Lemuel Powers (1756 - 1800)

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Birthplace: Littlleton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
Death: Died in Saratoga, New York, United States
Occupation: Baptist Minister
Managed by: Suzanne Alsup
Last Updated:

About Lemuel Powers

Lemuel Leland Powers, Baptist minister, born 15 June 1756, Littleton, Worchester County, Massachusetts; Lemuel Powers was one of four Baptist ministers who served a group of five associated churches (two in one town where a minister served both) in the bordering regions of New York, Vermont and Massachusetts. They were organized in 1780 as the "Shaftsbury Association," named after the Vermont town where the first church was located. Powers was formally ordained that year. But had helped found and preached at the Stillwater, New York First Baptist Church for several years prior. The institution rapidly grew in terms of its congregation size and wealth. Even through the turmoil of the nearby Battle of Saratoga in 1777, there were eighty-six members, a large congregation under any circumstances for a new, rural church at the time. Its success permitted the church to branch out to establish eight other Baptists congregations in the area, with Stillwater remaining as the central base. In 1798, after fifty congregants migrated to Fish Creek to found another branch there, Powers' church had a remarkable congregation of almost four hundred people; Lemuel Powers died 18 May 1800, Stillwater, New York.

The conventional account of what caused the widowed Mrs. Powers to leave Stillwater for the western part of New York State was that it was a less expensive place for her as an impoverished widow to raise her children. However, it was six years before the move was made. The situation might have been exacerbated by an incident previously unreported in Abigail Fillmore's biographies, stemming from a personal scandal involving her late father. During the first six years following his death (1800-1806), the church congregation he had led shrank radically. By 1808, two years after the Powers family had left Stillwater, in fact, there were only twenty congregants. According to a later report: "The cause of this dispersion was owing partly to the spirit of emigration, which possessed the members, but mostly to some misconduct in their pastor, or at least to some reports unfavorable to his chastity. He confessed he had been imprudent, but at the time, and in his dying moments denied having been actually guilty. But so it was that his usefulness was ruined, his church scattered, and he went mourning down to his grave, which he entered in peace in 1800, in the 45th year of his age. "

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Abigail Fillmore (Powers) was born in Saratoga County, New York, in 1798, while it was still on the fringe of civilization. Her father, a locally prominent Baptist preacher named Lemuel Powers, died shortly thereafter.

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Rev. Lemuel Powers's Timeline

1756
June 15, 1756
Littlleton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, United States
1772
April 16, 1772
Age 15
1779
1779
Age 22
1786
1786
Age 29
1789
1789
Age 32
1793
1793
Age 36
1798
March 13, 1798
Age 41
Stillwater, Saratoga, New York, United States
1800
May 18, 1800
Age 43
Saratoga, New York, United States