1837: Charles Robinson Fisk to Rev. Milton Badger

Grave marker of Rev. Charles R. Fisk

Grave of Rev. Charles R. Fisk

This letter was written by Rev. Charles Robinson Fisk (1803-1869), the son of Rev. Elisha Fisk (1769-1858) and Lydia Robinson (17xx-1805) of Wrentham, Massachusetts. Charles was an 1824 graduate of Brown University who was appointed a home missionary in October 1828 at Newburyport, Massachusetts. I believe he first went to Brewer, Maine, before going to Ames [Athens County], Ohio.

Charles Fisk was married to Hannah Burtt at Andover, Massachusetts in September 1828. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Milton Badger.

Rev. Charles R. Fisk died on 28 December 1869 and was buried at Prairie Rest Cemetery in Delavan, Tazewell County, Illinois.

Stampless Letter

Stampless Letter

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Rev. Milton Badger, Associate Corresponding Secretary of the American Home Mission Society, No. 150 Nassau Street, New York City, New York

Logan, Hocking County, Ohio
May 19th 1837

Rev. & dear Sir,

The term of my appointment to this place has expired. As however, I was prevented from attending to public duties on Sabbath before last on account of sickness, I propose to make up the deficiency on the  coming Sabbath. My labors here during the quarter that now closes have been much the same as those previously reported. I have preached three times each Sabbath and on Wednesday Evening of each week with which last occasion a prayer meeting has been connected.

The Missionary and Sabbath School concerts have also been regularly observed and with considerable interest. Since January last, I have read through each no. of the Missionary Herald with the view of being able to render the Monthly Concert interesting & profitable — and I think the result has been happy. A few have appeared to esteem it a privilege to cash in of their substance to the treasury of the Lord, to send his gospel to the heathen. A contribution of from ten to twelve dollars has thus been collected for the foreign field, most of which has been forwarded. I have preached several of what I term Missionary Sermons under the belief that a Missionary Spirit and action are essential both to the  temporal & spiritual prosperity of a church as well as to the conversion of the world.

I have regularly superintended the Sabbath School here at which I have instructed a class of young men. Within a few months a new Temperance Society has been formed on the tee-total pledge. Its numbers are nearly fifty — more than one half of whom are from the old society. They meet once per month.

Family visitation & personal religious conversation & the distribution of tracts have also been continued. Most of the families of my charge I have visited several times, & all of them (with one exception), once; the family excepted, I propose to visit soon.

You may ask what on the whole is the result of your labors in Logan during the year? While I answer, as I think I can with truth, that it is evidently favorable, I cannot but weep & grieve that it is not much more so than it is. The circumstance of my building, I regret to say, for the first few months of my residence here occupied some time which should have been otherwise employed & perplexed me with cares of which it seemed impossible to be diverted. I hope, however, I have been learned otherwise than by experience. I have formed a resolution which I hope, by divine assistance, secretly to regard — that while it is my privilege to continue in the Christian ministry & to receive for so doing a compensation on which, with the strictest economy, I can can subsist from day to day, I will endeavor to be in no way entangled with the affairs of this life nor occupied with any other business than that of my appropriate work. I felt during my recent sickness, that I had no desire to live only as I might be made subservient to the glory of my Lord. He has been pleased to spare me & to restore my health for which gratitude affects my heart & it is my prayer that he would support me by his free spirit & give me grace to live only for Himself.

A lot, I understand, is soon to be given this church for a meeting house — a building which is here very much needed & which I hope will not long be wanting. As it respects the state of this church, little were admitted to its number with too much indiscrimination and haste. They appear in conversation to be able to give little or no reason of the hope that is in them & several in their lives appear not to maintain even the form of godliness. There is evidence that family prayer is observed in not more than five or six families, at most, in the church. Whether or not they are children of God is not for me to say. The Lord knoweth them that are His. But that there does appear to be a want of interest in the cause of Christ in many cannot rationally be doubted. Saying these things, however, I do not reference to all, and I almost tremble to have said so much of any. But I might be like him who is truly “an accused of the brethren.” There are a few here who appear to love Christ & his cause & to love the prayer meeting & to speak often one to another. May the Lord hearken & hear them & write for them a book of remembrance. Two have been added to our number during the year on examination & wo or three by profession. Two have been excommunicated & another probably soon will be.

After I had been here some two or three months, I learned that some few who had previously to my coming been making efforts to obtain the labors of a particular individual were grieved to think they did not obtain him and that the individual himself felt hurt that I came here in his stead. Respecting this, I can truly say I feel entirely innocent. I had no idea of acting the part of a supplanter as had been intimated by said individual & others — and to hear anything of the kind was to me a matter of surprise. I was directed here by Br. Bingham & when I came & had spent a Sabbath or two, all who were present at a meeting to request my stay appeared to be unanimous respecting it & as no steps had been taken for any other ministry, I had no thought even of injuring the feelings of any individual much less of treating any with injustice. But the feelings above referred to have operated silently ever since so that I shall not probably labor here longer than till next Sabbath.

My leaving this place so soon together with the fact that my stay in other places has been comparatively short may appear to argue unfavorably of my ministerial character & it may be so indeed. It has often led me with self-examination-fasting & I trust with humility & prayer before God. But still my labors have been wholly unblest. In Ames [Athens County] and Windam, and Brewertry, it is remarkable that a revival of religion has almost immediately followed my labors. It was my practice in each of these places to sow the seed of truth & to attend to church discipline which appeared in each case to be followed by a blessing. However, I feel more & more my deficiency & my unworthiness to labor in so great & responsible work as that of the christian ministry. Yet still, if it please the Lord to continue me in it, I shall deem it my highest earthly privilege. So long as I can by means of doing good in it, in any way, I have no desire for any other work.

I saw Br. Bingham some time since & he expressed a wish that I should continue in the Bounds of the Presbytery where I now am. But I am not particular as to my field of labor. Should the A.H.M.S. see fit to continue me in their service, I offer myself to them to labor in any spot where they may feel disposed to send me. Having sold my house, I am now free from debt, but my present means would not admit of my making a very distant remove. I would observe also that the health of Mrs. F. is rather feeble. I have received from you since I have been in Logan two orders — one of $125 & another of $75 — in all $200. $50 yet remains due me for Missionary services up to May 15, 1837.

Signed, — Chas. R. Fisk, Missionary at Logan


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