26 November 2009

Jonathan Newcomb (1774-1865)

J.B. Newcomb wrote: At the organization of the Union Church of Weymouth and Braintree, he became a member by letter from the Quincy church in 1811; elected deacon 1833. In almsgiving, Deacon Newcomb, in proportion to his means, abounded. He was engaged in furnishing granite for building purposes in Boston; was very successful. he gave away a great deal of money, and it seemed that "the more he gave away the more he had". From his private diary it appears that before 1832 he did not regard the amount of his donations, which were known to have been liberal; but in that year he made, as he termed it, "a solemn covenant" that from that time he would appropriate to charitable and religious objects all his net income; accordingly, as long as he was able to transact business, he fulfilled his promise, giving, within the period of 16 years, to needy individuals and various objects of religious interest, $12,467. As an example of the devout habits of his mind: as he often consulted his pastor respecting the appropriation of his funds, on one occasion he committed to him a sum of money to be transmitted to a certain society, and soon met with a serious loss by the sinking of a vessel with a valuable freight. His pastor, thinking that the event might modify his intention to give so much, called on him and suggested that it might be so. "No," replied Deacon Newcomb, "I have not changed my purpose respecting the amount to give, except that I have concluded to double it; for I had a son in that vessel whose deliverance from death was almost miraculous, and I feel bound to express in this manner my gratitude to God." He died at his home in Quincy, Sept. 28, 1865, aged nearly 91. "Venerable in his person, devout in his life, ready for every good word and work, he was for many years a pillar to the church and a light to the community around him."

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