1809–1888

Ap­ril 28, 1809, Ca­naan, Maine.

May 24, 1888.

West Bur­y­ing Ground, Bol­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Holman is re­mem­bered as an itin­er­ant por­trait paint­er, pas­tor, writ­er and doc­tor. He came to Christ at age 13, and at age 18, he en­tered a prep­a­ra­to­ry course for the min­is­try at Wa­ter­ville, Maine. He be­gan his ca­reer as an evan­gel­ist, tra­vel­ing ov­er a large por­tion of Maine preach­ing wher­ev­er op­por­tun­i­ty pre­sent­ed it­self. He then moved to Phil­a­del­phia, where he stayed eight years. In 1831, he moved to Bos­ton, or­gan­ized the first Free Will Bap­tist Church in that ci­ty, and served as its pas­tor about 15 years. Dur­ing that time, he stu­died me­di­cine at Har­vard Un­i­ver­si­ty, and af­ter­ward is said to have made good use of his me­di­cal know­ledge in his min­is­try.

In 1853, Hol­man joined the Bap­tist de­nom­in­a­tion, and be­came pas­tor of the First Church in Nor­wich, Con­nec­ti­cut, and la­ter re­ceived a call to the Bloom­ing­dale Bap­tist Church (la­ter re­named Cen­tral Bap­tist Church) in New York Ci­ty.

After se­ver­al years at Bloom­ing­dale, he re­signed and or­gan­ized the Mt. Ol­iv­et Church in New York Cit­y. He was sub­se­quent­ly pas­tor of Bap­tist church­es in Stan­ford­ville, New York; Rock­port and North Ha­ven, Maine; Frank­lin, Mas­sa­chu­setts, and North Ston­ing­ton, Con­nec­ti­cut. He was still con­nec­ted with the North Ston­ing­ton church at the time of his death.

Over a half a cen­tu­ry of min­is­try, Hol­man preached over 5,000 ser­mons. At one time he pub­lished a re­li­gious jour­nal called The Re­vi­val­ist, and fre­quent­ly con­trib­ut­ed to pub­li­ca­tions. He wrote notes on the Book of Re­ve­la­tion, and a great ma­ny hymns and po­ems. His works in­clude:

The Home of My Childhood

I stood on the hill by the green hemlock wood,
On the very same spot where the log-cabin stood,
In which I was cradled and where I had passed
The days of my childhood, too precious to last.
It seemed like a dream, as I gazed all around;
Not a trace of the cabin was there to be found;
The plough had gone over the place where it stood,
And there were the flocks, gently cropping their food.

I went by the grove where in youth I had strayed,
While I wept for the changes that time since had made,
The old leaning hemlock indeed was still there,
But its glory was gone, for its branches were bare.
I sought for the well where I often had been,
But the curb was removed, and the earth had caved in.
The axe and the fire had assailed the green wood,
And the rich barley waved where the tall cypress stood.

The bramble and hedge, where the birds built their nests,
Though dear to my childhood, had gone like the rest—
Indeed if the gods had been reveling there,
They could not have left the old homestead so bare.
I asked for my mother, as though but a week
Had passed since she pressed the last kiss on my cheek.
Your mother, said one, O! ’tis long since she died!
And your father, too, lies in the grave by her side!

And where are my brothers that loved me so well?
And my little sister? Why do you not tell?

Go down to their grave, said a sage standing by,
And look on the spot where together they lie.
Thus passes the world! and ah! soon it will be,
What is now said of them, will be spoken of me.
Then give me a dwelling, a mansion on high,
Where my joys will not fade, where my friends will not die.

Jonas Welch Holman

  1. What Shall I Do to Be Saved?