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Benjamin Huntoon

Page history last edited by John Healey 9 years, 5 months ago


Benjamin Huntoon (History of the Town of Canton)



Benjamin Huntoon1 


Benjamin Huntoon was born in Salisbury, NH, on November 28, 1792. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1817, and entered the Andover Theological Seminary two years later. Following graduation, he moved to Boston and was placed in charge of the Salem Street Academy, where, in his son Daniel’s words, “his leisure hours were devoted to completing the best preparation could for the ministry, with the aid of his friend, [Unitarian theologian] Henry Ware, Jr.” During his stint at the Academy, he was approbated by the Boston Ministerial Association; following this news, he left on horseback to preach in Canton. He was put up at the Ponkapoag Hotel, and on September 9, 1821, preached his first sermon in Canton. At a December 20, 1821 First Congregational Church meeting, Huntoon was selected as the church and society’s fifth pastor. On the morning of January 30, 1822, he was ordained; that same year, on June 22, he purchased the Rev. William Ritchie house on Pleasant Street. Three weeks later, on July 8, he was elected chaplain of the Canton Militia, and would continue this position the following year. On April 24, 1824, Huntoon preached the last sermon in the old meetinghouse; his notation on the dedication of the new meetinghouse has been preserved in its record-book. Two years later, he served as the chairman of the 1826 school committee; that same year, he introduced the third edition of the Cambridge Selection of Hymns and Psalms. On July 4, 1827, he delivered an address at the new Unitarian meetinghouse. On January 24, 1829, Huntoon is mentioned as teaching a weekly astronomy course at the Canton Lyceum. In the autumn of 1829, Huntoon accepted a pastorate in Bangor, Maine; following his acceptance, he preached a farewell sermon on November 26, 1829.


Around 1839, his first wife died; a year after this loss, Huntoon returned to Canton to preach as the First Congregational Church’s eighth pastor. On September 4, 1842, his son Daniel Thomas Vose was born. On October 2, 1844, Huntoon’s second wife died. A year later, while living in the former Downes Tavern, his housekeeper was burnt to death following a freak accident while refilling the oil lamp. That same year, he is listed as having lectured at the Young Men’s Lyceum on “Character”. On July 17, 1846, he delivered the dedication for Odd Fellows Hall, of which he was a prominent member. He was also a member of the 1847 school committee, as well as the Canton Literary Association and the 1848 committee to enlarge and beautify the Canton Corner Cemetery. The following year, he withdrew his pastorate from the First Parish, citing political and conscience conflicts, and moved to Marblehead. In 1860, he refitted, repaired, and moved back into his former Canton homestead. On February 22, 1862, at the Washington’s Birthday celebration at the Evangelical Congregational Church, Huntoon read the former president’s Farewell Address. On April 19, 1864, after being struck with paralysis, he died. 




History of the Town of Canton, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, by Daniel T. V. Huntoon. 142-146, 159-164, 219, 230, 260, 274, 325, 495, 514, 556-562, 573, 576, 579-580, 588.

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