By Ken B.
© 2015 Anonymous. All rights reserved.
The February 26, 1875, Issue of the St. Johnsbury Caledonian, Page 3
As we continue to look at the considerable attention given by the local newspaper to the various events relating to “the Great Awakening” of 1875 in St. Johnsbury, we now come to the February 26, 1875, issue of the St. Johnsbury Caledonian, the third issue to discuss “the Great Awakening”:
Column One (on the left-hand side)
“Local and State News”
. . .
“Union meeting at North Church tonight.”
. . .
“See notice of gospel meetings to be held in the various towns, time and place of which are given in another column.
“Remember the union meeting at the North Church this (Thursday) evening. The one on Tuesday evening was very largely attended and deeply interesting.”
. . .
“The County Ministers’ Meeting will be held next Monday morning, March 1, at Free Baptist Hall, at 9:30. Subject: A synopsis of the distinguishing principles of each denomination belonging to the association.
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“The Religious Awakening.
“This portion of Vermont is being stirred religiously as it has been before in many years. From the day the committee of young men began their canvass, the first of January, until the present, the interest has not ceased, but rather increased. In almost every town this committee has visited there has been a revival, and the interest seems to be spreading into surrounding towns. Notwithstanding the protracted meetings held in this place now for three or four weeks, the last meeting on Tuesday evening was quite as fully attended as any for two weeks past and of marked interest. From Newbury, where meetings are now being held, glorious news comes of salvation to many souls. The same report reaches us from Irasburg, Barton, Lowell, Bradford: while Lyndon, Burke, Danville, Barnet and Concord, are reaching out their hands for a blessing. In several of these towns gospel meetings are now being held, and in others they are to be held during the coming weeks. Surely the Lord is doing great things for us as a State and as communities, whereof we are glad.
We learn that the gospel meetings will be continued in this place, conforming as nearly as may be to the following plan:
Thursday, Feb. 25, N. Church 7:30 P. M.
Sunday, 28th, Avenue Hall, 1:30 ‘ ‘
Sunday, ‘ ‘ South Church. 3:00 ‘ ‘
Sunday, ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ 6:30 ‘ ‘
Monday, March 1, ‘ ‘ 2:00 ‘ ‘
‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ 7:00 ‘ ‘
Friday, young converts’ and enquirers’ meetings, at all the churches, 7:30 ‘ ‘
Saturday, young peoples’ union meeting, at the Methodist church, 7:00 ‘ ‘
Sunday, prayer meeting at the South Church 9:00 A. M.
Monday, young converts’ and enquirers’ meeting, South Church 4:30 P. M.
Messrs. H. M. Moore and F. O. Winslow of Boston, and R. K. Remington of Fall River, are expected to be present and conduct the meetings through Sunday and Monday. All are cordially invited to come and hear.
Meetings in Other Towns.
East Burke, Friday evening, Feb. 26, and through Saturday and Sunday following.
West Concord, Tuesday evening, March 2, and Wednesday and Thursday following.
Danville, Friday evening, March 5, and through Satuday and Sunday following.
Lyndon, Monday evening, March 8, and Tuesday and Wednesday following.
These meetings will be under the auspices of the Committee appointed by the State Convention of Y. M. C. A. and churches of Vermont, who work in union with the local pastors, and by their invitation.”
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Union meetings are being held at Lyndon Corner, and there are indications of the presence of the Spirit. An excellent union meeting was held at
Column Four (continued from Column Three):
Lyndonville Sabbath evening, and considerable feeling manifested. Some Christian workers from St. Johnsbury have given their brethren here a helping hand. Men are thoughtful, and without doubt some are asking themselves at least, ‘What must I do to be saved?’”
There are several references to “union meetings” in the various statements quoted above from the February 26, 1875, issue of the St. Johnsbury Caledonian. The “union meetings” were one aspect of the preparations for the events that became “the Great Awakening” of 1875 in St. Johnsbury. Here is a fuller statement about those preparations as described in the Minutes of the Eightieth Annual Meeting of the General Convention of Congregational Ministers and Churches of Vermont, Held at Bennington, June, 1875:
Among many of the Christians of the churches of this town [of St. Johnsbury, Vermont] there had, for a year or two past, been an increasing desire for the presence of the Holy Spirit, and when the spring of 1874 went past without marked spiritual results there were not a few souls who groaned within themselves, and said, also, here and there, that they could not, God willing, be content that another year should be as the last. At the May (1874) meeting of the Caledonia Association there was an expression of the same feeling, and the subject of revival effort was proposed and adopted as the topic for the meetings of the autumn. As some of the members of the Association met casually during the summer, the theme of conversation uppermost was: “What shall be done to save souls? Meanwhile the same fire burned in the hearts of laymen and Christian women. Notably some of those whose husbands were not professors of religion besought earnestly the throne of grace. After the plan of the canvass of the Committee of the Young Men’s Christian Association and the Vermont churches was matured a praying band was formed, comprising a few devout Christian men, who met very quietly for two objects: first, that God’s blessing might accompany the Gospel workers elsewhere; and secondly, that there might be graciously manifested the reviving and converting power of the Holy Spirit. During the month of December there developed, chiefly in the east side of the village, an interest, slight as compared to what followed, in connection with the labors of Rev. Mr. Marsh of the Baptist church and of Rev. Mr. DeWitt, an evangelist who assisted in the work for a few days. But the clouds, thus for a moment at the point of rifting, seemed to close again. With the week of prayer the five evangelical churches of the village [of St. Johnsbury], viz: North and South Congregational,, Baptist, Methodist and Free Baptist, with remarkable concord began to hold union meetings twice weekly, which meetings were continued with but slight interruption for four months. Yet during the first month it could not be said that there was much visible increase of interest. There was, however, increasing earnestness among Christians, and a centering of hope in the approaching Gospel meetings and much prayer was offered that they might become a means of great blessing. Saturday evening, February 6th, these meetings began. They were conducted by Messrs. Davis of Burlington, Cook of Ludlow, and Moore and Remington of Massachusetts, assisted by others.
The February 26, 1875, edition of the St. Johnsbury Caledonian quoted above also spoke about “. . . the Committee appointed by the State Convention of Y. M. C. A. and churches of Vermont, . . .” Here is more information about the committee and the convention of the Young Men’s Christian Association which played vital roles in “the Great Awakening” of 1875 in St. Johnsbury:
The state convention of the Young Men's Christian associations of Vermont was held at Norwich, last week, the 19th and 20th [of November 1874].
Besides a good number from the associations in this state,
R. K. Remington of Fall River, and
H. M. Moore of Boston, and
M. B. Critchett and
Allen Folger of Concord, N. H,
members of the executive committees of those two states, were present, and by their stirring words added much to the interest of the meetings.
Thursday morning was spent in a prayer meeting. In the afternoon the following officers for the year ensuing were elected.
President—Rev. S. P. Cook, of Ludlow.
Vice Presidents—Rev. Wm. Sewell of Norwich, and Rev. Mr. Rockwell of Windsor.
Secretary—W. E. Hazen of Woodstock.
Assistant Secretary—A. S. Hopkins, of St. Johnsbury.
Railroad Secretary—L. A. Smith, of Norwich.
Rev. S. P. Cook, Ludlow;
Geo. E. Davis. Burlington;
A. J. Howe, Montpelier;
H. B. Olds, Norwich;
W. R. Hazen, Woodstock;
B. K. Chase, Rutland;
Franklin Fairbanks, St. Johnsbury;
W. P. Dillingham, Waterbury.
The executive committee have a meeting at Montpelier, Dec. 2d, to complete arrangements for future operations similar to such as have been carried on in some other states.
Geo. E. Davis, from Burlington, said a glorious revival work had been begun in Essex, and that it has already reached Winooski and Burlington. In Burlington meetings are being held every evening, and great results are looked for. He urged a more complete consecration of Christians, and though [sic] the Lord would not wait long if they were ready to work. In St. Johnsbury the association meetings have been changed to a young people’s meeting. . . .
R. C. Morse, secretary of the international executive committee, spoke of the work going on in other states. Much work is now done by means of a state canvass by committees chosen for that purpose. . . . He thought the practical question for this convention was, how shall this state organization be formed in Vermont?
R. K. Remington of Fall River, thought all should realize that the association is a child of the church and that the work is of Christ. He appealed for a reading room, or some other suitable place for young men to spend their evenings; and urged that “we get off our cold seats and get warm ourselves.”
Allen Folger, secretary of New Hampshire state committee, spoke of the relation of the churches to associations. The state work in New Hampshire had been successful not through the strength but through the weakness of those who carried it on.
On motion a state executive committee of eight was chosen to canvass the state.
Friday morning session was opened by a prayer and praise meeting, led by Rev. Mr. Lougee of Tunbridge. . . . Before the convention adjourned, pledges of over 300 days’ time and $400 in money were made towards carrying on a canvass of the state and holding meetings in most of the preminent [sic] towns. It was thought best to commence this work early in January.
 The February 26, 1875, Issue of the St. Johnsbury Caledonian, Page 3: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023253/1875-02-26/ed-1/seq-3/; accessed 9/5/2015.
 “A [Baptist] church was organized in St. Johnsbury, in 1874, fostered by the State Convention, and befriended in special manner by Levi K. Fuller, of Brattleboro. A chapel was dedicated, November 30, 1874, and a deed of parsonage and the lot, on which both parsonage and the chapel stands, given by Mr. Fuller. Rev. E. T. Sanford became its first pastor, maintaining that relation for fourteen years. . . . Mr. Sanford was succeeded, in 1891, by Geo. Webster, one year; . . .” See Henry Crocker, History of the Baptists in Vermont (Bellows Falls, VT: The P. H. Goble Press, 1913), 324-25: https://archive.org/stream/historyofbaptist01croc#page/n359/mode/2up; accessed 9/5/2015. “The Baptist church of St. Johnsbury was organized by William Bacon, of New York city, with thirteen members, June 20, 1874. Rev. J. H. Marsh was the first pastor. The church building was erected in 1875. . . . The society now has 150 members, with Rev. E. T. Sanford, pastor.” See Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, VT. 1764-1887: Part First, comp. and pub. by Hamilton Child (Syracuse, N. Y.: The Syracuse Journal Company, 1887), 344: http://mcaf.ee/j0oyvl; accessed 9/5/2015. (Italics in original). The February 26, 1875, Issue of the St. Johnsbury Caledonian, Page 3, states: “Rev. J. H. Marsh, Pastor”: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023253/1875-02-26/ed-1/seq-3/; accessed 9/5/2015.
 The Second Congregational church in St. Johnsbury—the present North church—was organized April 7, 1825, being a colony from the First Congregational church, which was located on the hill west of the Center Village. Nineteen persons—six males and thirteen females—having obtained the consent of the First church, were constituted a separate church, under the name of the Second Congregational church in St. Johnsbury.” See Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, VT. 1764-1887: Part First, comp. and pub. by Hamilton Child, 342: http://mcaf.ee/j0oyvl; accessed 9/5/2015. (Italics in original). The February 26, 1875, Issue of the St. Johnsbury Caledonian, Page 3, states: “Rev. E. T. Fairbanks, Pastor”: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023253/1875-02-26/ed-1/seq-3/; accessed 9/5/2015.
 “The South Congregational Church was organized October 16, 1851, and consisted of sixty-one members, who were dismissed for that purpose from the Second church [which later became known as “North Congregational Church, St. Johnsbury”]. The large and commodious meeting-house in the south part of the village of St. Johnsbury, was built by contributions from both societies, for the use of the South church and congregation, with the provision that it should be the property of the church, and the pews rented for the support of the gospel ministry therein. On the 14th of January, 1852, this house was dedicated; and on the same day the Rev. Sumner G. Clapp was installed as pastor of the church. The present pastor is Rev. Edward T. Fairbanks.” See Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, VT. 1764-1887: Part First, comp. and pub. by Hamilton Child, 343: http://mcaf.ee/j0oyvl; accessed 9/5/2015. (Italics in original).
 “The Methodist Episcopal church of St. Johnsbury was organized by Rev. S. Chamberlain, with thirty-four members, in 1856. Rev. Alonzo Webster was the first pastor. In 1858 a church building was erected, and the present house was built in 1883.” See Gazetteer of Caledonia and Essex Counties, VT. 1764-1887: Part First, comp. and pub. by Hamilton Child, 344: http://mcaf.ee/j0oyvl; accessed 9/5/2015. (Italics in original). The February 26, 1875, Issue of the St. Johnsbury Caledonian, Page 3, states: “Rev. D. E. Miller, Pastor”: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023253/1875-02-26/ed-1/seq-3/; accessed 9/5/2015.
 The February 26, 1875, Issue of the St. Johnsbury Caledonian, Page 3, states: “Free Baptist Church.—Meetings in hall of Caledonian Block—(Rev. O. Roys, pastor.)”: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84023253/1875-02-26/ed-1/seq-3/; accessed 9/5/2015. For more on Rev. Orzo Roys of the Free-Will Baptist Church, see G. A. Burgess and J. T. Ward, Free Baptist Cyclopaedia. Historical and Biographical ([Chicago:] Free Baptist Cyclopaedia Co., 1886 and 1889), 581: http://mcaf.ee/7109wk; accessed 9/5/2015.
 Minutes of the Eightieth Annual Meeting of the General Convention of Congregational Ministers and Churches of Vermont, Held at Bennington, June, 1875. Fifty-Seventh Annual Report of the Vermont Domestic Missionary Society, and Fifty-Fifth Annual Report of the Vermont Education Society (Montpelier: J. & J. Poland, 1875), 29; http://mcaf.ee/b5f1xq; accessed 9/5/2015.