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Founder and First President 
o F 

Bates College 

B Y 


Published for Bates College by the 
Morning Star Publishing House 
Boston, Massachusetts, '.' '.' igoj 



WM. p. FRYE. 










I Ancestry ; Boyhood i 

II Conditions in Country and Church 1 1 

III School; Relation of Early Free-Will 

Baptists to Education ; Parsons- 
field Seminary; First School 
Temperance Society ; Religious 
Experience . . . 19 

IV The Young Teacher ; College Life ; 

Baptism ; Opposition to Religious 
Service in School House ; Work 
for the Indians ; Sunday Serv- 
ices ; "Male and Female 
Created He them" ... 29 
V Teacher ; Marriage ; Parsonsfield 
Teacher Preacher ; First Ser- 
mon ; Whitestown ; Theological 
Student Teacher ; Death of Mrs. 
Cheney . -43 

VI Christian Politician ; Pastor Leb- 
anon ; Lebanon Academy ; Au- 
gusta ; Legislature; A New 
Home Life .... 53 
VII Augusta Pastorate; Political Activ- 
ity ; Official Position ; Editorial 
Contributor to the Morning Star 67 

VIII The Vision; Maine State Semi- 
nary ; Difficulty in Securing a 
Charter ; Location in Lewiston ; 
Charles Sumner Furnishes a 
School Motto; Letters from 
Charles Sumner ... 83 

IX General Conference in Maineville, 
Ohio ; Political Excitement ; 
Stirring Incidents ; Plans for 
Raising Money for the Seminary ; 
Children's Offering . . 101 

X Opening of Maine State Seminary ; 
First Year's Success ; Financial 
Panic; Brighter Days . in 

XI Contemporary Events; College 
Needed ; Opposition Denned ; 
Benjamin E. Bates Promises 
Fifty Thousand Dollars ; Trust- 
ees vote in Favor of a College 
Class ; Professor J. Y. Stanton 
Elected Teacher . . .121 
XII Early College Days; Co-Educa- 
tion ; Interwoven Incidents . 141 

XIII President Cheney visits John 
Storer ; Mr. Storer gives Ten 
Thousand Dollars for a Freed- 
men's School ; Harper's Ferry 
Selected as the Location ; G. H. 
Ball, D.D., a Valuable Helper; 
Rev. N. C. Brackett Secures a 

Charter ; First Bates Commence- 
ment . . . . 157 

XIV Important Beginnings ; Effect of 
Civil War on Status of Women : 
The Baptist Union . . .167 
XV Success ; Disaster ; Difficulties Sur- 
mounted ; After Ten Years ; A 
Character Sketch . . 177 

XVI Vacation Experience ; Presiding 

Officer ; Letter by L. W. Anthony 187 
XVII Death of Benjamin E. Bates ; Sec- 
ond European Trip ; Delegate to 
English Baptists ; Wine-Drinking 
Incidents . . . . .193 
XVIII Free Baptist Centennial ; Ocean 

Park ; College Extension Plan . 205 

XIX Efforts for Christian Union ; Plans 
for More Effective Missionary 
Work ; Bereavement . . .211 
XX Faculty for Miscellaneous Work ; 
College Development ; Student 
Testimonials ; Catholicity and 
Cosmopolitan Character of Bates ; 
The Student Body . . .219 

XXI New England Free Baptist Associa- 
tion ; General Conference Incor- 
porated ; General Conference at 
Harper's Ferry ; President 
Cheney Moderator ; His Politi- 
cal Sagacity .... 235 

XXII Ex-President Cheney ; Important 
Plans Uncompleted ; Home Com- 
panionship ; Testimonial Ban- 
quet ...... 241 

XXIII The Sunset Slope ; A Surprise Party ; 

California Trip ; At Home in 
Lewiston . . . . 255 

XXIV Reflected Sunshine; Bates Round 

Table Celebrates Dr. Cheney's 
Eighty-Seventh Birthday; At 

Rest 271 

After- word 279 


When, at the request of the Trustees of Bates 
College, I entered upon the work of telling the 
life-story of Oren B. Cheney, it was with loving 
appreciation of the twelve years of congenial com- 
panionship that had given me such an insight in- 
to his character, and with deep gratitude for the 
blessings that had come to my life, through influ- 
ences exerted by the organizations originated, or 
made more effective through his efforts. 

If " truth is stranger than fiction " real lives 
must embody more of interest than imaginary 
ones, and biographies should have a keener 
interest than works of the imagination. Lives are 
made up far more of small and apparently unim- 
portant events than of great ones ; and yet most 
biographies move with stately tread along beaten 
highways, or ascend heights for wide views, ignor- 
ing the forest retreats where flowers grow, taking 
no note of the pebbles and mosses in the by-paths. 

In this life-story, I have so interwoven little, 
daily occurrences with important events that what 
may seem trivial to the reader is sometimes pre- 
sented with more minuteness than is used in tell- 
ing of plans or events generally denominated 
great ; but it is with the purpose of giving better 
insight into the character portrayed, and of bring- 
ing the reader into more sympathetic touch with 
his personality. 


I am conscious of the impossibility of truly re- 
producing a life-history, but, as from treasured 
rose-leaves there continues to be diffused an 
aroma that suggests the fragrance of the rose, so 
these pages may at least give to the reader the 
essence of the life lived. 

This is by no means an attempted history of 
Bates College, although much is told concerning 
its foundation and development. It is left for 
other pens to do justice to the faithful, self-sacri- 
ficing co-workers, who helped bring the College to 
its present degree of usefulness. 

In what is said about Free Baptists, the reader 
must realize that this is the story of one man's 
relation to the denomination, without any attempt 
to do adequate justice to other workers who were 
his associates. 

I wish to express appreciation for the help 
received from the many friends who have given 
me facts, and especially for invaluable assistance 
from the Associate Committee, President G. C. 
Chase, LL.D., and Prof. A. W. Anthony, D.D. 

E. B. C. 


In an address, delivered at Ocean Park, Maine, 
in August, 1907, Mrs. L. M. N. Stevens, President 
of the National Woman's Christian Temperance 
Union, referred to Bates College, with hearty com- 
mendation of its healthy moral tone; and also told 
about hearing Edward Everett Hale speak publicly 
with high appreciation of its work. 

Wishing to obtain Mr. Hale's direct statement, 
the author of this book wrote him and received in 
reply the following letter: 

Dear Mrs. Cheney: 

I have often found occasion to refer to the 
noble and self-sacrificing work of your husband 
in founding Bates College and also to the large 
and valuable place which the College is filling in 
the educational world. 

Wherever one goes in the east or west he comes 
in contact with the good work being done by Bates 

More than once in traveling in the West, have 
I lighted upon a high school or academy where I 
have been interested in the moral tone of the 
school, and on inquiry have found that one of 
your boys was at the head of it. 

Thanking you for writing me, 

Yours sincerely, 

Sept. 9, 1907. 

Abigail Cheney 
Mother of Oren B. Cheney 

Motes Cheney 

Father of Oren I'.. Cheney 



On the tenth of December, 1816, while a snow- 
storm was raging without, in a modest, but com- 
fortable home, in a quiet New Hampshire village, 
a blue-eyed baby boy opened his eyes and caught 
his first glimpse of life. 

On December twenty-second, 1903, those eyes 
closed on earthly scenes and a few days later a 
stately form was laid at rest. The life lived and 
the influence exerted in the years that bridge 
these dates will be the theme of this book. 

Heredity is of uncertain value. Men that have 
honored themselves and their country have 
changed their names, because of the stigma des- 
cending from unworthy ancestors. Others, whose 
lives are insipidly weak, show an overweening 
pride in tracing their line of descent back to noble 
or heroic characters. Yet the man is not living 
who would not rejoice in an honorable ancestry. 

Oren Burbank Cheney was born of sturdy New 
England stock, in which the religious element had 
been strongly developed through several genera- 
tions. A high type of character distinguished his 
forebears on both his father's and mother's side. 

His father, Moses Cheney, was stately and dig- 
nified in form, conscientious in every act and 
thought, and seemed the embodiment of true man- 
hood. He served God and never forgot that man 


was his brother. He held important offices in 
church and state and was several times a member 
of the state legislature. He also held the unpop- 
ular position of conductor on the Underground 
Railroad and helped flying fugitives on their way 
to liberty. About the time of Oren's birth, Dea- 
con Cheney, in company with his cousin, went 
into the paper manufacturing business, at Holder- 
ness, now Ashland, New Hampshire. For this his 
experiences as apprentice and workman had 
afforded a thorough preparation. The paper-mill 
of " Cheney and Morse " the name by which the 
firm was best known was one of the first built in 
New Hampshire. Their paper was sold not only 
near home, but in Portland, Boston and New 

Oren's mother, Abigail (Morrison) Cheney, 
from Sanbornton, New Hampshire, was a woman 
of great energy and strength of character. She 
became the mother of eleven children, of whom 
ten reached maturity. All of these have honored 
her by their characters and lives. Her impress 
upon Oren was such that everything connected 
with her memory ever had a sacred association 
for him. Many a Bates student remembers that 
President Cheney, in the midst of receptions at 
his home, would cause a hush in the jollity and, 
lifting a worn leather-covered bible, would say, 
perhaps with tears in eyes and voice : " This was 
my mother's bible." 


Visitors at President Cheney's summer home at 
Ocean Park, will remember how, in his later years, 
he fondly called attention to an old chair, saying, 
" That was mother's chair. She used it as long as 
she lived." 

In the control of her children, Mrs. Cheney was 
not only kind, but firm. Of the home life the 
youngest daughter says : " Our family attachments 
were very strong. There was harmony in our 
home, and to do right was the lesson taught us." 

It was a very hospitable home into which the 
blue-eyed baby came. Frederick Douglass made 
it his resting place when in the vicinity. Among 
welcome guests was Harriet Livermore, a preacher, 
a woman of marked and unusual characteristics, 
referred to by Whittier in the evening scene in 

Deacon Cheney and his wife were Free-Will 
Baptists, and ministers and others of that faith 
always knew that they would be made welcome in 
their home. Affairs of state, religion and reform 
were freely discussed and Oren absorbed an 
interest in them from babyhood. In this typical 
home the boy developed. 


In order to understand character, we must 
observe its traits in their earliest development. 
One of our first glimpses of the boy, Oren, is of a 
little tot, running as fast as his feet would carry 


him to the mill-pond, not far away. Mother's 
remonstrances proving unavailing, she followed 
him one day, unobserved, and ducking him 
suddenly into the water, gave an effectual check 
to his love of travel. 

A little older, we see him tenderly caring for his 
sisters, or wiping his mother's dishes. 

Next, a sturdy little youngster is picking up 
chips for his uncle, at a penny a basket, sometimes 
going home with twelve cents in his jacket pocket. 

When Oren was eight years old, one of the first 
Sunday schools in that part of New Hampshire 
was started at Holderness, by William Green, 
cashier of the Plymouth bank. Oren's parents 
were severely criticised for allowing him to attend 
but they were not afraid of institutions because 
they were new, but sought rather to know if they 
were good. In seeking the influences that were 
developing Oren, one should note that his Sunday 
school teacher was Nathaniel Peabody Rogers, so 
well known in connection with the anti-slavery 
movement. He was an able lawyer and editor of 
the " Herald of Freedom," the brightest of the 
anti-slavery papers. That Sunday school still sur- 
vives as a flourishing part of the present Free 
Baptist church at Ashland. 

One day, when Oren was ten years old, while all 
alone in a retired place, stung by the taunts of 
playmates that he dare not swear, he said aloud, 
with much emphasis, "I will swear! Devil!" 


Frightened and conscience-stricken by his daring 
sin, he was never tempted to profanity again. "I 
never swore but once," he would often say with a 
peculiar twinkle in his eyes. 

At another time, rankling under the sneers of 
playmates because he had to take care of his 
younger sisters, he said to his mother, " When I 
am twenty-one I will do as I please." With flash- 
ing eyes the mother replied : " You will mind me, 
if you are as tall as a meeting-house." "And I 
did," was his familiar comment. 

Two years later Oren had an interesting boyish 
experience in going to a General Training of the 
State Militia. Before light he tallowed his shoes 
and with high anticipations and nine-pence in his 
pocket he saw the day dawn. But, alas, some 
pretty girls wore bright calico dresses, such as he 
had never seen before, and his homespun garments 
abashed him !* He spent his nine-pence for honey 
and gingerbread, the greatest available luxuries, 
and ate enough of the former to last him a life- 

That he was not yet ready to yield himself to 
the requirements of a Christian life is shown by a 
home incident. David Marks, a prominent Free- 
Will Baptist Evangelist, was visiting in the 
Cheney home and was sitting one evening in the 
chimney corner, reciting to his wife a lesson, for 

Cotton mills were just beginning to produce calicoes and 
other goods, which superseded the homespun materials. 


her education was much better than his. When 
the lesson was finished, while a comfortable glow 
from the crackling fire pervaded the room and the 
candles sputtered sympathetically, " Elder " Marks 
talked to Oren about being a Christian. In order 
to make a show of indifference, the boy cut a 
notch in the window-sill with his jack-knife, but 
the words cut a deeper notch in his conscience, 
and made an impression which was never erased, 
although not then heeded. 

Oren early began to work in his father's paper 
mill. The method of manufacturing paper has so 
changed, that, in order to understand this part of 
the boy's experience, we insert Dr. Cheney's 
reminiscence, written when he was over eighty 
years old. 

" In those days paper was made of rags, 
not of straw and wood as now. It was made 
by hand, sheet by sheet. The wonderful 
machines which now roll paper off by hun- 
dreds of yards and cut it into sheets of any 
size needed were yet to be. In the old time, 
after the rags were ground into pulp, the pulp 
was dipped into a vat of water, pailful by 
pailful, as needed to make the mixture of 
right condition for use. The size of the sheet 
to be made was indicated by the mold. This 
was a kind of sieve to let the water go 
through and leave the pulp in the compact 
form of the sheet. The vat-man, after giving 
the right drainage and shake, sent it to the 
couchman for being couched. This consisted 


in turning the mold over upon the felt or 
cloth, which was a little larger than the sheet. 

Thus the pile grew, first a felt, then a sheet 
and so on until all the felts were used, over a 
hundred in number ; next the press (moved by 
hand or water power) was applied, by which 
as much water as possible was pressed out, 
and then came the work of the lay-boy, which 
was carefully to separate the sheets from the 
felts and pass the latter back to the couch- 
man. The felts often needed washing. This 
was done in well-soaped hot water by the 
couchman ; but they were not fit for use until 
rinsed in cold water, which was done by the 
lay-boy, stooping on a plank on his knees 
over the running water that came from the 
wheel-pit. As lay-boy I have rinsed felts 
when icicles formed on my sleeves. 

I was very young when put into the mill 
as lay-boy and filled the position for several 
years. Father furnished the paper on which 
the Moniing Star and other early Free-Will 
Baptist publications were printed. It is a 
pleasant remembrance to me that I handled 
sheet by sheet, for several years, the paper on 
which all our denominational life expressed 

I was not only lay-boy by day, but often 
by night I tended the engine, as the machine 
was called, in which the rags were ground. 
How life would stretch out before me with 
its castles, its dreams and its plans, as I 
spent those long nights of boyhood in the old 
mill alone. The fifty cents a night received 
for my labor seemed a large sum on which to 
build something for the future. My services 


in the daytime were, according to custom, 
claimed as my father's right." 

That Oren was a trustworthy boy is shown by 
his being often sent by his father on important 
business always walking to the Plymouth bank, 
five miles away. He sometimes carried on these 
errands several hundred dollars in his jacket 





When Oren was born, James Madison was near- 
ing the close of his second term as President. 
But one year had passed since the close of the 
war of 1812-1815. The interpretation of the pro- 
visions of the National Constitution was still 
uncertain and under discussion. Business was 
in an unsettled condition. Slaveships were surrep- 
titiously, although illegally, unloading their car- 
goes at southern ports. Rum was sold by grocers 
as freely as molasses. Steam was just beginning 
to be applied to navigation and land travel. Any 
point beyond the New England and the Atlantic 
states was "out west." But little wheat was 
raised. In Oren's boyhood, the family occasion- 
ally enjoyed the luxury of flour bread and dough- 
nuts. Generally the food was of corn meal or 
rye and very simple. 


Oren B. Cheney was never a sectarian in its 
narrow sense, yet he was always so true to the 
people of his choice, the Free-Will afterward 
Free Baptists, that a brief history of their origin 
and extension seems necessary as a setting to the 
events of his life. 

In 1770, as a result of the preaching of White- 
field, a resident of New Castle, a small island in 
Portsmouth Harbor, New Hampshire, Benjamin 


Randall, at the age of twenty-one, became an 
active Christian. After a careful study of the 
Bible, during several years, he found that he 
could not agree fully with the teaching of any of 
the leading denominations. Believing it to be his 
duty to preach, he presented the truth as he under- 
stood the bible to teach it, making prominent free 
salvation for all who believe, free Communion for 
all who love our Lord Jesus Christ, and large 
freedom for the individual conscience. 

The doctrines of John Calvin were the almost 
constant theme of a majority of the pulpits of 
New England in those days ; and the creeds had 
so much of the " straight-jacket " character that 
expression of independent opinions was rare. 
When, therefore, Randall began to present the 
truth as he discerned it, it was in such contrast to 
the general belief of his time, that he was at once 
denounced as a fanatic and heretic. Persecution 
followed. Mobs gathered around his meeting 
places ; tar and feathers were prepared for him, 
and he narrowly escaped being killed by brick- 
bats. There followed much searching of the 
Scriptures, to know if he were right or wrong, with 
the result that many accepted his teachings. 
They were nicknamed " Freewillers." 

In 1779, Randall was called before a Baptist 
meeting, to answer for his errors, especially for 
not preaching the generally accepted doctrine of 
election. As the result of this and subsequent 


trials, fellowship was withdrawn from him and 
from all who accepted his beliefs. Then first these 
disfellowshipped Christians organized a church of 
their order at New Durham, New Hampshire, with 
Benjamin Randall as pastor ; and although Ran- 
dall never favored the name, they finally permitted 
themselves to be called Free-Will Baptists. A 
simple covenant was adopted embodying their 
belief and based on the Sermon on the Mount. 
This was in marked distinction from the intricate, 
elaborate creeds of the day. Thus the Free-Will 
Baptist denomination had its birth. 

For a time, the preaching was mainly by men 
of the evangelistic type and in country places, 
where independence of thought was greater than 
in the cities. The preachers were men of conse- 
crated lives, good native ability and especially 
gifted as leaders of the common people. The 
establishment of many country churches followed, 
and from that day to the present, the principles 
of this people, through the removal of its repre- 
sentatives from their country homes, have been 
carried to city churches of different denomina- 
tions. How much Free-Will Baptists have con- 
tributed towards a simpler faith and broader 
Christian charity will never be fully known until 
the final summing up of all earthly events. 

From the beginning, their great respect for per- 
sonal convictions in regard to belief and duty has 
prevented distinctions in race or sex. Their early 


preachers were accustomed, at the close of their 
sermons to request any who felt " moved " to do 
so, to "add a few words." Women, as well as 
men spoke on such occasions, often very impres- 
sively. There were a number of women preachers 
and evangelists in the denomination during its 
first quarter century. That these were not of an 
erratic type is shown by the descriptions given of 

Of Clarissa H. Danforth, who founded many 
churches in New England, it is said : 

"She was of a good family and well edu- 
cated. She had extraordinary talent and 
undoubted piety. Tall in person, dignified 
in appearance, easy in manners, she had all 
the elements of a noble woman. As a 
speaker, her language was ready and simple, 
her gestures appropriate. Her voice pene- 
trated to the corners of the largest house. 
She held hundreds with fixed attention, listen- 
ing by the hour to the claims of her heavenly 

David Marks, one of the most successful evange- 
lists of his day, gives much credit to Mrs. Humes, 
who assisted him, but says she had much to con- 
tend with because of the popular prejudice against 
women as preachers. 

When we remember the belief, at this time, in 
some of the leading denominations, that it was 
wrong for women to speak even in small social 
meetings of the church, and that half a century 


later, Rev. Theodore Cuyler, D.D., was arraigned 
before his presbytery for allowing Hannah Smiley 
to give bible readings in his pulpit, the mission 
of Free Baptists in giving to women the utmost 
freedom of their convictions will be more highly 

Without tracing further at present the develop- 
ment of this young denomination, we may note 
that in 1828, when Oren was twelve years old, it 
had been organized into seven Yearly Meetings 
in six different states, with about four hundred 
churches, most of them in country places; and 
that it was admirably adapted, both in its oppor- 
tunities and needs, to aid in the development of 
Oren's life of usefulness. 

In 1826, we see him, as lay-boy, carefully 
separating the sheets of paper, that are to contain 
the first imprint of The Morning Star, in that year 
founded and thenceforward to be the organ of the 
Free-Will Baptists. As the printed copy comes 
back, week after week, we see the boy eagerly 
listening, while one of the " hands " reads from its 
pages to the assembled group. In 1827, the date 
of the First Free-Will Baptist General Conference, 
it is significant to note the interest with which 
Oren listens to the reading of the report of the 
doings of the religious body, over which, many 
years later, he was repeatedly to preside. 








Oren's early school life consisted of a few terms 
at a little school kept by his aunt ; a few at the 
public school ; and a short time in Dr. Dana's 
private school. 

When he was thirteen years old, in using a corn- 
sheller, he cut off the end of his thumb. Then, 
farewell future paper manufacturer ! In the thrifty- 
Cheney family, there was no time wasted, so while 
the injured thumb was healing, the boy was sent 
to New Hampton Institute, five miles away. Of 
that time Dr. Cheney says, in his reminiscences, 
" The night before leaving for school, mother 
came to my room and, kneeling beside my bed, 
prayed for me. I well remember her advice, in 
view of the dangers of dawning manhood. No 
talisman could have guarded me so securely." 

In going temporarily to New Hampton, Oren 
little realized that he had reached a turning point 
in his life, for as soon as his thumb healed, he 
returned to the mill. But, while at New Hamp- 
ton, he was under the influence of Hosea Quinby, 
a Free-Will Baptist, preparing for college, and also 
acting as assistant .teacher. Quinby was in- 
terested in the promising lad and exerted a power- 
ful influence over him not only in school, but later 
in his home. 



It is sometimes said that, at first, Free-Will 
Baptists were opposed to education. In order to 
throw light upon their position, let us note that 
in those days a college education was almost 
entirely limited to young men who were to be 
ministers, lawyers or physicians. Free-Will 
Baptists in their first third century may be denom- 
inated "a voice," protesting against narrowness 
in creed, and formality and lack of spiritual power 
in the pulpit. It seemed to them that the theo- 
logical teaching in the leading denominational 
schools was producing a class of "man-made" 
ministers, lacking in real spiritual force. The fear 
of having such a ministry led to fear of the causes 
which they regarded as producing it. 

At the same time, Randall, Buzzell and other 
denominational leaders were men of sound judg- 
ment and good common sense, and hence ready to 
be inspired and led by an educated man of tact, 
like Quinby. In fact this earnest pioneer found 
many supporters among both clergy and laity in 
his work of establishing a Free-Will Baptist school. 
During his course at Waterville, now Colby 
College, Quinby judiciously prepared the way. 
John Buzzell gave his hearty support and he and 
others raised the money for a seminary building ; 
so that after Quinby's graduation, in the fall of 


1832, he opened a Free-Will Baptist school at 
Parsonsfield, Maine, known as Parsonsfield Semi- 

Through Quinby's influence, Oren's father was 
induced to send the boy there, and in September, 
1832, we see him riding on a load of Morning Star 
paper, on its way to Limerick, where the Star was 
published. The distance to Parsonsfield was forty 
miles, and the journey required three days. 

Of his experience at that time, Dr. Cheney says 
in his reminiscences : " To my boyish vision the 
Morning Star was a bright luminary. Now, I was 
going to see John Buzzell, the editor. The village 
of North Parsonsfield consisted of a single street, 
a half-mile in length, lined with neat farmhouses, 
the seminary building at one end, Elder Buzzell's 
meeting-house at the other, and about half way 
between, a store, where dry goods, groceries and 
books were sold. 

"The meeting-house was of typical New Eng- 
land construction, with high pulpit and sounding- 
board, square, high-backed pews, gallery all around 
and ' singing seats ' in the gallery facing the pulpit. 
Dear old house ! Many good men preached a free 
gospel in it. A mob once surrounded it, be- 
cause there were in it men and women consult- 
ing about giving freedom to the slaves. John 
Buzzell was an off-hand, earnest, ready speaker. 
His theme was generally free salvation as opposed 
to Calvinism. He was a good singer. There were 


sermons in his songs. His hymn-book was among 
the earliest Free-Will Baptist publications." 

The Parsonsfield school opened with a good 
attendance in a neighboring school-house, as the 
Seminary building was not quite completed. 

Three or four incidents, connected with the 
year spent here, throw light upon Oren's develop- 
ing character. One day his cousin Elizabeth 
expressed to him chagrin because other students 
had good meeting-houses in which to worship, 
while at their home in Holderness, they wor- 
shiped in an old school house. Oren replied with 
much emphasis, " When we go home we will have 
as good a one as anybody." He kept his word 
and soon after their return, there was built on his 
father's farm, over a boulder on which he had 
often played, the church that has been in use ever 

Oren began his temperance record even when a 
boy in school, and to explain this, we must go 
back a little. In 1830, the first temperance 
lecturer visited Holderness and gave an address 
to a large audience. When, at its close he asked 
for signers to the pledge, Oren's mother and a 
foolish lad were the only ones who arose. This 
made Mrs. Cheney a butt for ridicule through the 
village, but little she cared. She saw a truth. 
That was enough. Her home was at once cleared 
of all that could intoxicate. No ministers were 


afterwards treated to liquors at Deacon Cheney's 

One day, when Oren was at the grocery, a 
prominent church member ostentatiously went to 
a barrel, drew a glass of rum, sweetened and 
stirred it vigorously, then, as he drank it, told the 
boy to go home and tell his mother that 
drank a glass of rum. 

Oren protested to his mother against going to 
meeting with such a man, but she replied gently, 
" Oh, my boy, he is a good man, but he looks at 
things in a different light from what we do." 

Mrs. Cheney was a crusader thirty or more 
years before the Woman's Temperance Crusade 
started. Knowing that a temperance measure 
was to be acted upon at a town meeting, Mrs. 
Cheney and some other women went with their 
knitting work to the town hall and, uninvited, sat 
there knitting, knitting while the measure was dis- 

The men voted by ranging themselves on 
opposite sides of the room. One man started to 
go to the side representing the liquor interest, but 
seeing the eyes of the women upon him, he hastily 
retreated to the other side. The side of temper- 
ance prevailed and the women went home happy. 

These early influences help us to see why, at 
Parsonsfield, Oren was a leader in starting a 
school temperance society. He was chairman of 
the committee on constitution. Another member 


said to him, " We must have some big words in 
it." "What would you suggest?" was Oren's 
query. " Well, ' tantamount ' would be good," was 
the wise reply. Although the big word did not 
get into the constitution, the society flourished 
and is believed to be the first school temperance 
society in the country that prohibited in its 
pledge fermented as well as distilled liquors. 

Oren belonged to a family of good singers and 
from a child had an excellent voice. At Parsons- 
field he felt himself suddenly some inches taller 
when invited to the "singing seats." 

He always remembered with amusement one 
Sunday's experience. In the gallery, at his right 
sat a boy with uncommonly red hair. Just behind 
him a sober looking lad attracted much attention, 
at an important stage of the sermon, by holding 
his outstretched palms near the fiery hair, then 
rubbing them together as in process of warming 
them. The preacher must have wondered what 
there was in his sermon that could excite so many 
smiles in the "choir loft." As fires were not used 
in meeting-houses in those days, except in foot- 
stoves for women, there was a quaint appropriate- 
ness in the boy's act. 

About this time, the young Free- Will Baptist 
denomination began to awaken to the duty of 
foreign missionary work. In 1832, Buzz ell, 
Quinby and others interested held a meeting in 
the Buzzell meeting-house to inaugurate the work. 


Oren heard of it and went, an interested listener 
to the plans which resulted in the formation of the 
society of which later he was for many years 
Recording Secretary and afterward President. 

The year spent at Parsonsfield was in many 
ways a fruitful one in Oren's development. He 
had in Hosea Quinby not only an excellent 
teacher, but an inspiration to the best manhood. 
In being under the ministry of John Buzzell, 
Benjamin Randall's successor, he came in close 
relation to the beginnings of the denomination to 
whose development he afterward contributed so 
much. But it was inconvenient to be so far from 
home, and the next year he entered New Hampton 
Literary Institution, at New Hampton, New 
Hampshire, which at that time was a Baptist 
school, and there finished his preparation for 

Previous impressions as to duty had been 
maturing and while at New Hampton, fully decid- 
ing to give himself to the service of God and his 
fellow-men, Oren kneeled in a retired pasture, and 
with sincere prayer and pledge, consecrated his 
life to Christian service. To the vows then made 
he was ever true. 








During his New Hampton course, in 1834, he 
taught one term of the Holderness village school. 
An incident which occurred here showed that 
Oren already possessed the elements of a firm, 
brave teacher. One day a drunken father entered 
the school-room, flourishing an ox goad, and 
accusing the youthful teacher of punishing his 
boy, thus throwing the school into a panic. 
Nothing daunted, Oren took a ruler over his 
shoulder and marching up to the man, eyed him 
keenly and soon quieted him. The frightened 
children then returned to their seats. 

At New Hampton, Oren did good work and 
when he graduated was well fitted for college. 
Through influences exerted while there, Oren was 
led in the fall of 1835, to enter Brown University, 
President Wayland's reputation being an especial 

In going to Brown he took his first car rides, 
from Lowell to Boston, then from Boston to 
Providence, thus traveling over two of the three 
railroads in the country. To the eager hearted 
lad it seemed the greatest event in his life. 

The term spent at Brown was full of oppor- 
tunities for development, not only in college life, 
but in city and state. With his love of seeing 
noted places it did not take Oren long to find the 


various points of historic interest, prominent 
among them being the landing place of Roger 
Williams and his associates. 

This was the year when Garrison was mobbed 
in Boston and the mob-spirit entered Rhode 
Island. Hearing that a meeting of anti-slavery 
women was to be broken up, Oren was on hand to 
observe the exciting scenes. But the spirit of 
Roger Williams was there also. The mayor dis- 
persed the crowd. Rhode Island's reputation for 
religious liberty was maintained. But the indig- 
nation that thrilled young Cheney as he noted 
the spirit of the mob made him an out-and-out 
abolitionist, and from that time he lost no oppor- 
tunity to do all he could by voice and pen for the 
emancipation of the slaves. 

Hearing that at Dartmouth College anti- 
slavery sentiments were allowed more freedom of 
expression than at Brown, influenced also by 
family and financial considerations, with a letter 
of recommendation from President Wayland, our 
young student after one term at Brown, returned 
to his parents' new home at Peterboro, New Hamp- 
shire, and, in the following spring enrolled him- 
self as a student at Dartmouth College. 

He soon after accepted an invitation to teach 
the winter school at Canaan. At just that time 
this village was the center of anti-slavery interest, 
for near the district school house there had stood, 
a few weeks before, a fine Academy ; but news 

O. B. Cheney 

About 1845 


having spread that " niggers " were attending this 
Academy, some of the townspeople, at night, with 
their oxen drew the building a mile away and left 
it in a swamp. 

As a curiosity in literature and an illustration 
of the spirit of the times, we append the following 
extract from a speech delivered to a crowd that 
gathered in a Canaan church at the conclusion of 
this notorious act : 

"The work is done, the object obtained. 
The contest has been severe but the victory 
glorious. No sable son of Africa remains to 
darken our horizen. The abolition monster 
who ascended out of the bottomless pit is 
sent headlong to perdition, and the mourners 
go about the streets. You, gentlemen, who 
have assisted us in obtaining this glorious 
victory, in behalf of the inhabitants of this 
town, I present to you my sincere and hearty 
thanks for your prompt attention and unex- 
ampled exertions in repelling an enemy far 
more to be dreaded than the pestilence that 
walketh in darkness and the destruction that 
wasteth at noonday. May the sun of liberty 
continue to shine on you with increased 
splendor and never be obstructed by the 
sable clouds of Africa ; and should it be your 
misfortune to be again invaded by a similar 
foe, we pledge ourselves to unite our exertions 
with yours in putting down by all lawful 
means every plot that threatens the subver- 
sions of our liberties, or disturbs the public 


" May that Being that presides over the 
destinies of Nations reward you a hundred 
fold in this life, and in the life to come life 

Dr. Cheney tells this story of his experience in 
going there : 

" A young Baptist minister took me by 
horse and sleigh to Canaan on Saturday. We 
arrived at the house of the agent of the school 
early in the evening. As we sat at the tea- 
table, and afterwards before the fire, the whole 
story was told by the agent of the bringing 
of ' niggers ' into town and of the driving 
them out, with the words added in strong 
emphasis, ' We will not have an abolitionist 
teach our school.' 

" As my friend left me that evening, I fol- 
lowed him to the door and said, ' What shall 
I do ? I am an abolitionist. I cannot teach 
the school here.' 'O,' said he, 'say nothing 
about it. It will never be known what you 

"Taking his advice I began the school. 
Everything went on in silence and pleasantly 
for about three weeks. But the silence was 
on my part. The town was discussing the 
question, ' On which side is the master ? ' 
I saw the mistake I had made in listening 
to the advice given me. I could not endure 
such a non-committal life, and in a quiet 
way I let my anti-slavery principles be known. 
The whole town was thrown into excitement 
as the news spread. The joy of the abo- 
litionists, few in number, can hardly be told. 


The opposition let me alone, and I finished 
the school term. 

" It may be well to add that among the 
colored students driven out of town by the 
removal of the academy, was one who became 
a lecturer in the anti-slavery field, and a 
pastor in a colored church in Washington, 

In the spring of 1836 Oren entered Dartmouth 
College. There was much in the spirit of this 
school, founded as a missionary enterprise for the 
education of the Indians, that strongly appealed 
to the youth. In a little enclosure on the campus 
is the grave of Eleazer Wheelock, the founder of 
Dartmouth College. The place had a strange 
fascination for the new student, and as he often 
meditated by it, undefined possibilities in his own 
future took intangible form. 

But his life was far from gloomy. Professor 
John Fullonton, who entered college the next 
autumn, told his daughter, Ida, in later years, that 
when he crossed the campus for the first time, he 
heard voices ringing out harmoniously across the 
yard. Looking up, he saw several young men 
sitting in the window and singing the church 
hymns then in vogue, and one of them, as he 
learned later was O. B. Cheney. "That window," 
said Dr. Fullonton impressively, " faced the east 
and Oren Cheney has faced the rising sun ever 
since." On entering college, he was at once 
invited to sit in the "singing seats." 


The habits of economy, with which he had been 
reared, governed Cheney's life while in college. 
He and his classmate, G. G. Fogg, experimented 
at boarding themselves. Evidently, neither was 
an adept at cooking. They lived on a concoction 
of Indian meal, cold water, salt and saleratus 
calling it a johnnycake with the result that Oren 
fell sick and never afterward could bear the taste 
or even the smell of saleratus. 

The young reformer was now in a sympathetic 
anti-slavery atmosphere. At one time he went 
with a company of students to a town near by, to 
hold an anti-slavery meeting in a beautiful grove, 
where a large audience had gathered. Dr. 
Cheney's reminiscences describe the events thus : 

" Early in the meeting the place was sur- 
rounded by a crowd of men and boys with 
drums and horns for the purpose of making a 
disturbance. But we made the grove ring 
with anti-slavery songs, the speakers kept 
right on and the meeting proved a great 
success. We returned to college with flying 
colors, feeling quite as happy as any of the 
baseball or elocutionary victors of today. 

" Boys of twenty-one years of age living in 
Hanover were then allowed to vote, and when 
it was found that our votes were cast in the 
interest of anti-slavery, the legislature de- 
cided that if we voted we must perform mili- 
tary duty. 'All right,' was our reply, and 
forthwith a company was organized with a 
senior for captain and other officers from the 


other classes. We secured a competent drill 
master and prepared for the next general 
training at Lebanon, which occurred on a 
beautiful day. 

"With officers in fine uniforms, the rank and 
file in black coats and white pants, armed 
with bright new muskets, we marched beneath 
the folds of a beautiful new flag that had 
been presented to us, to the music of a first- 
class band, secured from a distance at much 
trouble and expense. Some of the other com- 
panies were not in uniform and had only 
drum and fife accompaniment, and we com- 
pletely captivated the admiring crowds that 
thronged our line of march. The waving of 
handkerchiefs by women, young and old, and 
the cheers of the crowd showed how great 
was the victory we had won over the pro- 
slavery spirit that had thought to crush us. 
I was told that the accident to my left hand 
would exempt me from military duty, but I 
wanted to enjoy the fun and so I was in it 
with the other boys." 


Oren's religious life had been steadily devel- 
oping after entering Dartmouth ; and feeling 
impressed that he ought to be baptized, in May, 
1836, he walked to his old home in Ashland, forty 
miles away to ride would cost too much was 
baptized by Rev. Simeon Dana, and united with 
the Free-Will Baptist church then worshiping 
in the house that he had helped to build. During 


the return tramp, his thoughts were occupied with 
high purposes and noble resolves. 

The following winter he again augmented his 
finances by teaching school at Peterboro. Hav- 
ing an earnest desire to benefit his students in 
every way possible, he held a series of prayer- 
meetings at the close of the school exercises, 
inviting all who would to remain. This did not 
please a prominent business man in the place, who 
requested the teacher to desist. It would not 
have been Oren Cheney, had he yielded. 

His opponent then called a district meeting. 
He had a large number of men in his employ and 
the school-house was crowded. The whole town 
was stirred. After a long discussion, a resolution 
was passed by one majority, in opposition to the 
teacher's course. Amid a deathlike silence, the 
stripling of twenty years calmly arose and quietly 
informed the audience that he held his position 
by vote of the school committee and should leave 
only at their request that he had conscientious 
convictions about the matter and could not dis- 
continue the service. 

The school committee voted unanimously to 
sustain him, one of them, not a church member, 
saying that such a service was what every district 
needed. Young Cheney was called back to the 
same district the next winter, and to another 
school in the same town the year following. 
Seven years later this opponent of the student 


teacher came near being defeated as candidate 
for governor of New Hampshire, by the use against 
him of these circumstances of which others had 
learned and had published in a campaign docu- 


Although, in the seventy-five years that had 
passed since the founding of Dartmouth College, 
the Indians had been pressed back by the 
advance of civilization, a company of them, men, 
women and children, used annually to encamp for 
several months in the Vale of Tempe, a short dis- 
tance away. They were treated with the greatest 
kindness by the college authorities and students, 
no pains being spared to educate them. During 
a part of his college course, Oren went daily with 
a classmate to the camp-ground and taught the 
Indian boys and girls, neither expecting nor 
receiving any remuneration for the service. The 
fact that this classmate, a Southern young man, 
was paying his college expenses from the proceeds 
of the sale of a slave girl, furnishes an interesting 
comment on human consistency. 

Later in his college course Oren found a small 
Free-Will Baptist interest at Grantham, ten miles 
away. Here he rendered services for many 
months, generally walking the twenty miles; 
going Saturday and leading a prayer meeting in 
the evening, on Sunday giving talks to a people 


not able to employ a regular pastor ; conducting a 
Sunday school and teaching a singing school 
all this without any remuneration. His oppor- 
tunity to render needed service was his ample 
reward, while to his last hours he was cheered by 
the loving regard of those whom he then served. 

Among the pleasant homes where he was 
welcomed during his college life was that of the 
Bridgman family and he became deeply interested 
in the eight-year-old Laura, the blind, deaf and 
dumb child afterward so noted. 

Throughout his college course Oren Cheney did 
good, faithful work in his classes. He always had 
a kindly remembrance of President Lord's interest 
in him. His class, which numbered about seventy 
on entering, graduated with sixty-one members. 
Oren outlived all but four. 

Our readers will probably agree that few young 
men graduate from college with a better all- 
around equipment for service than Oren B. 
Cheney possessed, when, at the age of twenty- 
three, with diploma in hand, he turned his back 
on college halls and faced life. 


Mr. Cheney's affections had already been en- 
listed in an evident case of love at first sight. 
In his reminiscences he tells the story thus : 

"While in college, Burbank and I made a 


visit to Parsonsfield Seminary as alumni, 
having the honor of being students the first 
term of the institution. Receiving an invi- 
tation from Miss Woodman, the lady princi- 
pal, to visit her classes, we accepted. As we 
entered the classroom, a young woman, whom 
I had never seen and of whom I had never 
heard, was at the blackboard to demonstrate 
the forty-seventh proposition in " Playfair's 
Euclid," that in any right-angled triangle the 
square which is described upon the sides sub- 
tending the right angle is equal to the squares 
described upon the sides which contain the 
right angle. 

" I heard her through, asking her a few 
questions, as visitors to schools are accus- 
tomed to do. 

"' Quod erat demonstrandum,' she said, on 
taking her seat. 'Yes,' to myself I said, 'but 
something else remains to be demonstrated !' 
Her name was Caroline Adelia Rundlett, 
daughter of Capt. James Rundlett of Strat- 
ham, New Hampshire." 

Acquaintance showed him that he was right in 
his first impression that Miss Rundlett was a very 
interesting and intellectually superior young 
woman. Mutual and abiding affection resulted. 






In the fall of 1839, Mr. Cheney became Princi- 
pal of the Farmington (Maine) Academy, with 
Miss Rundlett as Preceptress. They were married 
January first, 1840, at the bride's home in Strat- 
ham, New Hampshire. 

There were five terms of successful teaching at 
Farmington, during which time the couple 
boarded at the home of Rev. John Chancy, pastor 
of the church. While here Mrs. Cheney started a 
school paper, containing so much of general 
interest that after a while it was printed and sub- 
sequently became The Farmington Chronicle. 

Soon after going to Farmington, Mr. Cheney 
learned that a short time before, in the very room 
used by his wife and himself, a private meeting 
had been held to prepare the way for a Free-Will 
Baptist Education Society. Thenceforward the 
place was sacred to him, for he clearly foresaw the 
far-reaching effects of that meeting. The first 
result was the call for a convention, to be held in 
Acton, Maine, January 15, 1840. Forty-six 
influential names were signed to this call. 
Seventy-six men attended. Dr. Cheney wrote of 
it in 1896: 

" How well I remember the journey to 
Acton. There was not then a railroad in 
Maine. Elder Chancy and I went by horse 


and sleigh. We started on a cold Monday 
morning. The first day's journey was to 
Gray, the second to Springvale. Wednesday 
morning we reached Acton in time for the 
Convention, having stopped for entertain- 
ment at houses of the brethren by the way, 
as was the custom of those days. 

"The convention discussed and adopted 
seventeen resolutions. The discussion was 
lively and the opposition to some of them 
strong, but the support was earnest. They 
show plainly the struggle in the minds of men 
in holding to the old, while reaching forward 
to the new. Laymen as well as clergymen 
were well represented in the convention, the 
President being Hon. J. M. Harper, member 
of Congress." 

The first result of the organization of the Edu- 
cation Society was a library and course of theo- 
logical study in connection with Parsonsfield 
Seminary. In 1841, Mr. Cheney became Princi- 
pal of the Academy at Strafford, New Hampshire. 
Failing to receive promised remuneration, he 
accepted a position in Greenland, New Hamp- 
shire. Here for the first time the young couple 
kept house. Here, too, a little son died soon 
after birth. 


While in Greenland, Mr. Cheney walked several 
miles on the Sabbath to Northampton, where Free- 
Will Baptists had started a small interest. On 
one Sunday, the minister failing to appear, Mr. 


Cheney was prevailed upon to preach. He spoke 
from the text: "All things are now ready." By 
invitation, he preached again the next Sunday. 
Then, feeling quite dissatisfied with his efforts, he 
resolved never to preach again. But one of the 
brethren prophesied such dire future punishment 
for him if he did not, that he was led to recon- 
sider, and soon after, accepting the counsel of 
ministers in that vicinity, he was licensed to 

The same year, Mr. Cheney began to contribute 
to the Morning Star the articles which continued 
to appear with more or less regularity for sixty 

In 1843, Mr. Cheney was called to be Principal 
of Parsonsfield Seminary, where eleven years 
before he had entered as a pupil. 

The Morning Star of June 7, 1843, speaks of 
him in the highest terms as instructor and licen- 
tiate, for he was not only expected to teach, but 
also to preach at Parsonsfield. He also supplied 
the pulpit twice a month at Effingham Hill, 
near by. 

In this locality his anti-slavery sentiments 
found many opposers, it being denied that his 

At a session of the Free- Will Baptist General Confer- 
ence, held at Topsham, Maine, in 1841, a union was effected 
with the Free or Free Communion Baptists in New York, 
with the understanding that their denominational names 
might be used interchangeably, and the " Will " having 
been used less and less since then, we shall drop it in this 


statements of cruelty to the slaves were founded 
in fact. A branch of the underground railroad 
ran through Parsonsfield and thence to the 
Canadian border. One day the station keeper in 
Effingham brought to Mr. Cheney's home in Par- 
sonsfield a woman and two children, fugitives from 
slavery. He sheltered and fed them, then arranged 
for them to meet parents as well as children at his 
school. Here the mother showed the branded 
marks on her children's shoulders and other indi- 
cations of cruelty. They were sweet singers and 
as they sang their weird songs with much pathos 
in word and tone, all were moved to tears and the 
sentiment of the community was so changed that 
Mr. Cheney afterward found few objectors to his 
anti-slavery utterances. 

Mr. Cheney had now begun to feel that the 
ministry was to be his life-work. This led to his 
ordination in 1844, the sermon being preached by 
Elder John Buzzell, with Benjamin J. Manson and 
others participating in the exercises. For his 
preaching at Effingham, he received two dollars a 
Sunday. After a time one of the members asked 
him not to mention the subjects of temperance 
and slavery in the pulpit. With all his manhood 
flashing from his eyes, Mr. Cheney replied, " A 
pile of gold as high as a mountain would not 
tempt me to stop speaking upon those questions." 
He was at this time much in demand as a lecturer 
upon these themes. 


For some time the conviction had been growing 
that, if he were to be a minister, he should further 
fit himself for the sacred office. The theological 
course and library, previously referred to, had, 
after various vicissitudes, been removed to Whites- 
town Seminary, in New York. To this place Mr. 
Cheney removed in 1845 with his wife and one- 
year old son, Horace Rundlett with the purpose 
of taking a theological course, and meanwhile 
supporting his family by teaching Latin in the 
Seminary. Though his course of study was cut 
short, the influence for good which he exerted 
while there remained, as attested by the following 
reminiscence by a life-long friend, Rev. G. H. 
Ball, D.D. : 

" I was not connected with the Seminary 
department, but recollect that Prof. Cheney 
was spoken of as an excellent teacher. We 
were in the same class in the Divinity School 
with Dr. John Fullonton and Dr. George T. 
Day. It was a large class, and of course, the 
fact that Day, Fullonton and Cheney were in 
it signifies that it was interesting, vigorous 
and aggressive. Brother Cheney was admired 
and loved by every member of the class as a 
scholarly, bright and courteous gentleman. 
Personally he was handsome, neat in his 
attire and habits, gentle in his manners and 
generous, as well as courteous. 

" He always took a bright and cheerful 
view of every subject discussed in class, in 
the literary society and in general intercourse. 


His social influence among the students was 
refining, and, without the least obtrusiveness, 
improved the habits of the young men who 
had grown up with rude surroundings, and, 
on coming to the school, were really in need 
of the helpful influence he so quietly exerted. 
He was popular with all the students and 
looked up to as a model for imitation. He 
appeared to me at that period in his life as 
nearly perfect in gentility of manner, in 
purity and dignity of thought, in courtesy 
and kindness in intercourse, in unselfish 
devotion to his chosen purpose in life, in 
sincerity and strength of interest in the most 
advanced undertakings of the denomination, 
in generous appreciation of his associates and 
in reverent respect for older men, who were 
then active among our ministers." 

But life plans "gang aft agley." After a few 
months, his wife's health failed so rapidly that he 
was obliged to carry her back to her father's home 
in Stratham, New Hampshire. His sister Sarah, 
who was then preceptress at Whitestown Semi- 
nary, accompanied him, caring for little Horace. 
After some anxious weeks, on January 13, 1846, 
Mrs. Caroline R. Cheney peacefully passed on to 
the other life. The parting from this capable, 
talented companion was a severe blow to her 
devoted husband. 

Writing in his diary at this time he says : 

" How bitter has been the cup I have been 


called to drink ! Thirty years of my life 
gone ! Where shall I be thirty years to come. 
I hope to be in heaven." 

But life's work called loudly and he could but 
listen and heed. 








The Cheney family may be said to possess 
political genius. Oren's father and two of his 
brothers were members of the New Hampshire 
legislature. His brother Person was Governor of 
New Hampshire, United States Senator, for a 
short time Minister to Switzerland, and for many 
years an influential member of the National 
Republican Committee. Elias, the youngest 
brother, has been Consul to Matanzas, then later 
to Curacao. Many other near relatives have 
occupied prominent public positions. But no one 
of them had a more level head or better political 
foresight than Oren. 

In 1846 there was an interesting condition in 
the country, owing to the agitation caused by the 
Wilmot Proviso, a measure before Congress, to 
limit the extension of slavery. John P. Hale, a 
democratic candidate in New Hampshire for the 
United States House of Representatives, was 
defeated because he would not consent to have 
the clause favoring the Wilmot Proviso taken 
from the New Hampshire Democratic platform. 

Then came a party split, John P. Hale, Amos 
Tuck and George G. Fogg being leaders of the 
Independent Democrats. The two latter were 
intimate friends of O. B. Cheney. Amos Tuck 
had been a Parsonsfield man and had given Mr. 


Cheney one hundred dollars towards the first ten 
thousand raised for the Free Baptist Education 
Society. Fogg was Cheney's room-mate both at 
New Hampton and Dartmouth. Both of these 
men were broad-minded and opposed to slavery. 
To advance the interests of the new party Fogg 
started the Independent Democrat. When the legis- 
lature met there were four parties represented in 
it, no one strong enough to control the situation. 
Mr. Cheney saw a great opportunity. He laid 
a plan and with his usual persistence set about its 
development. If he could induce the Liberty 
party men, the Independent Democrats and the 
Whigs to vote together he saw the possibility of 
such a victory as anti-slavery men had not 
known. With the men of his own, the Liberty 
Party he had powerful influence, also with his 
friends among the Independent Democrats, and 
he succeeded in influencing leaders among the 
Whigs. It was no easy task he undertook. In 
the reminiscence he says : 

" It was as hard for those Liberty party 
men to join hands with those whom they had 
considered their bitter opponents as it was 
for the Christians at Jerusalem to give kindly 
greeting to the persecutor Saul." 

But tactful personal influence conquered and 
every one yielded. As the result of this union of 
forces against the Democrats, John P. Hale was 
sent to the United States Senate, Amos Tuck to 


the House of Representatives, and George G. 
Fogg was made Secretary of State for New Hamp- 
shire. Up to this time, the New Hampshire 
Legislature had refused to incorporate the Free 
Baptist Printing Establishment, because The 
Morning Star, its organ, was so outspoken against 
slavery. At this session of 1846, its charter was 
readily granted. The country was electrified by 
the news from New Hampshire. The South could 
hardly believe it possible that an anti-slavery 
Senator had been elected. Cool men, like John 
G. Whittier, almost went wild over it. Whittier 
wrote some verses, quite out of his usual style, 
which were published anonymously in the Boston 
Chronotypf. In these he gives free rein to his 
joy by representing one Northern slavery sym- 
pathizer as dolefully describing the situation to a 
friend. His reference to Free Baptists is as 
follows : 

" Tis over, Moses, all is lost ! 

I hear the bells a-ringing ; 
Of Pharaoh and his red-sea host 
I hear the Free Wills singing. 
We're routed, Moses, horse and foot 

If there be truth in figures ; 

With Federal Whigs in hot pursuit 

And Hale and all the niggers." 

Mr. Cheney continued his good offices in the 
political anti-slavery line until after the Free Soil 
Party was formed in 1848. There was perhaps 


no one person, beginning with the circumstances 
just referred to, who did more than O. B. Cheney 
in bringing about this consummation. But it was 
all done with the high purpose of securing the 
overthrow of slavery, and caused no swerving from 
his life plan ; for we find him seeking no office, 
but, true to his convictions of duty, accepting a 
call to a country pastorate at West Lebanon, 
Maine, at a salary of $175 a year. 


In entering on his first pastorate, Mr. Cheney's 
most prominent feeling, as expressed in his notes, 
seems to have been one of self-depreciation and 
fear that he was not good enough for the high 
calling of a Christian minister. As a preacher, 
his characteristics were dignity of manner and 
deep earnestness, rather than a magnetic style, or 
power in arousing the emotions. Prof. J. Y. Stan- 
ton of Bates College was a boy when Mr. Cheney 
went to West Lebanon. He describes the con- 
ditions as follows : 

" The church and society was composed of 
the families of Legro's Corner, a small and 
beautiful village, and those on the farms 
near by. Nearly all were Free Baptists. It 
was an intelligent, moral and religious com- 
munity, with few of the faults of country 
villages at the present time. The church was 
largely the fruit of the labor of one man, who 
had preached there forty years. He had had 


few opportunities for culture, but the unsel- 
fishness and purity of his life were remark- 
able. He was paid no salary, his family 
deriving their support mainly from his farm. 
" It is not strange that a man who put so 
much heart into his work should not want a 
successor ; and it is not strange that intelli- 
gent church members should desire a change. 
All were reluctant to grieve their dear friend 
and some would not consent to a change. 
Mr. Cheney was strongly urged to become 
pastor and at last consented. At this critical 
time in church and community, a man less 
wise, less forbearing and less, firm than Mr. 
Cheney would have ruined everything. He 
was non-partizan and cordial to all, and was 
soon much beloved as a pastor and greatly 
admired as a man." 

In August, 1847, a new home life was started 
by Mr. Cheney's marriage with Nancy S. Perkins, 
daughter of Rev. Thomas Perkins, an able Free 
Baptist minister. She was a woman of strong 
characteristics. She had a superior education and 
had been for years a successful teacher. She was 
thereby not only fitted to be a pastor's wife, but 
also a helper and sympathizer in her husband's 
educational work. Little " Holly," who had been 
cared for in his grandmother's home, now came 
to be his father's companion and to develop in 
the loving atmosphere of home. 

It will help us as we further study Mr. Cheney's 
character to note, in passing, his high regard for 


true womanhood. A noble woman seemed to him 
to embody, in a degree unattainable by any man, 
the finer qualities in human nature. He told the 
writer that, early in life, he felt defrauded in not 
having the opportunity to possess that especial 
refinement which seemed to him innate to woman. 
He admired women of large intellectual capacity 
to be and to do, those who stand firmly and 
bravely beside their brothers in the battle of life. 
The ivy type did not so much attract him ; and 
yet his chivalrous nature was on the alert to help 
women who were suffering from unequal condi- 

Many a woman has sent him thanks for fatherly 
help in severe trial or timely advice amid legal 
disabilities. Marriage was to him a companion- 
ship of equality, a union, in which there was 
something strong in each to complement the 
other's need. He never needed conversion to 
equal suffrage. He believed in it as naturally as 
he breathed. He thought that woman's sphere 
included all that she was able to do well and he 
rejoiced in all new openings for her development. 


With the educational impulse strong within 
them, Mr. and Mrs. Cheney sympathized with the 
young people in their parish who were longing for 
better educational opportunities and they started 
an Academy course in the village school-house. 


Professor J. Y. Stanton, then twelve years old, 
gives us an interesting reminiscence of it : 

"It was a great success from the begin- 
ning. We were an enthusiastic band of 
scholars. I began the study of Latin under 
Mr. Cheney, a thorough and lovable teacher. 
Mrs. Cheney was my teacher in algebra and 
she was very interesting and competent. She 
introduced into the school some new features, 
which greatly increased the interest. Those 
were happy days for us, young people. The 
success of this school demonstrated to Mr. 
Cheney the need of making it permanent and 
Lebanon Academy was founded. Money was 
easily raised and a substantial two-story 
building was erected, from which there was a 
fine prospect of mountain, river, and sur- 
rounding country. 

" Lebanon Academy has been an inesti- 
mable blessing, not only to Lebanon, but to 
all the neighboring towns. A substantial edu- 
cation has been obtained here by more than 
a thousand persons, who, without the Acad- 
emy, would have received only the education 
of the town school. Several young men re- 
ceived there their first impulse towards a 
college education. In the few years, during 
which Mr. Cheney resided in Lebanon, he 
did the work of a lifetime." 

Mr. Cheney's influence as a character builder 
is shown by the testimony of another of his 
students, Benjamin F. Corson, editor of the 
Register, Glencoe, Minnesota : 


" I attended Mr. Cheney's school in the 
little red school-house in Lebanon, cut the 
wood, built the fires and swept the room for 
my tuition. I was also afterward janitor in 
the Academy. My personal feeling for my 
old Professor has always been that he was 
one of God's angels, sent to show his pupils 
that the highest aim of their education was 
to serve God and their fellow-men. His 
language and habits of life were the purest 
and best ***** The ninth of April, 
1850, was a memorable time. In the previous 
February, a serious spirit began to pervade the 
school. Prayer meetings and Sunday services 
were better attended. The deep undertone 
of religious feeling increased, until by the 
first of April nearly all the students, number- 
ing seventy-five or eighty, felt its influence. 

"April sixth, with two others, I made a 
move for a holier life. The school and the 
whole community were stirred more and more, 
until by April gth, the power of the Holy one 
so rested upon the pupils, that they began to 
ask to be excused and went to the long 
recitation room above. At last, the number 
left was so small that Professor Cheney said : 
'You may all go.' All went except two. 
Such a scene I never saw, or experienced 
elsewhere, some singing, some praying, some 
agonizing, some shouting, and heaven's great 
unseen cloud of rejoicing angels hovering 
over repenting young men and women. All 
over the school-room and environs was after- 
ward written, ' Remember April 9, 1850.' 
That revival was the result, under God, of O. 


B. Cheney's life and Christian influence. He 
was a holy man from the ground up." 

During Mr. Cheney's residence in Lebanon, two 
daughters, Caroline and Emeline, came to brighten 
his home. They were two tricksy little sprites, 
who brought more and more joy and sunshine as 
they developed. The father heart in Mr. Cheney 
was strong and true. A very busy man, he yet 
had time to know and enjoy his children and to 
give to their best interests due consideration. His 
sympathy with them was so hearty that ruling 
them was an easy matter. He found love and a 
steady eye an improvement upon Solomon's 
method. He loved to tell how, when a poor 
woman called, who said she had no shoes for her 
children, the younger tot began at once to take 
off her own. 


As already seen, Mr. Cheney's influence as 
citizen and patriot was given to such political 
movements as advanced needed reforms. His 
first vote for President was given in 1844 for 
James G. Birney, candidate of the Liberty Party. 
Now that the Free Soil Party had taken its place, 
he was active in its interests and soon after going 
to Lebanon was made its candidate for the United 
States House of Representatives ; but finding that 
the Whig candidate was opposed to slavery, he 
declined the nomination. Later, by a combination 


of the Free Soil, Independent and Whig parties of 
the towns of Lebanon and Sandford, he was elected 
Representative to the Maine Legislature. 

Rev. Mr. Cheney's real manhood could hardly 
have been paid a higher compliment, for the 
nomination was made without his knowledge. He 
was greatly surprised, when, the morning after 
election, a neighbor called and informed him of 
his success. But never was divine guidance more 
plainly seen in the fitting of any man for his life 
work. Nothing could have been more opportune 
than his spending several months during the next 
two years as legislator at the capital city of Maine. 

Legislative business was to him like his native 
air. He was at home in it. He readily learned 
its tactics. His honesty of purpose commanded 
respect and he rapidly gained influence. In any- 
thing he attempted his persistency was balanced 
by his gentlemanly manner and quietness of spirit. 
The fact that he secured from the legislature two 
thousand dollars toward an endowment for Leb- 
anon Academy shows that he had already learned 
the art of getting money for good purposes. 

One other notable thing connected with his 
service in the Legislature is worthy of notice. It 
was in 1851 that Neal Dow first went to Augusta 
to urge the prohibitory method of dealing with 
the liquor traffic. Some professed temperance 
men were uncertain about such a drastic measure, 
but O. B. Cheney recognized its value at once. 


It was a satisfaction to him to vote for it and 
always a pleasant memory that he had the privi- 
lege. To the end of his life he never wavered in 
his belief in and devotion to the principle of 
prohibition as the true one to be applied to the 
liquor business, and no sophistry ever blinded him 
to its great value to the State of Maine. Accord- 
ing to his best judgment, he always voted con- 
sistently with his belief. 






In the middle of the nineteenth century the 
line between denominations was so sharply drawn 
that bitter discussions of doctrines were common 
among ministers and laymen of different faiths, 
and too great charity for differences in creeds was 
believed to verge on heresy. To one so true to 
his own convictions as was O. B. Cheney there 
was no temptation to attend any church because 
of its popularity, or because of its wealth or 

It is, therefore, just what would be expected 
that, during his months in the Legislature in 
Augusta, he should attend the little Free Baptist 
church, worshiping in a small hall, and it was a 
natural result that his helpfulness in speaking and 
singing should lead to his receiving a call to the 
pastorate of the church. Of the circumstances 
attending Mr. Cheney's acceptance of the call 
Rev. C. F. Penney, D.D., so long the loved and 
honored pastor of this same church wrote, many 
years later, the following reminiscence : 

"Walking down State street a few years 
since, with President Cheney, he suddenly 
paused on the sidewalk, about half way 
between the residence of Hon. James G. 
Blaine and the State House. I looked inquir- 
ingly and he said, 'On this spot I made what 


was perhaps the most important decision of 
my life. I decided to come to Augusta to 
take charge of our church interest here, at 
the invitation of the church and the Free 
Baptist Home Mission Society. The session 
of the legislature was drawing to a close and 
I was about to go home. I had a call to 
another place at a fair salary. The call here 
had little money in it, hardly enough to keep 
soul and body together, and the hardest of 
work. Thinking as to what was duty, I sud- 
denly paused, at this very place, and asked 
myself in so many words, 'to which place 
shall I go ? ' And a voice seemed to say, 
' to Augusta.' I audibly replied, ' I will choose 
this field.' " 

Mr. Cheney had spent six years of hard work 
at Lebanon, ministering to the church and found- 
ing the Academy. He left the former united and 
prosperous and the latter so well established that 
years of usefulness were before it. In his written 
articles he always referred with touching tender- 
ness to the associations and friendships of his 
first pastorate. 

His life-purpose at this time is well illustrated 
by the following incident. While he was planting 
an orchard of apple trees at his Lebanon home, a 
passing friend asked : " Why do you do this ? You 
will never eat apples from those trees." "No," 
was the reply, " but somebody will." 

On taking the Augusta pastorate Mr. Cheney 
saw that in order to establish the church on a firm 


basis, the first requisite was a house of worship. 
With him to see a need was to act, and we find 
him during the next year busily engaged in raising 
the money for building the edifice, which for over 
fifty years was to be the church home. In raising 
this money Mr. Cheney not only canvassed Maine 
churches, but also many in other New England 
States, thus obtaining an experience that proved 
very valuable in his later life-work. With the 
purpose of securing aid in his work he wrote 
numerous articles for The Morning Star. The 
printed reports of his receipts show not only that 
most of the money was raised in small amounts, 
but also how careful he was to acknowledge every 
cent received. His purpose is expressed in an 
article, in which he says : 

" It should be remembered that we will 
never raise a finger in helping to dedicate the 
house until it shall be paid for." 

The result is stated in Rev. C. F. Penney's 
reminiscence : 

"The beautiful church in Augusta, dedi- 
cated without debt in a little more than a 
year after President Cheney's pastorate com- 
menced, stands a monument of his indomi- 
table faith and persistent zeal." 

Although the church was dedicated and practi- 
cally completed in November, 1853, many finish- 
ing touches remained to be given. One of these 


was the furnishing of the pastor's study. In 
September, 1854, Mr. Cheney writes in his diary: 

" This morning I enter my study in our 
new church. It is a neat, pretty minister's 
home. How kind are my dear brethren and 
sisters, in fitting up for me this inner court 
in the Lord's temple ! Well, I have just dedi- 
cated it to God." 

Here he gives a complete order of exercises, 
adding to each, " By the poor pastor." " I know 
God will accept the consecration, because all has 
been done with an honest heart. He has helped 
us in erecting this house. Now, oh, Lord, fill it 
and me with thy glory. Oh that God would ever 
dwell in this study to teach me by His spirit and 
His word and make me useful to His people." 

Everything seemed now to promise for Mr. 
Cheney a successful pastorate in a growing, con- 
genial church. His pulpit ministrations were 
thoughtful and dignified and attended with spirit- 
ual power, as shown by frequent baptisms and 
accessions to the church. Because of his sym- 
pathetic nature, he was much in demand at 
funerals. He was held in general respect and 
had influence with many prominent citizens. 

During this pastorate his voice was at its best. 
His singing was of the gospel evangelist style and 
made deep impressions. Some people said they 
went to church to hear him sing. 

That his ideas of a Christian church were broad 


and comprehensive is shown by Rev. Dr. C. F. 
Penney's testimony thirty years later. 

" A new church interest, such as President 
Cheney formed at Augusta, is easily molded. 
A trusted leader shapes it almost at will. 
Fortunate, indeed, are the people whose early 
history is under such guidance as that of the 
Augusta church in the first four years of its 
existence. Our church became thoroughly 
imbued with the spirit of its leader and from 
that day to the present has stood, not only 
strong and pronounced on all questions of 
moral and social reform, but equally intelli- 
gent and liberal in the various departments 
of Christian benevolence." 


In order to understand Mr. Cheney's all-around 
development, we must take note of his other ac- 
tivities during the early years of his Augusta pas- 
torate. His interest in the Free Soil Party had 
not in the least abated. This party was the polit- 
ical expression of anti-slavery sentiment, and, as 
a Christian man, he felt that he must do all in his 
power to advance its interests. That he was a 
valued helper is shown by his election, in 1852, 
by the Maine Free Soil convention as its delegate 
to the National Free Soil Convention at Pitts- 
burgh, Pennsylvania, which nominated John P. 
Hale for the presidency. Some incidents con- 
nected with the journey to Pittsburgh are worthy 


of note. One evening on the steamer on Lake 
Erie many passengers, including Charles Francis 
Adams and other delegates of note were gathered 
on deck, watching a glorious sunset. Suddenly an 
inspiration came to Mr. Cheney and he sang verse 
after verse of an old hymn, the closing of which 
was : 

"A trust in God I hold it fast 
In peril and in pain, 

Until that glorious Sun shall rise, 
That ne'er shall set again," 

closing just as the sun sank in the water. That 
it created a profound impression is shown by the 
testimony of Rev. G. H. Ball, D.D., who was one 
of the delegates present and who says : 

" The steamer was crowded with passengers 
of every stripe of politics. Dr. Cheney sang 
as if inspired. All were charmed by the clear, 
rich tenor voice and many eyes were wet." 

At each stopping-place delegates joined the 
party and among them was Frederick Douglass. 
Dinner for the delegates was ready at Alliance, 
Ohio. As they entered the dining hall the two 
long tables looked very inviting to the hungry 
men ; but the proprietor blocked the way. The 
" nigger " must not come in. " I tell you that raised 
a storm," said Dr. Cheney, in telling of the inci- 
dent. " The delegates said with one accord, ' If 
Fred Douglass cannot eat, we will not ;' then the 
proprietor backed right down." 


The convention was a very enthusiastic one. 
Dr. Cheney always remembered with pride the 
very able speech made by his friend, Dr. Ball. 
A few weeks later Mr. Cheney attended a banquet 
given in Boston in honor of John P. Hale, at 
which Charles Sumner was one of the speakers. 
In his report of it for The Morning Star he refers 
to the absence of wine as a noticeable and very 
gratifying feature. Mr. Cheney retained through 
life a very pleasant remembrance of his acquaint- 
ance with John P. Hale, and he often repeated 
some of Hale's apt stories. One of these, which 
he used to illustrate a weak character, is as fol- 
lows : 

"A domineering wife one day made her 
husband crawl under the bed when they saw 
a visitor coming. After a while the poor 
fellow began to look slyly out between the 
valances. The threatening look of his wife 
intimidated him for a time, but soon his 
patience gave way and he burst out with, 
'As long as I have the spirit of a man, I will 
peep." 1 


In October, 1853, Mr. Cheney was a delegate 
to the Free Baptist General Conference, held in 
Fairport, New York. He had been for four years 
Corresponding Secretary of the Free Baptist Kdu- 
cation Society and for five years Recording Secre- 
tary of the Free Baptist Foreign Missionary 


Society. The duties involved in these responsible 
positions gave him an influence in the denomina- 
tion and kept him in touch with people in differ- 
ent parts of the country. 

This meeting of the General Conference was of 
much importance, as the immediate future of the 
Biblical School was settled by the decision to 
remove it to New Hampton, New Hampshire, and 
to raise $20,000 towards its endowment. On his 
return to Augusta, Mr. Cheney entered heartily 
into the work of helping to raise this money and 
soon began to report receipts for it. 

He was a regular attendant at and an influential 
factor in the Quarterly and Yearly Meetings, of 
which his church was a constituent member. It 
is a good example of his foresight and good judg- 
ment, that at the session of the Kennebec Yearly 
Meeting, held in 1853, he proposed a union of the 
three Maine Yearly Meetings into a State Associ- 
ation, as conducive to better system and greater 
efficiency in work. This was so earnestly opposed 
that the matter rested for many years, but the 
union was effected in 1888, much to the advantage 
of the denominational work. 

During one Yearly Meeting session a terrific 
thunder storm rolled and crashed around the 
church. Some of the people were terrified and a 
panic seemed imminent, when Mr. Cheney went 
to the platform and sang the old hymn, one verse 
of which is : 


" God moves in a mysterious way 

His wonders to perform ; 
He plants his footsteps in the sea, 

And rides upon the storm." 

The clear voice, rising above the noise of the 
elements, produced an electrical effect more 
potent than that without, for before he had 
finished, the audience sat as if spell-bound, then 
looking out found the storm was abating. 

From the time when, in 1843, Mr. Cheney began 
to write brief articles for The Morning Star, the 
amount contributed continued to increase with 
the passing years. It will help us to an insight 
into his interest in current events to note the 
different subjects on which he wrote during the 
time when many people would have been so ab- 
sorbed in church building and the other activities 
referred to as to have no thought for anything 
else. During the three months preceding the 
dedication of the Augusta church each issue of 
the paper had two or more articles from his pen, 
including the following subjects : 

1. Several on Temperance, with discussion of 
conditions in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and 
Minnesota ; and with appeals to the people of 
Maine to so vote as to retain the Prohibitory 

2. Duties of a Faithful Sunday School 


3. A general article on The Free Baptists in 
New Brunswick. 

4. Value of Woman's Work in the Temper- 
ance and Anti-slavery Reforms. 

5. Duty of Ministers to the Sick. 

6. Articles on Political Conditions. 

7. Several columns on Anti-Slavery, with an 
extended discussion of criticisms of Mrs. Harriet 
Beecher Stowe. 

8. Respect for Law. 

9. A thrilling story of a man, robbed in a 
" grog-shop " while on the way to make purchases 
for a sick wife. 

10. Frequent stories of travel in the interest 
of the Augusta church, with tables of receipts. 

11. Reports as Corresponding and Recording 
Secretary of the Societies previously referred to. 

At the annual meeting of the Corporators of the 
Free Baptist Printing Establishment, held in 1853, 
Mr. Cheney was elected assistant editor of The 
Morning Star. In his Salutatory, in the issue of 
October, 1853, after referring to his receipt of the 
news of his appointment, he says : 

"In the autumn of 1839, just fourteen 
years ago, we received a similar announce- 
ment, but fearing that our youthful pen would 
fail to do what might be expected of it, we 
did not dare assume such a responsibility and 
declined it. * * * * We accept the appoint- 
ment this time, not because we now feel 


adequate to the work assigned us for more 
and more we see our ignorance but because 
we believe that, if a man cannot do every- 
thing, he can do something. If he cannot be 
faithful in much, he can be faithful in little. 

1 And he that does the best he can, does well, 
Acts nobly, an angel can do no more.' " 

He follows with burning words expressive of his 
feeling about the evils of slavery and intemper- 
ance and his purpose to write and work for their 
overthrow. During the next ten years with few 
exceptions he contributed weekly to The Morning 
Star articles on themes as varied as is the life of 
humanity. One of these, published in the Star of 
June 2, 1854, was a description as an eye-witness 
of the return to slavery of Anthony Burns.* 

We give a few extracts : 

" I was in Boston. Awaking early, I took 
a walk. I wanted the atmosphere of 1776, 
none of the oxygen taken out. So I stood 
upon Dorchester Heights, one of the spots 
consecrated to liberty and the equal rights of 

That morning the news spread like wild-fire 
that Anthony Burns had been seized by U.S. 

The Fugitive Slave law, requiring the return of run- 
away slaves to their owners, although passed in 1851, had 
aroused so much opposition in the North as to be but 
partially operative. The South clamored for enforcement 
and United States officials came to their aid. 


officers. Hearing of this, Mr. Cheney repaired 
quickly to the city proper and thus reported what 
ensued : 

" Through the politeness of a college class- 
mate I was seated at a window in full view of 
what was passing, and this is the scene : The 
door of the court-house is strongly guarded. 
A six pound cannon faces it. An immense 
crowd of a thousand soldiers surround it. 
Men, women and children fill the streets, look 
out of windows, lean against chimneys and 
are on roofs of the highest buildings. An 
approaching guard of United States Marines 

is greeted with a storm of hisses 

It is now twenty-five minutes past nine. 
There is motion and stir in the court-room. 
The decision is made. Liberty or slavery 
has triumphed. 'Goes back. Goes back. 
Goes back,' runs along the tens of thousands 
as lightning on the wires. Then follow hisses, 
groans and cries of 'shame.' Women hang 
out from windows black shawls, mantillas, 
and strips of cloth " 

Mr. Cheney follows with the crowd and sees 
Burns put upon the United States cutter that is to 
return him to slavery. He hears the master offered 
twelve hundred dollars for him and hears that the 
word from Washington is " Must go back." Then 
the intensity of his feelings expresses itself in the 
following language : 

" Go back ! Oh thou great and mighty God ! 
Thou ruler of the land and sea ! Why dost 

O. B. Cheney 
About 1855 


thou not in anger stretch out thine hand and 
let thy winds blow, thy tempests rise, thy 
ocean rock in fury, thy thunder-bolts crash 
and all on board one only excepted go to 
the lowest bottom ! Why ? Because thou art 
slow to anger and waitest to be gracious. 
Thou canst bear it. Help me to bear it in 
the spirit of an unworthy child of thine. My 
prayer then only shall be ' Father forgive 
them. They know not what they do.' To 
my brother in bonds : 

'Live and take comfort. Thou hast left 

Powers that will work for thee, air, earth and 


There's not a breathing of the common mind 
That will forget thee. Thou hast great 

allies.' " 

Such is an illustration of the work which, as 
assistant editor, found its place in Mr. Cheney's 
busy life for years to come. 








On the evening of September twenty-second, 
1854, Mr. Cheney was resting in his Augusta 
home, planning for the development of his church 
work, when a letter was handed to him. It proved 
to be from Rev. J. A. Lowell, Principal of Par- 
sonsfield Seminary, and contained the startling 
announcement that the Seminary building had 
been burned to the ground. 

As Mr. Cheney pondered over this great dis- 
aster, a flood of tender recollections rushed over 
him. He recalled his early experience at Parsons- 
field, first as scholar, then later as teacher and 
preacher, and lived over his early married life 
there. But soon his thought turned from himself 
to the boys and girls so suddenly deprived of a 
school, and, as he thought on and on, he became 
impressed with the need of a more centrally 
located and higher institution of learning than any 
previously furnished Free Baptist young people in 
Maine.* He also remembered that there were many- 
bright boys and girls, without denominational con- 
nee t ion, scattered throughout the villages and 
farming districts, who longed for an education, but 
were without the means of obtaining it. 

* It must be remembered that at this time nearly all insti- 
tutions, except common grade schools, were under denomi- 
national auspices. 


As he weighed the needs and conditions, an ideal 
school began to take form in his mind, adapted 
to students who, in order to pay their way, must 
depend on their own efforts. As he studied the 
matter, the possibility of founding such a school 
seemed more and more practicable. Then a voice, 
as if from heaven, seemed to say to his inmost 
being, " Do this work for me." 

Startled by the suddenness of the thought, he 
urged, in opposition, his consecration to the 
ministry and his opportunity for usefulness in 
Augusta that he had worked hard to secure a 
house of worship and was now just ready to reap 
the benefits in building up a strong church. But 
the divine vision of duty would not be dismissed. 
Hour after hour passed and as he sat and pon- 
dered, oblivious of the passing time, the needs and 
possibilities developed more and more in his 
thought. The future of numbers of young people 
seemed suddenly entrusted to him. 

But he saw also the difficulties to be encount- 
ered. He knew that few, even of his friends, 
would understand or sympathize with his ideals, 
that, instead of enthusiastic helpers, he should 
have to contend with faint-heartedness and even 
opposition. He saw that it meant years of unap- 
preciated hard work ; he saw days and days of 
solicitation for money, involving frequent and 
prolonged absences from home. 

But, as the night waned, the vision of duty 


became more and more insistent, until, finally, 
with prayer for guidance, he yielded to what he 
believed to be a divine call, made the great 
sacrifice of giving up the ministry (how great it 
was, few but himself ever knew), and said, " Here 
am I, Lord, to do thy will." 

When, in the early morning hours, Mr. Cheney 
retired to rest, his purpose and plans in life were 
as completely changed as if he had become 
another man. His future life proved that " he 
was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision." 
September twenty-second, 1854, was always to 
him the birth-night, not only of Maine State 
Seminary, but of Bates College also, for the latter 
is but a natural outgrowth of the former. 


O. B. Cheney was altogether too shrewd a man 
to forestall either success or defeat by many con- 
fidences in regard to his new plans. He under- 
stood human nature well enough to know that the 
divine voice which speaks to one man is not heard 
by the multitude. He made his moves with cau- 
tion. As Corresponding Secretary of the Free 
Baptist Education Society it was suitable for him 
to be a leader in some action to be taken in con- 
sequence of the burning of Parsonsfield Seminary. 

The anniversaries of the Free Baptist Benevo- 
lent Societies were to be held in Saco, Maine, in 
the following month October, 1854. There, at 


Mr. Cheney's invitation, " the friends of a higher 
institution of learning " met in the church gallery, 
and voted to call a convention to act upon the 
matter. During the next month Mr. Cheney was 
busy, enlisting the interest of those who would be 
likely to be in sympathy with starting a school, 
prominent among these being Rev. E. Knowlton, 
member of Congress from Maine. The conven- 
tion was held in Topsham, Maine, in the follow- 
ing month November. In presenting the need 
for a school Mr. Cheney said in part : 

" We do not propose an Academy, but a 
school of high order, between a college and 
an Academy. We shall petition the Legis- 
lature of Maine to suitably endow, as well as 
to incorporate, such an Institution. We know 
our claim is good and we intend openly and 
manfully and we trust in a Christian spirit to 
press it. If we fail next winter, we shall try 
another legislature. If we fail on a second 
trial, we hope to try a third and a fourth." 

Such faith and determination could but be con- 
tagious. The convention enthusiastically voted 
to establish a school. Trustees were elected and 
a committee consisting of O. B. Cheney, E. 
Knowlton and Francis Lyford was appointed to 
have the matter in charge. A prominent minister 
from New Hampshire came to the convention to 
oppose the movement, on the ground that the 
Free Baptist school in that state was sufficient ; 


thus, at its birth, the school was baptized in the 
element of opposition. But as well might the 
effort have been made to stay an incoming tide. 

At the time appointed for the first committee 
meeting, Rev. Mr. Knowlton was sick, but Messrs. 
Cheney and Lyford went in a sleigh through a 
snow-storm from Augusta to South Montville and 
the meeting was held in Mr. Knowlton's sick 
room. Since September twenty-second, plans had 
been taking form in Mr. Cheney's mind, and these 
were the ones that, in the main, were adopted as 
the working method in founding the school. At 
his suggestion the proposed institution was named 
Maine State Seminary. 

The securing of a charter from the legislature 
was the first thing to be attempted. As a result 
of the committee's activity, in order to pave the 
way for legislative action, petitions to the legis- 
lature for charter and endowment for the proposed 
school were at once placed in circulation among 
Free Baptists and other friends of the Seminary, 
and, on the assembling of the Maine legislature 
in January in its session of i854-'55, two of these 
petitions with a large number of signatures were 
ready for presentation. Others continued to come 
in, until, by February 28th, twenty-four different 
petitions were presented. These were referred to 
the Joint Committee on Education, the Chairman 
of which was President of a Seminary in the 


After some delay, during which time much per- 
sonal work was done among the members of the 
legislature, the Committee reported a bill giving 
to Maine State Seminary a charter and an appro- 
priation of $15,000; but this was immediately 
followed by requests for aid from other schools in 
the state, with the result that the Committee soon 
after reported an Omnibus bill, giving to different 
schools $60,000. This was with the apparent 
purpose of killing the whole thing. After long 
discussion the Omnibus bill was defeated, for the 
members well knew that they would not be sus- 
tained by their constituents in voting for edu- 
cation so large a sum of money. 

There seemed now to be little prospect that 
anything could be done at that session. Mr. 
Knowlton was obliged to return to his home early 
in February, but Messrs. Cheney and Lyford lived 
in Augusta, and, although publicly the matter 
rested, quietly but steadily the interests of the 
school were pushed. Mr. Cheney visited member 
after member of the legislature with this appeal : 

" Other denominations have their schools 
and they have been helped by the state. 
There are many Free Baptists in Maine 
whose children need education, in order to 
become valuable citizens. Now that Parsons- 
field Seminary is burned, they have no school. 
There is no good reason why they should not 
have such help as others have had." 


As a result of this personal work the bill ap- 
propriating $15,000 and that giving a charter to 
Maine State Seminary were again reported to the 
House and passed that body. (The remainder of 
the story is mainly in Mr. Cheney's own words : ) 

" The excitement was then so great, that I 
let the matter rest until about three weeks 
before the close of the session. In the mean- 
time the presidents of other schools went 
home. As the session was nearing its close, 
I called upon the Chairman of the Joint Com- 
mittee, and asked him if, at a suitable time, 
he would call up the bill for action in the 
Senate. He said it would be of no use. As 
the bill was in his hands, it was not easy to 
know what to do next, but I found a friend 
of the measure who agreed that, if the Chair- 
man continued to refuse to report the bill, he 
would call upon him to do so from the floor 
of the Senate, and, if he then declined, he 
would himself call it up on the last day of the 

" For various reasons no action had been 
taken and the last day had arrived. Besides 
the Chairman of the Committee, there was 
one other Senator, a friend of his, who had 
earnestly opposed the bill. At noon I ob- 
tained an audience with him. I told him 
that, when I was a member of the Legislature, 
I voted to help all the schools, including the 
one in which he was interested. I reminded 
him that but a few hours remained before the 
close of the session and begged of him, as a 
personal favor, that, if the bill was brought 


up, he would not offer an amendment. He 
finally promised and then I felt pretty sure of 

" When the Senate was called to order in 
the afternoon, I went right to the Chairman 
and asked him to call up the bill. He said, 
' It will be of no use, Mr. Cheney. It will 
not pass.' I said 'call it up and let us see.' 
He said he would, if I would allow him to 
make an amendment, giving to the school 
which he represented $7,000 and to Maine 
State Seminary $8,000. I replied that that 
would send it back to the House and defeat 
everything for that session. When he found 
that, if he did not report the bill, some one 
else would call for it, he yielded and it was 
soon before the Senate. The question was 
on the engrossment. The motion to have the 
bill engrossed was passed by a good majority 
and the victory seemed to be won. 

" Through the courtesy of the President of 
the Senate, I was myself allowed to take the 
document to the Secretary of State's office to 
be engrossed. This work was then done by 
hand and it was late in the afternoon before 
it was finished. Imagine my feelings, when, 
on hearing it read, I discovered a mistake 
which seriously affected the whole bill. By 
permission I took it to the clerk of the House 
of Representatives and he certified as to how 
the bill passed, but he said it was too late to 
do anything more about it at that session. 
I had a different opinion. 

" The second engrossment took until late 
in the evening. I then carried it to the Com- 
mittee on Engrossed Bills and they certified 


that it was correct. I hastened with it to 
the Speaker of the House, Hon. Sidney Per- 
ham. he immediately put it to vote, and the 
bill passed. The Speaker then allowed me 
to take it to the Senate. The presiding 
officer, Hon. Franklin Muzzey, at once called 
for the vote of that body, the bill passed and 
he signed it. I asked if, instead of sending 
by a committee, as usual, I might, in person, 
take it to the Governor. He gave the per- 
mission. It was then ten o'clock. The ses- 
sion closed at twelve. As I entered the room 
of the Governor, Hon. Anson P. Morrill, he 
looked up from the bills he was signing and 
smilingly said, 

"'Well, Mr. Cheney, have you a bill there 
you want me to veto ? ' I replied, 

"'Yes, Governor, if you want to!' He 
promptly affixed his signature and I went 
home and went to sleep with the happiest 
heart I had had in years." 

Mr. Cheney inaugurated the campaign for 
raising money for the school by the following 
announcement in The Morning Star of March 28, 

1855 = 

"The little barque, Maine State Seminary, 
came safely into port, the i6th instant. 
Probably many of her friends, who have been 
so anxious as to her fate, were locked in 
slumber at the hour of her arrival, for it was 
ten o'clock. The voyage was long, the 
weather stormy, the freight heavy, but she 
came safely in." 


To advance the interests of the school Mr. 
Cheney at once began the publication in Augusta 
of a monthly paper The Seminary Advocate. 
Through its pages many young people became 
interested in the school and it became a helpful 
medium for raising money. Messrs. Cheney and 
Knowlton now used all the time they could spare 
from other duties in soliciting funds. 


The committee on locating the school consisted 
of Reverends Cheney, Knowlton and N. Brooks. 
Different sites presented claims and inducements 
and it was after much careful thought and investi- 
gation, attended by honest differences in opinion, 
that the committee finally located the school at 
Lewiston, on the Androscoggin river, and in the 
county of that name. Lewiston was then a small, 
but rapidly growing town. It was not only a 
business centre for a fine farming district, but its 
water facilities for mill purposes had attracted 
Boston capital and the prospects were good for 
rapid development in manufacturing. 

The site of the school was donated by the 
citizens of Lewiston and the Water Power Com- 
pany. Five acres were at first offered, but Mr. 
Cheney would not consider locating until twenty 
acres were promised. In form the land constitutes 
an oblong square. It is situated on a somewhat 
elevated ridge, sloping gently in front and rear 


and with a grove of five or six acres. It is about 
a mile from the business centre of the city, the 
intervening land being then mostly devoted to 
farming. This location has proved to be, in many 
respects, one of the finest among New England 

As soon as this site was secured, it became 
important that Mr. Cheney should remove to 
Lewiston. During the two and a half years since 
his " vision " of duty had changed his life-purpose, 
he had continued his work as pastor of the 
Augusta church, reporting for The Morning Star, 
baptisms, interesting prayer-meetings, "good 
times " in receiving new members, and other signs 
of healthy church work. But he now felt that his 
best energies must be devoted to the school, and 
accordingly sent in his resignation. The church 
voted not to accept it, and only, when he repeated 
and sadly insisted, did they release him. We find 
him soon after, early in 1856, located in Lewiston 
near the Seminary grounds. 

The money thus far donated for the school had 
been in comparatively small sums. As the success 
of such an enterprise must be dependent on some 
large gifts, Mr. Cheney was overjoyed, when in 
the spring of 1856, he was invited to call on Seth 
Hathorn of Woolwich, Maine, and was informed 
by him and his wife, Mary, that they proposed to 
make a liberal donation to the school. 

Mrs. Hathorn said, " I have been hoping and 


praying that God would open the way for a portion 
of our property to be disposed of where it would 
do good after our death. I believe the Lord sent 
you here." 

Encouraged by their promise of at least five 
thousand dollars, Mr. Cheney soon made arrange- 
ments for erecting a building, to be named 
Hathorn Hall, in honor of these generous donors ; 
and on June 26th, 1856, the corner-stone of Maine 
State Seminary was laid with appropriate cere- 
monies. This was a gala day for Lewiston. We 
quote from an address by President Cheney : 

" The people assembled by thousands, and 
a very large procession composed of the 
trustees, clergymen, in and out of town, 
directors of the Franklin Company, fire com- 
panies of the village, teachers and children 
of the public schools and many citizens, 
marched to the seminary grounds under the 
marshalship of Capt. A. H. Kelsey of Lewis- 
ton, and led by the music of two brass bands 
of the village. Rev. Benjamin Thome, a 
venerable father of the Free Baptist ministry, 
offered the prayer of invocation, and Rev. 
George Knox, standing upon the stone, 
offered the consecrating prayer. Rev. Mar- 
tin J. Steere delivered the oration, and Hon. 
C. W. Goddard and Rev. John Stevens made 
addresses. It was made my duty to lay the 
stone. A beautiful metallic box, presented 
by Mr. John Goss, and containing the charter 
and various other papers, was deposited in 


the stone. The following ode, composed by 
Mrs. V. G. Ramsey, was sung : 

We come with joy, we come with prayer, 

And lay this consecrated stone ; 
O thou, who with a Father's care 
Hast watched the work our hands have done, 
Bless us, and let thy richest grace 
Descend henceforth upon this place. 

We come not here to rear a pile 

With columns fair and turrets high, 

To win the world's approving smile, 
With Eastern art and wealth to vie; 
Far other thoughts our hearts control, 
Far other wishes fill our soul. 

The massive walls of brick and stone, 

Which here may rise are not our care ; 
When busy hands their work have done, 
And there shall stand a structure fair, 
Then shall our care and toil begin, 
A greater triumph yet to win. 

Here will we mold, refine and carve 

Those living stones, which, borne on high, 
The mighty Architect shall use 
To build a temple in the sky, 

Whose matchless glory fitteth well 
The place where Jesus deigns to dwell. 

Those living stones not diamonds bright 

Compare with them, nor pearls, nor gold. 
If we but do the work aright, 
These precious stones to carve and mold, 
Angels will watch o'er us with joy 
And almost envy our employ. 

President Cheney's political relations with Hon. 
Charles Sumner, member of Congress, from 
Massachusetts, made him feel free to request a 
motto for the new Institute. The following is the 
reply received : 


WASHINGTON, Dec. u, 1857. 
My Dear Sir : 

Amore ac Studio.* I cannot send 
anything better than these words for the seal of 
your Institution. I once thought to have them 
cut on a seal of my own, but did not. 

But I doubt not you will be able to devise 
something better than anything I can suggest. 
Accept my thanks for the kindness of your com- 
munication, and believe me, dear sir, 

Faithfully yours, 


He evidently kept the motto in mind as evi- 
denced by the reference to it in the following 
letter, written four years later : 

BOSTON, 1 7th Nov., '61. 
My Dear Sir : 

I have indulged the hope of mak- 
ing a visit to Bangor this season, with a stop at 
Lewiston, but it is now too late. All my time 
until I leave for Washington is now mortgaged. 

Accept my best wishes for your good and use- 
ful Institute. 

If it should continue to be inspired by its 
motto as I doubt not it will be a fountain to 
the state. 

Faithfully yours, 


* Amore ac Studio may be translated "with ardent zeal 
for study." 


A~ <7VU- 






In October, 1856, Mr. Cheney was a member 
of the Free Baptist General Conference, held in 
Maineville, Ohio. He had resigned his position 
as Recording Secretary of the Foreign Missionary 
Society, but retained that of Corresponding Secre- 
tary of the Kducation Society. In connection 
with the duties of this position some perplexities 
arose in connection with the dual work of raising 
money for the Biblical School and Maine State 
Seminary, the adjustment of which was helped by 
his attendance at this General Conference. 

In the fall of 1856 the country was in a fever 
heat of excitement because of the approaching 
presidential election in November, and especially 
on account of the nomination for the presidency 
of John C. Fremont, as candidate of the newly 
formed Republican party. To this party Mr. 
Cheney had transferred the warm allegiance that 
he had previously given to the Free Soil party. 
This was also true of a majority of the members 
of the General Conference, and the session thrilled 
with the spirit of the time. At its close an open- 
air meeting was held in the interest of Fremont 
and Dayton, ably addressed by Rev. E. Knowlton 
and others. 

Mr. Cheney had a notable liking for visiting 
spots associated' with the birth, death, or noted 


action of prominent individuals ; and at the close 
of the meetings, with four other delegates, he made 
a trip to some places of note in Kentucky. While 
they were in Lexington, a brother of a Maine Con- 
gressman, then residing there, came to their hotel 
and uttered words of warning. He said : 

" Do you know that you are objects of sus- 
picion ? Your presence is making much talk. 
If it becomes known that you are abolition- 
ists, your lives will be in danger. You must 
move with great caution." 

It is hardly necessary to say that the warning 
was heeded. Rev. Silas Curtis one of the com- 
pany was noted for the fervor of his prayers for 
the slaves ; but it was noticeable that, when they 
gathered for an evening service before separating 
for the night, he failed to mention his " brothers 
in black." This was for years after a source of 
merriment among these friends. 

After they had boarded the cars to return, a 
Kentuckian came through the train, canvassing 
for votes for President. When he came to the 
five delegates, Mr. Cheney said, speaking for 
them, " We are clergymen, who have just attended 
a religious meeting in Ohio and have taken this 
opportunity to visit the grave of Henry Clay, to 
call on his widow and have also been to the home 
of Breckenridge.* We are strangers and do not 

* John C. Breckenridge was the democratic candidate for 


care to vote." " Oh, yes, vote ! " was the man's 
earnest rejoinder. Then Mr. Cheney looked him 
steadily in the eye, and asked, 

" Do you want us to tell you honestly how we 
are going to vote ?" 

" Certainly," was the reply. 

" Well, then, my vote will be cast for Fremont 
and Dayton." The others said the same. Al- 
though their five votes were the only ones cast for 
the Republican candidates, their quiet, gentle- 
manly manner was respected and the man passed 
on without comment. But it is easy to under- 
stand that our travelers felt more comfortable 
after they had safely crossed the Ohio river. At 
any rate they tossed up their hats and otherwise 
showed that the most dignified men have a good 
deal of the spirit of a boy left in them. 


These episodes in Mr. Cheney's life formed a 
valuable safety-valve to an intense nature. He 
returned home to enter upon the work of a very 
busy year and now turned his energies towards 
advancing the interests of the Seminary with the 
hope of opening the school the next fall. This 
included raising money by personal solicitation 
and correspondence, keeping the Seminary in- 
terests before the public through articles in the 
papers and presentation at Quarterly and Yearly 
Meetings, arranging for securing suitable teachers 


and planning the necessary equipment for the 
branches to be taught, and finally in having a 
general oversight of the erection of Hathorn Hall 
and another building then called the Boarding 
Hall, but which was eventually named Parker 
Hall in honor of Judge Thomas Parker of Farm- 
ington, Maine, who gave five thousand dollars 
towards its erection. 

One of his shrewdest moves for raising money 
for the Seminary, during this year, was through a 
call for an offering of one dollar each from the 
children in Sunday schools and elsewhere. Fol- 
lowing Mr. Cheney's appeal, through the Seminary 
Advocate and Morning Star, a wide-spread interest 
was created, which proved to be of three-fold 
value : boys and girls became interested in the 
Seminary through giving money for it, parents 
had their attention called to it through their 
children, and the financial aid was considerable. 
The following letters illustrate the far-reaching 
influence of the movement : 


Dear Sir 

please except my donation for 
the Semenary. 

M. E. C. 

7 years old 

MR. CHENEY Dear Sir, 

I am five years old today ; and I 
am going to send you one dollar to help build the 


Maine State Seminary, and I hope I shall some- 
time come there to school. 

Yours, O. W. D. 

Written with father's hand. 


I have just been reading your piece 
in the Star and thought I would send you my 
dollar It seems very small but my sister says 
that the great Ocean is made of little drops I 
intend to go to Lewiston to school I am eleven 
years old My little cousin D B C wishes me to 
enclose a dollar for him. 

S. A. C. 


Dear Sir 

I am a little girl of eight 

years old, and sister Em Six We send you one 
dollar each which we have earned drying apples 
as the Child offaring for Maine State Seminary 
and hope that when we are older we may go there 
to school father sends one dollar each for little 
Sister M E and H P 

A. M. H. 
E. S. H. 


Dear Sir, 

Enclosed, please find two 

dollars for the benefit of the Maine State Semi- 
nary, one of which I earned myself, and the other 
is from my sister, A. M. T., who is four years old. 
I an eleven years old and hope to be a student in 
your school at some future time 

I am your young And humble servant, 
H. M. T. 


Many of the children, who thus early became 
interested in the school, were afterward among its 
best scholars and later its staunch supporters. 

When we remember that in giving up his 
Augusta pastorate Mr. Cheney cut himself off 
from any means of support, we can appreciate 
something of his circumstances during his first 
year in Lewiston, as referred to in a letter from 
Rev. E. Knowlton, who says in objecting to Mr. 
Cheney's taking boarders : " Reinember you can- 
not do everything and your wife cannot bear 

"As to your expenses while you have been build- 
ing, you shall be made whole, if my feeble 
influence can effect it. You have had a good deal 
to do, a good deal to bear and a good deal to 
sacrifice, and I appreciate, my dear brother, what 
you have done. Men generally will not thank 
you, but your reward is sure. When you are in 
heaven, your labors will live, live, live and work 
for God and humanity. Yes, they will. And I 
almost think that, after all, your labors and sacri- 
fices taken in connection with your gifts and your 
smiling face are enviable." 

We obtain a view of conditions attending the 
embryo school in the summer of 1857 through 
extracts from an article published by Mr. Cheney 
in the Star of June 22nd : 

" The Trustees desire, as best they can, to 
meet the public demand for the opening of 


the school in the fall. They are aware that 
the circumstances are not all that could be 
desired ; but think proper to commence the 
school and to push forward the work of finish- 
ing the buildings as fast as the necessary 
means can be secured. The outside of the 
centre building Hathorn Hall was com- 
pleted last year. The inside, or such portion 
of it as it is proposed to occupy for the 
present, is being plastered and will be painted 
and dried in season for the opening term. 
The outside of the Boarding Hall is nearly 
completed and it is hoped that at least the 
ladies' section will be in readiness for the 
winter term. Students who come may or 
may not be disappointed. 

" No special promises or pledges are made. 
Our first students must make up their minds 
beforehand to find things in an unfinished 
state. But, generally, it is with institutions 
of all kinds as with children first creep, then 
walk. All we can say to our young friends 
is that we promise to do what is in our power 
to make easy, what is hard smooth, what is 

rough Though God has most 

signally owned and favored the enterprise, 
yet it has been attended by trials and sacri- 
fices all the way. If then, young men and 
women shall be ready to come and share in 
sacrificing with the scores and hundreds who 
have the institution dearly at heart, in behalf 
of these friends, we bid them a most hearty 
welcome. They can certainly have one thing 
to remember, and that is that they were with 
the institution in its early struggles and 


And there have seldom gathered anywhere a 
better, truer, braver company of young people 
than responded to these conditional appeals dur- 
ing the opening year. 





On September ist, 1857, the school opened with 
one hundred and thirty-seven students and a corps 
of six teachers, O. B. Cheney, Principal. In 
addition to being a good instructor Mr. Cheney 
possessed other elements of a successful teacher, 
dignity of manner, a commanding presence and a 
kindly, sympathetic expression of countenance. 
He was a natural leader and his years of experi- 
ence in teaching had fitted him so to manage 
young people, as to win their confidence and 
inspire them to do their best. His own ideals 
were high and they made their impress. 

The other teachers were Prof. G. H. Ricker, 
Rev. J. A. Lowell, Miss R. J. Symonds, Precep- 
tress, and Misses J. W. Hoyt and M. R. Cushman, 
assistants, with Dr. Alonzo Garcelon as lect- 
urer upon physiology and hygiene. They had 
been wisely selected and their ministrations gave 
the school character and influence from the 

Three hundred and fifty-one students were in 
attendance during the first school year, a large 
majority of whom were there with the sincere 
purpose of fitting themselves for the best possible 
manhood and womanhood. Of the work done it 
was said at the close of the year : 


11 Thus has passed the first anniversary of 
Maine State Seminary, much to the satis- 
faction of the Board of Instruction, the 
Trustees, the donors to the Institution and 
the public at large." 

Another writer says : 

" The Principal, O. B. Cheney, presided 
with admirable grace and dignity." 

The Trustees' report was very commendatory 
of the work of the teachers. Among the speakers 
at the anniversary dinner were Nelson Dingley, 
editor of the Lewiston Journal later so well 
known for his work in the United States House 
of Representatives, and Prof. Cilley of Bowdoin 
College. The latter complimented the anniversary 
exercises by saying : 

" Maine State Seminary, although in its 
infancy, has this day shown the strength and 
manhood of maturity." 

Thus, during its first year, the school took a 
position of honor among institutions of its kind 
in the country and this position it has ever since 
retained, for the elements of success which then 
attended and placed their stamp upon it have 
continued to characterize its life as a college. 


While there was so much sunshine on one side 
of Mr. Cheney's life during this school year, over 


another side the clouds hung heavily. During 
the years 1857 and 1858 our country suffered 
from a serious and wide-spread financial panic. 
Well established businesses were severely strained. 
Well founded institutions suffered. How much 
more severe then was the trial to a corporation 
like that of Maine State Seminary, that had not 
had time to establish itself on secure foundations ! 
At the time of extreme tension, Mr. Cheney wrote 
of the perplexing conditions resulting : 

"A nation, like a Christian, lives by faith; 
and by faith I mean, in this instance, con- 
fidence of man in man. If fire had attacked 
us, we could have stood it, but the smiting of 
a panic who can bear ? . . . . Money worth 
from two to five per cent a month ; little for 
less than twelve per cent per year. I have 
some four thousand dollars of bank paper 
coming due very soon. I have not a dollar 
with which to meet this. I have just returned 
home from a two weeks' tour and could 
neither beg nor borrow a dollar to meet this. 

"Last Tuesday evening I came to the 
deliberate conclusion to advertise my house 
for sale and if I could find a purchaser, to 
pay first my own debts, and all notes I have 
signed, and then pay the remainder to those 
friends from whom I have borrowed money 
for the Seminary, but who have not my sig- 
nature, to the last dollar I am worth 

I have said that I would go down with Maine 
State Seminary, and I will make good that 
pledge, if the institution fails. My own 


brothers and other relatives and friends pro- 
test, but I am resolved no earthly power 
can change my purpose. I can be poor, but 
no man shall have occasion to reproach the 
cause of Christ on my account, if I can help 
it. I can have a conscience void of offence 
towards God and man and that is wealth 
enough for this poor, short life." 

A suggestive side-light is thrown upon Mr. 
Cheney's life at this time by the following child's 
letter : 


We are little children now and have 
but little money, but when you was at our house 
and we saw how sick you was and how hard you 
had to work to get money to build the Seminary, 
we were afraid it would kill you, and we have 
taken a dollar each out of our banks to send to 
you. We want to go to the school when we are 
old enough. 

Yours with much love 

A. L. B. 

O. V. B. 

M. F. B. 

The financial prospect was indeed dark, but 
kind words of encouragement and promises of 
help cheered the workers. Confidence in Mr. 
Cheney was shown in many ways, one of which 
was his appointment as Treasurer of the Seminary 
Corporation. " Nothing succeeds like success," 
and through the students and their parents and 
friends the Seminary was continually adding to 


its staunch supporters. Burning appeals were 
printed from influential ministers and other 
persons of prominence, stating the situation and 
pleading for help. At the session of each of the 
three Maine Yearly Meetings it was voted to 
render aid by assessing members certain amounts. 
When the question was asked on one occasion, 

" Shall the Seminary fail ?" the replies were : 

" No, no, no. Never, never, never." 

" Is it worth saving ?" 

" Yes, yes, yes," was the response. 

The help received through these and other 
influences proved sufficient to tide over the crisis ; 
and during the years 1858 and 1859 the debt of 
$24,000 was paid. 


The school year, 1859-1860, was the third from 
the opening of the Seminary. Let us try to obtain 
a bird's-eye view of it at that stage of develop- 
ment. Hathorn and Parker Halls were completed 
and furnished with needful apparatus and appli- 
ances. The courses of study were well denned 
and suited to scholars of different grades and 
purposes in life. Classical, scientific, and nor- 
mal diplomas were given for the respective 
courses. Three literary societies were in active 
operation, the Literary Fraternity, Philomathean 
and Ladies' Athenaeum. In September, 1858, a 
Christian Union had been organized, with the 


double purpose of developing Christian lives and 
turning attention of students to the Christian 

In March of the same year a Temperance 
Association had been formed. This introduced 
no new principle into the school, for, from its 
opening, all entering students had been obliged 
to promise that, during their school course, they 
would abstain from the use of intoxicating liquors ; 
and the use of tobacco was not allowed on the 
school premises. 

In March, 1860, the Phillips Missionary Associ- 
ation was organized and named in honor of the 
Phillips family, so many members of which have 
been highly-valued Free Baptist missionaries in 
India, and the most brilliant of whom was the 
well known and much lamented James L. Phillips, 
D.D., Sunday School Missionary for India. 

The religious influence in the school was strong 
and constant. Among the entries in Mr. Cheney's 
diary in 1860 are these : 

"We had an excellent prayer-meeting this morn- 
ing. One young man prayed for the first time." 

" Good prayer-meeting. Ten rose for prayers." 

"Visited several students and conversed with 
them on religion." 

Of the method of management of the school, 
Mr. Cheney wrote at this time : " The discipline 
of the Seminary is on the model of some of the 
best Institutions in the country, the school being 


regarded as a family and the great law of love 
recognized as the governing rule. Private as well 
as public appeals are made to the consciences of 
the students and severe measures will only be 
resorted to when such appeals fail." 

Arrangements had been made by which it was 
possible for persevering students to teach winter 
schools and continue with their classes. Those 
needing to live economically found every pro- 
vision to aid them in boarding-hall and homes. 
More than one thousand different students had 
already availed themselves of these educational 
opportunities and many are the testimonies as to 
the bright, happy life in the school. 

Rev. G. T. Day, D.D., a prominent Free Baptist 
pastor in Rhode Island, and for several years an 
influential member of the Providence School Com- 
mittee, was at this time Chairman of the Examin- 
ing Committee for the Seminary. After a visit to 
the school he writes for the Morning Star a glow- 
ing description of its situation, buildings and 
activities, speaks enthusiastically of its future 
prospects and in closing, says : 

"Of the Principal, who was not at home, it 
were superfluous to say anything, for his plans 
and purposes, his patience and perseverance, his 
zeal and self-devotion, his trials and successes 
are they not written on the hearts of ten thousand 
of his brethren and laid up safely in the archives 
of a grateful memory !" 


This epitome of the Institution's life may be 
understood to cover all the years of the Seminary's 
existence and to characterize in no small degree 

What reason was there now why Mr. Cheney 
might not comfortably occupy the position of 
Principal of the Institution, so largely created 
by his efforts, go on developing it to its highest 
efficiency and cease his earnest struggle for some- 
thing hard to attain ? 

His position in the ministry still brought to 
him many opportunities for public service, not 
only in presenting the interests of the Seminary, 
but in preaching dedication, installation, and 
other occasional sermons. During vacations and 
when traveling to secure funds for the school, he 
occupied some pulpit nearly every Sunday. He 
officiated at many weddings. His home was a 
centre of hospitality ; and individuals and repre- 
sentatives of churches found welcome as they 
came to him for consultation in times of perplexity 
or trouble, or for help in advancing the interests 
::' humanity, for h mm ;e-er:us, not :r.'.y -.vith. 
his sympathy but with his money. 

He had been elected presiding officer in both 
Quarterly and Yearly Meeting sessions. He was 
also member of a committee for the publication of 
the Free Baptist Quarter fa a theological magazine. 
Bat was he satisfied? The answer is a long one. 
He aimed higher. 







Conditions of life change so rapidly that, in 
order rightly to view the succeeding events, we 
must have our thought in harmony with the ideas 
of the time of which we are writing. The intense 
denominational feeling then existing led people of 
all religious beliefs to seek to keep their children 
within their own religious fold by sending them 
to their own schools. Sharing in the sentiment 
of the time, Mr. Cheney was trying to provide for 
Free Baptists such a school as other denomi- 
nations were maintaining, one that would not 
only develop the highest character in individual 
students and thus make valuable workers for God 
and humanity, but also one that through them 
would broaden and strengthen the denomination 
in whose faith he had been reared and which he 
longed to help. 

When, therefore, in 1860 he gave the graduating 
address to a class of fifteen young men who were 
to enter college and realized that he was sending 
them away where the influences would not promote 
their helpfulness to his own denomination, he felt 
a deep concern respecting the result and asked 
himself whether he was not thwarting his own 

In founding the school Mr. Cheney probably 
did not have a fully defined purpose to make it a 


college, but rather the desire to have a school of 
higher grade than the ordinary Seminaries. In 
the working out of the plan he found that he had 
no facilities for giving the advanced work, which 
would in any sense take the place of a college edu- 
cation. Students were advised by influential 
ministers to go directly from the Seminary to the 
Biblical School, but Mr. Cheney could not con- 
scientiously give such advice. He knew too well 
the value of the years of training in a college 
course. Therefore perplexed, but seeking light 
and guidance, he pondered over the matter as the 
months went by. 

A bill was before the United States Congress, 
appropriating money to Agricultural Colleges. 
In 1859, after the debt on Maine State Seminary 
was paid, Mr. Cheney carefully considered the 
advisability of so changing the curriculum as to 
meet the requirements for securing such an ap- 
propriation and thus to attain his end in raising 
the grade of the school. Through Mr. Cheney's 
influence Benjamin E. Bates, a Boston capitalist, 
with large manufacturing interests in Lewiston, 
had become deeply interested in the school. At 
first Mr. Bates warmly seconded the Agricultural 
College movement ; but after due consideration 
the idea was abandoned, as being likely to thwart 
the purpose for which the school was founded. 
But the need of a college became continually more 


In the fall of 1861 a number of students pleaded 
with Mr. Cheney to arrange for a Freshman class. 
They could see their way to take a college course 
only by continuing the economical arrangement 
under which they were living. Their pleas stirred 
him deeply. He longed to help them, but how ? 
Where would he find sympathy in raising money 
for the additional teaching force required. 

In the following October he gave an address 
before the Education Society, at the Free Baptist 
Anniversaries, held in Sutton, Vermont. While 
returning, he became so profoundly impressed that 
he ought to respond favorably to those young 
men that he was oblivious of time and distance 
during the whole journey. But great events were 
absorbing the thought of the nation and Mr. 
Cheney held his peace and waited for a more 
opportune time to impart his convictions to 


In the meantime the country was quivering 
with excitement. On April twelfth, 1861, a shot 
was fired upon Fort Sumter, that echoed through- 
out the land. Young men from the Seminary 
began to respond to the call for troops. That 
Mr. Cheney himself was intensely stirred is shown 
by these entries in his diary : 

"The freemen of the north are ready. Slavery 
must die. I am ready to die for freedom." 


" Young men requested permission to raise the 
Stars and Stripes at sunrise tomorrow morning 
from the top of the Seminary. Of course I granted 
permission. I wish they would cover the build- 
ings all over with the flag of my country." 

" Talked with young men and urged them to be 
true to their country and to give their hearts to 

" Lewiston Light Guards called. Made a speech 
to them from the steps of Parker Hall ; also offered 
prayer. Brought out lemonade." 

Several entries refer to the performance of his 
duties as a member of a Safety Committee.* 

As the weeks passed, the excitement attending 
the Civil War became more and more intense and 
Mr. Cheney could not keep away from " the front." 
We find him, during a part of the summer vacation 
of 1 86 1, serving in the vicinity of Washington, as 
a member of the Christian Commission, distrib- 
uting tracts and supplies and visiting and com- 
forting the soldiers. A few extracts from notes of 
this brief service will suffice : 

" Visited Camp Jackson. The Maine boys were 
glad to see me." 

"Saw Lincoln today. Called with the Chaplains." 

* The excited state of the country and the unsettled con- 
ditions attending the absence from home of the enlisted 
men gave courage to the lawless elements in Society and 
their depredations led to the organizing of Safety Com- 
mittees in nearly all cities, for the purpose of aiding the 
officials in maintaining order by day and especially at night. 


"Attended meeting at Dr. P's, where General 
Scott worships. Shook hands with him." 

"Heard of our defeat (Bull Run). Rained all 
day. Thousands of soldiers came into Washing- 
ton, many straggling in ; a sad day, but God 
will overrule it." 

The letters which Mr. Cheney afterwards 
received from the soldier-boys were cherished 
during his lifetime. 

Before the opening of the fall term the Princi- 
pal was back at his post. In passing through 
Boston he called on Mr. Bates and secured his 
promise of five thousand dollars to aid in build- 
ing another Hall, as soon as the times would 

The following school year was to him one of 
mingled interests. His country's cause, especially 
that of the freedom of the slaves, lay so close to 
his heart that his newspaper articles and diary 
are full of the passing events. He felt so fully 
assured that the freedom of the slaves was to be 
the ultimate result of the war, that he grew im- 
patient at what seemed to him President Lincoln's 
tardiness in proclaiming their emancipation, and 
went to confer with the editor of The Morning 
Star, as to the desirability of sending to the 
President a Free Baptist memorial, officially 
signed, asking for immediate emancipation. 

But Mr. Burr replied to him, " Be patient, 
Brother Cheney. President Lincoln knows what 


he is about. He understands all the circumstances 
better than we do. He will act at the right time. 
Trust him and wait." 

President Cheney saw that the editor was 
probably right and went back to his school duties. 
He was teaching six classes, attending to the 
usual detail of school-work, improving the campus 
by grading and setting out trees, and all the while 
he was pondering over and seeking to solve the 
college problem. When the Trustees met in 1862, 
a committee of students came before them and 
pleaded, some with tears in their eyes, that a 
college course be provided, and Mr. Cheney moved 
that their request be granted, but it was voted 
down. Of the result Mr. Cheney writes : 

"At this time I awoke, as from a long 
sleep ; I felt that I had been asleep, that the 
Trustees were asleep that the denomination 
was asleep and that it was losing many of 
its ablest young men. I decided that the 
time had come for me to take a firm position 
and publicly agitate the matter. Including 
the class then on my hands, I had fitted 
seventy-seven young men for college in five 
years. 'We must have a college,' I said, 'or 
in fifty years we shall cease to exist as a 
denomination.' As if a trumpet called me, I 
started up. I believe it was the call of God. 
I did not desire to enter upon this work, 
God is my witness ; I knew well the prej- 
udices and the cold looks and the hard 
thrusts I must receive, but I did enter upon 


it for Jesus' sake and for the sake of the 
denomination I love." 


In order correctly to apprehend the circum- 
stances that attended Mr. Cheney's efforts during 
a few succeeding years, we must understand some 
denominational conditions at that time. Free 
Baptists were still prominent actors in the great 
reforms. Because of their outspoken position 
against slavery, they were often taunted as " Radi- 
cals" and "Fanatics." In 1839, they had refused 
an accession of twenty thousand Free Communion 
Baptists from the south, because there were slave 
holders among the latter ; and from that time on 
through the years they had hesitated at no sacri- 
fice required by a position consistent with their 
belief. They preferred to be small in numbers 
and true to their convictions. They continued to 
occupy a unique position both in regard to 
woman's work in the church and in favor of tem- 
perance. They had also made good progress in 
educational matters. They now had twelve incor- 
porated Seminaries or Academies in different 
states and a college in Hillsdale, Michigan. The 
latter was in a flourishing condition and was an 
educational centre for the denomination in the 
western and middle states. 

It can now easily be seen that a college in New 
England was just what was then needed to supply 


the educational advantages for denominational 
balance and development. One man saw it then ; 
but at first only a few others. Mr. Cheney's first 
experiences in advocating the college interests are 
illustrated by a trip into New Hampshire. 

" Ten years too soon," said one. 

" First complete the endowment of the Biblical 
School," said others. 

"A college would be well enough, Brother 
Cheney, but where is the money coming from ?" 
said a Father in Israel in a tone that showed that 
the question was settled in the speaker's mind. 

At the office of The Morning Star only oppo- 
sition was met. The resident editor and publisher 
was a shrewd business man and the large expense 
of founding a College was quite beyond his finan- 
cial vision. Seeing Mr. Cheney's keen disap- 
pointment, he said, 

" I don't want to hurt your feelings, Brother 
Cheney. If you want to write some articles, I 
will print them." But when told what was needed 
was for The Morning Star to favor the movement 
editorially, he said positively that could not be. 
(Mr. Cheney's contributions to the paper then 
ceased and for several years his name appeared 
only in connection with official announcements.) 

In the meantime a few leaders in Maine were 
stirring up active opposition, and for a time Mr. 
Cheney felt as though he were all alone in the 
world, his only companion a great purpose. That 


the opposition was local did not make it any the 
less serious, for Maine and New Hampshire were 
really the key to the situation. The denomi- 
nation having originated in southern New Hamp- 
shire, it was stronger in those states than else- 
where, both numerically and in influence. Again, 
as these states would be the ones most largely 
benefited by having the college near home, in- 
difference or opposition there was a serious 
obstacle to interest elsewhere. 

It is a common experience in life that people 
live in the valley of their special interests and 
fail to obtain broad, mountain-top views. This 
was true of those who were so absorbed in the 
interests of the Biblical School that they failed to 
see the need of the College link between that and 
the preparatory schools. It was not opposition to 
education, so much as lack of foresight and con- 
sciousness of present need. This would have 
been steadily and rapidly overcome, however, if it 
had not been for the course pursued by a very 
few individuals. 

Goethe says : " There is nothing more odious 
than the majority. It consists of a few powerful 
men to lead the way ; and of a mass of men who 
trot after them without in the least knowing 
their own mind." This is a strong utterance as 
applied to this case, but it is without doubt true 
that if a few leaders in thought who opposed had 
sought to bring to the people the needs of the 


hour and inspire them with the purpose to meet 
them, the immediate result would have been that 
much misunderstanding would have been pre- 
vented, a great deal of help would have been given 
that was withheld, President Cheney would have 
been spared keen suffering and the reproach of op- 
position would have been saved. But Mr. Cheney 
had his eyes too steadily fixed on the goal to be 
swerved from his purpose ; and when his friends 
asked, " What can you do in the face of so much 
opposition ?" his reply in effect was : " Sail on, 
sail on, and on and on." 

And he kept steadily at work, with the result 
that with better knowledge of the movement, its 
purpose and the need, friends began to rally to 
his support. 

It was especially encouraging that at this time 
Benjamin E. Bates became the staunch friend of 
the College movement. With fine foresight and 
hearty appreciation of Mr. Cheney's plans he 
promised to give fifty thousand dollars towards a 
college on condition that fifty thousand more 
could be raised. Thus encouraged and knowing 
of the rapidly changing feeling on the part of 
several of the Trustees, Mr. Cheney promised 
the students that a Freshman class should be 
formed in the fall. 



It now seemed a matter of great importance to 
him that the right kind of teacher be secured to 
aid in starting the college work. Down through 
the years Mr. Cheney had retained a pleasant 
memory of the bright little boy to whom he taught 
Latin in his Lebanon school, and, knowing of his 
later success, his purpose was formed, if possible, 
to secure " Johnnie " as his assistant. Of the 
circumstances Prof. J. Y. Stanton says : 

" In the spring of 1863, President Cheney 
visited me at Drury, New Hampshire, when I 
was Principal of Pinkerton Academy. He 
proposed that I should be the Professor of 
Latin in the new college. The salary was to 
be $800. Without any hesitation I told him 
if I were elected I would accept. I was con- 
fident that President Cheney could found a 
college and I wished to have a part in it. I 
was elected by the Trustees in 1863, but did 
not enter upon the duties of my professorship 
until 1864, when General Grant was pressing 
on towards Richmond and when the country 
was in the midst of the political campaign 
that ended in the second election of Presi- 
dent Lincoln." 

There were other candidates for the position, 
whose interests were urged by influential friends, 
but President Cheney was so sure that Professor 
Stanton was the right man that he worked 


earnestly to have the Trustees elect him. The 
life-work of usefulness that has followed has shown 
the wisdom of the choice. 

When the Trustees met in 1863, some influence 
had so wrought upon them that they accepted Mr. 
Bates's offer, voted to establish a course of collegi- 
ate study, petitioned the Legislature for an 
enlarged charter, changing the name to Bates 
College, in honor of its generous patron, and 
elected Jonathan Y. Stanton professor of Latin 
and Greek. An anonymous letter purporting to 
come from the wife of a clergyman, attacking Mr. 
Cheney because he wished to change the Seminary 
to a College, was voted unworthy of notice. This 
forward movement of the Trustees laid a solid 
foundation on which to build. At a meeting of 
the Free Baptist General Conference, held in 
Hillsdale in the fall of 1862, the College move- 
ment had been denominationally endorsed. 

But opposition to any movement once started 
is like the rolling snow-ball, that gathers size and 
momentum in its progress. The increasing num- 
ber of the friends of the College seemed to make 
the opposers more determined. Mr. Cheney was 
accused of dishonesty in diverting money that 
had been raised for a Seminary to a College. A 
circular was printed and widely distributed, mak- 
ing this formal accusation. As a result of this, 
one Maine Yearly Meeting passed resolutions of 


censure.* A report was circulated that Mr. Bates 
had never promised to give fifty thousand dollars. 
Going to his office one day, Mr. Cheney found 
him feeling very indignant at the reported accusa- 
tion and determined to withdraw from the whole 
enterprise. But Mr. Cheney quietly said to him : 

"This is not aimed at you, Mr. Bates. It 
is all opposition to me. There are but few 
leaders in this movement. Our people as a 
whole do not realize the need which I see ; 
neither do they understand enough of the 
plans to intelligently judge of them. What 
we need to do is to go right ahead, paying no 
attention to criticism, and in due time they 
will see that we are right and your name will 
be highly honored for your foresight and 

When Mr. Cheney had finished, Mr. Bates 
grasped his hand and said : " I will stand by 
you, Mr. Cheney ;" and he most nobly honored 
his pledge. 

Now came the task of raising fifty thousand 
dollars with which to meet Mr. Bates's pledge, 
and Mr. Cheney went bravely about it. Kind and 
sympathetic letters came to encourage him of 
which the following is a specimen extract : 

" I would do anything I could to encourage you 

* Twenty years later, when a large majority of New Eng- 
land Free Baptist pulpits were occupied by graduates of 
Bates College, these resolutions were expunged from the 
minutes and President Cheney was informed of the fact. 


and aid the noble enterprise now lying on your 
hands and heart. Somehow that thing must go. It 
seems like a providential summons to a higher 
plane of denominational life. It is not humility 
but cowardice to abide in the valley when He bids 
us to go higher. Help will attend our dutiful 
response to this call. If it seems presumption to 
risk such an undertaking, I believe it is worse 
than presumption to refuse it. A failure even 
amid a noble, energetic struggle is far better than 
an indolent consent to do nothing. God be with 
you in the work. 

Yours truly, 

GEO. T. DAY." 

Other letters written with the acid of censure 
burned into his soul. One day, when one was 
received that was especially unkind, Mrs. Cheney 
said, with flashing eyes, 

"Oren Cheney, if you don't answer that I 

" But," he replied, " of what use would it be ? 
I am still in a minority. The majority do not see 
the results to be. If I get into a conflict, the 
papers will take it up and bitter discussions will 
follow. No, the only course for me is to keep 
steadily at work, taking no notice of attacks upon 
me and in due time I shall be exonerated and 
Bates College will need no excuse for existing." 

Not one letter of that stamp was ever answered. 
Most of them were at once destroyed. In one 
stray one, that escaped the fire, the writer refuses 


in curt language to accede to Mr. Cheney's request 
that he attend a meeting and use his influence for 
the college, and adds : 

" Any scheme or talk about a college, or raising 
money in these times, is all nonsense and moon- 
shine. You will hardly expect me to go sixty 
miles for nothing." 

Of these writers President Cheney said : 

" They were good men. They had been among 
my best friends. I loved them, but we could not 
see alike." 

Probably this made the suffering from opposi- 
tion all the keener. At midnight he walked the 
Chapel aisles and struggled with his feelings. In 
a sheltered nook in a grove back of the college 
buildings he often sought light and strength from 
above. Then he worked "on and on and on." 




In 1863 President Cheney was honored by the 
conferring upon him by Wesleyan University of 
the degree of Doctor of Divinity. This was a 
timely expression of appreciation. Whatever of 
dignity a title can bestow came to his aid in his 
early work as College President. 

There are reasons why the times were favorable 
to founding a college. Beginnings are necessarily 
small. Under any circumstances there would be 
few students in the first classes. The continual 
enlistment of young men and the distraction of 
thought connected with the Civil War had 
diminished the numbers in all schools ; therefore 
the nucleus of a college at Bates attracted less 
attention than it would have received under other 

The year 1863 was the darkest time of the war. 
Then came the Emancipation Proclamation, with 
its prophecy of success. In the same month when 
this went into effect, January, 1864, the changed 
charter was received from the Maine Legislature, 
conferring college privileges and rechristening the 
institution as Bates College. This was accom- 
panied by a conditional gift from the state to the 
College of fifty-one thousand acres of land. The 
foundation work for the College was thus laid, 
when the thought of the people was mainly 


directed elsewhere, and, during the following few 
years of national disturbance, there was a steady 
development in college plans, preparatory to the 
time when life should again flow in ordinary 

The action of the Legislature, above referred to, 
had been the result of a hard struggle on Presi- 
dent Cheney's part. A few determined opposers 
were still trying to thwart his plans. Members of 
the Legislature were told : " Brother Cheney is 
honest and sincere, but he will fail and do dis- 
credit to himself and his denomination." When 
told of this, President Cheney replied, " I am 
determined not to fail." 


Prof. Stanton thus pictures for us the College 
life in its early days : 

"On my arrival I found in the College 
proper a Sophomore class, which consisted 
of eight members at its graduation, and a 
Freshman class of five members. In many 
western Institutions the College and prepara- 
tory school were combined. President 
Cheney thought at first that this could be 
done at Bates. But within a year he saw 
that, in order for a College in New England 
to be a success, it must be an Institution by 
itself. In this view all his associates in the 
Faculty sympathized with him, but the 
Trustees were at first divided in opinion. 


However, in a short time all was harmoni- 
ously settled. I do not think that a College 
President ever had a more difficult task to 
perform, all requiring great courage, firmness 
and forbearance, all of which qualities Dr. 
Cheney possessed in a marked degree." 

In settling this problem President Cheney went 
on the principle that for every need there must be 
a supply. Pittsfield had been one of the places 
originally considered for the location of the Semi- 
nary. Mr. Cheney at first thought that the best 
thing to do was to remove the Seminary depart- 
ment there, and in order to test the feeling of the 
people he visited the place and found the senti- 
ment so favorable to his purpose that he raised in 
the vicinity twenty thousand dollars for carrying 
out the plan. 

But, when he tested further the feelings of 
friends of the College, he saw that another course 
would be wiser. The result was that the money 
raised at Pittsfield was used in founding there the 
Maine Central Institute, which opened for 
students in January, 1866, having as Principal, 
the first graduate of Bates College, Arthur Given, 
and Dr. Cheney as one of its Trustees. It has 
continued to be a good feeder to Bates College 
and is a school whose beneficent life has been 
a blessing to hundreds of young people. 

At Lewiston arrangements were soon made to 


change the Seminary department to a preparatory 
school for the College, and the plan culminated in 
the Latin School. 

On his graduation from Bowdoin College in 
1863 Dr. Cheney's son, Horace, began the work 
of founding the Bates College Library, using, to 
start with, a gift from his father of one hundred 
dollars. A year later the work passed into Prof. 
Stanton's hands. 

From an " Appeal to the Benevolent," published 
in November 1864, we obtain a peep at other 
existing conditions. President Cheney says : 

" The number of students in attendance 
during the past year were three hundred and 
twenty-five, twenty-six in the college depart- 
ment. The school has sent one hundred and 
seventy-five of its young men to the war, 
many of them never to return. Bates College 
is not standing in the way of any other insti- 
tution, but is occupying and cultivating 
ground, which before had lain waste. The 
College is in a prosperous condition so far as 
its means will allow and only lacks funds for 
further development." 

Among the honored names that composed the 
first Bates Board of Fellows, we find those of Hon. 
Nelson Dingley and Hon. James G. Elaine ; on 
each of whom Bates College subsequently con- 
ferred the degree of LL.D. 



The perplexity of starting a College within a 
Seminary had one phase not yet referred to. In 
the class ready for the College Freshman year 
there were girls as well as boys fine scholars, 
ready and ambitious to go on, and at first the 
boys made no objection ; but the ridicule which 
they had to endure from every direction made 
them feel that, not only for their own comfort 
would it be best for the girls to leave, but it 
seemed to their boyish minds an absolute impossi- 
bility for the College to be successfully founded 
if the girls remained. 

The situation was gradually disclosed to the 
young women, and after some animated discussions 
and dignified protests all of them withdrew, leav- 
ing the young men, as was supposed, in undis- 
turbed possession of the field. 

However, in 1865, there had entered Bates, one 
young woman who could not so readily relinquish 
the hope that had been awakened by the liberal 
charter under which Bates College had been 
founded. In spite of the uncongenial atmosphere 
in which she found herself, in spite of occasional 
slights and constant ill-concealed dissatisfaction 
with her presence, she persisted in claiming and 
maintaining her right to the opportunities which 
broad-minded men had gained for her. 

Her unconquerable determination brought to 


the new and struggling Institution a serious prob- 
lem. Its solution was not without many difficul- 

The College had a name to make, a reputation 
to establish. There were in the three classes more 
than twenty young men. How would they like to 
have a woman graduate as their equal ? Public 
sentiment would have to be braved. "Woman's 
Sphere " had very positive limitations in most 
minds. " Higher education for woman " was an 
unfamiliar phrase. Could the college afford to 
brave the criticisms from other Institutions 
because of what would be called an erratic course ? 
There were enough slurring remarks already in 
circulation among friends of other Colleges about 
" Bates Academy." Ordinary judgment would 
decide that, in order for the College to be a 
success, it must conform to the customs of other 
long established Institutions. 

On the other hand Dr. Cheney was entirely 
ahead of his time in his ideas as to woman's God- 
given freedom to do anything for which she has 
the ability, and freely expressed in his written 
articles his sympathy with her work in reforms of 
the day. The school was permeated with the 
spirit of a denomination, which had never refused 
a worthy woman any service in the church, 
whether it was a part in the prayer-meeting, or 
ordination to the Christian ministry. 


There was nothing in the charter that inter- 
fered, for in changing from Maine State Semi- 
nary to Bates College the clause was retained 
making the Institution open to young men and 
young women. 

But beyond and above all was the fact that, if a 
woman wanted a college education, there was no 
good reason for refusing her the opportunity to 
secure it. There could be no personal objection 
to Mary W. Mitchell. She was well qualified to 
enter and, if character were to be considered, a 
young woman, who by working in the mill had 
earned money to pay off the mortgage on her 
father's farm and then to fit herself for college, 
surely showed energy and ability worthy of any 
development she desired. 

After considering all the arguments on both 
sides of this important question, instead of the 
negative reply that was given to Mary A. Liver- 
more by a New England College President, Mary 
W. Mitchell was assured that she was in Bates 
College to stay. The crisis thus forced upon the 
College by the determination of this young woman 
was squarely met, and the doors thus set wide 
open for women have never since been closed. 

Because of State gifts to the College, the 
Governor could confer scholarships on worthy 
students. Desiring to help so brave a girl and in 
order to be sure of success, President Cheney 
went to Augusta and made a personal request to 


the Governor for a scholarship for his protege. 
Being successful, he returned highly elated and 
calling Miss Mitchell to him gave her the roll 
saying : 

" Mary, I have something for you." 

She took it, deliberately untied the ribbon, 
unrolled it, saw what it was, quietly rolled and 
tied it, then giving it back, said : 

" I cannot take that, Mr. Cheney. Give it to the 
brethren. I can take care of myself." And she did. 

That this action by the College faculty was 
promptly taken advantage of by opposers is illus- 
trated by this little dialogue between friends of 
another college : 

" How many College students have they down 
at Bates Seminary ?" 

" Five and a nigger and a woman."* 


It was a strategic movement to have the General 
Conference meet in Lewiston in October, 1865. 
The gathering of representative Free Baptists from 

* The after life of the first woman graduate from a New 
England college is worthy of note. She taught in the 
Worcester High School, later in Vassar College, afterwards 
opened a private school for young ladies, West Chester 
Park, Boston. In 1877 she was the poet of the Bates 
Alumni Association. Later she married a man of culture 
and they lived a very retired life. But her pastor says that 
she told him of her twelve years old daughter as equally 
at home in reciting Latin Grammar or in making a loaf of 


all parts of the denomination gave an opportunity 
for an understanding of the school, its status, 
plans and purposes, which proved very valuable. 
Dr. Cheney preached the Conference sermon, of 
which a reporter says : " It was listened to with 
marked interest and attention." Using for a text, 
"A little one shall become a thousand," out of 
a full heart the speaker reviewed the history of the 
denomination, gave high praise to the noble, self- 
sacrificing fathers, detailed the needs for which 
the College was founded, and earnestly pleaded 
for help and sympathy in its development, with 
the result that thereafter Bates College had a 
recognized position of influence in the denomi- 

The year 1865 is historically interesting as 
marking the close of the war. In the April vaca- 
tion of this year, while Dr. Cheney was on a busi- 
ness tour, he heard that conditions were reaching 
a crisis at the front and hastened on to Washing- 
ton. Learning of Lee's surrender, he went the 
next day to Richmond and there rejoiced with the 
victorious, but with pity for the vanquished brave 
he visited and talked hopefully with the Con- 
federate prisoners. But the future of another 
class of people especially interested him. He 
asked himself, " What is to be done with, and for, 
the Freedmen, hundreds of whom are flocking 
northward ?" His interest in the race had grown, 
when at different times in Washington and its 


vicinity he had attended the churches of the 
colored people, had studied their characteristics 
and thought about their possibilities ; and his 
sympathy for them was such that he would gladly 
at this time have given his energies to their 
uplifting, but brain and hands were already full. 
The College interests would not brook delay, so 
he returned to his work. 

The country now entered upon a new life with 
changed conditions, and for schools a more favor- 
able time was at hand. Business and money 
would soon move in ordinary channels ; but the 
financial work to be done for Bates College was a 
heavy one. 

Dr. Cheney had now given eleven years of 
strenuous work to the Institution, and his physi- 
cal forces were beginning to rebel against the 
continuous strain. In a " Private Circular " issued 
to the Trustees and immediate friends of the 
College in January, 1866, Dr. Cheney expresses 
thanks for a vote, giving him six months vacation, 
but says he has failed to find any one to take the 
agency, and he feels that the exigencies are such 
that he must forego any rest-time and keep on 
with his work at any cost to himself. He says : 

" A fourth class of sixteen students will 
soon be formed and then full College work 
will be going on. There is no time to lose. 
Fifty thousand dollars more can be depended 
on from Boston parties on condition that 


within three years, one hundred thousand can 
be secured. We shall then have in buildings 
and site fifty thousand dollars, in cash fund, 
including state lands, two hundred thousand 
dollars. Under the circumstances I decide 
to continue my work without vacation. I am 
willing to cut off years from my life, if I can 
see the Institution established on a firm foun- 

So he took up again the arduous task of raising 
money ; money to complete the thirty thousand, 
in order to secure the state appropriation of land ; 
money to meet the conditions of the fifty thousand 
dollars, pledged in Boston ; money for new build- 
ings ; money for additional teachers. Within three 
years there were three new professors added to 
the teaching force, Rev. Benjamin F. Hayes, 
Richard C. Stanley and Thomas L. Angell. 

Another branch of President Cheney's work, to 
which no reference has been made, was that of 
securing students. This had been going on dur- 
ing all the years of the Seminary's existence, but 
was renewed with increased zeal in the develop- 
ment of the College. Many a bright boy, with 
longing for an education apparently unattainable, 
was encouraged by the President's genial hope- 
fulness and inspiring words to undertake a college 
course;. and many others, who had not aspired 
to a higher education, had their attention turned 
to it by the sympathetic touch of a kind hand, 


the earnest look in smiling eyes, accompanied by, 
"You are a bright boy. You ought to go to 
college. Come to Bates." 

Before starting on his new money-raising tour, 
in order to be true to all obligations to the Bibli- 
cal School, President Cheney invited the agent of 
that school to visit and solicit money in Lewis- 
ton, personally giving three hundred dollars 
towards the amount raised there. He then him- 
self for a short time took the field for that school, 
visiting and collecting money in five cities to 
help complete the endowment. He then felt that 
he could without objection on the part of any 
consistently go on with the work of soliciting 
money for the college. 

It was fortunate for Dr. Cheney at this critical 
time that he had such faithful coadjutors in the 
College Faculty. Prof. Stanton helps us to obtain 
some views from the inside of college life : 

" In the early years of the College Presi- 
dent Cheney was compelled to be away from 
home much of the time. Whatever the 
Faculty did in his absence had his hearty 
endorsement. He left each instructor free to 
do his own work in his own way. If any of 
us encountered difficulties in dealing with 
students, he was sure to have the sympathy 
and support of the President. He made us 
feel that he and we were co-operating in 
establishing an Institution ; that we were 
building as well as he and that he could not 


do without us. He was agreeable, honorable, 
and free from self-assertion in his relation 
with his associates in the Faculty. It was 
characteristic of him not to speak approv- 
ingly of one in his presence, but he bore him- 
self with us in such a way that we always felt 
that we had his approval and confidence. As 
a college President, Dr. Cheney was most 

" He was a man of great faith. He believed 
that nothing could absolutely fail that was 
good. His faith that God had a work for 
Bates College to do was magnificent. He 
trusted in God, as few men can, but ' kept his 
powder dry.' His confidence was contagious." 








At the beginning of the year 1867 we find the 
country still in the midst of reconstruction. By 
an amendment to the constitution slavery had 
been abolished throughout the South and three 
and a half millions of Freedmen were now self- 
dependent. Ignorant, with brain and hand un- 
trained, with false ideas of the use of freedom, 
their future was causing serious thought, especially 
among those who had been anxious for their 
emancipation. Reference has already been made 
to Dr. Cheney's interest in them. This was now 
deepened by the fact that three Maine State 
Seminary students had been for more than a year 
in the vicinity of Harper's Ferry trying to plant 
schools in that historic locality. 

About this time, unexpectedly to himself, he 
became a factor in the solution of the problem of 
negro education. In Febmary, 1867, he went to 
see John Storer, at his home in Sanford, Maine. 
Mr. Storer had been an interested donor to Bates 
College and Dr. Cheney now hoped to secure 
another thousand dollars from him, but he found 
him so deeply absorbed in a different plan, that 
he saw at once that it was an inopportune time to 
press the interests of the College. 

Mr. Storer was about to make a gift of ten 
thousand dollars to some organized body that he 


could trust to add it to and so manage it that it 
would be a permanent blessing to the colored race. 
He had the papers spread out before him, pre- 
paratory to the execution of the plan. Then, 
with sudden foresight, Dr. Cheney saw a great 
opportunity, and asked : 

" Why not give the money to Free Baptists ? 
They have always been true to the interests of the 
colored race. Some of their representatives are 
already at work establishing schools in the south." 
Mr. Storer pondered ; then said : 

" I should like to give it to your people, for I 
honor them for the position they have taken, but 
I fear they are not financially strong enough to 
carry on and develop such an enterprise, as it 
should be managed." Then followed hours of 
talk and careful consideration of ways and means. 
The result was reached about midnight and is 
concisely stated in Dr. Cheney's diary. 

February 6th. " Come to John Storer's. Write 
out a plan for a Freedmen's College." 

February jth, " Mr. Storer signs the papers, 
giving to Free Baptists $10,000 for a Freedmen's 

Thus, without any previous purpose, Dr. Cheney 
was instrumental in giving to Free Baptists one of 
their most important and fruitful fields of labor 
and he became a helper in inaugurating a move- 
ment which has proved to be an inestimable 


blessing to large numbers of the negro race, and 
through them to our country. 

In his April vacation we find President Cheney 
in West Virginia, consulting with Rev. N. C. 
Brackett and wife and Annie Dudley, the pioneer 
representatives of Maine State Seminary, already 
at work there. After visiting and considering 
many different localities, all agreed that the 
vicinity of Harper's Ferry was the most desirable 
location for the proposed school. Much property 
in the vicinity was owned by the government. 
When it was proposed to ask for the gift of the 
Lockwood House, a large structure somewhat 
riddled with shells, President Cheney said : 

" Ask Congress for all Camp Hill and take what 
you can get." 

Then came one of the results of Dr. Cheney's 
close touch with political life in Augusta. His 
friends in Congress, including the Maine Senators, 
Fessenden and Morrill, knew that his efforts in 
the past had been crowned with success. His 
diary for April gives us these items : 

April 14. " Speak to the colored people." 

April 16. "Call on Senators Fessenden and 
Morrill and General Howard with great success." 

April 20. "Met Secretary Stan ton. He is 

Rev. N. C. Brackett, Ph.D., states the result 


" A bill had been introduced in the Senate, 
providing for the sale of the two great water 
powers and all that was left of the United 
States Armory and Rifle Works at Harper's 
Ferry, including many valuable houses and 
much land. One section of the bill donated 
to certain churches, schools and benevolent 
orders lots of land previously leased to them. 

" The bill had been referred to the Military 
Committee, of which General Henry Wilson 
was chairman. He allowed Senator Fessen- 
den to take the bill to examine and amend, 
and in his room Dr. Cheney remodeled the 
section providing for gifts so as to include 
Storer College, giving to her four lots. Con- 
servative brethren had told me to ask for 
one. We violated instructions and asked for 
four. The section written out by Dr. Cheney 
became a law without the change of a letter. 
Strangely enough, Dr. Cheney's name figures 
in hundreds of deeds in the records of Jeffer- 
son county, as the first deed was to Oren B. 
Cheney and others." 

The gift included four government buildings 
and seven acres of land on Camp Hill, the latter 
being then consecrated by the graves of three 
hundred Union soldiers. The location is a beauti- 
ful one, between the Potomac and Shenandoah 
rivers. It overlooks the scene of John Brown's 
raid and commands a view of the heights where 
Union and Confederate soldiers battled so bravely. 
Upon Rev. N. C. Brackett, who seemed divinely 
called to, and was eminently fitted for the work, 


the responsibility then rested of devising plans 
for and developing the school. 

April 26th, President Cheney reached home, 
having on the way awakened an interest in the 
project in parties in Harrisburg, New York, Provi- 
dence and Boston, and having done a month's 
work of far-reaching value. 

The New Hampshire Yearly Meeting was at 
that time one of the most important of Free 
Baptist gatherings ; owing to its position as a 
numerical centre, persons having important 
denominational business attended it, if possible. 
There President Cheney went early in June to 
announce the conditional gift of Mr. Storer and 
the result of his trip to Washington and to plan 
for raising the money required to secure Mr. 
Storer's pledge. Dr. G. H. Ball was at once 
enthused with the project and became an earnest 
worker in carrying it out. Many others gladly 
endorsed the movement, but, it is strange that a 
" but " must lie across the path of all onward 
movements but a few failed to see the possi- 
bilities promised. One of these doubters asked 
another : 

" What does Cheney want now ? " 

"Oh, he is trying to build another railroad to 
the moon," was the reply. 

Through a sleepless night Doctors Ball and 
Cheney considered plans for raising the $10,000 
required to meet Mr. Storer's pledge. But they 


were not allowed to present these plans to the 
Yearly Meeting. They were not disheartened, 
however. Dr. Ball soon after presented the matter 
before a New York Yearly Meeting, where such 
enthusiasm was aroused that he entered the field 
as a financial agent for the school. 

Dr. Cheney's next move was towards securing 
a charter which must be obtained in West Vir- 
ginia, and wrote one and sent it to Prof. Brackett. 
So great was the opposition, however, on the part 
of the residents of Harper's Ferry and vicinity to 
having a school located there that should be eli- 
gible to colored people, that it was uncertain when 
the charter could be obtained. In order to hold 
the property in the meantime, Dr. Cheney secured 
for the purpose the appointment by the New 
Hampshire Legislature of a Commission, with 
which he was officially connected. 

When, in due time, Rev. N. C. Brackett, by the 
exercise of rare tact succeeded in obtaining favor- 
able action upon the charter from the West Vir- 
ginia Legislature, Dr. Cheney signed the deed 
passing the property over to the new corporation. 
Although he continued to be a helper in develop- 
ing Storer and was a member of the Board of 
Trustees during his lifetime, his main work for it 
was in its beginning. 



It must have been a happy day for President 
Cheney, when in July 1867 he presided at the 
first Bates College Commencement. It is true 
there were but eight graduates from the College 
department, but they were men of whom any 
college might be proud, and, judged from a high 
standard of value, have paid in Christian service 
far more than all the college has cost the Free 
Baptist denomination. 

The class certainly made up in courageous 
spirit what it lacked in numbers. The members 
arranged for a concert on Tuesday evening of 
Commencement week which attracted wide notice, 
for they sent to New York for Dodworth's band, 
at an expense of $1,200. 

As this was then the most noted band in the 
country and the event was such an unusual one 
for Lewiston at that time, the boys were able to 
place the tickets at two dollars each. As one of 
the class declared in a speech at a late Commence- 
ment dinner, " by the interest of the citizens and 
a special interposition of divine Providence the 
expenses were nearly covered." 

The class thus established a memorial to 
itself, for a high class Tuesday evening concert 
has been a feature of Commencement week ever 

The report of this Commencement in The 


Morning Star was the first article of importance 
sent by Dr. Cheney since the college movement 
began. Success was now too well assured for 
opposers to make reply. 





The Free Baptist General Conference, held in 
Buffalo in 1868, was notable for two movements 
which have an intimate connection with this 
narrative. One was the consideration of a plan 
to remove the Biblical School from New Hampton 
to a more central locality and one better suited to 
its needs. President Cheney and some of his 
friends had felt for some time that it would be far 
better for that school to be closely related to a 
College, because of the many additional facilities 
thereby secured. 

The result of the discussion at the 1868 General 
Conference was the decision by the Education 
Society to divide the endowment money of the 
Biblical School between Bates and Hillsdale Col- 
leges, with due regard to the proportion raised in 
their respective localities. Bates, on its part, was 
to provide a suitable building and three additional 
professors. This action culminated in 1870, and 
thereafter Bates College has had a theological 
department, from which have graduated at least 
one hundred and fifty ministers. 

The other matter before the Buffalo Conference 
was a plan to organize the denominational work 
on a more business-like and systematic basis, by 
having the body incorporated and thus made 


legally able to hold and administer the property 
then held by the different Benevolent Societies. 

At the previous General Conference in Lewis- 
ton, Doctors Ball and Cheney had mutally agreed 
that such an organization would make all denomi- 
national plans more effective. Dr. Ball there 
presented a resolution favoring it. Dr. Cheney 
spoke in its interest and it was referred to a Com- 
mittee. At the Buffalo Conference Dr. Ball re- 
ported for the Committee an act by the New 
York legislature, incorporating the Free Baptist 
General Conference. Dr. Cheney led in its sup- 
port. It failed of adoption by three or four votes, 
but its friends knew its ultimate victory was only 
a question of time. 

Six years later at the General Conference of 
1874, sympathy with the movement led to the 
appointment of a Conference Board of seven mem- 
bers. This Board was to act " in the interim 
between sessions in conducting correspondence 
and promoting fellowship and union with other 
Christian denominations and also to receive reso 
lutions and other business to lay before Con- 
ference, with such suggestions as shall be deemed 
expedient." Of this Board Dr. Cheney was elected 
Chairman. It entirely failed, however, to embody 
the thought of the leaders, and they continued 
their efforts to secure the incorporation of the 



Two other movements, with the initiation of 
which Dr. Cheney was connected, were interwoven 
with conditions following the Civil War. 

One was the organizing of work among women. 
For some years before the war, conditions had 
been gradually changing, so as to increase the 
opportunities of women for development. 

Among Free Baptists, as early as 1847, there 
had been organized " The Freewill Baptist Female 
Missionary Society," which continued a useful 
life for more than twenty years. 

Although no objection would have been made, 
had the officers seen fit to conduct their public 
meetings, they yielded to the custom of the times 
and called upon " the brethren " to assist them. 

Mrs. O. B. (Nancy P.) Cheney was the first 
Recording Secretary and her husband was repeat- 
edly called upon to read her reports. After her 
resignation he continued to " help those women " 
in various public capacities. At the General Con- 
ference, in Lewiston, in 1865, he presided over 
one of the largest public meetings held by them. 
But the Society lacked the vigor which attends an 
independent, responsible life and its work was 
gradually discontinued. 

The Civil War wrought a wonderful change in 
the status of women. During its continuance they 
organized everywhere to minister to the needs of 


the soldiers. Week after week they met to scrape 
lint, make bandages and garments and talk of 
something outside of their own lives. Some went 
to " the front," to serve in various capacities. At 
home thousands were obliged to step out of the 
ruts of their lines and on farms, in stores and in 
business of almost every kind, they learned their 
power. It was an epoch-making time. Never 
again could life for women flow in its old channels. 
Beginning in the late sixties and continuing 
through the seventies, women organized for Mis- 
sion work in almost every Christian denomination. 
The Woman's Christian Temperance Union and a 
large number of other philanthropic enterprises 
came into being at the same time. This decade 
will be full of rich nuggets for future historians. 

In 1873 the Free Baptist Woman's Missionary 
Society superseded the former organization, pat- 
terned on a much broader plan. Dr. Cheney was 
one of the most interested and sympathetic ob- 
servers of this new movement. He was often an 
attentive listener at the exercises, conducted 
entirely by the women ; he made his wife a life 
member of the Society, and later obtained for it a 
charter from the Maine Legislature. Ten years 
after we shall find an important movement result- 
ing from his continued study of their work. 

Another result of the Civil War was the lower- 
ing of denominational walls. Chaplains for the 
army had been appointed with small regards to 


creeds, and " the boys " in camp or hospital cared 
little about the sectarian name of the man who 
comforted and helped them. During the recon- 
struction period that followed the war, new homes 
were often established in places where it was 
impossible to continue the old denominational 
relations. Added to this, there was a natural 
growth in breadth of thought; all of which 
resulted in movements to establish more sym- 
pathetic relations between Christians of different 

Among Free Baptists one of the outgrowths of 
this was the publication in New York of the 
Baptist Union, an eight page weekly, which from 
1871 through six volumes spoke strong, true words 
as to the duty of all Baptists to unite their forces. 
Although this was a private enterprise, founded 
and developed by Rev. G. H. Ball, D.D., aided by 
a local Board of Publication, hearty sympathy and 
financial aid were received from many Free Bap- 
tists, especially in New York and the Central 
States. Although President Cheney was too 
deeply absorbed in his own life work to become 
active in this movement, Dr. Ball says : 

" While I was publishing the Baptist Union 
and advocating the union of all Baptists on 
the basis of church independence and entire 
freedom for each church to practice restricted, 
or unlimited communion with Christians 
at the Lord's table, Dr. Cheney heartily 


approved, and, when the matter came up in 
General Conference, he always defended the 
position advocated by the paper." 

But some devoted friends of The Morning Star 
became more and more opposed to the Baptist 
Union, feeling that an effort for denominational 
union was premature and that Free Baptists were 
not strong enough to support two papers. Dr. 
Cheney saw with clear vision both sides of the 
question ; that the principles being advocated 
were right and must ultimately prevail, but that 
under existing conditions, it would be impossible 
for Free Baptists to see alike about the matter. 

Because of his attitude he was appealed to by 
parties on both sides of the question for leader- 
ship of their respective views. In response, he 
tried his best to secure some action that would 
result in harmony. He met in consultation with 
New York friends and with those representing 
The Morning Star, He himself called a meeting 
of eight or ten men of differing views, but failing 
to secure desired action he says, at its close, " I 
stood alone." 

Then by letters, he sounded notes of warning, 
in order to avert the clash, which he saw was 
imminent at the coming General Conference at 
Providence, R. I. 

As a result of his position, although he received 
" some hard thrusts " from extremists, earnest 


opposers to each other retained their respect for 
his judgment, and he was the constant adviser of 
parties representing both sides, until the final 
settlement by the union of the papers in 1877. 






President Cheney was now putting forth his 
best efforts to advance the financial interests of 
the College. The sympathy felt for him by 
persons with whom he had been allied in reforma- 
tion movements is shown by the letter of intro- 
duction, on the pages following, from Henry Ward 

In connection with a trip to Florida in 1869 to 
inspect property that had come into possession of 
the College, there were many interesting experi- 
ences. In Washington he received gratifying 
assurances of aid from James G. Elaine and other 
prominent persons. 

A woman, prominent in philanthropy, once said 
to Dr. Cheney : " I never saw any one like you, 
Oren Cheney ; if anything happens, you are sure 
to be there." This saying had many confirma- 
tions ; among them the fact that while on his trip 
in Washington, he heard the discussion in the 
U. S. Senate on the fifteenth Amendment to the 
Constitution. On his return trip, he heard Presi- 
dent Grant's inaugural address. 

NOTE Something of what Hates College was passing 
through at this time is indicated by the following item 
published in a Maine paper : " The attention of that one- 
horse Institution, Bates, is called to the erratic conduct of 
' James G. Blaine ' who was here on Tuesday as busy as the 
devil in a gale of wind. A LL.D. ought to be more 



He visited friends in prominent cities of the 

coast states. At Raleigh he says : " Col. said 

to me : ' We will make up fifteen or twenty thous- 
and dollars for you if we prosper.' ' 

In Boston much financial encouragement was re- 
ceived. President Cheney's notes say : " Mr. Bates 
is ready at any time, if we will get $25,000 more." 
On the whole the trip was a very gratifying one, 
and is a type of many others which followed. 


In the early seventies, College matters required 
much tactfulness for their adjustment. We have 
already explained the removal to Lewiston of the 
Biblical School. This was attended with the 
usual amount of friction caused by change in a 
school location. Local interests in New Hamp- 
shire protested. Individuals opposed, as in the 
instance of the man who demanded if the school 
go to Lewiston, the $3,000, which he had given be 
returned to him. Legal questions were also 
raised, which required time and tact for their 

Maine State Seminary had been virtually re- 
moved to Pittsfield, but it took time and energy 
to aid in adjusting the affairs of the new school, 
and we find President Cheney often there in con- 
sultation with the Trustees. 

The Nichols Latin School, which was to take 


the local place of Maine State Seminary as a pre- 
paratory school for the College, had now a build- 
ing of its own on a lot adjoining Bates College 
campus, and between the lines must be read what 
it had meant to secure land, building and other 

In 1870 we find President Cheney negotiating 
for more teachers and soon after, Professor G. C. 
Chase and J. H. Rand were added to the faculty, 
both having been successful teachers since their 
graduation from Bates, the former in its second 
and the latter in its first class. President Cheney 
soon saw in Prof. Chase the qualifications which 
made him his choice as his successor. 


The Commencement of 1873 was the tenth from 
the forming of the first College Class. President 
Cheney's text for his Baccalaureate sermon was, 
" First the blade," with the purpose that ten 
years later in 1883, he would use the next phrase 
"then the ear," and in 1893 the concluding one 
" after that the full corn in the ear." This plan 
was carried out. During these first ten formative 
years there had been seventy-seven college gradu- 
ates. As but two of these were women, it shows 
that " the sisters " were not yet ready to crowd 
their brothers in academic halls. 

The foundations of the College may now be 


said to be well laid and it started on a broader 
life with constantly improving facilities, a hopeful 
financial outlook and with an entering class which 
graduated eighteen young men. President 
Cheney's diary now had many items of re- 

In 1874 enough money had been raised to meet 
Mr. Bates's conditions and he not only paid in the 
$75,000 which completed his first $100,000, but 
he pledged $100,000 more on the same conditions 
as before. What a pity that Free Baptists and 
others to whom the College was to be such a 
blessing could not have seized the opportunity 
and secured this gift at once, by helping the tired 
President whose twenty years of service were 
beginning to wear upon him severely ! 

To his diary he often confided his feelings : 

"Oh, I am tired, tired." 

" Sick all night." 

" Leave home sick. Go to write the will of 
Miss who makes a gift to the College." 

We see him, however, still finding a safety-valve 
in his interest in other matters. One day's entry 
in his diary shows us this : 

"Waiting for Mr. Bates's return. Attended the 
celebration of the Anniversary of Emancipation 
and heard Sojourner Truth." 

" How sad that Gov. A. took the course he did 
on prohibition ! " 



Another side light is thrown on President 
Cheney's character by the following little incident 
of travel : " The sleeper was full of weary people, 
trying in vain to find repose, for the wails of an 
infant that would not be appeased, rose above the 
noise of the train. Finally an exasperated man 
thrust his head between the curtains and blurted 

" ' Keep that young one still, won't you ? ' 

" ' I am doing the best I can, gentlemen,' came 
in the subdued tones of a man's voice. ' The 
baby's mother is in her coffin in the baggage car, 
and I am taking the little fellow to his grand- 
mother. I am doing the best I can, gentlemen.' 

"The pathos of the situation at once appealed 
to Dr. Cheney's heart and he was soon beside the 
man's berth. ' Let me try,' he said. Cuddling 
the baby in his arms, for a long time he walked 
the car aisle back and forth, back and forth, 
softly singing ' Bonnie Doon,' and other sooth- 
ing melodies. The little one's sobs became less 
and less frequent. Fixing on Dr. Cheney's face 
wide-open, wondering eyes, he listened and became 
quiet. Finally the lids slowly closed and peace 
reigned in the car the remainder of the night." 




In 1875, Mr. Bates assured President Cheney 
that he had secured to the College by will his new 
pledge of $100,000; and the diary comment is: 
" I could not sleep for joy." It now seemed that 
conditions were such that the President might 
take the long-postponed and much needed vaca- 
tion ; and in 1876 he went to Europe for a season 
of travel and study. 

After some weeks spent in visiting places of 
interest he had just settled down to study in 
Paris, when news came of the serious illness of 
his son. That evening he started on his return 
trip and reached the homeland in time to spend a 
few precious hours with the loved one, to hear 
him say : 

" I am not afraid to leave myself in God's 
hands, father," then separation, loneliness. 

Horace had been Assistant District Attorney 
for Suffolk County, Massachusetts ; and at the 
time of his death was in legal practice for himself. 
He was a member of the Board of Fellows of 
Bates College. His father was depending on him 
for advice in matters of law and looked to him as 
a prop in his declining years. Father and son 
had always been closest companions and Dr. 
Cheney's heart-ache for his boy ceased only with 


his own life. The little granddaughter, Bessie, 
was ever held in tenderest affection. 

We draw the veil over the days of sacred retire- 
ment, which followed, but out of the shadows he 
came with form slightly bowed, with hair per- 
ceptibly whitened, but with the old purpose in 
life strong and true, and the many interests 
already referred to soon crowded his time full. 


When, at the Maine Yearly Meeting in 1877, 
Dr. Cheney was again elected as delegate to 
General Conference, he made this note : " I have 
never in my life used any influence to go, never 
said to any one, ' I would like to go,' never 
solicited a vote." 

At this General Conference, held in Fairport, 
N.Y., he was chosen Moderator. Considering the 
sharp differences of opinion, as to denomi- 
national policy which had existed since the pre- 
ceding General Conference, Dr. Cheney's election 
at this time was highly complimentary. The trust 
in him was fully honored. His native ability and 
ease in presiding, his familiarity with parliamen- 
tary methods and rules, his kindly effort to afford 
all parties fair play, gave general satisfaction, and 
the session proved successful and harmonious. 
The wide-spread feeling of concern which pre- 
ceded this General Conference and the feeling of 
relief which followed cannot be better expressed 


than by a quotation from a letter sent to Dr. 
Cheney by a prominent layman : 

PROVIDENCE, Oct. 20, '77. 

Dear Sir : 

Although not able to be present at 
General Conference, I felt a deep interest in it, 
and in conversation with some of the delegates, 
expressed the desire that you might be chosen 
Moderator. Was much pleased in reading of the 
doings of the Conference and particularly with 
the wisdom shown in the make-up of the com- 
mittees, but most of all in your remarks at the 
close of the Conference, I want to thank you for 
them. They would have been worth to me a trip 
to Fairport. All I have seen that were in attend- 
ance, speak of it as being the most harmonious 
session they ever attended. Let us take courage 
and press on. 



O. B. Cheney 

About 1880 






The following entry in President Cheney's diary 
for January 15, 1878, tells a thrilling story: " Mr. 
Bates died last night of heart disease. Oh, what 
a blow to the College ! My best friend gone ! God 
save the College ! Called on Mrs. Bates." 

The diary entries for a time are too sacred to 
quote. Day after day found President Cheney 
meditating and praying by Mr. Bates's grave in 
Mt. Auburn. There was something unique, some- 
thing beautiful in the friendship between these 
two men. 

If under God's guidance O. B. Cheney was a 
leader in a much needed educational work, Benja- 
min E. Bates was equally led in his purpose to 
stand by him financially. 

For ten years President Cheney had known 
that when nobody else understood his plans, he 
had but to lay them before Mr. Bates to find a 
sympathizer. When shortness of vision led any 
to criticise, he knew where to find a friend whose 
foresight matched his own. When money failed 
from expected sources, Mr. Bates was always 
resourceful in helping. 

Dr. Cheney's diaries probably record but in 
part the many times when he went to Mr. Bates, 
sorely burdened and came away relieved and 


But O. B. Cheney knew that his work was not 
done. He fully believed that the Helper under 
whose guidance he had worked thus far, never 
leaves his own. By provision of Mr. Bates's will 
$100,000 were assured to the College. The 
$100,000 required to meet this legacy was soon 
raised or pledged. Mr. Bates's life-purpose had 
been so generally understood that it seemed im- 
possible that there could be any failure in the 
payment of this legacy. 


By action of the Fairport General Conference, 
Dr. Cheney had been elected a delegate to the 
General Baptist Anniversaries held in Halifax, 
England ; and in October, 1878, he again went to 
Europe, with the double purpose of filling his 
position as delegate and of completing the tour, 
so suddenly cut short two years before. During 
the President's absence on this and the preceding 
foreign trip, Professor B. F. Hayes acted as Presi- 
dent of Bates College. Hon. Nelson Dingley, 
LL.D., and Mrs. Dingley were Dr. Cheney's travel- 
ing companions. As Mr. Dingley was a pro- 
nounced total abstainer, they had many sym- 
pathetic experiences. The belief, then extant, 
that it was not safe to travel on the continent 
without the use of wine, often obliged these 
friends to assert their principles. One day a 
lady, who had been especially persistent in urg- 


ing President Cheney to drink wine with her, 
said to him, " Now, Dr. Cheney, do you really 
think it would hurt you to sip a little wine ?" 
Sitting back in his chair and looking at her 
steadily with a kindly but firm expression, he 
said : " Madam, I have never used wine, or any 
other intoxicant, and I could not respect myself if 
I began now. Besides, I am President of a 
College which requires a pledge of total absti- 
nence from each entering student. If I were ever 
to raise a glass of wine to my lips, in some way 
the word would go back and not only would I 
have lost my self-respect, but my influence would 
be destroyed. You must excuse me, madam." 
She asked his pardon and left him in peace. 


In his address as delegate to the General Bap- 
tists of England, Dr. Cheney awakened enthusiasm 
by referring to the influence of their representa- 
tive, Dr. Sutton, in inspiring Free Baptists to 
enter upon Foreign Missionary work ; but when 
he stated that his denomination did not ordain to 
the Christian ministry any man who used intoxi- 
cating liquors, it created quite a sensation. When 
a member made a motion of thanks for his 
address, another member arose and said he could 
not vote for the motion, lest it be interpreted as 
approving the course of the United States 
brethren in regard to licensing candidates, for 


there was but one door to the church and that 
Christ. A spirited discussion followed, lasting 
nearly all day, resulting finally in an almost unani- 
mous vote of thanks, and being generally under- 
stood as a decided victory for temperance. The 
temperance reform had then made but little prog- 
ress in England, and the reports occupying 
several columns in the daily papers attracted wide- 
spread attention. 

The weeks of travel which followed were full of 
interest and profit to President Cheney. He had 
no more unique experience than when he stood 
on Mars Hill on the spot reputed to have been 
occupied by Saint Paul and preached a sermon to 
an invisible audience. 


On Dr. Cheney's return to the homeland he 
found that there was cause for much anxiety as to 
the outcome of the contested will of Mr. Bates. 
Then followed a time of sleepless nights, efforts to 
secure money and constant alertness in conferring 
with legal advisers. It seemed as if the very life of 
the College were at stake. How severe was the 
blow when the report of the commissioners was 
finally received ! It allowed the payment of a sum 
due on previous pledges, but disallowed the 
$100,000 pledge. As many people had given 
money with the provision that it was to help 
secure Mr. Bates's pledge, serious additional losses 


were threatened and it was thought best to carry 
the matter to the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. 
Some who had been afraid President Cheney 
was going ahead too fast showed the " I-told-you- 
so " spirit. But the large majority rallied to his 
support and sustained him by their sympathy and 
hopefulness. This was especially true of the noble 
men who composed the Bates College Faculty. 
They were hard workers, on small salaries, but not 
a man flinched. With one accord, they encouraged 
him with sympathy and offers of help. Dr. 
Cheney said in a letter : 

" When members of the Faculty said to me, 
' the College shall not fail in any event,' it 
lifted from me a great burden ; and so I say, 
' the God of heaven, he will prosper us.' " 

The same courageous spirit was voiced by the 
Alumni. One writes : 

" My faith in the ultimate triumph does not 
waver. None of your labor will be lost. In 
the Providence of God you have been the 
means of starting a great work, which will 
surely live. If the younger friends of the 
College can be half as single and devoted as 
you have been, I shall be satisfied." 

During the two following years, the will case 
was in the courts, with the result that the Judge 
of the Supreme Court gave a final decision in 
favor of the contestants. President Cheney's 
diary note for September 6, 1883, is: 

"Chosen delegate to General Conference at 


Minneapolis. Hear of the decision of the Massa- 
chusetts Court, losing the $100,000. Well, God 
will take care of the College." 

The blow was so severe as at first to be almost 
stunning, but with sublime faith the President 
rallied and worked " on and on and on." With 
the Supreme Court decision the strain and stress 
of years were over. Nothing remained but to 
make more heroic efforts. 

Like a ray of sunshine thwart the darkness was 
the following letter of appreciation of Bates Col- 
lege, written by the scholar and philanthropist, 
Wendell Phillips : 

I am familiar with the history of Bates College 
and acquainted with its officers. In the old times 
of bitter pro-slavery feeling the College gave 
earnest and effective support to the anti-slavery 
movement and was among the very first to open 
its doors to the colored man. Since then it has 
shown the same liberal spirit touching the equal 
education of women, being, I believe, the very first 
to graduate a woman from its classes. 

The Institution deserves well of New England 
and ought to have all the aid it needs to make 
still more thorough and complete the opportuni- 
ties it has always offered to those seeking, at a 
moderate cost, a thorough preparation for private 
usefulness, public service and the duties of Chris- 
tian citizenship. 

3 Dec., 1881. 

>^ ^^ *^x^X.<=^ -i^i^, 



xl , 







When President Cheney returned from his trip 
abroad, another matter of importance was claim- 
ing his attention. His denomination was about 
to celebrate its Centennial. As Moderator of the 
last General Conference and as Chairman of the 
Conference Board, he was one of the responsible 
parties in deciding upon location, program and 
other matters needful to its success. 

The Centennial was held at The Weirs, on Lake 
Winnipiseogee, no church being able to accom- 
modate so large a gathering. It was connected 
with the session of General Conference of 1880 
and was the most important and largely attended 
assembly that had ever been held by Free 
Baptists. Dr. Cheney was elected Moderator. 
Dawson Burns, D.D., Metropolitan Superintendent 
of the United Kingdom Alliance, a great British 
Temperance Organization, was one of the English 
delegates present. In an appreciative article in 
The Morning Star, Dr. Burns says : 

"Both my colleague and myself were struck 
with the tact and urbanity he displayed, in 
discharging, day by day, the difficult duties 
of his office. It was impossible to know Dr. 
Cheney, however slightly, without perceiving 
him to be a man of rare ability and of the 
finest character." 

The whole session was an inspiring and success- 


ful one and was fruitful of new enterprises, that 
have since been of much denominational value. 


One of the most important of these was the 
inauguration of a movement, through the initia- 
tion of Rev. E. W. Porter, then of Lowell, Mass., 
to establish a Free Baptist summer resort, which 
should provide for physical, intellectual and spirit- 
ual improvement. Dr. Cheney was a member of 
the Committee to carry out the plan. After ex- 
amining many localities, a strip of land was 
secured near Old Orchard, Maine. Dr. Cheney 
always remembered with interest the day when 
the Committee walked across sand and marsh, up 
to the beautiful pine grove, at the entrance to 
which the temple was to be located, and all kneeled 
with bared heads while Rev. Silas Curtis offered a 
prayer, dedicating the grounds to holiest service. 

An association was organized with Dr. Cheney 
as President. This office he held for four years. 
As Chairman of the Board of Directors, he gave 
much time and thought to the development of this 
unique and delightful summer home, which em- 
bodies so many helpful features, as to be sur- 
passed by few such resorts in the country. 


With Bates College interests always uppermost 
in his thought, President Cheney had a plan from 


the beginning of the Ocean Park movement, by 
which he hoped to extend the College influence. 
He purchased a block of centrally-located lots, 
opposite a park reservation. College Extension 
in the form of summer meetings, lectures and 
schools, was then in its infancy. The President 
saw that the proximity of Bates College to Ocean 
Park afforded a favorable opportunity for the 
College to be early in the field in such work. But 
the financial disasters which came to Bates in the 
early eighties hindered the development of the 
new enterprise. 

Later, the interests of the Boston and Maine 
Railroad, in building up Ocean Park, seemed 
likely to become a factor in the realization of his 
plan ; but on the day Dr. Cheney was to have a 
decisive meeting with the President of the road, 
word came of the serious illness of the latter and 
death once more thwarted large plans. Soon after, 
the Chautauqua movement became a part of the 
Ocean Park educational system and the College 
plan was superseded. 

The house which Dr. Cheney had built as a 
part of the College Extension system, and painted 
garnet, the College color, became his summer 
home during his life, and his interest in the 
development of Ocean Park continued to the end. 
As late as 1900, he went to Augusta for an effort 
to secure what seemed to him desirable legislation 
in its behalf. 





In chapter XIII reference was made to Dr. 
Cheney's interest in two movements which 
followed the Civil War. Ten years had passed 
with ripening plans. As already noted it was the 
duty of the Conference Board, of which he was 
Chairman, to " promote fellowship and union with 
other Christian denominations." As Moderator 
of the General Conferences in 1877 and 1880, Dr. 
Cheney was led to think much about denomi- 
national development. He had seen that the 
time had not come for the union of Free Baptists 
and the Baptist body, but he was very hopeful 
that some union might be effected between differ- 
ent open-communion bodies, which agreed in the 
essentials of Christianity. In advocacy of this 
idea Dr. Cheney sent articles to different papers, 
which elicited cordial responses from many 
sources. A wide correspondence followed, not 
only among Free Baptists, but with broad-minded 
persons in several denominations, including the 
Disciples of Christ, the Christian, the Church of 
God and the Free Baptists of New Brunswick. 

There was so much expressed sympathy with 
the movement that it almost seemed as if success 
were assured. A convention resulted, which was 
held at Minneapolis, in 1883, on the day preced- 
ing the Free Baptist General Conference. It was 


not a delegated body, but there were representa- 
tives present from the different denominations 
concerned. Dr. Cheney was elected President. 

Ways and means were discussed relating to 
immediate union in Missionary and some other 
lines of work, with the hope of promoting ultimate 
organic union. Those present were empowered 
to report the Convention to their respective 
bodies and the session closed with large hope of 
important results. 

At the ensuing Free Baptist General Conference 
the spirit of the Convention was plainly felt. 

Dr. Cheney was serving a second term as Re- 
cording Secretary of the Free Baptist Foreign 
Missionary Society and was one of the most active 
members of its Executive Board. 

As the result of the Convention just held he 
was very hopeful of almost immediate union in 
Missionary work among the open-communion 

Plans had also been forming in his mind relat- 
ing to the Woman's Missionary Society the other 
movement referred to in chapter XIII. This had 
had ten years of eminently successful life, not 
only financially but also in the executive ability 
shown in its management. 

Because of the needs of the larger work, a feel- 
ing had grown in some quarters that the women 
ought to unite their forces with the parent society, 
the argument being that the work in India would 


be made more effective thereby. Dr. Cheney was 
reticent about his plans to help this condition, but 
he was busy. When the Nominating Committee 
made its report at the Foreign Missionary Anni- 
versary, at Minneapolis, Rev. Joseph McLeod, 
D.D., of the New Brunswick Free Baptists, was 
nominated as President of the Society, Mrs. E. S. 
Burlingame, President of the Woman's Missionary 
Society, as Vice-President, while the nominees for 
the Executive Committee included one member 
each from the Christian, New Brunswick Free 
Baptists and Church of God denominations and 
three official members of the Woman's Missionary 
Society. They were elected without opposition. 

In the absence of the newly elected President, 
Dr. McLeod, Dr. Cheney informed the Vice-Presi- 
dent of her election and escorted her to the plat- 
form to preside. This was probably the first time 
a woman had presided at the public meeting of 
any denominational Missionary Society. 

Results 'of these movements were (a) the ap- 
pointment of a Joint Committee by the Foreign 
Missionary and Woman's Societies, which con- 
tinued as a permanent factor in simplifying and 
harmonizing the work ; (b) the appointment by 
General Conference of a Committee to confer with 
Committees to be appointed by other denomi- 
nations to make plans for permanent union. 

The Union Committee held an important meet- 
ing at Philadelphia and much progress was 


reported at the General Conference of 1886, held 
at Marion, Ohio, at which there was much enthu- 
siasm for union, there being present many dele- 
gates from the other bodies concerned. 

A vote was there passed that pastors might go 
from Christian to Free Baptist churches and vice 
versa without loss of denominational standing ; 
and a pastor was soon after called from a Chris- 
tian church to the Free Baptist church, known as 
the College church in Lewiston, Me. A successful 
pastorate of ten years followed. 

At Marion, a new Committee on Union was 
appointed with J. L. Phillips, D.D., as Chairman, 
Dr. Cheney being a member which later, at a 
meeting at Worcester, Mass., agreed upon a basis 
of union between Free Baptists and Christians. 
Union in Missionary work with the New Bruns- 
wick Free Baptists was soon effected and con- 
tinued until 1906, when another union movement 
led them to become affiliated with the larger 
Baptist body in New Brunswick. But in an army 
defeat in battle often results from the difficulty of 
" bringing up the rear ; " and in denominations 
which have no authoritative head, it is a more 
perplexing matter to lead forward the " rank and 
file." Conservatives in the different denomina- 
tions exerted a gradually strengthening influence 
against the movement, with the result that finally 
the advance guard "rested on their arms." 

The regret at this outcome felt by President 


Cheney and many sympathizers is well expressed 
in a letter received by him from one who had been 
elected a member of the Executive Committee of 
the Free Baptist Foreign Missionary Society from 
the Church of God : 

" I am sorry and grieved at my heart that 
a project, so wisely conceived and auspi- 
ciously begun, should be strangled so early in 
its life. But we can still be brethren and 
cherish the hope that those coming after us 
will be broader and grander than men of this 
generation ; and that they will do what we 
ought to have done. 

Dear Doctor, I remain 

Your brother in Christ." 

A year later, Dr. Cheney was elected President 
of the Foreign Missionary Society, which position 
he held for eight years, until the Society was 
merged in the incorporated General Conference 
in 1892. Women continued until that time to be 
members of the Executive Board, and were always 
shown most courteous consideration by President 
Cheney and his associates. 


For many months, during the years 1885 and 
1886, President Cheney's home had been saddened 
by the failing health of his wife and his diaries 
show how, amid his many duties, anxiety about 
the result was ever present with him. 

In February, 1886, Mrs. Nancy Perkins Cheney 


peacefully passed to the life above, and her 
husband was bereft of a faithful companion and 
wise counsellor ; one who, for forty years, had 
stood by and sympathized with him in his various 
activities. We quote diary notes : 

"Mrs. C. went to Heaven at 4.20 A. M. She 
died without a struggle, falling asleep like a little 
child in its mother's arms. Her first Sabbath in 
Heaven ! She is singing ' Welcome, delightful 
Morn.' " 

" Where do all the dear good friends come from ? 
There are so many ! Faculty called this morning. 
Mrs. C. looks as if asleep." 

Many are the testimonials to her useful life ! 





In 1886, President Cheney was seventy years 
old and may be said to have been at the maturity 
of his powers. The few years previous to this, 
furnish a fit illustration of his capacity for carry- 
ing on different kinds of work at the same time. 

The story has been already told how, while 
going through the bitter experience attending the 
adverse will-decision, he helped, as President of 
the Association to found Ocean Park; how as 
Moderator of General Conference he had been led 
to devise large things in promoting Christian 
union ; how, as Recording Secretary and then 
President of the Foreign Missionary Society, he 
was shaping its policy and guiding its affairs ; 
and how as President of the New England Asso- 
ciation, he was working to concentrate and pre- 
serve New England Free Baptist interests ; all 
in addition to his strenuous financial work for 
Bates College. 

We obtain an interesting view of this kaleido- 
scopic life through excerpts from his diary, taken 
at random from a period covering several months. 

"Did not sleep at all last night. Heard the 
clock strike every hour. Felt so anxious for the 

"Went to Augusta to get charter for Ocean 


Park Association also to get legislation relating 
to Maine Central Institute." 

" College exercises suspended. Funeral of Presi- 
dent Garfield. Exercises at College Chapel." 

" Go to Springfield. G. will give $300 a year 
for 5 years. Praise the Lord. Did not sleep for 
joy Monday night and last night. Leave for N. Y." 

"At home. Meeting at my home to consider 
question of Lewiston and Auburn supporting a 
missionary. 25 present. O. B. C. Chairman." 

" Received a lettter from editor Boston Post 
asking my opinion on Maine Law and Con. 
Amendment. At home." 

" Meeting of Foreign Missionary Board. Mr. 
and Mrs. George examined and accepted as mis- 
sionaries to India." 

"Attend Eldership of Church of God as dele- 
gate from Free Baptist General Conference." 

"At home sick Sophomores attacked the 
Freshmen last night in the Chapel. Although 
they were provoked by the Freshmen, still they 
cannot be justified in doing what they did do." 

" Trouble settled by the yielding of the students. 
I would rather have let every student leave than 
yield the good order of the college." 

" Received check of $200 from Mr. C. and one 
from P. of $150 for college. Went to Augusta to 
get a charter for Woman's Missionary Society, 
also to get an amendment of charter of Parent 
Foreign Missionary Society." 


" At the State House all day. Go before Judici- 
ary Committee. Bills reported." 

" Attended convention at F. B. church, St. 
John, N. B." 

" Yearly meeting chosen Moderator." 

" Boston, see transit of Venus. Meeting of 
Foreign Missionary Board." 

"Go to Lyndon ville, Vt., to advise with 
Trustees of the Lyndon Institute." 

" Go to Old Orchard. Meeting of Directors of 
O. Park Asso." 

"Close of General Conference at Minneapolis. 
Went to Minnehaha Falls and Fort Snelling. 
Called on D. M. Asked him to help college. 
Made up the record of the Foreign Missionary 

"Go to Pittsfield to help save Institute. Pitts- 
field is to raise $10,000." 

"Secured sub. $7,343.79 sign note for balance. 
Thank the Lord the Institute is saved." 

"Boston at meeting of Foreign Missionary 

"Election day. The right prevailed." 

"Go to Old Orchard Meeting of O. P. A. 

"Go home. Freshman Declamation." 

"Write an article for Star on Commencement." 

" At home Preside at a public meeting of Pine 
Street Free Baptist church, to free the house from 


" In doors Not at all well I am so tired, but, 
if I had a thousand lives, I would give them all for 
the dear College. Baby died. (A grandchild.) 
The house is dark and empty." 

"Writing an article for the Independent about 
the General Conference. Heard of the fire at 
Farmington late in the afternoon. The College 
must suffer a loss. But it can stand fire and the 
decision of Mass. Judges, for it is the Lord's 
College and he will take care of it." 

" Called on Mr. . He is about ready to 

give money for an observatory. God be praised !" 

" See Messrs. L. I think they will endow a 

"In New York. Committee of 18 on union 
meet at St. Paul's church." 

" Committee in session. Adjourn at 4 P.M. 
Agree on union in Christian work." 

" P. pledges $1,500 on my salary on certain con- 
ditions. The Lord bless him. This will make 
his gifts to the College about $4,000." 

"May 8, '86. Attend the meeting for the 
union of the Christians and Free Baptists at -our 
church. Am appointed on a committee to report 
a plan of union." 

"Write an article for the Independent" 

"Meeting of Foreign Missionary Board at 
Shawmut Ave. church, Boston." 

" Went to Chelsea to see Mr. E. He is think- 


ing of. putting something in his will for the 

A large correspondence covered a range of more 
than all the subjects referred to in these notes. 
One letter contains an appeal from a man of 
national fame to come to Augusta in an important 
political crisis saying : 

" Your presence and participation will be of 
much value." 

Another from a prominent man says : 

"Enclosed please find a check for $100 as 
a contribution for Bates College. It affords 
me great pleasure to be able to contribute in 
a small degree to this splendid institution, 
which is the work of your creation." 


During the late eighties, for several years, two 
important will cases added their perplexities to 
the President's duties. Both of these were settled 
in favor of the College. 

In 1890, the Hedge Laboratory, a substantial 
brick building, was added to the College facilities. 
The amount given by Dr. Hedge" towards its 
erection had been pledged with the proviso that 
a certain amount be raised within a definite time 
in order to redeem the pledge. 

Owing to the financial work to be done in order 
to meet this and other conditional gifts, Prof G. 
C. Chase was obliged to be often in the field to 
assist the President. 


Donors do not realize the agony often endured 
by self-sacrificing people, as the time limit draws 
near for raising money to meet their conditional 
gifts, else they would relieve the strain by less 
exacting methods. 

Although Bates had an original campus of 
twenty acres President Cheney realized the future 
importance of adding to these from the surround- 
ing land before the neighborhood became thickly 
populated, consequently in the late seventies he 
had purchased for the College about thirty acres 
more. In this movement he had met with sharp 
opposition from many who were the firm friends 
of the College, but who felt that the campus was 
already large enough. President Cheney's perti- 
nacity prevailed, however, and as a result of his 
foresight the College now has a highly prized 
campus of fifty acres, on which has been laid out 
one of the finest athletic fields in the country, with 
ample room left for future needs in the growth of 
the Institution. 

President Cheney was a lover of trees. He 
enjoyed planting and caring for them. The cam- 
pus was at first a rough, uneven piece of land. 
The President was never more in his element than 
in gradually making this a sightly, attractive spot. 
Stumps had to be removed and section after 
section graded, this requiring much money and 
time. An annual tree-planting was always to him 
an occasion of joy. A large majority of the trees 


that now make the campus so attractive and rest- 
ful were planted under President Cheney's own 
supervision, many of them by his own hands. 

Too much credit cannot be given to the corps 
of Professors that during those strenuous years 
gave such devoted service to the local interests of 
the College. 

President Cheney's confidence in the efficiency 
and faithfulness of these instructors led him to 
depend very largely upon them for carrying on 
the local work. The financial interests of the 
College at this time so dominated his thought as 
to somewhat diminish his power as a personal 
factor in the school. 

But if any special circumstances called for his 
attention, he was at once alert and the power of 
his personality and his natural forte as teacher 
and leader asserted themselves. The following 
testimonial from Mrs. Emma J. Clark Rand, class 
of 1 88 1, helps us to see President Cheney from 
the student standpoint : 

" As Dr. Cheney had given up class room 
work long before I entered college in order to 
devote his whole time to the financial and 
general interests of the Institution, I never 
had the privilege of knowing him as a 
teacher. But his regard for the students was 
so keen and personal that I soon came to 
feel well acquainted with him and to have in 
a measure at least, a sympathetic knowledge 
of his life-work and its burdens. 


"In the eighties the endowment fund of 
the College was much smaller than it is today 
and the struggle to meet the annual expenses 
and plan for growing needs was a serious one. 
The student body generally appreciated the 
situation and followed the President in his 
efforts to win friends and money with intelli- 
gent interest that never flagged. Yet through 
it all, I think we had rather the feeling that 
Dr. Cheney would be equal to things and 
there was always a general rejoicing over 
every success gained. 

" As is natural, however, I recall with great- 
est pleasure Dr. Cheney's attitude toward the 
higher education of women, for in this he was 
far in advance of his times. Indeed, he was 
one of the few men of his own generation who 
not only believed in, but rejoiced in every- 
thing that tended to give women equal oppor- 
tunities with men and I was often impressed 
with the pleasure he showed in their public 

" To Dr. Cheney's broad views and innate 
fairness on this subject is largely due the suc- 
cess of co-education at Bates and her daugh- 
ters owe him more than they can ever realize. 
I remember how intensely he felt, later on, 
when the College world discussed the advis- 
ability of changing the basis of co-educational 
Colleges and placing the women in annexes. 

" It seemed to him an injustice and he 
promptly made public his own position in 
regard to the policy of Bates. He urged me, 
as one of the earlier alumnae to write an 
article for our denominational paper The 
Morning Star and left no stones unturned to 


prevent any possible agitation of the subject 
in our own College. 

"So fully was he in sympathy with the 
ideas which prevail in the educational world 
today in regard to women that were he with 
us now he would in no way have to readjust 
his views or do away with prejudices in order 
to be again a leader." 

Letters sent him by erring, repentant students 
show how tenderly as well as firmly he dealt with 
them and prove how fully he was trusted as the 
student's friend. 

It is also true that the Professors and the Presi- 
dent were in such harmony of thought in building 
up the Institution that Dr. Cheney was all the 
while expressing his life and purpose through 
their service. Among the people at large, who 
knew little of the inner life of the school, Presi- 
dent Cheney stood as the embodiment of Bates 
College, and it was well that a person of so strong 
and pleasing a personality should thus represent 
it during the first forty years of its life. 


Prof. John Fullonton, D.D., was now nearing 
the close of his most valuable service as Dean of 
the Divinity School and the Institution honored 
him by raising a fund to found the Fullonton 
Professorship. Rev. J. A. Howe, D.D., who had 
already given to the school some valuable years 
of service, succeeded Professor Fullonton as 


Dean ; Professor Thomas H. Rich, the eminent 
Hebrew scholar, held the position of Professor of 
Hebrew ; and later in 1894, Professor B. F. Hayes, 
D.D., gave the whole of his scholarly service to 
this department. 

J. L. H. Cobb Esq., had given to the College 
a generous sum of money and in recognition of 
this the theological department was named Cobb 
Divinity School. 


During the whole history of the school there 
have been among the students representatives of 
different races, including the negro race. Presi- 
dent Cheney's sympathy for all mankind was 
shown in his deep gratification at their successes, 
and their warm appreciation of his kindly interest 
expressed itself through letters and personal 
thanks. To illustrate we give extracts from a 
personal letter received from Professor N. C. 
Bruce, class of 1893. 

RALEIGH, N. C., Feb'y. n, 1898. 

Tomorrow is the birthday of our great 
emancipator and the fact has set me to thinking 
over others like your honored self, who also 
suffered and bore insults and shame back in those 
dark days when it cost so much to speak or sing 
or pray for the American Slaves, We of this 
generation, will never know how much you and 


others of your venerable age have done towards 
opening up the highways along which we now 
walk so freely. But some of us will dedicate our- 
selves to truth and the work of helping others as 
you and other pioneers worked so nobly for me 
and mine. How often have I remembered with a 
grateful heart the kind words you have spoken to 
me and the substantial favor you bestowed in the 
hour of my sorest need ! God will bless you. 
Perhaps it is enough to say about myself to tell 
you that God is using me in ways apparently help- 
ful, both in class room, in religious work and 
among the masses. Our oldest boy's name is 
Bates Shaw Bruce and he is no dull "chap." 
God bless you forever and forever. 
Yours most faithfully, 


Although the College had been founded with 
the purpose of making it a blessing to the Free 
Baptist denomination and it had continued to be 
such, Catholicity of spirit had so permeated its 
life as to make students of all religious beliefs feel 
unhampered in their convictions and in honest 
development of thought during their courses of 
study. Students of several Protestant denomi- 
nations, Catholics and Hebrews were members of 
the same class in 1902. 

When the Young Men's and the Young Women's 
Christian Associations began their organized 
work in Colleges, Bates gave a ready response 
and branch Associations among the young men 
and young women have been strong religious 
factors in College growth. 


Throughout the history of the College, debat- 
ing had been made prominent. As early as 1865, 
Prof. J. Y. Stanton encouraged the students in 
debating among themselves and his interest and 
encouragement helped debates to become a dis- 
tinctive feature of the College. 

Among those who received this training during 
the earlier College years, are men occupying high 
positions as College Presidents, in the ministry, 
in the legal profession, and in honorable service 
to their country. Thus, long before the Inter- 
collegiate Debates began, Bates College students 
were having practical training in that line.* 


The fact that many of the Bates students had 
been teachers previous to entering upon their 
College course brought to the student body an 
especially self-dependent, reliable class of young 

It will be remembered that in founding the 
Seminary and afterwards the College, President 
Cheney had in mind helpfulness to just such 
young people, such as wanted to help themselves ; 
and the terms were arranged, so as to give a long 
vacation, extending from before Thanksgiving 
until after New Years. This enabled energetic, 

*At this date, June, 1907, Bates has had the honorable 
record of having been victor in fifteen out of the seventeen 
Intercollegiate Debates in which the College has taken 


ambitious students to teach winter schools with 
so little loss of time from the following term that 
they could make up their studies and keep on 
with their classes, at the same time that they were 
helping solve the financial problem of their edu- 

The success of these teachers soon made the 
College the source to which School Committees 
turned for supplies not only in Maine but in 
neighboring states. The experience thus gained 
and the opportunities offered for high-class work 
led many students to choose teaching as a pro- 
fession ; and the fact is accounted for that Bates 
graduates occupy so many important positions not 
only in schools in Maine but throughout the 

Hazing in its rougher forms had been so firmly 
and wisely dealt with by the College faculty as to 
be practically eliminated ; but College sports were 
encouraged and entered into with such zest that 
the Bates teams have ever proved worthy com- 
petitors in games with other Colleges. 

When the National Educational Association was held 
in Boston in 1903, Hates College had more graduates among 
the teachers attending than any other Institution except 






Reference was made in chapter thirteen to the 
effort to incorporate General Conference in the 
sessions of 1865 and 1868. At each succeeding 
session, the measure had been brought up for con- 
sideration only to be voted down, though by a 
steadily lessening majority. When it failed to 
pass in the General Conference of 1880, it seemed 
to Dr. Cheney that the best good of the denomi- 
nation, especially in the eastern part, required the 
organization of a New England Association. 

There already existed Central and Western 
Associations, which were aiming to advance and 
concentrate denominational interests in their res- 
pective localities, but the New England churches 
were without any centralized power. 

After some agitation of the matter, Dr. Cheney 
called a meeting at Ocean Park, Maine, of those 
interested in the movement and the New England 
Association of Free Baptist Churches was organ- 
ized with Dr. Cheney as President. This position 
he occupied during the life of the body. 

Although the charter was not obtained until 
1891, annual meetings were held and the Asso- 
ciation increased in strength and effectiveness and 
would have proved of much value, had it not been 
that the incorporation of General Conference in 


1892 caused all the Associations to transfer to it 
their divided responsibilities. 


At the time of the General Conference at 
Marion, Ohio, in 1886, sympathy with securing a 
more effective denominational organization had 
increased to such an extent, that the provisional 
Conference Board of seven, of which Dr. Cheney 
had continued Chairman, was instructed to take 
immediate steps to secure the incorporation of the 
body. Dr. Cheney proceeded to secure a charter 
from the Maine Legislature and at the next 
General Conference at Harper's Ferry, in 1889, 
it was adopted, subject to the endorsement of the 
Yearly Meetings. 


This General Conference was notable for an- 
other thing. Although, among Free Baptists, 
women had previously occupied every other posi- 
tion in the gift of the church, they had never 
been elected as delegates to General Conference. 
Such representation had been under discussion in 
other denominations. So eminent a person, in 
every way so well qualified, as Frances Willard 
had been refused a seat to which she had been 
elected in the highest body of her denomination. 
All at once the sense of fair play among Free 
Baptists seemed to awaken, resulting in the sending 


of a number of women as delegates to the General 
Conference of 1889. 

Dr. Cheney was once more elected Moderator. 
Rev. N. C. Brackett, Ph.D., says of his service: 

"Though seventy-three years of age, there 
was not the slightest sign of failing power, 
but he showed himself still a master of parlia- 
mentary law and a model presiding officer."* 

His gentlemanly tactfulness was never better 
shown than in the at-homeness which the women 
delegates felt, as they received from the presiding 
officer full recognition, without being given any 
undue prominence. 

Dr. Cheney was elected Chairman of the new 
Conference Board and at the meeting of the 

Dr. Bracket! says further: " A conversation I had with 
him after the adjournment of the Conference seems to me 
worth publishing. We were discussing the political situa- 
tion. Harrison was President, but Congress, in which the 
Republicans had but a slender majority, had not met. I 
expressed doubt whether Congress would be able to pass 
any political measures on account of the filibustering of 
the powerful minority. Dr. Cheney said : ' I think it will. 
Tom Reed will probably be speaker of the House. If he 
is, I believe, from what I know of the man, he will establish 
new rules for the House. He will count a quorum when a 
quorum is present whether they vote or not. It is the 
right thing to do ; the majority should rule and I believe 
Tom Reed has the courage to do it, though I haven't had 
one word of conversation with him about it.' It was a new 
idea to me, but when Congress met, I found that Dr. 
Cheney was still a prophet of political events. 

"There was more truth than compliment in the words of 
Mr. Blaine when he said: 'If Dr. Cheney was in politics, 
there is no man in Maine whom I should more fear as a 
rival for a seat in the United States Senate.' " 


Board at Ocean Park in 1892, he reported a con- 
stitution for its government and guidance which 
was adopted, with modification. He then saw 
the culmination of a movement which he had 
been advocating and for which he had been work- 
ing during nearly a quarter of a century. 

This incorporated body gives to Free Baptists 
an admirable system of church co-operation, bring- 
ing as it does, all the church benevolences under 
the direction of General Conference, acting 
through a Conference Board. As the delegates to 
General Conference are elected by the churches 
through the Yearly Meetings, it preserves to the 
individual members a voice in all denominational 






It had long been Dr. Cheney's purpose to resign 
as College President, at the end of forty years of 
service. As the time approached, there came to 
him a deep realization of his inability to do for 
the Institution a tithe of what he saw was needed. 
But he hoped to accomplish three things : One 
was to add to the College resources by the endow- 
ment of the President's chair. This seemed likely 
to be realized by promised gifts from personal 
friends and members of the Cheney family. 

Another hope was to secure to the College an 
Observatory on Mt. David, a height near the 
campus and well adapted for the purpose. He 
had secured the provisional gift of the site. The 
promise of the money with which to build seemed 
so sure that several meetings were held to arrange 
definite plans. 

But the need which then seemed greatest to the 
President was a Hall for the use of the young 
women. Bates College had had the remarkable 
record of having graduated sixty young women, 
without having had a woman in the Faculty, or a 
building devoted to their use. 

It is a high compliment to those girls that they 
had maintained such a high grade of character 
and scholarship without anything being done for 
their special needs. Perhaps the College may be 


said to have occupied an attitude toward them 
something like this : 

" When this College was founded, there was 
no thought of your wanting higher education. 
We are having all we can do to provide for 
the general needs, without making especial 
provision for you. At the same time, there 
is no reason why you should not have the 
same advantages as the boys, if you want to 
take your chances." 

But, with increasing numbers of young women 
applying for admission, the President saw that a 
woman Dean and a building for their use were 
becoming a necessity. 

Some thousands of dollars were secured towards 
the former need and something had been pledged 
for the latter and it was the President's hope to 
see the building erected before his term expired. 

But time waits neither for human needs and 
hopes nor changing conditions. Owing to unfore- 
seen circumstances, serious business reverses, and 
especially to the sudden death of the man who 
was to give one hundred and fifty thousand dollars 
towards the endowment of the President's Chair, 
these movements were delayed, and the year 1894 
came while they were still in embryo. 

For the man who had lived so intensely, who 
had seen future possibilities so plainly and who 
had so seldom been obliged to relinguish a pur- 
pose without seeing its fulfillment, it was not easy 


to lay down his work with these and other great 
needs unsupplied, but he was strong in patience 
and he met the experience bravely. He carried 
out his purpose of twenty years before, and took 
for his Baccalaureate text " then the full corn in 
the ear." 

On September 22nd, just forty years from the 
day when the " vision of duty " came to him in 
his Augusta home, he yielded to a son of the 
College, Prof. George C. Chase, the work of con- 
tinuing what he had begun. Prof. Chase had 
already carried much of the President's burden in 
his absence and had had marked success in rais- 
ing money for the Institution. 

The inauguration exercises, when President 
Cheney laid down the work and President Chase 
took it up, reminded one of a summer night in the 
far north when the waning light of one day 
mingles with the deepening glow of the coming 

In closing his retiring address, President Cheney 

said : 

" This is to me such an experience as few 
can fully understand. My life and my all 
have been identified with this College. But 
in the battle of life the time comes to all men 
to put off the armor. For some years, I have 
purposed to do so at the end of the forty 
years' service which closes today. If there 
remains a longing to bring back my young 
manhood, I cannot help it. I have walked 
this hall at midnight and wept when times 


were dark. On a retired spot in the adjoin- 
ing grove I have prayed when no earthly 
help seemed available. There is not a tree 
or building or spot on this campus but seems 
a part of myself. Reverently I commit all 
the precious trusts which I now resign to the 
care of our Father in heaven, whose love 
never faileth. 

"Sir (addressing Governor Dingley), you 
have had many honors. I trust you will feel 
that one more is added in being called upon 
in behalf of the Trustees of the College to 
seat Prof. George C. Chase in the chair I now 
vacate. These keys, the emblem of my 
authority for so many years, I now surrender 
to you, for you to place in his hands as the 
emblem of his authority. 

"The new President has my best wishes 
and prayers. For years he has been in my 
thought as my successor. I bespeak for him 
the united support of the trustees, the faculty, 
the students, the alumni, and all the friends 
of the Institution. May God bless and pros- 
per him and the dear College." 

Hon. Nelson Dingley, Jr., then arose and re- 
ceived the keys from Dr. Cheney, whom he 
addressed in terms of highest appreciation for 
his long and successful years of toil for the Col- 
lege, of the noble character of the Institution he 
had founded, and of the enduring place he holds 
in the hearts of her sons and daughters. He said : 

" Dr. Cheney : In receiving in behalf of 
the corporation the keys which you have 


surrendered as a token of your retirement from 
the position of the Presidency of Bates Col- 
lege, I should do injustice to my own feelings 
as well as to the feelings of my associates, if 
I did not express to you not only our regret 
at the sundering of the ties which have so 
long united you with this Institution, but 
also our deep appreciation of the inestimable 
value of your services to Bates College and 
the cause of the higher education. 

" The forty years during which you have 
been laboring to promote the interests of this 
Institution of learning the first nine during 
its chrysalis seminary condition, and the last 
thirty-one in its more mature collegiate state 
cover not only the working years of a long 
and exceptionally busy life, but also the most 
eventful period in the history of the republic, 
and mark most wonderful strides in the prog- 
ress of the higher education in this country. 

" It is only a coincidence that this period 
happens to be the same length of time in 
which the Israelites were prepared in the 
wilderness for grand and heroic service under 
the leadership of the great Hebrew lawgiver 
and statesman. Yet to my mind God's hand 
no more surely set apart Moses for leadership 
in the great work of educating the Israelites 
up to the standard which he designed for the 
Hebrew nation, than his hand set apart Oren 
B. Cheney in 1854 to do a great work for 
education in that denomination with which 
he was connected, and in whose life he has 
borne so distinguished a share. 

"This is not the time nor the place to 
tell from the standpoint of the historian and 


biographer the story of your great work for the 
Maine State Seminary and Bates College, Dr. 
Cheney. Suffice it to say that when this 
story shall be told as fully as it deserves (for 
you have only modestly touched its edges), 
it will present a record of patient toil, un- 
wearied devotion, persistent endeavor, remark- 
able utilization of every opportunity, and 
wonderful success under the most discourag- 
ing conditions, such as has rarely been 
recorded even in this land of small beginnings 
and wonderful growths. 

" It is not too much to say that every brick 
of this building in which we are assembled 
today, every brick of yonder buildings, was 
laid with means secured through your efforts. 
These grounds, selected under your eye, tell 
the story of your unwearied labors. With 
the eye of a faith in the future of this College 
which saw the bright lining beneath the dark 
cloud, you have seen the morning light break- 
ing while others have discerned only dark- 
ness. We, your associates in the corporation, 
wish that your years and strength were equal 
to the work which remains to be done. But, 
as it is, we have reluctantly accepted your 
resignation of the office of President of the 
College, whose duties you have so long and 
successfully discharged, with the knowledge 
that in your retirement, in which you will 
have our best wishes for your continued 
health and prosperity, you will still have in 
your heart the welfare of this Institution." 

During Congressman Dingley's address to 
President Chase, he said : ******** 


" Who is able to estimate the beneficent 
influence of the nearly 700 graduates who 
have gone forth from Bates College alone in 
the thirty-one years in which President 
Cheney has been at its head gone forth as 
educators either in the school, the pulpit, or 
the press ; or participants in the activities of 
our modern life as engineers, electricians, 
chemists, or business men ; or as leaders in 
public life ! And, above everything else, all 
imbued with a Christian idea of life and 

"Bates College was the first of our higher 
institutions of learning to open her doors on 
equal terms to women a distinction which 
entitles her to a proud position in the col- 
leges of our land. Whatever doubt the edu- 
cational world may have had as it did have 
thirty years ago of the wisdom of this step 
has been dissipated by this result. Imitating 
the noble Roman matron, Bates points to the 
seventy-seven women who have so succesfully 
pursued the regular curriculum of study, in 
part under your instruction, Mr. Chase, and 
made their mark in the world." 


It was probably well for Dr. Cheney now that 
he had a companion, to sympathize with and help 
him. Two years before, on July 5, 1892, he had 
been united in marriage with Kmeline S. (Aid- 
rich) Burlingame. 

For many years their interests had been identi- 
cal in Christian and reformatory work. Both had 


lived very strenuous lives in devotion to such 
work. Both were " weary in the march of life " 
and the clasping of hands steadied and strength- 
ened both. 


Expression was given of the appreciation of 
what President Cheney had done for the twin 
cities of Lewiston and Auburn in founding Bates 
College by a banquet and reception, tendered him 
by prominent citizens of those cities. 

The large banquet hall was filled with represent- 
ative people. Senator Wm. P. Frye presided. 
He read letters of regret and appreciation from 
Congressman Dingley, who was attending the 
fortieth reunion of his own class at Dartmouth, 
and from President Hyde, who was detained by 
the duties of Bowdoin Commencement. 

Speaking in his usual felicitous style, Senator 
Frye then referred beautifully to President 
Cheney's consecrated life, saying he did not know 
what the world would have done had it not been 
for the men and women who have conceived great 
purposes for humanity and then have given their 
lives to their execution. 

In illustration, he told the touching story of 
Father Duncan, who was the sage, the prophet 
and the saviour of a community on one of the 
Alaskan Islands. He then referred tenderly to 
Father Damien, the priest who gave his life to 


ameliorate the condition of the Hawaiian lepers, 
and who died at last, himself a leper, as he knew 
he must. His example inspired many volunteers 
to follow him and each gave his life willingly to 
the cause. 

"Our guest tonight was a young man of 
fine family and good education. He could 
have made a success in business and become 
rich, for he had the ability ; he could have 
obtained political honors, for they were with- 
in his grasp ; he could have been a social 
leader, for he had the elements of success in 
that line, but instead he devoted himself to 
the interests of his church one of the small- 
est of the denominations and which by reason 
of its radical position in reform movements 
and its conservative attitude towards edu- 
cation held a unique position of its own. 

" He settled in a small pastorate in Maine, 
but his talents and peculiar gifts for his work 
were early recognized and he was called to a 
church in Maine's capital city. He was soon 
at home here, loved and respected, doing 
what he liked best to do, preaching the gospel 
of love. In this congenial work he might 
have continued as long as he pleased. 

" But with fine foresight he saw the great 
future need of an institution for higher edu- 
cation, such as was not then existing among 
Free Baptists in New England; and our 
guest of the evening decided to leave his 
pastorate and the delightful associations that 
he loved better than anything else in the 
temporal world, and seek to embody his ideals 


in an institution of learning which should not 
only be a greatly needed blessing to Free 
Baptists, but should invite all youth to its 
benefits, male and female, black and white. 

" He left his parish and to this noble work 
he has devoted his entire life. He was no 
bigot, no sectarian, only a lover of man and 
a believer in education. Thank God, that he 
has been permitted to live to see such success 
crown his efforts ! 

" Our guest brought to this work unusual 
ability, high ideals, foresight, great perse- 
verance, shrewdness, patience. He was a 
handsome man. He is seventy-nine years 
old and is the best looking man in the room 
tonight. I'll leave it to Mrs. Cheney if he 

Senator Frye then spoke of President Cheney's 
success in raising money and very cleverly told 
a story about introducing him to Senator Leland 
Stanford ; and how, when invited to Governor 
Stanford's home in Washington, President Cheney 
did not beg for money but just made himself 
agreeable, and how, by his personality he so 
charmed the Senator and his wife that unsolicited 
Govenor Stanford gave President Cheney a check 
for $1,000, saying that he knew that all colleges 
needed money. 

Senator Frye then told how, later, Governor 
Stanford came to him and said : 

" That Dr. Cheney ! He was a most charm- 
ing man ! I have sold a colt for $7,500. I 


want five hundred dollars for pocket money. 
Give the seven thousand to Dr. Cheney." 

The Senator closed this introductory address 
with an eloquent testimonial to President Cheney's 
consecrated life and work. 

Many other appreciative addresses were made 
and the whole affair was very successful. 







For those who are only interested in the large 
affairs of life, this story is closed. But for the 
friends of Dr. Cheney and for all who wish to 
follow the life-study through the tender incidents 
associated with old age, there is more to follow. 

Several years before this, in a time of great 
financial stress President Cheney had deeded to 
the College his house and land.* 

This was with a proviso that he have the use 
of it during his lifetime, but it now seemed best 
to him and his wife to relinquish its use to the 
College and they waived their claim to it. 

While Dr. Cheney retained his citizenship in 
Lewiston and seldom lost his vote there, during 
the next few years, he spent much time at his 
wife's homestead in Pawtuxet, R. I., in quiet 
study and home companionship. During this time 
he took the Chautauqua course of readings and 
was one of the graduates in the class of 1900. 

This life frequently alternated with travel and 
attendance at large meetings. While at Washing- 
ton, D. C., in 1895, he heard' of the sudden death 
of Frederick Douglass. He easily obtained tickets 
for the church and the attendance at the funeral 

* Following an eloquent appeal to the Trustees made later 
by Hon. James G. Blaine, they gave back to the President 
a house lot from this land. 


was a never-to-be-forgotten privilege. The elo- 
quent addresses by President J. E. Rankin, mem- 
bers of Congress and others, the fine appearance 
of the representatives of the colored race who 
packed the church, the sea of dusky faces in street, 
windows and on house tops all these spoke elo- 
quently for the departed and there was no one 
who rendered a more heartfelt tribute than Dr. 
Cheney, for he had all his life recognized the 
truth that God " hath made of one blood all 
nations of men." 


In 1899 on Dr. Cheney's eighty-third birthday, 
Mrs. Cheney planned for him a surprise party at 
their Pawtuxet home. Entirely unsuspicious as 
to what was to happen, he went down to meet the 
first arrivals in dressing-gown and slippers, say- 
ing : " It is only some of the boys " his favorite 
term for the Bates graduates. When he saw 
another group coming up the walk, the situation 
dawned upon him and giving his wife an arch 
look, he retreated and soon reappeared in his 
usual careful attire. 

About fifty persons were present including most 
of the Bates graduates in Rhode Island and other 
College and family friends. The exercises were 
very appropriately presided over by Arthur Given, 
D.D., one of the first Bates graduates. 

Because the letters sent for that occasion 


contain the best obtainable estimate of the man 
whose life-study we are telling, we append full 

The first represents his Alma Mater. After 
referring appreciatively to one of Dr. Cheney's 
brothers as his teacher and to another as his 
intimate personal friend, Rev. W. J. Tucker, D.D., 
President of Dartmouth College, says : 

" I cannot allow such an occasion to pass 
by without extending to you personally and 
from the Trustees and graduates of Dart- 
mouth College, our heartiest greetings. We 
look with honor and pride upon the^ work 
which you have accomplished in behalf of 
education and religion. Few men among our 
graduates have laid such wide foundations, 
or built so securely as yourself. I doubt if 
you can see your work in the same proportion 
that those can who have a different per- 
spective. May I assure you that the College 
of your early training joins with the College 
of your later service in most sincere con- 

The Free Baptist denomination was represented 
by Rev. G. H. Ball, D.D., who says: 

" I am thanking God that you were ever 
born and have made so much of life. Few 
men in centuries have done so well. Your 
courage, tact, persistency and success in 
planting Bates College are simply sublime. 
Had you been surrounded by men who saw 
the need, forecast the benefits and possessed 


the means and courage to give the effort 
strong support, you would have deserved 
great credit, but to have engineered the work 
and forced success in spite of the very oppo- 
site of these conditions was more than heroic. 
* * * Your strong efforts for Storer College 
still thrill me. The ' railroad to the moon ' 
has proved a through route to glory to 
thousands of benighted souls." 

President G. C. Chase, LL.D., wrote both as 
President of Bates College and as an alumnus : 

" It hardly seems possible that it has been 
thirty-nine years since, as a boy of sixteen, I 
first saw you, then in the prime of manhood, 
and subsequently recited to you in the Latin 
reader and grammar. Among all my recol- 
lections of teachers, none are more pleasant 
than those of you. I recall the light in your 
kindly eyes when a correct answer was given 
to a difficult question. You were an enthu- 
siastic teacher and much of my subsequent 
liking for language study was the taste for it 
that I developed under your instruction. 

" I remember too, the kind letter that you 
wrote to my parents urging that I had given 
evidence of scholarly ambition and ability. 
Our College was then unborn unless it were 
already in your brain, but the Seminary was 
reaching the culmination of its fame and use- 
fulness. You had the wisdom and the courage 
not to be the enemy of the better. You relin- 
quished a shining success to enter upon a 
work so laborious, perplexing, and unremit- 
ting that never for one moment afterwards 
could you enjoy freedom from care. 


" I have been impressed of late even more 
than ever before by the dauntless courage 
that conceived and carried to success an 
enterprise in which good men, your associates 
and counsellors, saw only folly, illusion and 
failure. Our generation will never know how 
almost alone Dr. Cheney kept on with his 
great life work, undisturbed by opposition 
and rebuke. Many generations will have 
passed away before the vast and far reaching 
results of that work will be fully appreciated. 
But all over our land there are even now 
rising up hundreds and thousands to bless 
the name and cherish the memory of the 
founder of Bates College." 

Dec. 10, 1899. 

The College Faculty were represented by Prof. 
J. Y. Stanton : 

" I learn that it is your eighty-third birth- 
day. On account of your temperate and 
wisely regulated life you are so well preserved 
and look so much as you did when you were 
a young man that one can scarcely think of 
old age in connection with you. I know of no 
man in regard to whom the remark of Cicero 
can be better applied, ' The weight of a re- 
spected and honored old age is easily borne.' 

" I know of no man that has been more 
successful and fortunate in life than yourself. 
You began and have lived to accomplish a 
noble work which perhaps never would have 
been undertaken by any other person. You 
were the founder of an Institution whose 
benign influence will be almost infinite in 


extent. This influence will be exerted to 
your honor as long as time lasts." 

Mrs. Kate Prescott Cox, class of '91, represented 
the alumnae : 

" I wish it were possible for all your friends 
to meet you and take your hand on this 
occasion. What an assembly there would 
be ! I am sure no house could hold all who 
would gladly come. But many of the absent 
ones will think of you with loving and grate- 
ful remembrances. 

" There are few men who can look back on 
such a life's work as you have accomplished. 
You have placed within the reach of a great 
many young people, both young men and 
young women, an opportunity of securing a 
liberal education, which they never could 
have had but for your efforts and self-sacri- 

"This in itself would be enough to call 
forth our grateful homage today, but when 
we reflect that it was from your hand that 
the first woman graduate from a New England 
College received her diploma, we feel that 
what you have done for woman's education 
should receive particular mention. 

" As one of the Alumnae of Bates College 
let me say that we appreciate this honor 
bestowed upon our Alma Mater by her 
founder and former president." 

The Treasurer of Bates College, Addison Small, 
sent this greeting : 

" I wish I could find words adequate to 
express my feelings and good wishes for you 


on this occasion. In the first place, I would 
like, if possible, to give expression to my 
sincere gratitude for what you have done 
for me. You founded the Maine State Semi- 
nary. The establishment of that Institution 
incited in me a desire to acquire an educa- 
tion and rendered it possible for me to do so. 
"You have had many trials during your 
life and you have borne heavy burdens for 
others. I gained some knowledge of what 
these burdens were when, for a few years, we 
endured together the trials of raising the 
money for the College and suffered the vexa- 
tions of the Belcher and Hedge will trials. 
I experienced just enough of them to realize 
in some small degree, what you must have 
borne in the early days of the College." 

Maine State Seminary students were rep- 
resented by Mrs. Addison Small : 

"The many expressions of your abiding 
interest in, and friendship for me and mine, 
have made your life, my dear friend, mean 
much to us. I thank you. 

" Your larger interest in all mankind your 
unselfish efforts to benefit others, the patience 
and perseverance you have practised through 
your long life, make me say ' Thou art a 
King among men.' " 

Rev. E. B. Stiles and wife speak for the Foreign 

" We wish to express our love for one who 
has been so intimately related to our lives, 
as President of our College when we were 


students, as President of the Foreign Mission- 
ary Society when we were appointed to India, 
as a kind friend and sympathetic adviser at 
all times." 

Dr. A. T. Salley, pastor of the Main Street 
Church, Lewiston, sends this greeting : 

" When the educational idea dawned upon 
my boyish mind, you, Dr. Cheney, were the 
one man in New England to whom, because 
of your commanding position in educational 
circles, my mind turned for advice about a 
collegiate course. This advice was cheerfully 
given and most fortunately followed. The 
result was seven very happy and profitable 
years in Bates College and Theological School. 
And this collegiate work has had much to do 
in determining my life's career and in giving 
me whatever small measure of success has 
fallen to my lot. 

" During these seven years you were an 
inspiration to me and your words of advice 
and encouragement helped urge me on to the 
consummation of my hopes. For all this I 
thank you. 

" For all you have been in the church of 
Christ, as an earnest preacher, pastor and 
leader during so many years ; for your emi- 
nent service in the educational world, to 
which Bates College is a splendid, enduring 
monument ; and for all the helpful influences 
which have gone out from your life to bless 
our world, the Main Street Free Baptist 
church of Lewiston joins with me in express- 
ing their profound appreciation." 


The following brief extract from the testimonial 
from Mrs. M. M. H. Hills embodies the thought 
in many other letters: 

" Words can give you but a very faint idea 
of the high esteem and veneration your noble 
life and unselfish labors have begotten in my 
heart, so I will attempt no such effort. No 
sincerer friend will greet you today. ' The 
Lord bless thee and keep thee.' " 

Mrs. V. G. Ramsey, a life-long friend, wrote 
thus, tenderly : 

Brother beloved, what honors shall we bring 

Before thy feet to lay ? 
What gifts bestow, what lofty peansing 

That's worthy of the day ? 

Thy natal day ! We thank our dod who made 

This day with blessings rife, 
And through the fourscore years, in sun and shade, 

Has glorified thy life. 

We come with reverent love, to offer thee 
Not costly gems, nor gold, 

They are too poor our inmost hearts must be 
Thine own to have and hold ! 

We know thy toils and cares a leader thou 
On many a hard fought field ! 

A victor's wreath may justly crown his brow, 
Who never learned to yield. 

A generous friend, a wise and faithful guide 

To young, unwary feet ! 
Thousands today, with grateful joy and pride, 

Thy honored name repeat. 

And now, when past the noontide toil and heat, 

And shadows gather round, 
The holy hush of twilight is most sweet. 

The evening peace profound. 


And nearer draw the city's shining wall 

And crystal gates ajar ; 
From blissful bowers long silent voices call, 

And beckon thee afar. 

Tho' bright the immortal shore, yet still we pray 

That God will bid thee wait, 
And, making evening fairer than the day, 

Accord thee entrance late. 

The pleasant social intercourse about the festive 
board was a fitting close to a delightful affair 
which shed its brightness over many wintry days. 


Two years later circumstances favored Dr. 
Cheney's taking a long desired trip to the Pacific 
Coast. On the way, a few weeks were spent at 
Nogales, a border town in Arizona. The party 
arrived there late Saturday night. Early Sunday 
morning Dr. Cheney was astir, apparently un- 
fatigued, and said, " I will go to some little church 
service today where I shall be unobserved." 
What was his surprise, on entering a little adobe 
church, to have the pastor approach him with 
outstretched hands, saying : 

" Isn't this President Cheney ? I am Mr. Reud a 
Bates man." 

This happy experience was one of many that 
attended the whole trip. 

One evening the family amused themselves by 
making phonographic records. When Dr. 
Cheney's turn came, he began his with : " A 
million dollars for Bates College." 


This border mining town of Nogales had great 
interest for him, in collecting facts at the Custom 
House, and in going over the Mexican border and 
observing the old-time customs and dress, made 
familiar by his childhood pictures. On his 
eighty-fifth birthday he climbed a nearby moun- 
tain and standing by a boundary stone obtained 
an extended view in both countries. 

He continued his trip to the coast with high 
anticipations of obtaining funds for the College. 
As he crossed the beautiful bay from San Fran- 
cisco to Oakland, he stood like a victor with form 
erect and head thrown back, realizing a life-long 
wish in looking out upon an arm of the Pacific. 

The trip had been an ovation. At different 
points on the way " Bates boys " had met and 
entertained him and now at Professor Meade's 
hospitable home, he received calls from teachers, 
ministers and missionaries who expressed grate- 
ful appreciation for what Bates had done for them. 
Beyond his greatest expectation he had found 
fruitage from his seed sowing. 

Possibly the excitement was too much. One 
morning, the tired body warned him that his 
service was nearly over. His plans for further 
travel and raising money were abandoned. As 
soon as able he returned as far as Phenix, Ari- 
zona, where he was under the tender care of a 
Christian physician, who had known of his life 
and work and who showed the deepest interest 


in him. While here his faculty for being con- 
nected with first things had another illustration. 
He was much excited when informed that the 
flag which led the troops to victory up San Juan 
hill in the Spanish-American war was made in the 
room he was occupying in the Mills House ; and 
that, in honor of this, President and Mrs. McKin- 
ley, when on their trip across the country, in pass- 
ing in a procession through Phenix, rose in their 
carriage and saluted the house. 


A few weeks later he was located in Lewiston, 
where quietly and restfully he spent his remaining 
months, under the shadow of the College that he 
loved. As he reviewed his life during these de- 
clining months he saw so plainly the possibilities 
and needs for future development of a strong 
Institution that he often said, " I have laid only a 
few foundation stones." But his vision was clear 
as to these needs. At the last Commencement 
which he attended, in 1903, his brother, Hon. E. 
H. Cheney well said in a post-prandial address : 
" There will never be a building or department 
added to Bates College that this man has not had 
a vision of." 

Resting one day on the Chapel steps he pointed 
out to one of the Professors, different locations 
where building after building ought to be located. 

His consciousness of his own limitations was 


revealed in many ways during these months. As 
one illustration : He had always regretted that 
he was not a more magnetic public speaker and it 
throws a side-light on his character that he 
seemed to derive solid satisfaction from his wife's 
efforts in that line, appearing to feel that she was 
in a measure supplying a lack in himself. When 
Mrs. Cheney returned from any public service, 
with almost childlike eagerness and beaming face, 
he asked to hear all about it, what had been said, 
the impression it made and what had been said 
about it, and would often clap his hands with 

Foibles ? Yes, he had them for he was human. 
His friends knew and condoned them. But con- 
sidering that, during twelve years of closest rela- 
tions, the writer never once heard him refer to a 
fault in any member of his family, brothers, 
sisters, children or grandchildren, and seldom in 
anyone, we accord him the same gracious silence. 







During his many years of travel, President 
Cheney had been a guest in a great many homes. 
During the last months, when the stress of life 
was over, he loved to refer to the friendships thus 
formed and the kindness shown, and often re- 
peated stories with which he had been wont to 
brighten the homes entertaining him. 

If an accident happened in the home and there 
was danger that some one would be reproved, he 
would divert attention by asking, " Did you ever 
hear about the man who started to go for water 
to a spring in the cellar ? Well, he stumbled 
and fell down the stairs. His wife rushed to 
the door and asked eagerly, ' John ! John ! did 
you break the pitcher?' 'No, but I will,' John 
answered, dashing it against the stone wall." 
When the story was ended the recent mishap was 

Or, if he heard anyone lamenting about some- 
thing forgotten or neglected he would remind him 
of the woman, whose first exclamation after break- 
ing her leg was, " Oh, what a massy it is that I 
made soap yesterday !" 

Reclining on his couch, in a sunny bay window, 
through papers, magazines and books he kept in 
close touch with the life of the world. 

Prof. Bachelder, of Hillsdale College, once said: 


asked. As the names were announced one after 
another, he stated accurately the political party 
to which each belonged. 

When the cloud had apparently settled finally 
over his consciousness and members of the family 
were resting, they were hastily called to his bed- 
side, by hearing him exclaim, " What is that ? " 
"Only a little brandy and water," replied the 
nurse. " I will not take it," he said with startling 
intensity. He did not. It almost seemed as if 
he came back from the other world to give a final 
protest against that which all his life he had 
opposed as a beverage and had never tasted. 

An hour later an ineffable smile, then rest 
eternal! The simple funeral service was the 
tribute of friends and associates in College and 
church. The beautiful floral offerings were ar- 
ranged by the loving hands of former students, 
and the most touching tribute of all was a beauti- 
ful piece, sent by a colored woman, formerly 
employed in his home. When remonstrated with 
for wishing to pay so large a sum of money for 
the offering, she said earnestly: 

"I want to. He did so much for my race." 

In a beautiful cemetery, overlooking the broad 
Androscoggin, the form rests ; but O. B. Cheney 
lives in hundreds of useful lives, in well-organized 
Christian work and in the nation to which he ever 
tried to be a blessing. 

Each summer, at Ocean Park, a benign -face 


looks over the audiences gathered in the Temple ; 
at Storer College, the same kindly face greets the 
freedmen students gathering there from year to 
year these pictures being gifts expressing the 
love of daughters. In the beautiful new Coram 
Library building at Bates, there hangs a large 
portrait of the revered first President, placed there 
by the alumni ; and all these seem to say to the 
beholders : " Influence is immortal. Live not 
alone for the good, but for the best, even though 
you stand alone." 


The life-story presented in this book has been 
mainly from the view-point of the author. It is 
now proposed to add estimates of work and 
character, gleaned from many sources and written 
from the individual points of view occupied by the 

There will necessarily be some repetition of 
facts and opinions already given, and estimates 
will be made differing but little from each other, 
but varying in expression according to the in- 
dividuality of the person giving them. 

A large volume might be filled with such testi- 
monials, but these will suffice. 

E. B. C. 

From an address given by Prof. A. W. Anthony, 
D.D., at the Bates Round Table, held at Dr. 
Cheney's home on the evening of his eighty- 
seventh birthday : 

" To be the file-leader in the march is not 
always more honorable than to follow steadily 
and firmly in the line, although the first man 
not unusually receives the greater attention 
and commendation. In initiating enterprises, 
however, there is a certain excellence in 
vision and in courage, which the follower, be 
he ever so sagacious and efficient as a fol- 
lower, does not ordinarily possess. ' First 
things,' also, have a certain isolation from 
environment, at least on one side, and are 


consequently thrown into a greater promi- 
nence. About them is a charm, if not a halo, 
which the many in succession do not share. 
To have had a hand in initiating many enter- 
prises, even if not a formative influence in 
every case, gives a distinction to a man. 

" It has been the fortune of the man whose 
birthday we celebrate tonight to initiate an 
unusual number of movements, some of a for- 
tuitous character, others indicative of his own 
foresight, energy and determination. 

"If the list of 'first things,' with which 
O. B. Cheney was connected, was expanded 
into a full account of the collateral and 
associated ideas, a considerable history would 
be written of many important events and 
movements in the Free Baptist denomination, 
in the life and enterprise of New England, in 
the development of educational and ecclesias- 
tical institutions, and in the larger undertak- 
ings which reach far and wide in many parts 
of the world for the uplift and blessing of 

" In 1824, when a mere lad, Oren B. Cheney 
attended the first Sunday School held in the 
northern part of New Hampshire. When 
still a boy, he laid sheet by sheet the pulp 
from which the paper was made on which the 
first issue of The Morning Star, the denomi- 
national organ of the Free Baptists, begun in 
1826, was printed. This was the paper on 
which he afterward did no little editorial 

" The first school founded and maintained 
by Free Baptists had Oren B. Cheney enrolled 
upon the opening day as a pupil. This was 


at Parsonsfield, Maine, where subsequently 
that same pupil became principal of the 

"While at Parsonsfield as a student, he, 
with others, organized a temperance society, 
which is believed to be the first school society 
in the world, the pledge of which prohibited 
fermented, as well as distilled, liquors. 

" Mr. Cheney was present at the organiza- 
tion of the Free Baptist Foreign Missionary 
Society ; he was a member of the convention 
which organized the Free Baptist Education 
Society ; he helped organize the Free Soil 
Party ; he founded Lebanon Academy ; he 
voted for the first prohibitory law as intro- 
duced in the Maine Legislature by Neal 
Dow ; he founded the Maine State Seminary, 
which afterwards became Bates College, and 
in inaugurating and caring for this chief 
institution of his solicitude, he also inci- 
dentally, had a formative hand in founding 
Maine Central Institute at Pittsfield, Maine, 
and Storer College at Harper's Ferry, West 
Virginia. He gave the first diploma that was 
ever received by a woman graduate from a 
New England College. 

" In Maine he helped consolidate the three 
Yearly Meetings of Free Baptists into the one 
strong Maine Free Baptist Association, which 
is now so effective in the state ; he also aided 
in the founding and developing of Ocean 
Park Association and Assembly, and was the 
first president of the Ocean Park Association, 
the organization which maintains in the town 
of Old Orchard a summer settlement, with lect- 
ures, conventions and classes of a Chautauqua 


character. In the denomination at large 
he, with Rev. G. H. Ball, D.D., of New York, 
initiated the plans which finally resulted in 
the formation of a legally incorporated 
General Conference of Free Baptists, into 
which as a central body have been merged 
the functions of the Free Baptist Foreign 
Missionary Society, the Free Baptist Home 
Mission Society, the Free Baptist Education 
Society, the Free Baptist Sunday School 
Union and the Free Baptist Temperance 
Society. Through his instrumentality women 
were admitted to membership on the Foreign 
Mission Board and later as delegates to the 
General Conference of Free Baptists. He 
led his brethren in championing this cause. 
" In his later years it has seemed to be 
almost a genius with Dr. Cheney, in a quiet, 
unobtrusive way, to adjust, simplify and 
solidify organization. His foresight and 
vision, his shrewd common sense and practi- 
cal wisdom, his devotion of time and effort 
have been wrought into many permanent 
forms which his followers will continue to 
employ, even when the file-leader is out of 

From an article in The Morning Star of No- 
vember i, 1894, referring to Dr. Cheney's resig- 
nation as President of Bates College, signed 
" Pilgrim : " 

" In the excellent address of President 
Cheney, at the inauguration of the new 
President of Bates College, occur these words, 


4 If there is a longing to bring back my young 
manhood, I cannot help it.' 

44 Probably there are very few who, were 
the choice theirs, would desire to live their 
lives a second time, for every life, however 
happy and prosperous, has many sad experi- 
ences that no one would wish repeated. But 
at this time, when the very pulse of this old 
world beats responsively to the march of 
progress, when even earth and sky are expos- 
ing their long buried treasures, and new 
truths are constantly developing, one can 
hardly fail to desire that the wheel of time 
might be turned backward, that in the 
strength and freshness of youth he might 
enter the arena and participate once more in 
its stirring scenes. 

44 It were strange indeed, if in a life devoted 
for forty long years to one object, as has been 
that of the subject of this sketch an object, 
moreover, in the accomplishment of which he 
has been so eminently successful as he steps 
aside to yield to another the charge so dear 
to his heart, there should be no regrets for 
the vanished years, no longing for the vigor 
and strength of young manhood. 

44 No one not cognizant of the struggles 
incident to the founding of Maine State 
Seminary, and particularly of the discourage- 
ment and trials consequent on the proposi- 
tion to change the seminary to a college, can 
appreciate the quiet persistency (a persist- 
ency characteristic of some of the world's 
noblest heroes) of the man, who standing 
almost alone, amid opposition on every side, 
never faltered in his purpose. Loving the 


denomination of his choice with a love of 
which, it is feared, most of us know little, and 
firmly believing a Free Baptist college a vital 
necessity to the highest welfare of that de- 
nomination, he stood firm as a rock, though 
friends, loved and honored, saw only disaster 
and disappointment in his plans. Had he 
been one whit less persistent Bates College 
had had no existence. When one thinks of 
the seven hundred young men and women 
who have left its halls, many of them inspired 
with a noble ambition to make of life a suc- 
cess in the highest and best sense, he can 
realize something of the calamity it would 
have been had a weaker man been at the 
helm, who had yielded his judgment to that 
of his colleagues. 

" From its commencement Bates College, 
notwithstanding its poverty, has been won- 
derfully successful. Doubtless this is in part 
owing to the noble band of instructors who 
from the first have blessed the institution ; 
but far more to the fertile brain of him who 
constantly, through anxious days and often 
sleepless nights, was devising plans for its 

" A noble life work indeed has been that 
of the founder of Bates College. The beautiful 
and touching tribute paid to the retiring 
President by Congressman Dingley (a man of 
whom every dweller of the Pine Tree State 
may be justly proud) is as truthful as it is 
beautiful. Long may his words be remem- 
bered. Only the arithmetic of heaven can 
compute the value of a life which has set in 
motion a train of beneficent influences so 


far-reaching in their results that eternity 
alone can measure their importance. 

" And now, as our beloved president waits 
by the ' ingleside ' for the summons to other 
duties and responsibilities, we know it will 
be no idle waiting. Such as he never doff 
their armor till the mortal is changed to 
immortality. Bates College is still his, the 
child of his heart, around which every fiber 
of his being twines. Whatever he can do to 
advance its interests will be gladly, cheer- 
fully done. 

"And as the years go on, and the picture 
so beautifully painted by Bates's new Presi- 
dent becomes a reality (as it surely will), 
looking down from the battlements of heaven 
at the monument fashioned by his own hands, 
and beholding it ever increasing in beautiful 
proportions as tier after tier of polished 
stones is added, the words that so often fell 
from the lips of its sainted founder on his 
earthly journey, as some bright oasis greeted 
his weary sight, will rise in sweeter, loftier 
measures, till heaven's arches shall ring with 
the glad acclaim : 

" Praise God from whom all blessings flow, 
Praise him, all creatures here below ; 
Praise him above, ye heavenly host, 
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." 

As one of a series of articles published in The 
Morning Star on Free Baptist Pioneers in the issue 
of July 14, 1898, Rev. Thomas H. Stacy, D.D., 
devotes the fourteenth to O. B. Cheney. After 
reviewing the facts of his life, he says : 


" The spirit which made him a pioneer 
among our people in getting an education for 
himself made him a pioneer in securing the 
opportunities for an education for others. 
It meant faith in the night, patience under 
criticism, persistency when hope had fled, 
and all the energies of his remaining public 
life, but to this he was consecrated ; and 
inspired by a consciousness of duty he went 
cheerfully to his task. ********** 

" Dr. Cheney remained at the head of the 
institution until he resigned on the twenty- 
second day of September, 1894 just forty 
years work to a day. From its beginning it 
has gone steadily forward, increasing in at- 
tendance and facilities, gaining favor with 
the public and making its impress upon the 
world, until it stands among the first colleges 
of the state. To bring such an institution 
into existence, to shape a policy for it that 
would overcome prejudice, disarm criticism, 
and make for it lasting friends, a policy 
broad enough to be unsectarian, deep enough 
to meet the approval of the staunchest Free 
Baptist, to make it the first college in New 
England to open its doors to men and women 
on equal terms, to carry it through dis- 
couraging years, to rally friends again and 
again to rescue it from apparently hopeless 
defeat all this has required the qualities of 
a Moses and an Elijah, qualities that Dr. 
Cheney had, and which he so used for an 
institution that when he delivered the keys 
to his successor he said, ' There is not a tree 
or building or spot on the campus but seems 
a part of myself.' 


" Although so much of Dr. Cheney's own 
life has been devoted to the interests of the 
college, he has found opportunity and love for 
other service to his denomination and the 
world. Fifteen times he has been a delegate 
to our General Conference, fourteen in suc- 
cession, and over three of the sessions he has 
presided. He has been our representative to 
the General Baptists of England, and to other 
religious bodies in this country and the 
Provinces. He has been recording secretary 
of the Foreign and Home Mission societies, 
president of the Education and Anti-slavery 
societies, and was president of the Foreign 
Mission Society from 1886 to the time that 
its work was turned over to the Conference 
Board. For many years he was one of the 
assistant editors of The Morning Star when 
Wm. Burr was editor. It was through his 
influence that John Storer was led to give 
$10,000 for the founding of Storer College. 
While at West Lebanon he represented the 
Whigs and Free Soilers in the Legislature of 
1851-2, and voted for the original Maine 
temperance law. 

* * * ***** 

"What has been the secret of Dr. Cheney's 
success ? If it would not appear presumptu- 
ous for me to express an opinion, I should 
say that this success has been largely due, 
first, to early Christian training ; second, to 
an early experience in personal relations with 
God ; and, third, to a willingness to be led. 
Observation and experience show that the 
best teachers are those willing to be taught, 
and the best leaders are those willing to be 


led. Growing out of these three fundamental 
conditions we find fidelity to conviction, 
manifest not only in connection with the 
great work of establishing the college, but in 
relation to temperance, the anti-slavery move- 
ment, and other reforms of the past fifty 
years. We also find among the leading 
characteristics of the man, industry first, last, 
and always prominent. And then we see 
gentleness and determination hand in hand, 
rather a rare combination, but, when well 
constituted, a most efficient one. It is worthy 
of note that Dr. Cheney's most aggressive 
work has not been accomplished through con- 
tention, forensic debate, or artifice, but 
through frank and reasonable persistency. 
It shows how right endeavor for what is right 
must eventually succeed. It always appeared 
to us that he made a study of men, and that 
he knew how to make good use of what he 
learned. Reliance upon God was marked in 
every new departure and every trying event. 
" It is a matter of just pride when one has 
passed through an eventful public life with 
no stain upon the character, no mark of dis- 
honesty, no act unworthy a Christian. This 
is true in his case, and the other fact also 
that he has accomplished much that will 
benefit the whole world. 

The following extracts are taken from an article 
written by N. C. Brackett, Ph.D., a short time 
before Dr. Cheney's death and later published in 
The Lewiston Sun : 

"Some men accomplish their purpose ap- 
parently by force. Other men make way by 


their imperious will power. Dr. Cheney drew 
men to him and to his cause by love. 

"When Wm. Toothaker of Phillips was 
counting out his five thousand dollars, he 
said, ' Bro. Cheney, I have three reasons for 
giving you this money. I think it will please 
you, please the brethren and please the Lord.' 

" Dr. Cheney was necessarily in some hard 
fights, but he was not a fighter. He had 
neither time, strength nor inclination to fight 
those who opposed his plans. He simply 
pressed on with his work. He won his 
victories with tears rather than blows. To 
abusive letters and criticism, he seldom made 
any reply. 

"There were strong and good men in the 
denomination in New Erigland who did not 
see the wisdom of his course in making a 
college of Maine State Seminary. Probably 
they were more numerous than those who 
opposed his course at the beginning, but 
gradually by his persistence and the logic of 
events, they were won over to consent if not 
to active co-operation. One of the secrets 
of Dr. Cheney's success was his ability to 
sink himself in his cause. He was never self- 
assertive, never seemed to be pushing a 
theory or a plan because it was his. Few 
men could so forget themselves in a cause as 
Dr. Cheney. 

"Though a man of strong political convic- 
tions he never aspired to figure in politics, but 
his native foresight and clearness of convic- 
tion made him a power in the politics of both 
State and Nation. More than one position 
was secured under the State and National 


Government by Dr. Cheney, while the world, 
and possibly the recipient, credited it mainly 
to other influences. 

" Nature gave Dr. Cheney a pleasant voice, 
gentle manners, a comely form as well as a 
clear intellect. He gave to the church of his 
choice, and to the cause he espoused a sin- 
gleness of purpose and such rare consecra- 
tion as few, very few, have power to give. 
That Dr. Cheney was the founder of Bates 
College goes without saying. But few insti- 
tutions are so fully the work of one heart and 
brain as Bates College. 

" For almost forty years from the time of 
his inception of the scheme to found a semi- 
nary to the date of his resignation, more than 
a generation from the small beginning, he 
had planned and worked and prayed for the 

" When he left the chair that he had filled 
so long and honorably, he had the satisfac- 
tion of seeing it filled by one of his own 
graduates, and the man of his choice, while 
the able Faculty had been selected in the same 
way. The wisdom of his selections is proved 
by the high position Bates College occupies 

" Personally, I never met Dr. Cheney till a 
few months before the opening of Maine 
State Seminary, though I had for years been 
familiar with his name and had read with 
deep interest the articles in The Morning Star 
signed O. B. C. Since that time I have met 
him many times from 1857 to 1880 not only 
as a student at the Seminary, but at our 
annual and triennial gatherings of different 


organizations. I have seen him in hard 
places, when he was being opposed and 
criticised ; sometimes seen him the victim of 
cruel blows by men who could not understand 
his motives or did not approve his methods, 
but never once in these years have I seen 
him strike back. 

"Though Dr. Cheney holds a very high 
place in the esteem of his church, and of the 
people of Maine generally, I do not think 
the greatness of his services to the church 
and the State are yet appreciated. 

" Jacob Riis characterizes President Roose- 
velt as 'The man who does things.' The 
same may with special force be said of Dr. 

Until the last few years of his life Dr. Cheney 
was called upon to preach many occasional ser- 
mons, as for instance, that at the Semi-Centennial 
of the Free Baptist Foreign Missionary Society, 
and it seems fitting that an extract be given 
from at least one of them. 

Because of its bearing on present day problems, 
we make selections from a sermon delivered at a 
Convention, held in Lawrence, Mass., May 2, 
1877 ; this with the double purpose of showing 
President Cheney's spirit and style and of noting 
his opinions from the view-point of thirty years 

"The committee authorized to call this 
convention, in inviting me to read a twenty 
minutes paper has assigned me as a subject, 
4 Denominational Adhesiveness* 


"'I dwell among mine own people,' said 
the woman of Shunem to the prophet of the 
Lord, when he suggested to her the idea of 
leaving her own people for a home with 
another people. 

" ' But can I do nothing for you,' I seem 
to hear him say, ' in return for your kindness 
to me ? Wouldest thou not be spoken for to 
the king, or to the captain of the host ? ' 

" ' No, I thank you, sir,' I seem to hear her 
say in reply. ' I am satisfied with my station 
in life. There may or there may not be honor 
in it. Suffice it to say that I am simply in 
the place which God in his providence has 
assigned me, and I am content to remain in 
it. Certainly, I am happy where I am I 
find work enough to do, and my happiness 
consists in being at work. I hope I am of 
some consequence with my own people. I 
am not certain I should be of any with 
another people. I trust I am dear to my 
people, but one thing I know, my people are 
dear to me. 

" ' You are a prophet of the Lord, sir, and 
you doubtless mean well in the suggestion 
you make, but great men do not always advise 
others the most wisely ; so please go your 
way and continue to perform the work to 
which your Divine Master has called you, 
and leave me to worship the same God you 
worship and perform services for Him where 
I am. I ask no more. You are welcome to 
all my kindnesses.' 

" This woman is called a ' great ' woman 
in the Bible, and she is a great woman 
on the page of history, for what is greatness 


but to be decided in the hour when decision 
is called for; because some principle or pre- 
cious interest is at stake. 

" I have dwelt among the people repre- 
sented by this convention for more than 
forty-two years, that is, I have been a mem- 
ber of one of their churches for that length 
of time. I have really dwelt among them 
from a child. I was born among them and 
though they are not a perfect people, being 
like all other Christian people in this respect, 
yet knowing that they have made great prog- 
ress in Christian work, and believing that 
they are on the road to still greater progress, 
I am content to remain among them ; to re- 
main to share their joys if they have them, 
or if they have trials and burdens to bear, to 
share the trials and help bear the burdens, 
and a few of my reasons follow : 

" i. We are a people respectable in num- 
bers. It is true we are a small people when 
compared with some denominations, and yet 
we are a large people when compared with 

** In round numbers we have 1400 churches, 
1400 ministers, and 75,000 church members. 
Our membership in Maine is 15,000, and I 
understand that the Maine Young Men's 
Christian Association has estimated our con- 
gregations in Maine at 50,000 persons. On 
this estimate our entire congregations would 
number 250,000. Now, I think it is safe to 
say there are as many more, that if reached 
at all by religious influences, must be reached 
by our people I mean this that if they are 
to hear the gospel preached at all, they must 


hear it from the lips of our ministers ; if their 
children are to attend any Sunday schools, 
they must attend those under our supervision. 
In other words there are one-half million of 
people, or one-eightieth of the whole popu- 
lation of the country, that are religiously 
under our special influence, and for whose 
moral training, we as a denomination are re- 
sponsible, and this, to say nothing of the 
millions in heathendom. I care not, then, 
whether we are called or whether we call our- 
selves, small or great, certain it is, we have 
upon us great responsibilities solemn too 
they are and so great and so solemn that we 
must not allow ourselves to trifle with them. 

" But granting that we call ourselves small, 
it does not follow that we ought not to exist 
as a distinct people ; that in God's great plan 
of saving men there is no more need of us, 
we have no mission to fulfill, no special work 
to perform. Why did not God select one of 
the larger denominations to lead the way in 
the earlier days of Anti-slavery reform ? Why 
was it that there was but one little Star to 
shine in the black heavens of those days ? I 
do not known unless it be that it is not by 
might or by power but by the spirit of the 

"The civil policy under which we live is 
presented as a model government for the 
world ; and yet it recognizes small states as 
well as large ones ; Delaware, Rhode Island, 
and New Hampshire, as well as Ohio, Penn- 
sylvania and New York ; and it is known 
that the government never could have been 
organized without this recognition. 


"One thing I will say in this connection 
as a crumb of comfort to the Uelawarean, or 
the Rhode Islander, or the man of the Granite 
State, that while the man of Ohio, or Penn- 
sylvania or New York dwells amidst more 
acres, more numbers, and more wealth, yet he 
it is, the man of the small state, that is of 
the more consequence in the body politic 
that has the greater political influence ; his 
vote actually counts more. 

41 2. We have great interests on our hands 
to be cared for, and it is my duty to help 
care for them. We have academies, semi- 
naries, colleges and theological schools that 
the simple moral wants of society, throwing 
our existence as a separate religious people 
entirely out of the question, demand should 
not only be kept alive, but should be brought 
quickly into a more vigorous life, and yet so 
far as we can see, and others can see for us, 
will surely cease to live if we take our hands 
from under them. Therefore, every minister 
who leaves us gives a blow to our institution 
at Harper's Ferry, and to our educational 
work in this country and in India. He may 
say he does not mean to do this thing, but he 
does it notwithstanding. 

44 God compels no man to vow unto him, 
but when he has vowed, he will hold him to 
pay that which he has vowed. 

44 3. There are new fields to be cultivated 
and it is my duty to help cultivate them. 
Our first duty, as it seems to me, is to put 
all our existing interests that are worthy to 
live into a good and healthy condition. This 
being done, we shall have just the preparation 


we need to enter upon the work of lengthen- 
ing our cords and bringing new lands within 
our enclosures to be cultivated. 

" 4. We have a special work on our hands, 
the consummation of the union of all liberal 
Baptists. We are committed to an effort in 
this direction by the action of our General 
i Conference, held in Strafford, Vt., in 1833 
44 years ago and by the action of several 
Conferences held since that time. The union 
of The Morning Star and the Baptist Union 
commits us anew to such an effort. We are 
the larger liberal Baptist body, and therefore 
it is proper and to be expected that we take 
the initiative in bringing about a union which 
I think all parties interested, acknowledge 
should be effected. The general interests of 
religion require that this union should be 
consummated, and this within a reasonable 
length of time. 

"The statistics of the Liberal Baptists in the 
United States and British Provinces outside 
our own body, I have not at hand, but the num- 
ber consists of many thousands. Then there 
are 25,000 in England. Now, has not the time 
fully come for a practical union of all Liberal 
Baptists ? Should they not go so far as to 
meet in convention once in five years, or 
what might be better, in an Association regu- 
larly organized ? Should not their statistics 
be annually published in one book ? Our 
Register is good, but I desire to see some- 
thing better, something more comprehensive, 
something that shall do justice to the princi- 
ples and work which we represent. Had I 
not been called so suddenly away from 


Europe, it was my purpose to consult with 
some of our brethren in England on this sub- 

"5. The members of our denomination 
should remain together and I should remain 
with them, because that which many desire, 
our union with the larger Baptist body, will 
the sooner be effected. 

"It will be 100 years on the 3oth of June, 
1880, since our first church was organized. 
It was at New Durham, N. H., and the church 
organized there, and then was simply a Bap- 
tist church, and Rev. Benjamin Randall, who 
organized it, was simply a Baptist minister, 
but Benjamin Randall believed in a general 
atonement. He was an Arminian, not a 
Calvinist, and the origin of our denomination 
lies in the fact that ' he did not preach the 
doctrine of election as Calvin held it.' 

"We are to bear in mind that Randall did 
not intend to found a new denomination any 
more than our republican fathers intended 
to establish a government independent of 
Great Britain. Our fathers were led in a way 
they knew not. So was Randall. The course 
he took in putting himself at the head of 
another Christian people was not one of 
choice. It was his only course and he must 
be justified today upon the page of history. 

" Randall desired simply to be let alone, 
and allowed to preach the gospel as he be- 
lieved it, and because this was not conceded 
him, we are here today in this Convention as 
a separate people. 

" But shall we always remain a separate 
people? I think not. Shall we ever be 


reunited with the larger Baptist body ? I think 
we shall be. Is it desirable we should be ? 
I think so, provided a union could be brought 
about honorable to both parties. A union 
certainly would prove an immense saving of 
men and money, and cause many a village 
and neighborhood in our country, now a 
spiritually barren land, to ' bud and blossom 
as the rose.' 

" We all admit that a separation for such a 
cause could not be now effected. If this case 
were to be tried again and this in our day 
there would be a different verdict. In other 
words, there would be no denomination like 
ours founded on the question, raised in 
the days of Randall, for, whatever be the 
creeds of Baptist churches or the doctrines 
taught in Baptist Theological Schools, Bap- 
tist ministers, so far as I know, are allowed 
to preach the atonement as they believe it 
what Randall was not allowed to do and in 
preaching it, they preach it as fully and as 
freely as Randall. ' And the spirit and the 
bride say, come. And let him that heareth 
say, come. And let him that is athirst, 
come. And whosoever will, let him take the 
water of life freely.' 

" What follows then from what I have said 
under this head. It is this : We are not re- 
sponsible for being a separate people, and there- 
fore all we have to do is to work on as we are 
together always until those who are re- 
sponsible, our brethren of the larger Baptist 
body, shall take the initiative for a union. 

" Keeping together, then, and building our- 
selves as a people, we shall be a stronger 


force to help bring about a union of all Bap- 
tists, and the stronger we are, so much more 
respect we shall receive; so much more 
influence we shall have and the sooner that 
which many of our own number and many in 
the larger Baptist body desire namely, the 
union of all Baptists will be consummated. 

"Of course I am understood in what I say. 
I do not mean that a man is bound in chains 
to a religious denomination, for, if there be 
in his mind an honest change of views, then 
it is not only his right, but his duty to leave 
that denomination, and he is to be respected 
for leaving ; and there is a reason why, other 
things being equal, a man may leave a larger 
denomination for a smaller, both being in a 
good healthy state and with good prospects 
of a permanent existence, and the reason is, 
he may be needed more among the smaller 
people ; but to speak frankly, I have not a 
very great respect for a man who leaves a 
denomination only to go from a smaller to a 
larger body, or to get a larger salary, or to get 
rid of burdens or trials, or because he is not 
noticed enough, or cannot have his own way. 
How can I respect him when he is not re- 
spected by the people he leaves, nor by people 
to whom he goes. The truth is, denomina- 
tions do not make men. Men are, under God, 
what they make themselves, only let them be 
humble enough to walk in the path that 
Providence marks out for them, then they 
will be contented, happy, useful, successful, 
the world made better, and new glory will be 
added to the name of Christ. 


" I say, then, repeating in substance what 
I have already said, that we are not at liberty 
to forget our solemn covenant obligations, 
betray the confidence we have reposed in 
each other, run away from the folds of which 
the Great Shepherd has put us in charge and 
leave the wolves to break in and devour the 
sheep. This would be unmanly, cowardly, 
absolutely wicked, but we should go right 
on with our work, bringing more and more 
souls into the kingdom of Christ, and giving 
more and more glory to Christ ; for this is all 
we are aiming after. This is the sum of the 
whole matter. We should go on just as if we 
were to be a distinct people as long as the 
world stands, and not trouble ourselves unnec- 
essarily about a union with the larger body. 
The union will come in God's own good 
time. I do not expect to live to see it. When 
the influences now working for its coming are 
ripe, then it will come and no man or num- 
ber of men can hinder it, and then our Gen- 
eral Conference, to whom this whole question 
belongs, so far as we are concerned, will be 
prepared and disposed to act wisely. 

"I surely should hope the Conference 
would say : ' Yes, we will return, we will 
come in on terms that shall seem fair and 
honorable to all fair and honorable men. 

And so the whole lump being leavened, in 
the good time coming, we all, as Baptists, 
would have one Table, as well as one Lord, 
one Faith and one Baptism." 


In announcing Dr. Cheney's death, the Lewis- 
ton Evening Journal of Dec. 22, 1903, says: 

" The news of Dr. Cheney's death comes as 
a severe shock to all his friends and asso- 
ciates. He was known to be showing many 
signs of his advancing age, almost 90 years, 
but he was still able to be out and about the 
town until so recently that his end was not 
foreseen. It is difficult to over-estimate or 
overstate what Dr. Cheney has been to Bates 
College and to Lewiston. He was a founder 
in instinct and in impulse. 

" His idea was pioneering, to blaze away 
into new paths. He did all of this and more 
as a founder and a leader of educational life 
in this part of the country. Bates College 
will pay him reverence and Lewiston and 
Auburn will not forget what is due this 
remarkable man." 

The issue of Dec. 23d, has the following 
memorial editorial : 

" No man, whose death has occurred in 
Maine in many a day, should leave behind him 
memorial more secure and lasting than Dr. 
Oren Burbank Cheney, whose death occurred 
in Lewiston on Dec. 22d, at the age of 87 

" Dr. Cheney was one of the rare and un- 
usual composite types of founder, developer, 
executive. He not only devised and divined 
but he executed. He not only laid out but he 
stood by ; never conceding to disaster any 


foothold in an\y institution in whose welfare 
he was interested. The life of such a man 
should not close without due appreciation. 
It should certainly not pass into forgetfulness. 
Bates College and Lewiston will be recreant 
of duty if in some enduring form there be not 
some monument to the memory of this remark- 
able man, who, in the beginnings, saw the 
end and who long ago, with faith renewed 
daily in his own indomitable heart, took up 
the burdens uncomplainingly for the cause of 
education, humanity and justice. 

" Dr. Cheney was not what the world called 
a brilliant man. By that we mean that he 
was not a magnetic public speaker, or a dis- 
tinguished scholar, or an author. He might 
have been either of the latter, had he found 
the time for the scholar's study that he de- 
voted to the executive business of his life- 
work, but, early in life, he became a disciple 
of doing things. Born of a family distin- 
guished for business or diplomatic life, his 
bent was towards the constructive side of 
educational work, towards the founding of 
schools, the management of their widening 
influences, the shaping of their policy, and 
the extension of their influences. A teacher of 
remarkable ability, said to have been a moral 
influence in every school over which he ever 
presided, his restless soul was continually 
asking for enlarged opportunities for the 
youth of the land and begging of itself the 
question of its own duty. It is thus that we 
see that Dr. Cheney became a pioneer. 
Andrew Carnegie says ' Pioneering does not 
pay,' but President Cheney's pioneering was 


of a different sort. He found the New Eng- 
land country life, especially in Maine, a-hun- 
gering and athirst for education. He saw 
boys, who like himself, walked fifty miles 
anon over the hills to the little barren acad- 
emy struggling for existence amid the snows 
of a bleak Maine country side. 

"A teacher become preacher, a principal 
become proselytizer, a man of affairs feeling 
the blood of a line of business ancestry stir- 
ring within him, Dr. Cheney could not endure 
these conditions. Many times he has said 
to the writer : ' I simply could not see these 
ambitious boys and girls ask for instruction 
and not receive it.' He planned and he 
founded. He was in at the beginnings, and 
thus all over Maine the influence of this man 
whose death closed his earthly career on 
Tuesday, has beneficently extended, as a spur 
to educational and moral reforms. A list of 
schools that Dr. Cheney either founded by 
personal effort or assisted to found conjointly 
with others, is significant of his activity and 
his faith. Parsonsfield Seminary, Lebanon 
Academy, Maine State Seminary, Maine Cen- 
tral Institute, Storer College at Harper's 
Ferry, Bates College, Cobb Divinity School 
all of these owe to Dr. Cheney a personal 
debt of gratitude if not their very existence, 
and in all of them was he personally interested 
as either founder or friend in the very hours 
of their conception. 

" For such a life as this, there need be no 
apologies. The man who foresees, upbuilds, 
dominates in this wise is a man beyond com- 
mon measure. His ideals must essentially 


be lofty, his aspirations true, his head sound, 
his judgment level, his faith serene, his heart 
pure, his zeal unbounded. He must work 
oh, how he must work. With what self-sacri- 
fices must he endow his household and with 
what martyrdom must he hide his personal 
need or desire. All this has come to Presi- 
dent Cheney. All this, Bates College knows. 
No alumnus, no professor, no friend, has seen 
the feeble figure of the white-haired first 
President pass or repass the familiar places 
but has seemed to feel that he was carrying 
bravely into the closing days the lightened 
memories of those days of stress and toil, 
those days of doubt, almost of despair. 

" In moral reform, Dr. Cheney was also a 
pioneer. He was an original abolitionist 
when an original abolitionist meant some- 
thing. He was an original prohibitionist. 
He gave the first diploma ever given to a 
woman graduate from a New England Co- 
educational College. He opened the doors of 
Bates College to the colored man. He was 
a founder of the Republican party in Maine. 
He was again and again at the front in de- 
nominational matters in the Free Baptist 
churches in Maine and New England, and a 
founder even there of numerous societies to 
'extend its work. 

" In memorial to President Cheney, there- 
fore, let it be said that few lives have been 
more productive than his. To found a col- 
lege such as Bates, is no pastime. He who 
conceives the idea ; consecrates his life ; en- 
dows it with his faith and zeal he is a man, 
a whole man, a great man. As years pass 


and the college grows, so will the apprecia- 
tion of its alumni, if that were possible, and 
so will the appreciation of this city of Lewis- 
ton on whom no man has conferred a greater 
blessing socially, educationally, industrially, 
economically, than has this pioneer of Maine 
education, Dr. O. B. Cheney." 

In an editorial, the Lewis/on Sun of Dec. 23, 
1903, thus expresses appreciation : 

" Lewiston owes a large debt to this active, 
noble man. He has brought to this com- 
munity its highest educational institution, 
with its faculty, its large student body, its 
ideals and aspirations. His enterprise has 
helped establish many homes here, has in- 
creased values in real estate and personal 
property, has year by year put in circulation 
among our merchants many thousands of dol- 
lars; he has helped give the young new and 
lofty ideals, to make an education possible to 
many ; he has by his achievements in edu- 
cation changed the careers of thousands of 
young people, and through them has affected 
their homes and all the work which they have 
been permitted to do. A life devoted to mak- 
ing other lives better and nobler and more 
useful does not end with its own deeds and 
its own years. There is an earthly immor- 
tality for such a man, even though the 
measure of it is beyond common vision. 

"Besides the brother, Hon. Klias H. 
Cheney of Curacoa, three sisters survive, Mrs. 
J. H. Lord of Wollaston, Mass., Mrs. J. F. P. 
Smith of Meredith, N. H., and Mrs. Harriet 


C. Bonney of Denver, Col.; Mrs. C. H. Swan 
of Roxbury, Mass., and Mrs. J. F. Boothby 
of Lewiston, are the only surviving children. 
There are eight grandchildren living." 

The following tributes of appreciation from the 
hearts and pens of some of Dr. Cheney's co- 
workers were published in the Lewiston Journal 
of Dec. 23, 1903 : 


Prof. L. G. Jordan, acting president at all times 
in the absence of President Chase, was free to ex- 
press his personal loss in this death. Said he : 

" President Cheney was born at the right 
time. For a person of his instincts and tem- 
perament the times and conditions in which 
he passed his youth and early manhood pre- 
sented a stirring and inviting field. The 
political, educational and religious world 
needed just such a man, and with youthful 
enthusiasm and characteristic loyalty he re- 
sponded to that need. 

" He was a practical evolutionist ; yet his 
mind did not dwell so much upon the origin 
of present conditions as upon ultimate results. 
What he saw before him was significant 
mainly for what it might become. With a 
profound religious faith he was essentially an 
optimist, and his strong and definite con- 
victions were equalled by his courage. 

"With such characteristics and living in 
such times he was naturally connected with 


most of the great movements that developed 
during the period of his active life. While 
his work was largely confined to the varied 
interests of his own religious denomination 
his mind was constantly reaching out into 
the world of universal interests, and state 
and nation alike felt the force of his large 
views and intelligent thought. 

"In the founding of Bates College, the 
problems with which he had to deal and the 
difficulties that had to be overcome, were 
more perplexing and varied than usually arise 
in establishing an institution of learning. 
The kindly tact, persistence and intelligent 
faith which he manifested under those con- 
ditions was most gratifying to his friends, 
and finally won the approval and co-operation 
of those who had previously had different 
plans and views. 

" It was natural that his characteristics 
should be very forcibly impressed upon many 
of his students. He was much inclined to 
take the students into his confidence and 
while he interested himself in their work he 
freely made known to them his own plans and 
often inspired them with something of his 
own sublime faith and courage. Many of the 
young men whom he gathered about him in 
the later years of the Maine State Seminary 
and in the beginning of Bates College received 
impressions from him that have had a strong 
influence on their subsequent lives. Some of 
these persons certainly will always hold in 
grateful remembrance the help and encourage- 
ment thus received. 

14 It was very pleasant to notice that even 


in the last months of his life his hopes and 
plans for interests that were dear to his heart 
did not grow dim or lose their force. Only 
a few weeks ago sitting upon the steps of the 
Hedge Laboratory he spoke of the way in 
which that building should be enlarged, how 
the new library building would look when its 
front upon Bardwell street should be erected, 
and pointed out places on the campus where 
buildings of various kinds would soon be seen. 
" He also spoke in very kind and apprecia- 
tive terms of those who had been associated 
with him, both in the planning and in the 
management of the institution which he so 
much loved." 


None feel more appreciative of Dr. Cheney's 
noble work and high ideals than Prof. J. Y. Stan- 
ton, who worked beside the deceased through all 
the struggles of the institution. Said he on 
Wednesday : 

" Dr. O. B. Cheney, the founder of Bates 
College and its first president, devoted more 
than forty years of his life to one great work 
which, in its influence, I believe, is never to 
end. In this respect, his life has been most 
fortunate and unique. 

" When we speak of President Cheney as 
the founder of Bates College, we do not forget 
the unsparing generosity of Mr. Bates, the 
untiring zeal of Dr. Cheney's associates 


among the trustees and in the faculty. Espe- 
cially we do not forget the noble character of 
the graduates, without whose support the 
college could never have become a permanent 
institution. But the conception that a col- 
lege could be founded here, the surpassing 
courage, the indomitable will, and the stead- 
fast faith that brought it into successful 
operation was President Cheney's and Presi- 
dent Cheney's alone. Neither luck nor chance 
ever founded a college. With the approval 
of Providence, President Cheney's great 
characteristics made him a founder of the 
college. His courage, his will and faith 
brought his life to a successful issue. 

" Dr. Cheney was most abiding in his 
friendships. I have been acquainted with 
him since I was ten years old. In these 
many years, not a word or an act of his has 
led me to believe that he was not a most sin- 
cere friend. 

"Dr. Cheney's trust in the eternal princi- 
ples of right and justice was so great that 
where his conscience approved no misfort- 
une could deter him. 

"One who never turned his back, but 

marched breast forward ; 
Never doubted clouds would break ; 
Never dreamed, though right were 

worsted, wrong would triumph ; 
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight 

better, sleep to wake." 



Prof. J. H. Rand, a member of the first class to 
graduate from the college and long at the head of 
the mathematics department, says : 

" My first knowledge of Dr. Cheney was 
not directly personal. A few years before 
my earliest recollection, he was, for two years, 
principal of the seminary at Parsonsfield, my 
native town. His strong personality and his 
abiding influence upon the people of the 
town are shown by the fact that, in after 
years, children and youth were taught to 
know and to reverence him. 

" This was true in my own case. The name 
of Mr. Cheney (for he was then known as 
such) was a household word in my house. 
I learned of him mostly through an uncle and 
an aunt, who were his pupils, and my grand- 
father, who was associated with him in church 
work. Often have I listened by the hour, 
with rapt attention, to accounts of what Mr. 
Cheney did or said. So carefully was his 
personal appearance described to me, that I 
formed in my child-mind a picture of him 
which remains vivid even now. While there 
at Parsonsfield he became distinguished for 
strong and outspoken advocacy of temper- 
ance, anti-slavery and higher education. In 
after years the deciding consideration that 
led me to the Maine State Seminary was the 
fact that there I should be under the direct 
influence of Dr. Cheney of whom I had known 
so much. 

" I well recollect the place, the day, the 


hour, almost, of my first meeting with him, 
and the very hearty, cordial reception he 
gave me. He made me feel that in me he 
had a personal interest and that in him I 
should find a helpful friend. Such he has 
always been, and such he has been to all the 
many young men and young women who have 
come under his influence. I have referred 
briefly to some things that I know of his 
early life work. The great, the crowning 
mark of his life has been the founding and 
upbuilding of Bates College. 

" Comparatively few have done so much to 
influence for good the lives of so many of 
their fellow-men as has Dr. Cheney. Truly, 
his has been a noble life." 


Said Prof. T. L. Angell, who was for many 
years at the head of the department of modern 
languages at Bates : 

" In the death of Pres. O. B. Cheney, whom 
I have known for more than thirty years and 
with whom I have been intimately associated, 
I suffer a keen sense of personal loss. 

"Years ago I heard it said of him that he 
never betrayed nor forsook his friends, a 
characteristic certainly none too common to- 
day among men. Two features of his life 
have long impressed me, namely, his unswerv- 
ing fidelity to his great life-work, the building 
up of Bates College, and his unfailing good 
cheer in the prosecution of his work. After 
returning from a trip to Europe with Dr. 


Cheney, Gov. Dingley remarked that he never 
saw a man that lived more exclusively for one 
object and bent every energy more persist- 
ently to its attainment than did the doctor. 
And James G. Elaine once said in my hear- 
ing that when in the early days of the college, 
President Cheney came to the Maine Legis- 
lature seeking aid for the struggling institu- 
tion, he, Elaine, told his fellow-members that 
they might just as well give the sum desired 
soon as late, for the doctor would continue to 
come until he received it. 

" A brief experience in soliciting funds for 
any object, however worthy, will satisfy any 
sane man that he has undertaken one of the 
the most trying, most depressing occupations 
open to man. Dr. Cheney with his high code 
of honor and with his keen sensitiveness to 
indifference even, knew as few men have 
known, the weight of the burden borne. Yet 
he faltered not for a moment, but with an un- 
ceasing love for the work in hand and with 
an unwavering faith in its ultimate success he 
kept steadily and cheerfully on, and lived to 
see the glad fruition of all his toil. The 
closing months and years of his life were 
marked by all that serenity of spirit that 
must and does attend the retrospect of every 
well-spent life." 

Said Hon. Henry W. Oakes of Auburn : 

"I learned of the death of President 
Cheney with a feeling of personal sorrow. 
My acquaintance, begun as a student in Bates 


College about thirty years ago, has continued 
as I have known him well in the relations of 
later years, in a growing appreciation of the 
qualities which made him a leader in great 
affairs, and the intimate personal friend and 
adviser of a great number of people. 

" He was a broad man, with large views, 
judging wisely of the future, and while per- 
haps he ' builded better than he knew,' yet 
he knew more of the nature of his work and 
of its necessary results than most men. His 
faith was absolute, and he did not hesitate to 
mortgage the future in the development of his 

" Events have justified him. The college 
which more than all men together, he might 
have claimed as his own handiwork, witnesses 
the genius of its first president, and as it 
develops along the lines which he projected, 
will, in a constantly increasing degree, speak 
of his wisdom and courage and foresight." 

Said Hon. W. H. Judkins, one of the trustees of 
the college : 

" Dr. Cheney's life illustrates in a noble 
manner the possible achievements of sublime 
faith combined with extraordinary work. He 
was a poet in imagination, a prophet in his 
outlook for the future, and a builder of great 
things on broad foundations. I firmly believe 
that his position in our State will be large 
and enduring." 


At the funeral, Prof. A. W. Anthony, D.D., 
said : 

" In summing up what has already been said 
this afternoon, we must remember how far a 
life reaches when it engages in educational 
work. Because of Dr. Cheney there has 
come into this community its highest educa- 
tional institution, hither have been gathered 
a corps of trained teachers, bringing to your 
doors the inspiration of other colleges and 
universities, of travel and residence abroad, 
of rare culture and discriminating judgment. 
All this by the life of the founder of Bates 
College has been made real. And students 
by the thousand have in the few years now 
passed been attracted here, sometimes bring- 
ing father and mother with them, to found a 
new home. Even business has been created 
and stimulated by the college. Then your 
lives have been drawn out, enlarged, aroused, 
almost reformed by the training here received. 
These lives have gone forth into the various 
professions and callings, living more largely, 
achieving greater results, because of this one 
man's vision and persevering work. 

" Such a life is not ended. It has its rich 
reward beyond our sight ; it has its great 
fruition here also in the lives of others. So 
long as men think and will and strive, does 
the work of a teacher continue in those who 
have been taught, who then give out to others 
and pass on for eternity the effects of their 

" No life richer in its ultimate fruitage has 
gone out in many a day than that of Dr. O. 
B. Cheney. His mission was plain ; his call 


was specific ; his life clean and pure; his 
Christian hope undimmed ; his work so 
practical as well as so idealistic that his 
memory is sure to grow with the passing of 
the years." 

The following testimonial of friendship is from 
Rev. John Malvern : 

Dr. O. B. Cheney, the Christian gentle- 
man ; an indefatigable worker; a patient 
plodder and waiter ; a wise planner ; the in- 
spiration of his colleagues; the students' 
helper ; the most sympathetic, tender-hearted 
friend ; the sacrificing, devoted college Presi- 
dent ; a sweet-spirited preacher and conscien- 
tious teacher ; a superior presiding officer ; 
a Free Baptist from principle ; a free-hearted, 
whole-souled lover of men of all shades of 
faith ; beloved by all denominations ; a wel- 
come guest in all our homes ; and a com- 
panion on whom we could rely. This is how 
he appears to one who has known him for 
four decades at least. 

" He was sunshine on a cloudy day ; for, 
when discouragements pressed upon all about 
him, his smiling face and cheery words in- 
spired us with joy and dispelled our gloom. 

"To those who lived nearest to him he 
was a constant benediction, and to those who 
lived far away his name was a household 
word and became a synonym of Christian 
manhood ; and fathers would say, ' My son, 
look at Dr. Cheney.' 

" Many a boy will rise up and call him 
' blessed. 

"'The memory of the righteous is blessed.' 


"That every household throughout our 
broad land may perpetuate his memory in the 
study of his biography let us devoutly pray." 

The following testimonial gives a good insight 
into President Cheney's relation to students of 
the negro race. It is from Prof. N. C. Bruce, 
class of 1893, Bates, who is now Principal of the 
Bartlett High School, St. Joseph, Missouri : 

" No one of us from Bates, white or black, 
can do justice to its father and founder, Dr. 
O. B. Cheney. My own heart is full of grati- 
tude and love for what he was to me, my 
brother Thomas, and my sister Emma. 

" I was the seventh colored graduate from 
Bates, following close behind Mr. Hatter, 
class of 1888 of Harper's Ferry, the late Dr. 
Morton, class of 1886 of New York, and the 
deceased Mr. Wilson, class of 1884, Tuske- 
gee, Alabama. 

" After receiving several encouraging letters 
from the revered President, whom I had 
never seen, I entered Bates in 1889 and found 
a College in which every environment seemed 
helpful to the deserving poor youth of any 
race from anywhere. 

" President Cheney soon found me and gave 
me his greeting and blessing and words of 
great good cheer. Although his time was all 
taken in the multitudinous duties of directing 
and administering affairs at Bates and in 
securing the necessary finances in those years 
of stringency work enough for two or more 
great men Dr. Cheney impressed us all as 
our father, personal friend and guide. When 


he would return from his trips of hard work, 
he seemed not to rest until he had seen me 
and learned of my personal health and prog- 
ress. My work, physical and spiritual, 
seemed to please him. He often turned aside 
to get me a job where I could earn something, 
and more often would employ me himself. 

" When he heard the Freshman declamation 
of my class and I lost to a classmate, but 
was rated number two with honorable men- 
tion, his sympathy for me was so great that 
he induced a friend to also give me a prize ; 
but although I repeatedly tried to learn the 
name of the donor he never told me until 
after my graduation. Oh, he was so gracious 
and reticent, kind and helpful ! 

" His whole countenance seemed in a halo 
of glory when he knew he had said something 
or done something to alleviate pain, soften 
grief and ease a Bates student's burden, but 
never did his fine face send out such quiet 
radiance of joy and satisfaction as when 
something was done for a colored student. 

" He was to me not only father, but spirit- 
ual guide. I came to compare him to our 
blessed Lord, who, when he came in from 
those Judean journeys could be found among 
the poorest, comforting, cheering, doing good. 
He used to take time and tell me of the 
changes in the public conscience, illustrating 
from chapters out of his own life as an early 

"'When a young man and preacher,' he 
would say, I used to pray for the bondmen 
in the South, and it mattered not how faint 
and slight the reference, some churchmen 


would take offence and leave speedily. I was 
often taken to task for what was called my 
folly in expressing any sympathy for the 
slaves in the forties and fifties. But I per- 
sisted through it all, though I had to suffer 
much through the loss of friends and their 
support.' He would say: 'I tell you these 
things that you may see the great advance 
God has brought about.' 

" I shall never forget the last talk I had 
with him about work among my own race in 
my own dear homeland of the South. Said 
he among many other good things : 

" ' Mr. Bruce, do 'all the good you can and 
yet remember that God was never in a hurry ; 
He takes time, works thoroughly, never wastes 
and has never been known to despise the 
poor, the needy, the unfortunate. Follow 
Him and be good.' 

" I worship the name and memory of Dr. 
Oren B. Cheney. They inspire me now and 
will abide with me with added freshness to 
to the end. If I have done aught of good, I 
owe a great debt to his influence over me. 
But I can never pass on enough help to others 
to repay his memory for the good cheer, 
courage, hope and inspiration he gave me." 

It is fitting that an expression be given of the 
wisdom and value of Dr. Cheney's work in con- 
necting Cobb Divinity School with Bates College. 

The following testimonial from J. A. Howe, 
D.D., for many years Dean of that school, gives 
to the reader his estimate of Free Baptist Theo- 
logical indebtedness to Dr. Cheney : 


" Dr. Cheney was a far-seeing man. His 
mind was ever active in studying methods by 
which a better future for his denomination 
could be secured. Out of his brooding came 
the plan of having a New England Free Bap- 
tist college, and later, of associating with it a 
Free Baptist Theological School. What 
appreciation belongs to his memory for the 
former, need not here be told. But let not 
the grateful remembrance due him for the 
latter be forgotten. 

" By the suggestion and efforts of Dr. 
Cheney the theological school, sustained by 
the Free Baptist Education Society at New 
Hampton, was exchanged for Cobb Divinity 
School. Whatever good the latter, by its 
nearly forty years of service at Lewiston, has 
accomplished by reason of its location and 
support, should in some great measure 
be credited to the man who had the sagacity 
to foresee it, the courage to champion the 
opening of the school in connection with 
Bates College, and the skill to win from the 
Education Society an approval of the under- 
taking. Had his project been voted down as 
too daring, and the school that was super- 
seded been continued, no doubt it would have 
still performed a useful service for our 
churches. But at the time the change was 
made a state of prolonged feebleness was be- 
fore the school. A movement to find a new 
location had been started, and tentative 
negotiations for locating it at Haverhill, 
Mass., that came to nothing, had been tried. 

"By promising to begin a theological 
school at Lewiston, as a department of the 


College, give it a building, keep at least four 
men in the faculty, free the Education Society 
from any expense for its support, President 
Cheney and the Bates trustees gratified the 
Society with a proposition as liberal as it was 
opportune. The Society willingly closed its 
school and with its good will dismissed its 
faculty, students and library to help inau- 
gurate the new enterprise, while it retained 
its funds as a beneficiary endowment in aid 
of students for the ministry. 

" Time has justified its action. The wis- 
dom of it no one challenges. By reason of it 
the higher educational interests of Free Bap- 
tists in New England were verified, their 
theological school had its distinct individu- 
ality ; its faculty became more adequate in 
numbers with a reasonable salary. College 
men in larger proportions were drawn to the 
school, and non-college men sooner or later 
were often drawn to the college ; the school 
lived in the atmosphere of a stimulating, 
scholarly environment ; social, literary and 
religious advantages that only a city life pro- 
vides, widened the outlook and culture of the 
students. The beautiful Roger Williams Hall 
later became a gift to the school, and the 
school served as a source of a needed home 
missionary supply for many small churches 
not too remote from Lewiston. Let these 
things be viewed as some of the results of 
Dr. Cheney's action in behalf of our theologi- 
cal interests. 

"On his part it was a bold undertaking. 
That the college was still but an infant 
crying in the night, gave to his project a 


somewhat visionary aspect. He confidently 
thought that the vision could be converted 
into tangible reality. Before the trustees 
voted to accept the hazard of supporting a 
theological school, President Cheney had se- 
cured pledges from men, more or less asso- 
ciated in business with Mr. Bates, sufficient to 
warrant the vote. But scarcely had the edu- 
cation Society given up its school and the 
one at Lewiston started on its voyage when 
financial disasters came on like a flood and 
swept away the promised gifts. 

"Then came distress and grim determina- 
tion. Dr. Cheney could not allow any 
thought of retreat. The reproach of failure 
would long sting him to the soul. He was 
no Stoic. Actual failure would destroy so 
great a promise of good to humanity and the 
church, that any thought of it must not be 
entertained. He made known the situation 
to the churches. That alone, he thought, 
would make its strong appeal. Among Free 
Baptists of New England and beyond much 
sympathy was felt. He went up to the 
General Conference and laid the peril of the 
conditions at Lewiston before that body 
whose work he was doing. 

" His request was referred to a committee, 
the chairman of which was himself at the 
head of a needy college. The report of the 
committee made Dr. Cheney feel the rigor of 
the teaching that every man must bear his 
own burden. Cast down but not destroyed, 
he went from the Conference to devise and 
execute plans that ultimately carried college 
and seminary safely through this period of 


storm and stress. Mr. Bates gave him a 
pledge of $100,000, if within five years from 
the date of it the college would raise an equal 
amount. Towards meeting that condition 
the Education Society paid $25,000 accom- 
panied by what proved to be a fatal reversion- 
ary clause in case the theological school 
should, at any time, be given up. By a sin- 
gular piece of legalism that clause was ruled 
by the court after Mr. Bates's death, to vitiate 
the claim of the college to have met the con- 
ditions of the pledge, since the college could 
not show that Mr. Bates had consented to 
count that gift as permanent. 

" Notwithstanding the ruling of the court, 
through the persistent efforts of Dr. Cheney 
to secure Mr. Bates's pledge, $100,000 were 
brought into the treasury of the institution. 

" Dr. Cheney counted among his most use- 
ful works what he was enabled to accomplish 
for the Divinity School. It should not be 
forgotten that at the beginning of the college 
one principal aim with him was to secure for 
his denomination a better educated ministry. 
It might be safely said that he was probably 
more governed by this high motive than by 
any other. Influential with him he made it 
influential in his appeal to the churches, and 
when he pleaded with the Education Society 
for its gift of $25,000, he wanted Bates as 
a Christian College ever to be a purveyor of 
the Divinity School. 

"A slight, but none the less significant, 
indication of his sleepless attention to what- 
ever would enhance the interests of the 
school is disclosed by its present name. 


Theological School ' and ' Theological Semi- 
nary ' were interchangeable names at New 
Hampton. It suited better the prejudices of 
the fathers for the Education Society to call 
its school the Biblical School. President 
Cheney desiring to honor Mr. J. L. H. Cobb, 
a deacon of the Congregational church in 
Lewiston, for his generous gifts to the col- 
lege treasury, asked the trustees to give the 
school the name it now bears, The Cobb 
Divinity School. 

" Thus came about the only known instance 
in our country of a Divinity School of one 
denomination bearing and commemorating 
the name of a member of another denomi- 

" That feature of the Divinity School com- 
memorates as well the liberal mind of Dr. 
Cheney. Before the churches he stood not 
as a theologian, not as a sectarian partizan, 
but as an educated minister having at heart 
the welfare of his church. His labors in be- 
half of the Free Baptist ministry and Divinity 
School did not grow out of an intense doctri- 
nal zeal. To the creed of the church which 
he served, and of whose record he was proud, 
and in which he was reared, he was a sincere 
adherent. But the wideness of his evangeli- 
cal mind was equal to that of the platform of 
a united church. His orthodoxy was of the 
progressive, rather than of the hard and fast 
school. Brought into contact with the Chris- 
tianity of men of all creeds and churches, he 
found that Christian character and Christian 
deeds were not limited to any one sect. The 


cup of cold water in the name of Christ was 
often put to his lips because he was a disciple, 
by noble men and women of other churches 
than his own. 

" To pass equitable judgments of worth 
according to the usefulness of different leaders 
in the Free Baptist church is an impossible 
thing. In answer to the question who of 
them has best served its theological interests 
some would mention Ransom Dunn, John J. 
Butter or John Fullonton. President Cheney's 
life moved in a different sphere from theirs 
and its fruits cannot be compared with theirs. 
But it can be said that among those who 
planned broadly for our theological schools 
and executed skilfully wise projects for their 
usefulness, he occupies a unique place. With- 
out him what Cobb Divinity School is and 
what it has done could not have been." 


Some enterprises start vigorously only to end 
in failure. It is suitable therefore to ask the 
question : " Has all the sacrifice arid output of 
energy recorded in this life-story proved to be 
worth while." Let us answer by taking a look at 
Bates College twelve years after President 
Cheney's resignation and see what is being built 
on the foundations so carefully laid. 


In i go i -02, through the generosity of many 
friends, and especially of Joseph A. Coram, Esq., 


who contributed $20,000 for the purpose, a fine 
brick and stone building was erected which bears 
the name of Coram Library. Already its capacity 
is being tested and in due time the extension pro- 
vided for in the plan will need to be added. 

The great need for a young Woman's Hall was 
supplied in 1905 by the erection of a noble brick 
structure, admirably adapted for the purposes for 
which it was designed. This buildiug with a resi- 
dent woman Dean to look after the interests of 
the young women gives to the College a balance 
whose need was long foreseen and planned for by 
President Cheney. 

At the Commencement of 1907, it was an- 
nounced that a resident of Lewiston is about 
to erect for the College an Auditorium con- 
taining spacious and suitable rooms for the three 
Literary Societies and for the Christian Associa- 
tions, as well as a large a-udience room for the pub- 
lic exercises of the institution. 


From an article in The Morning Star, 1906, we 
extract the following : 

"There has been for years no important 
educational gathering in the United States 
at which Bates graduates have not been in 
evidence as officers and speakers. Professor 
Hanus, head of the distinctively educational 
department of Harvard University, puts 


Bates first among Eastern colleges in the 
number and rank of her recent graduate edu- 
cators. Bates has more sons presiding over 
reputable secondary schools in New England 
than has any other college. Even in New 
Hampshire, where Dartmouth has such wide 
and well-deserved influence, every leading 
high school north of Laconia is said to have 
a Bates principal. 

" But it is Massachusetts that beyond any 
other state is entrusting her educational work 
to the care of our college. In popular edu- 
cation Bates alumni are favorably known in 
every state between the two oceans. ' Send 
us a Bates man to be principal of our new 
county high school,' is a recent message from 
a school board in Montana, not a member of 
which ever saw Bates College ; and similar 
requests have been received this year from 
California, New Mexico, Porto Rico, the 
Sandwich Islands, and even from India and 

" To positions in colleges and universities 
Bates has contributed about one out of every 
twenty of her graduates. A Bates man was 
re-elected this year as president of the Ameri- 
can Institute of Instruction the oldest edu- 
cational association in the world. It was a 
Bates graduate, now president of a leading 
state university in the far west, who initiated 
the movement that issued in the famous re- 
port to the National Educational Association 
of ' The Committee of Ten ' perhaps the 
most important educational paper of the 
nineteenth century. 

" Nor is it in education alone that the sons 


and the daughters of Bates have gained 
honorable distinction. Her graduates repeat- 
edly have been awarded first honors in the 
great professional schools of our country. 
And in the professions themselves they are 
taking second place to those of no other col- 
lege in America. ' Here is a collection of the 
choicest poems that have been written dur- 
ing the last decade,' said a London book- 
seller to the writer a dozen years ago. A 
swift survey of the contents disclosed the 
presence of several compositions from the 
pen of one of his former Bates students. 

" For some years Bates has received more 
students from a distance than has any other 
Maine college. Naturally she draws a good 
percentage of her membership from the ' Pine 
Tree State,' but she has large delegations 
from Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and 
smaller ones from each of the New England 
States, from New York, and from Canada. 
During the last fifteen years she has nearly 
trebled her students, and that without adver- 
tising in any newspaper except the 'Star.' 

"She has not a weak teacher in her entire 
corps of instruction ; and the work in all her 
departments is modern and progressive. She 
will begin on September the i2th a new col- 
lege year with a larger and stronger faculty 
than ever before. The success of the Car- 
negie subscription movement by which more 
than $150,000 will soon be added to her 
endowment is assured. The Bates Library 
Memorial Fund of $10,000, just established 
by Clement S. Houghton, of Boston, in 
memory of his friend, Benjamin K. Bates, the 


son of the Benjamin E. Bates whose name 
our institution bears, and himself for twelve 
years an honored trustee of our college, will 
annually enrich our library shelves with the 
latest valuable works of history, political 
economy, mathematics and sciology. 

" The George Colby Chase Lecture Fund 
of $5,000 just established by some friend still 
unknown will hereafter bring to Bates an- 
nually for a series of lectures a recognized 
authority in some great department of 
thought and learning. New full courses are 
to be given in education, in Semitic literature 
and in the history of philosophy. The de- 
partment of physical culture is to be re-or- 
ganized and placed under the direction of 
two of the most enthusiastic and competent 
teachers in our country ; and equally im- 
portant advances are to be made in other 

" The best feature of Bates is still the stress 
that she puts upon character. She is first of 
all a Christian college, and among the activi- 
ties of the now approaching new year those 
of the Christian Associations, the class and 
the college prayer-meetings, and the Bible 
and Missionary classes will hold a foremost 
place. Every young man entering Bates will, 
as heretofore, give his pledge to abstain from 
the use of all intoxicants ; and Christian teach- 
ers and students will lead in the entire social 
and intellectual life of the college. The enter- 
ing class promises to be large and scholarly, 
and there will be important accessions to 
each of the upper classes. Never before has 
Bates had so strong a claim upon the 


sympathy, the support, and the patronage of 
the young people who read The Morning 
Star, as in this, the forty-fourth year of her 


The human mind dislikes generalities. It likes 
to deal with life as expressed in individuals. We 
hope, therefore, that it will not seem invidious if 
we give the story of one Bates boy's life as de- 
tailed in the College Bulletin : 


" Of all Bates graduates that have devoted 
themselves distinctively to Science, Wendell, 
of '68, easily holds the first place. He is one 
of the relatively few men that have not only 
been ' predestined ' to a specific work but 
have 'made their calling and election sure.' 
Wendell was a brilliant scholar through his 
entire college course. He had, for his day, 
received at the old academy in Dover, N. H., 
a remarkably fine preparation, and Bates was 
his chosen college long before he left school. 
President Cheney, in his rounds among boys 
looking towards college, had breathed an 
inspiring word into Wendell's ears. And, 
undeterred by the protests of his Principal 
and of other distinguished college graduates 
living in Dover (and impressed by the young 
fellow's promise), in hearty accord with the 
wishes of his parents, he set his face reso- 
lutely towards Bates. As on a sultry August 
day, fresh from his home, full of the spirit of 
romance and eager for college adventure, he 


first came in sight of the Bates campus, then 
nearly barren of trees, but partially graded, 
enclosed on two sides by stump fences, and 
boasting but two buildings, Hathorn and 
Parker Halls Hathorn Hall still unfinished 
his heart leaped up within him, as he ex- 
claimed, ' This is my College !' It was love 
at first sight, love that has never once fal- 
tered in the nearly forty-three years since in 
1864 he joined the second Freshman class 
that entered Bates College. To his fervid 
temperament and poetic imagination these 
humble beginnings of a college were more 
splendid and inspiring than to the average 
youth are the ivy-wreathed halls of Yale, Har- 
vard or Oxford. 

" In the young but vigorous life of this new 
College, Wendell was soon a central figure. 
Alive to every opportunity, whether for study, 
research or fun, eager, aspiring, and resource- 
ful, he was an active factor in moulding the 
character, shaping the history, and creating 
the traditions of the Bates-to-be. No Bates 
man has better impersonated our College 
motto, ' Con Amore ac Studio.' Genial, ap- 
preciative and kindly withal occasionally 
moody, dreamy, and given to quiet walks 
he was soon recognized by all as a man of 
whom the College must be proud. 

" Whatever he attempted he accomplished 
with credit, whether in debate, composition, 
or class-work. The whole world, whether of 
nature, books or men, was of absorbing 
interest to him. But it was in Mathematics 
and the Sciences that he found his choicest 
satisfaction, unless, indeed, it were in poetry. 

OREN B. CHENEY .,:,:, 

For he wonderfully combined the special 
endowments of the exact and truth-seeking 
Scientist with those of the meditative and 
fancy-free Poet. This two-fold devotion found 
expression at his graduation, when in addi- 
tion to the Latin Salutatory he gave his 
oration upon 'The Poetry of Mathematics.' 
Possessed equally by two passions often 
thought contradictory, in his choice both of 
his Commencement theme and of his life 
work, he gave full expression to each. Eager 
to enter every realm of nature, he selected as 
the most attractive of her domains the one in 
which Poetry and Science appear as har- 
monious allies. 

" Wendell had been thinking about the 
stars and listening to the ' music of the 
spheres ' from early childhood, and perhaps 
not later than the beginning of his Sopho- 
more year at Bates he had decided to become 
an Astronomer. Some of his friends to whom 
he announced his choice regarded it as a 
passing whim, or ' a young man's fancy.' But 
henceforth for him it represented an unflag- 
ging and absorbing pursuit. 

"The writer well remembers the impression 
made by President Cheney's announcement 
in the Gymnasium, after the Commencement 
Dinner of 1868, that one of the little class 
of five about to leave Alma Mater was to be 
an Astronomer. On the faces of some present 
was written scorn, of others admiration, and 
of still others incredulity. But two months 
later Wendell was at work in Harvard Col- 
lege Observatory at work with an ardor too 
great for his not over firm health. For in 


1869 serious illness, together with the de- 
pression and care occasioned by his father's 
death, compelled him to resign his position. 
It was, however, only when he urged his 
request that his resignation was accepted. 
Reluctantly he left the Observatory, purpos- 
ing to return as soon as he should regain his 

"This result, however, was not easily at- 
tained ; and for some ten years he found it 
necessary to engage in active out-door pur- 
suits. During this period he did, indeed, 
listen to the urgent request of President 
Cheney that he should accept the Professor- 
ship of Astronomy at Bates. But failing 
health constrained him to return to work in 
the open air, and he accepted an appointment 
as an Engineer under Mr. James B. Francis 
then an eminent Civil and Hydraulic En- 
gineer in Lowell, Mass. 

" After holding this position several years, 
in February, 1879, having regained his health, 
upon the urgent solicitation of the Director 
of the Harvard Observatory, he returned to 
his much loved work. Since that time there 
has been no interruption in his chosen pur- 
suit, and since 1898 he has held the position 
of Assistant Professor of Astronomy. 

" His work at the Observatory has included 
observation, original investigation, calcula- 
tions, and superintending of calculations. 
During the earlier years of his service his 
observations were made with the Great 
Equatorial Telescope, the Transit Circle, and 
two Meridian Photometers. During the last 
twenty years he has had sole charge of the 


Great Telescope, has made all the observa- 
tions with it, and has superintended the 
reductions of these. He took a large part in 
measuring with the first Meridian Photometer 
the light of 4,260 stars, and in reducing the 
more than 94,000 observations required. The 
results, which fill Volume 14 of the Obser- 
vatory Annals, give the magnitudes of all 
stars visible to the naked eye, from the North 
Pole down to 35 degrees below the Equator. 
With the second and larger Meridian Photo- 
meter was measured the light of 21,000 fainter 
stars, comprising more than 267,000 observa- 
tions. Mr. Wendell himself made nearly one- 
half these observations and superintended 
nearly all the reductions. The results fill 
Volume 24 of the Observatory Annals. The 
discussion of these observations, contained in 
Volume 23, was also in part, made by Mr. 
Wendell. In addition he superintended and 
prepared for publication Volume 37 of the 
Observatory Annals, containing observations 
(partly made by himself) of Variable Stars 
and Comparison Stars, and extending over 
ten years. 

"Of the observations of more than 700 
Eclipses of Jupiter's Satellites made during 
the twenty-five years from 1878 to 1903 in- 
clusive, and contained in Volume 52, Part i, 
just issued, Mr. Wendell made the entire num- 
ber for the ten years from 1894 to 1903 in- 
clusive, and a part of those taken previous to 
that time. He has also observed all the 
Eclipses from 1903 to the present time, and 
has superintended nearly all the reductions of 


"In addition to his current observations 
he is now doing what he considers his best 
work in reducing all his observations with 
the Great Telescope since 1895. The results 
will be contained in Volume 49, which he is 
now preparing. Mr. Wendell has discovered 
a number of Variable Stars, and also the 
variability in light of two asteriods, viz. : Iris 
and Eunomia. One of his specialties has been 
Comets and Meteors. He has not only made 
a great many observations on these, but has 
also calculated the orbits of a large number, 
both of Comets and of Meteors, and has cal- 
culated the place in the heavens from which 
meteors belonging to different Comets should 

" Professor Wendell is a member of the fol- 
lowing Scientific Societies : 

" i. Fellow of the American Academy of 
Arts and Sciences. 

" 2. Honorary Member of the Astronomi- 
cal Society of Mexico. 

"3. Member of the Astronomical and 
Astrophysical Society of America. 

" 4. Member of the American Association 
for the Advancement of Science. 

" 5. Member of the National Geographic 
Society of Washington. 

"6. Member of the M. P. Club (a society 
composed of Mathematicians and Physicists 
in Boston and Cambridge). 

"7. Member of the Boston Scientific 

" During the thirty-nine years since his 
graduation, Mr. Wendell's loyalty to Bates 
has been steady and intense. He loves to 


visit ' the old familiar places ' and to live over 
his college days with all their cherished hopes. 
It has been the dream of his Bates friends 
and of those most deeply interested in the 
College that he should sometime return to his 
Alma Mater and preside over the long coveted 
observatory that shall, we trust, yet crown 
our beautiful Mount David. 

" In school, in college, and in life, Mr. 
Wendell has been an earnest, consistent, and 
active Christian. For him there is no con- 
flict between Science and Religion." 

Excerpts from President Chase's report for 


" The reputation of Bates for devotion to 
high ideals of character and scholarship has 
been the chief factor in promoting her won- 
derful growth in numbers and influence. 
This reputation must be maintained. Bates 
has a distinct individuality, and the attempts 
that are sometimes made to introduce 
fashions, customs and traditions alien to her 
spirit and aims are harmful to her growth 
and destructive of her best hopes for the 
future. It is the unsolicited testimony of 
hundreds of well-known educators that Bates 
is a safe College for those who value character 
as the highest of human attainments. It is 
the well-earned reputation of our College for 
'plain living and high thinking' that is 
bringing her annually more students than all 


other causes combined. It has been only by 
constant vigilance, and the sacred sense of 
responsibility on the part of her Faculty and 
friends that this reputation has been gained. 
Character, other things being equal, always 
contributes to scholarship. The first care of 
the Institution should be to maintain and 
strengthen that good name which, while 
better than great riches, is in the final result 
the surest guaranty of Funds, Buildings, 
of material prosperity in all its forms. 

" Partly because so many of the students 
at Bates are earning their own way, but still 
more because of the purpose and spirit of the 
College itself, maintained steadily from the 
first, Bates is truly a democratic institution. 
She knows no social distinctions, no cliques. 
In the early days of Bates, one of her admir- 
ers was describing the character and aims of 
the College to the president of another insti- 
tution. ' We are aiming to make it a college 
where poor boys can get an education,' he 
said. ' But,' rejoined the other, ' we have 
poor boys in our institution, too.' 'And are 
they on the same social footing as the rich 
boys ?' ' Why no, of course not. The rich 
fellows go together, and the poor boys keep 
by themselves.' Bates has always remained 
true to the purpose with which she began. 


The growing harmony between the Faculty and 
the students of Bates is due in large measure to 
the devotion of each teacher to the welfare of 
every student in the College. It has been the 


mission of Bates to afford opportunities for culture 
to hundreds of students that without her aid never 
would have made the acquaintance of a college. 
These young men and young women freely bring 
to their teachers their own wants, difficulties, pri- 
vations and fears. Many of them must have em- 
ployment in vacations and during term time, in 
hours which under other conditions they would 
devote to social life and recreation. The need of 
a Bates student for remunerative work is the im- 
mediate concern of every one of his teachers. 
No worthy student can be permitted to leave 
college for lack of means till every possible effort 
has been made to secure him needed employment. 
" How much money must I have, in order to start 
upon my college course ?" is a question that the 
President of Bates answers scores of times every 
year. For some time past systematic efforts have 
been made through a committee of the Faculty to 
obtain work suited to the needs and powers 
of deserving students, with the result that the 
long list of services that a student may render in 
working his way steadily grows and the prospect 
for earnest young men and young women con- 
stantly brightens. 

Nor is sympathy between students and Faculty 
exhausted in efforts to meet these practical 
difficulties. There is a large development of com- 
mon, social, intellectual, and spiritual interests ; 
and the experience of friends older and more 


mature than themselves is freely drawn upon by 
students struggling with the doubts, perplexities 
and depressions inevitable to those entering the 
larger realms of thought and knowledge. 


During the second term of the year a system 
was adopted under which each young man is 
brought into personal friendly relations with some 
member of the Faculty. This system has proved 
very helpful in promoting harmony in spirit and 
purpose, and, as its merits are further developed, 
it is believed that it proves of great value in hold- 
ing the College true to the important work of 
correcting individual deficiencies in character, of 
imparting definite aims and high ideals, and of 
aiding each young man to realize his best possi- 

Bates desires to do the proper work of a small 
college ; that is, a college in which each teacher 
may have a personal acquaintance with each stu- 
dent, and each student with every other student. 
With four hundred students or more this result is 
not so easily gained as in the Bates of fifteen years 
ago, with one-third of the present attendance. But 
it is believed that our system of student advisers, 
under which every student may have the benefit 
of intimate friendship with those of maturer years 
and may receive unobtrusive and kindly advice in 
regard to courses of study, reading, recreation, 


College associations, and opportunities and plans 
for future study and work, will enable our College 
even more effectively than ever before, to impart 
her best and most inspiring influences to all who 
seek her aid. In all her higher efforts Bates has 
found the College Y. M. C. A. and Y. W. C. A. 
her efficient allies. 


More interest than usual has been taken in 
general Physical Culture and in Hygiene, and a 
larger number of students than ever before at 
Bates have been interested in methodical, health- 
ful exercise, under the direction of intelligent 
specialists. Bates has made a successful effort to 
avoid an error prevalent in colleges the concen- 
tration of the interest of the entire student body 
upon intercollegiate contests in which relatively 
few can participate. 

That, however, there has been due attention to 
the more exciting sports and games is shown by 
the results obtained in baseball, football, tennis 
and track athletics. In football Bates won the 
championship last fall in the series of contests 
among the four higher Maine institutions of learn- 
ing. In baseball she took the second place and 
it is but fair to say that a result even more satis- 
factory would, doubtless, have been gained had it 
not been for the serious and persistent illness of 
some of our best athletes. 


It is believed that a good degree of success has 
been obtained in preventing an inordinate interest 
in Athletics, and in holding Physical Culture and 
Training in proper subordination to the develop- 
ment of culture of heart and mind. Bates will not 
tolerate poor scholarship for the sake of a good 
showing in Athletics. She means to be, and be- 
lieves she is, entirely free from anything approach- 
ing professionalism in Athletics. 


Bates still needs a largely increased endowment. 
Our success in completing the Carnegie Fund is 
but a happy beginning of a work to be continued 
until our Professors can be adequately remuner- 
ated, additional instructors employed, and an in- 
come be assured sufficient to maintain a steady 
growth in our Library, the annual purchase of 
apparatus for progressive work in our laboratories 
and a proper care of our grounds and buildings. 
I have already called the attention to our need of 
a Professorship of Education. Our growing stu- 
dent body requires that as soon as practicable more 
teachers shall be employed in the great Depart- 
ments of Mathematics and of the Ancient and the 
Modern Languages. Additional assistance in 
Chemistry, Physics and Biology will greatly in- 
crease the value of our work in these subjects. 


At an early day the duties now assigned to one 
man as a teacher of History, Economics and 
Sociology should engage the attention of at least 
two teachers ; and the work in these Departments 
should be at once more specific and more compre- 
hensive. To effect these purposes, we need fur- 
ther to increase our Fund by the addition of at 
least $500,000. Of this amount $50,000 should 
be devoted to the Chair of Education, and a 
second $50,000 could be wisely used as a per- 
manent Fund for the Library. 


Our last annual Catalogue has summarized our 
further needs substantially as follows : 

1. $100,000 for the erection and equipment of 
Science Buildings ; $60,000 for a Building for the 
Department of Physics, and $40,000 for the De- 
partment of Natural History and Biology. A 
Building for the Department of Physics cannot be 
erected too soon to meet our urgent and growing 
needs in this direction. 

2. $20,000 for doubling the capacity of the 
present Chemical Laboratory. This improvement 
should not be delayed a day beyond the time ab- 
solutely necessary for effecting it. 

3. $10,000 for renovating Science Hall and 
thoroughly equipping it as a Dormitory. 

4. $5,000 to pay for the furnishing of Coram 
Library and to secure additional appliances. 


5. $150,000 for additional scholarships. 

6. $60,000 for the erection and maintenance of 
a Gymnasium for our men students. This need 
is imperative. 

7. $100,000 for the erection and maintenance 
of an Astronomical Observatory and the support 
of its Director. 

8. $50,000 for the erection of a College Chapel. 

9. $10,000 for the grading and improvement 
of our campus. 

10. $20,000 to complete the amount required 
for the erection of the New Dormitory. 

The present financial condition of the Institu- 
tion is shown by the report of the Treasurer, Hon. 
F. M. Drew : 

During the past fourteen years, the assets of the 
College from which our income is derived have 
annually increased, as shown by the following 
table : 

May 31, 1894, Assets $317,850.45 
" " 1895, 318,040.58 

" " 1896, " 320,772.08 

" " i897, " 338,369.69 

" " 1898, " 340,281.10 

" " 1899, " 35 2 > 6 39-33 

" " 1900, " 35 6 >545-3 2 

" " 1901, " 366,199.47 

" " 1902, " 368,265.82 

" 455 2 5- I 5 

" 412,387.97 


May 31, 1905, Assets 


" " 1906, " 


" " 1907, " 


And it will be satisfactory to know that during 
these fourteen years nothing has been lost by in- 
vestment, and the losses which have come were 
from investments made prior to 1894, showing 
the care and wisdom which your Executive Board 
have exercised in the management of your funds. 

Since the report of the Treasurer was published 
the assets of Bates have been further increased by 
the payment of $50,000 subscribed by the late 
Bartlett Doe of San Francisco, thus carrying the 
total of the income bearing resources of the Col- 
lege, $582,352.40. 


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