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AARON GREEN 1765-1853


From Proceedings, Page 1873-235:

REV. AARON GREEN, A.M., MALDEN. Congregationalist. 1821.

The following brief but interesting biographical sketch of him has, by request, been furnished by his son, John O. Green, M.D., of Lowell: —

Rev. Aaron Green was born in Maiden, Middlesex County, Mass., Jan. 2, 1765, being the third son of Ezra Green, a respectable farmer in that town. His mother's name, before marriage, was Mary Green. At the time she married his father she was the widow of Benoni Vinton. He was the child of his father's and mother's second marriage. His father had two sons by his former wife: Bernard, who died at the homestead, aged 83 years, and Ezra (II.U. 1765), who died in Dover, N. H., aged 101 years.

His father was deacon of the church, and sustained other public offices which rendered him a useful member of the community in those days. His father died before he was three years old; consequently, he was left in the care of his mother, with very limited means, and removed to the north end of the town where, at the age of ten, he heard the guns of the battle of Bunker Hill, and always remembered the distress of his neighbors from their anxiety; and, subsequently, the calls at the house for bandages and food for the sufferers on that day.

When he became capable, he worked at farming until he was near eighteen, when, being encouraged and assisted by his brothers, he commenced his preparatory studies for college with Rev. Peter Thatcher (H.U. 1769), who was then minister of Maiden, and continued with him till, in the autumn of 1784, he was installed at Brattle-street Church, Boston. He then pursued his studies with Rev. Caleb Prentice, of South Reading, and entered Harvard University in July, 1785, in the presidency of the venerable J. Willard. The four years of his college life were filled with conscientious and industrious effort, as his diary, now in the possession of his children, is an evidence; but not without the strictest economy and constant anxiety, lest he should burden the kind friends who had encouraged him to undertake a public education. He graduated in course in 1789, having as classmates, Rev. Dr. Kirkland, afterward president of that institution, and other distinguished men, with whom he maintained an uninterrupted friendship during life. He taught school, in his senior year, in Billerica. Having chosen the profession of divinity while in college, most of his reading was on that subject.

Soon after his graduation he became a member of the family of Rev. Jason Haven, of Dedham, in order to pursue his studies under his aid, and in company with his son, a classmate, engaged in the same pursuit. The succeeding winter he taught school in Medfield; the next spring in Dover, N. H.; and here, at this time, he began a diary, which he continued daily, in seven volumes, until Oct. 23, 1853, in his 85th year. The succeeding autumn, Sept. 8, 1790, he was examined and approbated to preach, by the Piscataqua Association, at Greenland, his certificate being signed by Sam'l Langdon, D.D., who had been President of Harvard.

Soon after this he preached, for the first time, at Rye, in the pulpit of Rev. W. Porter, of that place. He records that he found this "very solemn business." He continued his school, preaching some in Somersworth, and other neighboring parishes, until spring; then relinquished his school and devoted himself wholly to his profession. He labored in various places, sometimes as a candidate and sometimes by way of supply, having constant employment till on Sept. 30, 1795, when, as an exception to the rule "that a prophet is not without honor save in his own country," he, having received and accepted an invitation to settle at Maiden, his native place, was ordained and solemnly set apart to the sacred ministry, "the most solemn day I ever experienced," as he records. Dec. 13, 1796, he married Eunice Orne, of Lynnfield, and took possession of the parsonage, within a hundred rods of the house in which he was born, and then occupied by his older brother. He was ordained as colleague pastor with the Rev. Eliakim Willis (H.U. 1735), long prevented from all active duty by age and infirmity. The junior, among other pressing cares, spent much time in administering, by almost daily visits to him, then the object of great veneration and regard. Mr. Willis died March 14, 1801, set. 82, and was borne to his grave by Rev. Drs. Thatcher, Osgood and Lathrop, and Messrs. Elliot, Roby and Prentiss.

And now begun the full responsibilities and cares of the pastor of the whole town. Its activities were awakened, resulting in the erection of a new and elegant brick meeting-house (now standing), dedicated Jan. 19, 1803; the commencement of a social library kept at the parsonage; systematic parochial visiting; the encouragement and cultivation of sacred music; the maintenance of most open hospitality at the parsonage; together with the regular services of the sanctuary, and the watchful discipline of the church. As was the custom of the times a very frequent exchange of pulpits was expected, and a circle of twenty miles would scarcely include the clergy who were thus, for many years, the welcome teachers in the desk, and guests in the family.

As a preacher, without being distinguished, he was always most serious and practical, earnest and direct, and very acceptable, and bore his full share in the public duties of ordinations, frequently giving the charge and the right hand of fellowship. Of his sermons, on particular occasions, were published by request, one at the Dedication of the new Meetinghouse; on the Death of Washington; on Regeneration; and on the Death of a Parishioner.

The care of the schools devolved much upon him. He was an officer of the Bible Society; the Washington Benevolent Society; for years the Chaplain of the Fifth Regiment; a member of Mt. Hermon Lodge of F. and A. M.; and Chaplain of the G. L. of Mass. He records "that Mar. 31 [Mar. 14?], 1821, he attended the dedication of the Masonic Hall, lately erected in the Old State-house. The services were very solemn and impressive. After the procession moved into the hall, and the members were seated, an ode was sung; then I prayed; then the hall was dedicated in DUE FORM to God, to Virtue, and to Benevolence, with corn and wine and oil; then music; then an address by Samuel [L.] Knapp, Esq.; then an anthem. The services were closed by a benediction, pronounced by Rev. Bro. Richardson, of Hingham. Mr. Eaton, Deputy Grand Master, read the dedicatory prayer. Dr. Dixwell is Grand Master of the G. L. of Mass. The services commenced at 11 o'clock and closed at past one." He devoted a large share of his time to the cultivation of good-fellowship and harmony by frequent visits to all his parish, and was beloved by a large circle of friends and neighbors. He was pre-eminently a peacemaker, and in the course of sharp political controversies, and especially the angry theological disputes which, toward the close of his ministry, were conducted with great bitterness, his aim was to find the happy mean, and conduct himself with candor to either party. It was not at all uncommon to find his best friends among those who differed widely from him in sentiment.

After thirty-two years of rare faithfulness in duty in the parish, which had now become surrounded by other denominations, and the community greatly distracted in opinion, he resigned his office, Aug. 8, 1827, and in April, 1828, removed to Andover, where, in his declining years, having served in several offices of trust and responsibility, honored and respected, he was gathered to his fathers, Dec. 23, 1853, aet. 84 y. 11 mo.

Distinguished Brothers