History of Tufts College, 1854-1896Start, Alaric Bertrand
ALONZO A. MINER, D.D., LL.D.
|ALONZO AMES MINER, son of Benajah Ames and Amanda (Carey) Miner, was born in Lempster, Sullivan County, New Hampshire, August 17, 1814. He was the grandson of Charles Miner, a Revolutionary soldier, and a descendant of Thomas Miner, who came to Charlestown, Massachusetts, in 1630. The family name is derived from Henry Bellman, a miner, who was granted a coat of arms by Edward III. in recognition of services rendered in fitting out troops.|
Alonzo Miner received his early education in the district schools, but studied later at Hopkinton, Lebanon, and Franklin, New Hampshire, and Cavendish, Vermont.
From his sixteenth to his twentieth year he taught in the public schools, and during the year 1834-35 was associated with James Garvin in conducting the Cavendish Academy. From 1835 to 1839 he was Principal of the Unity (New Hampshire) Scientific and Military Academy.
At this time the preceptress of the school was Miss Maria S. Perley, of Lempster, New Hampshire, whom Mr. Miner married August 24, 1836.
The young man had formed an earnest desire to enter the ministry, and although his health was poor, and his friends feared that his life would be short, he received the fellowship of the Universalist Church in 1838, and was ordained as a minister in 1839. His first sermon was preached in Chester, Vermont, in February, 1838. For a time, in response to urgent requests, he continued his duties at the Academy; but in May he began regular ministerial work, preaching half the time in Unity and the other half in about twenty
|neighboring villages. His subsequent pastorates were few, but very successful. In 1839 he was called to Methuen, Massachusetts, where he remained for three years, resigning to accept a call to Lowell, Massachusetts, where he served a pastorate of six years. In 1848 he came to Boston, and succeeded the Rev. E. H. Chapin, D. D., as colleague of the venerable Hosea Ballou at the Second Universalist Church. As the successor of Mr. Ballou he continued to preside over this parish until his death.|
Wherever he went Mr. Miner soon made his influence felt in educational matters. He served on the School Boards of Methuen, Lowell, and Boston, and on the Board of Overseers of Harvard College. He was a member of the Massachusetts State Board of Education for nearly twenty-five years, and for about twenty years was Chairman of the Board of Visitors of the State Normal Art School, in the establishment of which he had been largely instrumental. He served as Secretary of the Trustees of Tufts College, and also as a member of the Executive Committee for some years prior to his election as President of the college in 1862.
The honorary degree of A. M. was conferred upon him by Tufts in 1861, that of S. T. D. by Harvard in 1863, and that of LL. D. by Tufts in 1875. He was made an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1893.
Dr. Miner was President of Tufts College from 1862 until 1875, and under his administration the growth in the material prosperity of the college was very great. He did not relinquish his Boston pastorate, nor did he ever reside at the Hill, but for the college, as for everything else with which he had to do, his remarkable executive ability accomplished large results. He resigned the presidency because he felt that it, as well as his pastorate, required the entire attention of its incumbent, but he continued to serve the Trustees as a member of the Executive Committee until his death.
He was also President of the Trustees of the Bromfield School at Harvard, Massachusetts, of Dean Academy, and of the Universalist Publishing House. Of the last he was also President of the Directors, having been the originator of the plan of its establishment. He was a pioneer of the first Universalist Home Mission; and was a member of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and of the Executive Committee of the American Peace Society.
Dr. Miner was known throughout the country as an uncompromising champion of the cause of temperance. He was President of the Massachusetts Temperance Alliance for twenty years, and allowed his name to be used on the Prohibition ticket for the governorship of the State when every other candidate had been frightened from the field. Under Mayor Cobb he served on a committee of three members appointed to consider the treatment of drunkenness in the institutions of Boston.
Among the almost numberless eloquent addresses, orations, and sermons which Dr. Miner delivered during his life may be mentioned the address at the laying of the corner stone of the first building of Tufts College, the civic oration in Boston on July 4th, 1855, a sermon which was largely influential in the founding of the Girls' High School in Boston, and the election sermon before the Massachusetts Legislature in 1884, which he handled so severely that the law providing for an annual election sermon was repealed. As most of his literary productions were delivered from the pulpit or platform, but few have been preserved, except as they were reported in the papers. A few books and magazine articles from his pen, however, have been published. He contributed to the " Bibliotheca Sacra " a paper on the "Doctrines of Universalism," wrote a chapter in "The Unknown Country" on "Eschatology," and was the author of the "History of Universalism" in the "Memorial History of Boston." He also published "Old Forts Taken," which
|has been issued in several editions, as has also his "Bible Exercises for Sunday Schools."|
The causes which Dr. Miner espoused did not benefit by his voice alone. When he believed in a thing his purse was ready at its service also. Among other gifts to Tufts College was the sum of forty thousand dollars for building the theological hall which bears his name. By his will he left two thousand dollars each to Westbrook Seminary, Goddard Seminary, and Dean Academy, and made the college his residuary legatee.
Dr. Miner's death occurred on Class Day, June 14, 1895. His illness was short, and he was active to the last. But a week before his death an editor of this History called upon him for information regarding his administration of the college. With characteristic method, the Doctor promised to consider the matter carefully and write out the desired notes. They never were written. Dr. Miner was very busy, and before he found time to prepare them the end came. His wife was so overcome by his death that she fell ill, and but six weeks later went to join the companion of her life.
The death of Dr. Miner was looked upon as a public misfortune. Even his enemies, and he had many, respected him and mourned his loss. A fearless champion of truth, he never stooped for a moment to cater to public opinion, but took his stand where he saw the right, and faced all its foes unflinchingly. Some have called him narrow-minded, but they did not know him. He first surveyed a subject in its entirety, and then adopted and clove to that side of it which he felt to be the right one. Quick to see evil, he was also quick to strike at its root, and struck without mercy; but he fought against principles, not men, and had a keen appreciation of manhood in the ranks of his friends or enemies.
Perhaps the finest tribute paid to Dr. Miner upon his death came from the lips of his successor, President Capen. The occasion was the Baccalaureate Sermon to the Class of
|Ninety-five, delivered in Goddard Chapel on the sixteenth of June. Dr. Miner's picture hung at the back of the chancel, and President Capen, after referring to such grand examples of the ministry as E. H. Chapin, Thomas Starr King, and Phillips Brooks, turned toward the portrait and said: "To these names I may now add the name of the fearless champion of truth and righteousness, who lies dead upon his shield in yonder city, -the great, uncompromising, indomitable Christian warrior, who, though past the age of four score years, has fallen in the thick of the fight with his armor on."|
Published by the Class of 1897. The original contains appendices with a directory of alumni, the college catalog, and the college charter. These were not included in this addition.
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