Robert Bermie Wetmore

Last report of a Universalist minister dying young, for a while. Also from the 1901 Universalist Register:

Robert Bermie Wetmore, born in Fredonia, N.Y., in 1867, died in Newport, N.Y., February 13, 1900. Graduating from the State Normal School in his native village, he was several years engaged in school teaching. Becoming interested in the varieties of religion brought to his notice, his mind found satisfaction and rest in Universalism, and he entered the Canton Theological School, from which he graduated with the class of 1898, and entered on his work as a Christian minister in charge of the Newport and Middleville, N.Y., churches receiving ordination in the latter, September 21, 1898. He threw himself into his work with great energy,– “even with reckless disregard of his own limitations of health and strength. He literally undertook everything. Besides his large responsibilities in his own churches, he gave himself freely to the calls from without. The result was inevitable” His pastorates were eminently successful.

Omer Genere Petrie

Another early death. Note that the 120th anniversary of his ordination is coming up.

From the 1901 Universalist Register:

Omer Genere Petrie, born in Eldorado, Ohio, January 26, 1870, died in Palmer, Mass., April 28, 1900. Becoming a member of the Universalist Church in his native town at the age of sixteen, he received his special training for the ministry at Tufts College Divinity School, from which he graduated in 1894 with the highest honors. His first pastorate was at Canton, Mass. where he was ordained June 18, 1894. After a successful pastorate at Canton, he was called to Palmer, Mass. in 1896. He was greatly interested in the “Young People’s Christian Union,” in which he from time to time, held offices of responsibility and trust. “As man and minister it can be said in all moderation, he was without reproach. Large-minded, pure-hearted, gentle of disposition, yet a tower of strength for every right cause, his ministry has been that of a true disciple of the Master. His instincts were scholarly, his preaching exceptionally able, his personal influence always uplifting, his interest in public affairs unfailing, and he was not far removed from the ideal pastor.”

A longer, warmer (but no more informative) obituary may be seen in the YPCU magazine, Onward, volume 7, page 148 in the May 12, 1900 issue.

Harry Lawrence Veazey and Ellen Frances (Nellie) Calhoun

Yesterday’s remembered obituary led Oak Ridge, Tennessee Unitarian Universalist minister Jake Morrill to recall (on Facebook) another early death: the one with the boat. I’d read about this years ago, but had been unable to find the citation. Thanks to him for supplying the name: Veazey.

For this reason, I’ve opened two now categories: Ministers (some technical problem) (for more general posts) and Died Young under it (for those like these).

That minister, formerly settled in Harriman, Tennesssee, is Harry Lawrence Veazey and he died in a boating accident with his fiance, Nellie Calhoun. Both were leaders in the denominational Young People’s Christian Union, and so were both remembered in print and in resolutions. Indeed, the Harriman mission was a project of the YPCU. (The YPCU paper noted that the money Nellie Calhoun brought on her trip — $5 — was given to the Atlanta church building fund.)

Such a loss.

Starting on page 110 of the 1900 Universalist Register

Harry Lawrence Veazey was born in Haverhill, Mass., July 25, 1870 and died by drowning in Caspian Lake, Greensboro, Vt., August 16, 1899. The public schools of Brentwood, N.H. and the Academy at Kingston, N.H., were attended by him, his precocious mind retaining and comprehending at once all that these could teach him. He was associated for several years with his father, a builder and contractor, and in this capacity they went to and assisted in building up the town of Harriman, Tenn. Joining the Universalist church in that place soon after it was organized, he was induced by his pastor, Rev. Dr. McGlauflin, to prepare for the ministry and for this purpose became a student at the Canton Theological School. He had his first settlement at Harriman, where he was ordained July 25, 1897, Subsequently he supplied the pulpit at Woodsville, N.H. during the temporary absence of the pastor in the army. In December last, he became pastor at St Johnsbury, Vt. The local paper in a notice of his death says “Though Mr Veazey has been here less than a year he has endeared himself to all his parishioners and was active in all lines of church work. He had began to get well acquainted outside his parish and there are many who will long remember this scholarly preacher, and his death at a time when he was doing such excellent work in this community, is one of those events which no mortal can explain. He had already secured a reputation outside the borders of the parish by his public addresses.” Mr. Veazey was spending his vacation with his mother and sister, in a cottage at Caspian Lake having as their guest, Miss Ellen Frances Calhoun, of Chicago to whom he was engaged in marriage. In company with her he left the cottage on the evening of August 16th for a moonlight row upon the lake. In some unexplained manner they fall from the boat and were drowned. It was a sad ending so far as earth is concerned, of two estimable and talented lives.

From Onward, the YPCU magazine on July 28, 1900 about the YPCU convention in Atlanta.

Sunday’s Memorial

Sunday, July 15, was ushered in by a beautiful memorial service, under direction of Miss Grace L. White of New York. The friends who have passed on to the larger and better life since our last Convention were tenderly and affectionately called to remembrance by loving testimonies from those who had known them long and well. The list is not long, but many, many hearts have been bereaved. Faith will not allow our selfish desires to wish them back, for our loss is their gain; but we must ever long for “the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is still” until we find ourselves again in their presence never more to go away. Our cherished risen friends include Rev. Harry L. Veazey, Rev. R. B. Wetmore, Rev. Omer G. Petrie, S. W. Straub, Miss Ellen F. Calhoun, Mrs. George L. Perin.

The sermon of the morning “The Call to Christian Service” by Rev. F. C. Priest of Chicago, was an eloquent presentation of the truth, and was gratefully received by the large congregation filling every available seat.

I’ll publish the full obituary of Omer G. Petrie, who died age 30, a native of Eldorado, Ohio.

Prudy LeClerc Haskell

A few years ago, I found the obituaries of two Universalist ministers (1, 2) who died young. To these, I add a third and each makes me sad. The Mount Pleasant church federated with a Congregationalist church at some point, and while it was not a member of the UUA, continued on the roles of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches though the 1990s, and perhaps a bit later.

Prudy LeClerc Haskell, in Oxford, O., December 27, 1878, aged 34; ordained in 1869. Miss LeClerc was a native of Louisville, Ky., was brought up a Universalist, and at the age of 23 turned her thoughts toward the ministry. She had settlements in Madison, Ind., and Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and supplied more or less regularly at Jeffersonville, Newtown, Mount Carmel and Oxford, O., and Mount Carmel and Union Church, Indiana. She was united in marriage with Rev. C. L. Haskell, March 28, 1878. Her life was consecrated to the work of the ministry, she was universally esteemed and loved, and her influence for our faith and humanity was fine and great.

Richard A. Lenz

From the 1911 Universalist General Convention Board of Trustees annual report.

Richard A. Lenz . . .,

of the class of 1909, Canton Theological School, died in Nunda, N.Y., where he had been pastor less than a year, March 20, 1911. A short time with the church in Clarendon comprised the whole of this young man’s ministry. His people in Nunda had become much attached to him and expected much profit and enjoyment from his ministry so auspiciously begun. A mental disturbance, brought on by protracted study and anxiety, resulted in temporary but fatal unhinging of reason.