THURSTON WHITING 1750-1829
From Proceedings, Page 1873-215:
REV. THURSTON WHITING, WARREN, MAINE, Congregationalist. 1805.
He was a minister in Warren, Maine, and died in 1829, aged 79.
—Allen's Biog. Dic.
The town being now fairly rid of Mr. Urquhart, the people began to think of providing a successor; and in May, voted, " That the town hire Rev. Thurston Whiting to preach for a certain time." This gentleman, in consequence of some irregularities, had been dismissed from the ministry at Newcastle, in Jan., 1782. He was subsequently employed at Edgecomb; and in June, 1783, a council was convened there, and restored him to good standing as a Congregational minister. His preaching was highly appreciated at Edgecomb, and his installation in that place was in contemplation. It did not, however, take place; and he was now in search of employment as a preacher or instructor. He was a native of Franklin, Mass., entered Harvard College, but seems to have left before receiving his degree; he possessed a literary taste, a classical style, a pleasing address, and seldom failed to interest and move his audience.
— Annals of Warren, Maine, 1851.
LIVES OF EARLY MAINE MINISTERS, 1896
Presented to the Maine Historical Society, 1881; from Collections, 1896
Rev. Thurston Whiting, ordained in July, 1776, was the second settled minister in Newcastle. His predecessor was Rev. Alexander Boyd, who was dismissed in 1758. The interval of eighteen years had been truly full of anxiety and interest in Newcastle. The affairs and transactions with Mr. Boyd, and also with Mr. Ward, made, in their progress and result, unfavorable impressions upon the minds of the people. They tended to loosen, and even break, the ties of sound union, which always in all younger communities specially need strengthening. Parochial disputes and religious controversies are the hotbeds of evil, which nothing but long labor and much grace can change into the garden of the Lord. After the departure of Mr. Ward in 1761, the people employed several candidates, and invited Rev. Moses Job Lain, Samuel Perley, William Southmayd, Joel Benedict and Jesse Reed to settle with them in the ministry, but they severally returned answers in the negative.
Mr. Whiting first appears as a preacher at Winthrop in 1773 and next in 1775 at Newcastle, where he is now settled. The people had been Presbyterians, yet being willing to adopt Congregational rites and forms in harmony with his sentiments, they settled him on that foundation, and a church of the same order was embodied at the same time. But Mr. Whiting was not the minister for the people of Newcastle. He did not in the outset come to them in the power and spirit of Elijah or Paul. He had not a collegiate education; he had no more than ordinary abilities; there was nothing captivating, or commanding in the turn or temperament of the man. (This, I think, is incorrect, inasmuch as he was never destitute of many warm friends, and when I knew him in later years possessed an amiable, mild, social disposition, though he was wanting in firmness. Cyrus Eaton.)
Nor was he endued with the faculty to mold disconnected materials into form and comeliness and thus build up the parish. His destiny, at length, proved to be like that of his predecessor, for in January, 1782, he was dismissed, not without reflections by the Council, after an unpleasant pastorate of five years and six month. The next year he was preaching in Edgecomb when the Council formally restored him to " good standing" and organized a church, but did not, though requested, think fit to instal him. In two or three years after the dismissal of Mr. Urquhart, about 1784-85, Mr. Whiting removed into Warren and was employed about ten years in preaching there and in Thomaston, but was never resettled after leaving Newcastle. In 1796 he represented Warren in the General Court, and it might have been more for his honor, interest and happiness if he had never engaged in any other than secular employments, for uneducated, unconverted, self-made men are never distinguished for their success and usefulness in the ministry of the gospel.
(Note: His literary attainments were by no means inconsiderable. He entered college, though for some reason, probably misconduct, did not graduate. He was acquainted with the Latin, Greek and French languages, wrote a good style, and Ms contributions often appeared in the newspapers of the day. C. B.)