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EDMUND STORER JANES, D.D., LL.D.
OR full forty years there moved a man through
the land, touching well-nigh every part of it with a personal force which was recognized and felt by all whom he met. The impulse which his presence imparted gently quickened the best sentiments in his fellow-beings, and left lingering in their hearts purposes and plans for nobler things. As to and from the great commercial metropolis he passed every-where, answering incessant claims, his course was not marked by the noise of the politician, the clatter of trade, or the parade of the warrior; simply and quietly, as a man and a minister of the Prince of peace, he came and went.
His work lay in the sphere of morals and religion. His zeal was for the highest good of the race. While possessed of a certain ascendency over men, he used its privileges only that he might bear witness to the truth, and be servant of all.
It shall be my aim in these pages to give some account of this man. The Church at large, as well as his own denomination, knew Bishop Janes in his official work. Beneath the high and useful public career there was a heart the full insight of which but few had while he lived, and the revealing of which, even very partially, cannot fail to lead to a higher estimate of his worth.
There is an instinctive desire in mankind to come near to a benefactor, to ascertain whence the streams of influence which have so refreshed them flowed, and to see how far the man whom they have looked at in the distance is like themselves in those things in which a nature common to their own shows itself. If much of the privacy of the life I shall seek to portray be presented, this, then, is my apology: “We know the Bishop; let us also know the man.”
Edmund Storer Janes was born in the town of Sheffield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, on the 27th of April, 1807. He was the son of Benjamin and Sally Janes, respectable and industrious people, who raised to maturity a family of eight children, five sons and three daughters. The Janes family trace their origin, in this country, as far as to William Janes, who was born in Essex, England, during the reign of James I., about the year 1610. The family name, Janes, is evidently the same as De Janes or De Jeanes, and is of Norman or French origin. It is still found in Kirtling, county of Cam
bridge, connected with the estates once belonging to Geoffrey de Janes about 1200 or 1204. This Geoffrey de Janes was a crusader, and helped to make Baldwin, count of Flanders, king of Jerusalem. While the genealogical links between the noted crusader and William Janes cannot be traced, it is well ascertained that William was of the Kirtling family, and that with the John Davenport colony he came out to this country. The colony at first landed in Massachusetts, in or near Boston, remained there eight months, and then, sailing for New Haven, Conn., their chosen abode, they there made their final settlement in 1637. These colonists, in common with many others, had fled from the persecutions of Archbishop Laud, to seek religious freedom in the American wilderness.
In the colony at New Haven William Janes was a prominent person. For about seventeen years he was a teacher of the rudiments of education and of the doctrines of the Bible, imparting to the children of the colonists the best intellectual and religious culture which their limited facilities allowed. "
“ Vigorous, systematic, resolute, and true to every instinct of manhood, he was beloved and respected by all who knew him.” *
*“The Janes Family. A Genealogy and Brief History of the Descendants of William Janes, the Emigrant Ancestor of 1637,” by the Rev. Frederic Janes. New York : Jolin H. Dingman. 1868. From this work these family references are taken.
William Janes subsequently, about 1656, removed, in company with other "pioneers of liberty,” to Northampton, Mass., in the Connecticut valley. Here he was recorder of deeds and a teaching elder, and, in the absence of the minister, conducted the religious service of the Sabbath. “Some seventeen years later, when another new colony was started by the people of Northampton and Hadley, for some untried section farther up the valley, they proposed to William Janes to go, with his influence, his talents, and his property, and to be their religious teacher and counselor in their expected perils. He consented, as he loved his mission of doing good and planting religion in every part of the new country so soon to be settled.” When they had reached the spot, Squawkeague, afterward known as Northfield," he preached his first sermon on the Sabbath after their arrival under the spreading branches of a large oak-tree."
The colonists, however, on the outbreak of Phil. ip's War, were driven away by the Indians, and, after losing some of their number, fell back to the settlement at Northampton. Among those slain were Ebenezer and Jonathan Janes, sons of William, lads of about seventeen and eighteen years of age. Another attempt was made at the settlement of this spot about ten years afterward which was even more disastrous. From this time until his death William lived at Northampton.
September 20, 1690, “ leaving behind a name revered, untarnished, and imperishable."
This original William Janes was the great-greatgreat-grandfather of Edmund Storer. Of the intervening paternal ancestors, the great-great-grandfather William, and the great-grandfather Michael, little is known. Thomas Janes, the grandfather, was a soldier in the War of the Revolution, his name being found upon the roll of a Connecticut regiment of infantry, under Colonel Moses Thayer, from January 1, 1777, to January, 1782. After escaping all the perils of the war he was accidentally killed by the overturning of a loaded cart while he was engaged at work on his farm in Wallingford, Conn. He left a widow with a young family, the oldest of whom, Benjamin, was but twelve years of age.
Thus the father of Edmund Storer was obliged, when only a lad, to become the main-stay of his mother and younger brothers and sisters. He learned the trade of carpenter and joiner, and early formed industrious habits. Benjamin Janes married Miss Sally Wood, of Chatham, N. Y., and removed when quite young to Sheffield, Mass. Here, as I have stated, Edmund Storer was born, being the seventh generation from the great emigrant and pioneer.
It will thus be seen that our subject was well descended. He was born of a religious and heroic
He was heir to the grandest ideas and tradi