Reed, Fitch

Reed, Fitch D.D., a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, whose memory is precious in all the communities where he has resided, was born March 28, 1795. His early Christian training was under Calvinistic influences, but, in his nineteenth year, while studying medicine, he was converted under the labors of the Rev. Marvin Richardson, and accepted Arminian doctrines as preferable. In 1815 he was licensed to preach, and was employed upon a circuit by Dr. Nathan Bangs, then presiding elder. In 1817 he was admitted into the New York Conference, and was sent to the extreme eastern point of Long Island. His second appointment was Dunham Circuit, in Canada East, which offered him all the hardships which the severity of a northern winter, a new country, unimproved and sometimes almost impassable roads, a poor people, and ill-constructed loghuts could afford. Of this he himself told, as follows, in a semi-centennial sermon: "I did at first wonder that my lot had fallen just here, and thought that possibly, after all, the bishop had made a mistake; yet the harsh climate, the hard work, and plenty of it, and harder fare were just what Infinite Wisdom saw I needed. I praise the Lord to this day for Dunham Circuit; it saved me from an early grave." His next field of labor was in the wilderness lying north of Lake Ontario. To this region he was sent as the first minister of the Gospel, within about twelve months after the first settlement had been made. He established his appointments, organized his circuit, which he travelled on foot, making his way through the trackless forest by the aid of a compass, and carrying with him" an Indian hatchet, as a defence against wild beasts and as a means of constructing bridges over streams of water too deep to ford." From 1820 to 1828 Mr. Reed was a member of Genesee Conference. He filled some of its most important stations, and, when twenty-eight years of age, was appointed presiding elder of Susquehanna District. After eight years he was again transferred to New York Conference and stationed at Rhinebeck, and subsequently in New York city, Brooklyn, Poughkeepsie, and other important fields of labor, including New Haven District. In 1848 he was transferred to Oneida Conference, to which he gave fourteen years of effective service, including seven years in the office of presiding elder. In the year 1862 he was compelled by increasing bodily infirmities to retire to the superannuated relation, and thereafter, though his love for the work never abated, he preached only as health and opportunity would permit. He died Oct. 10, 1871, leaving behind the record of a life well spent in the service of his heavenly Master. See Christian Advocate, Dec. 9, 1871.

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