Clergymen of Foxcroft
By Liston P. Evans
assumed that I was expected to write of the clergymen who have
been connected with the Foxcroft church. Ministers who have
served the Dover churches have lived in Foxcroft, but it would
not be possible to ascertain who they were.
My work has
been made easier than it could otherwise have been by a paper
prepared by the late Major C. H. B. Woodbury on the occasion of
the 75th anniversary of the institution of the Foxcroft and
Dover Congregational church, Jan. 2, 1898 and he gave credit to
a sermon delivered by Rev. J. H. Gurney on the 50th anniversary
of the institution of the church.
minister in the town of Foxcroft was Rev. Thomas Williams, who
was installed Jan. 1, 1823, over what was called the
Congregational church of Foxcroft and vicinity.
He was to
have no salary, only "the use of the lands located for the use
of the ministry in said town" and likewise one-third of the time
to be appropriated in such a manner as he might think proper. It
is no wonder that Mr. Williams, in accepting the call, said that
the prospects of providing for his family under the above
conditions were by no means flattering, for the land was wild
and the people too poor to give him additional support.
pastorate continued until April 3, 1835, 12 years and three
months. During that time, in addition to the 20 original
members, he received into the church 115 members, an average of
about nine each year. He also baptized between 110 and 120
Jr., was called direct from the Seminary and was ordained and
installed Nov. 7, 1837. His salary was $300, with wood and a
house, or part of one, and a vacation of three months. He
resigned July 24, 1842, the principal cause being sympathy for
the slave and hostility to the institution of slavery, which he
denounced from the pulpit. He had no support in this position
among his people and his resignation was inevitable.
Parker was installed Nov. 9, 1842. His salary was to be $450. It
would seem that Mr. Parker was wise to the experience a minister
might have, for among the conditions of acceptance were these:
1st, that the salary should be understood as money.
such articles of produce and merchandise as he might receive
should be at cash prices.
3rd, that the
payments should be made promptly.
was to be raised by subscription, but in case a sufficient sum
was not pledged, the following persons agreed to be taxed in
proportion to their means to make up the deficiency: Oilman
Clark, S. P. Brown, Dominicus Mitchell, Nathan Carpenter, Jotham
Ryder, G. W. Sawyer, L. Harmon, Lyman Lee. Joel Pratt, Caleb
Prentiss, Benjamin Johnson, Gideon Dawes, James Bush, Samuel
Greeley, Samuel Mitchell.
resigned August 28. 1856, after a pastorate of nearly 14 years.
It was during his pastorate that the second meetinghouse was
destroyed by fire.
persons were admitted to the church during his pastorate, 65 on
confession of faith. Among the number was his son Edwin P. who
has but recently resigned as pastor of the South Church,
Hartford, Conn., after serving with great success over 50 years.
Rev. E. S.
Palmer was installed Oct. 13, 1857, and resigned Oct. 7, 1858, a
reason assigned being "the prospect of inadequate support for
There was a
great revival throughout the country during his pastorate and 46
persons were admitted to the church during the year, 40 at one
Chapman was installed pastor of the church Oct. 26, 1859. His
ministry did not prove successful and closed Jan. 1, 1862.
Rev. W. E.
Darling was installed May 20, 1862, and resigned Jan. 20, 1864,
because of ill health.
Rev. B. C.
Chase was installed May 8, 1866, and died in office Oct. 13,
1868; deeply regretted by his people and the churches of Dover.
Rev. J. H.
Gurney was installed Oct. 19, 1869, and resigned April 4, 1875.
His ministry had been successful and his resignation was deeply
regretted. Many before me today will recall his eloquent sermons
and the impressive manner in which he read the hymns.
Rev. H. A.
Loring was installed June 10, 1875, and resigned Sept. 1, 1880.
The council held to dismiss him said: "They (the members of the
council) wish to bear the strongest testimony to his ministerial
and Christian character, to his faithfulness as a preacher, and
especially to the earnestness and zeal with which he has
labored, not only with his own people but also in all the region
Rev. D. A.
Morehouse was installed October 18, 1881 and resigned March 24,
1889, because of ill health. His pastorate had been very
successful and his resignation was accepted with great
reluctance and only when his decision was known to be final.
Wellington R. Cross was installed June 5, 1890 and died in
office Sept. 5, 1891, three hours after preaching the morning
sermon. Mr. Cross had been a faithful minister and his death was
a great sorrow to his people.
Chase was installed Dec. 31. 1891, and resigned May 9, 1896.
Mr. Chase had
been untiring in his efforts to advance the charitable and
philanthropic phases of church life and the church is
undoubtedly profiting today by his efforts along those lines. He
was also an earnest preacher and devoted to all the interests of
his people. It was largely through his efforts that the money
was raised for remodeling the church building as it is today.
McKinnon commenced his pastorate in June, 1896, and resigned
February 24, 1900. Mr. McKinnon and his people had worked
together very harmoniously and the church had prospered under
Rev. V. M.
Hardy. D. D., was called to the pastorate July 22, 1900, and
resigned Nov. 19, 1904. Dr. Hardy was an able preacher and, as
the council on dismissal expressed it, "a. worthy, devoted and
faithful Christian minister."
A. Merrill accepted a call to the church June 3, 1906, and is
its minister today. The future church historian will be able to
speak well of his work.
Source: Sprague's Journal of Maine
History, Vol. 5 No. 7, Published by John Francis Sprague, Dover,
ME, July 1914