WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2016

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/713244

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Page 89 of 211

Edmund Hamilton Sears 1810-1876 Wrote Lyrics to "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" FINAL RESTING PLACE: Linwood Cemetery, Weston. THE STORY BEHIND THE CAROL: First presented in 1849 at First Congregational Church and Society in Wayland. "Writing during a period of personal melancholy, and with news of revolution in Europe and the United States' war with Mexico fresh in his mind, Sears portrayed the world as dark, full of 'sin and strife,' and not hearing the Christmas message," wrote Paul Hughes for the website Dictionary of Unitarian and Universalist Biography. Music is by Richard Storrs Willis. PULPITS: Wayland (1839, 1848-65), Congregational Church in Lancaster (1840-47), First Parish Church in Weston (1866-76). CIVIL WAR WARNING: "Every time we have dallied with the slave power we have sown the wind, and every year it becomes more certain that we shall reap the whirl- wind!" he declared in his 1856 sermon, "Revolution or Reform." NATIONAL AUDIENCE: Authored books influential among liberal Protestants, helped edit Monthly Religious Magazine (1859-71). EARLY LIFE: Raised on a farm near Berkshire Mountains. Father gave him love of poetry. Studied law before deciding to pursue ministry. CHURCH HONOR: Sears Memorial Chapel completed at First Parish Church in Weston in 1930. Its reliquary contains an illuminated manuscript of "Midnight Clear," a copy of only other known Sears' carol called "Calm on the Listening Ear of Night," and his books. THE STAGE-STRUCK SEARS: Sears' son, Horace S. Sears, invited the public to plays at the 200-seat theater he had built at his Weston estate. Horace made his for- tune in textiles. Though he lived large, he resides eter- nally under a modest tombstone, like that of his father and mother in an adjacent plot. 88 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 6 VIP, RIP (In Weston) left: Edmund Hamilton Sears right: The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1634

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