Biography of REV. THOMAS A. WEED, 
Town of MEXICO, NY

Many thanks to Esther Rancier for contributing this information on REV. THOMAS A. WEED.  For further information please see the Town Historians or Historical Societies Page.

       Among the earliest settlers of Stamford, CT was a Jonas Weed, born between 1598/1610 in England.  He and his wife Mary had 9 children.  His g-grandson Amos Weed, Jr. (Amos4 Benjamin3 Jonas2 Jonas1), born 30 March 1753 in Stamford, married Abigail Weed, daughter of Hezekiah and Mercy (Sally) Weed.  They had 4 children.

      The oldest son, Philo Weed, born in Stamford ca. 1778, wed Abigail Hayes, born ca. 1781.  They had about 3 or more children.  They lived at North Stamford, CT.  Edward Weed was born there 17 July 1807.  The next child may have been Cynthia Weed born 10 November 1808 who married 19 June 1831 in Wilton, CT John Merrill.  Another known son was Thomas Allen Weed born 15 October 1817. 

       Philo and Abigail Weed removed to Jefferson Co., NY where they remained until 1836.  Then they went to Mexico, Oswego Co., NY.  Son Edward married Phebe Mathews in Mexico 5 November 1836.  She gave birth to 2 children.  Josephine born ca. 1841 and Benjamin born 1 December 1843.  Phebe died after this birth on 12 December 1843 when the family lived in Paterson, NJ.  The child, Benjamin, died young as he was not mentioned in the 1850 census.

        Edward became minister probably studying at the Union Seminary in New York City.  On 9 September 1844 at Whitestown, Oneida Co., NY Edward married again Zeruiah Porter who was born 12 April 1809 in Whitestown. Zeruiah was the daughter of Elias and Lucy (Ballard) Porter.  This Porter line came from Plymouth, MA; the Ballard family, from Plainfield, NH.

      Edward’s family resided in Paterson, NJ where Zeruiah became the mother of Edward Ballard Weed, age 6 in 1850 and Albert Halsey Weed, age 4 in 1850.  In the 1850 census Edward and Zeruiah (Porter) Weed and their 3 children, Edward B., Albert H. and Josephine lived in the 17th Ward of New York City.

       Edward’s little brother, Thomas, attended Oberlin College, Ohio.  In 1843 he graduated.  At School he had meet Lydia Mathews also from Mexico.  He married her after graduation. 

       Rev. Edward had remained on close terms with his younger brother whom he encouraged to attend the Union Seminary in New York City.  By 1846 Thomas was licensed to preach.  He believed strongly in temperance and abolition both of which had great support by important persons at Oberlin. He like many others was indoctrinated there.  In 1846 neither temperance nor abolition enjoyed widespread support.  It was the work of people like Thomas who began to shape public opinion to see the plight of poor families destroyed by the demon rum and slavery as morally objectionable.  Oberlin’s teachings emphasized that good citizens should oppose both hard drink and slavery.  Over the next 12-14 years public sentiment in the north slowly shifted.  Ownership of human beings became more and more an unchristian act, intolerable to good people.  Yet make no mistake the “good people” did not see slaves as their equals.  They “knew” Africans needed guidance, control and most of all leadership from Christians to protect their innocent souls.  Abolition was not a Civil Rights movement.

      In 1847 Rev. Thomas became the pastor of the Mexico Presbyterian Church.  He received a salary of $400 per year.  In a few years under his efforts the old dilapidated church building was transformed. They took out the side galleries, putting the pulpit in the rear.  They installed new seats.  The chapel was enlarged when a lecture room was added.  The steeple, which still exists, was built.  This steeple was designed by Albert Hamilton Emery of Mexico. He personally climbed up the tall spire and placed very carefully the guilt ball on the tip.  Warren Allen actually built the steeple.  Some of the other members who worked on the remodel job were James and Leander Tuller.  James was the head carpenter.  To get all this accomplished Rev. Weed had to raise $3,000 from his small congregation.  Later in 1863 an $800 organ was added.  By 1869 the membership was up to 230.  New carpets and paint were done that year.

      In 1870 the church was struck by lightning.  The lightning struck a lightning rod and followed down the south side to about ten feet from the ground.  There it ripped off some plaster and clapboards.  Then the Rev. Weed announced his resignation after 23 years.  There was quite an outcry.  He was urged to reconsider.  People remembered all his work.  Rev. Thomas had created financial security for the church when he persuaded some members to transfer their stocks to the church.  He had helped to rebuild the Mexico Academy, the pride of the town educational system.  He was much involved in bringing the railroad into Mexico. He helped to raise men for the Union Army.  On public occasions he was in great demand.  He traveled much.  His stories were “racy and rich.”  He was considered “never at a loss for the wittiest and most telling reply.  As a delightful and instructive companion he was without peer.” 

       When Rev. Thomas was still relatively new, Asa S. Wing on 16 March 1850 recorded in his diary the Rev. Weed gave a history of Mexico from the pulpit for a Thanksgiving Sermon.  Old Mexico hands were impressed with his knowledge and interest in the historical facts.

      Rev. Weed preached 2200 sermons in Mexico.  He led great revivals in 1857-58 and again in 1865-66.

      Thomas and Lydia had 5 children.  Their son William H., born ca, 1847 in New Jersey, married Harriet H. ______, born ca. 1850.  This couple had a daughter, Fanny H., born ca. 1878.  They were all living with Thomas and Lydia at Scottsville, Monroe Co., NY.  William died in 1889 and was buried in the Mexico Village Cemetery.  Son Henry M., born ca. 1845, died 1896.  Data was taken from his stone in the Mexico Village Cemetery. Son Louis J., born ca. 1852, was also buried in the Mexico Village Cemetery in 1896.  In 1880 he was a bookkeeper possibly with the railroad since he was staying in a Rochester hotel frequented by railroad men during the census poll in 1880.  Son Frederick, born ca. 1855, died in 1892 according to his stone at the Mexico Village Cemetery.  Thomas and Lydia’s daughter, Julia C., born ca. 1860, wed after 1880 C.C. Benedict. The Benedicts lived in Fulton.  Their children were Gilbert W., Thomas Allen and Cameron Carrington Benedict.  In 1903 Lydia lived with the Benedicts in Fulton.  In 1905 Lydia died and was buried in the Mexico Village Cemetery.

       The church gave Rev. Weed a farewell present of $700. Later a stained glass window on the north side honored Rev. Thomas.  Weed went on to preach at Scottville, Monroe Co., NY for 12 years.  On 17 August 1879 as a guest speaker he gave his last address in Mexico from the pulpit of the edifice he loved by Rev. George Bayless assisted by Rev. A. Parke Burgess. Thomas was buried in the Mexico Village Cemetery. 

       In 1910 Rev. Carlos H. Stone wrote about the late Rev. Weed who “ had the power of mind and eloquence of speech to make the advocacy of [abolition] convincing.  Both in the pulpit on Sundays, Fast Days and Thanksgiving Days and at patriotic meetings on week days he argued for abolition and made patriotic appeal to his congregation and his fellow townsmen.” 

 SOURCES:
Churchill, John.  Landmarks of Oswego County, New York.  Syracuse: Mason, 1895.
 Descendants of Jonas Weed.  Available [online] [17 November 2002]
 “Grip’s” Historical Souvenir of Mexico.  Syracuse: 1903.
 Mexico Historical Society. Cemetery Census of the Town of Mexico, Oswego County, New York.  Mexico: 1984.
 Simpson, Elizabeth M.  Mexico: Mother of Towns.  Buffalo: Clement, 1949.
 U.S. Census, Kings Co., NY 1850.
 U.S. Census, Monroe Co., NY, 1880.
 World Connect Project.  Available [online] http://rootsweb.com [17 November 2002]

 


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