The General Assembly of the United Presbyterian church in the United States was in session at the time of the death of Doctor Beveridge in the spring of 1873 and upon receipt of the news of his death adjourned as a mark of respect for his memory and later adopted resolutions expressive of the church's profound esteem for this venerable leader. Xenia Presbytery at its next meeting following the death of Doctor Beveridge also adopted resolutions, declaring "that in his lovely Christian character and life, as a man and minister of the gospel, he has left behind him a shining testimony to the beauty and excellence of that gospel which he so long professed and preached, and an example worthy of admiration and imitation by all." The Christian Instructor carried a biographical reference to Doctor Beveridge following his death, the general tone of which is indicated by the concluding paragraph: "Dr. Beveridge had lived long. Not one of the ministers that took part in his licensure or ordination, and not one of the signers of his call to the church in Xenia, are now living. All his associates in study are gone, and nearly all with whom he took part in his early ministry; and no one has ever been more identified with almost all the great movements of the church in the last fifty years. Most emphatically is it the feeling of all who knew him, Dr. Beveridge was a good man, and most faithfully and usefully filled his day and place. All honor to his memory." In the same strain the Xenia Gazette said: "Dr. Beveridge died without an enemy. We hazard little in saying he never had an enemy. We cannot conceive that he could even give an offense or do a wrong to anv one. He was preeminently a good man and went about doing good. Unassuming, unpretentious, none knew him but to respect and love him. As a minister, Dr. Beveridge had nothing of the sensational about him. He was not a pulpit orator of the modern style. He preached the gospel—the gospel only, simply and plainly, but with power. He fed his hearers with meat and not with milk. From a well-cultivated and richly stored mind and a heart overflowing with love to God and man, he brought forth things new and old, and "gave each and all a portion in good season. In his death the church loses one of its brightest ornaments, and the community a most exemplary citizen."

The Rev. Thomas Beveridge, D. D., whose ministerial labors at Xenia began in 1820 and who later became head of the old Associate Theological Seminary at Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, returning to Xenia when that institution was removed from Canonsburg to Xenia in 1855, the rest of his life being spent here, was a son of one of the fathers of the church and from the days of his boyhood his life was devoted to the service of the church. He was born at Cambridge, New York, son of the Rev. Thomas Beveridge and Janet Fotheringham Beveridge, both of whom were born in Scotland, the former at Eastside, in the parish of Fossoway, Fifeshire, in 1749. The elder Thomas Beveridge was ordained by the Associate presbytery of Edinburgh, Scotland, September 23, 1783; arrived in America in the spring of 1784; went to Cambridge, New York, that fall; settled there on September 10, 1789, and died at Barnet, Vermont. July 23, 1798, in his forty-ninth year.

Some years before his death Doctor Beveridge had written a quite comprehensive review of his life and after his death this autobiography was printed by his son, John A. Beveridge, for private circulation, and it is on those memoirs that the following narrative is based. "Both my parents were emigrants from Scotland," wrote Doctor Beveridge. "My mother came over when about eleven years of age. She was from Fifeshire. and born about the year 1763. Her mother (Janet Lourie, daughter of John and Ann Gilmore Lourie) was one of the first Seceders from the Church of Scotland. She united with them at the age of sixteen, in opposition to the views of the rest of the family, though after some time they all followed her example. She was first married to a Mr. [George] Beveridge. by whom she had several children. * * * After the death of her first husband, my grandmother wns married to a Mr. George Fotheringame or Fotheringham (I find the name spelled both ways). My mother. Jennet Fotheringame, was the only issue of this second marriage. After the death of my grandmother's second husband, one of her sons, Andrew Beveridge, resolved to emigrate to America, and as he had probably been a favorite son, his mother concluded to accompany him and took with her two daughters, Ann Beveridge, afterwards married to James Small, who was for many years an elder of the Associate congregation of Cambridge, and her youngest child, Jennet, my mother. * * * My grandmother, with her three children, made their way to New York state. Andrew finally settled in Hebron, where he became the father of eight sons and two daughters. [It may be noted by way of parenthesis that the late Gen. John Lourie Beveridge, former governor of Illinois, who died at his home in Hollywood, California, in 1910, was a grandson of this Andrew Beveridge.] Ann, as has been stated, married James Small, of Cambridge, and became the mother of two sons, Edward and George, and two daughters—the elder of them was married to William McGeoch, the younger to Robert Law. [By way of further parenthesis, it may be noted that the late Rev. Gilbert Small, who died at his home in Idaville, Indiana, in 1904, and who for eight years was a member of the board of managers of the Theological Seminary at Xenia, was a great-grandson of the James Small here referred to.]

"* * * As I was not quite two years of age when my father died, I have no recollection of him, but hope that his prayers for me have not been altogether in vain. My mother inherited a small amount of property from her father and after her marriage insisted on investing it in a farm. * * * I was sent to school at an early age and learned the common branches of English education with, I suppose, tolerable readiness. From my earliest recollection of things my friends always spoke of me as one who must be a minister of the gospel. My father's library had always been kept in the hope that one of his sons might succeed him in his office, and my brothers having died in their youth, it seemed as if I must be the one. The first actual movement in this direction was made by my pastor. Doctor Bullions. Soon after his settlement in Cambridge. he took some notice of me at a public examination, and was urgent for my engaging in study with a view to the ministry. He persuaded me to recite to him in the Latin Grammar, but after making some progress in it I became discouraged, and signified to him that I would prefer to labor on the farm. One reason of my abandoning the Latin was that I did not comprehend or relish it. Another was the situation of the family: my brothers being dead, there was no one but myself left to attend to the farm and the support of the family. Our farm was managed by hired hands, and I had seen enough of the management of most of them to know that it was an unprofitable business. My mother also was not in circumstances to meet the expenses of my education. About a year after this, Mr. (now Rev. Dr.) Andrew Heron came into the neighborhood and engaged in teaching the common school at which I attended. As he was acquainted with the Latin and Greek languages, my friends again urged me to engage in the study of the Latin. My uncle, Mr. James Small, who had always been a kind friend to the family, called one day and urged me to embrace the present opportunity of obtaining a classical education. I told him what he already knew very well, that my mother needed my services on the farm and could not at all meet the expenses of my education. When I add that his reply was the turning point in my life, it is not to be wondered at that I have a distinct recollection of it. Tammy," said he, 'if ye'll only go to the learning, ye shall ne'er want sae lang as I hae a cent." Knowing him to be quite able to fulfill his promise, my hesitation was overcome, and I immediately commenced the Latin a second time, being, I suppose, about thirteen years of age. By the time the school closed I had attained a pretty thorough knowledge of the Latin, and made a commencement in the Greek. * * * After the closing of the school I spent a winter with Doctor Bullions, chiefly engaged in the study of Greek, and in company with him, my uncle, Mr. Small, and my room-mate, Mr. Peter Dunlap, I went to Union College, Schenectady. This was in September. 1811, when a little less than fifteen years of age. * * * It has since been a source of regret to me that I entered college so young. * * * Still, when graduated. August, 1814, in a class of more than forty, and many of them fully-grown young men, my standing was next to the twelfth in the list of honors."

Doctor Beveridge's autobiography then recounts how upon leaving college he was admitted by Cambridge Presbytery to the study of theology and how during the succeeding winter he taught in the Cambridge Academy in order to obtain means to prosecute those studies. "The school was small," he writes, "the labor excessive, and the remuneration inconsiderable. * * * During the succeeding summer my studies were prosecuted under the Presbytery of Cambridge, and in the autumn of that year I set out for the Theological Hall at Service, Beaver county, Pennsylvania." Doctor Beveridge's description of that journey, which required twenty-four days of arduous travel, is a most interesting recountal of the difficulties of travel in those days. Upon his arrival at Service he took board with Dr. John Anderson, the sole professor of the institution. At the close of the session, in March, 1816, he found an opening for teaching a school in a neighboring congregation and thus occupied his summer. "The next summer." he writes, "I was induced by the promise of much better wages to undertake the teaching of a classical .school at New Athens, Ohio; but both the school and the compensation proved to he quite small. I was again induced by the hope of a large increase of both to remain during the winter and the succeeding summer, but still very little of this hope was realized. This school formed the commencement of what became Franklin College.* * * In the spring of 1819 the Associate Synod appointed me to be taken on trial for license by the Presbytery of Chartiers. * * * My first trial discourses were delivered in the church of Mt. Pleasant. * * * <y remaining trials were given at a subsequent meeting of the Presbytery, in Chartiers, August 18, 1819, at which time I was licensed. My first appointments were in the Presbytery of Chartiers, which at that time included not only the congregations in Washington county, but in Pittsburgh and beyond it in the East to the Alleghany mountains. It reached over into Ohio as far as Wooster and was without limit in that direction."

Following his licensure the young minister started out on his long circuit, traveling horseback, and his description of his travels and of his experiences while preaching to the widely separated congregations of Seceders included in the circuit which embraced western Pennsylvania, eastern and southern Ohio, Kentucky and southern Indiana, provide a most interesting narrative regarding certain phases of pioneer living at that time, but must be passed as lacking local application, the personal narrative being taken up again following the writer's recountal of his experiences at "a place near Columbus, called Truro, now Reynoldsburg, where I spent two Sabbaths. The people were, with hardly an exception, emigrants from my father's congregation in Cambridge. From this place I proceeded to Xenia, where I preached on the first Sabbath of November. Here I remained, for the first time, about four weeks in the same congregation, i. e., in the Xenia and Sugar Creek, at that time a united charge. * * * From Kentucky I returned to Xenia and spent there the third and fourth Sabbaths of January." The young minister then started East, preaching on his way, and late in the spring reached his home in Cambridge quite ill after an absence of four years, and the succeeding summer, following his recuperation, was spent by him in filling vacancies in his home state.

"Whether any of these vacancies would have given me a call," Doctor Beveridge's autobiography continues, "I cannot tell, for I still told any person who spoke to me on the subject that my mind was made up, and that I wished them to receive me the same as if I were a settled minister. * * * It is true the congregation of Xenia and Sugar Creek had not given me a call at the time I left them, but they had petitioned for the moderation of a call and had no other candidate before them, and I had concluded, unless something not forseen or anticipated should occur, that this was to be the field of my ministerial labor. This region of country had many attractions; the people were intelligent, pious, kind and every way agreeable. However, after my settlement, my experience here was like that of my journey home — my anticipations of comfort in such a pastoral charge were too high and had too much influence on my mind. * * * The years of my pastoral labors here were attended with more discomfort than any other years of my life.

"The call to the congregation of Xenia and Sugar Creek was made out February 28, 1820, and forwarded to the meeting of the Associate Synod at Huntingdon the following May, but not being present at the meeting I had not an opportunity of accepting it till August 2nd. * * * As the members of the Kentucky Presbytery, as it was then called, were so distant from each other that meetings were almost impracticable, it had been arranged that I should undergo trials for ordination in the Presbytery of Cambridge. The Presbytery of Kentucky consisted of only three ministerial members, Messrs. Armstrong, Hume and Kennedy, yet extended over the southern part of Ohio and all the states of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. I accordingly remained at home and gave my trials for ordination during August and on September 4, 1820, set out to take charge of my congregation, * * * which I reached October 5, thirty-one days after leaving home. The first, or nearly the first, letter received from home contained an account of the death of my mother, which took place November 8, 1820. Her last message to me was, 'Tell him I am entering into the joy of my Lord.'

"The state of things when I arrived at Xenia was very uncomfortable. There had been strange doings about the house of the Rev. Robert Armstrong; who was the pastor of Massies Creek, a short distance from Xenia. Stones were thrown upon the house, threatening letters dropped near it, and some outbuildings set on fire. Many began to blame the family as engaged in this mischief for the purpose of frightening Mr. A. and inducing him to remove from the farm to Xenia. Mr. A., as was very natural, regarded these insinuations as slanderous. The excitement at last became so great that he had desisted from the exercise of his ministry in the congregation. This was only one or two Sabbaths before my arrival. The excitement also extended to my pastoral charge and made my entrance among them unpleasant. Perhaps I had not patience enough to bear with the clamors against the family, and especially Mr. Armstrong, against whom nothing could be alleged but his discrediting what was charged against his wife and children. I reached Xenia in October, but was not ordained till the following January. Mr. Hume came all the way from Nashville, and I was ordained by him and Mr. Armstrong Jan. 9th, 1821, Mr. Hume preaching and Mr. Armstrong giving the charge to me and the congregation. I believe it was the last time they met together, and the last time either of them sat in the presbytery. Mr. Hume soon afterward united with the Presbyterian church and Mr. Armstrong died the next fall. At the time of my settlement the two branches of the charge numbered 138 communicants. During my ministry 60 were received by examination, 31 by certificate, 17 removed, 16 died, 10 adults were baptized. I kept no record of the baptism of infants. In the spring of 1822 I attended the meeting of the Associate Synod at Philadelphia and was appointed, together with Mr. Hanna, to go as a missionary to Upper Canada. I accepted this appointment the more willingly in the hope that it might benefit my health. In this, however, I was disappointed. * * * My health still declining, by the advice of some members of the congregation, I resorted once more to a journey, with a view to its recovery. In the fall of the next year (1823) I set out on horseback for Blount county, in eastern Tennessee. * * * After spending two months with this people I returned to my charge, but not with any sensible improvement in health. * * * I preached a few Sabbaths after returning from Tennessee, but soon felt compelled to desist, and, having become altogether discouraged in respect to the recovery of my health, concluded to resign my charge and return to my sisters to end my days with them. Having called a meeting of the congregation and preached to them a sermon on Phil. 1:27, I gave them notice of my intention and a few days afterwards set out for what I still called my home. This was in the month of February, 1824. * * *"

The young minister found benefit in the return to the home farm and there being vacancies in the Cambridge Presbytery there were still, as his autobiography states, "opportunities for exercising my ministry without being confined to the labors of a pastoral charge." Two or three years later he accepted a call to the Associate church at Philadelphia and for nearly ten years continued as pastor of that church, being thus engaged when in October, 1835, Synod elected him professor of the Theological Seminary at Canonsburg, and in the following November he and his family took up their residence at Canonsburg. there remaining until the Associate Synod removed the seminary to Xenia in 1855, when Doctor Beveridge found himself thus restored to the scene of his first pastorate, and here he spent the rest of his life. His autobiography, written in 1866, concludes as follows: "Here I have had no pastoral charge, but have preached most of the time in vacancies until within about a year past. There has been of late little or no call to supply in vacancies, and the infirmities of age admonished me that my time for active service in the church is nearly ended. I have done but little, yet not without the hope that this little has been accepted of the Master, and not wholly without fruit in his Vineyard."

 

 

From History of Greene County Ohio, Its People, Industries and Institutions, vol. 2. M.A.Broadstone, editor. B.F.Bowen & Co., Indianapolis. 1918