " Yes, we welcome her also into the fold of the 
Great Shepherd, praying He may lead our whole family and 
flock into green pastures and beside still waters. 

And those who have come into the pastures of the old 
Puritans — known by other names, yet good sheep of the 
Master's "other fold" — we bid you welcome, not only to 
glean the sheaves which the Puritan reapers, through neglect 
or kindness, have left for you, but with us to " break up the 
fallow ground " and sow the seed of the Word and reap such 
a harvest as the great Husbandman shall give. We welcome 
you to this field of our common labor and to this " feast of 
fat things " today, for " hitherto the Lord hath helped us." 

And to those who have come from other or distant 
homes, we bid you a most hearty welcome to this place of 
your former residence or nativity, and perhaps of your spirit- 
ual birth as well. We welcome you to these shadowy elms 
your fathers planted, and to all which their successors may 
have done to beautify these streets and these homes. We 
welcome you to the graceful Quinobequin, whose waters still 
drive the spindle and the loom and upon whose banks the 
groves still shed their fragrance and their beauty. We wel- 
come you one and all to the hospitality of our homes, and to 
the fellowship of kindred souls in the faith and grace of our 
common Lord. 




I AM conscious of being out of place on this platform ; 
for although in my business, as some of you know, I am con- 
stantly using my pen upon documents that are attractive to 
the eye, filling in the blank spaces and decorating them with 
red ink, it does not call into action those qualities of thought 
and expression requisite for an interesting public address. Yet, 
being clerk of this religious society, I must respond when the 
records are called for. Any blanks I shall try to fill in a busi- 
ness-like way ; but the red ink, or the rhetoric and eloquence, 
I must leave for others to supply. 

I might, as others have on similar occasions, go back to 
primitive days, and trace the ancestry of this society through 
the older towns to the Pilgrim fathers, whose meeting houses 
and school-houses have dotted the New England hills, and 
made their influence felt over the wide prairies and Western 
slopes to the Pacific. 

Another has said that " the erection of a meeting house 
in any place means civilization, intelligence, morality, and re- 
ligion ; " surely the New England meeting house and school- 
house have furnished the warp and woof for the grandest civili- 
zation the world has seen. This priceless birthright, secured 
for us by our fathers at such self-sacrifice and hardship, we 
should devoutly cherish, and rally in its defense whenever 

It is the fifth religious society organized in Medway that 
celebrates its fiftieth anniversary today. Its full legal title is 


" The Evangelical Congregational Society in Medway," and it 
has been acting as a business manager for the Village Church, 
and for itself as well, for the last fifty years. 

This partnership has been harmonious, and we believe 
will be pronounced profitable when the Lord of the great 
vineyard shall have gathered in the fruits of the harvest, and 
balanced upon the great ledger the account which He keeps 
with all His servants. 

Yet this dual system for church work, if its necessity 
ever existed, has nearly if not quite fulfilled its time, and the 
modern method, by special charter or general law, seems best 
for new enterprises, if not for gradual adoption by existing 

The time at my command for the preparation of this 
sketch was very limited, and errors and omissions may ap- 
pear. I trust if any are noticed the committee will be notified, 
that so much of this article as they see fit to print may be 

We find as early as about 1826 Sunday-school and occa- 
sionally a religious service was held in the village school- 
house. About this time the manufacturing interests were 
enlarged and prosperous in the " Factory Village." Barber in 
his Illustrated History of Massachusetts Towns, published in 
1839, gives a brief sketch of the town and an "eastern view," 
from which we quote as follows : 

"This engraving shows the appearance of Medway Fac- 
tory Village as it is entered from the east upon the Medfield 
road. The spire seen on the right is that of the Congrega- 
tional church. The building on the left with a small low 
spire is a four-story cotton factory standing on Charles River. 
This village consists of thirty-seven dwelling houses, three 
stores, three cotton and one woolen factories, and the boot 
and shoe business is carried on to a considerable extent in 
West Medway and Medway Village. The town is gradually 
improving in appearance, wealth, and population. There are 
in the limits of the town five churches — three Congregational, 
one Baptist, and one Unitarian." 


The schools at this time were in a flourishing condition. 
The village school-house had been enlarged in 1830, and the 
next year Mr. Abijah R. Baker had opened a classical school 
for instruction in languages and the higher English studies, 
which attracted large numbers from other towns and stimu- 
lated an increasing interest both in education and religion. 

An increasing interest in the growth and prosperity of 
the village incited its prominent men to consider the advan- 
tages of public worship and a permanent and commodious 
meeting house. It so happened that Mr. David Whiting, a 
native of the village, was here on a visit from New York, and 
was induced to offer the lot of land upon which this house 
now stands for such a purpose. A deed " in trust " was im- 
mediately executed to Mr. Comfort Walker and dated April 
21, 1836, and subsequently deeded by Mr. Walker to the 
" proprietors." The deed contained the following clause : 

"The above described land is hereby conveyed for 
the sole purpose of building, erecting, and maintaining on 
the premises a meeting house, in which public worship of the 
Evangelical Congregational order and sentiment shall be 
preached and supported forever." 

Some desired another location; Milton H. Sanford, then 
a young man, was very anxious that it should be built where 
Thompson and Clark's store now stands, and said he would 
give the land or ^500 if this location was accepted. When 
asked where he would get the money he said, " With my two 
hands," a reply characteristic of the public spirit and energy 
which followed him through life. 

It was finally decided to accept Mr. Whiting's offer, and 
a number of leading citizens agreed to erect the church and 
take their pay in pews; and young Mr. Sanford gave his 
^500 against his own preference as to location. The Uni- 
versalists, who had commenced to hold meetings in the school- 
house about 1834, generously gave way, and Rev. Dr. Ide, 
whose church most of the village citizens attended, acquiesced 
in the new plan and was always a firm friend of the new 



A subscription paper was circulated, and ^4,650 pledged 
by sixteen persons, only two of whom were members of any 
Christian church, but at least four more became such ; now all 
but two or three are dead. 


We the subscribers severally promise to pay the sum 
placed against our names for the purpose of erecting a meet- 
ing house for Evangelical Congregational worship, on land 
recently procured of David Whiting for that purpose, westerly 
of James B. Wilson's dwelling house, with the understanding 
that when said house is completed, said sums to be refunded 
in pews. 

Medway, May 5th, 1836. 

Charles Wheeler, $100.00 

Wyman Adams, 

William Fuller, 

A. G. Cheever, 

J. O. Pond, 

Green and Hathon, 

William White, 

James B. Wilson, $750.00 

Luther Metcalf, 500.00 

M. H. Sanford, 500.00 

Titus Bullard, 150.00 

Orion Mason, 500.00 

Comfort Walker, 7So-oo 

G. S. Cheever, 100.00 
Alex. L. B. Monroe, 300.00 


Total, $4,650.00 

Luther Metcalf, James B. Wilson, Wyman Adams, Wil- 
liam White, and Milton H. Sanford were chosen a building 
committee, and authorized to contract for and borrow money 
to pay for the meeting house, and subscribers signed a bond 
to indemnify the committee for all expenses incurred, and to 
equalize the final cost to all, in proportion to the amount of 
their original subscription. 

September 5, 1836, a contract was made with James Pur- 
rington, a practical church builder, to do all carpenter work, 
masonry, painting, and glazing, and furnish all materials. 
The plan adopted was the plain rectangular structure familiar 
to New England, copied from the old Anglo-Saxon church. 
As to the origin of this style of church building Chambers 
says : 


H II ,| 



-S#^ f^W-<^.-''"-^i^A^?}j,^'-i^'} 

SnqAin, A.EJ'^l'^-T-'^^ 


"It is well known that the heathen structures from 
which the early Christians borrowed the form of their 
churches were not copied from the heathen or Jewish 
temples as might have been anticipated, but from that pecul- 
iar combination of the hall of justice and market-place called 
by the ancients basilica. The reason of this selection is to 
be found in the different conceptions which they formed 
of the character and objects of public worship. The rites of 
heathendom were performed exclusively by the priest, the 
people remaining without the temple ; and the temple itself, 
which was lighted only from the door or by the few lamps 
which burned around the image of God, was regarded not as 
a receptacle for worshipers, but as the abode of Deity. The 
dark, mysterious character, which thus belonged to it, ren- 
dered it equally unsuitable for the performance of liturgical 
services, in which the people were to participate, and for the 
delivery of those public addresses, which from the beginning 
were employed as a means of Christian teaching and exhorta- 
tion. To such purposes the basilica was readily adapted. 
It was for the most part a parallelogram, at one of the ends 
of which, opposite to the entrance, there was a raised plat- 
form for the accommodation of those dispensing justice. This 
part of the building was the prototype of the rounded choir 
or recess which is seen in many of our churches. For the 
praetor's chair, which was placed in the center of this semi- 
circular space, the altar was substituted." 

When the "cross" became a distinctive emblem of 
Christianity, Christians, desiring to follow forms, changed the 
style of this church edifice by building on each side, near the 
center of the rectangular structure, the wing or transept, thus 
forming a cross. This form was followed in the cathedrals 
and churches of Continental Europe, and with various 
changes is seen in modern churches. 

The manner in which the various parts of this church 
were to be finished was defined by reference to the same 
parts in either the Unionville Church, at Hopkinton, or the 
Orthodox Meeting House, at Westboro'. Only the gallery at 


the south end of the church was built at this time. Work 
was to be completed June 15, 1837, but on account of the 
financial failure of the contractor it was much delayed. Mr. 
William Page, of West Medway, put in the stone work, his 
contract calling for the same quality of hammered work as on 
the stone posts in front of James B. Wilson's residence (now 
Mrs. Wilder's). Some items connected with the building 
and furnishing may be interesting, and among the bills for 
extras I find the following : 

Collins Hathon for refreshments at raising : 

To 54 dinners @ 37I- c , $20.25 

" 5 gallons wine ....... 5.00 

" 2 collations ........ 3.00 

" lemons, sugar, etc. ...... 3.00 

Theron Metcalf, legal services (2 bills) .... 6.00 


One extra in this list would today indeed be extraordi- 
nary. At that time to furnish fermented liquors only to 
working men was a great advance in temperance over the 
custom existing at the installation of Dr. Ide and other min- 
isters, of furnishing all sorts of " hard liquors " to the clergy. 

The bell was from the justly celebrated Holbrook 
foundry at East Medway. The elder Holbrook was an 
apprentice of the Revolutionary hero, Paul Revere, and really 
succeeded to his business, and for a few years the Medway 
foundry was the only one in America. These bells were 
denominated, by flattering testimonials from the American 
Institute, New York, and the grand gold medal of honor, the 
standard bells of America. The bell was hung June 13, 
1838, but was not paid for till February 12, 1842, when 
;^90.20 interest was added. 

A stove was purchased by a subscription of twenty-eight 
men for $75.50; a carpet by five men giving^38.00, and a 
grand total by the ladies of $62.50, making the sum of 

The church, exclusive of the furniture and fixtures, cost 


about ^6,000, and was not only Puritanic in the simplicity of 
its structure, but in all its surroundings. 

On the east stood a venerable oak tree. Two more 
stood in front and one on the west near the turn of the road 
to Holliston. These were all remnants of the primeval 
forest that skirted the old Boston and Hartford road. The 
latter tree for many years bore for the weary traveler the 
following legend : 

The shortest run to Holliston. 
Come on Daddy Niles, 
'Tis only five miles. 

On the same sign-board there was a picture of a man on 
horseback galloping at full speed toward Holliston. This bit 
of waggery is attributed to Samuel Allen, a worthy citizen 
and afterward one of the first deacons of the new church. 
With the exception of a semi-circular row of stone posts in 
front of the entrance, and these trees, all was sandy gravel and 
stunted grass. 

We now come, two years and eleven days after the gift 
of land by Mr. Whiting, to the formal organization of the 
society. The warrant was issued by Hon. Warren Lovering, 
as justice of the peace, on the petition of twenty-one legal 
voters. The meeting was held in the village school-house at 
five o'clock on Friday, May 25, 1838. Milton H. Sanford 
was elected clerk and took the requisite oath. 

The further record of this meeting by the clerk is much 
abbreviated, but the following is doubtless a correct inter- 
pretation : The name of moderator not given. A nominating 
committee was chosen as follows : Orion Mason, Luther Met- 
calf, Clark Partridge, Benjamin Smith, and Milton H. San- 
ford ; and the following officers elected : 

Parish Committee. Luther Metcalf, James B. Wilson, 
Orion Mason, Clark Partridge, William White. 

Assessors, William Fuller, A. L. B. Monroe, Benjamin 


Treasurer. Comfort Walker. 

Collector. Charles Wheeler. 

It was voted to leave to the Parish Committee the 
arrangement of the house and the procuring of a minister. 
A committee of three, A. L. B. Monroe, Samuel Allen, and 
Charles Wheeler, was chosen to prepare by-laws ; they then 
adjourned to May 31, when they met and voted to adopt 
the preamble and the by-laws, and that the Parish Committee 
invite individuals to become members. 


As it was the original intention of the donor of the land 
on which the meeting house stands to have public worship 
supported there of the Evangelical Congregational order, and 
Comfort Walker, Luther Metcalf, William White, Alexander 
L. B. Monroe, Orion Mason, Francis Hapgood, Jemotis Pond, 
Jr., Benjamin F. Cummings, Wyman Adams, Benjamin 
Smith, James Bickford, William Richardson, William Fuller, 
M. H. Sanford, James B. Wilson, Clark Partridge, Charles 
Wheeler, Samuel Allen, Stephen J. Metcalf, Olney Corey, 
Preston Ware, and Charles Macker, Jr., having founded a 
religious society and taken the name of the Evangelical Con- 
gregational Society, do for themselves and their associates 
adopt the following rules and regulations for the government 
of said society : 

Artiele I. The preaching to be supported by said so- 
ciety shall always be of the Evangelical Congregational order. 

Article 2. Any person who shall adopt these rules and 
regulations may become a member of said society on applica- 
tion to the Parish Committee, and by said committee record- 
ing his name in a book to be kept for that purpose. 

Article j. The members of said society shall hold a 
meeting annually for the choice of officers and such other 
business as parishes may legally transact, on the second 
Monday in March, at such place in the village, and hour, as 


may be made by the Parish Committee, for the time being, in 
this warrant for calling said meeting. 

Article ^. The annual and all other meetings of said 
society shall be notified by the collector of the society, by 
posting up a copy of the warrant from the Parish Committee, 
calling said meeting, in the entry of the meeting house two 
Sabbaths at least before the time of said meeting. 

Article 5. At the annual meeting all officers shall be 
chosen that parishes are by law empowered to choose, which 
officers shall perform all the legal duties of their respective 

Article 6. All money shall be raised for the support of 
public worship by subscription until otherwise ordered. 

The only changes of any note are, that the annual meet- 
ing now comes on the last Monday of March, and the pews 
are taxed for support of worship, and that the Parish Com- 
mittee shall have charge of the house and of all property of 
the society, and generally perform all duties not specially 
assigned to any other officer or agent. 

The names of the original twenty-one signers to these 
articles are in small capitals, followed by those who have 
since joined the society. The star designates the members 
that have died, and the dagger those that have moved out of 
the parish. 

*CoMFORT Walker. Charles Wheeler. 

*LuTHER Metcalf. *^Samuel Allen. 
^Alexander L. B. Monroe. ^Stephen Metcalf. 

*Orion Mason. *Olney Corey. 

tFRANCis Hapgood. *^Preston Ware. 

*Jemotis Pond, Jr. ^Charles Macker, Jr. 

=*Benjamin F. Cummings. ^William Fuller. 

*Wyman Adams. *William Richards. 

*Benjamin Smith. *Eleazer Partridge. 

*James Bickford. *Simeon Ellis. 

*Milton H. Sanford. *OIiver Ellis. 

*James B. Wilson. *Nathan Bullard. 

*Clark Partridge. ^Anios Fisher. 



^Stephen B. Fuller. 
John W, Richardson. 
Stephen W. Richardson. 
*William Adams. 
*Sewell Clark. 
*George W. Hunt. 
*Nathaniel Clark. 
*James Walker. 
*Aner Bullard. 
Asa Williams. 
^Luther Henderson. 
fWilliam C. Marple. 

M. M. Fisher. 
*Charles E. Hart. 
*Joel P. Adams. 
fLewis Hill. 
*Joel W. Whiting. 
*Preston Ware. 
*Elijah Partridge. 
*Abiather L. Shaw. 
*William S. Mitchell. 
*William N. Haskell. 

David Daniels. 
*Francis P. Daniels. 
^'Shepard Wiggin. 
*William Henderson. 
*Elias Metcalf. 

E. Fisher Richardson. 
^Stephen Salisbury. 
*Caleb Kimball. 
*Samuel Force. 
tGeorge J. Baldwin. 
*A. L. White. 
*Luther H. Metcalf. 
*C. B. Whitney. 
*John Cole. 

Harlan P. Sanford. 

C. E. Le B. Whitney. 
*Rice O. Dain. 

tLowell A. Mann. 
tFrank N. Adams. 

H. E. Mason. 
tGeorge W. Lawrence. 
*Eleazer Morse. 

Charles W. Seavey. 
*Frank S. Grant. 
*H. W. Simpson. 

T. F. Mahr. 

Silas O. Mahr. 

George A. Abbe. 

R. B. McElory. 

James M. Grant. 
*George W. Ray. 

E. C. Wilson. 

Jason E. Wilson. 
*Edward Eaton. 
tOtis Springer. 

Edmund I. Sanford. 
tGeorge C. Garland. 

Lucius H. Taylor. 
*Allen Partridge, 
tjames H. Heaton. 

Samuel B. Gary. 

William H. Gary, Jr. 
*William R. Parsons. 

John A. Bullard. 

John H. Crimmings. 
*Charles F. Daniels. 

Francis W. Cummings. 
*0. A. Mason. 
*G. S. Bancroft, 
tjames Cole. 
*A. P. Phillips. 

James T. Adams. 
*T. R. Fairbanks. 
*Jesse K. Snow. 

James F. Adams. 
tL. T. Bradstreet. 


Daniel Rockwood. George A. Kingsbury, 

tjohn H. Curtis. A. E. Clough. 

tGeorge L. Boos. Samuel Hodgson. 

Frederick L. Fisher. fj. R. Thompson. 

J. P. Plummer. fEleazer Thompson. 

tGeorge E. Sanderson. S. G. Clark. 

tGeorge W. Whiting. W. W. Clough, 

tCharles S. Philbrick. A. H. Ramsdell. 

J. B. Hopkins. S. H. Clark. 

*A. W. Whitney. J, A. Crooks, 

M, E. Thompson, J, W. Thompson. 

=*0. R. Kelsey. G. C. Crosman. 

The present officers of the society are : 

Parish Committee and Assessors. F. W. Cummings, 
J. B. Hopkins, J. P. Plummer. 

Treasurer and Collector. F. W. Cummings. 

Clerk and Auditor. F. L. Fisher. 

On May 14, 1838, Luther Metcalf, by request of the 
proprietors now virtually constituting the society, invited 
Rev. Joel Hawes, D.D., of Hartford, and a native of this vil- 
lage, to preach the dedication sermon on Thursday, the 14th 
of June following. But owing to an engagement to preach 
an ordination sermon on the 12th of June, he could not reach 
here to preach before Friday, the 15th. The express trains 
of today would accomplish in two or three hours the distance 
for which the good doctor then required two days. 

You will notice that our society was organized on Friday, 
this church dedicated on Friday, and our semi-centennial is on 
this crisp, autumnal Friday, An unlucky day, do you say ,? 
I trust that the history of this society and church as it is 
unfolded today will convince you that for enlisting in a 
righteous cause, at least, Friday is no blacker than any other 

On June 23, 1838, agreeable to the terms of original sub- 


scription, the pews were sold at auction, the highest bidder 
taking first choice ; and the amount thus bid for choice added^ 
to the appraised value. The appraisal of the sixty pews 
amounted to ^6,330. The highest amount bid for choice 
was $40, by Luther Metcalf. 

Comfort Walker bought ten pews, Orion Mason and 
J. B. Wilson six each, Milton H. Sanford five, Luther Metcalf 
four, William White three. Dr. Monroe two, William Fuller, 
Titus Bullard, David Whiting, Collins Hathon, Jemotis Pond, 
Wyman Adams, and Charles Wheeler one each ; forty in all, 
netting $5,197. 

The proprietors paid the bills as fast as they made col- 
lections, and gave notes for the larger balances. Matters 
hung in this way for seven years, when, on May 10, 1845, it 
was voted to sell at auction the remaining pews, and on 
August 4 the accounts of the proprietors showed a deficiency 
of $749.02. To meet this, and to bring matters to a final 
settlement, the proprietors made an assessment of twenty- 
three and eight one hundredths per cent of the amount orig- 
inally subscribed by each, except that J. B. Wilson was as- 
sessed on $500 instead of $750. 

In 1846 the question of enlarging the meeting house was 
discussed, and, recommended by a committee, the side gal- 
leries were built and the interior of the church repainted. 
The galleries cost $547, and the pews sold for $585 ; a profit 
of $38. 

The original land given for the meeting house being a 
quarter of an acre only, and its longest lines not at right 
angles with the main street, more room was needed for car- 
riage accommodation. The adjoining land upon the west was 
sold at auction in 1845, and bought by two members of the 
society for church purposes, and chiefly for the erection of 
horse sheds. A difference of opinion as to what portion 
should be used for that purpose seemed likely to disturb the 
harmony of the society. 

Deacon M. M. Fisher made a plan of the lands (virtually 
the same as now laid out) which seemed to be satisfactory to 


all interested. The lands north of Church Street were sold 
at auction at a profit of ^175, which was used for the im- 
provement of land on the south side of the street. This lot, 
afterwards known as the " common," was sold to the society 
for ;^30o. The sale also included a small parcel of land just 
north of the church. 

At this time the east line was also changed by mutual 
agreement, without passing deeds, Captain Partridge receiv- 
ing front land while the society widened its lot in the rear. 
Subsequently the society bought another corner of land from 
John W. Hodges, and sold to David H. Daniels (then owning 
the house just north of the church) a lot for a door yard. 

Land was afterwards bought for horse sheds in the rear 
of Mr. Charles Seavey, and Peach Street laid out to make 
them accessible. It was never used, however, and finally was 
sold to Messrs. Harding & Bassett for an enlargement of 
their straw works. 

In 1850, the growth of the village continuing, the old 
school-house was given over to business, and its hall not 
furnishing accommodation for lectures and meetings too 
secular for the meeting house, it was voted to finish the vestry 
of the church at an estimated cost of ^500, the actual cost of 
which was 1^498. While the subscription by the men was only 
1^352, the ladies (as usual) came to the rescue, and made up 
the deficiency. The vestry was used for town meetings every 
third year until the Sanford Hall was built in 1872. 

Up to 1854 the salary of our pastor, $600 (the same as 
paid to most pastors in this vicinity), had been raised by 
subscription. It was, however, understood from the first, 
that donations from the farmers and others should be made 
in money or in value of ^100, annually at a donation party. 

Of the $600 Luther Metcalf and Orion Mason had 
agreed upon the start to pay $50 each, and the former added 
two cords of wood to the pastor's woodpile every year. Others 
were not wanting to meet the pastor's needs. Milton H. San- 
ford, though living at New York, or elsewhere, considered 
himself a member of the society, for financial purposes at 


least, and in emergencies always came to the pastor's relief. 
Dr. James H. Sargent, after making his home here, annually 
remembered his pastor by a check of ^loo, which his daugh- 
ter, Mrs. John A. Bullard, continued in some form after her 
father's death till the death of the pastor. (The following 
letter from her pastor is a beautiful testimony to the mutual 
esteem of each for the other:) 

Tuesday p. m., January 6, 1874. 
Mrs. Bullard : 

Dear Madam: I know not how to express my feelings of 
gratitude for your letter and its contents, this afternoon. Your 
benefactions had been so munificent and so various for the good 
of this people during the year, that it seemed to me you would 
hardly think best to add another generous gift to myself personally 
at the opening of the year. I can assure you it is doubly welcome, 
as it meets ordinary wants and also those created by the results 
of the panic, and thus cutting off some resources on which I de- 
pended to meet the current expenses of the year. The Lord 
reward you a hundred fold for this, and for all the many past 
kindnesses to myself and mine. The remembrance of these 
comes up every day, calling for devout gratitude to our 
Heavenly Father, and with earnest prayer for blessings upon your- 
self and yours, 

Very truly yours, 

D. Sanford. 

The act of the legislature passed in 1854, providing for 
support of public worship by taxing the pews, was adopted 
by this society. Most of the pews in the church were 
voluntarily surrendered by the owners to the society, some 
were bought at an appraisal, and eight pews are still held by 
the owners. 

Since this plan was adopted the pews have been annually 
rented, upon the tax basis, at auction. Fast Day evening. 
From non-rentals or non-payments in some years there has 
been a deficiency, but always provided for at each annual 
meeting, and no debt has ever been allowed to remain. 

For a number of years before his death Mr. Edward 


Eaton, after the reading of the treasurer's report at the 
annual meeting, would challenge Captain Partridge to pay, 
each, one half the debt. If accepted, the matter was settled 
at once ; if not, he would pay half, if others would pay the 
balance within thirty days. 

In 1861 a small addition was built on the north end of 
the church to receive a new organ, the gift of Mr. Milton H. 
Sanford. The high pulpit was taken down and a small plat- 
form substituted. The organ cost $i,ooo, the alterations 
about ;^5SO, which was made up by subscription. 

In 1870 new windows were put in, the bell re-hung, and 
various other improvements and repairs made at a cost of 
$1,985, raised by subscription, 

Monday, October 30, 1871, a very important meeting of 
the society was held, to consider first, a communication from 
their devoted pastor, who, after nearly thirty-three years of 
active service, asked to be relieved on account of advancing 
years and declining strength, and that a successor and 
associate might be secured. 

The church had previously acted upon this matter and 
extended a call to Rev. R. K. Harlow, then preaching in 
Belfast, Maine, The society unanimously confirmed the 
action of the church and voted to offer to Mr, Harlow a salary 
of ;^ 1,500, a vacation of two (and afterwards made four) 
Sundays in each year, and the use of a suitable dwelling 
house whenever it became necessary. These terms he 
accepted, but to general regret has failed to require a " suita- 
ble dwelling house," 

Through the liberal aid of Dr, Oliver Dean a library 
had been founded, and the need of larger accommodations 
and a suitable room for lectures and public meetings was felt 
in the community. 

The young ladies, by a series of fairs and entertainments, 
had raised the sum of $500 toward this object, and a public 
hall was now projected, 

Mrs, Edena H, Sanford was interested, and had aided 
the young ladies in procuring funds. Her son Milton, ever 


responsive to her wishes, and pleased that the society had 
assumed an obligation towards the support of his " Uncle 
David" (as he familiarly called our first pastor), and also 
provided liberally for his associate and successor, offered to 
give the society ;^5,ooo (and his brother Edwards added 
$2,500), to establish a fund, the income of which should be 
used for the pastor's support, or if preferred would donate 
the same for a public or a town hall, to advance the welfare 
of his native place and to provide an income to the society, 
and the Dean Library Association, in the proportion indicated 
by other subscribers to the fund. Before the project was 
made public, at a town meeting an article was inserted in the 
warrant to see if the town would consider any proposition 
towards securing a hall in the village for town purposes, but 
the article was dismissed. 

At the meeting just referred to this society accepted the 
offer of the Messrs. Sanford, and a committee consisting of 
M. M. Fisher and E. C. Wilson was chosen to secure sub- 
scriptions. Edward Eaton pledged $1,500, Captain Partridge 
$1,000, the firm of Harding & Bassett $1,000, and John A. 
Bullard $i;-ooo. In all $15,815 was subscribed, and the hall 
erected at a cost, including land and removal of old buildings, 
of $23,000. The price paid for the land was exorbitant, but 
the location seemed the most desirable. The deficiency was 
made up later largely by the liberality of the largest donors, 
Mr. Sanford giving $4,200. The building was christened in 
honor of the family name of the principal donors, and dedi- 
cated with very appropriate and interesting exercises on the 
evening of December 31, 1872. The income from rents is a 
material aid to the society in meeting annual expenses. 
Although the meeting house was in harmony with church 
architecture at the time it was built, and had been kept in 
good condition, with the advent of a new pastor the desire to 
modernize the house was general, and in 1873 the committee 
arranged for radical changes, the people responding most 
heartily to the call for money, Mrs. Edena Sanford giving 
$2,000 and Mrs. John A. Bullard $1,000. 




The following entry on the society's records will give an 
idea of the work accomplished : 

December 7, 18^3. 

Today services were held in the church for the first time 
since it has been remodeled. 

The plan presented at the July meeting has been fully 
carried out at an expense of ^6,000, which has been met by 
subscription. The floor of the vestry has been raised one 
foot, sufficient for ample ventilation beneath ; it has been 
divided into two rooms of convenient size for the Sabbath- 
school and for social meetings, has been painted throughout, 
and the smaller room frescoed. Two new furnaces have been 
put in, the floor of the church has been raised two feet, the 
pews have been re-arranged, newly cushioned, and the floor 
throughout carpeted. An addition has been put on the 
north end of sufficient size to accommodate the choir and the 
organ, which has been newly cased and improved. A new 
pulpit, table and chairs have also been furnished. The 
alterations have been made in accordance with plans furnished 
by Mr. Silloway, of Boston, and the work done under the 
superintendence of Capt. Jesse K. Snow, of Medway. 

In mentioning the last work of Mr. Sanford under the 
care and constant superintendence of our present pastor, I 
transcribe literally from the records of the society of March 
28 and April 27, 1881 : "On motion of M. M. Fisher the 
following resolution was unanimously adopted : Voted, that 
the thanks of this society be presented to our pastor, Rev. R. 
K. Harlow, for his very acceptable and gratuitous service in 
planning and superintending the improvement of the grounds 
around the church, which has been accomplished with such 
rare skill and judgment as fully to meet the convenience and 
gratify the taste of the society and of others personally 
interested in the work." 

"On motion of A. S. Harding the following resolution 
was also unanimously adopted: Voted, that the successful 
plan and completion of the improvements upon the church 
grounds, and the extension of the village water works for 


their irrigation, and the better protection of the church edifice 
and property in the vicinity, again remind us of the great 
liberality of our common benefactor, Milton H. Sanford, Esq., 
to whom the society, and others present, extend a cordial 
vote of thanks, and request that a copy of the record be 
forwarded to him by the clerk." 

The cost of these improvements, and their care, to the 
present time amounts to the sum of ^3,700. At this time 
Mr. Sanford gave $500, that was expended under the direction 
of Mr. Harlow in improvements in front of the Catholic 

In making these exterior improvements upon the grounds, 
the division line was again modified between the society 
land and the estate of Captain Partridge, by mutual and 
harmonious agreement, advantageous to both parties. 

We have now traced the society from its organization 
through the more important changes upon its grounds and 
church edifice, and aid received by individuals and by general 

It remains to mention several specific benefactions 
made wholly by individual members of the society, or others. 

In 1849 Deacon Samuel Allen presented a clock, which 
kept time for the minister, directly in front of, and attached 
to, the south gallery. 

In 1850 Nathaniel Clark gave a pulpit, which was used 
for years in the vestry. 

In same year Pardon D, Tiffarny of St. Louis, a native 
of the village, presented the clock now in the tower of the 

Mrs. John W. Richardson presented the society with 
the marble clock on the right of the platform, in memory of 
her father, Elias Metcalf, formerly an efficient member of 
the society. 

Mrs. John Cole, Mrs. Clark Partridge, and Mrs. Edward 
Eaton gave the platform chairs. 

Mrs. E. J. Le Favor gave the flower stand and rug for 
the pulpit, and has recently supplied the pews with new 


hymn books and copies of the psalms at a cost of ^115, and 
although absent has shown her interest in this occasion by 
sending her check for $100, to help defray the expenses. 

The carpet in the porch was recently given by Messrs. 
Harlan P. and E. I. Sanford. 

The pulpit and the communion table were given by 
sixty-two ladies, whose names are all inscribed within the 
table drawer. The money, ^103, was obtained by Miss 
Eliza Fisher, now 86 years old, and who gives and makes the 
coffee for this occasion, as she has made for the church 
gatherings for many years. She, with Mrs. S. B. Metcalf, only 
one year her junior, has had for a long term personal charge 
of the annual church cleaning. 

The outside lamps were the gift of Mr. Chas. F. Daniels. 

The frescoing in the chapel was wholly paid for by Hon, 
Clark Partridge. 

The inside shutters were given by Mrs. S. B. Metcalf, 
and hung gratuitously by Captain Snow. 

Mr. Edward Eaton, by will, gave the society $6,000, the 
income to be used for support of worship. 

The last gift to the society is this day made by Deacon 
Milton M. Fisher, a deed of the Oakland Cemetery consisiing 
of ten acres, more or less, with the improvements on the 

The thanks of this society are also due to many indi- 
viduals, who in time of need have contributed heartily and 
liberally, in time and labor, for its welfare. Subscriptions, 
singing, festivals, decorations, and even semi-centennials are 
not successfully carried through without hard work. Let us 
be generous in thanks, and sparing in criticism toward the 

And now can we not say, " Hitherto hath the Lord 
helped us".? Let us take up the work before us with new 
courage, and make this church and society a power for good 
among us, remembering that " Righteousness exalteth a 
nation, but sin is a reproach to any people," 



From the Grandmother Church, the Church of Christ in Millis, by the 
pastor, Rev. E. O. Jameson. 

The grandmother church, now in her one hundred and 
seventy-fourth year, salutes with love, congratulation, and joy, 
her grand-daughter, on this her jubilee anniversary, and con- 
gratulates this church on reaching its fiftieth birthday. 

She is glad to greet her, on the summit of her success, 
and rejoice with her, in view of an honorable history, a pres- 
ent prosperity, and a hopeful future. A little one has become 
a thousand, and a small one a strong church. 

Your grandmother was represented on your natal day, 
fifty years ago, by her then pastor, the Rev. Sewall Harding, 
now sainted. She welcomed you to life, and to the love and 
fellowship of sister churches. She watched by this church 
in its cradle and early childhood, grew proud of its growth, and 
rejoiced in its increasing prosperity; and today is about as 
happy an old lady as could well be, in being the grandmother 
of such a united, useful, and promising church. She recog- 
nizes that this church is a chip of the old block, and lil^e her 
grandparent in her faith, her piety, her harmony, and the 
tenacity of affection with which she retains her ministers. 

Your grandmother lived with one of her pastors seventy- 
one years, and after her example you have lived with one 
pastor, faithful and beloved but now lamented, through a 
period of thirty-three years, and are living on with your pres- 
ent minister for how long we cannot tell. It may be that his 
pastorate will be longer than this of our honored brother here 
today, the Rev. Dr. Dowse, whose pastorate soon reaches its 
fiftieth anniversary ; and we fondly hope that it may exceed 
in length that of Father Bucknam himself. It is something 


to be the grandmother of such a church as this ! And some- 
how it comes to me that, if my church is your grandmother, 
then is not her pastor, now speaking, the grandfather of this 
dear man, your minister, and am I not proud of my grandson,, 
today, whose pastorate over this church so reflects his praises 
on this anniversary, for fideHty and loving service ? 

I congratulate this church as, with one of old, " I call to 
remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which first 
dwelt in thy grandmother, and in thy mother, and I am per- 
suaded still abides in thee also." 

Your grandmother has set you the example of " fidelity 
to the old and hospitality toward the new " in Christian think- 
ing, and you are showing yourself a faithful grand-daughter. 

There is no time to enter into particulars at this stage of 
these proceedings. You see these dear brethren in the min- 
istry, and others, stand waiting with their good things to say. 
But I will simply suggest what a mighty power for good this 
church and its services have been in this village during these 
fifty years! What a record of blessing has she made! How 
many has she directed along the narrow way and helped into 
heaven ! 

But mighty as has been her work within these limits of 
her own parish, and great as is her influence here today, she 
has sent out Christian men and Christian women into the 
world, and none can tell how potential for good she is also in 
other places where her faithful representatives have lived and 
died, or are still the active witnesses for Christ. 

With a tender and loving interest your grandmother con- 
gratulates her grand-daughter today, and on this mountain 
top of gladness expresses her best wishes for your continued 
peace, increase, and prosperity in the days to come. 

From the Mother Church, Second Church, West Medzuay, by the 
pastor, Rev. Augustus H. Fuller. 

Brother Harlow, and Brothers and Sisters of the 
Village Church : I feel older today than ever before, indeed 


quite venerable. For some days I have been endeavoring 
to determine my relation to this fair church which, in the 
glory of these autumnal robes, now celebrates her fiftieth 
birthday. I thus reckon : If you are the daughter of the 
church to which I am espoused, then, though you are older 
than I — I must be your step-father. So, with all the gravity I 
can summon, I say we bring our sincere tribute of hearty 
congratulations to our fair daughter, on this her semi-centen- 
nial birthday. 

As my residence in town has been comparatively brief, 
I can say but little from experience regarding the past. My 
venerated predecessor, in his semi-centennial sermon, in 
referring to the young church, said that to it, the old church 
sustained a peculiar relation. In the first place, it was prin- 
cipally composed of church members from the old church and 
those who had worshiped with them, and in the second place, 
your first pastor was grandson and namesake of an honored 
pastor of the old church. 

He also expressed his desire for the success of the new 
church, though missing their presence. I trust this spirit 
prevails today — the desire for your success and a hearty 
Godspeed ; and may this ever continue. With a mother's 
pride we view our fair daughter in her fair deckings on this 
bright September day. 

I bring the mother's congratulations on your material 
prosperity. We behold your beautiful sanctuary, and all 
these lovely surroundings ; we have listened to your history, 
so interesting and prosperous. Surely God has greatly 
blessed you thus. 

The mother congratulates you on your numerical pros- 
perity. Through these fifty years the Lord has been build- 
ing you up in numbers, as year by year you have received 
additions by ones, and twos, and tens, and scores — as was the 
case last year — until yofu are now one of our strong churches. 

But more gladly than all, I bring the mother's congratu- 
lations on your spiritual prosperity. Through all these years 
the old gospel has been preached in its purity and power, and 


here hundreds have learned to know the Saviour, many of 
whom are now on the other side. You are a light in this 
place whose beams, diffused far and wide, have gladdened 
many hearts, and whose strong influence has given an uplift 
to the whole community and been felt beyond your immediate 

And now, may your future be even brighter than the 
past. The mother would adopt the words of the Apostle 
John in his old age, to the church of his tender love and care, 
" I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in 

May the Lord bless thee and keep thee ; the Lord make 
His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; the 
Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 

Fr07n the Sister Churches of Mendon Conference, by Rev. Jacob Ide, 
of Mansfield. 

After the blessing of the grandmother church has been 
given, and the benediction of the mother church has been pro- 
nounced, the loving sister churches of the Mendon Conference 
eagerly desire to send in to their Medway relative their hearty 
salutations on this jubilant occasion ; and I have been made 
a kind of electrical battery, with the understanding that I 
should take the two ends of the golden chain of Christian 
fellowship, reaching from Mansfield to Milford, and complet- 
ing the circuit here, send foward, in one thrilling, concen- 
trated current, their united greetings and congratulation ; and 
as I make the connection, by giving you this grasp of the 
right hand, Brother Harlow, I seem to hear echoing through 
all the air the benediction of the ancient time: "The Lord 
bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make His face shine upon 
thee, and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up His coun- 
tenance upon thee, and give thee peace." Many of the sister 
churches can speak of a similar experience with yours today, 
having held, some of them, their semi-centennial, centennial, 


and sesqui-centennial anniversaries, and, with eyes undimmed 
and strength unabated, are thinking of the style in which 
they shall make up their bi-centennial robes. Some of 
them recall with tender interest the time when this our Med- 
way sister began her religious life, and their pleasure on this 
occasion far exceeds that of the former time. For as it is more 
agreeable to welcome back a noble ship from a prosperous 
voyage, than to cheer her when she is first launched upon 
the bosom of the deep ; as it is far better to pluck the ripe 
clusters of grapes from the matured vine than to assist at its 
planting — so today the witness of our sister's prosperous ma- 
turity is more inspiring than was even the bright promise of 
her youth. We congratulate her, not simply upon the fact 
that she has reached the age of fifty years, but also upon the 
fact that her life thus far has been one of vigorous growth 
and Christian efficiency. We rejoice with her that it has 
been her privilege to do so much in building up God's king- 
dom in this world, and in preparing so many hearts for 
entrance into the kingdom of glory. We earnestly desire and 
expect that, grandly equipped and inspired by the successes 
of the past, she may fill out another half-century with evi- 
dences of still greater progress and success. We congratu- 
late her upon the fact, that she has shown the uncommon 
common sense of selecting good ministers, and then binding 
them, by affectionate manifestations and hearty cooperation, 
to her heart. It is well worthy of commemoration here that 
for fifty years our Medway sister has not allowed any divorce 
of ministers and people. May the future ever witness the 
same sacred regard for inseparable connections. 

And now. Brother Harlow, pardon me if, yielding to the 
feelings which overcome me at the remembrance of past asso- 
ciation, and the sight of the portrait of your beloved predeces- 
sor, I refer for a moment to that which I believe is now 
taking place in heaven. I cannot keep back the expression 
of the opinion that my dear father and dear Brother Sanford, 
with clasped hands, as ours are now, are looking down with 
united and sympathetic joy at the sacred festivities of this 


occasion, and that they both of them are responding with 
earnestness to this my prayer, "God bless this dear church in 
all its future as He has been pleased to bless it in the past." 

The Pastor said that he would next call upon one of the sons 
of the church to represent her children, and introduced 


Professor in the American Asylum, Hartford, Conn. Dr. Fay 
spoke as follows : 

It has been noticed today as a coincidence that this 
semi-centennial is occurring upon Friday, as did also the origi- 
nal September 7, fifty years ago. America was discovered 
upon Friday ; the sufferings and death of our Lord completed 
human salvation upon Friday ; the human race began its 
career upon Friday ; the association of Friday with the his- 
tory of this church is certainly felicitous. 

Last night, as I listened upon my pillow to the measured 
strokes of your bell — one, two, three, up to eleven — I realized 
again, as I often do, that no church bell anywhere sounds so 
sweetly. Fifty years ago, June 13, my childish hands pulled 
at the rope generously long — or thought they did — that lifted 
it to its place. Its tones along the years ring all through my 
recollections of boyhood and youth; and when my remains, 
upon their last home journey, shall reach your cemetery, 
yours first today by gift, those tolling tones, if such shall be 
your custom then, will be my sweetest requiem. 

We have listened today to a service of song, appropriate, 
controlling, perfect ; but there has floated to me louder 
yet, from yonder gallery, the music of fifty, of forty years ago. 
The big bass viol of Captain Daniels, the violins of his sons, 
an occasional flute, that bassoon of Cowell Fisher, have 
sounded clear and high above all floods of organ tone. 

Words of eloquent memorial have enchained our atten- 
tion. They have also released to my hearing other words 
spoken long ago from another, a loftier pulpit. Those por- 


trayed lips of him, so tireless, so forgiving, so affectionate, 
open again in fervid prayer and earnest exhortation. I listen 
again to Father Fisk of Wrentham, ever in haste about his 
Master's business, to the deliberate Long of Milford, to Dr. 
Ide, a true bishop of God's own appointing, to the invalid 
Southvvorth of Franklin, lingering this side the heavenly 
gates, to the vvh6le-souled Dowse, today the semi-centenarian 
of Sherborn, to Sewall Harding of East Medway, clear and 
impassioned, to the gentle Ropes, to the original Woodbury, 
to the scholarly Means, to the cultured Tucker, to the 
sprightly Walker, to the solemn Simmons, and to the faithful 
Dwight ; and we young folks were familiar at the school- 
house with the stature and the precise enunciation of Luther 
Bailey, of East Medway. One by one appear again the 
representatives of the various benevolent societies of that 
day, the stately Anderson and the eloquent Pomeroy, the 
earnest Emerson and the entertaining Butler, the intellectual 
Tarbox and the stirring Bartlett, the dignified Clark and the 
incomparable Bullard; and of a summer evening there stand 
again, upon the platform below, the young man Gough, the 
missionary Hoisington, and students fresh from seminary or 
college — he of Mansfield, he of Longmeadow, he of Walpole 
(long sainted), he who has long slept upon the banks of the 
Tigris, and others, our week-day teachers. 

I stand again upon the pew cushion and nestle up to Com- 
fort Walker and rub my soft cheek upon his age-hardened 
face. What matters it to me that eleven of the church pews 
are his.'' It is enough to know that he loves his fatherless 
grandchild and the worship of God. At noontime I sit in the 
Sabbath-school class of Stephen J. Metcalf — I hope he is 
here today to forgive me for the inattention of those days — 
or I gather with a score of others into the front seats in juve- 
nile chorus, and attempt the alto of " There is a happy land." 
Where are those boys and girls today .? Many of the boys 
marched away in 1861. Too many of their names, alas, con- 
secrate the Soldiers' Circle in yonder cemetery ! 

There were mothers in those days. Here are the origi- 


nal records of the Maternal Association, organized Dec. 19, 
1838, and continued for twenty-three years until 1861, when 
it was merged into the female prayer meeting. They are in 
the handwriting of my mother, the secretary. There was a 
woman's ticket at that day, and the first president, continuing 
until her death, was the wife of our pastor, at whose house 
the first meeting was held. 

And here is the primer studied by the children at that 
time. It is in three parts — doctrinal, historical, and the West- 
minsters Shorter Catechism, The square cuts of the histori- 
cal part, two to the page, were calculated to astonish as well 
as to interest. The whole book is not as large as one of the 
elegant quarterlies studied now. It had to serve for many 
years, and needed several covers. But it was drilled in by 
my mother, and by other teachers, in careful compliance with 
the recommendation upon the first page, that " teachers exert 
themselves to make learners repeat the answers distinctly, 
deliberately, understandingly, solemnly, and in all respects 
properly." Every line is vividly recollected by the speaker, 
and I question whether sounder theology or more useful 
biblical knowledge is taught today, and whether our modern 
methods of instruction are really better. 

And here is a card certifying that I became a member of 
the Med way Village Sabbath-School Temperance Society, 
February 7, 1841, and signed by George Fisher, President, 
and by Orion A. Mason, Secretary. So soon after the pay- 
ment of the bill, described an hour ago as due to Collins 
Hathorn for wine and other liquors used at the raising of 
this edifice, do we have an organized effort to nourish in the 
hearts of the village youth sound principles of total absti- 
nence, I have other certificates in my possession, some of 
parchment, obtained after years of exertion and the expendi- 
ture of thousands of dollars, but upon none do I set a higher 

I find myself attending again the Wednesday evening 
prayer meeting, held for several years in the old school-house, 
and later in the vestry. We sing St. Martin's or Hamburg 


with Deacon Allen, Duke Street or Golden Hill with Deacon 
Fisher, and Balerma with Dr. Monroe. We unite with 
Brother Adams in a prayer most humble and devout, or in 
confession sit down with Brother White " by the cold streams 
of Babylon." Besides the leading words of our pastor, we 
attend to the fervent exhortations of Rev. Caleb Kimball, 
of Captain Cole, of Deacon Fisher, and of Brother Shaw. 
Orion Mason is always present and always silent. Long 
settees are filled with women, but their voices are heard only 
in song. Nor can I omit the Sabbath evening concerts for 
prayer, notably the anti-slavery one, held in the upper hall of 
the old school-house. Deacon Fisher leads it, and reads to 
us burning extracts from the National Era, or introduces 
to us some traveling negro fugitive, with his horrible tale of 
wrong and outrage. 

In place of this church audience, elegantly seated and 
attentive, another audience rises to my view, filling seats 
plainly furnished and long since removed. Directly at my 
left sits Mr. Chestnut, and behind him an auburn-haired boy, 
unconscious of his destiny as deacon. And then come the 
Rays and the Clarks and the Turners. Directly in front sits 
Deacon Allen. Behind him are Mrs. Edena Sanford, and 
occasionally her sons, and oftener her daughter. Still to the 
left, across the aisle, occasionally of an afternoon sits Lawyer 
Lovering. And near him, by some affinity, in a kind of 
doctor's section, as the years pass, there sit, in irregular 
attendance, Dr. Brown, Dr. Monroe, Dr. Salisbury, and Dr. 
Knight. Close by are the Eatons, the Partridges, the Coles, 
the Masons, the Hurds, Clark Walker, Amos Fisher, Abijah 
Metcalf, and so on. And over at the west side what a stir 
there is when Dr. Nathaniel Miller, of River End, sweeps in 
with his eagle eye and snowy hair, close clipped, a little late ! 
I sit again in my own pew over there with Polly Wood and 
Deacon Fisher, and Theodore and his mother and mine, she 
still using, occasionally, the winter foot-stove. Where did 
the rest of the children sit \\\ range of my eye there sit 
again James B. Wilson, Luther Metcalf, Stephen J. Metcalf, 


and the family of the minister, several of whom, and chil- 
dren's children, we delight to meet today. Across the aisle 
sits the deaf-mute, Christopher Fisher, sharing in the spirit 
though not in the letter of the service. Close by are the 
Danielses, Wyman Adams, Nathaniel Clark, and the Coreys. 
Nearer the pulpit, upon its right, are Elijah Partridge and 
Sewall Clark and William Adams, and the Adams sisters, 
attending always so punctually. And how promptly at the 
close of the afternoon service, at the last hymn, we all turn 
about and, standing during the singing, stare at the choir ! 

The library board, placed upon the pew-tops at the south 
side of the church, in front of a semi-circular extension of 
wall space ; the bulletin board in the porch, with its publish- 
ments of intended marriage and its warrants for town meet- 
ings ; the Sabbath-breaking sextons. Abbe, and afterwards 
Hill ; the rugged face of nature in front of the church ; the 
stamping and squealing of horses under the oaks near 
the east windows — what a crowd of memories return today 
from the days and years that are dead ! 

May the growth and expansion of the next fifty years 
excel the scenes and facts of today as much as the present 
condition of the Village Church excels those humble begin- 
nings of which we are reverently and gratefully mindful at 
this memorial hour ! 

"After the sons, it is fitting," said the pastor, "that we 
should hear from the ' sons by marriage,' " and introduced 


of Newburyport, who married Sarah L., youngest daughter of 
Hon. Luther and Sarah Metcalf, who thus answered for himself : 

My acquaintance with this church began in 1842. Rev. 
David Sanford was then in the fullness of his strength and 
influence. The people of his congregation were by no means 
homogeneous in their religious views, but their confidence in 
his kindliness of heart, and in his personal interest in them- 


selves and in their families, was such that they were a 
thoroughly united flock. He was interested in everything 
which concerned the individual welfare of his people, and 
the good of the community. It was through his solicitation 
that I engaged to open a select school in the village ; and on 
going there, I at once reported myself to Mr. Sanford on 
Saturday forenoon, as the school was to commence on 
Monday. It was characteristic of his kind and efficient 
activity, that he said to me : " Now I wish you to see some 
of the people of this village, that they may send their children 
to you on Monday ; and I will be ready to go with you 
immediately after dinner." Putting aside all his preparations 
for the Sabbath, he called with me upon more than thirty 
families ; not waiting for them to come to the door, he simply 
knocked, and passed directly into the house. Before nine 
o'clock on Monday morning, we had called on every family in 
the village who had children likely to attend the school. 
When we were going our rounds, if any objected that they 
would like to avail themselves of the school, but they were 
unable to furnish the required money for tuition, he would 
say, " Oh, send in your child, and we will see about the 
tuition!" and he took the responsibility. He was connected 
with the public schools of the town, and he spared no pains 
in securing good teachers, and interesting the people in the 
cause of public education. 

As a pastor, Mr. Sanford knew his people intimately. 
He was the first person in the parish to become aware of any 
case of illness, or misfortune, or sorrow of any kind. He 
regarded all the people living in the village as the special 
objects of his care and interest, whether they attended his 
church or not; and he was accustomed to call on them all in 
his regular pastoral visitations. He knew not only their 
present condition, but where they came from ; and if he were 
passing through the places with which they were connected, 
he would seek out their friends to receive and communicate 
pleasant intelligence. He was a sincere sympathizer with 
his people in all their sorrow. Nothing touched them that 


did not touch him. He never thought of sparing himself any 
labor, or any inconvenience, if he could advance the welfare 
of the people, or minister to their comfort. 

Mr. Sanford was very much interested in obtaining 
employment and situations for his young people ; he was an 
energetic and efficient Young Men's Christian Association 
and Young People's Society in himself. In several instances, 
representatives of other religious denominations came to look 
over this village for the purpose of establishing their own 
peculiar church here ; but they received little encourage- 
ment, even from those who might be in sympathy with their 
views, who told them that Mr. Sanford was a good man, and 
doing a good work here, and they did not wish to separate 
themselves from his congregation, or favor any divisive 

He was greatly esteemed by his fellow clergymen. He 
was always ready to serve any of his ministerial brethren 
whenever it was possible to aid them. While he had his own 
theological views, Mr. Sanford never allowed them to imbitter 
his feelings, or bar his intercourse with his brethren. He 
was interested in all true reforms, and his voice and his vote 
could always be relied upon to carry forward the church to a 
higher and better Christian life. He was an anti-slavery 
man, decided and firm in his convictions at a time when even 
all good men did not see their way clear on this point of 
practical righteousness. 

Nearly all the men whom I knew as prominent in laying 
the foundation of this religious society have passed away; 
as Luther Metcalf, Cary, Wilson, Mason, Sanford, and others 
whose names it would be pleasant to recall. Deacon M. M. 
Fisher still remains. This church with its beautiful appoint- 
ments and surroundings, the village library, Sanford Hall, 
the stated congregation of intelligent Christian people who 
worship here — all these have grown out of the wise and 
beneficent influence which founded this church. It has been 
signally favored of God in having its second and present 
pastor in full accord with the spirit and purpose of its 


founders. And today, while we recall the blessed memories 
of the past, we congratulate you on the possession of such 
bright prospects for the future. You have been favored, not 
alone in temporal prosperity, but in the spiritual gifts of 
divine grace by which large numbers have been brought into 
the fellowship and communion of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The next " son by marriage " called upon was 

of Auburndale, who married Sarah, daughter of Rev. David 
Sanford, and after her decease, her youngest sister Martha. Mr. 
Cutler responded as follows : 

My Dear Friefids : In the order of nature it is not given 
to a man to say who shall be his father; but this disability 
he may in part overcome by choosing whom he will for his 
father-in-law, provided, indeed, that some one else first be 

It is true I was not born in this town — I had no voice in 
that matter. It happened to me, however, to be born just 
over the border, and if my infant feet never strayed across 
the line, no doubt my voice might have been heard, and 
understood by those that ran — if indeed it were not enough 
to make them run. It happened, too, that my boyhood was 
passed just beyond the border of the parish where your first 
pastor was settled before he came to be your minister. His 
name was a household word in all the region round about. 
It was common talk how many were the calls he made, how 
tender his ministrations to the sick, how kind his attentions 
to the needy and the stranger. His good name gave me 
courage to apply for a school, and I came here to teach, and 
became a boarder at his house. There I saw his cordial 
hospitality regardless of limited means; the agent was always 
welcome to dine or stay over night ; for the poor he always 
had something to give ; and was ready with a word or letter 


of sympathy for the afflicted. He was busy as he could be, 
and his business seemed to be like the Master's — doing 
good. This gave alertness to his feet, his tongue, his quill. 

The story never could have been true of him that has 
been told of the great thinker, Jonathan Edwards — how he 
was riding along on horseback, absorbed in thought, going to 
the pasture for his cows, and when he came to the fence a 
boy stood by and politely let down the bars for him. He 
inquired, " Whose boy are you ? " And the boy replied, " I 
am John Clark's boy, sir." Soon he came riding back, driving 
the cows before him, and the same boy stood waiting to put 
up the bars after him. Again he asked, " Whose boy are 
you ?" and was ansv/ered promptly, " I'm the same man's boy 
that I was five minutes ago." Rev. Mr. Sanford knew the 

A second winter I spent in the same way. And so it 
happened that while I was looking up to the minister — or 
ever I was aware — I had fallen in love with one of his daugh- 
ters, and grew no wiser by it, for afterward it happened a 
second time ; and friends had no pity for me, for they knew 
that none was needed. So, if I never was a member of this 
church, it might be said that twice I came within one of it. 

And so it's a pleasure to be with you in this celebration, 
delicious to listen to the very felicitous words that have been 
spoken. They seem to bring echoes out of the past that 
like a trumpet waken them that sleep, and the dust is made 
to speak and bow the knee with the living in grateful homage 
to God our Saviour. 

Those thirty-four, we feel, were wise when they formed 
themselves into a church. They caught the spirit of the 
ancient prayer : " Draw me, and I will run after Thee." 
They stood together, and each was helped by all the rest; 
and as a church they have counted more for good than they 
could as individuals ; their light has been brighter, their gifts 
have been larger. Divine wisdom appointed the church as 
the channel for receiving and doing good. The hearts of 
many rejoice at the record of this church. It has had no 


grant from government. It has not been supported by the 
strength of an ecclesiastical system. It has leaned on no 
architectural prop nor pomp of ceremonial. But in a good, 
republican, scriptural way it has finished its first half-century. 

It has done a good work. It has suffered responsibility 
to rest upon individual members. They have considered 
great questions pertaining to the church and the state and 
the family. They have learned to think, and to vote, and to 
give, as Christian citizens. Men, and women, and children 
have been brought into the kingdom of God, of whom many 
have fallen asleep, and many that remain will by the recollec- 
tions of this day be refreshed for renewed service. 

Things that are lovely and of good report the church has 
cherished. Its influence for good upon hearts and lives, 
upon homes and schools in this community, and in distant 
lands, will be shown though not measured by what we hear 
today. The story of the past gives a guiding word for the 
future. We read it also in the Song of Songs, which is 
Solomon's: " Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, 
and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents." 

Principal of the Episcopal Academy, Cheshire, Ct. 

With great pleasure I received the invitation of your 
pastor to attend the semi-centennial celebration of this 
church, and take part in its exercises by contributing some- 
thing in the way of reminiscence. 

Although not born in Medway, but near the separating 
line of this town and Franklin, yet, as I spent the most inter- 
esting period of my life in this village, I have been claimed as 
a Medway boy. I am proud to know I am thus regarded, and 
that many who knew me in my younger days have a most 
kindly remembrance of me. And surely the memories 
most dear to me are connected with my life here. There is 


no spot that I take more pleasure in visiting than this dehght- 
ful village " set on a hill." Here everything reminds me, not 
only of the many years passed since boyhood, of the great 
changes that have taken place, but of the happy days spent 

In my wanderings among familiar scenes I visit the rock 
in the river, at the place which has always been a public 
lavatory, and find imbedded in the solid stone a portion of an 
iron rod, placed there by my own hands more than fifty years 
ago, for the construction of apparatus designed to give effect- 
ive aid to the bathers in their plunge from the rock into the 

Not less fixed in my mind than that iron in the rock are 
the happy memories of this village, and not less enduring 
than the rock itself the principles imbibed here, which have 
had an important influence on my life. 

I come, then, to express ray gratitude, and to show my 
interest in whatever pertains to the good of this community. 
I come to congratulate this church on having completed half 
a century since its organization, at the ceremonies of which I 
was present, and to recognize how great an instrumentality it 
has been in aiding religious progress and in bringing souls to 
the knowledge of the blessed Saviour. If I except a few who 
have reached an age far beyond the allotted span, I think 
there are none better acquainted than myself with the cir- 
cumstances and influences which led to the formation of this 
religious society. 

Before its organization, efforts were made by different 
denominations of Christians to establish divine worship here. 
These continued for a time, but were not successful. A 
Sunday-school was for a time sustained, of which G. W. Hunt 
was superintendent, and I was one of the teachers. 

To the Rev. Dr. Ide, of the West Parish, great credit is 
due for sustaining for a long period Sunday evening services, 
and, one evening each week, instructing a Bible class. With 
all who knew him, I hold the memory of Dr. Ide in the 
greatest reverence. To his example and teachings I owe 


much. Of Strong intellect, of shrewd discernment, a sound 
reasoner, and a safe counselor, by his sermons and bis 
example he gained an influence which was not lost through 
the many years of his long life. 

Until this church edifice was built, many of the families 
in the village attended his church in West Medway. While 
the father and mother and daughters of a family rode to the 
service on Sunday, the boys were expected to go on foot. It 
was interesting to see the procession of boys form of a 
Sunday morning on their way to church. It would start 
from the lower end of the village with only two or three in 
the ranks, but would gain accessions as it advanced, and by 
the time it reached the upper part it was quite large. Many 
of the rank and file I remember well. I am tempted to give 
their names. There were Edward and Abram Harding, 
Edward Eaton, Francis Clark, Orion A. Mason, Edward and 
George Sanford, Eliab, William Henry, and Alfred Allen, 
Stephen Whiting, and Luther H. Metcalf. Many of these 
gained distinction, but only two of this company, besides 
myself, are now living. 

Those were happy days, though sad to think of now. 
We never tired of the walk and of each other's company, 
though we were sometimes wearied with the too long and 
almost continuous services. At times when Dr. Ide, finish- 
ing the last division of the three heads of his sermon at 
eighteenthly, came to " reflections," we reached a state of 
somnolency before "in conclusion" and "finally" ended the 
afternoon's discourse. 

There were many influences at work to end all this, and 
provide a new place of worship. 

While many attended service either at East or West 
Medway on Sunday, too large a number remained at home. 
There were earnest souls who felt that something must be 
done, who saw the necessity of concentrated and organized 
effort for the religious welfare of the village, and with hearts 
filled with the love of the Redeemer, they were unwilling to 
leave any means untried to bring all within His saving influ- 


ence. Some of these died before their prayers were 
answered. Moses Felt I remember well, a godly man, who 
was known by all " to have been with Jesus." Philo Sanford 
died at an advanced age, before his son became pastor of this 
church. He was a man of religious spirit and of high Chris- 
tian character. By his own worth, by the benefactions of his 
grandsons, and by the lasting work of his son in the ministry 
here, the name of Sanford will always be held in reverence. 

In the selection of its first pastor the church was most 
fortunate. After its organization my association with its 
members was such that I knew their great anxiety, and that 
they felt there should be no mistake in the choice of a pastor. 
A kindly Providence seemed to interpose in their favor. The 
Rev. David Sanford was unanimously chosen. 

He was a native of this village, and brought up with 
those who afterwards became the people of his charge. It 
might be thought that on this account there would be preju- 
dice against him ; but it does not seem, in this village, to hold 
true that " a prophet is not without honor but in his own 
country, among his own kin, and in his own house." 

Of those known to me as active in the formation of this 
society, a large proportion have passed away. Among these 
was Orion Mason, Sr., a man who "walked with God," of 
humble deportment, yet possessing great energy of character, 
of most generous disposition, and liberal in his benefactions 
to every good cause. For his kindness to me I wish here to 
express my gratitude. When I commenced my studies for 
the ministry and needed help, without charge he took me 
into his family, gave me material aid, and thus enabled 
me successfully to complete my preparation for college, and 
in vacations I always found a cordial welcome in his home. 

Clark Partridge was then in the vigor of his manhood, 
active in his business pursuits, but not less interested in what 
pertained to the cause of religion. Deacon Samuel Allen 
soon after its organization, in mature life, became a member 
of this church. Many, doubtless, remember him well ; a man 
of refined and cultivated mind, with musical talent and taste, 


gifted with inventive genius, witty, genial, and kind, sympa- 
thizing with and a friend to all ; his last years crowned with 
the halo of sincere piety, his usefulness was great, and his 
loss to this society severely felt. 

Luther Metcalf, Esq., whose lengthened life but a few 
years since ended, came at a late hour into the vineyard. 
Always a man of the highest rectitude and integrity, religion 
only gave greater strength to his principles, while it had a 
softening influence upon his character. In intercourse with 
him in his last years, I was struck with his manifest humility 
and the strength of his convictions. The brightness of re- 
ligious hope gave a glow to his sunset sky, and "at evening 
there was light about him." 

As St. Paul gave earnest commendation to those devoted 
women who labored with him " in the gospel," so should you 
hold in grateful remembrance those women who here illus- 
trated the Christian virtues, and gave their influence and aid 
to the work of Christ. I recall with most reverent feeling 
Mrs. James Wilson, whose godly life was a pattern to all. No 
Christian woman ever possessed a gentler, sweeter character. 
Her heart was overflowing with charity and her love for the 
Saviour, and the depth of her religious feeling was manifest 
in every word and act. Her name is surely " written in the 
Book of Life." Mrs. Edena Sanford was a woman of different 
stamp, but not unlike her in attachment to the cause of 
Christ, and in her readiness to do all in her power for its suc- 
cess. Of great determination and energy, her characteristics 
were possessed in a high degree by her distinguished sons. 

How many estimable women might be mentioned, whose 
prayerful and zealous efforts I knew in connection with the 
inception of this church, and who have a bright record in its 
annals. Most have passed to their reward ; some still linger, 
who, in their lengthened years, show undiminished zeal, and 
still are active in every good work. 

I cannot refrain from trespassing a moment more upon 
your time to mention two friends of my youth, whose worth 
you know and whose loss you cannot cease to deplore. In 


this village the name of Edward Eaton cannot be forgotten. 
The qualities which gained your respect in later life endeared 
him to me in his youth. 

Shall we not speak of one beloved, who so recently 
passed away, though he so modestly and humbly forbade 
words of eulogy in respect to himself .'* We " seek not his 
merits to disclose ; " there is no need. We all know the kind- 
ness and gentleness of his nature, while he possessed great 
strength of character. With a fondness for intellectual pur- 
suits he yet applied himself diligently to business, showing 
not only great ability, but an example of the highest integrity. 
Ever busy in fulfilling the many trusts committed to his 
charge, yet he was not neglectful of Christian duty. Oh, sad 
was the hour to us all, though joyful to him, when Orion 
A. Mason passed to the "higher life!" 

Having spoken of the dead, may I not say a word of the 
living.? I cannot forbear to speak of one who has many years 
lived among you, and by his lengthened life of usefulness, and 
his untiring efforts in everything that pertains to the good 
of this community, has endeared himself to all. His intel- 
lectual acquirements, his clear judgment, his broad charity, 
his prudence in counsel and energy in action, his readiness in 
emergency, his public spirit, his purity of character, and his 
devotedness to the cause of religion, make your venerable 
Deacon Milton M. Fisher a blessing to this village and a 
strong " pillar in the house of the Lord." May his days yet 
be prolonged, and far distant the time when he will be laid to 
rest with the fathers in yonder cemetery, which was by him- 
self designed and beautified, and which, by deed this day, he 
has generously given to this society to be "a possession for- 

And now in closing I will say that I have tried, to the 
interest of this occasion, to add my memories, which have for 
their scope the last fifty years. Although not in full harmony 
with you in respect to church polity, I am not so narrow in 
my views that I cannot recognize excellence, nor approve 


earnest Christian effort, in organizations which are not after 
my own pattern. 

A new spirit seems to be pervading the Christian world, 
and charity widely extending its influence. Christians are 
just finding out that the things in which they agree greatly 
exceed those in which they differ from each other. I was 
greatly touched when, a few years since, I received an urgent 
application from an active member of this church for a con- 
tribution for the building of an Episcopal chapel in this place; 
and I believe the kind disposition which prompted this appli- 
cation is not wanting in any of the members of this church, 
and that they all, like many earnest souls, are longing for 
Christian unity. 

And allow me to say that, though so long thought ex- 
clusive, the Episcopal church is at the present day foremost 
in its proffers for " organic unity," willing to sink all differ- 
ences as to form and ceremony, and to adhere alone to what 
is deemed essential. May God hasten the time when we shall 
"all see eye to eye," when what is extraneous shall not be 
deemed essential and what is essential shall alone be re- 
garded, when all marching under one banner shall realize 
there is " one body and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one 
baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and 
through all, and in you all." 







And the Lord said unto Moses, " Write this, for a memorial in a 
BOOK." — Exodus xvii : 14,/. c. 

TWO facts were to be perpetuated by this record, viz. : an 
achievement in the past, a promise for the future. 
Among the numerous texts that would be appropriate for 
this occasion I have selected this, partly because no one else, 
so far as I know, has ever used it for a similar service ; chiefly 
because it seemed to me well suited to the occasion. Every 
church anniversary rehearses achievements in the past — re- 
peats promises that secure the future ; and while the hour is 
chiefly occupied with the recital of what is past, we are all 
the while conscious, as the story goes on, that it is but a 
grand and signal fulfillment of the promise on which the 
church's hope and life rest. 

In grateful recognition of the loving providence of God 
that has blessed us as a people, we meet today to commemo- 
rate the fiftieth anniversary of the organization of the Village 
Church in Medway. It is a time of reminiscence. Most that 
we have to say refers to what is past. Yet as we look back- 
ward, as we look around, as we look forward, the same light 
makes each region alike luminous ; the light that shines from 
the gracious promise of the church's Lord and Master : " Lo ! 
I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." 

By request of the Committee of Arrangements it has 
devolved on me to gather up and arrange such facts in the 


history of this church for fifty years, as will be of interest to 
us and of value to those who come after us, serving alike as a 
memorial of God's loving kindness to His people, and a 
guaranty of successes yet to be achieved through His alliance. 
There is no obscurity enveloping the origin of this church. 
It has no records written in the old colonial style, with the 
quaint abbreviations and lawless use of capitals, that add a 
fascination to ancient documents. Men and women are liv- 
ing who joined hearts and hands in its formation, and whose 
memories retain the leading events in its history. Thus our 
task is simplified, and is one of selection rather than creation 
— the statement of facts instead of the announcement of con- 
jectures. In this work, in addition to the use made of the 
records of the church, we have drawn upon the published 
history of our town when it has served our purpose. We 
have also availed ourselves of those unpublished traditions, 
respecting men and things, that are written in the memories 
of contemporaries — records that are fading out each year, 
and that will ere long have vanished. 

It is fitting at the outset to notice briefly the condition 
of things in this village prior to the movement which resulted 
in the formation of a church. As early as 1826-7 Dr. Ide 
(to whose parish this territory belonged) frequently held re- 
ligious services Sabbath afternoons at 5 o'clock in the village 
school-house. As his home was a sort of theological semi- 
nary, at that time, for the training of candidates for the minis- 
try, these young men were frequently permitted to exercise 
their gifts in practice upon this people — services which, it is 
charitable to believe, were somewhat better than nothing. 
About the same time a Sunday-school was started for the 
children who could not easily attend the Second Parish school. 
The session opened at 9 o'clock Sabbath mornings, and 
closed in season for the teachers to reach public worship at 
the West Parish. The good doctor made himself felt in the 
school by frequently meeting the teachers on Thursday even- 
ings and expounding the lesson for the next Sabbath. 
Among those who were superintendents, Mr. Charles Wheeler 


and George W. Hunt, afterward Deacon, are remembered 
with interest. Mr. Orion Mason, the elder, Sanford Horton, 
Mrs. James B, Wilson, Mrs. Dr. Brown, and Misses Eliza B. 
Fisher, Polly Fisher, Susan Thompson, Polly Wood, Eliza 
Fisher, and Eleanor Metcalf, served as teachers. At this 
time the religious status was not very encouraging. I am 
told by one who came here to reside in 183 1 that out of a 
population of 200 there were only three men and ten women, 
so far as he knew, who were professing Christians — five per 
cent only of the population. 

In 1 83 1 Mr. Abijah Baker, a native of Franklin, who had 
recently graduated from Amherst College, opened a classical 
school in this village for advanced scholars. Although the 
school had a brief existence it exerted a lasting influence. 
Mr. Baker was an earnest Christian, as were many of his 
pupils from adjacent towns, and a new religious interest began 
to be felt in the community. Social meetings were held in the 
homes of the people with good results. Who knows but this 
Christian teacher was the remote originator of this church.-' 

1838 was a year of events in Medway Village. During 
the latter part of 1836 a cellar had been dug and the granite 
foundations for the new meeting house laid. Then winter 
took possession, snow-drifts filled the open basement, and the 
men, who are well along in life today, remember that as boys 
they leaped from the topmost stones and buried themselves 
in the deep whiteness below. It was the first and last time 
that a veritable snow-drift got into the vestry. There may 
have been times, later on, when the spiritual atmosphere 
therein possibly suggested snow. The meeting house was 
commenced the next season, but was not completed till the 
early summer of 1838. The dedication occurred on the 15th 
day of June. The history of the preacher of the dedication 
sermon added especial interest to the occasion. He was a 
Medway-born boy, but by his own confession was not the 
sort of boy that the average Sunday-school book selects for a 
prospective minister. " I was a wild, heady, reckless youth," 
he says of himself, "delighting in hunting, fishing, trapping, 


and in rough athletic sports which tended to invigorate my 
constitution but added nothing to my mental or moral 
improvement." It is remembered that his father some- 
times uttered the prophesy that his son would be a minister, 
but as the prophesy was evidently inspired by an overdose 
of old Jamaica gin or some other kindred spirit, it was only 
noticed and remembered because of the incongruity it sug- 
gested. Joel Hawes a preacher ! We can imagine that the 
saints of Medway considered it a profanation to connect the 
name of such a reckless youth with the sacred office. 

But Joel Hawes did become a preacher, whose record 
any man might covet, and whom any town might be proud to 
claim as a son. So far as numerals can give results of 
ministerial service, this we have as the record of his 44 years' 
ministry: He added to his church in Hartford, Conn., 1,681 
persons. Among these were 37 candidates for the ministry, 
of whom 7 became missionaries. In his fiftieth year he 
delivered the first sermon that was ever preached in this 
house, from Psalm xciii : 5 : " Holiness becometh thine house, 
O Lord, forever." ' 

It is a noticeable fact that the movement for the estab- 
lishment of religious ordinances here originated among the 
business men of the place, who, although they had made no 
profession of personal piety, yet so greatly respected religion 
and appreciated the value of its institutions to a community 
that in 1836 they set about collecting funds for the erection 
of a meeting house. Some of them contributed very gener- 
ously for this purpose. The name that they adopted at their 
organization — viz., " The Evangelical Congregational Society 
in Medway Village " — shows that the truth to which they 
had listened under the ministry of Rev. David Sanford, Sen., 

' For the only record of the date of the dedication, as well as for the text 
of the sermon, I am indebted to a little memorandum book, which contains the 
names of the preachers and their texts, for eleven years after the opening of the 
meeting house. It was kept by "Aunt Polly Wood," who was a study in 
character, ubiquitous and useful, a walking encyclopaedia of facts and dates of 
village history, and who, true to her mission, comes back from the dead, so to 
speak, to tell us these facts not otherwise obtainable. 


and afterward of Dr. Ide, had gained their respect and intel- 
lectual allegiance. As I was reviewing the initial steps in 
this movement with Mr. Milton Sanford, not long before 
his death — who, although the youngest of this company of 
men, was one of the most deeply interested in the movement 
(an interest which he continued to manifest by tangible 
tokens to the end of his life) — I asked him why the origi- 
nators of the enterprise were so strenuous that the preaching 
here should be of the evangelical type. He replied, " Because 
that is the only kind that succeeds." "And why does it 
succeed.?" I inquired. With a characteristic shrug of the 
shoulders and twinkle of the eye he replied, " We will discuss 
that at some other time." This testimony of a shrewd busi- 
ness man to the conspicuous success of evangelical doctrine, 
I think, is worthy of mention and remembrance. 

As the feasibility of the project became more and more 
apparent, Mr. Sanford was selected to inform Dr. Ide of the 
intention of the village people to colonize from his parish and 
start a new enterprise. Rev. Alexis Ide, then a boy, tells of 
his surprise at seeing young Sanford drive up to his father's 
door one day and enter, and his greater surprise at the length 
of the interview. When Mr. Sanford left after a two-hours' 
conference, Alexis hurried in to inquire the object of the 
visit. His father told him that the village people were think- 
ing of forming a new church in their part of the town. " Will 
they do it.?" he asked. "I think they will," the doctor 
replied ; " Milton Sanford is full of it." 

With his characteristic wisdom and unselfishness the 
good doctor indorsed the movement, although foreseeing 
that it would take from him a company of firm and faithful 
supporters, whose loss would be keenly felt. On the Sabbath 
succeeding the organization of this church it is remembered 
that Dr. Ide preached from the text, "Hitherto the Lord 
hath helped us," thus encouraging himself and his people in 
their conscious loss with the memory of God's goodness in 
the past. Dr. Ide was always most cordial in his interest in 
this new church and its pastor — an interest that was heart- 



ily reciprocated. I am told that at every communion season 
during his entire pastorate Rev. Mr. Sanford prayed for the 
mother church and its revered pastor. 

The next event in order was the organization of a church. 
On the 7th of September, 1838, a council was convened for 
this purpose, consisting of the following representatives of 
the neighboring churches : Second Church in Medway, Rev. 
Jacob Ide, D.D. ; Deacon Daniel Nourse, delegate. First 
Church in Medway, Rev. Sewall Harding, pastor ; Bro. Paul 
Daniels, delegate. Church in Franklin, Bro. Caleb Fisher, 
delegate. Village Church, Dorchester, Rev. David Sanford, 
pastor; Bro. James Burt, delegate. Dr. Ide was chosen 
moderator, and the council proceeded to examine the creden- 
tials of the persons desiring to be organized into a church. 
Thirty-one brought letters of dismission from the Second 
Church, West Medway ; two presented certificates of mem- 
bership from the Presbyterian church in Tobes Keigh, Ire- 
land ; and one, Mrs. Zebial Leonard, presented herself for 
admission on profession of faith. The council voted to or- 
ganize these thirty-four persons into a Church of Christ. 
Their names are as follows : 

Orion Mason. 
Clark Partridge. 
Stephen J. Metcalf. 
John Chesmut. 
Jane Chesmut. 
Charles Wheeler. 
Mary W. Wheeler. 
Zebial Leonard. 
Susan Thompson. 
Esther Ruggles. 
Tamar W. Mason. 
Lydia Fuller. 
Hannah Metcalf. 
Sarah B. Metcalf. 
Mary H. Walker. 
Sarah A. Harding. 
Adeliza Harding (Clark). 

Abigail H. Partridge. 
Clarissa W. Fay. 
Edena Sanford. 
Julitta Allen. 
Meletiah White. 
Mary H. Fuller. 
Sally C. Wilson. 
Louis Fisher. 
Judith Mason. 
Nancy R. Bullard. 
Eliza Bullard (Carman). 
Sebrina B. Bullard. 
Elmira A. Bullard (Cutler). 
Persis A. Hixon. 
Hannah Partridge. 
Louis R. Partridge. 
Nancy Wheelock. 


The service of public recognition was in the following 
order: Introductory Prayer and Sermon, by Dr. Ide ; Prayer 
and Organization of the Church, by Rev. David Sanford ; 
Right Hand of Fellowship, by Rev. Sewall Harding, followed 
by the administration of the Lord's Supper, 

Of these thirty-four persons uniting to form the church, 
nine are still living, viz. : 

Stephen J. Metcalf. Mrs. Eliza (Bullard) Garman. 

Mrs. Tamar W. Mason. Mrs. Elmira (Bullard) Cutler. 

Mrs. Sarah B. Metcalf. Charles Wheeler. 

Mrs. Adeliza Clark. Mrs. Mary Wheeler. 
Mrs. Sabrina B. Bullard. 

The five first mentioned are still members, and, with the 
exception of Mrs. Mason, participate in the exercises of this 
day. We are glad to welcome Mr. Wheeler also, who has 
journeyed from New Mexico, N. Y., to enjoy the fiftieth birth- 
day of the church he helped to organize. 

A meeting house having been built, and the church or- 
ganized, the next event in order was the procurement of a 
minister. This business, which in our day is attended often- 
times with much experimenting and vexatious delay, seems to 
have been a very simple matter for this new church. Presi- 
dent Hitchcock, of Amherst College, used to say to his 
students that he did not think it best for any of them to take 
a wife during their course of study, but it would do no harm 
for them to " mark a tree " here and there, with reference to 
future possibilities. Some such prudent course seems to 
have been adopted by the people of Medway, for before the 
church was organized, all had agreed in their own minds who 
would make them a desirable pastor; and when the meeting 
house had been dedicated and a religious society formed, they 
voted to call Rev. David Sanford, then pastor of the Vil- 
lage Church, Dorchester, to be their minister. Mr. Sanford 
was a native of Medway, son of Philo and Lydia (Whiting) 
Sanford, and grandson of Rev. David Sanford, predecessor 
of Dr. Ide in the pastorate of the Second Church, West Med- 


way — an office which he administered with signal ability for 
thirty-seven years. David Sanford, 2d, was born in Med way, 
August 28, 1801. He graduated from Brown University in 
1825, and subsequently studied theology with Dr. Ide and in 
Andover Seminary, 

The people of Medway, knowing the stock from whence 
the younger David sprung, and knowing him in his boyhood 
and youth (a knowledge which in some cases would not help 
the chances of a candidate for the ministry), and having 
learned of his success already achieved in pastoral service 
elsewhere, spent no time in candidating, for on the very day 
on which the church was organized a vote was passed to join 
with the parish in extending a call to Mr. Sanford. There 
was some hesitation on his part in accepting the invitation, 
owing to his delicate health, and he proposed to the committee 
that his installation be deferred for a time. The committee 
replied, " We wish you to be installed in order to give sta- 
bility to this new enterprise, even if your stay is necessarily 

The call was accepted, and on the 3d of October, 
1838, the installation took place. The council consisted of 
the representatives of the following churches : Church in 
Wrentham, Rev. Elisha Fisk ; Bro. P. Sanford, delegate. 
Church in Milford, Rev. David Long; P. P. Parkhurst, dele- 
gate. Church in West Medway, Rev. Jacob Ide ; Bro. A. 
Fuller, delegate. Church in East Medway, Rev. Sewall 
Harding; Bro. Oliver Philipps, delegate. Church in Sher- 
born. Rev. D. J. Smith ; Bro. J. Leland, delegate. Church in 
Holliston, Rev. J. Storrs ; Esquire Rockwood, delegate. 
Church in Medfield, Deacon S. Turner, delegate. Church in 
Upton, Deacon D. Fisk, delegate. Church in North Wren- 
tham, Bro. D. Cooke, delegate. First Church in Dorchester, 
Deacon S. Robinson, delegate. Church in Franklin, Bro. A. 
Hunting, delegate. 

The council having indorsed the action of the church 
and parish, and approving the candidate, proceeded to install 
him. Dr. Codman preached the sermon and Rev. E. Fisk 


offered the installation prayer. The council met at the house 
of Luther Metcalf, Esq., which has many ecclesiastical asso- 
ciations in addition to its extended and interesting household 
history. The salesroom of Major Metcalf's cabinet shop, close 
by, served as a dining-hall, where one hundred guests were 
provided for. Mrs. Luther Metcalf, then in the prime of life, 
presided with courtly grace at this banquet, inaugurating that 
day a ministry in behalf of this church, which has been as 
various and excellent as it has been willing and tireless. Her 
inseparable ally, "Aunt Eliza Fisher," served as chief executive 
— happy then, as always since, to serve the church that she 
loves, and of which, but for the delay of others, she would 
have been an original member — and who today, in her eighty- 
seventh year, has brewed coffee for you that I am sure you 
will declare was fit for the children of a king. 

The cabinet shop of Major Metcalf deserves honorable 
mention today for its connection with the work of the Chris- 
tian church. I have not been able to ascertain the connection 
between this particular shop and the Christian ministry, but 
the fact remains that two of its apprentices became ministers, 
who have done valuable service in the cause of Christ. One 
of these, Cyrus Kingsbury, became a missionary to the Choc- 
taw Indians, and at the time of his death was senior member 
of that mission. Much as he accomplished in this work, it is 
quite likely that his most important service was done when, 
as an apprentice, God made use of him as the instrument for 
the conversion of a comrade, Joel Hawes. The event that 
contributed to this result is thus related : 

Young Kingsbury was mowing in the field, and started 
up a rabbit. In his eagerness to catch it he came in contact 
with his scythe, and cut the main artery in one of his legs. 
The loss of blood brought him very near to death. Hawes 
watched with him, and seeing his Christian fortitude in the 
prospect of death, and hearing his words of counsel to him, 
was led to appreciate the value of a hope in Christ and to 
secure it. 

Another apprentice, Sanford Horton, who is with us 


today, laid aside the saw and plane and chisel for the imple- 
ments of the student, and after graduation from Trinity 
College entered the ministry of the Episcopal Church, serving 
as rector of St. Andrew's Church in Providence, R. I., Grace 
Church in New Bedford, and St. Paul's Church in Windham, 
Conn. Since 1862 he has held the office of principal of the 
Episcopal Academy in Cheshire, Conn. In token of his 
worth his Alma Mater in 1869 conferred upon him the degree 
of Doctor of Divinity. 

Perhaps they made pulpits in that cabinet shop, which 
served as object lessons to the boys. It is said that the first 
communion table used in this church, which is still extant, 
was a product of this shop. 

The dinner in Major Metcalfs cabinet shop being 
finished, the council repaired to the new meeting house, where 
the installation services took place in the following order : 
Introductory Prayer, Rev. D. J. Smith, of Sherborn ; Sermon, 
Rev. J, Codman, D.D., of Dorchester ; Installing Prayer, Rev. 
Elisha Fisk, of Wrentham ; Charge to the Pastor, Rev. Jacob 
Ide, D.D., West Medway; Fellowship of the Churches, Rev. 
Sewell Harding, East Medway; Concluding Prayer, Rev. 
David Long, of Milford. 

This crowning event of the year 1838 completed the equip- 
ment of this enterprise for service. The newly-installed 
pastor had just observed his thirty-seventh birthday, and 
consequently took this young church upon his heart and 
hands in the prime of manhood. He came to this field of 
labor equipped by the training of the schools, and in addition 
by a sort of special course — not in the subtleties of German 
philosophy, but in active personal work. During his college 
course he had interested himself in Sabbath-school work in 
the suburbs of Providence, teaching each Sabbath in mission 
schools. He developed so much aptitude for this sort of 
service that he was selected, during one vacation in his 
seminary course, to act as agent for the Union Sunday-school 
Society in forming new Sunday-schools and introducing 


library and question books. With his characteristic energy 
he visited fifty-two schools in one vacation. 

But a more desirable equipment was the experience he 
obtained in revival work during his seminary course. At one 
period it was his custom to walk out to Lowell, ten miles, 
Saturday afternoon, in company with a fellow student, Wm. 
G. Schauffler (afterwards missionary of the American Board 
to Turkey), to hold meetings Saturday evening, which were 
followed the next day by preaching in a hall by one of the 
professors of the seminary. These meetings were attended 
with marked results, and were continued for two or three 
years. Mr. Sanford was accustomed to visit the operatives 
in their boarding houses for personal conversation, some- 
times spending his vacation in this work. The converts dur- 
ing this period were reckoned by hundreds, and a new church 
was formed in consequence. 

He subsequently labored in revival work in Bozrah, 
Conn., and adjacent churches, and as a result seventy joined 
the church at one communion, of whom several became 
ministers of the gospel. What an equipment such a service 
provided, for him who was to make the gospel ministry his 
life work ! The title that was given him in connection with 
these services — viz., " the universal missionary" — does not 
seem inappropriate. 

In 1828 Mr. Sanford was called to the pastorate of a 
newly-formed church in New Market, N. H., from which place, 
two years later, he was invited to the Village Church in 
Dorchester. Here he spent eight successful years, when he 
resigned to accept the call to Medway. 

With a previous experience so varied and complete we 
are not surprised that, from the first, his labors among this 
people were so signally successful. During the first year a 
very extensive work of grace was enjoyed, embracing persons 
of all ages and social conditions, resulting in an addition of 
69 persons to the church, carrying up the percentage of 
Christians to the whole population from 5 percent in 1831 


to about 25 per cent in 1839. In 1842 a revival season added 
30 to the church ; in 1845, 22 ; in 1857, 20 ; in 1858, 22. 

In 1868 a religious movement began in this conference, 
which was largely promoted by a series of Christian conven- 
tions held in the different churches, and conducted by repre- 
sentatives of the Y. M. C. A. of Boston. Henry F. Durant, 
an able lawyer of Boston, founder of Wellesley College, was 
a most efficient ally in this work. In that year the con- 
versions in this community were estimated at 70; 49 persons 
united with this church, among whom were some of our 
prominent business men, who added strength and vigor to 
our Zion. Of these we mention Edward Eaton, George W. 
Ray, Orion A. Mason, and Wm. R, Parsons, all of whom 
have finished their service and gone to their reward. 

October 5, 1863, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the 
installation of Mr. Sanford, was observed by public exercises 
in the afternoon and evening, in which the pastors of the 
neighboring churches participated. The members of the 
church and parish presented the pastor something over ^200 
as a token of their affectionate regard. On the 7th of March, 
1 871, as the infirmities of old age were becoming more 
oppressive, Mr. Sanford requested that he might be relieved 
from any further pastoral service. The church by vote 
granted this request, but expressed the desire that he should 
hold the relation of pastor emeritus, and the parish pledged 
him an annuity of ^500 through life. 

On the iSth of October, 1871, a unanimous call to this 
pastorate was extended to Rev. Rufus K. Harlow, a native of 
Middleboro, Mass., a graduate from Amherst College in 1865, 
and from Bangor Theological Seminary in 1868, who was at 
the time supplying the Congregational church in Belfast, 
Me. The call was accepted, and on February 13, 1872, Mr. 
Harlow was installed. Thus the second pastorate was grafted 
into the first, rather than coupled on to it. 

After Mr. Sanford's release from active service he lived 
quietly among the people whom he loved, occasionally preach- 
ing for neighboring ministers in need of assistance, and now 


and then aiding his colleague at the communion service, 
until increasing feebleness confined him more and more to 
his home. In December, 1875, a more serious illness 
attacked him, and after a few days of suffering, which h<; 
bore with Christian patience, the release of death came, ard 
at early daybreak on the 17th 

" He passed through glory's morning gate, 
And walked in Paradise." 

I do not need to characterize him for those of you who 
knew him. The testimony respecting him is unanimous. 
His promptness, activity, and zeal in the Master's service 
were conspicuous even to the casual observer. But by the 
touch of his heart on men's hearts is he most lovingly remem- 
bered. His ready sympathy and generous aid to those in 
trouble, his tender forbearance with the erring and unreliable, 
his courtesy and kindness toward all — the result of a Christ- 
like love for all — these were traits of his, the remembrance 
of which, is as inseparable from his name, as warmth is from 
sunshine. My own relation to him was of the most harmon- 
ious nature. The model pastor gracefully became the model 
parishioner, and while he lived I always found in him a 
prudent adviser and a sympathetic friend. 

There was an unavoidable delay between the acceptance 
of the call by Mr. Harlow and his installation, but on the date 
before mentioned, February 13, 1872, an installing council 
convened, representing the following churches : Church of 
Christ in Medway, Rev. E. O. Jameson, pastor ; Deacon Wil- 
liam Daniels, delegate. Second Church in Medway, Rev. 
Stephen Knowlton, pastor ; Bro. E. B. Fuller, delegate. 
Church in Medfield, Rev. J. M. R. Eaton, pastor; George 
Davis, delegate. Church in Franklin, Rev. Luther Keene, 
pastor; Deacon E. E. Baker, delegate. Church in Milford, 
Charles D. Herbert, D.D., delegate. Church in Walpole, 
Rev. Horace R. Trinlow, pastor. Church in Norfolk, Rev. 
Jesse K. Bragg, pastor; Deacon William Mann, delegate. 
Church in South Franklin, Bro. N. N. Daniels, delegate. 


Church in Holliston, Rev. H. S. Kelsey, pastor ; Deacon 
Timothy Daniels, delegate. Church in Hopkinton, Deacon 
J. A. Fitch, delegate. Church in Wareham, Rev. Isaiah C. 
Thacher, pastor. Central Church in Middleboro, Deacon 
Ivory H. Harlow, delegate. Central Square Church in 
Bridgewater, Rev. Horace Walker, pastor; Bro. A. G. 
Boyden, delegate. First Church in Chelsea, Deacon C. A. 
Richardson, delegate. Berkeley Street Church, Boston, Rev. 
W. B. Wright, pastor ; Franklin Snow, delegate. 

Rev. William C. Carruthers, of Calais, Maine, was by 
vote admitted as a member of the council. The council ap- 
proving the action of the church and parish, and after exami- 
nation indorsing the candidate, the installation services took 
place in the following order : Invocation and Reading of the 
Scriptures, Rev. William C. Carruthers ; Introductory Prayer, 
Rev. H. R. Trinlow ; Sermon, Rev. William B. Wright ; In- 
stalling Prayer, Rev. David Sanford ; Charge to Pastor, Rev. 
Isaiah C, Thacher ; Right Hand of Fellowship, Rev. Ephraim 
O. Jameson ; Address to the People, Rev. Horace D. Walker ; 
Concluding Prayer, Rev. Stephen Knowlton ; Benediction by 
the pastor. 

I shall not be expected to speak at length on the history 
of our church during the present pastorate. Some items 
testifying to our prosperity, both in material and spiritual 
interests, may be mentioned as causes for devout gratitude. 
The clerk of the parish has spoken of the improvements 
made upon our house of worship, and its surrounding grounds, 
and the better financial basis on which the parish has been 
placed during this period. We are humbly grateful to our 
Heavenly Father that a good measure of spiritual prosperity 
has also been granted to us. From time to time seasons of 
special religious interest have been enjoyed, resulting in help- 
ful additions to our membership. 

In 1875 quite a general interest was manifested, and as 
a result twenty were added to the church on profession. Of 
these all but two were past thirty years of age ; one was 
eighty ; most were heads of families. In the winter of 1881- 


82 a second interest occurred, which was confined to the 
young people. Eleven were added to the church, as a result, 
on profession. The most general interest was enjoyed in 
1887, when, in common with most of the churches in our con- 
ference, in connection with the labors of Evangelist S. M. 
Sayford, the church was revived and many of the congrega- 
tion turned to the Lord. At the May communion thirty-one 
were received on confession of faith, the largest number that 
has joined the church at one time during its history. The 
aggregate for the year was forty-eight, all but three uniting 
on confession of faith. 

In closing our notice of the not yet finished history of 
the present pastorate, suffice it to say that we enter upon our 
next half-century harmonious in spirit, and better organized 
and equipped for future efficient service than ever before. 

It is fitting that mention should here be made of those 
officers of the church who stand only second in importance 
to the pastor — viz., the deacons. 

On the 4th of September, 1840, Samuel Allen, George 
W. Hunt, and Milton M. Fisher were inducted into office 
with appropriate services. Samuel Allen has the distinction 
of being the first male child born in Franklin after its incor- 
poration into a town, and furnished in his character a worthy 
specimen by which to sample succeeding citizens. He was 
born of a goodly ancestry and received the training of a Chris- 
tian home — a training which his life honored. His mother 
was of Scottish lineage, which included some who held titles. 
She used sometimes to interest her boys by telling them the 
story of one of these, a young lord, who deserted his home and 
came to America. On one occasion, after the boy Samuel had 
listened to the fascinating story, he went to his father and 
asked if there were no lords or dukes among his ancestors. 
The father, putting his hand on the boy's head, said : " No, 
my son. 'Not many wise men after the flesh, not many 
mighty, not many noble, are called.' You come of a godly 
ancestry. See that you do nothing to disgrace it." 

Mr. Allen was a sort of universal genius. Apprenticed 


to the carpenter's trade, he studied architecture evenings 
while his fellow apprentices were playing cards, and made 
himself master of the art. He draughted and put up a run of 
circular stairs in the house of Dr. Dean, which were the ad- 
miration and marvel of the region. He also made musical 
instruments, and his violins and bass viols gained quite a repu- 
tation in this locality. He was a singer as well as a player on 
instruments, and Dr. Ide mentions the fact, in his fiftieth an- 
niversary sermon, that Mr. Allen led the singing at his ordi- 
nation in 1 8 14. Later in life he had charge of the carding 
department of the Cotton Manufacturing Company in Medway. 
He was a great reader, a man of genial disposition, and uni- 
versally respected. For a long time he shrank from making 
a public profession of religion, because he was not satisfied 
that he had ever experienced that mental and moral convul- 
sion that was thought by some to be indispensable to the com- 
mencement of the Christian life. 

In the revival of 1839 he received a spiritual impulse 
that led him to take his stand with God's people, by a public 
profession of his faith. He honored his profession as a Chris- 
tian and his office as a deacon. So loyal was he to this 
church that after his removal from the town it was his custom 
for some years to return and spend communion Sabbaths 
here. He died in the faith of the gospel at the advanced age 
of eighty-eight, in Newport, R. I., where he was at the time 
residing with his daughter, Mrs. Darius D. Buffum. 

George W. Hunt was born in Medway, March 14, 1808. 
He resided in this village before the church was organized, 
and was active in the Sabbath-school as teacher and superin- 
tendent. He subsequently removed to the west village, but 
returned in 1840. He remained in Medway only five years 
after his election as deacon, and went from here to Fitchburg, 
where he joined the First Congregational Church. He was 
very zealous in the anti-slavery movement, and so much in- 
terested in making Kansas a free State that he joined the 
original party that went to Kansas in 1854, under the direc- 
tion of the New England Emigrant Aid Society. This com 

/^L^ /Ir. /L^C'^ij:i/L^diU^i>t^ 


pany were the original settlers of Lawrence, and gave to this 
now prosperous city its name, in honor of the late Amos 
Lawrence, of Boston. Deacon • Hunt was very active in 
founding this liberty-loving State. He voted for its free-state 
constitution, and for Dr. Charles Robinson as its Governor. 
He lived to see not only Kansas, but the country, redeemed 
from the curse of slavery. He died in Lawrence, Kansas, 
March 24, 1870. Some years ago this church, in remem- 
brance of his services, furnished a dormitory room in Wash- 
burn College, Topeka, Kansas, which has since been called 
" the Hunt room." 

Milton M. Fisher has just completed his forty-eighth 
year of service as deacon. A native of Franklin, he removed 
to this village in 1840, a young man of thirty, equipped by 
home nurture, by educational advantages, and some business 
experience, for the responsible and influential position he has 
held among us. How he has given the initial impulse, and 
subsequent direction to various projects for our business ad- 
vancement and prosperity ; how loyal he has ever been to our 
educational and social interests ; how faithfully he has served 
this parish as moderator of its meetings, member of its busi- 
ness committee, and general counselor — this church as deacon, 
Sunday-school superintendent, standing committee, pastor's 
assistant and substitute in church services and conference 
meetings, and as a most liberal supporter and prudent ad- 
viser ; how he has purchased and laid out a beautiful burial-place 
for the bodies of those whom we miss from our homes because 
God hath taken them ; how he has given the same to this 
society by offer today ; how he has always been the adviser 
first sought for by those in any sort of trouble ; and how com- 
pletely he has been absorbed in making this celebration a 
success, — will it not be written in the chronicles of the 
princes and mighty men of Medway Village ? 

John W. Richardson was chosen deacon November i, 
1867, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of Deacon 
Allen. With a native modesty which is one of the evidences 
of merit, he declined the office, but subsequently was induced 


to waive his own preferences in deference to the judgment 
and wishes of others, and since 1868 has performed the duties 
of this office with increasing faithfulness. Having put on 
the yoke of discipleship in his youth, he has rendered service 
to the church in various offices, as Sunday-school teacher and 
superintendent, and member of the standing committee, for 
many years. The church is fortunate in possessing a junior 
deacon so worthy and efficient. Long may he be spared to 
us ! 

Two of our members are doing missionary service under 
the patronage of the American Board of Foreign Missions, 
viz, : Mrs. Mary Winsor, daughter of the first pastor, who 
married Rev. Richard Winsor, September 7, 1870, the day of 
his ordination in this church to the Christian ministry, he 
being at the time under appointment for service in India. 
Mr. and Mrs. Winsor have been doing very effective work in 
Sirur, Poona district, India, for eighteen years past. In 
addition to the ordinary mission work, Mr. Winsor, seeing 
the necessity of furnishing the students in mission schools 
with a trade, by which 'they might support themselves in the 
future, established an industrial school, which, under his 
energetic and wise administration, has demonstrated its value. 
The British government shows its appreciation of this enter- 
prise by providing a building and paying one half the expense 
for land and machinery. Lord Reay, Governor of Bombay, 
and the Duke of Connaught, commander-in-chief of the Bom- 
bay army, have written very commendatory letters, after per- 
sonal inspection of the school. In 1883 Mr. and Mrs. 
Winsor, with their family, visited this country. Mr. Winsor 
spent much of his time, during the visit, in interesting 
churches and individuals in his work, and securing funds for 
its enlargement. They returned to their field of labor early 
in November, 1884, leaving their eldest child, a daughter, in 
this country to be educated. 

One of our boys, George C. Garland, who was born in 
Medway and spent his youth here, and who at the age of 
eighteen united with our church, having aerved as first officer 


of the missionary packet " Morning Star," under Captain 
Bray, has succeeded to the command, for which he was emi- 
nently qualified. His answer, when called upon for a speech 
at a religious service held on board the last " Morning Star," 
just before she left Boston, is characteristic of the man : "I 
am no speech-maker, but if you want anything done, I am 
ready." Letters are occasionally received from Captain Gar- 
land by his friends here, which show a deep and growing 
interest in his work. Our church is, through these represent- 
atives, intimately associated with missionary enterprises on 
both hemispheres. 

While none of our young men have entered the Christian 
ministry, our church has been well represented in the pastoral 
service through her daughters, who have from time to time 
been invited into ministerial copartnership. In fact, our 
church and parish seem to have been the favorite hunting- 
ground for ministers and lawyers, doctors and school-teachers, 
manufacturers and merchants, seeking partners. One who 
ought to know has informed me that within the past thirty- 
four years, forty-five of our daughters have thus been appro- 
priated. This is no surprise to me, since I have been 
impressed, ever since my coming here, with the eminent 
capabilities of the Medway ladies already in the field, and 
those who are coming on, for almost any position and service 
to which Providence may summon them, even though by a 
token not bigger than a man's hand. Lest there may seem 
to be an inconsistency between my convictions and conduct, 
let me remind you that it is the shopkeeper's business to 
recommend, tie up, and deliver the goods — not to appropri- 
ate them. 

Several sons of our church are doing good service for 
the world in positions that demand peculiar gifts and attain- 
ments. Among them I mention Gilbert O. Fay, Ph.D., who 
has devoted his life to the well-being of one class of unfortu- 
nates, serving as instructor and preacher in an institution for 
deaf mutes in Columbus, Ohio, where he spent eighteen years, 
during fourteen of which he held the office of superintendent. 


In 1880 he was elected professor in the American Asylum at 
Hartford, Conn., a position which he still occupies. Although 
educated for the ministry and licensed to preach, he was 
never ordained. Yet it is safe to say that he has been a true 
minister to humanity in the name of Christ, and as a preacher 
(in his way) has few equals. 

Another of our sons, Dr. Theodore W. Fisher, has iden- 
tified his name and service with another class of unfortunates 
— the insane. Making mental diseases a specialty for many 
years, in which he is recognized as an expert, he was ap- 
pointed superintendent of the Boston Lunatic Hospital in 
1880 — an office which he has since held to the advantage of 
the institution and the credit of himself. 

Henry B. Richardson, who united with our church in 
1858, graduated with the highest honors at Amherst College 
in 1869. He was instructor in Latin from 1869 to 1873, and 
classical teacher in the High School in Springfield, Mass., 
from 1873 to 1876. He then spent two years in study at the 
University of Leipsic, Germany. Returning to Amherst, he 
served as instructor in Latin for a year, when he was ap- 
pointed professor of German, which position he still efficiently 

While special mention is made of those who have filled 
the more prominent places in the service of Christ and 
humanity, we are not unmindful of the fact that there are 
many also who, although less conspicuous in their service, by 
their steady work and prevalent prayers have accomplished 
results the measure of which the Master only can declare. 
Not all the stones in a building are face-stones, or carry deco- 
rations ; but the unseen binders and backers, that hold the 
wall together and give it solidity, do a service without which 
the building could have no permanence. 

From the first this church has been in cordial sympathy 
with all the organizations inaugurated by our denomination 
for the promotion of Christ's kingdom in our own and foreign 
lands. Under the leadership of a pastor who was proverbially 
benevolent and intensely interested in every project of Chris- 


tian philanthropy, ours could not be otherwise than an active 
and generous church. The same is true of its attitude to- 
ward the great political and social reforms which have 
agitated our country during the period embraced in our 
church life. It was among the foremost in its advocacy of 
the abolition of slavery ; its officers were pronounced anti- 
slavery men at a time when that doctrine was exceedingly 
unpopular, even in Massachusetts. One of the deacons ' was 
a pioneer in the anti-slavery movement, and as early as 1833, 
when a freshman in Amherst College, startled the professor 
of rhetoric by an original oration upon the theme of " Human 
Freedom," and was criticised for his bold utterances — a cen- 
sure which only confirmed him in opinions that he believed 
were right, although their utterance was unpopular on the 
platform of a Christian college. He has lived to win and to 
enjoy the satisfaction of such a triumph. 

With such officers it is no marvel to find in the church 
records, as early as 1842, the approval by unanimous vote of a 
memorial to the American Board of Commissioners for For- 
eign Missions, declaring against the impiety of slaveholding, 
to be sent in connection with neighboring churches, and the 
adoption of resolutions which practically disfellowshiped all 
churches in sympathy with slaveholding. Nor does it sur- 
prise us to be told that during the War of the Rebellion this 
church and people were in hearty sympathy with the govern- 
ment, and that the utterances of this platform left no one in 
doubt of the attitude of this pastor and people upon the issue 
of the hour. 

One member of the church deserves special notice in this 
connection — the Rev. Caleb Kimball, who lost his eyesight 
when a student in Andover Seminary, and in consequence 
became a writer of helpful books on Christian nurture, 
instead of a preacher. The latter part of his life was 
spent here, and he frequently assisted the pastor in the ser- 
vices of the sanctuary, and was very helpful in the social 
meetings. He was deeply interested in the events that pre- 

' M. M. Fisher. 


ceded and attended the War of the Rebellion, and was so 
much affected by the fall of Fort Sumter that he could 
scarcely eat or sleep for the succeeding week. In the 
trying times that followed, he was accustomed to utter his 
soul in public prayer in sentences that for their definiteness, 
vigor, and directness will never be forgotten by those who 
heard them. This was one of his petitions, framed in Script- 
ural language and applied to Jefferson Davis : " O Lord, put 
a hook in his nose and turn him back." No doubt this loyal 
old Puritan counted it a striking illustration of how much 
larger God's answers frequently are, than the measure of our 
prayers, when he heard that the arch traitor had been cap- 
tured, not with a hook in his nose, but with the steel hoops 
of a woman about his heels. 

Another incident which shows the feeling of the church 
and congregation at that time is remembered by many who 
hear me. On the Sabbath following the assassination of 
President Lincoln Mr. Sanford was on exchange with a minis- 
ter from a neighboring town, who was reared at the South 
and was suspected of not being over-enthusiastic at the suc- 
cess of the Union forces. By no word in prayer or address 
at the morning service was there the least intimation that a 
great calamity had fallen upon the nation. During the inter- 
mission an indignation meeting was held, and a committee 
appointed to wait on the visiting clergyman and inform him 
that his services could be dispensed with in the afternoon. 
Instead of the regular service, an impromptu meeting was 
held, at which prominent members of the church and parish 
addressed the sympathetic audience and Father Kimball 
offered prayer. It is fair to conclude that what was lacking 
in the morning, of eulogy to the martyr President and loyalty 
to the stars and stripes, was more than made up at this 
extemporized service. It is due to the preacher to say that 
he assured the committee that it was his intention to make 
allusion to the death of the President at the afternoon service. 
The Medway people, being quicker in their sensibilities and 
earlier in their loyalty, had deemed the event of too much 


importance to have all notice of it postponed till after dinner ; 
hence the misunderstanding that relieved the preacher of one 
service that Sabbath.' 

It is perfectly natural that a church so much interested 
in the liberation of the slaves should, when that result had 
been reached, be heartily in sympathy with the work of the 
American Missionary Association in the South. I find 
in the records, under date of October 5, 1866, a vote to raise 
^150 for this society, for the specific purpose of supporting 
a teacher among the freedmen. Subsequently Miss Mary 
M, Fitch, of Holliston, was selected as our representative, 
and for several years a like amount was raised for this pur- 

' The following persons, whose names appear on the church rolls, did 
service in the War of the Rebellion : 

Dr. Theodore W. Fisher was first commissioned, in 1862, Assistant Sur- 
geon, and later. Surgeon of the 44th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, and 
served nine months. 

Dr. Alexander LeB. Monroe, in the summer of 1862, there being a scar- 
city of army surgeons, offered his services and for a time filled the position of 
Acting Assistant Surgeon in the general hospital at White House, Virginia. 

James M. Grant enlisted in 1861 for three years, and was mustered into 
Company E, 2d Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, and at the expiration of 
his full term of service was honorably discharged. 

William R. Parsons enlisted for three years in 1861, and was mustered 
into Company E, 2d Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers. He was discharged 
for disability in 1862. 

Benjamin C. Tinkham enlisted in 1S62 for nine months, was mustered 
into Company B, 42d Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, and was pro- 
moted to be a first lieutenant. After his term expired he reenlisted, and was 
mustered in as captain, in the same company and regiment. 

Samuel B. Cary enlisted and was mustered into service in July, 1S64, for 
100 days, in Company B, 42d Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, and was 
mustered out in November, 1864. 

Richard B. McElroy enlisted in 1864 for one year, and served in Company 
B, 4th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. Aften ten months he was mustered out, 
the war having closed. 

Albert Vallet enlisted in 1864 and was mustered into the same company 
and regiment, but after eight months was discharged for disability. 

Lucius H. Taylor enlisted in July, 1863, and was mustered into Company 
E, 4th Regiment Vermont Volunteers. He served twenty-five months, and was 
discharged, the war having closed. 

Harlan P. Sanford and John W. Cole were for a time employed in the 
work of the Christian Commission. 


pose. Our largest contributions have with a single exception, 
so far as I know, been to the American Missionary Associa- 
tion. The exception was the present year, when the needs 
of the Home Missionary Society prompted a special collec- 
tion, which, with the regular grant from our weekly offering 
fund, makes our donation to that society for the half year 

In respect to the temperance reform, this church declared 
its position as early as 1841, by unanimously adopting the 
following resolution : 

Resolved, That no person be admitted to this church 
who uses distilled spirit at all as a beverage. 

There has never been any retreat from this position. 

While we have never been organized into a system so 
complete that every member belongs to some organization, he 
might be at a loss to tell what, at first thought, we have 
formed and maintained those organizations which we have 
found to be useful in prosecuting our work. Among these 
we mention, first, that which bears the most vital and impor- 
tant relation to the growth and prosperity of the church — 
the Sunday-school. I have already noticed what may be 
called the Sunday-school period of this enterprise. Upon 
the organization of the church this Sunday-school, which had 
been in a sense motherless, was adopted, and found hence- 
forth a home and mother, by whose fostering care it has sur- 
vived all changes, and today, vigorous and strong, honors the 
fiftieth birthday of its foster mother. Its present enrollment 
is 193 pupils and 17 teachers and officers — a total of 210. 
Among its superintendents and teachers occur the names of 
many who, after serving their own and the rising generation, 
fell asleep and inherited the rewards of the faithful. The 
present superintendent is Francis W. Cummings, who has 
nearly completed three years of punctual and willing service. 




Francis W. Cummings, Superintendent. 
Sumner H. Clark, Assistant Superintendent. 
George H. Dame, ^ 
Palmer Woodward, | ^^■'^^^''^■^'^■^• 
William S. Richardson, Secretary and Treasurer. 


Adult Bible Class, No. i. 

Miss Eliza Fisher, age 86. 
Miss Lizzie Farnum. 
Miss Lizzie Treen. 
Miss Lottie Whitney. 
Mrs. Adelaide E. Thompson. 
Mrs. Elizabeth L, Young. 
Mrs. Jerusha W. Whitney. 
Mrs. Joseph W. Thompson. 
Mrs. Mary B. Dunton. 
Mrs. Roxa B. Hammond. 
Mrs. Almira Wiggin. 
Mrs. Havillah Clark. 
Mrs. Ellen E. Richardson. 
Mrs. William A. Jenckes. 

Thirty-four members. 

Dea. Milton M. Fisher, Teacher. 

Mrs. Ezra Macker. 
Mrs. Susan J. Bullard. 
Mrs. Monroe Morse. 
Mrs. Eliza B. Lincoln. 
Mrs. Horatio Kingsbury. 
Deacon and Mrs. Peter Adams. 
Mr. and Mrs. E. F. Richardson. 
Mr. and Mrs. George Kingsbury, 
Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Gilpatrick. 
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Hodgson. 
Mr. and Mrs. Lucius H. Taylor. 
Mr. James T. Adams. 
Mr. Daniel Rockwood. 
Mr. Edmund L Sanford. 

Junior Bible Class, No. 2, 

Mr. Sumner H. Clark. 
Mrs. Harriet A. Clark. 
Mr. Addison Ramsdell. 
Mrs. Emily P. Ramsdell. 
Mr. Alvin E. Clough. 
Mrs. Abbie E. Clough. 
Mr. Wilbur W. Clough. 

Rev. Rufus K. Harlow, Teacher. 

Mr. Thomas F. Mahr. 
Mr. William A. Hopkins. 
Mr. Frank W. Plummer. 
Mr. James C. McElroy. 
Mr. James McDonald. 
Mr. Martin H. Bowman. 
Miss Sarah E. Haskell. 



Mrs. Cora E. Clough. 
Mr. Robert L. Andrews. 
Mrs. Georgia A. Andrews. 
Mrs. Sarah M. Sanderson. 
Mrs. Burnette Paige. 
Mrs. Emma J. Grant. 
Mrs. Mary A. Holbrook. 

Twenty-seven members. 

Young Men's Class, No. 3, Dea. John W. Richardson, 


Miss Mary E. Bell. 
Miss Gertrude Crooks. 
Miss Lilla Crooks. 
Miss Florence A. Bullard. 
Miss Eunice Guptil. 
Miss Climena Philbrick. 

Herbert W. Jones. 
Charles R. Adams. 
William C. Axford. 
Frederick H. Miller. 
William R. Ferry. 
Edwin L. Dame. 

Everett S. Crosman. 
George E. Wilson. 
George H. Freeman. 
Louis E. Thompson, 
Frank A. Abbott. 
Harry W. Parker. 

Twelve members. 

Young Ladies' Class, No. 4, 

Miss Jennie F. Parsons. 
Miss Lena B. Hixon. 
Miss Grace A. Jenckes. 
Miss Ida R. Cummings. 
Miss Pearl H. McElroy. 
Miss Myrtie G. Fiske. 

Mrs. Alfred Daniels, Teacher. 

Miss Mary E. Taylor. 
Miss Grace W. Edmands. 
Miss Blanche L. Crimmings. 
Miss Alberta Grover. 
Miss Margaret Higgins. 

Eleven members. 

Young Ladies' Class, No. 5, 

Miss Juliette L. Grant. 
Miss Mary S. Mason. 
Miss Katherine C. Cary. 
Miss Amy S. Grant. 


Young Ladies' Class, No. 6, 

Miss Edna F. Grant. 
Miss Bessie A. Hodgson. 

Miss Tag IE P. Hawkes, Teacher. 

Miss Bertha F. Wilder. 
Miss Emily McBride. 
Miss Hattie M. Brackett. 
Miss M. Agnes Sanderson. 


Miss Ellen H. Bullard, Teacher. 

Miss Alenia M. Carmichael. 
Miss Nellie F. Hopkins. 


Miss Emily M. Adams. Miss Alice L. Crosman. 

Miss Mary L. Plummer. Miss May E. Alden. 

Miss Carrie Butters. 

Nine members. 

Misses' Class, No. 7, Mrs. S. E. Spencer, Teacher. 

Miss Minnie A. Morse. Miss Nellie J. Hodges. 

Miss Hattie C. Norton. Miss Florence C. Hodges. 

Miss Edna M. Norton. Miss Gertie Pearson. 

Miss Bessie M. Carmichael. Miss Bertha E. Miller. 

Miss Laura M. Ballou. Miss Bertha C. Parker. 

Miss Leila E. Almy. Miss Marion R. Force. 

Miss Lilla Grant. Miss Edith M. Bigelow. 
Miss Mary F. Grant. 

Fifteen members. 

Misses' Class, No. 8, Mrs, Maria C. Newell, Teacher. 

Miss Bertha E. Hodgson. Miss Susie Butters. 

Miss Grace C. McElroy. Miss Lottie C. Simmons. 

Miss Helen E. Richardson. Miss Helen S. Grant. 

Miss Mary Kingsbury. 

Seven members. 

Youths' Class, No. 9, Mrs. Ida Karnan, Teacher. 

David P. Wilder. Frank W. Hopkins. 

Alec Gary. Ralph W. Crosman. 

Eugene C. L. Morse. Louis Dunton. 

Sjx members. 

Youths' Class, No. id, Mrs. J. P. Plummer, Teacher. 

Allen Dean Reynolds. George Thomas Adams. 

George Edgar Carmichael. Walter Francis Hodges. 

Robert Dwight Wilson. John Gardner Sanderson. 

Perley Aldrich Crooks. Frederick Orrin Joslynn. 

Eight members. 



Boys' Class, No. ii, 

Clyde Hunt. 
Walter R. Adams. 
Alvin Noss. 
Lewis W. Norton. 
Roger S. Hodges. 

Miss Lillian W. Bridges, Imchei . 

Robert J. Hodgson. 
Charles Grant. 
George Grant. 
Warren D. Bigelow. 
Albert M. Richardson. 

Ten members. 

Primary Class, 

Bertha C. Newell. 
Bertha S. Holbrook. 
Florence A. Cary. 
Ida M. Coleman. 
Carrie Hodges. 
Alice Miller. 
Maud G. Barton. 
Lucy C. Snow. 
Ida B. Norton. 
Louisa E. Thompson. 
Rhetta Noss. 
Bessie B. Hodges, 
Hattie L. Fisher. 
G. Ethel Karnan. 
Alice Dunton. 
Flossy Frink. 
Martha Butters. 
Josie Butters. 
Lottie Butters. 
Katie Butters. 
Bertha Green. 
Sadie E. Norton. 
Ruth B. Richardson. 

No. 12, Miss Mary E. Fisher, Tcachet. 

Ada Jocoy. 
Pearl Sutherland. 
Marion Moore. 
Jeanette Pollard. 
George W. Richardson. 
George Holmes. 
Warren E. Thompson. 
J. Bertram Norton. 
Willard M. Barton. 
Clement A. Holbrook. 
Ralph Ashworth. 
Percy Green. 
Fred Andrews. 
Leroy M. Karnan. 
Harry J. Adams. 
Harry Dunton. 
James S. Hodgson. 
Ray Hodges. 
John Taylor. 
George F. Wiggin. 
Leslie Wiggin. 
Fred Gilpatrick. 
Carl R. Hodges. 

Forty-six members. 









The Ladies' Benevolent Society was organized in 1849, 
with fifty-two members, for the purpose of aiding in benevo- 
lent works and promoting the social and religious interests of 
the community. It has frequently contributed to furnish and 
repair the church, to supply the Sunday-school library, and 
to give aid to the sick and destitute in the neighborhood. In 
early times its work abroad comprised the Five Points Mis- 
sion in New York City and the Kansas sufferers, and much 
time was devoted to work for the soldiers during the War of 
the Rebellion. Its annual charity is the " home missionary 
barrel," the interest in which increases every year. The 
aggregate value of these barrels for the past sixteen years is, 
in round numbers, ^3,000. 

A young misses' benevolent society, called the " Merry 
Workers," was organized in April, 1883, with eight members 
from ten to thirteen years of age, under the lead of Miss 
Louise H. Haskell, now Mrs. G. B. Towle. They have aided 
the Ladies' Society in some of their enterprises, and have 
sent a barrel of clothing valued at $60 and ^40 in money to 
the Rev, Edwin Adams, at Chicago, to aid in his work among 
the Bohemians. Their present membership is sixteen, with 
Miss Tacie Hawkes as President, who succeeded Miss Has- 
kell in 1884. 

Four years ago this autumn the pastor formed a class 
among the young people, which met weekly for ten months 
in the year for instruction in religious truth and duty. The 
first fruits of the revival of last year were from this class. 
Many others among the youth of the congregation having 
cherished a Christian hope, it was thought advisable to merge 
this class into a Young People's Society of Christian En- 
deavor, and in April, 1887, such a society was formed. It 
numbers at present thirty-nine active and eleven associate 
members. Its meetings are well attended, and the growing 
facility of some of its members in Christian service is grate- 
fully recognized by the pastor. 

There are certain miscellaneous facts and statistics that 
may be appropriately mentioned here. The oldest member 


of our church is Mrs. Sally (Daniels) Ware, who passed her 
ninety-ninth birthday June i, 1888. A native of Franklin, 
in her girlhood she became a Christian under the ministry of 
Dr. Emmons, and united with his church seventy-nine years 
ago. She removed her relation to us in 1862. In the un- 
questioning contentment of a little child, she is waiting for 
the summons home. 

Mr. David Daniels is the oldest male member. He cele- 
brated his eighty-ninth birthday August 4, 1888. He came 
to this church from the church in East Medway in 1845. -^s 
a singer and player on stringed instruments he in former 
times held a prominent position in the singers' seats here 
and at East Medway. The infirmities of old age restrict the 
range of his once busy life, and remind him that the end is 

The youngest member is George Carmichael, who joined 
the church last July, two months previous to his thirteenth 

The aggregate membership for fifty years is 630. Of 
these 441 joined during the first pastorate, 189 during the 
second — no by profession. 

I have been unable to find any record of the benevolent 
contributions during the first pastorata The total of these 
during the second pastorate to date is ^10,032.96. The years 
of largest beneficence are 1874, when the amount given was 
1^928.75, and 1887, with its total of ^919.16. 

Our church has been the recipient, as well as the giver of 
gifts. While it cannot be said to have been born with a 
silver spoon in its mouth, it very early received as a gift, a 
silver spoon from Mrs. McLeod, a parishioner of Mr, Sanford 
in Dorchester. The gift was intended for the use of the 
pastor in removing any accidental impurity from the sacra- 
mental wine. On Christmas, 1868, Mrs. Edena Sanford, 
sister-in-law of Rev. David and mother of Milton Sanford, 
presented the church with a choice and expensive communion 
service, which has been kept with such sacred care by " Aunt 


Eliza Fisher " that it is as fresh as when it left the hands of 
the polisher in the shop of the silversmith. 

By the sale of real estate bequeathed to this church by 
will of John Chestnut, on the decease of his widow Jane, a 
fund of $400 has been secured, called the " Chestnut fund," 
the income from which is annually expended for the aid of 
indigent members, and for the supply of the communion 
table. John and Jane Chestnut were the two original mem- 
bers, who removed their relation from the church in Ireland. 

There are these noteworthy facts in addition, to which 
we call attention. This church has had but two pastors and 
four deacons during its half-century's existence. It has never 
been without a pastor for a day, since the installation of its 
first pastor, October 3, 1838. There has never been a year 
without additions to its membership. It has never had a 
quarrel over doctrine, discipline, or practice. 

Dear brothers and sisters of the Village Church, and you 
who have been such, and are today our welcome guests, and 
you whose interest in this branch of the one church of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, has brought you to join in 
our festivities, I have tried to tell you some of the events that 
signalize our history. How incomplete is the record ! But 
could I tell all that men have seen and known, how small a 
part of the full record it would give ! To gain completeness 
we must know what God has written. The real history of a 
church reminds one of those ancient manuscripts called pal- 
imp-sests, on which one writer penned his sentences over 
those of another whose writing was illegible. Underneath 
mans story of the church's life is God's story, as yet invisi- 
ble. But in the light of eternity God's story will blaze forth 
and explain, and illuminate, and glorify mans story, and bring 
honor to His name, who hath given such power of achieve- 
ment unto men. In that day we shall know all that the Vil- 
lage Church has done for the help of men and the glory of 


As the pastor of this church, I am profoundly thankful 


that this semi-centennial observance was decided upon ; for as 
I have seen the heartiness and enthusiasm with which this 
entire people have undertaken this work, it has demonstrated 
in a most conspicuous manner how dear to these hearts is this 
household of faith, and how greatly its prosperity interests 
all. And then, as I have read the responses sent to our 
invitations from places that are near, as well as distant, I have 
been impressed with the value of this celebration, in the 
wakening in so many hearts of memories so precious. As I 
have considered the love expressed for this sanctuary, where 
souls were blessed — the love expressed for the old compan- 
ions and friends, living and dead, who worshiped together 
here, the love expressed for our pleasant village, the birth- 
place of some of them, the residence of all of them for a sea- 
son ; above all, the deep affection expressed for the first pastor, 
the universal testimony to his courtesy, his kindness of heart, 
his fervent piety, his deep love for his people, — I have said, 
if no other result comes from this gathering, this alone is 
enough to warrant all the outlay that such a celebration in- 
volves.- But other results must follow. 

The April sunbeam that with noiseless drills punctures 
the hard earth, does more than break the spell of winter : it 
makes of frost-rock warm and mellow soil, in which the buried 
seeds feel summer and awake to life. So the church's anni- 
versary breaks through the hard overlay, that absence, and 
distance, and new surroundings and engagements commonly 
produce, and quickens memories that honor God and bless 
the soul. 

Wide is the area that the interest in this day touches. 
From distant India ; from the deck of the " Morning Star ; " 
from the Pacific slope ; from the central valleys of our land, 
this church's children send loving thoughts to mother and 
home. From warmly attached friends, who for a time are 
sojourning among a people, strange in language and customs, 
have come messages of kindly interest and tokens of ready 
helpfulness. But beyond and above these multitudes of 
earthly participants in our joy, may we not believe that we 


are " compassed about with a great cloud of witnesses " who 
have passed from this church to their heavenly home, from 
whom, could we but hear it, would arise a chorus to our 
anniversary hymn, of "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and 
power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the 
Lamb, forever and ever." 

The maker of books sometimes places an engraving at the 
close of a chapter, which represents a hand holding out a flam- 
ing torch, as if passing it forward. We are certain that 
another hand is reaching forth to take it, although we do not 
see it. Thus a generation, as it passes, holds out the torch of 
its church life to the generation coming up to take it. Among 
the children of today are the church's servants and support- 
ers in the future ; and although, as time passes, the minister 
and officers and members, who today constitute the church, 
depart, the lighted torch will be grasped by other hands, and 
may perhaps flame all the brighter from the transfer. 

Brothers and sisters ! As we from this standpoint look 
over the past and anticipate the future, let us write these two 
things in the book of memory for a. memorial : " What God 
has done for us, what God promises to do for us ; " and as we 
include this anniversary day among /^i-/ things, let us " thank 
God and take courage." 

At the conclusion of the discourse a very impressive 
feature of the occasion was introduced. The congregation, 
standing, sang the hymn of Dr. Watts commencing 

Let children hear the mighty deeds 
Which God performed of old. 

As they commenced on the stanza 

Our lips shall tell them to our sons, 
And they again to theirs, 

a procession of children entered the church and advanced 
along the three aisles to the pulpit. The primary scholars, 
thirty or forty in number, from ten years of age down to four, 


proceeded up the center aisie, led by the youngest member of 
the church, a lad of thirteen, who carried a banner bearing 
the date 1938. All the children, some seventy-five in number, 
grouped themselves about the platform, each one wearing a 
ribbon badge on which was printed a picture of the church 
and the date of this anniversary, with the legend " Christ the 

The pastor then said a few words to the children, remind- 
ing them that very few of that large congregation except 
themselves would live to see the year inscribed upon their 
banner. He asked them to remember that the church had a 
claim upon them, and that they must love it and care for it 
when the older people are dead and gone. He expressed the 
hope that they would from their childhood love and serve 
Christ, the church's Lord and Master. 

In order to impress the leading events in the history of 
the church upon the minds of the children, a set of questions 
had been prepared, to which they then made answer in con- 
cert, as the pastor asked them, viz. : 

What does this gathering celebrate .'' — The fiftieth birth- 
day of our church. 

When was this church formed.'' — September 7, 1838. 

How many persons formed it .'' — Thirty-four, 

How many of these are still living ? — Nine. 

Who was the first pastor.? — The Rev. David Sanford. 

How long was he in active service .-^ — About thirty-three 

Who succeeded him ? — Our present pastor, the Rev. R, 
K. Harlow. 

When was he installed.? — February 13, 1872. 

How many members has the church today ? — Two hun- 
dred and thirty-two. 

Why do we celebrate this day .'' — Because we wish to 
keep in mind God's goodness to this people. 

The children then sang their "Anniversary Hymn," 


written by the teacher of the primary class, Miss Mary E. 
Fisher. At the conclusion of this service the following 
children were baptized : 

Edmund Leon, son of Eugene and Nellie Buell ; Walter 
Earnest, son of Walter and Nellie Hawkes ; Florence Almeda, 
daughter of Erastus and Almeda Gary ; James Atkins and 
Lucy Crosman, son and daughter of James A. and Lucy C. 

The parting hymn and benediction closed the afternoon 

In the evening a social reunion was held in the vestry, 
which was largely attended. Among the guests present were 
Rev. Dr. Spalding, of Newburyport ; Rev. Dr. Horton, of 
Cheshire, Conn. ; Rev. Calvin Cutler and wife, of Auburndale ; 
Dr. Gilbert O. Fay, of Hartford, Conn ; Rev. George Y. 
Washburn, of Everett ; Mr. Charles Wheeler, of New Mexico, 
N. Y. ; Mrs. Adeline Sanford, of Northboro, widow of the 
first pastor; Mrs. Samuel F. Barger, of New York City; Mrs. 
Abigail Hiller, of New Haven, Conn., daughter of Deacon 
Samuel Allen. 

After prayer by Rev. Mr. Cutler the pastor announced 
letters from Rev. Daniel Butler, D.D., Rev. William M. 
Cornell, D.D., Rev. George M. Adams, D.D., Rev. Thomas 
Richmond, Rev. George F. Walker, Rev. Henry M. Holmes, 
Rev. J. B. Wicks, Mr. David B. Hixon, Mr. Eliab M. Allen, 
Dr. Theodore W. Fisher, and Dr. Henry W. Brown, some of 
which were then read. 

The three following, from Med way-born and bred boys, 
we give to the public entire : 


Marietta, Ga., August 7, 1888. 
R K Harlow and Others, Committee on Invitations: Your 
cordial invitation to unite with you in the fiftieth anniversary 
services of the organization of the Village Church, Medway, is 
received, and I sincerely wish I could accept. 


I recollect the gratification of the village people upon the 
announcement that the new church was a certainty ; that it was no 
longer necessary to walk two miles in winter and summer to the 
West Parish, as much as all loved the mother church, and 
respected good Dr. Ide. Nothing would afford me greater 
pleasure than again to visit my native town, and the church where 
my name was enrolled, soon after its organization, under the pas- 
toral care of Rev. David Sanford. 

Such a visit as your invitation proposes would awaken reminis- 
cences of the past both pleasant and sad. It would be pleasant 
to see Charles River, in which I sported in summer and on whose 
icy surface I skated in winter, and the old hills down which I 
coasted with schoolmates of both sexes, though many of the 
scenes of my youth have been so changed by the ravages of time 
and progress of modern improvements that I should fail to rec- 
ognize them. It would be exceedingly gratifying to give and 
receive the warm grasp of friendship with my contemporaries of 
early years, but, alas ! how few would I recognize after a lapse of 
more than forty years. 

And the older citizens — "Our fathers, where are they?" 
The names of Barber, Walker, Metcalf, Sanford, Mason, Cary, 
Daniels, Clark, Harding, Dr. Brown, and too many others to 
mention here — all present to my mind and memory, but most of 
whom have passed " over the river." Peace to their ashes ! The 
old school-house would not be recognizable, nor the old Metcalf 
cabinet workshop ; where Rev. S. J. Horton was an apprentice, 
and where we boys would occasionally spend a winter's evening 
making molasses candy and having a good time, when Captain M. 
was from home. (Thanks to good Mrs. M. for not reporting us 
when he returned.) The counting-room of the Medway Cotton 
Manufacturing Company, where Stephen J. Metcalf was chief, was 
another choice place in which to pass a leisure hour. What a 
" happy home " was the hospitable house of Dr. and Mrs. Brown, 
who always welcomed the young people when inclined to spend an 
evening and listen to charming music from his daughter and him- 
self ! 

The church edifice in which you will meet has been remod- 
eled till it is not the same building in which I worshiped with 
relatives and friends. The last time it was my privilege thus to 
meet was in 1853. Since then I have made several flying visits, 


when I recognized very few of my former acquaintances. Not. 
withstanding the sad memories the occasion would recall, I should 
be very happy to meet with you, and would certainly do so if my 
present home was within a reasonable distance. 

My church membership is traceable from your church to the 
Second Congregational Church in Norwich, Conn., from there to 
the Presbyterian church at Greensboro, Ga., and thence to the 
Marietta Presbyterian church, where it will remain until removed 
by orders of the " great Captain of our salvation " to join the com- 
pany of the redeemed of all ages. 

Hoping the exercises and reunions will be as pleasant as 
anticipated, and that the members of the church may grow in 
Christian graces and prosper in all lawful undertakings, I subscribe 
myself one of the Medway boys, 

Eliab Metcalf Allen. 

letter from dr. theodore w. fisher," son of deacon m. m. 


Boston, September 3, 1888. 
Rev. R. K. Harlo7v^ and Coniviittee on Invitations. 

Dear Friends : Excuse delay in answering your kind invita- 
tion to attend the semi-centennial of the Village Church. I am 
seldom master of my own movements many days beforehand, and 
I am still in doubt whether I can come or not, on account of the 
absence of my first assistant on his vacation. I may be present 
through the day, and not in the evening. 

I need not say I am interested in the event you are about to 
celebrate. My earliest and most sacred memories are bound up 
in the records of the Village Church. The more important events 
of my early manhood are also associated with her history. We 
are about the same age, which is another bond of union. I shall 
read with great interest all the contributions to her biography, if I 
do not hear them. 

Allow me to congratulate the committee on the prospect of a 
most enjoyable and profitable celebration. 

Yours very truly, 

Theodore W. Fisher. 

* Superintendent of the Boston Lunatic Asylum. 



HuBBARDSTON, Mich., August 30, 1888. 
To H. P. Sanford and Others of the Invitation Committee. 

Dear Friends : Your invitation to be present at the celebra- 
tion of the fiftieth anniversary of the organization of the Village 
Church, Medway, was duly received, and in reply I beg leave to 
state, in behalf of myself and family, that business engagements 
will prevent our accepting the invitation. This is the season of 
the year when the unripe apple, the immature watermelon, and 
the lucious cucumber get in their fell work, and the services of a 
physician are required to minister unto those unfortunate mortals 
whose digestion does not " wait upon appetite, and health upon " 

Your invitation calls up tender memories. " How dear to this 
heart are the scenes of my childhood ! " Ah ! pleasant days, illu- 
mined by youthful sunshine. Their memories revisit me for a 
moment and then sink back into the gray past. The Village 
Church ! I remember well the installation of the first pastor. Rev. 
David Sanford. I was at that time but seven years of age. Gen- 
erous friend, faithful pastor, devoted Christian ! He fought a 
good fight ; he kept the faith ; he won the crown. The lesson of 
his life is the best legacy he could leave the Village Church. 
When you contrast your present condition as a church and society 
with the trials and struggles of the beginning, you may well say, 
" How great a work the Lord hath wrought ! " Of those who sat 
down with you half a century ago, how few survive ! I may never 
again worship in the Village Church, but there my heart will ever 
be, with you ; there are the graves of my kindred : there sleep the 
honored dead ; those some of you have loved and revered ; those 
who have led me to worship in the Village Church ; who taught 
me " line upon line and precept upon precept ; " who strove to 
turn my wayward feet into wisdom's path. 

I close this too long letter with best wishes for you all, and 
expressing the hope that the good providence of God that has 
. attended you in all your history may continue still your strength 
and shield. Standing, as it were, upon the divide, you can look 
back upon fifty years of progress, and look forward with confidence 
and hope. Very truly yours, Henry W. Brown. 


The reading of the following poem, written for the occa- 
sion, concluded the formal exercises of the evening : 


" How dear to each heart are the scenes of our childhood, 
When fond recollection presents them to view ! " 
Like vistas that open in life's tangled wildwood 
To let the soft sunbeams of memory through. 

As time hurries on, how these pictures allure ! 

The saints of our childhood — how saintly they seem ! 
Each face was more fair, every true heart was truer, 

In days that are fled like a beautiful dream. 

Turn back to the time of the prayer meeting olden, 
When our vestry settees were all facing the south. 

As if to warm up every heart, and embolden. 
With live coals of fire, every hesitant mouth. 

The brow of our leader a halo is wearing 
Like saints in the sweet, holy pictures of old. 

For he is our pastor, so tenderly caring 

For all the wee children, the lambs of the fold. 

If any assailed us with looks that were frigid. 

To fright the young Christian away from the goal. 

With query too deep or with doctrine too rigid. 
His smile, ever gracious, was balm to the soul. 

Mr. Sanford's discourse is no tinkling cymbal. 

For charity tuneth his soft silver lyre ; 
With reverence he turneth to blind "Father Kimball," 

Whose soul like an eagle doth ever aspire. 

Oh, then each young heart keenly felt it a pleasure 

To follow his intellect, deep and profound ; 
His voice flowing on in a half plaintive measure. 

While all that he said was most solid and sound. 


He leaned on his staff like a pilgrim aweary — 
Now blithely he treadeth the pavement of gold ; 

His eyes were fast bound with a dark bandage dreary ; 
The King in his beauty those eyes now behold ! 

Who's that next discoursing ? You scarcely can hear him, 

His voice is so low as he argues of sin, 
With eyes rather stern — bold transgressors must fear him - 

A nose finely Roman, a lip chiseled thin. 

'Tis Dr. Monroe ; his advice you must follow ; 

If sick, he'll constrain you his plasters to wear, 
His powders to take, and his doses to swallow ; 

He worries about you with fatherly care. 

Those hands and that heart full of skill and of feeling 

To help every sufferer ready and quick 
Now rest where the foliage is fragrant with healing, 

And th' inhabitant no more shall say, " I am sick." 

Next good Captain Cole cheers us on with his praying ; 

We swallow his doctrine, whatever it be, 
For young people listen with awe to the saying 

Of one who has sailed on the far-reaching sea. 

We fancied his face and his form like the ocean — 
In breadth and dimensions expansive and grand ; 

He's reached the still port that is free from commotion, 
And anchored his bark on the heavenly strand. 

How oft some good brother would soar in his prayer. 
And get " on the mount " e'er he came to " Amen ; " 

If east was the wind and his brain full of care, 

He talked of the " cold streams of Babylon " then. 

The lofty Isaiah, whose rhetoric blazes 

Lent words to the wise and the ignorant too, 

Petitions were framed of Ezekiel's fine phrases — 
The cherubim hovered, the seraphim flew. 


Mr. Haskell was master of Sabbath-school sinjzing: ; 

His tuning-fork slender his quick ear obeyed ; 
He led all the hymns with a voice full and ringing ; 

No cabinet organ then lent us its aid. 

Now he sings where no discord e'er mars the grand chorus 
That rolls from a rapture no mortal hath told, 

Where anthems of glory are pealing victorious 

From Heaven's stately organs of sapphire and gold. 

O, scenes of the past ! all so quaint and so tender ! 

We smile at your garb, but the teardrop will start ; 
Thus humor and pathos in unison render 

A tribute of song, welling warm from the heart. 

Remember Review Club and Sewing Society, 

When readings were given to quicken the thought ; 

Poe's " Raven " enlivened us even to satiety. 
While ladies their tatting most patiently wrought. 

At Kingsbury's Pond was our regular "outing," 

With sage-cheese, and doughnuts, and blueberry cake, 

And such demonstrations of feasting and shouting 
As gay jolly picnickers only can make. 

The sweet water-lily held there her dominion. 

And spread her white banners beneath the green wood, 

So lovingly floating, with pinion to pinion. 

Like legions of angels that watch o'er the good. 

Now the lilies are sickly and scattered and dying, 
As thin, straggling hairs on the brow of the old. 

And the wild hermit-thrush is so plaintively crying 
In sweet notes of sorrow where thickets enfold. 

For many who bent their strong arms to the rowing, 
Or sported with glee on the cool, shady shore. 

Are scattered and flown like the thistle-down blowing; 
In the grove of the Mayflower they wander no more. 


Forget not the days of the Puritan Hymn-book, 

When congregational music was new ; 
Assemblies, then singing with heartiest vim, shook 

The rafters, we're told, and the tale must be true. 

Milton Sanford's kind bounty had built us an organ ; 

The namesake of Handel came here every year. 
And taught us such tunes as would conquer a Gorgon — 

"Coronation" and "Arlington," " Lenox" and " Mear." 

Ah ! then, when the organ so grandly was pealing, 
And all voices chimed in a harmony fine. 

Our pastor would raise his blue eyes to the ceiling 
As if he caught echoes of harpings divine. 

"A dream of fair women " its shadow is flinging, 
Who trustingly walked in the shadow of death ; 
Around them are lovely forget-me-nots springing. 
And perfumes as pure as the white lily's breath. 

Sing, tenderly sing of that circle departed, 
And mothers we buried beneath the green sod ; 

Now dwelling with angels, and all the true-hearted. 
Who circle forever the throne of their God. 

If spirits could speak to a poor human brother. 

What message would thrill through the love-lighted sky .? 

A message to cherish and help one another, 
For brief are our moments and quickly they fly. 

Oh, let us so live that when fifty years vanish, 
And others shall read the review of our life, 

It prove not a record to burn and to banish. 
All blotted with discord, all darkened with strife. 

If Jesus' sweet spirit has shone in our faces. 

And gentleness coined what our lips have expressed, 

How tranquilly then we may give up our places, 
And go to the grave as a bird to her nest. 


For our life shall flow on with an unceasing blessing, 
Like breezes of spring from the warm, sunny south, 

The cold, icy earth into fruitfulness pressing, 
With the whisperings soft of its odorous mouth. 

True Christian affection forever endureth ; 

Love's fine golden key is to humble hearts given — 
The key that our entrance to Glory assureth, 

Unlocking the wide pearly portals of Heaven. 

A season of social interchange closed the day, whose 
events abide in the memory of the participants and enrich 
the history of the Village Church.