By James Hobart, Jr., of Worcester
James Hobart was born in Plymouth, N. H., Aug. 2, 1766, and came with his father to Berlin when about 21; was converted about 2 years after, and commenced preparing for college. He graduated at Dartmouth as A. B. in 1794; studied with Rev. Asa Burton, of Thetford; in the spring of 1795, was approbated to preach, and commenced in Chelsea, Vermont, as a candidate. The next year he was in Plymouth, N. H., and in 1797 and ’98 at Nottingham, N.H., where he had a call to settle. During this time he preached at Berlin about 2 months, and in June, 1798, came again to Berlin, and preached as a candidate for settlement, the people of the town having invited him, and in August the town gave him a call to settle as their minister. He drew up a confession of faith, church covenant, and articles of discipline, and had several conferences with a few professors of religion, who proposed to be embodied into a church which was organized this year. [See history of Congregational church]. The Rev. Mr. Burton, of Thetford, preached his ordination sermon Nov. 7, Rev. Messrs. Edw. Bourroughs, Martin Fuller, Stephen Fuller, E. Lyman and D. H. Williston, with their delegates, taking part in the exercises. He continued pastor of the church till May, 1829, when he was dismissed by a mutual council. The next 12 years he labored as a preacher in New Hampshire, in Plymouth, Wentworth, Enfield, Alexandria, Bridgewater and near Portsmouth. The last 20 years of his life he was never home, preaching most of the time somewhere, in Worcester, Berlin and West Berlin, and sometimes assisting in the Sabbath exercises, and in the very last year of his life, his 96th, he was able to preach a pretty well connected discourse, and could walk 6 or 8 miles in a day.
He was self-denying, laborious and persevering, having quite a missionary spirit. While at Berlin his usual practice was to preach a third discourse on the Sabbath in a distant part of the town, or in the border of a neighboring town. He was below the ordinary height, standing erect, had a great memory, clearness of mind, good eyesight and a strong, distinct voice, speaking easy.
He was strongly attached to the people of Berlin, and after his dismissal, as he was occasionally at home, preached quite a number of funeral sermons. In the services on the Sabbath he used written discourses; by the request of his people, the third discourse was extempore, and so was his preaching after his dismissal. It was his choice to preach without notes. In 1804, he was married to Betsey, daughter of Zechariah Perrin, Esq. They had a family of 7 sons and 5 daughters, 7 of whom are still living (1881). Two of the daughters were wives of Congregational ministers. Pamelia P. married Rev. Rufus Child, minister at Gilmantown, N. H., and afterwards a few years at Berlin. Julia married Rev. P. F. Barnard, minister a few years in Richmond, Maine, and afterwards settled minister in Williamstown, Vermont. Hannah, youngest daughter, married Rev. George Craven, a Methodist minister of Danville, Vermont. Emeline married Doct. Evans, of Piermont, N. H., and Mary, Hon. Amary Kinney, of Terre Haute, Iowa, son of Rev. J. Kinney, of Plainfield. One of the two youngest sons. Timothy Dwight, graduated at Dartmouth College, and was about going to Andover, Massachusetts, preparatory for preaching, when he died. The youngest of the family, Isaac Watts, at 13 years of age joined the church in Berlin, and at 20 had nearly fitted for college, when he died.