Harry Lawrence Veazey and Ellen Frances (Nellie) Calhoun

Yesterday’s remembered obituary led Oak Ridge, Tennessee Unitarian Universalist minister Jake Morrill to recall (on Facebook) another early death: the one with the boat. I’d read about this years ago, but had been unable to find the citation. Thanks to him for supplying the name: Veazey.

For this reason, I’ve opened two now categories: Ministers (some technical problem) (for more general posts) and Died Young under it (for those like these).

That minister, formerly settled in Harriman, Tennesssee, is Harry Lawrence Veazey and he died in a boating accident with his fiance, Nellie Calhoun. Both were leaders in the denominational Young People’s Christian Union, and so were both remembered in print and in resolutions. Indeed, the Harriman mission was a project of the YPCU. (The YPCU paper noted that the money Nellie Calhoun brought on her trip — $5 — was given to the Atlanta church building fund.)

Such a loss.

Starting on page 110 of the 1900 Universalist Register

Harry Lawrence Veazey was born in Haverhill, Mass., July 25, 1870 and died by drowning in Caspian Lake, Greensboro, Vt., August 16, 1899. The public schools of Brentwood, N.H. and the Academy at Kingston, N.H., were attended by him, his precocious mind retaining and comprehending at once all that these could teach him. He was associated for several years with his father, a builder and contractor, and in this capacity they went to and assisted in building up the town of Harriman, Tenn. Joining the Universalist church in that place soon after it was organized, he was induced by his pastor, Rev. Dr. McGlauflin, to prepare for the ministry and for this purpose became a student at the Canton Theological School. He had his first settlement at Harriman, where he was ordained July 25, 1897, Subsequently he supplied the pulpit at Woodsville, N.H. during the temporary absence of the pastor in the army. In December last, he became pastor at St Johnsbury, Vt. The local paper in a notice of his death says “Though Mr Veazey has been here less than a year he has endeared himself to all his parishioners and was active in all lines of church work. He had began to get well acquainted outside his parish and there are many who will long remember this scholarly preacher, and his death at a time when he was doing such excellent work in this community, is one of those events which no mortal can explain. He had already secured a reputation outside the borders of the parish by his public addresses.” Mr. Veazey was spending his vacation with his mother and sister, in a cottage at Caspian Lake having as their guest, Miss Ellen Frances Calhoun, of Chicago to whom he was engaged in marriage. In company with her he left the cottage on the evening of August 16th for a moonlight row upon the lake. In some unexplained manner they fall from the boat and were drowned. It was a sad ending so far as earth is concerned, of two estimable and talented lives.

From Onward, the YPCU magazine on July 28, 1900 about the YPCU convention in Atlanta.

Sunday’s Memorial

Sunday, July 15, was ushered in by a beautiful memorial service, under direction of Miss Grace L. White of New York. The friends who have passed on to the larger and better life since our last Convention were tenderly and affectionately called to remembrance by loving testimonies from those who had known them long and well. The list is not long, but many, many hearts have been bereaved. Faith will not allow our selfish desires to wish them back, for our loss is their gain; but we must ever long for “the touch of a vanished hand, and the sound of a voice that is still” until we find ourselves again in their presence never more to go away. Our cherished risen friends include Rev. Harry L. Veazey, Rev. R. B. Wetmore, Rev. Omer G. Petrie, S. W. Straub, Miss Ellen F. Calhoun, Mrs. George L. Perin.

The sermon of the morning “The Call to Christian Service” by Rev. F. C. Priest of Chicago, was an eloquent presentation of the truth, and was gratefully received by the large congregation filling every available seat.

I’ll publish the full obituary of Omer G. Petrie, who died age 30, a native of Eldorado, Ohio.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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