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18 37. 1882. 







Pastor of the Seconil Congregational CMrcli of Boscawen, 




DECEMBER 13, 1882. 




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JOHN C. PEARSON, of Boscawen, 
SHERMAN LITTLE, of Webster, 

J. E. PECKER, OF Concord. 


Rev. Edward Buxton was born in New Boston, 
N. H., August 17, 1803. He was educated at Phillips 
Exeter Academy, and was afterwards preceptor of 
the academy in Greenland. He studied theology 
with Rev. Samuel W. Clark, of Greenland, and was 
ordained to the ministry in that town April 10, 1836. 
He preached at Rochester for a few months ; after- 
wards at Dorchester and Whitefield, and was installed 
over the Congregational church in Webster, Decem- 
ber 13, 1837. He succeeded Rev. Ebenezer Price, 
A. M., who was the first pastor of the church, and 
whose connection with it was dissolved by mutual 
council. May 10, 1837, after a pastorate of almost 
thirty-three years. In 1876 Rev. Mr. Buxton was 
elected a delegate to the convention for the revision 
of the state constitution. As superintending school 
committee he has taken great interest in the cause 
of education, and has given individual instruction to 
many young ladies and gentlemen. He has been 
thrice married, — first, to Miss Elizabeth McFarland, 
daughter of Rev. Asa McFarland, d. d., of Concord ; 
second, to Mrs. Lois Jewett, of Laconia ; and third, 
to Mrs. Louise Jane (Dix) Pillsbury, widow of Gen. 
Moody A. Pillsbury, daughter of Col. Timothy Dix, 
and sister of Major-General and Governor John A. 
Dix, of New York. Mrs. Buxton is now living. 


The celebration of the forty-fifth anniversary of 
the settlement of Rev. Edward Buxton over the 
Congregational church in Webster, formerly the 
Second Congregational church in Boscawen, and 
marking his retirement from the active duties of the 
ministry, occurred December 13, 1882. The pro- 
priety of observing this event began to be discussed 
some months in advance by resident members of 
the church and parish. The movement resulted in 
calling an informal meeting of all interested persons, 
at which the general plan of the celebration was 
adopted, and the following committee of arrange- 
ments chosen : 

Ephraim Little, 
William W. Burbank, 
Dea. Henry H. Gerrish, 
Henry L. Dodge, 
Moody A. Pillsbury. 

The committee subsequently issued a printed cir- 
cular of invitation, also containing the programme of 
exercises. Copies of the above were mailed to all 
former members of the church and society, and to all 
other former residents whose addresses could be ob- 
tained. The alacrity with which the people of the 


town, whether connected with the society of not, 
proffered their services, and the earnestness with 
which they labored to make the affair a success, were 
exceedingly gratifying to Father Buxton, as well as 
to the people of his charge. At the same time, there 
occurred the propriety of presenting to him a sub- 
stantial token of regard, and generous contributions 
were soon tendered. This proposition was men- 
tioned in the circular sent out, and Dea. Henry H» 
Gerrish was named as the person to whom people 
from abroad might send subscriptions. 

In preparation for the event, the ancient church 
(a view of which is given) was decorated in an at- 
tractive and tasteful manner. In the rear and over 
the pulpit was the motto in evergreen, ** Our Pas- 
tor : he points to Heaven and leads the way." Be- 
low was a crown, and the figures ** 1837-1882." 
On the front of the opposite gallery was the word 
** Immanuel ;" on the right, ** Behold, thy Kingcom- 
eth ;" and on the left, *' Christ the Lord." From the 
star in the centre of the ceiling lines of evergreen 
radiated to the corners of the gallery, and were 
looped along its front. The pulpit and its surround- 
ings were adorned with bouquets and flowering 

For some days previous, the good ladies of the 
town were busily engaged in preparing articles of 
food for a collation, which were carried to the chapel 
and placed on tables in the gallery. The general 
committee also made arrangements for the further 
entertainment of visitors who might desire to remain 
in town over night. 


opened with cold and threatening weather, and just 
before noon a heavy snow-storm set in which con- 
tinued into the evening. The hour set for the 
exercises to begin was 2 p. m., and, notwithstanding 
the storm and heavy roads, there was a large attend- 
ance of Webster people, while surrounding places 
were all represented, even as far as and including 
Concord. A particularly gratifying feature was the 
good attendance of aged persons who had known 
Father Buxton during his entire pastorate. 

The gathering was called to order by Ephraim 
Little, Chairman of the Committee and President of 
the Day, who briefly stated the object for which they 
had assembled, extended a kind welcome to all, and 
expressed his gratification at the good number pres- 
ent. The choir then sang the anthem, ''The Earth 
is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." 

Prayer was offered by Rev. Frank Haley, m. d., of 
the First Congregational church of Boscawen. 



As I look on this assembly my mind is impressed 
with the remembrance of that which filled this house 
at my installation as pastor of this church forty-five 
years ago this day and hoiir. How different is this 
assembly from that, only a small proportion of which 
are still in the land of the living ; and how different are 
my condition and circumstances now from what they 
were, when, being examined as a candidate for instal- 
lation, I answered the searching questions which were 
put to me by the ecclesiastical council that installed 
me as pastor of this church. Then I was anxiously 
anticipating the future under a solemn sense of the 
work on which I was about to enter, and of the 
responsibilities which would soon rest on me. Now 
I am reviewing that work and the bearing of those 
responsibilities as matter of historic interest. I still 
live, while the voices which were heard in my exam- 
ination and installation services are all silent in death. 
The members of that ecclesiastical council have all 
been transferred from the church on earth to the 
church in heaven. But who can say that they are not 
with us, regarding with lively interest the services of 
this occasion ? 

Oh ! yes, here they come. They are passing before 


my mind, and I will introduce them to you. Here 
comes my old friend, Rev. William Patrick, forty 
years the faithful, ever-cheery, and beloved pastor of 
the church in Canterbury. He was moderator of 
the council, and offered the installing prayer. And 
here is Rev. Moses Kimball, twelve years pastor of 
the church in Hopklnton. He was scribe of the 
council. Here, also, is Rev. Benjamin F. Foster, 
nearly thirteen years pastor of the church in Salis- 
bury. To him was assigned the reading of the Scrip- 
tures and the invocation. And here is my excellent 
friend, Rev. Samuel W. Clark, eighteen years pastor 
of the church in Greenland. His pastoral labors 
were closed by sickness, which brought him calmly 
and peacefully to the grave. When he perceived 
that he was dying, he said to his wife, ** My dear, God 
is come," and took leave of her. His brother Will- 
iam coming in at the instant offered a prayer at his 
bedside, at the close of which the dying man, with 
the palsy of death on his lips, said feebly, ** I thank 
you." These dying words indicate the spirit of his 
life. He was an affectionate and kind-hearted man. 
He preached my installation sermon. 

Here, also, is Rev. Amos Blanchard, nearly three 
years pastor of the church in Warner, and subse- 
quently of that in Meriden. He offered the intro- 
ductory prayer. Here, also, is Rev. Nathaniel Bou- 
ton, D. D., ** whose praise is in the gospel throughout 
all the churches." He was about forty years pastor of 
the First Church in Concord. He gave the address 
to the church. Here, also, is Rev. Caleb B. Tracy, 
fourteen years settled in East Boscawen ; and Rev. 


Asa P. Tenney, for a long time pastor of the church 
in West Concord. 

Such were the pastors that constituted the ecclesi- 
astical council which installed me over this church. 
They, together with their delegates, have all passed 
away from earth, to mingle, we trust, with the spirits 
of the just in heaven. While I think of them the feel- 
ing comes over me to say, *' When shall I wake and 
find me there?'' There I should meet a large pro- 
portion of those who received me as their pastor at 
my installation. The church then consisted of one 
hundred and thirty-nine members, of whom one hun- 
dred and ten are in their graves, as to their mortal 
part ; while, as we trust, their souls, being absent 
from the body, are present with the Lord. There is 
with them their former beloved minister. Rev. Eben- 
ezer Price, with whom I spent more than twenty years 
of my pastorate, during most of which time he super- 
intended our Sabbath-school. My intercourse with 
him was ever in entire harmony and cordiality. He 
most kindly recognized me as pastor of the church. 
Among the last words which he ever spoke to me he 
mingled expressions of affectionate regard, calling 
me his dear pastor. He was indeed a lovely speci- 
men of what an ex-pastor should be. He came to 
his grave in a full age, ''like as a shock of corn cometh 
in in his season." Without doubt he has many souls 
as the seals of his ministry and ** crown of his rejoic- 
ing in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at his 

In taking a retrospective view of my pastorate, I 
must regard it chiefly in its spiritual nature, respon- 


sibilities, and results. So far as I have acted in ac- 
cordance with the divine purpose respecting it I have 
served him who has said, ** My kingdom is not of this 
world." Here has been emphatically my life work. 
I recognize the divine purpose in the whole provi- 
dential process by which I was inclined to it, pre- 
pared for it, brought into it, and have been kept in 
it through so many years. This divine purpose was 
first indicated by the fact that in my childhood my 
father consecrated me to the work of the gospel min- 
istry. He said that one of his sons must be a min- 
ister of the gospel, and that I must be that one. 

Early in my childhood I was taught the Assembly's 
Shorter Catechism, and was made to feel my need of 
a new heart. My spiritual enlightenment was grad- 
ual, and often obscured by the temptations and trials 
which beset my way in early life. Then a painful 
impediment of speech seemed to preclude the idea of 
my ever preaching the gospel. When, therefore, I 
came to choose a profession for life I selected medi- 
cine, but was prevented from entering on the prac- 
tice of it by sickness brought on by severe applica- 
tion to study. On measurably recovering my health 
I engaged in teaching. While connected with the 
academy in Greenland, of this state, where my friend 
Rev. S. W. Clark was pastor of the church, I super- 
intended the Sabbath-school, and in his absence from 
his people I was left so much in charge of them as 
to conduct their meetings, reading sermons to them 
on the Sabbath. Finding that I could perform such 
service acceptably, I felt that I was called to the 
work of preaching the gospel. I therefore studied 


theology, and was licensed to preach by the Piscataqua 
Association, and labored some six months at Roches- 
ter in this state. I was then ordained as an evan- 
gelist for the service of the New Hampshire Home 
Missionary Society, and preached about a year in 
Lancaster, Dalton, and Whitefield, in Coos county. 
I was then invited by this church to preach to them 
as a candidate for settlement with them, and soon 
after accepted a call to become their pastor. This 
led to my installation, December 13, 1837. 

From that period to the present my purpose of 
heart, and my experience under the trials and diffi- 
culties of my position, have ever kept me in sympa- 
thy with Paul's declaration to the Corinthian church, 
**And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with 
excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto 
you the testimony of God ; for I determined not to 
know anything among you save Jesus Christ and 
him crucified : and I was with you in weakness and 
in fear and in much trembling.*' 

When I came into this pastorate the peace of the 
church was disturbed by conflicting views and feel- 
ings, especially on the subject of American slavery. 
Though those conflicting elements were apparently 
quieted, their influence has retarded the progress of 
the church ever since. 

But we have had several seasons of deep religious 
interest and spiritual ingathering. There have been 
added to the church 152 by profession, and 38 by let- 
ter; 88 have been dismissed, 7 excluded, and 116 
have died. I have baptized 152 infants and 34 
adults. I have solemnized 148 marriages. 


In retiring from the active duties of the pastorate, 
I feel that it is incumbent on me to express my appre- 
ciation of the kindness and faithfulness with which 
this church and society have ever treated me. They 
have always received me to their dwellings with 
much respect and kindness ; they have thrown the 
veil of charity over my shortcomings and errors ; 
they have attended on my ministrations with marked 
attention and candor ; they have promptly paid me 
my salary, and added thereto many valuable dona- 
tions. I thank the people of Webster for the esteem 
and kindness with which they have invariably treated 
me. I thank the children and youth for the respect- 
ful and affectionate courtesy which they have ever 
extended to me. They can scarcely realize how 
much good they have done me by thus admitting me 
into their sympathies. I love the people of Web- 
ster, and shall never cease to pray that the blessing 
of God may rest on them. 

The choir and congregation sang the hymn, 
" How firm a foundation." 

In behalf of the people, Charles Carleton Coffin, 
A. M., of Boston, a native of Boscawen, delivered 
the following address : 

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We meet to-day to commemorate two events, — 
the organization of this church seventy-eight years 
ago, and the settlement of him who, on December 
13, 1837, began his labors as pastor, and who, in the 
ripeness of years, after nearly half a century of ser- 
vice, resigns the cares and labors of the pastoral 
office. It will be instructive, I doubt not, on this 
occasion, to briefly review the history of the church. 

Previous to 1804, professing Christians residing 
west of Beaver-dam brook were members of the 
Boscawen church formed October 8, 1740. One of 
the conditions of the grant of land to the proprietors 
of Contoocook was, that one eighty-fourth part of 
the land should be set aside for a parsonage, and 
one additional eighty-fourth for the support of a 
minister. It was further conditioned that ** a learned 
and orthodox minister" should be settled within the 
space of four years. 

The polity of the churches of the New Testament, 
adopted by the Pilgrims, making every associated 
body of believers a church, with power to regulate its 
affairs, independently of bishop, priest, or pope, by 
a majority vote, had been adopted by the settlers of 
New England. The Puritan settlers had gone fur- 
ther, and had made the church the state. The town 


was under obligation to support the preaching of the 

Whoever studies the rise of the Puritans will see 
everywhere through their history an all-pervading 
sense of moral obligation. They owed allegiance to 
Almighty God. They made the state, therefore, 
theocratic. Each town was under obligation to sup- 
port a minister. The minister had a claim upon the 
town for his salary, and could invoke the power of 
the law in case of delinquency on the part of the 
town. Under such an arrangement there were towns 
in which preaching was maintained even when there 
was no church organization. 

The settlers of Boscawen reared their log meeting- 
house on the Plain, and buried their dead around it, 
calling Rev. Phinehas Stevens, a graduate of Har- 
vard, to be their minister, who maintained that rela- 
tion, greatly beloved by the people, till his death in 
1757. He shared all their toils and hardships, shoul- 
dering his gun and going upon weary marches in 
pursuit of savage foes. 

The movement of population westward to Water 
street. High street, and the families west of Black- 
water, necessitated the building of a larger meeting- 
house in a more central locality in 1769, near the 
burial-ground on the road leading from Water street 
to the Plain, which, till 1792, was the one place of 
worship for all the citizens of the town. 

At the close of the Revolution probably there were 
not more than twenty legal voters within the limits 
of the town of Webster ; but during the succeeding 
decade there was a large influx of population, so 


great that in 1791 we find seventy voters residing 
west of Beaver-dam brook petitioning for a new . 
town to bear the name of Bristol. It is probable that 
there were from two hundred and fifty to three hun- 
dred inhabitants, who, to attend meeting, must make 
their way along the winding paths blazed through 
the forests, over roads from which the rocks had not 
been removed. 

In the bright mid-summer days, when the woods 
were resonant with the songs of birds, when the 
wild flowers were blooming in the meadows, the 
weekly Sabbath journey on horseback, or even on 
foot, may not have been regarded by the sturdy men 
and women of that day as any great hardship ; but 
in the short December day, in midwinter, when the 
snow was lying breast deep in the woods, or piled 
in drifts along the fences, and the mercury at zero, 
great must have been the longing for religious ser- 
vice, and lofty the sense of moral obligation, on the 
part of Eliphalet Kilborn, living on the bank of the 
Upper Blackwater, or Enoch Little, senior, on Little 
hill, to make the toilsome journey to the distant 
meeting-house. The sun would be sinking behind 
the Sunapee hills, and the twilight deepening, before 
they could reach their homes. 

Although the meeting-house was so far away, in 
summer almost the entire population of the town 
assembled on Sunday. It was the habit of the time. 
Possibly there were other motives for attending meet- 
ing than a sense of moral obligation. A century ago 
there was no daily, no weekly mail, no post-ofifice, no 
means of conveying information other than by special 


messenger on urgent public business. The meeting- 
house, therefore, became the chief centre for the dis- 
semination of news, the news-exchange, where, on 
Sunday noon, all could hear what had transpired 
during the week. 

Possibly the young men thought not so much of 
the words of truth which might fall from the lips of 
the minister, as of the bright eyes and fair faces that 
perchance might beam upon them from the crowded 

With the coming of winter there was diminished 
attendance, more staying at home. Sunday, there- 
fore, in winter, became in a measure only a day of 
rest from toil. 

We are to remember that they had few books ; that 
there were wanting aids to mental and moral culture. 
There is no road so easy as that broad way which 
leads downward. The people living west of Beaver 
Dam comprehended that unless their children attend- 
ed meeting regularly there would be a lowering of 
the sense of moral obligation. The welfare of the 
community demanded another place of worship. 
Undoubtedly the building of a mill near that now 
owned by W. W. Burbank, making the locality a cen- 
tre for business, had some weight i'n deciding the lo- 
cation of the meeting-house, now the town-house, 
erected in 1791, the town providing the frame, indi- 
viduals boarding the house, and finishing and own- 
ing their pews. The people of all the surrounding 
towns came to the raising. Somehow everybody, 
whether attending meeting or not, made a point of 
being present at the raising of a meeting-house. 



Possibly they were actuated by mixed motives, — to 
help on the cause of religion, and at the same time 
partaking of the plentiful supply of rum furnished 
on such occasions. It was estimated that more than 
one thousand persons were present at the raising. 

From 1 79 1 to 1804 religious services were held in 
the newly erected house on alternate Sabbaths by 
Rev. Mr. Wood. Under such an arrangement the 
people of Water street. High street, and those on 
Corser hill could attend service every Sunday with- 
out great inconvenience ; but those residing on Little 
hill. White Plain, and on Pond hill, and those on 
Fish street, Boscawen Plain, and Fisherville, could 
only attend service on alternate Sundays. 

The burning of the lower house in 1 798, and the 
construction of the new edifice the next year on Bos- 
cawen Plain by an organized society, necessitated the 
inauguration of a new order of things, — the forma- 
tion of the Westerly Religious Society and the volun- 
tary support of the minister, the members consenting 
to be taxed according to the valuation of their prop- 

The time had come for the formation of a 
church, and we find Benjamin Sweat, Edward Gerald, 
Thomas Kilborn, Paul Clark, Ezekiel Morse, Samuel 
Pearson, Sarah Call, Sarah Sweatt, Anna Kilburn, and 
Mary Morse, six men and four women, associating 
themselves as a distinct church, September 26, 1804. 
The council of ministers and delegates assembled 
in the house now the residence of Henry L. Dodge, 
for the settlement of Rev. Ebenezer Price as pastor. 
Of ministers there were Rev. Walter Harris of Dun 


barton, warm-hearted, zealous, fervent, able, — whom 
I once heard preach with great power in the Old 
North church in Concord, — Rev. Eli Smith of Hop- 
kinton, Rev. Thomas Worcester of Salisbury, Rev. 
Mr. Hidden of Tamworth, Rev. Moses Sawyer of 
Henniker, Rev. Wm. Patrick of Canterbury, Rev. 
Samuel Wood of the first church of Boscawen. 

Although the population had largely increased, 
although new roads had been laid out and the old 
ones greatly improved, the journey to and from the 
meeting-house on Sunday was no holiday affair, 
especially to the residents of Bashan. 

There was no direct highway from Sweatt's mills, 
as now, to that section of the town, — none to Dingit 
Corner. We may think of Moses Gerrish and wife, 
in their attendance upon meeting, riding to Dingit 
Corner up . Pleasant street to Mutton road, thence 
over Corser hill to the place of worship, — a seven- 
mile ride, the wife on the pillion behind her hus- 
band, with an infant in her arms. Comfortless such 
a journey on rainy days and in winter ! 

Allow me to present a picture of a Sabbath in 
Webster three fourths of a century ago. No bell 
summons the people, but they come at the appointed 
hour, — from the north, Dea. Eliphalet Kilborn, Na- 
than Pearson, and George Stone ; from Battle street, 
Joseph and Benjamin Couch and Dea. Benjamin 
Sweatt ; from Water street, Capt. Peter Kimball, stal- 
wart in stature, wounded at Bennington, Joshua Jack- 
man, Cutting Noyes, performer on the bass-viol, 
Silas Call, Daniel Pillsbury, and widow Rebecca Cof- 
fin ; from High street, Mr. Morse, Joseph Ames, and 


John Flanders ; from Pleasant street, David and Jon- 
athan Corser, Thomas Kilborn, Jonathan Thurston, 
and Nicholas Noyes; from Bashan, William Danforth, 
Benjamin Severance, and Moses Gerrish ; from Little 
hill, Noah, Friend, Joseph, Jesse, Enoch, and Ben- 
jamin Little, energetic sons of Enoch Little ; also 
Caleb Knight, from the farm now owned by George 
and Cyrus Stone ; Moses Coffin, from the present 
residence of Jabez Abbot ; Jeremiah Gerrish, from the 
present home of Charles Gliten ; from White Plain, 
Benjamin Austin, David and Thomas Carter — these 
and their neighbors on horseback, the wife upon a 
pillion, dismounting at the horse-block. In imagina- 
tion we see Rev. Mr. Price, with a high sense of the 
dignity of the ministerial office, with courtly pres- 
ence, conducting with becoming reverence the ser- 
vices of the day. 

Rev. Mr. Price studied theology with Rev. Elihu 
Thayer, of Kingston. It was the era of long ser- 
mons. The people expected a long sermon. If they 
did not receive it, they were hardly getting their 
money's worth. We need not wonder if, under the 
fervor of the hour, the preacher became oblivious of 
the flight of time, and that it was some minutes past 
the hour of twelve when the forenoon sermon came 
to an end. In winter there was no fire to abate the 
keenness of the biting air nearer than the hearth- 
stones of Paul Dodge and Samuel Morse, now the 
residence of Wm. Pearson. Not unfrequently a fire 
was kindled around the great pine stumps in the 
adjoining woods. 

It was the period of horseback riding. Wagons 


had not come into use. When the ground was cov- 
ered with snow, some of the people came to meeting- 
on ox-sleds. 

It was the custom for all the members of the fam- 
ily to attend meeting, children in arms, even the 
house-dog keeping company ; and it was made the 
duty of the tithingman to keep the dogs as well as 
the boys in order. 

It is narrated that one young mother carried a 
pitcher of milk to feed her babe ; that a dog scenting 
it thrust his head into the pitcher ; that the congre- 
gation was suddenly startled by a shrill exclamation 
from a female voice, ** Get out, you puppy!" that 
the mother, confused by the sudden turning of heads, 
further exclaimed, '' Why, I have spoken in meeting ; 
I keep talking all the time ! " that the little dog, the 
while unable to withdraw his head from the pitcher, 
was making doleful bowlings, the milk streaming 
about his ears, — all to the great delight of the boys 
in the gallery. 

The years 1810-1815 was a period of theological 
discussion : The Unitarian movement, having its 
origin in Massachusetts, swept many of the churches 
of that commonwealth from their ancient moorings. 
One of the leaders was Rev. Mr. Worcester, brother 
of Rev. Thomas Worcester of Salisbury, who ac- 
cepted the new belief. The Salisbury pulpit put 
forth the doctrine of the Unity, discarding the belief 
in the Trinity. This pulpit sent out its bugle notes 
for the old faith so clearly, that a few of the steadfast 
members of the Salisbury church, led by Dr. Job 
Wilson and wife, attached themselves to this church. 


We get a glimpse of the times from Dea. Enoch 
Little's diary, Sept. i6, 1810: ** Mr. Price whipt Mr. 
Worcester to-day." 

Though the church was in no way affected by the 
movement toward Unitarianism, there had been for 
many years a dissenting element in the congregation. 
A portion of the people who owned pews did not 
accept the theological beliefs of the church. Those 
dissenting united in the formation of the Christian 
Union Society. A committee appointed by the town 
reported that the amount of taxes paid by the mem- 
bers of that society entitled them to use the house 
one fourth part of the time. The town voted to 
accept the report. 

The Westerly Religious Society questioned the 
right of the town to control the use of the house, 
and appealed to the courts. Pending a decision, the 
house was taken possession of by the Christian 
Union Society, and the church found itself without 
a home. 

There was much bitterness of feeling engendered 
for the moment. Hard words were used. There 
was coolness between old-time friends, but out of the 
bitterness came a determination to rear a new house 
of worship, and with it an energy that was the praise 
of even those who had not exercised the largest de- 
gree of Christian charity in the premises. 

The first meeting was held May 19, 1823, and 
$500 subscribed towards procuring the frame of this 
edifice. On the succeeding week there was a ringing 
of axes in the forests along the Blackwater, choppers 
and hewers waking the echoes from early morn till 


dewy eve. On July 3 the frame was in its place. 
On December 25 the house was dedicated with ap- 
propriate religious services. For fifty-nine years it 
has been your church home. Through all the period 
there has been no interim of public worship, save on 
a very few tempestuous days. 

It was a despondent day, that Sunday in April, 
when the church found itself without a home ; but 
beyond question the forcible seizure of the old home 
was one of the best blessings that ever came to this 
church. It brought unity, determination, zeal, en- 
ergy. It enforced self-denial, sacrifice, — awakened 
anew the sense of moral obligation. The church at 
once became strong and vigorous; 

Far better in any event separation than contention. 
Is there a grander scene in history than the conduct 
of Abraham and Lot ? Three score years have 
passed since this house was erected, and through all 
the period this community have been at peace. The 
bitterness of the hour quickly passed, and to-day every 
inhabitant of the town would find a welcome within 
these walls, and to your communion, — all who love 
the Master, irrespective of denominational name. 

The time had come for Christian activity in benev- 
olence, in missionary effort. The lay members of 
the church up to that period had taken little part in 
church meetings. Weekly conference and prayer- 
meetings were almost unknown. The Thursday lec- 
ture was the only weekly meeting. 

The minister was expected to lead and direct in 
all church work ; — but out of that prayer-meeting, by 
the hay-stack in Williamstown, Mass., held by Sam- 


uel J. Mills and his four fellow-students in college in 
1806, had come the American Board. Out of the 
resolve made in Rev. Mr. Wood's parlor in 1809, on 
High street, by nine ministers, to circulate four thou- 
sand copies of the little pamphlet entitled '* The 
Child's Memorial," had come the American Tract 
Society, followed by the Bible Society in 18 16. 

The year 188 1 was the centennial of the Sunday- 
school movement of Robert Raikes — the effort to 
induce the working people of England to learn to 
read instead of spending Sunday in drinking rum, 
playing games, and indulging in fighting. 

It was in 18 10 that Joanna Prince and Hannah 
Hill, of Beverly, Mass., school teachers, invited the 
children whom they taught during the week to com- 
mit passages of Scripture to memory to be recited 
on Sunday — the beginning of Sunday-school instruc- 
tion in America. It was a new idea, an innovation, 
which did not meet the approbation of some of the 
ministers of the period. They were commanded to 
keep the Sabbath day holy ; — would it not be break- 
ing the ten commandments to teach a school on Sun- 
day ? The ministers discussed the question. It was 
the theme of conversation in private circles, the old 
men shaking their heads, the young men advocating 
the schools. 

It was probably in 18 16, the year succeeding a 
great revival, that the first Sunday-schools were held 
in this town, Sunday evenings, in summer, in some of 
the school-districts, the boys and girls standing in a 
class with their toes to a crack in the floor, bowing 
and courtesying when the teacher said ** Attention !" 


each scholar reciting the verses learned during the 

I recall the anecdote that one girl, gifted in mem- 
orizing, went on for nearly an hour, till the wearied 
teacher informed her that he would hear the rest the 
next Sunday. 

Memory goes back to the Sunday noons of 1830. 
The general Sunday-school had not been organized. 
I recall a group of men in yonder porch eating their 
dinners, Daniel Pillsbury producing a supply of green 
cucumbers from his lofty bell-crowned hat and capa- 
cious pockets, and distributing them to those around, 
eating them without salt as relishes to their dough- 
nuts and cheese. The young men are in the horse- 
sheds discussing the good points of the horses and 
the young colts ; the older boys are hunting birds' 
nests in Mr. Price's orchard, or helping themselves to 
caraway seed in Daniel Corser s garden. 

I recall a dreary winter day. No stove sends out 
its warmth. The sun is clouded in — a blue day, 
the mercury at zero. The air is sharp and keen. 
Men sit with their coat collars about their ears, wear- 
ing their mittens, their breath turning to frost upon 
their mufflers. How I envied Stephen Sweatt with 
three capes to his surtout ! There is a constant clat- 
tering of boot-heels as the people thump their feet 
upon the floor to keep the blood in circulation. 

With the utterance of the Amen of the benediction 
there is a quick movement towards the neighboring 
houses, — women and girls to Rev. Mr. Price's, Hez- 
ekiah Fellows's, and Mr. Fisk's, now the residence 
of M. A. Pillsbury; a crowd of men and boys to the 


houses of Daniel Corser, the residence of George 
Little, to Moses Fellows's, the home of our pastor, 
to Mr. John Danforth's, the residence of Mr. Heath. 
Some leap into their sleighs and ride to Dea. James 
Kilborn^s, the residence of Mr. Tilton. In every 
kitchen great fires are blazing. In that of Daniel 
Corser I see Benjamin Little, Esq., Thomas Carter, 
and several other men advanced in years, light their 
pipes, the room gradually filling with a cloud of 
tobacco- smoke. Luncheons are eaten, foot-stoves 
are filled with live coals, and when the bell ceases its 
tolling the people are in their places patiently to 
endure a temperature at zero from one till three 

Then came the cold ride homeward, the blue-gray 
of the day deepening as the twilight came on before 
those living farthest from meeting finished their 

In the evening came the Catechism, which must be 
rehearsed from **What is the chief end of man?" 
through the decrees of God, justification, adoption, 
effectual calling, and all the rest. I do not think that 
I very much appreciated then the hymn by Dr. 
Watts, descriptive of the Heavenly Jerusalem, 

** Where Sabbaths have no end." 

In 1830 began the temperance reformation. I 
recall the agitation, the holding of temperance meet- 
ings in the autumnal evenings in this house, the 
speeches of Z. G. Whitman in opposition and of Amos 
Couch, on Battle street, in favor of temperance, the 
earnest protest of some of the members of the church 


to signing a pledge, or to the passage of resolutions ; 
not that they were not themselves temperate, or were 
opposed to temperance, but they protested against 
any infringement of Christian liberty. 

The world has moved during the fifty years. The 
bill of supplies furnished by Hezekiah and Moses 
Fellows at the raising of this house included thirteen 
and one half gallons of rum. I am disposed to believe 
that if all the rum in the town were brought together 
at this moment it would not much exceed that quan- 

The question arises, How much has this church 
had to do with the changes in the drinking habits of 
the community ? Would this people be as sober and 
temperate as to-day, if Benjamin Sweattand his asso- 
ciates had not been organized as a church ? 

Let us pause in our historical review, and inquire 
briefly as to the meaning of the church. 

We think of it as instituted by Jesus Christ as an 
agency for the conversion of the world to a belief in 
him as its Saviour; as a y^;;^^7v holding sweet and 
tender relation to him ; a family whose members are 
recruited on earth for the society of heaven. 

**One family we dwell in Him, 
One church above, beneath — 
Though now divided by the stream, 
The narrow stream of death. 

**One army of the living God, 
To his command we bow : 
Part of the host have crossed the flood, 
And part are crossing now." 

It seems to me that even this does not adequately 
express the meaning of the establishment of the 


church, but that in a higher analysis it is the manifes- 
tation, the concentration, and, if I may use the term, 
almost the incarnation of God's thoughts and plans 
for the welfare of the world. 

The last quarter of a century has been distinguished 
from all other periods of history by the inclination of 
men towards socialism, the formation of mutual aid 
and cooperative societies, encampments, fraternities, 
and brotherhoods, with pass-words and signals and 
mystic rites. It is a manifestation of the longing of 
the race to secure comfort and happiness, and to pro- 
mote mutual well-being. It seems to me that the 
church has not as yet comprehended the meaning of 
this manifestation, this longing for association, this 
calling of men upon each other for a helping hand. 

Oh ! how infinitely beyond all societies for mutual 
help is that ideal upon which the church of the Lord 
Jesus Christ is founded — the seeking and saving of 
the lost, of helping those who have no power to help 
themselves. It is the unselfishness of the incom- 
prehensible love behind the Christian ideal that is 
yet to win this world to Christ. 

Infinitely beyond all charity and benevolence, which 
spring from the idea of mere mutual welfare, is that 
divine announcement in the chant of the cherubim 
eighteen hundred years ago to the shepherds of Beth- 
lehem, at the birth of the Saviour, ** On earth peace, 


What a declaration from Him who formed the 
church ; **I came to seek and to save that which was 
lost ! " 

Institutions which have their origin in the tempo- 


ral needs of men, when the purpose is complete will 
cease to exist : the church of Christ is the only organ- 
ization among men which is perpetual and eternal. 

The time may possibly come when this pulpit will 
be silent evermore, when there will be no worship- 
pers within these walls, when the record will bear 
no name of living member on its page ; but even 
then it will not cease to exist. 

The science of biology, which treats of the forces 
of life, recognizes the transmutation of moral as well 
as physical characteristics from generation to gener- 
ation. No man liveth to himself alone. Material 
things decay : they perish with their using. We 
gather riches ; but they take wings, fire burns them, 
rust destroys, thieves steal them. Goodness endures. 
Moral forces never can perish : they are not born to 
die. In their nature they are eternal. 

There is an oft-quoted but greatly misapplied pas- 
sage from Shakspeare, — 

** The evil that men do lives after them ; 
The good is oft interred with their bones." 

It is from the harangue of the insincere and intrigu- 
ing Marc Antony to the populace over the dead body 
of the murdered Caesar. At best it is but a half truth, 
while its philosophy is wholly false. The great mys- 
tery underlying human existence is the conflict of 
moral forces, the existence of evil, and the redemp- 
tion of man. If it be true that the good which we 
do is interred in the grave when our bodies are borne 
to their last resting-place, then we may as well cease 
all effort for the final redemption of the Avorld from 


sin. If it be true, our labor for the building up of 
moral agencies has been, in a great measure, in vain. 
If it be true, the Bible is false and Christianity a 
failure. If it be true, take down from the walls of 
your houses those heart-sustaining mottoes, sugges- 
tive of peace and rest and immortality, and write 
instead, for time and for eternity, **No hope ! '' But 
it is not true : the good which men do lives after 
them. The writer of the book of Revelation recog- 
nizes the great law as one of the crowning glories of 
the redemption. '' Blessed are the dead which die in 
the Lord from henceforth : Yea, saith the Spirit, that 
they may rest from their labors ; and their works do 
follow them." 

Generations come and go, advancing and passing 
away like the waves of the ocean upon the pebbled 
shore. We perform our little part, and disappear, 
often depressed in spirit, may be, as we descend the 
vale of years, that we have accomplished so little, 
forgetting that God has so arranged his economies 
that whatever we do, be it ever so little, for truth, 
justice, liberty, and righteousness, whatever we ac- 
complish for the well-being of our fellow-men, be- 
comes a vital, celestial, eternal force. It is of divine 
and heavenly origin, and in its nature imperishable. 
It is transmitted from generation to generation. 
Who can measure the odylic force, the far-reach- 
ing, all-pervading influence, of that act of Benjamin 
Sweatt and his nine associates in the house of Henry 
L. Dodge, September 26, 1804? 

In physics we have the microscope to make visible 
atoms of matter of inconceivable smallness ; the mi- 


crometer, to measure infinite distances and spaces ; 
the telescope, to bring to view myriads of suns from 
the unfathomable deeps of heaven ; — but genius never 
will invent nor the hand of man construct a micro- 
metric measure that can determine moral force. 
Omnipotence alone keeps record of the weights and 
measures of the moral and spiritual realm. 

Men do not gather figs from thistles. Far more 
intimate and subtle are the relations between sow- 
ing and reaping in the moral and spiritual realm than 
in the physical. We sow our wheat, but the midge 
destroys it ; the rust disappoints the husbandman ; the 
harvest fails ; but no mildew ever can blight sincere 
and honest endeavor in the service of Almighty God. 

Unrevealed to human eyes are God's harvest sea- 
sons. Many a sower has toiled through life always 
sowing, never reaping, never bringing home a single 
sheaf, going down to the grave in sadness, feeling 
that life has been a failure. 

Without doubt Dea. Benjamin Sweatt, a man of 
prayer and of earnest endeavor, ceasing from his 
earthly labors in manhood's prime, felt in spirit that 
he had accomplished nothing. 

Without doubt Dea. Eliphalet Kilborn, attaining 
the age of 92, counted his more than half a century 
of service as unprofitable to the Lord. 

I recall the faltering words of Father Price, in his 
declining years: ** It troubles me that I have accom- 
plished so little." It is the truly noble that make 
no account of what they have done. But how far 
this little candle, lighted on September 26, 1804, 
throws its radiant beams ! 


Would Enoch Corser ever have been the power 
that he was for so many years in the pulpits of 
Loudon, Northfield, and Epping, if this candle had 
never been lighted ? Would Jacob Little have left his 
impress upon all central Ohio ? Would his brother 
Henry have been a beloved home missionary, or- 
ganizer of thousands of Sunday-schools and scores 
of churches, if this church had not been organized ? 
Would Arthur Little to-day be occupying an ex- 
alted place of influence and power? Would there 
be such a catalogue of worthy and illustrious names 
as might be presented of self-denying, earnest, de- 
voted men and women, who have gone forth from 
this church to wield their influence for good in the 
crowded city where good and evil are ever waging 
mighty war, or on the distant prairies forming Sun- 
day-schools, sustaining churches, moulding plastic 
minds, sowing seed beside all waters ? 

As we toss the pebble into the placid lake, and 
behold its wavelets roll to the farthest shore, so 
shall roll on forever, through time and through 
eternity, the results that have come from that sim- 
ple act on a September afternoon in 1804. 

Beneath the calm waters of tropical seas ages 
ago the little coral insect built his marble cell, lived 
his brief hour, and died. How insignificant, how 
useless, seemingly, its little life ! Myriads, count- 
less generations, build their cells, and die. Cen- 
turies roll away, and then islands rise from the 
sea. Palms wave in the summer air, birds sing in 
the branches of stately trees, savages rear their 
huts amid the dales. The missionary, sent forth and 


sustained by your contributions, comes to teach 
them the way of life. So God's harvest-time comes — 
the sowing here, the reaping there. 

This church, since 1830, has been transmitting- 
itself over all the land. It has been dividing and 
distributing itself, transfusing its influence, power, 
and spirit to every section of the republic, multi- 
plying its moral and spiritual force for the earthly 
and eternal welfare of the human race. Only 
through distribution and multiplication is the leaven 
of the kingdom of heaven to make its way, and the 
mustard-seed become the spreading tree with the 
birds singing in its branches. 

As I stand here to-day I behold shadowy faces in 
all these pews. They are angelic faces now, trans- 
lated from earth, purified in the air of heaven, — such 
faces as the great painter Raphael has outlined upon 
the canvas of the wonderful picture of the Madonna 
in the Dresden gallery. 

Tuneful voices come to me from yonder gallery, 
silent evermore on earth, but rehearsing these many 
years the songs sung by the society of heaven. 

"Never here, forever there, 
Where all parting, pain, and care, 
And death, and time shall disappear, — 
Forever there, but never here." 

Forty-five years ago this 13th of December, be- 
loved pastor, it was my privilege to stand in yonder 
gallery and join in the hymn that welcomed you to 
the beginning of your pastorate. To-day I deem it 
a high honor to be present on this commemorate 


occasion, when, after forty-five years of service, you 
resign your office as pastor. 

In the rotunda of the capital at Washington hangs 
a picture of the most impressive scene in the his- 
tory of our country, — of Washington, after leading 
the armies of the United States through their eight 
years struggle to victory and independence, resign- 
ing his commission, and becoming once more a pri- 
vate citizen. The self-abnegation of that act has 
won the admiration of the world. 

To-day you do not resign your commission from 
the great Head of the church to preach the gospel ; 
you only lay down the burdens and cares of the 
ministerial office. Great as was the cause which 
called the father of our country from the quiet se- 
clusion of his home on the banks of the Potomac, 
how incomparably greater that to which you have 
given the strength of your life. Through all the 
years you have had but one object in view, but 
one desire — to train this people for the society of 
heaven. With an utter abnegation of self, you have 
ever sought to promote their earthly and eternal 
welfare. You have looked never for an earthly re- 
ward, for you have been animated by the loftiest 
ideal of the universe — to seek and to save that 
which was lost. 

No artist may portray this scene of to-day, — your 
retirement from the sacred office which you have 
so long and so worthily held ; but, oh ! how little 
do we know what pictures are hanging up yonder 
in our Father s hall of victories, painted by celestial 
hands ! This only we know, that the victors in 


self-abnegation shall cast down their crowns and 
sing, ** Not unto us, but unto Him be all the 
glory ! " 

During the long period of your pastorate you 
have seen many changes. The tide of emigration 
had just begun to flow outward, when in 1837 Y^^ 
became the minister of this people. You have seen 
members of this honored and beloved church, on 
whom you relied for counsel and support, depart 
one by one. Without doubt you have at times felt 
a sinking at the heart ; but never for an instant has 
there been a faltering in your labors. Those who 
remained needed all the more your care, and you 
have given it with untiring devotion. This thought 
has been your comfort and consolation, that, as a 
gardener from single parent stems fills his garden 
with roses, geraniums, and heliotrope, till the sur- 
rounding atmosphere is fragrant with their bloom- 
ing, so from this garden of the Lord you have been 
sending out slips which are putting forth their blos- 
soms over all the land. 

Since you began your pastorate a generation has 
passed away. Ah ! how many times have you per- 
formed the last sad rites for those who were very 
dear to you. The great majority have gone be- 
fore you to become members of the society of the 
redeemed. Let it be your consolation that they 
are there to bid you welcome when in God*s ap- 
pointed time he shall call you thither. 

But, dear pastor, you will, in one sense, never 
die. The house you live in, the earthly tenement, 
may waste away, but you yourself will only pass on. 


Allow me to repeat the words of Jacob Little to 
Father Price: 

**Mr. Price, you will never die. I have received 
from you precepts, doctrines, feelings, and ways of 
doing good, and in central Ohio I am impressing 
them on a great people. Sabbath-school teachers 
and preachers are coming up in my congregation 
to scatter what I have received from your lips, and 
pass it to the next generation. What you have 
taught by example and precept is spreading wider 
and wider, going on to the second and third gen- 
eration, and will ever keep going, so that you will 
never die." 

** Because I live, ye shall live also," are the words 
of him to whom you have given all the strength of 
your life. 

Beloved pastor, on that day forty-five years ago, 
when you were installed as pastor of this church, one 
of your ministerial brethren welcomed you with the 
right hand of fellowship ; but he is not here. One 
by one all who took part in. those exercises have gone 
on to their reward. Allow me, therefore, for and in 
behalf of the people, to extend once more to you the 
hand of that abiding friendship ; and I know that I do 
but give expression to the united wish of this church 
and people, that the remaining years of your life, be 
they many or be they few, may be full of peace and 
joy, crowned with the best of heaven's blessings. 

In behalf of the pastors of neighboring churches, 
Rev. J. H. Hoffman, of the Congregational society in 
Henniker, spoke as follows : 


Mr. Chairman: We read of sermons in stones, 
and good in everything. The character of the two 
preceding addresses is such that I could wish I were 
not here to speak. 

It would have been more in keeping with the na- 
ture of things for old age, ''rich in story," to speak 
in behalf of the neighboring ministers and churches ; 
but, sir, your contemporaries are nearly all waiting 
to address to you good wishes ** over there." 

Age is no dishonor. The public mind, under God, 
declares it. The Christian children of the present 
generation will not cast away the fathers and moth- 
ers, and send them to the public squares. David, 
servant of God, taught that one's last days may be 
useful: ''When I am old and grey-headed, O God, 
forsake me not, until I have shewed thy strength 
unto this generation, and thy power to every one 
that is to come." 

There is strength and power in old age. It is 
your privilege, reverend sir, still to show the strength 
and power of your God to this generation and to 
every one that is to come. This can be done by a 
cheerful mien. Father Buxton, you have grappled 
with the " art of growing old beautifully," and have 
succeeded admirably. 

There are advantages, and disadvantages, to one in 
mature years. Wilberforce has said, "It is beauti- 
ful to see an aged person contented with those pleas- 
ures which are within his reach." A beautiful life, 
as the years fill in, cheerfully takes a lower place. 
One beautiful thing in the life of John Quincy Adams 
was, that after being president of the United States, 


he faithfully served in the lower house of congress 
greatly to the appreciation of the people. It requires 
grace to step down the ladder, but it may be a grace- 
ful act. Sir, you can serve in the lower house of 
congress, and to acceptance. 

We love Richter. Writing upon old age he says, 
**A truly Christian man can look down upon the au- 
tumn of his existence : the more sand that has passed 
through the hour-glass of life, the more clearly can 
he see through the empty glass." 

Some philosopher has said, '' It is pleasant to 
grow old, with good health and a good friend." You 
have a good friend in your faithful companion ; you 
have a good friend in this church of Christ ; you have 
a good friend in the township of Webster ; and you 
have a good friend in your Master. 

The Levites returned from the warfare of service 
at fifty, but by counsel, by their rich experience, they 
continued to be of great benefit to the younger breth- 
ren. To you, father in the gospel, be it said, ** It 
is towards evening ; the shadows fall along your way.*' 
May your beautiful, strong, and godly old age be a 
continual inspiration to the living. 

But, sir, I must attend to my duty. It is all said 
in a single sentence : the ministers of the neighbor- 
ing churches love you, revered father. 

They love you, first, for your fidelity to God. 
There is at present a vast amount of man worship. 
Give me this man ! — oh, let me sit under the preach- 
ing of some famous man ! Daniel was loyal to God. 
You have been true to God. We love you for this. 

Second. We love you for your fidelity to this 


church of Christ and to the church universal. Here 
you have sown seed, harrowed it in, and " in due 
season " seen the harvest. Further, in your fidelity 
to this church you have set us a good example, in 
that you lived beside your predecessor, Rev. Mr. 
Price, for twenty years, and did not quarrel. I see 
before me Rev. Mr. Gordon, who now preaches^ the 
gospel from this pulpit; — he will take note of the 
above fact, and not fight with Father Buxton. 

Third. We love you as a defender of the faith once 
delivered, one that was good enough for Abraham to 
live by and die in, one that *' subdued kingdoms, 
wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped 
the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, 
escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were 
made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight 
the armies of the aliens." 

Fourth. We love you as a guardian of the public 
peace and welfare in general. Mr. Coffin has well 
spoken of this. 

Fifth. We love you as a man of progressive and 
intelligent ideas concerning the kingdom of Christ. 
Often have we sat at your feet, as we have met to- 
gether to talk and pray of and for the kingdom of 
our Lord, and as often have we received solid in- 
struction. For this we thank you. For all these 
things we love you, and will love you unto the end. 

Accept, I pray you, the heartiest good wishes and 
a *' God bless you ! " from the ministers who labor in 
the neighboring churches. 

The hymn, '' If through unruffled seas," was ren- 
dered by the choir. 



Dea. Gerrish, from the committee, stepped forward 
and made a presentation of three hundred dollars to 
Father Buxton, as a testimonial of esteem and regard 
from the people of his charge, and other friends. 

Rev. Mr. Buxton feelingly returned his thanks for 
the generous gift, and remarked that during his en- 
tire pastorate his salary had always been promptly 

After an invitation had been extended to all to 
remain and partake of the collation, the exercises of 
the afternoon closed. 


In the gallery a long table had been placed, which 
was laden with tempting dishes of food, and pre- 
sented an attractive appearance. Grace was said by 
Rev. Charles E. Gordon, the new acting pastor of 
the Webster and Salisbury Congregational churches, 
after which full justice was done to the many good 
things that the ladies of Webster had so generously 
furnished. A social hour then followed, with intro- 
ductions and the renewal of old acquaintances. 


Upon reassembling, the president stated that he 
had received a large number of letters from absent 
friends who were unable to be present. He first 
read the following from Rev. Arthur Little, d. d., of 
the New England church, Chicago : 


Chicago, December 9, 1882. 
Gentlemen of the Anniversary Committee : 

Brethren and Friends : I was greatly delighted 
at receiving your circular announcing your purpose 
to observe, in fitting manner, the forty-fifth anniver- 
sary of Mr. Buxton's settlement among you. 

It would surely be a mistake, almost a crime, to 
allow such an event to pass without special emphasis. 
I should like to be there in person, and have a hand 
and voice in the services. 

It is a significant event. Boscawen used to enjoy 
the unique pleasure of having a name all to itself, 
duplicated, nowhere. I doubt if the event you are 
celebrating to-day can be anywhere duplicated in 
New Hampshire or in the country. I speak now 
of active pastorates continued for forty-five years. 
There have been a few such, and even a little longer. 
I do not, at this moment, recall another of equal 
length with that which our honored and beloved 
Father Buxton surrenders to-night. 

Forty-five years ! And what years they have 
been ! No other such as these since the world 
began ! 

Mr. Buxton has seen more, experienced more, 
done more, lived more, enriched himself and others 
more, in these years than Methuselah in all the in- 
fantile, drowsy centuries of his existence. 

*• Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay." 

There were some other things happening in Web 
ster in the year 1837, besides the settlement of tb 


minister, which have been of considerable importance 
to me. (Consult the Parish Register.) It was a 
great year for that town. I am thankful for it. 

But it is a question whether it would have been 
any particular advantage to one to have been born 
in that town, or to have spent his boyhood in it, if 
there had been no settled minister there. 

I have no time, this hurried Saturday morning, 
adequately to express my interest in the occasion, 
the reasons why it is worthy of your best commem- 
oration, or my personal indebtedness to the noble 
man of God who is compelled by your kindness and 
love to lay aside, for a moment, his accustomed mod- 
esty and reserve, and become the central figure of 
attraction for the hour. He honors you quite as 
much as you will find it possible to honor him. 
When you have done your best, brought your choic- 
est tokens and expressions of gratitude and appreci- 
ation, you will still be in his debt. 

The money value of such a ministry in a country 
town is beyond all estimate. The intellectual, moral, 
and spiritual value can only be computed in that day 
when God shall make up his jewels. 

The mere fact of a man staying forty-five years in 
such a town as Webster, with small contact with the 
outside world, not very much in the way of stimulus, 
and yet keeping fresh, active, abreast with the times, 
able to interest her people, — in a word, sustaining 
himself, — is in itself a thing truly sublime. 

That such a thing has come to pass is a fact alike 
creditable to pastor and people. Both are to be con- 


The Congregational ministry has now become per- 
ipatetic, i. e., a travelling ministry. We speak of a 
settled ministry, and yet our clergymen stay in a 
given place, on an average, hardly as long as the 
Methodists, who are by principle itinerant. The 
thought of permanance ought to make glad your 
hearts this evening. It is the men with staying 
qualities that win. 

What shall we say of Mr. Buxton's work, during 
the almost half century of labor among you, — in 
the homes, in the schools, in the church, in the 
Sunday-school, in the town at large, in the county, 
in the state ? 

In the good old days the minister used to make 
the town. Now the town makes the minister; and a 
minister is measured by the size of the town he is in. 
False estimate ! Dr. Emmons was larger than Frank- 
lin, Dr. Hopkins than Newport, Dr. Edwards than 

Dr. Buxton (as he ought to be, and let us confer 
the degree to-night, — it is worth just as much by vote 
of parish as by the trustees of Dartmouth) has never 
been confined to the town he lived in, nor dependent 
upon it for his sweep of influence or enviable good 
name. But if he had been, it were ample field for 
all his energies and power. For forty-five years his 
hands have been on the main-springs and centres of 
good influence there. Think of the lives which he 
has been potential in shaping for good. They are 
not all in Webster now. Many, many of them have 
gone to their citizenship in the ** city which hath 
foundations, whose builder and maker is God." I can 


recall some in California, in Minnesota, in Iowa, in 
Illinois, in Indiana, in Pennsylvania, in Massachu- 
setts, and I doubt not they are to be found in almost 
every state in the Union. No ! The man who 
preaches the gospel faithfully for forty-five years in 
a New England town is not the man of limited range 
of influence. He sweeps the continent, if not the 

Then, too, the quality of Mr. Buxton^s service must 
be remembered. No man was ever more intoler- 
ant of anything superficial, unreal, pretentious. It 
has been his habit to go to the bottom and look after 
the foundations. He had little patience with a poor 
arithmetic lesson or a poor Christian experience. He 
always insisted upon thoroughness in both. He has 
always been wisely jealous of soundness in doctrine, 
believing this the best way to secure soundness in 

I want to take this opportunity to thank him for 
his faithfulness in hammering the doctrines of the 
Bible into me. It has been more to me than Ando- 
ver and Princeton combined, — among other reasons, 
because it came earlier. I fear he is among the last 
of so-called doctrinal preachers. 

Now, one word as to the real secret of Mr. Bux- 
ton's power and abiding influence. It was not his 
preaching, not his rare mental acumen, not any great 
efforts of his, not any one signal achievement, — not 
these. It is all summed up in one word, — his lifcy 
his blameless life. That has been the secret of his 
power. It has been the man behind the sermon that 
has given potency to his ministry. Other men may 


have preached more eloquent sermons perhaps : no 
man ever lived a more eloquent life. Did you ever 
know anybody who did not, at least, respect him ? 
Did you ever hear the consistency of his daily life 
commented upon unfavorably or criticised by the bit- 
terest foe of the Christian faith ? Almost everybody 
loves him ; almost everybody is glad to see him and 
talk with him ; they like to hear him pray in the 

Everywhere his life has stood for righteousness, 
peace, goodness, gentleness, and whatever beautifies 
the home and blesses a community. It may be said 
of him as was said of another, — 

** Such was our friend : formed on the good old plan, 
A true and brave and downright honest man. 
He blew no trumpet in the market-place, 
Nor in the church with hypocritic face 
Supplied with cant the lack of Christian grace ; 
Loathing pretence, he did with cheerful will 
What others talked of, while their hands were still. 
His daily prayer, far better understood 
In acts than words, was simply doing good. 
So calm, so constant was his rectitude 
That by its loss alone we knew its worth, 
And feel how true a man has walked with us on earth." 

I must close. I have n't said what I meant to say. 
My heart is full. A pleasant evening to you. Make 
my hearty congratulations to Father Buxton. The 
dear Lord bless you all. 

Affectionately yours, 



Interesting communications were also presented 
from Rev. A. W. Fiske of Fisherville, formerly pas- 
tor of the Congregational church in that place ; Rev. 
E. H. Greeley of Concord, secretary of the New 
Hampshire Home Missionary Society ; Rev. J. Rol- 
lins of Tilton, formerly of the Methodist church in 
Webster; Rev. John Gerrish, d. d., a native of Bos- 
caweh, • and wife, of Kansas, 111. ; Rev. Howard 
Moody of Andover, previously of the Congregational 
church in Canterbury; Rev. Pres. Forrest Shepard 
of Norwich, Conn., a native of Boscawen, and who 
was baptized by Rev. Ebenezer Price in 1806; Rev. 
Levi Little of Taunton, Mass., who was born in Bos- 
cawen ; E. Sewall Price of Boston, son of Rev. Father 
Price ; Mrs. C. A. Carroll of Jackson, Mich. ; Prof. 
Moses G. Farmer, the celebrated electrician of Bos- 
ton ; John P. Farmer of Glyndon, Minn. ; Dea. Enoch 
Coffin of Beloit, Mich. ; Miss E. M. Buxton, daughter 
of Rev. Father Buxton, and Miss Elizabeth F. Reed, 
of Steubenville, Ohio ; Horace Little of Ridgeway, 
Elk county, Penn. ; Silas C. Stone, Chas. H. Ames, 
son of Nathan P. Ames, and Mrs. Eunice F. Pillsbury, 
of Boston ; Charles S. Pillsbury of Londonderry ; 
Thomas H. Currie, m. d., of Lebanon ; A. C. Sweatt 
of Fisherville ; Gilman Sweatt of Manchester ; Miss 
Vinie Dodge of Winona, Minn. ; Miss Annette Cogs- 
well of New York city ; Miss Lydia Corser of Deny ; 
Joseph A. Little of West Creek, Lake county, la. ; 
and Walter H. Sargent of Bridgewater. 

The following poem, written by Mrs. J. B. Good- 
hue, of Webster, was read by Miss Detta Goodhue. 


What's the meaning of the gathering 

Of the people here to-night? 
Why the music and the speeches? 

Why this brilliant, cheery light? 

Why are old and young so joyous — 

Happy faces all aglow ? 
Why this feasting? We can tell you, 

Stranger, if you'd like to know. 

We have come to meet our pastor. 
From each hamlet, vale, and hill, — 

Come with words of kindly greeting, 
That his heart with joy may thrill. 

Years ago he came among us. 
In the flush of manhood's prime. 

Ere his eye had lost its brightness. 
Or his locks been bleached by time : 

Came to dwell among this people. 
Seeking not for fame or gold. 

Only like a faithful shepherd 

Gathering lambs within the fold. 

He has watched them from their cradles 
Through their childhood's happy days, 

Cheered them on in ways of knowledge 
By his heartfelt words of praise. 

He has watched them grow to manhood'. 
Filled with dreams of wealth and fame, 

Tried to lead their footsteps heavenward 
Through the precious Saviour's name. 

By the bed of pain and anguish. 
Where the feeble sufferer lies. 

He has spoken words of comfort, 
Pointing upward to the skies. 

In the homes of joy and gladness 
He was e'er a welcome guest : 

Loved and honored by the parents. 
Little children round him pressed. 


Many has he joined in wedlock, 
Calling blessings on their head ; 

Many times has bowed in sorrow, 
Grieving o'er the early dead. 

He has not been free from trouble ; 

Death has oft his shadow cast 
O'er his threshold, and forever 

From his sight his loved have passed. 

In whatever place we've found him, 

He's been faithful to his trust, — 
Never weary, never faltering, . 

Worn with labor, not with rust. 


Now when time his locks has whitened. 
Bowed his form and dimmed his eye. 

Meet it is that he should listen, 
Lay his heavy labors by. 

He has borne the toil and burden 
Of the noontide's fervid heat : 

Now as draw the shades around him 
May his evening rest be sweet. 

Those who first gave cordial greeting. 
Nearly all have gone before. 

Waiting now to bid him welcome 
As he nears the *' shining shore." 

Stranger ! this is why we're gathered 
Here within these walls to-night, — 

Why with happy hearts and voices 
Each and all as one unite 

In a blessing on our pastor. 
Who from labor now can rest : 

Cherished by his loving people. 
May his last days be his best. 



In response to sentiments read, interesting remarks 
were made by Sherman Little, Hiram G. Stone, Dea. 
H. H. Gerrish, Dea. Henry F. Pearson, and Tyler C. 
Sweatt, of Webster, and by Rev. Mr. Gordon, Dea. 
T. D. Little, and Isaac N. Sawyer, of Salisbury. 

J. E. Pecker, of Concord, formerly of Boscawen, 
stated that although the attendance was large, yet 
there were many not present whose thoughts would 
be with the old church on so interesting an occasion ; 
and he therefore moved that a committee of five be 
appointed to publish the proceedings. He did not 
wish, however, to be made chairman. 

The motion was seconded by John C. Pearson of 
Boscawen, formerly of Webster, and carried unan- 

The president subsequently announced the com- 
mittee to be, — 

John C. Pearson, of Boscawen ; William W. Bur- 
bank, Sherman Little, James L. Gerrish, of Webster; 
J. E. Pecker, of Concord. 

A poem, written by Luther B. Little, a. b., a Dart- 
mouth College graduate of 1882, now of Chicago, 
was read by Miss Sarah E. Sawyer. 



When most men start out for to make a poem, 
They pick their theme, and ask the Muse to show 'em 
Why this and that thing happened as they did, 
And thus they're sure to know what else were hid. 

g. 6l<^u 


They take for theme some hero of renown, 

Some mighty battle or some war-sacked town, 

That everybody wants to know about, 

And having learned the facts, just write them out. 

I don't see why men write of " spring," and " snow,' 

And " heroes," " gods," and " war," and then let go 

Such themes as " honest men" and " patient wives," 

Who toil and struggle and wear out their lives 

In doing good to ordinary man, 

And doing this, serve God as best they can. 

But thus it is : loud deeds and men are sung. 

And modesty moves not the Muse's tongue ; 

And from this fact, through all the ages long, 

I doubt if ere my theme was writ in song, — 

For, whosoever's ears my subject jars on, 

'Tis simply this, "A Long-loved Country Parson," 

Well-nigh a half a century ago. 

At time of year when earth is clad in snow, — 

As if 'twere fitting his first look should be 

Upon the town well decked in purity, — 

There came to Webster, or 'twas Boscawen then, 

One of the noblest of earth's noble men. 

And why a noble man, does some one ask? 

To tell the reasons is an endless task. 

What has he done ? He's just stayed with the town, 

And lifted up, when other things pulled down. 

What did he come for? Not for gain, 'tis sure : 

The Webster minister is always poor ; — 

Nor did he come for fame : fame does not come 

To Webster people, if they stay at home ; — 

Nor yet for power : small power here would be : 

The Webster people never bend the knee 

To one who thinks to rule with iron sway : 

If one should come for this, he'd never stay. 

What did he come for to this lonely town ? 

He came at duty's call, without a frown ; 

He came to minister, to preach and pray, 

To do men good, to show the better way 


Up from this black sin-tarnished mortal life 

To where men turn to angels and forget all strife. 

Of course he preached at church — all ministers do that : 

Of course he wore " the cloth," and donned a silken hat : 

Of course his looks were grave, his bearing dignified : 

Of course at him the young eyes opened wide. 

All these things were, of course, to be expected ; 

But still some other actions might have been detected. 

When to the grave a mourning band was brought, 

Their souls overburdened with the heavy thought 

That one was gone, it was this reverend man 

Who taught that death was but the broken span 

O'er which we leap from nothingness down here. 

Up to infinity in a holier sphere. 

When youth and maiden had each other tried 

Until their hearts in unity were tied, 

His was the word that made the knot secure : 

As two they came, as one they left his door. 

His own mind filled with depths of hidden lore. 

To other minds he opened wide the store. 

He loved the school ; — ah ! what a sight for pity 

The truant boy, when he was school committee ! 

Music he loved, and his deep soul within 

He oft poured forth with bow and violin ; 

And song came from his lips with potent fire : 

Oh ! how he will enjoy the angel choir ! 

As ever at early dawn was seen his study light, 

A beacon, firm set, shining into night. 

So have his pious walk, his blameless life, 

Shone out o'er all the land, with blessings rife ; 

For men, whom he has taught by word and deed 

Through all the land, still reap his well-sowed seed. 

Long has he lived, waited, and prayed, and worked, 

A quiet, simple man ; no duty shirked. 

No word unspoke : his life a finished shaft :. 

His soul upon the Infinite a well set graft. 

And now, perchance, his active labors o'er, 
Although he works not as in years before, 


Still may he live, and by his actions teach 

As potently as parson ere could preach. 

He came twoscore and five long years ago ; 

Here has his form been bent, his head turned snow ; — 

But let us hope long years before him yet. 

Ere on his head his diadem be set. 

Luther B. Little, 
Chicago, Dec. 9, 1882. 

The following poem, by Miss Getchell, of Newbury- 
port, Mass., was not received until after the celebra- 
tion closed. 



The sun halts over Gilead ; 

The tide of battle stays ; 
The archers and the men of might 

Pant in the sultry rays : 
The long fierce shout of victory 

Rolls thro' the bare defiles. 
For the Ammonite stout is put to rout. 

And taken in his wiles. 

A word speeds *mong the swaying host ; 

The sling drops, and the spear : 
" Saul led ye on to conquest ; 

And the man of God is here : 
Arise, Judah and Israel ! 

To Gilgal haste ye on ; 
Ye must crown the king with offering 

To the Lord, ere the day be done." 

On GilgaPs place of sacrifice, , 

By the rocky altar's side, 
Stands the man of God, while circling up 

The smoke floats dense and wide. 



His tall gaunt frame is stooping, 

And his head and feet are bare ; 
O'er his shoulders bowed, like a wind-swept cloud, 

Fly his snowy beard and hair. 

"Listen, ye men of Israel ! " 

'Tis the prophet's solemn voice : — 
"I have hearkened well to all your words ; 

Behold your kingly choice ! 
I am old, and bent, and withered, 

My head has long been gray ; 
I have borne from the Lord to his people word, 

From my childhood to this day. 

^' Hearken ye ! bear me witness now, — 

When have I done you wrong? 
Whose ox or ass have taken. 

The weak given to the strong? 
Or whom oppressed, defrauded?" 

And the people cried as one, — 
"There is nothing found all Israel round ' 

Wherein thou wrong hast done !" 

" Hearken yet, men of Israel ! 

The Lord your fathers freed 
Of old from Egypt's bondage sore, 

And ye shall be indeed 
His own, his chosen people still. 

If ye his voice obey, 
You and your king ever following 

His righteous laws alway. 

"As for me, the Lord forbid it 

That I should yield to sin. 
And cease to pray for you, or teach 

The way of right to win ; 
But fear the Lord, and while ye serve, 

His benefits rehearse. 
Else he will efface your name and race, 

And smite you with his curse." 


The slow years swell the centuries 

Till twenty-nine are told ; 
And now the cycle is complete, 

The new is as the old ; — 
But from peaceful farms and firesides 

The people wend their way, 
With no warrior's shout, nor battle rout. 

Nor gory marks of fray. 

Over the rocky hillside ways 

They blithely flock to meet 
Many from near and far who come 

With gifts and cheer to greet 
Their fathers' teacher and their own. 

Pastor and guide and seer, 
Who from his place cries the word of grace, 

Unwearied from year to year. 

Faithful in earnest laboring. 

Patient, exact, and just, 
Seeking howe'er, in calm or storm. 

To best fulfil his trust ; — 
Now in life's later afternoon. 

With twilight creeping on. 
May his rest be sweet, after glare and heat. 

Of a long day's toil well done. 

''What grows upon your sterile hills?" 

Was asked the statesman sage ; 
"In ill-requited toil ye spend 

Your years from youth to age." 
And he of the eagle-eye made speech 

E'en the simplest might understand : 
"The granite rock that bears Time's shock, 

And the brain that rules the land." 

While the changeless hills like sentinels 

Watch o'er the fathers' sleep. 
And prophet watchmen stand to point 

The way their sons must keep, — 


Following the path they trod of old, 

Who fears what may befall ? 
Prosperity crown the ancient town, 

While the good Lord keeps us all ! 

Dec. 13, 1882. 

John C. Pearson, a commissioner-elect of Merri- 
mack county, and who was for many years one of 
the most substantial citizens of Webster, recalled 
many interesting reminiscences, and closed by pay- 
ing a high compliment to the Boston Daily Journal, 
which had sent a special representative to report the 
proceedings, and stated that the Journal had been 
for many years extensively read in Webster, and had 
exerted great influence in shaping public opinion in 
that intelligent community. 

The exercises of the evening were interspersed 
with singing of sacred music of the olden time. 

The celebration, which had been from the begin- 
ning to the end a complete success in every partic- 
ular, closed with singing the Doxology, and the pro- 
nouncing of the benediction by Rev. Mr. Gordon. 

^m iHiiiiiiiiiMii 

^^^^g 3 2044 018 166 363 


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