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Andrew J. Bigelow

Rev. Andrew Jackson Bigelow

Andrew Jackson Bigelow was born in Lebanon, New York, July 4th, 1832, and the family came to the territory of Michigan the following year, settling in Milford, where his father died five years later.

Amid the hallowed environments of a religious home, he became a subject of saving grace in early life, and found a church home with the people called Methodists.

In spite of the meagre facilities for securing an education, he prepared himself in the public schools for admission to the University at Ann Arbor, and graduated in his twenty third year.

He joined the Michigan Conference on trial, at Flint in 1855, and became a charter member of the Detroit Conference the following year, and in due season passed the Conference course of study and received ordination as deacon and elder.

During his active ministry he served the following charges: Augusta, Trenton, Wayne, Flushing, Corunna, St. Clair, Port Huron, Port Huron District, four years; Grass Lake, Portsmouth, (South Bay City), Lapeer, Romeo, Tecumseh, Howell, Birmingham, Saginaw District, full term; Fenton, Northville and Flint District, full term.

He took a superannuated relation in 1897, after forty-two years of faithful service, and spent the remainder of his life at Adrian, the former home of his wife, where he greatly enjoyed his church privileges and the ministry and fellowship of his pastors, retaining his usual lively interest in all the enterprises of the church and his Conference, a happy and useful superannuate, whose presence at public worship and influence in social life was a constant benediction.

This glorious sunset of life was the fruition of his faith and deep piety, and purpose to glorify his blessed Master. His convictions of religious truth and the doctrines of the Bible were to him living realities, and permeated his whole life and character, reflecting the beauty and fullness of the gospel he preached so long and acceptably.

He belonged to the older school of religious thinkers and workers, and held to the old doctrines and to the old understanding and interpretation of them. His convictions of the truth of the evangelical teachings of historic Methodism were made years ago and stayed unchanged.

His study and ample reading and clear thinking confirmed him in the positions of the fathers. The doctrine of sin, of the atonement, of the new birth, of the judgment and the awards of eternity were gripped firmly in his mind and no mistiness surrounded his views.

He was able to maintain his positions with great force and learning and with the utmost firmness and good temper.

He believed in revivals and conversions and clear and plain preaching. He linked the past and present, and kept in warm touch and sympathy with both. While he loved the former days, he recognized what was full of promise in the present, and he kept up-to-date with church plans and movements. He was a good preacher, a fine scholar and a broad thinker. His sermons were logical, strong, abounding in large thought, well articulated, and clothed in elegant and faultless language.

In Conference debates, while not often on the floor, when he spoke it was with a purpose and his arguments arrested attention.

As presiding elder he was judicious and careful in his administration, keenly alive to every financial and spiritual interest on his district, attending to the minor as well as the more important details with equally careful consideration; a valuable, helpful counselor; tender and considerate toward his preachers, who always felt that their interests were safe in his hands, a brother beloved; always a welcome guest in their homes, whose sunny and genial life shed a happy influence, not only in his own domestic circle, but in every parsonage and other home where he was entertained.

His first marriage was with a daughter of Rev. Seth Mattison, a well-known, able member of the old Genesee Conference. She died in 1867, and in May, 1878, he was married to Miss Emma A. Powers, of Adrian, who was his faithful helpmeet for over thirty-three years, aud who with his two sons, Jay W. and Arthur M., and two daughters, Mrs. George N. Stacy and Mrs. Frank Turner, survive him, expecting a blessed reunion in the "sweet bye and bye." He was one of a family of seven children, of whom the late Rev. W. E. Bigelow was the oldest, and Mrs. Rev. M. B. Wilsey and Mrs. H. W. Chubbuck are now the only survivors. He had been in his apparently usual health until Sabbath morning, July 22nd, when he was suddenly prostrated with what proved to be diabetes, and he was taken to Dr. King's hospital in Detroit, where in spite of the best medical skill aud nursing, he sank rapidly until Monday morning, July 30, 1906, he passed sweetly and quietly to be "forever with the Lord" and his loved ones.

His funeral was held in Adrian the following Wednesday, conducted by his pastor, Hev. E.M. Moore, assisted by Revs. Seth Reed, W.H. Benton, T.J. Joslin, J.D. Halliday, William Dawe and H.W. Wright. Several other ministers were present.


- Detroit Annual Conference minutes of 1906, pp. 314-316