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Biography of Rev. Jay J. Brayton

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Rev. Jay J. Brayton, son of Moses Brayton, was born April 29, 1829 “in the midst of the beautiful scenery of the lovely Lake George. Yes, I am now (1910) an old man. And yet I cannot but remember that my childhood and even the beautiful world into which I was born were beclouded and embittered by terrible religious beliefs which took too deep a hold in my young heart and mind. However, at a later period I was able to throw them aside and accept a more rational and congenial religious belief. It was a conversion which made all things new-a new Heaven and a new earth. I left the school at Lima to visit my brother Orville who at the age of nineteen was a settled pastor at Portageville and Nunda. I began my ministry at the age of twenty-one in the Universalist church, confessedly without the complete preparation required of the young minister of to-day. Although this was at first a handicap, I do not regret it now, since it induced the habit of independent thinking, self-reliance and self-training, which have been of great use in a long and successful ministry.

“My parishes have been Clifton Springs, New York; Lawrence, Massachusetts; South Hingham, Massachusetts; Jersey City, New Jersey; Mohawk and Herkimer. New York; Auburn, New York; Nunda and Friendship. New York. The people to whom I have ministered have always been generous in the matter of salary and have never given me occasion to ask for payment in full.

“At Clifton Springs in 1853, I married Mary Jane Rockefeller, daughter of the late William Rockefeller. We have lived together fifty-seven years and are agreed that if we had them to live over again we would do just what we did that happy day so many years ago. One child, Willie, was born to us in 1860. He died at the age of sixteen.

“We are living in retirement from public life in our own home near Clifton Springs. More fortunate than many retired ministers, we own a sufficient number of excellent acres to take good care of us while we live. Thanks to our good neighbor and good farmer, Mr. Henry Grimsley, we are relieved from work and worry and business care.

“Well, it is good to live in this beautiful and bountiful world. It is a better world than it was when I came into it. There is more love in it, a profounder sense of universal brotherhood, a more sensitive sympathy between the peoples of the earth, and the religious, forgetting their former antagonisms. have become persuaded that not credo, but amo is the true password between human hearts and the only key well fitted to unlock the pearly gates. The world has been good to me like a good father and mother. I have tried to be good to it. We will part good friends.”

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