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Joseph Wales Buckland D. D. (1829 - 1877)

Reverend Joseph Wales "Rabbi" Buckland D. D.
Born in Deerfield, Oneida, New York, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 10 Jun 1857 in Amity Street Baptist Church, New York City, New York County, New Yorkmap
Descendants descendants
Died in Rochester, Monroe, New York, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 18 Feb 2013
This page has been accessed 437 times.



Rabbi was born in 1829. He was the son of Isaac Buckland and Sarah Smith. He passed away in 1877. [1]


27 North St. Paul Street, Rochester, Monroe County, New York THE DEATH ROLL.
Decease of Dr. Buckland, of the Theological Seminary.

The death of Dr. R. J. W. Buckland, Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the Theological Seminary, in this city, took place at a quarter past 3 o'clock this (Tuesday) morning at his residence, No. 27 North St. Paul street. The sad news will be learned with the most genuine regret by hundreds of our citizens, as there are few men who enjoyed and so thoroughly deserved the esteem and confidence of his fellow-men as did Dr. Buckland. He has been in feeble health for many months, and though it was generally known that his death was a matter of, at longest, only a few months, few were prepared to learn of his death at the present time. The loss by his death to the Theological Seminary, where he was one of the most beloved and admired members of the faculty, is almost irreparable.

Dr. Buckland was born in Deerfield, Oneida County, in December, 1829, his age, therefore, being at the time of his death, forty-nine. He graduated from Union University, of Schenectady, while, we believe, only seventeen years of age, and afterward from Union Theological Seminary in the same place. After his graduation he became pastor of a church in Sing Sing, where he remained several years, proving very successful as a pastor and preacher. His next charge was the Calvary Baptist Church in New York city, which position he occupied until called to the chair of Ecclesiastical History in the Theological Seminary here in 1869. This position he filled with remarkable ability, and he was regarded as being perhaps the ablest Baptist ecclesiastical historian in the United States. He has also at various times filled vacancies in several pulpits in this city, notably those of St. Peter's church on Grove street, the Brick church, the Second Baptist church, and others. Though by no means a brilliant orator, he at all of these places won the respect and esteem of his congregations by his sound theological arguments, good common sense, and the earnest efforts on behalf of the Master of whom he was a true disciple. A better Christian, a more genial gentleman, or a better citizen will rarely be found. At home, in the seminary, and in all his social relations he practiced the virtues and graces he taught in the pulpit and in his professor's chair. As a church historian the Baptists have indeed lost one of their most valuable men. There are few men, indeed, of whom so much can be said with truth as of Dr. Buckland. His health gave way some time ago, and he was compelled for a time to quit his post at the Seminary, and leave for other places where he could recuperate his failing energies. But the needed rest came too late, and he returned to [this] city last September, even feebler in [health] and vigor than when he left it. From [that] time until December, however, he gener[ally ma]naged to drag his weary body to the [lecture] room of the Seminary, his efforts [to] thus fulfill his duty being sometime painful to witness; but since December he had been unable to continue his work, and this morning, as above stated, he went to his rest. He leaves a wife and two children to mourn his great loss. One of his children is a young lady about 16 years of age, the other a son about 11 years old. He also leaves two brothers and two sisters, one of his sisters being present at his bedside at the time of his death.

The arrangements for the funeral have not yet been completed, but it is definitely settled that it will take place on Thursday.[2]

Death of Professor Buckland


Prof. R. J. W. Buckland, D. D. of the Rochester Theological Seminary, died at an early hour yesterday morning at his residence on North St. Paul street. His disease was a wasting away, incident to a malarial fever contracted some two years ago, from the results of which he never recovered. Rest, change of climate, and the highest degree of medical skill were all resorted to in vain. The disease took the final form of enlargement of the spleen and terminated as stated. Prof. Buckland was born in Deerfield, Oneida county in December 1829. He graduated at Union College, Schenectady, in 1850, afterward studying theology and graduating from the Union Theological Seminary of New York. For several years he was pastor of the Baptist Church at Sing Sing; and subsequently pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in New York. In 1869 he was elected to the chair of Ecclesiastical History in the Rochester Theological Seminary. He was also elected Librarian.

In every capacity in which he was called to act he was thoroughly efficient, being possessed of rare ability and abundant energy as long as health lasted. For many years he has also supplied vacant pulpits in the city, continuing at times somewhat protracted ministrations. Among the churches in which he has preached are the Second Baptist, Plymouth, St. Peters and the Brick Church. He enjoyed the fervent esteem of all who knew him, and to every consideration that was accorded him he was justly entitled. He leaves a wife and two children. The funeral will be held on Thursday at 2 P. M. at the house and 2:30 at the Second Baptist Church.[3]

The Late Dr. Buckland

The funeral of Dr. Buckland will take place from the home, No. 27 North St. Paul street, at 2 o'clock Thursday afternoon, and from the Second Baptist Church at 2:30 P. M. Dr. Strong, Prof. Wilkinson and others will officiate. Dr. Buckland was the first stated supply of the East Avenue Baptist Church from the fall of 1871 until the summer of 1872. The position of Dr. Buckland in the Seminary is temporarily filled by Mr. Newman, a graduate of the Seminary, whose principal work is in dictating Dr. Buckland's lectures to the students, though at the same time giving the classes the benefit of original investigations.[4]

Brief Services at the Residence of Ex-Mayor Clarkson, Preliminary to the Obsequies at the Second Baptist Church -- Eulo- gies at the Church by Revs. Dr. Strong, T. Edwin Brown, and Professor Wilkinson.

Preliminary to the regular funeral services of the Rev. Dr. Buckland, which were held at the Second Baptist Church yesterday afternoon at two o'clock, brief services were held at the residence if ex-Mayor Clarkson, where the body was at the time of death, where prayer was offered by the Rev. Mr. Baldwin, pastor of the First Baptist Church. At the conclusion of the services at Mr. Clarkson's house, a procession was formed to march to the church, consisting of relatives, friends, the faculty of the Theological Seminary and of the University, and the students of those institutions, besides many friends and acquaintances of the distinguished teacher and preacher. The pall bearers were Professor Rouschenbusch, Dr. Osgood, Rev. C. J. Baldwin, Rev. A. J. Barrett, Professor Mixer, Professor Robinson, Deacon Pettingill, and Mr. Mack. The pulpit was occupied by Dr. Strong and Dr. Wilkinson, of the Seminary; Dr. Shaw, of the Brick Church; Dr. Brown, and Rev. Mr. Morehouse, of the East Avenue Church. The somber emblems, with which the pulpit was draped, were relieved somewhat of their gloom by a suitable display of rare and exquisite flowers, whose fragrance constituted a meagre incense to the virtued and worth of the good man whose services on earth the obsequies were intended to commemorate, and whose bloom of immortality they fairly typified. The last words those feeble lips are said to have uttered was "Happy" and therefore it was all the more appropriate that among the floral decorations was gracefully intertwined amid a wreath of beautiful flowers the word "Happy". The choir sang a piece appropriate to the occasion, after which Dr. Shaw offered prayer, and the Rev. Dr. Morehouse read a suitable passage from the Scriptures. Dr. Strong, Rev. T. Edwin Brown and Professor Wilkinson followed with eulogies setting forth the virtues and eminent worth of their late co-laborer. The address of Dr. Strong and the Rev. T. Edwin Brown having already been published we shall give only that of Professor Wilkinson whose professional labors brought him so often in contact with the late Dr. Buckland, that what he says in regard to him will be all the more appreciated.


Eight years ago Dr. Buckland was almost wholly unknown, in person, and by name, to the citizens of Rochester. During two years now, of sickness and suffering, he has been withdrawn from their personal observation. But I hazard nothing in saying that few men in the community could die and leave a more numerous circle of more sincere friends. Why is this so? What accounts for the remarkable hold which is hardly more than five years our friend obtained upon the respect and affection of a city of eighty thousand inhabitants? It was not simply, it was not chiefly, his intellect and his learning that made him so widely esteemed and beloved. We must look for the secret of Dr. Buckland's exalted place in the esteem of society to the traits that made up his personal character. Let us briefly review these traits together.

One of the most salient super[fici]al features of Dr. Buckland's personal character was his urbanity. No person could meet him, even once, in the most casual way, without being impressed wiith the characteristic of the man. Urbanity was a circumambient element in the midst of which Dr. Buckland lived and breathed and moved. It accompanied him wherever he went, and enveloped everybody that came into [relation?] with him. You could not meet him on the street without feeling the agreeable effect of it. The circumspect eye with which he recognized and greeted you, even if you passed on the other side of the street was part of the sweet and gracious spirit of the man. Urbanity inflected his gesture, it modulated the tones of voice with which he spoke. If he could not gratify your wish, in any respect, he took away all the unpleasantness of demu[l] by the exquisite urbanity with which he did it. In truth you came away from his presence with the [...] of having obtained desire, when [...] refused [...]sented. It was a w[...], this [...] fluent, unfailing urbanity of the man.

But urbanity [...] trait of char[...] something deeper than urbanity [...] and support it. Something deeper and better was not wanting in Dr. Buckland. Dr. Buckland's urbanity was but the sincere outward expression of his kind-heartedness. Such a fountain of kind feeling, pure and tru[...] as Dr. Buckland's heart, it has seldom, if ever, been my fortune to know. That fountain flowed for ever, and it flowed for all. Sickness could not waste it. The parching thirst of death, be sure, did not dry it up. It is flowing now, full, strong and free, in the country beyond.

If ever any man of my acquaintance fulfilled the beautiful law of behavior in social relations, which Christ taught to the rude fisherman of Galilee, Peter, then it seems to me that man was Dr. Buckland. Peter says, be courteous. Dr. Buckland was courteous. Peter says, honor all men. Dr. Buckland honored all men. It [...] in him, and [...]. I think I [...] lad. Dr. Buckland [could not be] [...] there was not enough [...] his [...] sarcasm. He [...] kind-heartedness made it [...]. He thought of others with sincere respect, obeyed the precept, honor all men with his [...]. But he obeyed it more deeply still with his mind. At least if it seems right to form so in[...]r a judgment of any man, it [...] right to form the judgment of Dr. Buckland. His kind-heartedness, [...]ed always and to all, took one or two specially engaging forms which it would be wrong not to mention. His filial affection was beautiful. He made to his father and mother, in their home an annual visit. He was an exemplary son. I tremble to invade the privacy of domestic life, but how can I forswear allusion to the lovely miracle of change that we saw wrought in his own household by the event of his sickness? Before he fell sick, his wife had long been accounted an invalid, and the strong husband assumed a hundred offices of care at home for her relief. She clung to his side, like a vine to the elm. But when the elm began to fail, behold, the vine grew firm beside him, and for two years upheld him with costly and beautiful strength. But the communication of strength was reciprocated. The great kind-heartedness of the man, transformed through all the period of their union into coujugal affection served still to supply the gifts of almost miraculous endurance that sustained her to the end. May the flow of help continue through the memory of all even now that one need of strength for ministration is gone. Other needs to minister remain, and may they long remain to the sorrowing survivor.

A man whose kind-heartedness [ma.. him] urban[e] if, in addition, he be also of a cheerful temperament, is well equipped in his moral nature to be a good companion. And a good companion Dr. Buckland, by common c[...]nt, eminently was. His cheerfulness [...] make him such. His cheerfulness was inspired by his hopefulness. Hopefulness I reckon third in order among the traits of Dr. Buckland's personal character. He was a most singularly, a victoriously hopeful man. Nothing seemed able to cast him utterly down. He expected that he should conquer. He looked out over life with the eye of one appointed beforehand to prevail. Hopefulness was a most buoyant element in him, to bear h[im] above the cloud and keep him in a sky of perpetual sunshine. You could not say that Dr. Buckland's countenance was a radiant one in truth, it was even remarkable that the cheerfulness of his spirit succeeded so well in expressing itself in him, without more aid than it actually received, from a mo[...] play of feature. His face refused to brighten fully responsive to the light that played within. But the inner light managed to announce itself, nevertheless. Dr. Buckland was a hopeful man, and his hopefulness made him a radiant center of cheerfulness to all others.

Urbanity, resting upon a base of real kind-heartedness, fits a hopeful man possessing it to be an object of affection. But Dr. Buckland was respected as well as beloved. Of the sturdier traits of character in him, that commanded respect, one of the most marked, though at the same time one of the least suspected, was courage. Courage, I think, was the ultimate support of hopefulness in Dr. Buckland's nature.

This, I am awa[re, i]s making a large claim on behalf of Dr. Buckland. A man with true courage in him is emphatically a man. For courage is the chief stuff of which manhood is made. It was not idly that the Romans, manliest of men, called courage, [victus], manliness. True, Dr. Buckland's courage was not submitted to all tests that can try courage. But courage which defies disease, is courage, by at least one severe proof. And Dr. Buckland's courage did defy disease. It was both inspiring and pathetic, to see how, during his slow death, lasting two long years, Dr. Buckland seems never once, till about two weeks ago, to have said, or even to have thought, the word die. What was this but courage? Could it have been mere insensibility, or pure infatuation? What brought that slow-moving, that tottering form, through winter cold, to the loved scene of his professonal labors, day after day, to meet his classes, when all eyes but his own saw the handwriting on near death legible in every feature? What was it but that quality which immortalizes heroes, the gift of [...] courage! If it was not courage, it at least did the work of courage.

Fortitude os a different thing from courage. Fortitude endures, while courage dares. Dr. Buckland, besides courage to dare, had fortitude to endure. This attribute he needed to make him the student that he habitually was. He needed it to make him the severe and patient invalid that he was.

Dr. Buckland's hopefulness, his courage, his fortitude, together, made up the condition of another trait in his character, which it would be a great oversight not to name. Industry was a prominent characteristic of. Dr. Buckland. He was incessantly at work. Early and late, all day long, with but slight recess for meals, he toiled among his books and manuscripts. He seemed never to know how to decline a task. If vacation came, vacation meant, for Dr. Buckland, leisure to do some additional work. In the library of the Seminary, he spent one whole Summer's vacation, doing a tedious but necessary labor in re-arranging and taking account of the books. Another Summer he spent in preaching, as you remember, in the Brick Church, while its revered and beloved pastor was in Europe. He was content to do plodding work. He did not trust to achieving brilliant results, by fits and sallies of genius. He read immensely and variously, and made his mind a treasure house of multifarious knowledge.

His industry, accordingly, made him a learned man. Learning may be said to have become a trait of his character. He made little pause to digest and assort, but went hungrily on to accumulate without end. You could not ask him a question on any subject in thw whole round of human knowledge without drawing down on yourself an avalanche of quotation, illustration, allusion, from that enormous reserve of information. You were overwhelmed by profusion, and sometimes it seemed as if his learning was almost too much for complete mastery, on the part of the man himself. With Dr. Buckland, perished from under the sun an accumulation of diversified knowledge, such as it is given to few among the children of men to amass, within an equal space of life, a space of forty-seven years.

I strive to speak moderately, and I speak perhaps too moderately to satisfy the expectations of many who knew him best. Dr. Buckland was a member of a literary and scientific club of gentlemen in this city. He loved his associates in this club, and his associates loved him, with more than a common affection. They are present here to-day, and the lips of memorial eulogy will hardly keep pace with the sentiments which, I know, animate their hearts. They will never forget the last pathetic scene of his assembling with them, in one of their high literary festivals. His aspect and conduct on that occasion illustrated the full complement of his gracious personal qualities. He was burdened with disease, but he bore himself with all his inalienable urbanity, effusing his kind-heartedness in every touching demonstration that could affect the sympathetic observer. His courage to be there, his fortitude to suffer and be strong, his industry conspicuous by his contributions to the interest of the occasion, and his affluent learning, all these are fresh in the recollection and admiration of his associates.

It does not belong to me to speak particularly of the way in which all that Dr. Buckland was, was modified by his Christian character. That aspect of Dr. Buckland is properly the part of his pastor to portray. But the separation is in thought, and not in fact. He was a Christian in every moment that he was a scholar and a gentleman and a man.

The tender lustre with which Dr. Buckland shone refulgent on the bed of sickness, set off his character in the strongest relief. His sweet urbanity never forsook him. He was kind-hearted to the last. The beloved pupil who was with him, when he ceased to breathe, tells me, that as he sat supporting the suffererm, the sufferer, finding an unexpected easy position, enjoyed it for a few moments, and then turned, without a word, and kissed his watcher on the cheek. It was the pure manly womanliness of that gentle nature. So Nelson, dying at Trafalgar, said to his lieutenant, "Kiss me, Hardy." It was a sacred kiss, the last testament of gratitude and affection.

All this beauty and character and life has ceased from our sight. But the memory of it survives and is immortal. The beauty itself has experienced a resurrection in power. It blooms in other air, and bears fruit forever, in a land where the inhabitant does not say, "I am sick."

At the conclusion of Professor Wilkinson's remarks, and after viewing the body by the audience, the procession formed to convey it to Mount Hope Cemetery, where it will sleep until the morning of the resurrection. "Mark the perfect man and uphold the upright, for the end of that man is peace." We received the following to [sic] late for yesterday's publication. It tells its own story.[5]

External Links



  1. Entered by Charles Oliver, Feb 18, 2013
  2. The Rochester Evening Express, Rochester, New York, Tuesday, 30 January 1877, page 2.
  3. The Rochester Union Advertiser, Rochester, New York, Wednesday, 31 January 1877, page 2.
  4. The Rochester Evening Express, Rochester, New York, Wednesday, 31 January 1877, page 2.
  5. The Rochester Evening Express, Rochester, New York, Friday, 2 February 1877, page 2.


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