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SAMUEL OSGOOD 1784-1862

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MEMORIAL

FROM PROCEEDINGS, 1862

From Proceedings, Page VI-444:

  • Resolved. That in the death of our late Bro. Saml. Osgood, the Masonic Fraternity has lost one of its firmest friends and brightest lights.
  • Resolved. That this G. Lodge feels a melancholy satisfaction in recording its testimony to the fearless fidelity, which marked his masonic course, in times of trial, — to his

intelligent attachment to the Order, and to his devotion to its interest at all seasons.—

  • Resolved. That we cherish in fraternal remembrance the many religious, masonic and social virtues, which ennobled the life of our departed Brother, as a consistent Christian, an upright mason, and a patriotic citizen.
  • Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the family of our deceased Brother — and be published in the Freemasons' Magazine.

FROM MOORE'S FREEMASON'S MONTHLY, 1862

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXII, No. 3, January 1862, Page 94:

At a Special Communication of Hampden Lodge, (Springfield,) of Free and Accepted Masons, held Dec. 13, 1862, the following Preamble and Resolutions were adopted:—

  • Whereas, by the decree of Divine Providence the Masonic Fraternity has been deprived of one of its estimable members, and society of one of its most valuable citizens, in the death of our most excellent Brother, Companion and Sir Knight, Samuel Osgood, who departed this life Dec. 8th, 1862, at his residence in this city, in the 79th year of his age, thereby depriving the Fraternity of a true and trusty member — therefore, be it
  • Resolved, That in the sudden and sad dispensation of Providence, we have been deprived of a worthy and beloved Brother, whose many virtues, goodness of heart, and genial character, endeared him by more than ordinary ties to all of those to whom he was known. "None knew him but to love,or named him but to praise."
  • Resolved, That in his death society has lost a most valued citizen; the Masonic Fraternity an estimable and worthy member ; the Church a warm and devoted Christian, and we all, an affectionate and sincere friend. As a Mason, he was pure, generous and faithful; as a Christian, humble, zealous and exemplary; as a Friend, always true, frank, kind and affectionate, and as a Citizen, prompt and efficient in the discharge of his duty.
  • Resolved, That while many virtues and good qualities endear his memory to us, and should serve as bright examples for our imitation, we are reminded by his departure that "in the midst of life we are in death."
  • Resolved, That we tender to the relatives of our deceased Brother, and to his numerous friends, the assurance of our heartfelt sympathy and sorrow in our common loss, and that while we deplore the dispensation which has removed from our midst a faithful Brother and warm hearted friend, we sincerely believe and trust that he has found a place in that celestial Lodge above, "that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," where we hope at last to arrive, by a firm reliance on Divine Providence, our own endeavors and the blessing of God.
  • Resolved, That as a mark of our esteem for the deceased, the jewels of the Lodge be draped in mourning for the space of three months.
  • Resolved, That the Secretary furnish the family of our deceased Brother with a copy of these Resolutions, and that they be offered to the Springfield Republican, and the Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, for publication.

H. A. Bowdoin / Sec.

BIOGRAPHY

FROM PROCEEDINGS, 1873

From Proceedings, Page 1873-279:

REV. SAMUEL OSGOOD, D.D., SPRINGFIELD, Congregationalist. 1828-1833, 1857-1862.

The above figures would alone show that Dr. Osgood was firmly and devotedly attached to Freemasonry, for they cover the entire period of the Anti-Masonic frenzy which raged in this community from 1827 to 1834. They show that he was not only not intimidated by the violent, yet ill-founded, popular clamor against Freemasonry, but was ready to give to it the support of his example and character, by occupying one of its most prominent and responsible offices. This he did in disregard of his private and professional interests, which were exposed to the fury of the hour. The Rev. Dr. Sprague says of him truthfully in his eulogy, "That he considered to be rigKt, Ke would always do, no matter what sacrifice of private interests was necessary to be made. Compromising with wrong to escape temporary odium, he despised." The writer had from the lips of Dr. Osgood himself, a long and circumstantial account of his experiences with his church during the Anti-Masonic crusade. The interview occurred on the 14th of April, 1859, when the Grand Master and suite were on their way from Springfield to Greenfield, to attend the funeral of the Deputy Grand Master, Rev. William Flint, Dr. Osgood was one of the Grand Chaplains, and officiated on the occasion of the funeral. In relating the troubles he had experienced in his church and society because of his affiliation with Masonry, he was earnest, yet candid and dignified. He mentioned many of the means resorted to, to induce him to withdraw from the then proscribed institution. The acts of individuals and committees to this end were presented in a graphic, but not unkind manner. Some of his descriptions placed the actors in a humorous light, but the relator seemed not to be influenced in the slightest degree by bitter remembrances. At last, after many conferences, more or less formal, he was waited upon by a committee of the society to learn decidedly whether or not he would renounce Masonry. His reply was, "Gentlemen, I will neither renounce nor denounce Masonry." That was the end of the matter. The society soon yielded to his firmness; and his long pastorate had, with one exception, no other serious disturbance during its continuance.

The death of Dr. Osgood has sundered the strongest link that united the Springfield of to-day with the Springfield of the past. He has gone in and out before us so many years, he has mingled in our social and religious life so long, and in such important capacities, that we cannot but regard his departure with profound sadness. If we take the files of the local newspapers, running back fifty years, wo shall find the name of Dr. Osgood connected with nearly every public movement. We shall find him praying in the presence of the Springfield Artillery, on a bright Sabbath morning in 1814, just as they are leaving town to fight the bloodless battles of "Gov. Strong's war"; and we shall find him, in 1857, praying in the presence of the throng that assembles at the Inauguration of Hampden Park. If an agricultural dinner was to be eaten, Dr. Osgood invoked a blessing upon it. If an advocate of a special public charity came along, or some honest philanthropist wanted a chance at the public ear, Dr. 'Osgood introduced him, and opened his meeting with prayer. His presence added dignity to every assembly, and delight to every feast.

Dr. Osgood was a native of Fryeburg, Me., where he was born Feb., 1774 [1784]. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1805, and was ordained as the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Springfield, on the 25th of January, 1809, fifty-three years ago. He remained nominally the pastor of this church until his death, though he retired from active pulpit duties in 1854; at which time Rev. Henry M. Parsons was settled as his colleague. He was the active pastor and preacher for forty-five years, and since his retirement from pulpit duties in his parish, has preached quite constantly in the vacant pulpits of the vicinity. His ministerial career has not been without its difficulties, some of them of a very serious character. The Unitarian Church, of Springfield, originated in difficulties with Dr. Osgood's teachings. In 1815 a petition of disaffected persons was presented to the legislature, representing that the tenor of Dr. Osgood's ministrations had changed since he preached as a candidate, and praying for incorporation as the second society of the first parish. The petition was signed by fifty-four individuals; but the majority of the parish were with the new minister. Rev. Mr. Howard — Dr. Osgood's predecessor — labored very assiduously to prevent a division of the society, though he became a member of the new society at its separation.

It is not our wish to recall this history further than to indicate the nature of Dr. Osgood's connection with one of the most intense and universal ecclesiastical excitements that ever occurred in Springfield. It is probable that when nearly a century before Rev. Robert Breck was arrested by a sheriff, with a drawn sword, for treason against the King of Heaven, and refused bail, that the excitement was somewhat more intense than at this time; but the quarrel made an indelible mark upon the religious and social character of the place.

Dr. Osgood possessed decided individuality, and, of course, leaves a gap in society which no nature and no character can wholly fill. He was a man of simple manners, that not unfrequently took on the character of bluntness. He was very apt to speak his mind, and, if he was indignant, was not afraid to use the strongest Anglo-Saxon that he knew. He knew no soft terms for the characterization of the popular vices of the day, and did not spare them in the presence of those who practised them. His blunt and honest reproofs are laid up in many a memory; yet he was as sympathetic as a child with all who were unfortunate. No ears were ever more accessible to the tale of woe than his, and the wronged man was always sure of a friend in him. His mind seemed to be made in part of coarse and insensitive materials, quite feminine in their delicacy. We have often heard him give utterance to remarks which could not, under the circumstances, have come from a man of sensibility; and we have seen the tear come into his eye and his lip quiver, and heard his voice tremble through the power of an emotion that could only have been developed in a nature appointed with noble attributes.

We have not regarded Dr. Osgood as an eminent pulpit orator, though he always spoke with emphasis and power. His style of elocution belonged rather to the past than the present age; though it is probable that his style of sermonizing was at the bottom of the difference. He drew comparatively few illustrations from everyday life; but he had that familiarity with the Old Testament Scriptures which enabled him to draw a wonderful amount of sacred history to the illustration of sacred truth. In this he had few equals while he lived, and he leaves few behind him. His public prayers have always been remarkable for their copiousness of quotation from the Scriptures, and nearly always purely devotional portions of them were exclusively expressed in the language of the sacred poems. The fact is the more singular because he was not supposed to possess a poetical nature.

In illustration of his personal peculiarities, it would be comparatively easy to cite multiplied incidents of his life; but these are too fresh, and involve the feelings of too many now living, for public mention. There are rich materials in his career for the illustration of a character which will take rank among the most noteworthy of New England ministers, — a class in which there has existed a stronger degree of individuality than can be found in any other walk of New England public life. We may mention that no memory was ever more tenacious of a good story than Dr. Osgood's, and very few men have ever been more fond of telling them than he, either in the illustration of a point in an argument, or the amusement of a circle of friends.

One of the pleasant reminiscences of the life of Dr. Osgood was his connection with the academy in Fryeburg, when it was under the charge of Daniel Webster; and the association of that eminent man with the duties of his father's office. James Osgood, of Fryeburg, the father of the deceased, was the register of deeds, of whom Mr. Webster speaks in his autobiography as having given him employment in the business of recording. The acquaintance thus early commenced was kept up, we believe, during Mr. Webster's life. During the last six years Dr. Osgood has resided partly in this city, and partly in Worcester; but his strength has gradually been fading away, and his hold on life growing less and less, so that he has been incapacitated for much mental or physical labor. During the last few months he has been especially feeble, and his friends have felt that he might be taken away at any time. Without any special sickness other than that consequent upon his age and weakness, he died last evening, passing away gently and without pain, from his long and faithful life.
— Springfield Daily Republican of Dec. 9th, 1862.

FUNERAL OF REV. DR. OSGOOD

The funeral services for the late Rev. Dr. Samuel Osgood, for nearly half a century the respected pastor of the First Congregational Society of this city, were held in the First Congregational Church, Friday afternoon. For two hours previous to the services the remains were exposed to view in the vestibule, and many hundreds improved the opportunity to get a last sight of their venerated friend. The plate upon the coffin bore this plain inscription: Rev. Samuel Osgood, D.D., pastor of the First Church, Springfield, Mass. Born Feb. 3d, 1784; died Dec. 8th, 1862.

The church was draped in mourning, and wreaths of flowers were strewn upon the coffin, the tribute of long-tried friends. The church began to be filled at an early hour; and by the time for the services to commence every seat was occupied, and many were crowded into the aisles. There were many present from the towns where Dr. Osgood was very widely known and beloved. The City Government attended in a body, and many members of the Masonic Fraternity, all testifying to the universal feeling of respect for a citizen so long and highly esteemed. Dr. Osgood's colleague, Rev. Mr. Parsons, offered prayer; Rev. Mr. Buckingham, of the South Church, read from the Scriptures; and, after singing by the choir, a sermon was preached by Dr. Osgood's constant friend, Rev. Dr. Sprague, of Albany.

The Sermon.

Dr. Sprague took for his text the 1st verse of the 23d chapter of Acts: "I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day." This declaration of Paul was represented to be the embodiment of that integrity which so distinguished his life after his conversion, and, especially, during his Christian ministry. It was not a self-righteous assertion, but rather that he had always and ever striven to do that which conscience told him to be right. It suggests, said the preacher, the importance of a high standard in the Christian ministry. The prime element of that standard should and must be integrity. Four reasons were given for this statement: 1st, integrity secures an intelligent and laborious ministry; 2d, it secures a bold and uncompromising ministry; 3d, it is essential to the permanent acceptableness of the Christian ministry; and, 4th, it secures an effective ministry. Each point was dwelt upon briefly, all combining to show that the noblest style of ministry is that which is especially characterized by sterling, unflinching, highminded integrity.

Dr. Sprague passed from this to a biographical account of Dr. Osgood. His youth was spent at Fryeburg, Maine, in a miscellaneous way, as farmer, clerk, and school-teacher. His intimacy with Daniel Webster was all that could be permitted between teacher and pupil, and left its impress upon the doctor's mind through life. In 1803 he entered Dartmouth College, and graduated in 1805. He studied law at Hanover for a short time, then returned to his native place for further and more private study. From thence he went to Dorchester as teacher of a school. Here he intended to improve the opportunity to devote himself more fully to the study of law, but became alienated from it, and finally gave up the plan of studying law altogether. He then began to read works upon theology, and preached a few times; first at Roxbury and then at Quincy, having the two Adamses for listeners. In 1807 he went to Princeton, N.J., to study theology under Dr. Samuel Smith. Here he remained for about a year, working hard and preaching occasionally in the neighborhood. He always cherished great respect for Dr. Smith, and throughout his life enjoyed relating anecdotes of his experience with him. Heretofore his religious opinions had been unformed, but from this time on he was Orthodox after the strictest sort. From Princeton he went to Dorchester to preach as a candidate, but gave up the place in favor of Dr. Codman, who was also quite acceptable to the people. Then he returned to his native place, Fryeburg, and was invited to settle there, but did not accept. He preached four Sabbaths at North Andover, and four in Springfield as their thirty-seventh candidate, resulting in his being settled here on the 28th of June, 1809. Dr. Howard preached the sermon at the ordination. The church grew constantly till 1812, when difficulties arose, and there was a division of the membership, and many personal enmities were fostered. The offended party left, 1819, and established the present Unitarian Church. In 1827 the-degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon the deceased by the college of New Jersey. He continued the active pastor of the church till 1854, when Rev. H. M. Parsons was chosen his colleague. The closing part of the sermon was taken up with an analysis of Dr. Osgood's character, which was described as too patent for any one to mistake. He was generous and disinterested in spirit, and had a heart that could forgive an enemy. Combined with his nobility of spirit was an indomitable will. These were some of the elements of character which constituted him a sincere friend, faithful father and husband, and an influential citizen. It was thought by some that he was too unbending in his own opinions. But these qualities, which once seemed disagreeable, have now become virtues. As a minister he was especially distinguished for unflinching and constant integrity. This was an all-pervading and all-controlling spirit with him. He performed a great amount of labor, and performed all his duties, secular as well as religious. His power of physical endurance was remarkable. In sermon-writing he was calm, luminous and truthful, seldom indulging in anything imaginative, and never caring for rhetorical effect. His life was full of active benevolence, ever proving himself the friend and reliever of the poor and afflicted; for young men he always had words of kind counsel, and to all he was ever charitable with heart and hand. What he considered to be right he would always do, no matter what the sacrifice of private interests was necessary to be made. Compromises with wrong to escape temporary odium he despised.

The troubles which had made the early part of his connection with the First Church unpleasant, finally became forgotten in a great measure, so that the doctor enjoyed continued and pleasant social intercourse with the pastors of the Unitarian Church, and with those members who had been embittered towards him. It was stated that during his connection with the church as active pastor, there were nine hundred and seventy-four additions of new members, and five revivals of religion. In the first of these ninety-seven were converted, and in the second, one hundred. Dr. Osgood's great executive talent was spoken of, and his kind mention of his colleague from the time of his assuming the relation. The sermon, which was listened to with great attention throughout, closed with the consolations which remain to the family of the deceased, to his friends and the church. The sermon was followed by singing, and prayer by Rev. Dr. Vaille, of Palmer. From the church the remains were then followed to the cemetery by a long procession of mourning friends from the city and towns about. The entire funeral services were very impressive, and will doubtless be remembered so long as there shall be any to tell of the esteemed citizen, cherished friend and faithful pastor who has now passed away.
— Springfield Daily Republican of Dec. 12th, 1862.

FROM NEW ENGLAND CRAFTSMAN, 1921

From New England Craftsman, Vol. XVI, No. 8, May 1921, Page 204:

A new Masonic Lodge in Springfield, Mass., having been given the name of this distinguished brother, it seems proper that we should recall somewhat of his public life. Bro. Osgood was born in Fryeburg, District of Maine, Mass., February 3, 1784. His youth was spent in his native town as farmer, clerk and school teacher. He was connected with the Academy in Fryeburg, Maine, when it was under the charge of Daniel Webster. James Osgood, father of Samuel, was register of deeds, and he employed Mr. Webster in recording them. The acquaintance of Mr. Webster and Mr. Osgood became very intimate and continued until Mr. Webster's decease. Bro. Osgood entered Dartmouth College and graduated in 1805. After studying law at Hanover for a short time, he returned to Fryeburg for further and private study. From thence he went to Dorchester, Mass., to teach school. He there gave up the study of law and began the study of theology. Later, he preached a few times, in Roxbury and Quincy, having in the latter place John and John Quincy Adams as listeners. In 1807 he went to Princeton, N. J., to study theology under Dr. Smith. After a year's study he went to Dorchester to preach as a candidate, but gave up the place in favor of Dr. Codman, who was also a candidate. He returned to Fryeburg; was invited to settle there but declined. He preached four Sundays in North Andover, and four in Springfield as the thirty-fourth candidate in the latter place. It resulted in his settling in Springfield, June 24, 1809, where he remained 53 years,—until his decease. Two events marred the harmony of his pastorate. In 1812 a division of the membership began and in 1819 the present Unitarian church was formed by one party. The other event occurred during the Anti-Mason v era. Bro. Osgood's adherence to Freemasonry was not agreeable to some of his parishoners and for several years (1827-1834) there was more or less difficulty. At last, after many conferences, a committee of the parish called upon Dr. Osgood to learn decidedly whether he would renounce Freemasonry. He replied, "Gentlemen, I will neither renounce or denounce Masonry!" His decision ended the matter. His firmness won and the Society settled down to its religious work.

The Springfield Republican of December 9 and December 13, 1862 gave additional information concerning Dr. Osgood, and on the latter date gave a resume of the sermon of Rev. Dr. Sprague, of Albany, N. Y., delivered at the funeral of Rev. Dr. Osgood. In speaking of Dr. Osgood's character, the preacher said: "He was gentle and disinterested in spirit and had a heart that could forgive an enemy. Combined with his nobility of spiri was in indomitable will. These were some of the elements which constituted him a sincere friend, a faithful father and husband, and an influential citizen. It was thought by some that he was too unbending in his own opinions. But these qualities, which once seemed disagreeable, have now become virtues. As a minister he was especially distinguished for unflinching and constant integrity.

There were nearly one thousand additions to the church during his pastorate, which ended in 1854, when a colleague was chosen. During the remaining eight years of his life, he was active in nearly every publi1 movement. In 1857 he officiated at the inauguration of Hampden Park and he attended many public gatherings. "His presence added dignity to every assembly and delight to every feast."

Princeton College conferred the degree of Doctor of Divinity upon him in 1827.

Rev. Brother Samuel Osgood, D.D., died December 8, 1862. Funeral services were held in the First Congregational Church, where he was settled for half a century. Every seat in the church was occupied and many persons were crowded into the aisles. The City Government attended as a body and the Masonic fraternity was largely represented.

We have not been able to learn where Bro. Osgood received the Masonic degrees. It seems most probable in Dartmouth Lodge at Hanover, as in other places in which he resided, lodges in existence at the beginning of the nineteenth century still exist, as Union of Dorchester, Mass., and St. John's of Portsmouth, N. H.

Bro. Osgood joined Hampden Lodge of Springfield, April 16, 1817, and served as its chaplain eighteen years. He was Wor. Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts twelve years, first in 1828 and last, the year of his decease, 1862.

Dec. 30, 1862, the Grand Lodge in annual session, resolved,

"That in the death of our late Brother Samuel Osgood, the Masonic Fraternity has lost one of its firmest friends and brightest lights.

"The Grand Lodge feels a melancholy satisfaction in recording its testimony to the fearless fidelity, which marked his Masonic course, in times of trial; to his intelligent attachment to the Order and to his devotion to its interest at all seasons.

"That we cherish in fraternal remembrance the many religious, Masonic and social virtues which ennobled the life of our departed brother, as a consistent Christian, an upright Mason and a patriotic citizen."

SPEECHES

SERMON AT EAST HARTFORD, SEPTEMBER 1822

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XVIII, No. 11, September 1859, Page 348:

(From a Sermon delivered at East Hartford, Con., Sept. 25, 1822, by the Rev. Samuel. Osgood, D. D., Pastor of the First Church in Springfield, Mass , and now the venerable and beloved Senior Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of this Commonwealth,—having been an able, firm and consistent laborer in the cause of Masonry for nearly half a century):—

The fact that many of our Lodges in the United States, have generously contributed towards diffusing the light of life throughout the benighted parts of the earth, has wiped away a load of prejudice from the minds of many good men; and the order and decorum which our Lodges have of late been zealous to maintain, have drawn to them, many who shine as lights in the world. It behooves us, my Brethren, who feel deeply interested for the honor of the institution, to use our influence in diffusing among its members the genuine spirit of its precepts. We are bound together by the indissoluble ties of love. One object of our association, is to reclaim the wandering and misguided, and put them in the way of safety. When we are diligent in relieving the wants of our Brethren, let us remember that the most noble and exalted office of charity is, "to convert the sinner from the error of his way." That our society will exist, and be extensively useful in promoting the cause of benevolence, in meliorating the condition of such as are thrown upon the wide wastes of life, by those vicissitudes, against which no prudence or foresight can provide, we can have no doubt.

But we wish to still the voice of calumny ; by our good conversation we wish to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, who will allow us no better motives in associating together, than the desire of conviviality. We know how false and foal are such aspersions ; but as we are tried by those who are ignorant of our designs, we must seek to convince them of their error, by our virtuous conversation. We wish to see among our members, the most worthy and respectable portion of the community. When saluted by the title of Brother, we wish not to be ashamed of the salutation. When in our journeying, we are favored with an opportunity to sit down with a small company of the craft, we wish to know that they are all worthy of the honors to which they have been admitted. It is in your power, my Brethren, greatly to improve the credit, and advance the interests of our fraternity. "Promote virtue and discourage vice in others, and practise those graces yourselves which are recommended in the holy scriptures, and all our members will soon be as living stones, to be built up a spiritual house. That society is firmly supported and nobly adorned, which is united, supported, and adorned by wisdom, strength, and beauty:—that wisdom, which consists in the fear of God and the practise of righteousness; that strength which is love, the union of souls and bond of perfection; and that beauty, which is inward holiness and an entire freedom from the turbulence of passion."


Distinguished Brothers

Biography on Springfield History site