Above Left: Rev. David Sutherland, a founding KUA trustee (1812-1820), shared his knowledge of seminaries in Scotland and England with the people of Piermont, NH. Above Right: General Abner Forbes House, 38 Main Street, Windsor, VT, was the birthplace of Kimball Union in 1812. Left: Rev. Asa Burton of Thetford, VT, an early supporter of a seminary, was also an original KUA Trustee (1812-1822) and first Board Chair (1812-1819).
David Sutherland, an itinerant preacher from the North of Scotland, came to America in 1803 to, “…preach in the highways and hedges…” of the Northern Connecticut Valley. He had a great influence on young Jon Foord of Piermont, NH, who, around 1811, on the advice of Sutherland, went to the north of England and Scotland, to further his theological studies. While there, he learned of an institution “…affording gratuitous instruction to candidates for the Christian ministry, in indigent circumstances with a lower standard of previous schooling.” Foord wrote to his father and encouraged him and his acquaintances to establish a similar seminary. Two factors encouraged these men to respond to Foord’s idea: “…the great lack of candidates for the ministry” and further encouragement from Foord “that substantial aid could be procured in England and Scotland….”
Following young Foord’s advice, two important ecclesiastical councils were called by the churches of Vermont and New Hampshire to consider founding a Theological Seminary. Unable to come to unanimous agreements as to the kind of school they wanted, they appealed to the leading churches throughout New England for further consideration. This larger council met at the home of General Abner Forbes of Windsor, Vermont, on October 21, 1812. Among the delegates were such men as President Dwight of Yale College, professors from Andover Theological Seminary and Dartmouth College and others, including the Honorable Daniel Kimball of Meriden. These were some of the men who would determine the kind of school Kimball Union would become.
Another important delegate in attendance that day, and the subsequent first Chair of the Board of Trustees, Asa Burton, resigned his KUA Chairmanship in order to chair the board at another newly founded academy. Can you guess which one?
Answer to last week’s question: The Kimball Mansion, now the parsonage for the Stone Church, is located directly across the church green from Baxter Hall. The brick cellar hole, all that remains of Kimball’s store, is next to the parsonage and is known by the people of the church as the Sunken Garden.