By Muriel Bristol | January 12, 2020
Continued from Milton’s Nute Chapel Ministers of 1890-21
The Nute Chapel was often described as a “union” church, which is to say it functioned as a non-denominational church or, as our sources more charmingly put it, as an “undenominational” church. In this period, it was frequently termed a “Community church.”
The Nute Chapel ministers of this 1922-53 period included Mrs. Abbie V. (Hartland) Bennett (continuing on from the death of her husband, Rev. George A. Bennett), Rev. H. Franklin Parker, Rev. Theodore J. Poelman, Rev. E. Lincoln and Mrs. Marion S. (Turner) Bigelow, Rev. Charles E. Shelley, and Rev. F. David Spruance.
Mrs. Abbie Victoria (Hartland) Bennett – 1922-26, 1927-28
Abbie V. Hartland was born in Sandwich, MA, September 20, 1863, daughter of Charles and Hannah Hartland. She married in Brockton, MA, September 20, 1884, George A. Bennett, both of Brockton. He was a confectionary dealer, aged thirty-one years; she was at home, aged twenty years.
Rev. George A. Bennett, pastor of the Nute Chapel in 1920-21, died in Milton, NH, October 12, 1921, aged sixty-eight years and one day. His widow, Mrs. Abbie V. (Hartland) Bennett, ran the Nute Chapel for several years after his death.
WEST MILTON. Mrs. Abbie Bennett, who has been at the home of her son in Florida since the death of her husband, has come back to Nute parsonage and is to occupy and preside as pastor of Nute chapel through the coming months. She is fully able to attend the duties pertaining to church work and we are glad she is to be with us again (Farmington News, April 21, 1922).
WEST MILTON. Owing to the bad traveling, the attendance at town meeting from West Milton was very slim, and would have been slimmer, had not Abbie Bennett, pastor at Nute chapel, and Elvah Kelley announced they were going if they went on snowshoes, which instilled courage in some of the men. Town clerk, Harry L. Avery, and treasurer, Everett F. Fox, were elected without opposition. Fred M. Chamberlain was elected a member of the board of selectmen for three years. Fifty dollars was appropriated to make the spring on Silver street suitable and sanitary for public use. One hundred dollars was appropriated to beautify the grounds near the railroad station at Milton, the work to be done under the direction of the Womans’ club (Farmington News, March 16, 1923).
WEST MILTON. The sleighing except on the drifted cross roads is rather thin and hardly worth the name of sleighing. The doctors are using their autos. Mrs. Hayes and Mrs. Kelley attended the service at Nute chapel last Sunday. Mrs. Abbie Bennett called on Mrs. Thurston one day last week and also on other families in this vicinity (Farmington News, February 20, 1925).
WEST MILTON. The snow is still going and our roads are getting very muddy. Not many can remember such a mild and pleasant February. Mrs. Abbie Bennett visited the people on the West Milton road on Thursday of last week and found it pretty hard traveling part of the way (Farmington News, February 27, 1925).
WEST MILTON. There is plenty of mud in our roads just at present and it grows deeper. The attendance at Nute chapel increases every Sunday as the weather grows warmer. Let us hope as the ground settles there will be still more. Mrs. Bennett, who has been suffering from neuritis severely all winter, had the misfortune to fall on the ice recently and of course, fell on her lame arm, but without much injury (Farmington News, March 20, 1925).
WEST MILTON. Mrs. Abbie Bennett is to go South after Christmas to spend the winter (Farmington News, November 27, 1925).
Abbie V. (Hartland) Bennett moved South again to Miami, FL, in October 1926 to spend the winter with her son, Charles A. Bennett. The language of that time did not suggest that she would be back (See Farmington Boy Will Be Pastor at Nute Chapel below), but she returned for a final year in June 1927.
WEST MILTON. Mrs. Abbie Bennett, who has returned home from a much needed rest with her son in Florida, resumed her duties as pastor of Nute chapel and preached to a good congregation who extended her a warm welcome. Many friends are pleased to note her improvement in health. H. Franklin Parker, who has given such universal satisfaction as her supply during the winter, was present at the service and received many hearty compliments from members of the parish. Next Sunday he will begin his duties as the summer pastor of the church at North Barnstead (Farmington News, June 17, 1927).
FURNITURE SALE. The following and other pieces of household furniture will be offered at private sale this SATURDAY AFTERNOON, Sept. 1st. One divan, 1 chamber set extension dining table, with chairs, office desk, organ, etc. NUTE CHAPEL PARSONAGE (Farmington News, August 31, 1928).
Charles A. Bennett, a widowed Florida employee, aged thirty-seven years (b. VT), headed a Miami, FL, household at the time of the 1935 Florida state census. His household included [his mother,] Abbie V. Bennett, a housekeeper, aged seventy-one years (b. MA). Charles A. Bennett had graduated from college, and Abbie V. Bennett had graduated from high school. They resided at 3139 S.W. 25th Street.
Charles A. Bennett, a U.S. Govt. employee, aged forty-eight years (b. VT), headed a Miami, FL, household at the time of the 1945 Florida state census. His household included [his second wife,] Johanne C. [(Cowart)] Bennett, a deputy clerk, aged forty-four years (b. FL), and [his mother,] Abbie V. Bennett, a widow, aged eighty-one years (b. MA). Charles A. Bennett had graduated from college, Johanne C. Bennett had graduated from high school, and Abbie V. Bennett had graduated from grammar school. They resided at 1825 N.W. 21st Street.
Mrs. Abbie V. (Hartland) Bennett died in Miami, FL, February 27, 1950.
GREATER MIAMI DEATHS. Mrs. Abbie Bennett, 86, Dies at Home of Son. Mrs. Abbie Victoria Bennett, 86, died early today at the home of her son, Charles A. Bennett, 1825 NW 21st st. A native of Sandwich, Mass., she came to Dade county 21 years ago. Surviving, besides the son, are two daughters, Mrs. A.F. Weeks, Somersworth, N.H., and Mrs. Jane Hill, East Pepperell, Mass., 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Services will be conducted by Dr. Nevin H. Schaaf, pastor of the First Presbyterian church in Coral Gables, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Glass funeral chapel. Burial will be in Lee, N.H. (Miami News, February 27, 1950).
Rev. Harry Franklin Parker – 1926-27*
Harry Franklin Parker was born in Rochester, NH, May 12, 1904, son of Ned L. and Mary A. (Hussey) Parker.
James F. Hussey, own income, aged seventy-seven years (b. NH), headed a Farmington, NH, household at the time of the Thirteenth (1910) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of fifty years), Sarah A. Hussey, aged seventy-five years (b. NH), his daughter, Mary A. Parker, aged forty-one years (b. NH), his son-in-law, Ned L. Parker, a dry goods retail merchant, aged forty years (b. NH), and his grandson, Harry F. Parker, aged five years (b. NH). James F. Hussey owned their house at 27 Tappan Street, free-and-clear. Sarah A. Hussey was the mother of three children, of whom one was still living. Mary A. Parker was the mother of one child, who was still living.
James F. Hussey, own income, aged eighty-seven years (b. NH), headed a Farmington, NH, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his daughter, Mary A. Parker, aged fifty years (b. NH), his son-in-law, Ned L. Parker, a proprietor of a dry goods store, aged forty-nine years (b. NH), and his grandson, Harry F. Parker, aged fifteen years (b. NH). James F. Hussey owned their house at 27 Tappan Street, free-and-clear.
FARMINGTON BOY WILL BE PASTOR AT NUTE CHAPEL. Beginning Sunday, October third, H. Franklin Parker will become pastor at Nute Chapel in West Milton and will occupy the pulpit of that edifice for the first time on that date. In this office Mr. Parker succeeds Mrs. Abbie Bennett, whose pastorate in that community has covered a period of several faithful years. Her resignation was prompted by a desire to join her son in the South and to retire from continuous service in the ministry, where she has given a fine account of her ability and conscientious consecration. While sincere regret is expressed on all sides by Mrs. Bennett’s resolution to go out from the community, Mr. Parker’s advent is heartily welcomed because of the universal friendship that he enjoys from his early and often renewed associations here. He is the only son of Mr. and Mrs. Ned L. Parker, lifetime residents and influential citizens of Farmington. He received his elementary education in the public schools and was graduated from Farmington high school in the class of 1923. He has given an excellent account of himself with a year of training at the Bangor Theological Seminary, Bangor, Me., and last year was a student at the Gordon Bible college, Boston, where he retains registration and hopes eventually to complete his studies for the ministry. Mr. Parker’s idea of interrupting his school course with a period of preaching, and parish work has been reached in deference to his health and further concluded by the unprecedented success which he has enjoyed in the upbuilding of the church in North Barnstead, where he has preached during the past summer. He concluded his services there last Sunday and received substantial tokens from the parish. Not only was Mr. Parker able to draw out and interest large congregations, but throughout the parish he made his influence manifest with a spirit of organization and a material increase in the spiritual and financial assets of the church. This same zeal and energy he will carry to his new field of endeavor and it is assured that he will receive the hearty cooperation of the people, who are numbered as his friends. For a time Mr. Parker will hold only Sunday morning service and Sunday school (Farmington News, October 1, 1926).
NUTE CHAPEL. Next Sunday service at the chapel will be made more impressive with the observance of Palm Sunday and in accord with the sentiment of the day, H. Franklin Parker will speak on the subject “The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.” Mr. Parker has given this theme especial preparation and a large congregation is hoped for (Farmington News, April 8, 1927).
Rev. H. Franklin Parker gave the invocation at a Pomona meeting held at the Lewis W. Nute Grange in April 1927.
LOCAL. H. Franklin Parker, who has enjoyed remarkable success as the temporary pastor of the Nute chapel at West Milton, during the absence of Mrs. Bennett in Florida, will continue his duties there for the present at least, with a farewell sermon next Sunday, and very soon will resume his summer pastorate at North Barnstead. In parish and pulpit Mr. Parker has qualified as a clergyman of exceptional ability and proven that he is capable of attracting interest and supervising the work and prosperity of a church in almost any community. He has securely entrenched himself in the hearts of his parishioners and sincere regret at his leaving is mingled with a spirit of hearty welcome at the return of the regular pastor of Nute chapel, Mrs. Bennett, who is improved in health after a much needed rest (Farmington News, June 10, 1927).
PERSONAL. H. Franklin Parker was at home from his studies at Gordon College in Boston and spent the week-end with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ned L. Parker (Farmington News, February 17, 1928).
PERSONAL. H. Franklin Parker is having a few days’ vacation from his theological studies in Boston and is at home (Farmington News, March 16, 1928).
H. FRANKLIN PARKER TO BECOME PASTOR AT CHICHESTER, N.H. Franklin Parker, one of the most promising young ministers of this locality, and son of Mr. and Mrs. Ned L. Parker of this village, has accept a call to become the settled pastor of the First Congregational church at Chichester, where he is no stranger and a popular favorite, having supplied that pulpit for several weeks. The call to that church is a decided compliment to Mr. Parker’s ability, as formerly the parish has been presided over by clergymen of long established reputations. While Mr. Parker is still a theological student, he has had considerable preaching experience and has given a good account of himself. He has trained two years at the Gordon Bible college in Boston, has preached a successful year at the Nute chapel, West Milton, and has been the summer pastor at the North Barnstead church for three seasons. Especially in the last named pulpit he has pleased not only a discriminating summer parish but has been a substantial influence in the upbuilding of the church. Wherever Mr. Parker has been associated with the people in his work or social connections he has gained a good will and fellowship that will accompany him in his new undertaking. As a theologian Mr. Parker combines a serious-minded purpose with sensible thinking and a faculty of expression that teaches without commanding. Those that know him best have no misgivings about his success as his profession was not chosen at random but rather was born of a mature sense of responsibility and a desire for service in the spiritual cause. Mr. Parker will preach his first sermon as the settled pastor at North Chichester next Sunday and will be glad to see familiar faces in his congregation at any time (Farmington News, November 9, 1928).
“The Reverend H. Franklin Parker was called to the [Chichester] church in 1928 and preached here for forty-one years – longer than any other pastor to serve in our pulpit!” (Hope in Christ, n.d).
H. Franklin Parker married in Chichester, NH, October 7, 1929, Alice D. Marston, he of Farmington and she of Chichester. He was a clergyman, aged twenty-five years; she was a stenographer, aged twenty years. She was born in Chichester, circa 1909, daughter of Nathan J. and Alice (Parsons) Marston.
H. Franklin Parker, Congregational ministry, aged twenty-five years (b. NH), headed a Chichester, NH, household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Alice Parker, aged twenty years (b. NH). H. Franklin Parker rented their house on the Valley Road, for $5 per month.
Harry Franklin Parker, a church clergyman, aged thirty-five years (b. NH). headed a Chichester, NH, household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Alice M. Parker, aged thirty years (b. NH), and his son, David F. Parker, aged three years (b. NH). Harry Franklin Parker rented their house on the Pittsfield Road, for an unspecified amount.
MATING GAME. After 62 years, he’s an institution of marriage Preacher has heard vows of 1,200. By Bob Hohler, Globe Staff. CHICHESTER – Rev. H. Franklin Parker had just donned a railroad conductor’s cap – to remind him that he likes “to get people on the right track and keep them going” – when Michael Valenti pulled into Parker’s driveway with a marriage license. Valenti and his fiancee. Susan Leighton, wanted a holiday wedding – a small ceremony at Leighton’s family home in Barnstead. And they wanted Parker, known by some in these parts as “Marryin’ Sam,” to officiate. “Why not?” Leighton said later in a telephone interview. “He’s married just about everybody else around here.” Parker, soon to celebrate his 86th Christmas, is one of New Hampshire’s last old-time country preachers. Worn Bible in hand, he has spent much of his life crisscrossing a short stretch of the Suncook Valley east of Concord, marrying more than 1,200 residents, three generations of the Brown family of Epsom among them. Parker has gone to mountaintops and hospital wards to pronounce couples husband and wife. He has accommodated couples seeking hasty weddings, marrying them next to the old pedal-powered organ in his study or under the solitary cherry tree in his front yard, just up the road from the 140-year-old Chichester Country Store. And two years ago, in exchange for a cord of wood, Parker stood in the chill of an 18th-century gristmill in Loudon to marry a 47-year-old dairy farmer and a 42-year-old Concord secretary who had arrived on the farmer’s doorstep for a blind date on Valentine’s Day and never left. Both had been married twice before. “One reason so many people come to him may be that he doesn’t judge them that way,” said Ruth Hammen of Chichester, who was baptized and later married by Parker. “He doesn’t feel it’s his place to judge.” Last week. Parker wanted Valenti to answer only one question – had he and Leighton known each other long enough to give their marriage a strong foundation? – before he would agree to marry them. Is it any wonder Parker’s favorite television show is “The Dating Game”? “Everything else is pretty boring,” he said. For 62 years, Parker has entered hundreds of families’ living rooms – and welcomed hundreds more couples to his own – to begin marriages. He has kept the ceremonies short because he says people like it that way. And he has etched each wedding date, among other events great and small, in a diary that traces the lives of a popular country preacher and his flock. It is a story of mutual affection, beginning with Parker’s arrival in Chichester – soon after electricity – in 1926. Before he “retired” in 1969 after 41 years as pastor of the Chichester Congregational Church, Parker often doubled as a circuit rider, delivering five sermons a Sunday at churches in Chichester, Epsom, Barnstead and Gilmanton Center. His congregation grew so wide, according to Carole Brown of Epsom, that she “didn’t even know what church he was affiliated with” when Parker performed her wedding ceremony 10 years ago. “All I knew,” Brown said, “was that he. married everybody,” including Brown’s husband’s parents and grandparents. Later, Parker tracked many of the couples he married. He sometimes delivered a single red rose to women who had given birth. He baptized the children, knitted them mittens for Christmas and wrote them stories when they were sick. And he saw many of them again in his jobs as town librarian, historian, ballot clerk and chaplain for the Chichester Grange. “Rev. Parker’s a landmark, like one of those old country doctors,” said Robert Feeny of Pittsfield, whose wedding Parker conducted 37 years ago. Parker often scanned local papers to learn which area residents had been admitted to hospitals and nursing homes, and once visited more then 1,000 patients in a year. He told many of them his philosophy of life – a Latin phrase [Per aspera ad astra] that he translated as “through adversity to the stars.” “If we get to the stars,” he told the patients, “some of us will get there only through adversity.” And when congregants died, Parker conducted their funerals, sending many of them off with a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier that ends: “I know not why His islands lift their fronded palms in the air, I only know I cannot drift beyond His love and care.” Through the years, Parker has seen the coffins of dozens of men and women he once baptized lowered to their graves. But he has no philosophy of death. “It’s just one of those elements you have to reckon with,” he said. “I take it as it comes.” Recently, Parker has gotten out less and less. He still cuts firewood, gardens and walks to the store, waving his cane to passersby. He visits the local nursing home and hospital about once a week. When someone asks him to conduct a funeral service, he does. And he still performs small weddings. But big weddings worry him. “My memory doesn’t serve me as it ought to anymore.” he said, rocking slowly in his chair as a grandfather clock ticked behind him. “If I slipped up, it would be embarrassing to everyone.” So he stays at home more, sometimes sitting before his 12-inch television to watch Rev. Robert Schuller broadcast from the Crystal Cathedral. Other times, he writes poetry. Or sits by the woodstove, reading aloud to his wife, Alice, before entering the book title in his diary on the day he completes it. And when he has the energy, Parker pumps the pedals on his church organ – adorned with his childhood teddy bear – and plays spiritual tunes, among them his own composition, the “Chichester Hymn.” He regrets that his falling eyesight prevents him from driving 10 miles to Concord to see a performance of Handel’s “Messiah.” But he yearns for little else. “I’ve had a simple, uneventful life,” Parker said. “Others have drifted along, but I’ve gone at my own pace and gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it.” Now the “Happy Holidays” welcome mat lies at Parker’s front door, and much of his flock is returning. Many couples, renewing an annual tradition, are stopping by with good wishes. Some are bringing gifts. Others are sending cards. And most are saying thank you. Among them will be Feeny, who credits Parker with “tying a good tight knot” for him and his wife of 37 years. Parker is “a minister you can look up to,” Feeny said. “He’s an honest, upright man who is always there when you need him, night or day.” Hammen, too, will pay a visit soon, giving Parker a date book to help him chart another year of his life. Hammen remembers when Parker stood by her family eight years ago after their house was destroyed by fire. “It was no great big thing,’ Hammen said. “But that’s not Rev. Parker’s style. In his own way, he has showed a lot of us around here that sometimes the simplest gifts make the greatest impressions” (Boston Globe, December 18, 1988).
Rev. H. Franklin Parker died in Epsom, NH, December 14, 1997.
Rev. Theodore John Poelman – 1928-30
Theodore J. Poelman was born in Groningen, Holland, in 1883, son of Miender G. and Lammchiem (Rozee) Poelman.
THE PUTNEY COLUMN. Theodore J. Poelman to be Ordained. The ordination of Theodore J. Poelman, pastor of the Congregational church, will take place Wednesday afternoon and evening, Oct. 11. The council will meet in the afternoon and the ordination will take place in the evening (Vermont Phoenix, October 6, 1916).
THEO. J. POELMAN OF PUTNEY ORDAINED. Ecclesiastical Council and Ordination Program Yesterday – E.C. Crosby of Brattleboro Moderator. (Special to The Reformer.) PUTNEY, Oct. 12. Theodore J. Poelman, who came here recently to be pastor of the Congregational church, was ordained to the gospel ministry as a Congregational minister last evening in the church here, following an ecclesiastical council in the afternoon. At the council Edward C. Crosby, delegate from the Centre church in Brattleboro, was elected moderator and Rev. A.V. Woodworth of West Brattleboro scribe. After the examination of the candidate it was voted to ordain him, and in the evening the following ordination program was carried out: Solo, Hollis Cobb; invocation, Rev. A.V. Woodworth; scripture, Rev. C.W. Mock of Newfane ; Sermon, Rev. Richard H. Clapp of Brattleboro, whose text was John 1:6, “There was a man sent from God”; solo, Mrs. H.L. Bailey; prayer of ordination, Rev. W.S. Gooch of Westmoreland, N.H.; charge to pastor, Rev. W.R. Curtis of Westminster West; right hand of fellowship, Rev. C.W. Mock; charge to people, Rev. A.V. Woodworth; benediction by the pastor. Rev. Mr. Poelman attended Hope college in Michigan and the Gordon training school in Boston. Before coming here he had a pastorate one year in East Lebanon, Me. He is an earnest worker and the church looks forward to larger things under his leadership (Brattleboro Reformer, October 12, 1916).
Rev. T.J. Poelman Resigns. At the Sunday morning service Rev. T.J. Poelman, pastor of the Congregational church, tendered his resignation to take effect Sept. 1, much to the surprise and regret of the congregation. Rev. Mr. Poelman has been with the church a year and has labored zealously for the up-building of the church. A meeting will be called to act upon his resignation (Vermont Phoenix, August 3, 1917).
PUTNEY. The committee of the Congregational church has been instructed to interview Rev. T.J. Poelman to see if he will reconsider his resignation (Brattleboro Reformer, August 18, 1917).
WESTMINSTER WEST. Rev. Walter Curtis exchanged pulpits with Rev. T.J. Poelman of Putney Sunday morning (Brattleboro Reformer, August 23, 1917).
PUTNEY MINISTER IN AUTO ACCIDENT. Rev. T.J. Poelman Was Accompanying Boy Scouts on Outing when Car Overturned – Not Badly Hurt. (Special to The Reformer.) PUTNEY, Sept. 4. Rev. Theodore J. Poelman, pastor of the Congregational church here, was cut and bruised in an automobile accident which happened soon after 11 o’clock yesterday, but he was not seriously hurt. The Boy Scouts raised a flag in the village in the forenoon, and Rev. M.W. Russell made an address and there was singing of patriotic hymns, after which the boys left for Spofford lake for an outing. About the last to leave were Rev. Mr. Poelman and Allen Wood, son of Henry Wood of West hill, who started in Dr. L.H. Bugbee’s Ford automobile, the pastor being at the wheel. Near the Divoll place south of the village they turned out for another car and their machine tipped bottom upwards with the occupants under it. The young man was not hurt, but Rev. Mr. Poelman was cut and bruised, and on account of his wounds bleeding he returned to the village and gave up the trip. The automobile was badly damaged (Brattleboro Reformer, September 4, 1917).
PUTNEY. Rev. T.J. Poelman Engaged. The engagement is announced of Miss Helen F. Guptill, a prominent school teacher of Berwick, Me., daughter of Frank S. Guptill, to Rev. Theodore J. Poelman of Putney, pastor of the Congregational church. Miss Guptill is at present teaching in Rollinsford, N.H. (Brattleboro Reformer, April 23, 1918).
Rev. Mr. Poelman to Leave. Much to the surprise of the people it is announced that last Sunday was the last in the pastorate of Rev. T.J. Poelman, pastor of the Congregational church the last two years. Mr. Poelman’s plans are not completed, but the past few weeks he has been suffering with throat trouble, and a rest is needed from pastoral work (Brattleboro Reformer, August 9, 1918).
Theodore J. Poelman married in Berwick, ME, September 5, 1918, Helen F. Guptill, he of Putney, VT, and she of Berwick, ME. He was a clergyman, aged thirty-five years (b. Holland), and she a teacher, aged twenty-five years (b. Berwick, ME). She was born in Berwick, ME, daughter of Frank S. and Helen M. (Pinkham) Guptill.
Theodore J. Poelman, Jr., was born in Wakefield, NH, July 15, 1919, son of Theodore J. Poelman (a clergyman, aged thirty-five years (b. Netherlands)), and Helen F. Guptill (aged twenty-five years (b. Berwick, ME)).
Rev. T.J. Poelman, of Wakefield, NH, received and accepted a call to the Federated church, of Chepachet, [Glocester,] RI (Congregationalist, June 1921). He served on the Chepachet Old Home Days committee in August 1921. Rev. T.J. Poelman, formerly of Chepachet, RI, now of Lansing, MI, accepted a call to Johannesburg [MI] (Congregationalist, December 11, 1922).
WEST MILTON. Rev. and Mrs. Poelman attended a monthly supper at Wakefield, a former pastorate, and visited friends recently (Farmington News, November 16, 1928).
Theodore J. Poelman, clergyman, and his wife, Helen F. Poelman, appeared in the Milton directory of 1930, as resident in Farmington, R.D. [Rural Delivery].
WEST MILTON. Rev. Theodore Poelman, who has officiated as pastor at Nute chapel for nearly two years has resigned and preached his farewell sermon on Sunday, February 23. All those who know Mr. Poelman believe he has given his best and most conscientious efforts as pastor of the church and a citizen of the community, and his resignation is the source of sincere regrets in many quarters. He will remain for a time, with his family, at the parsonage, and later expects to move to Berwick, Me. The pulpit will be filled by a supply until a regular appointment is made by the trustees (Farmington News, March 14, 1930).
WEST MILTON. Rev. T.J. Poelman and family have moved to Farmington (Farmington News, March 28, 1930).
Theodore J. Poelman, a Congregational clergyman, aged forty-six years (b. Holland), headed a Farmington, NH, household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of eleven years), Helen F. Poelman, aged thirty-six years (b. ME), and his children, Theodore J. Poelman, Jr., aged ten years (b. NH), Grace H. Poelman, aged nine years (b. ME), John H. Poelman, aged four years (b. MI), and Miriam F. Poelman, aged one year (b. ME). Theodore J. Poelman rented their Farmington house, for $15 per month.
Rev. Theodore J. Poelman and his wife, Helen F. Poelman, appeared in the Rochester directories of 1931 and 1939 as having a home at 71 Winter street.
PUTNEY, Rev. T.J. Poelman of South Wolfboro, N.H., a pastor here several years ago, visited friends in town over the week end (Brattleboro Reformer, November 16, 1944).
The American Bible Society published and provided scriptural material for use in public schools. The National Education Association supported a National Bible Reading program that included those Bible materials in school curricula in 1944-45 and published an article about it.
We quote from three of the many letters prompted by this article: Mrs. Helen F. Poelman of South School, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire: It seemed such a splendid thing for our NEA publication to send this “upward reach” through the medium of its public-school teachers. I hope many schools did what we did – read them (NEA, 1945).
Rev. Theodore J. Poelman died in Wolfeboro, NH, February 17, 1956. Helen F. (Guptill) Poelman died August 14, 1958.
HELEN FAITH POELMAN, widow of the Rev. Theodore J. Poelman, who died in 1956 after retiring as minister of Union Congregational Church, South Wolfeboro, N.H., died August 14 at the age of 65. Her survivors include two sons, four daughters, thirteen grandchildren, two brothers and two sisters (United Church Herald, 1958).
Rev. Edgar Lincoln Bigelow & Rev. Marion S. (Turner) Bigelow – 1930-44
Edgar Lincoln Bigelow was born in Northampton, MA, May 25, 1888, son of William H. and Julia K. (Rood) Bigelow.
Edgar L. Bigelow, a widowed chocolate mill painter, aged thirty-one years (b. MA), headed a Malden, MA, household at the time of the Fourteenth (1920) Federal Census. His household included his son, John L. Bigelow, aged one month (b. MA), and his mother Julia K. Bigelow, a widow, aged fifty-seven years (b. MA). They shared a two-family residence with the household of Albert Schindler, a farm laborer, aged forty years (b. MA).
Edgar L. Bigelow married [(2nd)] in Northampton, MA, in or after 1920, Marion S. Turner. She was born in Cambridge, MA, March 5, 1899, daughter of William and Carrie L. (Varney) Turner.
FOR SALE. FOR SALE. One spring sleigh, one surry. Phone Morgan 29-15. Rev. E. Lincoln Bigelow, Holland. 31-33 (Express and Standard (Newport, VT), August 4, 1922).
NORTH HOLLAND. Rev. E. Lincoln Bigelow is driving a new Ford. Rev. and Mrs. E.L. Bigelow motored to Swanton last Thursday (Express and Standard (Newport, VT), August 18, 1922).
New Enterprises. On a cold Sunday night in February, a fire of unknown origin, carried by a strong north wind, swept the buildings on the business corner in Holland, including the Methodist church. Men gathered to the scene and led by the pastor of the church, fought heroically, but all efforts failed and in a very short time all that was left of the little white church was a pile of twisted steel and charred timbers. The energetic pastor, Rev. E. Lincoln Bigelow, who knows no defeat and in whose vocabulary the word “can’t” is not known, led his people to the town hall for worship; and almost before the ashes of the old meeting house had grown cold he had inspired his people to build another house of worship, and secured pledges for $1500 towards this enterprise. A neat chapel will, probably be built this summer to house this congregation (Express and Standard (Newport, VT), April 27, 1923).
EAST ORANGE. Rev. E. Lincoln Bigelow is again occupying the pulpit at the Union church here after being confined to his home some time with whooping cough (Groton Times (Woodsville, NH), January 25, 1924).
WEST MILTON. Mr. Bigelow of Milton occupied the pulpit at Nute chapel Sunday, March 2. There was a good attendance (Farmington News, March 7, 1930).
E. Lincoln Bigelow, a Community church minister, aged forty-one years (b. MA), headed a Milton household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of ten years), Marion S. Bigelow, aged thirty-one years (b. MA), and his children, John L. Bigelow, aged ten years (b. MA), William E. Bigelow, aged eight years (b. VT), Florence H. Bigelow, aged six years (b. VT), Elise M. Bigelow, aged five years (b. VT), and Gerald E. Bigelow, aged two years (b. ME). He rented their house on the Nute Ridge Road, for $10 per month. They did not have a radio set.
BAKERSFIELD. The Rev. and Mrs. E.L. Bigelow and family of Milton, N.H., visited friends in town last week. Mr. Bigelow occupied the Methodist pulpit for a short time ten years ago (Burlington Free Press, August 13, 1931).
NUTE CHAPEL PARSONAGE RECEIVES SURPRISE VISIT. Honoring Mrs. Bigelow’s Birthday. Rev. and Mrs. Bigelow Commence Sixth Year in this Pastorate. Thirty-five friends and parishioners assembled at the parsonage Monday evening on the occasion of the birthday of Mrs. E. Lincoln Bigelow. The party was arranged as a surprise by Mrs. George Lloyd. A most enjoyable evening was spent with music, games and social repartee, all of which was spiced with delicious refreshments, which included two birthday cakes, the gifts of parishioners. Mrs. Bigelow also found it necessary to acknowledge several other gifts and the hearty felicitations from the company. The party broke up at a reasonable hour, with many expressions that are characteristic of the fine spirit that exists in this community, and compliments to the pastor and his wife for the fine work they have done during their five years in this parish. Rev. and Mrs. Bigelow will enter their sixth year of local service next Sunday. It is significant to record that the average Sunday morning worship attendance for the year just closed was 41 people. Several have been converted under the leadership of Mr. and Mrs. Bigelow. Sunday school attendance has increased materially. Nute chapel weekly cottage prayer meetings enjoy the reputation of being the largest in this vicinity. A choir has been started and is progressing well. The Thursday evening church programs have come into special prominence and are attracting large numbers. In 1934 Mrs. Bigelow was the author of two Christmas pageants, bot of which were staged and presented publicly by her in other quarters. The social functions connected with the chapel and parish are always attended with spirited interest and usually by much appreciated interest from outside localities. The prayer meeting group which was started three years ago at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Perry now has an active membership of 72 and further good work is being contemplated for the welfare of church and community, with plans for an enlarged and more interesting summer church program which will include outside speakers and special music (Farmington News, [Friday,] March 8, 1935).
A volunteer crew cleared away fallen limbs and trees from the Hurricane of ’38 at the Nute chapel parsonage’s woodlot in January 1939.
E. Lincoln Bigelow, no occupation listed, aged fifty-two years (b. MA), headed a Milton household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. His household included his wife, Marian Bigelow, aged forty-one years (b. MA), and his children, John Bigelow, a news worker, aged twenty years (b. VT), William Bigelow, aged eighteen years (b. VT), Florence Bigelow, aged sixteen years (b. VT), Elsie Bigelow, aged fifteen years (b. VT), and Gerald Bigelow, aged twelve years (b. ME). E. Lincoln Bigelow rented their house on the Nute Ridge road, which was valued at $1,500.
Miss Elsie M. Bigelow succeeded her mother, Rev. Marian S. (Turner) Bigelow, as Nute Ridge [Lewis W. Nute] Grange master in January 1942.
WEST MILTON. Pastor Bigelow of Nute chapel has made contributions to the food situation by having slaughtered, this past week, two hogs which netted over three hundred pounds of pork. If each of us could do as much the coming year, what a help it would be, locally at least (Farmington News, March 19, 1943).
Now 402 Sales and ANOTHER YANKEE AUCTION! Thursday, Aug. 17, 10:30 A.M. – All Day at Nute Chapel Parsonage, NUTE RIDGE, WEST MILTON, N.H., For the pastor and his family to vacate for removal to new pastorate. Good Merchandise, accumulated from many years of housekeeping, two generations, some choice antiques. Complete assortment of household furnishings, tip-top table, Salen rocker, ladderback and Windsor chairs, kitchen cabinet, chiffonier, chest of drawers, bureaus, electric washing machine, cabinet, circulating heater (coal, wood, oil), beds, springs, mattresses, kitchen ware, silverware, china, 5 in. pewter plate, cameras, clocks, lamps, room and scatter rugs, and other articles too numerous to mention, Ford V-8 chassis, engines, bodies, and miscellaneous parts, 1935 Hudson sedan (no wheels). No jacking, no bid in – All sales final – Sale date positive – Refreshments. Rev. E. Lincoln Bigelow, Sub., Carl B. Canney, Auctioneer (Farmington News, August 11, 1944).
Rev. and Mrs. Bigelow went next to a parish in Danville, VT. (Her parents remained in Farmington, NH).
Edgar Lincoln Bigelow died in Berlin, VT, August 17, 1970. Marian S. (Turner) Bigelow died in Walden, VT, November 15, 1972.
Rev. Charles Edward Shelley – c1945-51
Charles E. Shelley was born in Boston, MA, February 6, 1910, son of George W. and Wilhelmina P. (Gould) Shelley.
George W. Shelley, a sign painter for R.H. White Co., aged fifty-seven years (b. MA), headed a Boston, MA, household at the time of the Fifteenth (1930) Federal Census. His household included his wife (of twenty-three years), Wilhelmina Shelley, aged fifty-seven years (b. MA), his children, Eleanor A. Shelley, and insurance file clerk, aged twenty-four years (b. MA), Ernest D. Shelley, a pub. acct. clerk, aged twenty-one years (b. MA), Charles E. Shelley, metal plant blueprints, aged twenty years (b. MA), and Harold K. Shelley, aged eighteen years (b. MA), and his sister-in-law, Myra B. Gould, aged sixty-nine years (b. RI). George W. Shelley owned their house at 1 Richfield Park, which was valued at $8,500. They had a radio set.
Wilhelmina Shelley, a widow, aged sixty-seven years (b. MA), headed a Boston, MA, household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. Her household included her son, Charles Shelley, a wholesale clothing co. shipper, aged thirty years (b. MA), and her sister, Myra B. Gould, aged seventy-nine years (b. RI). Wilhelmina Shelley owned their house at 1 Richfield Park, which was valued at $4,000. (It was now rated as half of a two-family, the other half being valued at $4,000). Wilhelmina Shelley supplied the census information.
Charles E. Shelley married in North Reading, MA, August 7, 1943, Mildred I. Downs. She was born in Lawrence, MA, April 14, 1919, daughter of Walter S. and Agnes L. (Seavey) Downs.
CHARLES E. SHELLEY TO BE ORDAINED TO MINISTRY AT NUTE CHAPEL MONDAY NIGHT, AUGUST 21. The ordination of Charles Edward Shelley to the gospel ministry will be held at Nute Chapel at Nute Ridge, Milton, next Monday evening, August 21, beginning at 7:30 o’clock. Mr. Shelley is popularly known to many people in Farmington, and a number of the local residents are expected to be in attendance. The service of ordination will be presided over by Rev. Buell W. Maxwell, pastor of the Milton Mills Baptist Church, and Jeanette MacCorkle will serve as organist. Among the expected guest will be Rev. Maxfield, Mrs. MacCorkle, and Rev. Leslie D. McInnes, pastor of the Blaney Memorial Baptist church of Dorchester, Mass. Rev. Paul Scruton, pastor of the Contoocook Baptist church, Rev. John Godfrey, pastor of the West Lebanon Baptist church, Me., Rev. Robert S. Stansfield, pastor of the Second Baptist church, Auburn, N.Y., Rev. George Schilling, pastor of the True Memorial Baptist church of Rochester, Rev. Douglas B. MacCorkle, pastor of Immanuel Baptist church of Newton, Mass., Rev. Thomas Hawxwell, pastor of Farmington Baptist church, Rev. Ralph Townsend, pastor of East Rochester Baptist church. Following the services an informal reception will be held in the vestry (Farmington News, August 18, 1950).
PASTOR RESIGNS. Rev. Charles E. Shelley has resigned the pastorate at Nute chapel having been called to a new field of service. His last Sunday will be November 4 at the chapel and he and his family will move soon thereafter to Glen. This will terminate six years of service at West Milton (Farmington News, October 19, 1951).
Rev. Charles E. Shelley held subsequently parishes in Glen, NH, West Townsend, MA, and Merrimac, MA.
WEST TOWNSEND. Charles E Shelley of Glen, N.H., with Mrs. Shelley, the former Mildred Downs, and their two daughters, Barbara and Ruth, will move into the Baptist parsonage tomorrow, and next Sunday, Rev. Mr. Shelley will give his first sermon as pastor of the First Baptist church. He preached his farewell sermon Sunday in the Glen church where he has been pastor for two years. He was ordained in 1951 [SIC] at the Nute Chapel at Milton. N.H.. where he held a pastorate for six years. He is a graduate of Gordon college. Boston (Lowell Sun, October 12, 1953).
Charles E. Shelley died in Amesbury, MA, September 18, 2000. She died in Merrimac, MA, December 21, 2004.
Rev. Frederick David “David” Spruance – c1952-53
Frederick D. Spruance, Jr., was born in San Francisco, CA, December 30, 1927, son of Frederick D. and Gladys Cope (Wilson) Spruance.
Gladys Cope, a Citgo co. stenographer, aged thirty-nine years (b. PA), headed a San Francisco, CA, household at the time of the Sixteenth (1940) Federal Census. Her household included her son, David Spruance, aged twelve years (b. CA), and her lodger, Richard Jones, an assistant insurance actuary (life insurance co.), aged fifty years (b. VA). Gladys Cope rented their house at 1295 Thirty-Ninth Avenue, for $32 per month.
He graduated from Wheaton College, in Wheaton, IL, in 1948. Frederick Spruance married in Preston, CT, July 7, 1949, Jean Dawley. She was born in Preston, CT. circa 1927.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH [Farmington, NH]. Thanksgiving Service. Thursday at 10 A.M. In observance of this national day of giving thanks to God for all his blessings, a special service will be held in this church, to which all are invited. There will be musical selections including a solo by Mrs. Jean Spruance, and a brief message by the pastor. Everyone is invited to bring in a scripture verse of praise and other ministers will be participating in the program (Farmington News, November 28, 1952).
Rev. David Spruance received his Master of Divinity degree from Gordon College in 1953. He and Jean (Dawley) Spruance left Nute chapel in late 1953 to take up missionary work in Tucuman, Argentina.
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH [Farmington, NH]. Rev. and Mrs. Spruance of Nute chapel have recently been appointed as missionaries to South America and they will be with us to tell of the work they are planning to do there (Farmington News, October 9, 1953).
MIDDLETON GOSPEL CHAPEL. At a business meeting Thursday it was voted to contribute $100 for the year 1954 to Rev. David Spruance and his wife, Jean, to help support them in their Missionary work in Argentina (Farmington News, December 18, 1953).
Rev. F. David Spruance died in Dresher, PA, June 11, 2015.
Rev. F. David Spruance, D. Min., December 30, 1927 – June 11, 2015. Rev. F. David Spruance, D. Min., of Dresher, Pennsylvania died Thursday, June 11, 2015 at his residence. He was 87 years old. Dave was born December 30, 1927 in San Francisco, California, son of the late Frederick David Spruance, Sr., and the late Gladys Cope (nee – Wilson). He is the beloved husband of Jean Spruance (nee – Dawley); father of John Spruance and his wife Carolina, Deborah McPeek and her husband Kevin, David M. Spruance and his former wife Patricia, Mark Spruance and his late wife Joanne, and Alicia Copa and her husband David; grandfather of Joshua, Aaron and his wife Grace, Micah, Jeffrey and Joel Spruance and his wife Julia, Christopher and his wife Kristine and Jack McPeek and his wife Saskia, Natasha Yeoman and her husband Joshua, Camille Kinder and her husband Nathan, and Dorliza, Dorcas, and Daniel Copa. He is also survived by his 9 great grandchildren.
Dave was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He attended Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, where he met his future wife, Jean Dawley. The two were married July 7, 1949 on her family’s farm in Preston, CT. He graduated from Wheaton with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948. Dave received a Master of Divinity degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts in 1953, a Master of Sacred Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas in 1977, and a Doctorate in Ministry degree from Denver Seminary in Littleton, Colorado in 1982. He served as a missionary for WorldVenture, formerly CBFMS, in the city of Tucuman in Argentina from 1956 until 1983, where he established a seminary. Dave also served in a campus crusade in Manila in the Philippines before returning to the United States where he served in an interim capacity for a number of church congregations. He finished his active ministry with the Chelten Baptist Church in Dresher, Pennsylvania and with the Seminary of the East, where he was both a professor and Dean of the school. He retired in 1992 at the age of 65.
Relatives and friends were invited to his memorial service on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 2:30 P.M. at Chelten a Church of Hope, 1601 Limekiln Pike, Dresher, PA 19025 [URL omitted] where donations may be made, in lieu of flowers, in his memory (Wetzel, 2020).
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