Rev. J. A. Rich, the present pastor of the Covert Baptist Church, was born in Gloucester, Mass., situated on the rugged shores of the rock-ribbed coast of Old Cape Ann. His father's vessel was wrecked during a homeward voyage, when almost within sight of home, and all on board were lost; thereby leaving the mother widowed, and his four children fatherless, the oldest being between ten and eleven years of age and the youngest, (the present pastor), but two weeks old. What would have been left for the family's support was soon afterward lost by a rogue's appropriating and decamping with the same. The divine promise, however, of being the widow's judge and father of the fatherless was duly and fully verified in this case. With the assistance of the eldest son, and the help of friends divinely raised up in time of need, that widowed mother courageously kept her family together and brought them up to maturity in the admonition and fear of her Lord. The youngest then felt it his duty and blessed privilege to devote himself to her support and smooth her pathway to the grave-deeming it his life mission and God-serving until her release should come.
Not long after her departure, this youngest son received a unanimous call to the pastorate of the Baptist church in Hinsdale, N. H., with whom he labored between one and two years; when, receiving unsolicited, a unanimous and urgent call from the Baptist church o Pondville, now New Fane, Vt., he finally accepted and, after two week's rest, entered on his labors there, with the growing conviction of his need of a more thorough preparation for this work of the ministry. As a result, he resigned during his second year, and against the repeated remonstrance and solicitations of that people to still remain with them, he left for Madison, (now Colgate), University, graduating in the year 1875. Three calls awaited his graduation, East Pembroke, Georgetown and Unadilla Forks, N. Y., and finally he accepted the weakest of the three, viz.; Unadilla forks, N. Y. At the close of three years, however, the other two were again respectfully tendered him, but not feeling divinely called, each, in turn, was again declined. Since that time until the present, his pastorates have been, respectively, Maine, N. Y., Truxton, Mahopac Falls, Wyoming, Preston Hollow, Mt. Vision and Covert-all in this State, and all of which, according to the testimonies of the churches themselves, he has served very acceptably, they having been built up, edified and strengthened through his labors and life.
June 14, 1877, he was married to Miss Charlotte E., daughter of S. W. Root, Esq., of New Hartford, N. Y., three children blessing the union, one son and two daughters; one of whom only, the youngest daughter, still survives.
This transcription provided courtesy of Rick White.
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