Sabbath-School (1888) [4/4]

Although this sketch has already been extended beyond my first intention, I should feel that I had not discharged the trust conferred upon me by your Committee, if I did not touch more fully upon results as seen in the life-work of individuals. The primary object of Sabbath-schools in general, and of this school in particular, was to teach the youth those principles which our Saviour came to this world to establish. Eternity alone can reveal how many of the threads in the warp and woof of human influence have been spun by this daughter of the Church. We have only a record of the names of those who have devoted their lives to spreading the glad tidings which they early received in this school. These are Rev. William A. Stearns, D.D., late President of Amherst College; Rev. Jonathan F. Stearns, D.D., the honored and retired pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Newark, N.J.; Rev. Edward J. Stearns, D.D., of Maryland; Rev. Eben S. Stearns, D.D., late Chancellor of the State University of Nashville, Tenn.; Rev. Benjamin A. Spaulding, one of the famous “Iowa Band,” who went to Iowa when that State was in its infancy, and became one of the founders of Ottumwa, where his sister now lives; [^1][^2] Mrs. Martha R. S. Norris, a former member of this school; Rev. Timothy Stearns, who went early into

[ p 35 ]

the West, and established a Sabbath-school, taking with him a number of books from this school, which became the nucleus of a good library, and the helps to a great work done by him. Of a later generation, there are Rev. John F. Gleason of Needham, Rev. W. F. Bacon of East Hampton, and Rev. Alfred Johnson in the West. Each of these has a record worthy of his calling, and a most creditable standing among the honored pastors of the present.

There is a name of an early member of this school that might well be placed among the first of this list of faithful workers for mankind. It has no suffix or prefix obtained from the colleges. It is the name of one of a class who then had no right in those higher institutions of learning, but among the list of those who early gave themselves to the work of missions among the Choctaw Indians of America it has an honored place. Miss Angelina Hosmer was born in Bedford, just two years after the organization of this school. She early learned most helpful lessons here, completed her education at Mount Holyoke Seminary, under that wonderful teacher, Mary Lyon. From this institution she entered the service of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and went to “that far-off land,” as it was then called, two thousand miles from her home and family, across the Mississippi, to teach the Indians, who had been driven there after the Black Hawk war, during the administration of Andrew Jackson. The work among the American Indians was done for some years by this Foreign Missionary society; and, in fact, the unknown country beyond the Mississippi was as much a foreign land when Miss Hosmer was appointed teacher of the Good Water Ladies’ Boarding School as China, Japan, or the islands of mid-ocean are now. [^3]

[ p 36 ]

There she labored, married, and died, leaving a family and a record worthy of her and highly creditable to this school and town. Her superintendent, Rev. Mr. Hotchkins, said of her:

“She is the cream of our mission. If she had physical strength in proportion to her mental power, she would shake the world.”

In 1858, Miss Hosmer — then Mrs. Carr — visited her early home, and addressed this school. She was the first lady whom I heard speak in church. It was regarded such an innovation for a woman to speak in meeting, even then, thirty years ago, that she could not be induced to take the platform, but rose in her seat, and modestly told of her work.

These have been only the commissioned officers in the army of the Lord. Little could they have done in the great warfare with evil, had they not been well supported. It is the great army of subordinates and privates who share in the glory of every victory. So it is the private, the faithful man or woman, the boy or girl, who aids the preacher or missionary in carrying on the work, who is entitled to a share in the shout of victory which goes up to-day from this assembly.

Since the anniversary of 1843, one hundred and thirty-two have united with the church by profession of faith. One hundred and nine of this number have come through the Sabbath-school. This is eighty-two and one-half per cent. This school is truly the nursery of the church.

Of the deacons who have served this church by election since 1818, six have been natives of Bedford, and early trained in the religious life in this school: Phineas W. Chamberlin, William A. Stearns, Thaddeus H. Davis, Isaac P. Bacon, Henry A. Gleason, George

[ p 37 ]

P. Davis. Two of the first teachers, natives of Bedford, became deacons, — Amos Hartwell in 1826, and Joel Fitch in 1836. Two of the teachers as well as deacons became superintendents, — Zebedee Simonds and Amos Hartwell. Only two of the entire list of deacons who have served this church since it was organized in 1730 were not natives of Bedford: [^5] Deacon Moses E. Rowe and Deacon George S. Skelton. The former deems it an honor to date his spiritual birth with the early years of his residence here. The latter never knew any other church home than this, and his name is found at ten years of age in the list of members of this school.

Of the early members of the school who have scattered over the country and become deacons in other churches are William Hayward, Alfred Wright, Charles E. Gleason, Moses J. Fitch, Charles F. Robinson, Nathan A. Fitch, and doubtless others of whom information is not at hand. While enjoying our present high degree of prosperity, while our bark is sailing smoothly upon the unrippled sea, let us not fail to recognize Him who hath calmed our fears when the waves dashed high. [*1] In the midst of all these pleasant surroundings, can we not say from the heart that which those who have gone before can re-echo,

“Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and thy truth’s sake”? [*2]

[ p 38 ]


Officers and Teachers of the School,

July 1, 1888.

Secretary and Treasurer.
Assistant Librarian.
Rev. Edwin Smith.Mrs. Edwin Smith.
Mr. Albert P. Sampson.Miss Rebecca F. Mudge.
Dea. Henry A. Gleason.Mrs. Elizabeth Copeland.
Mr. Abram E. Brown.Miss Marion W. Webber.
Mr. Elihu G. Loomis.Mrs. Mary P. Webber.
Mrs. Lucy A. Flint.Miss Fannie Richardson.
Mrs. Mary Farrell.Miss Dora Davis.

[ p 39 ]

1818.Teachers, 7; pupils, 87 to 109;average attendance, 88.
1829.Teachers, 7; pupils, 70;average attendance, 53.
1830.Teachers, 8; pupils, 85.
1832.Teachers, 12; pupils, 108.First adult class formed.
1835.Teachers, 13; pupils, 125.
1839.Whole number, 194;average attendance, 105.
1840.Whole number, 202;average attendance, 104.
1845.Teachers, 21; pupils under 18 years
of age, 124; over 18, 60; total, 205.
Volumes in Library, 250.
1860.Total membership, 149;average attendance, 99.
1870.Total membership, 143;average attendance, —.
1880.Total membership, 219;average attendance, —.
1887.Membership, Main School, 230;
Home Department, 50; total, 280;
average attendance, 131;

united with the church from Sunday School, by profession, 17;
collections, $183.98.
(July 1).
Membership, Main School, 246;
Home Department, 50;
total membership, 296;
average for six months, 146;collections for six months, $72.19.

[ p 40 ]

Fortunately, the Register of 1838 has been preserved, in the handwriting of Deacon Amos Hartwell; and we give it entire, as it may furnish a life picture of the school of one-half century ago.


Class No. 1.
Eleazer P. Davis, Teacher.
Albert T. Stearns.Moses Abbott.Andrew Spaulding.
Willard Buttrick.William A. Lane.Edwin Abbott.
Thomas B. Hosmer.Horace Newell.
Class No. 2.
Abel Munroe, Teacher.
Edwin Hosmer.William Randall.Charles C. Gragg.
Henry Stearns.Nathan L. Fiske.Hiram A. Farmer.
William Smith.Henry White.
Class No. 3.
Deacon Joel Fitch, Teacher.
William P. Simonds.Marcus B. Webber.Ezekiel Sayles.
George S. Skelton.David A. Fitch.Oliver D. Abbott.
Oliver J. Lane.John W. Buttrick.
Class No. 4.
George Davis, Teacher.
Edward C. Reed.Edward A. Hartwell.Henry C. Hayward.
Henry A. Gleason.Charles E. Gleason.Albert Cutler.
Jonas Reed.William Gardner.George Merritt.
Class No. 5.
P. W. Chamberlin, Teacher.
Job B. Lane.Reuben R. Lane.Josiah O. Stearns.
William Hosmer.James Munroe.George L. Pattan.
Samuel W. Hayward.William H. Bates.Silas Johnson.
Stephen L. Hayward.Samuel S. Jeffords.
Class No. 6.
Miss Martha Spaulding, Teacher.
Levi W. Webber.Albert L. Butler.Amos C. Stearns.
Sylvester G. Abbott.Alfred H. Hoar.Charles White.
William D. Everett.Eben White.William Clark.

[ p 41 ]


Class No. 1.
Miss Eliza Robinson, Teacher.
Bethiah Simonds.Lucy B. Knapp.Lois E. Lane.
Harriet Bailey.Catherine A. Lane.Mary E. Bacon.
Emily Skelton.
Class No. 2.
Miss Lucy Barnard, Teacher.
Mary Hartwell.Caroline M. Hosmer.Ann E. Sayles.
Mary E. Skelton.Mary E. Sweetser.Lydia R. Beers.
Sarah J. Reed.
Class No. 3.
Miss Eliza F. Webber, Teacher.
Mary A. Butler.Louisa A. Stearns.Abagail R. Lane.
Sarah E. Hayward.Mary S. Gardner.Lydia R. Beers.
Sarah A. Lane.Martha Butler.
Class No. 4.
Miss Caroline Hayward, Teacher.
Martha E. Hosmer.Sarah Hartwell.Maria E. Bacon.
Sarah E. Sweetser.Martha D. Bacon.Mary Ann Lane.
Susannah Fitch.Harriet Frost.
Class No. 5.
Miss Susan Webber, Teacher.
Susannah Page.Lavinia P. Bates.Elizabeth White.
Ann Crosby.Rachel Ann Fitch.Abagail Sayles.
Abagail J. Jeffords.
Class No. 6.
Miss Harriet Simonds, Teacher.
Louisa Skelton.Lucy P. Butler.Sarah A. Webber.
Sarah E. Gragg.Elvira A. Wilson.Mary A. Abbott.
Class No. 7.
Miss Ann C. Stearns, Teacher.
Charlotte L. Hayward.Harriet L. Bacon.Louisa H. Reed.
Caroline Hoar.Margret Crosby.Sarah F. Butler.
Class No. 8.
Miss Hannah Webber, Teacher.
Fanny A. Reed.Sarah Skelton.Ann M. Hayward.
Mary L. Sayles.Ann C. Fiske.Clariet M. Munroe.
Susan T. Stearns.
Class No. 9.
Miss Martha Davis, Teacher.
Mary Clark.Esther M. Hayward.Emily M. Davis.
Martha Gardner.Caroline Merritt.Mary J. Stearns.
Mary A. Buttrick.
Class No. 10.
Miss Maria H. Stearns, Teacher.
Frances Skelton.Cyrenia A. Fletcher.Sarah A. Fletcher.
Harriet A. Abbott.Ruth A. Webber.Ann L. Abbott.
Ellen M. Munroe.Martha A. Hayward.Frances Jane Gibson.
Nancy C. Reed.Eliza Ann White.Almira Chamberlin.

The adult classes increased the membership to 180; average attendance of 98.


  • An historical [Sabbath-school] address (1888) pp 34-42


  1. Benjamin A. ∨ Benjamin J.
  2. lives; ∨ lives,
  3. mid-ocean ∨ mid ocean
  4. Bedford: ∨ Bedford,


  1. “bark”: boat
  2. cf. KJV’s Psalm 115:1
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