Lost visions of Universalists: her enormous head

Meet Candace Lucretia Fulham Skinner. I found her through the Internet Archive image mass upload, in The Fulham Genealogy. She was married to a Universalist minister, but was a force, and a teacher and editor in her own right.

A force, it seems, presaged by her enormous head. But her whole story is grand. See highlights below, and you can read her whole biography in the book below.

Cover of: The Fulham genealogy by Volney Sewall Fulham

The Fulham genealogy

Candace Lucretia Fulham Skinner

Candace Lucretia Fulham Skinner

b. in Ludlow, Vt, April 28, 1828; d. Dec. 16, 1899 in Waterville; m. June 29, 1854, Rev. JOSEPH OBERLIN SKINNER, A. M., a Universalist Clergyman, b. Feb. IS, 1816; d. Jan. 12, 1879 in Waterville

During several of her latest years her sight was impaired so as to prevent any considerable use of her eyes in reading, writing, or study; and entirely incapacitate her for the various kinds of artistic work with a needle at which she was an adept, and in which she had found great delight.

She inherited in considerable measure the massive brain of her father, Sewall Fulham, her head having a circumference of 23½ inches, with much of his intellectual power and his marvelous memory; and she developed these to the uttermost by the studious habits of a lifetime. Her opportunities for instruction were limited to the common school and the village academy, in which she ranked as one of the best of her class; but in these she made only the beginning of her scholarly attainments, which finally reached a degree of excellence known to few.

For some years she was a teacher of public and private schools; and between 1847 and 1850 she taught French to pupils of the academy at Ludlow. In 1850 she became Preceptress of the Liberal Institute at Waterville, Me., a Universalist school, in which she was associated, first, with James P. Weston, D. D., afterwards Pres. of Lombard University; and finally with Harris M. Plaisted, in later times Member of Congress and Governor of Maine. Here her fitness for the position was so well recognized that, when occasion required, she was intrusted with the instruction of any and all classes. Her scholarly accomplishments included a thorough knowledge of the Latin and the French languages; a less acquaintance with the Greek and Italian; familiarity with botany; and the mastery of English in all its details. And she was an excellent mathematician.

On Sunday, Feb. 5, 1878, while engaged in a funeral service at the Congregational Church of Waterville, Mr. Skinner was prostrated by paralysis, which, after nearly a year of helplessness, caused his death. He had been Editor of the Universalist Register, a statistical annual of the denomination, for several years; and, during his disability, she gathered the data, prepared the copy, and directed the publication of the issue of 1879. In the following year she was appointed Editor by the Universalist Publishing House, and she continued the work until after the publication of the number for 1881, when a long and severe sickness terminated the employment.

Coding for …?

In my experience, attempts to introduce technology lessons for lawyers means an opportunity for clergy, too. Small-firm lawyers and clergy very often have this much in common: a need for technology, perhaps more than is currently thought, and few opportunities to learn about it, even though they have a deep educational background. I mentioned this resource for typography, later generalized. (Bookmark that second link; you can thank me later.)

So I intend to follow Coding for Lawyers the same way. Using Markdown (lesson2) for sermons — I do — is something I’d recommend for those who just need to “get it on paper” with a minimum of fuss.

Thanks to @internetrebecca (Rebecca Williams) for the citation.

Why Sunday?

A quick thought.

Why should the principal worship service be on a Sunday, particularly late Sunday morning? There are reasonable arguments for Christians, as it commemorates Christ’s resurrection. But that argues for a weekly sunrise service, and — let me tell you — if that were an option, I’d gladly take it. I don’t have to get up to milk the cows then walk miles to the chapel. The customary 11 a.m. service breaks up one of my day’s off. But I’ll gladly do it. Others won’t.

And for Unitarian Universalists, most of whom aren’t Christian, the remaining reasons are customary or cultural.

For new churches, who (1) have to appeal to people to take time to meet and (2) need to find a place to meet, Sunday morning must be the worst time, particularly since some of space best suited for worship are churches, and these are occupied then.

As I said, quick thought.

John Murray commemorated

Universalist pioneer and minister John Murray died this day in 1815. While known in his own day as Father Murray, and honored for his early leadership, his own theological views were largely disregarded in his own lifetime.

His works, formerly hard to find, have been brought to light again by scanning projects. His Letters and Sketches of Sermons are particularly noteworthy.

His autobiography, finished by his wife Judith Murray, was often cited as an influential spiritual classic.

Deconstructing the Messiah church order of service: the text

So, before I break this apart, I want to show you an old order of service from the defunct Church of the Messiah (Universalist) in Philadelphia. (I wrote about Messiah Home, it’s former retirement home here.)

Thanks to friend and Unitarian Universalist minister Hank Peirce for photo of the original text.

Church of the Messiah order of service


Broad St. and Montgomery Avenue
Philadelphia 22, Pa.


Organ Prelude

The congregation will stand for the


From all that dwell below the skies

Let the Creator’s praise arise,

Let the Redeemer’s name be sung,

Through every land, by every tongue.

The congregation will be seated for the

Invocation to be followed by

The Lord’s Prayer


Responsive selection

Soprano Solo


Prayer Organ Response







Moments of Silence

Organ Postlude

Lost visions of Universalists: glorious whiskers

I clearly need to let my facial hair grow out, and find some wax. Even today’s overwrought hipsters have nothing on these Universalists of yore.

Philo E. Thayer, brushmaker of Pawtucket, R. I.

Philo E. Thayer, brushmaker of Pawtucket, R. I.

Details here, in a 1896 book about the Ocean State’s leading men. Search for “Universalist” to find other laymen, though none has a moustache as profound as Thayer. Woonsocket homeopath Robert G. Reed comes close.

Universalist minister Francis  A. Gray

Universalist minister Francis A. Gray

Installed at the All Souls Universalist church in Worcester, Mass. in 1889; details here.

John C. Fox, dairyman, Dracut, Mass. (1908)

John C. Fox, dairyman, Dracut, Mass. (1908)

His bio, here, left column.

Lost pictures of Universalist, recovered

Yesterday, Cory Doctorow wrote that millions of public domain images, recovered from Internet Archive’s optical text recognition, have been uploaded to Flickr. The listing includes the text context, and a link back to the book. Like a image index as much as an image resource.

So I’m looking for Universalists, of course. Because the books include local histories and “who’s who”-type works, I’m getting hits for lay persons and lesser-known churches.

And I’ll be posting them.