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Frederick Reynolds Freeman (1805-1884)

"The New York Times," 11 Feb 1884, page 2

The Rev. Frederick Reynolds Freeman, a venerable and highly esteemed Baptist clergyman, whose labors have extended over a broader field than is allotted to most ministers of the Gospel, died on Saturday, at the age of 79 years, at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Ackland Boyle, in Winfield, Long Island. Mr. Freeman was the youngest of 13 children of a farmer in Worcester, Otsego County, where he was born in 1805. His grandfather was a sea Captain and afterward a Baptist minister, well known in his time, who at the age of 88 years wrote an autobiography and who attained the age of 98 years. Young Freeman received only a common school education at Worcester. He grew up on the farm, and at the age of 18 years joined the Baptist Church. Three years later he married the daughter of his Pastor, the Rev. Julius Behman, and afterward decided to adopt the profession of the ministry. In 1828 he was licensed to preach by the Baptist Church, and he went as a pioneer missionary to La Grange, Ohio, which was then an undisturbed wilderness. In 1835, at the age of 30 years, he entered the Theological Seminary at Granville, Ohio, and upon being graduated was regularly ordained as a minister. He preached in two churches at St. Albans, Ohio, and then returned to La Grange, where he owned a small wooded farm, and he cleared his land, while preaching every Sabbath.

In 1842 Mr. Freeman again moved his pastorate and built up the present flourishing Baptist church in Attica, Ohio. In 1853 he went further west to Illinois, under the auspices of the Home Missionary Society, and he was the first Baptist minister to preach in the present cities of Kankakee, Gardner, Pontiac, and Morris, where he built up the Baptist churches at present in these places. His work in Illinois was so severe that his health broke down, and in 1873 he removed to Washington and did missionary work in the city and throughout the District of Columbia. He afterward preached in Philadelphia, and then came to live with his son, Dr. John N. Freeman, at No. 80 Hanson-place, Brooklyn. In the Summer of 1882 he returned to his old birthplace, and preached in Worcester and the vicinity two or three times each week. Last Fall he went to reside with his daughter in Winfield, where his death occurred. Mr. Freeman was an old gentleman of very fine presence, and he carried himself erect and straight as an arrow until his final sickness. He was a man of very decided and pronounced convictions, and was intolerant of everything he considered wrong. He leaves a widow and eight children: Dr. Julius A. Freeman, of Millington, Ill.; James Freeman, of Bloomington, Ill.; Dr. Freeman, of Brooklyn; Frederick E. Freeman, a New-Mexican railroad contractor; Mrs. G. R. Texis, of Morris, Ill.; Mrs. T. B. Shoop, of Streeter, Ill.; Mrs. Doyle, of Winfield, and Miss Laura L. Freeman, of Brooklyn. The funeral will take place this afternoon from Dr. Freeman's residence in Brooklyn, and will be conducted by the Rev. Dr. G. B. Thomas, of the First Baptist Church. The body will be interred at Greenwood.