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Harold Belcher, ABCFM treasurer

Updated on July 17, 2014

Longtime treasurer for ABCFM Boston headquarters began missionary career in Foochow

Harold Blanchard Belcher (1891-1971) and his wife Marian (Wells) served as missionaries in Foochow, China, from 1914 to 1920 before returning to the United States to serve in the administration of the missions organization that sent them out, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, headquartered at 14 Beacon Street in Boston, Mass. Belcher was a 1912 graduate of Dartmouth University. In 1920 he assumed the duties of assistant treasurer of the missions organization, and later promoted to treasurer, a position he held until about 1961. It seems perhaps that he chose to retire when the ABCFM merged with other church organizations to created the United Church Board of World Missions (UCBWM), an organization that later was absorbed by the UCC (United Church of Christ).

1913

Alumni Notes

A.M. '13 — Harold B. Belcher, A.B. (Dartmouth) '12, is instructor in economics at Dartmouth College.

1914

U.S. Passport Application

State of Massachusetts, County of Suffolk

I, Harold B. Belcher, a native and loyal citizen of the United States, herby apply to the Department of State, at Washington, for a passport for myself, accompanied by my wife, Marian W. Belcher.

I solemnly swear that I was born at Malden, in the State of Mass., on or about the 16th day of July, 1891; that my father is a native citizen of the United States; that I am domiciled in the United States, my permanent residence being at Malden, in the State of Mass, where I follow the occupation of teacher; that I am about to go abroad temporarily; and that I intend to return to the United States within 8 years, with the purpose of residing and performing the duties of citizenship therein.

Oath of Allegiance: Further, I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion: So help me God.

Signature of applicant: Harold B. Belcher

Sworn to before me this 12th day of August, 1914: John Moosmer

Identification: Aug. 13, 1914: I hereby certify that I have known the above-named Harold B. Belcher personally for one years, and know him to be a native-born citizen of the United States, and that the facts stated in his affidavit are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Signed: Frank H. Wiggins, Boston, Mass.

Applicant desires passport sent to following address: Herbert E.B. Case, 14 Beacon St., Boston, Mass.

Passport No. 39426: Harold B. Belcher: Issued Aug. 14, 1914

Amended and Validated at American Consulate Foochow, China. Jan. 8, 1915.

1917

Application for Registration: Native Citizen

Department No. 6563

I, Harold B. Belcher, hereby apply to the Consulate of the United States at Foochow, China for registration as an American citizen.

I was born at Malden, Mass., on July 16, 1891.

My father Charles Francis Belcher, was born in Cambridge, Mass., USA.

I last left the United States on September 1914, arriving at Foochow, China, on October 9th, 1914, where I am now residing for the purpose of missionary work, on behalf of American Board Mission.

I have resided outside the United States at the following places for the following periods: Foochow consular district, from 1914 to (present).

My legal domicile is in Malden, Mass., USA, my permanent residence being at (do); my temporary local address is Foochow, China.

I desire to remain a citizen of the United States and intend to return thereto permanently to reside and perform the duties of citizenship within four years.

I last applied for registration at the Consulate of the United States at Foochow, China, on October 15, 1916.

I am the bearer of passport No. 39426, issued by the State Dept. on August 14, 1914.

I have always held myself out as an American citizen and have never been refused registration or a passport as such, and have not taken an oath of allegiance to, or been naturalized as a citizen or subject of, any foreign State.

I am married to Marion Wells Belcher, who was born at Lynnfield, Mass., and is now residing at Foochow, China.

I have the following children by this marriage: Charles Francis, born July 12, 1915, at Kuliang, Fukien, now residing at Foochow, China.

Oath of Allegiance: Further, I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion: So help me God.

Signature of applicant: Harold B. Belcher

Sworn to before me this 1st day of June, 1917: Signed Albert W. Pontius, Consul of the United States.

Identification. Foochow, China, June 1, 1917

I hereby solemnly swear that I am a native citizen of the United States, that I have known the above-named Harold B. Belcher personally for two years and that the facts stated in the foregoing application for registration are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. I am the holder of passport No. 2896, of July 26, 1916, issued by Department of State. I am registered at the American Consulate at Foochow, China.

Signed: Willard L. Beard, Foochow, China.

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 1st day of June, 1917: Albert W. Pontius.

Identifying documents: Department passport No. 39426 issued on August 14, 1914.

The applicant requests that the following person be notified in the event of his death or disability: C.F. Belcher, 148 Hawtheme St., Malden, Mass.

1919

U.S. Passport Application

I, Harold Blanchard Belcher, a native and loyal citizen of the United States, hereby apply to the Department of State, at Washington, for a passport for myself, accompanied by my wife, Marian Wells Belcher, and minor children, as follows: Charles Francis, born at Kuliang, Foochow, on July 12, 1915 and Priscilla, born at Foochow, on Jan. 5, 1918.

I solemnly swear that I was born at Malden, in the State of Mass., on July 16, 1891, that my father Charles F. Belcher (deceased) was born in Easton, Mass., U.S.A., that I am the bearer of Passport No. 29426, issued by Dept. of State on Aug. 14, 1914; that my legal domicile is in Malden, Mass., my permanent residence being at Foochow, China, and I last left the United States on Sept. 7, 1914, arriving at Foochow, China, on Oct. 7, 1914, where I am now residing for the purpose of Missionary work, on behalf of American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 14 Beacon St., Boston, Mass.; that I have resided outside the United States at the following places for the following periods: Foochuw, Fukien, China, from Oct. 1914 to date; and that I desire to remain a citizen of the United States and intend to return thereto permanently to reside and perform the duties of citizenship when working China is finished.

I desire a passport for use in visiting the countries hereinafter named for the following purpose: Japan, Travel; Hong Kong, Travel; China, MIssionary work.

The applicant should be given a two-year passport.

Further, I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; So help me God.

Signature of applicant: Harold B. Belcher., American Consulate at Foochow, China

Sworn to before me this 7th day of November, 1919: Name of American Consul at Foochow.

Identification: I, the undersigned, do hereby certify and affirm that the matters stated in my written identification of Harold Blanchard Belcher are true, and I do hereby consent that this statement shall in all respects, be held and treated as if I had personally executed such identification before a Consul of the United States. Signed: W.L. Beard, Foochow, China.

Identifying documents submitted as follows: Departmental passport No. 39426 dated Aug. 14, 1914. Affidavit of birth, copy of which is submitted herewith. Applicant is registered at this Consulate, Dept. No. 6563, approved on Sept. 14, 1917.

1920

October 12-15, 1920, at Marietta, Ohio

The 110th Annual Report of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions

Wednesday Morning, October 13. - .... Secretary Bell then introduced the Rev. A.J. Stick of the South Africa Mission, who spoke on Are Our Africa Converts Making Good. Rev. J.C. Holmes spoke on Japan's Critical Hour, and Mr. H.B. Belcher of Foochow on The Business End of a Mission. After prayer by the Rev. W.W. Patton of Massachuseets recess was taken until 2 o'clock.

1921

  • Caduceus of Kappa Sigma, Vol. 36, May

    Alumni Notes

    The Latest From Dartmouth. - .... To which Bro. Waugh adds these personals about Dartmouth brothers, from the alumni magazine: Harold Belcher '12 is soon to become assistant treasurer of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, located in Boston, at 14 Beacon st.

  • October 11, 1921, Congregational House, Boston, Mass., Tuesday, Oct. 11, 1921

    The 112th Annual Meeting of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions

    Page 12: Rev. Frank K. Sanders, of New York, for the Committee to Nominate New Members, submitted a ballot for corporate members-at-large to fill existing vacancies. Revs. A.F. Pierce and H.G. Hale, of Massachusetts, were appointed tellers and the following were unanimously elected: Harold B. Belcher, of Massachusetts ...

    Page 14: The appointment of Mr. Harold B. Belcher as Assistant Treasurer, was a great loss to the Foochow Mission in China, but a distinct gain to the Treasurer's office. He was made good. This is an added proof of the wisdom of the policy of the Prudential Committee of Home Department of calling men from the foreign field to work in the home office.

    Page 99: Mr. Belcher, shortly after his arrival home in 1920 was appointed Assistant Treasurer of the American Board.

1922

U.S. Passport Application

State of Massachusetts, County of Suffolk

I, Harold B. Belcher, a native and loyal citizen of the United States, hereby apply to the Department of State, at Washington, for a passport.

I solemnly swear that I was born at Malden, in the State of Massachusetts, on or about the 16th day of July, 1891; that my father Charles F. Belcher, was born in Easton, Massachusetts, and is now deceased; that I have resided outside of the United States at the following places for the following periods: Foochow, China, from October 8, 1914 to April 1920; and that I am domiciled in the United States, my permanent residence being at Melrose, suburb of Boston in the State of Massachusetts, where I follow the occupation of Assistant Treasurer. My last passport was obtained from Department of State #151076, on January 12?, 1920 and (is in my possession.) attached. I am about to go abroad and I intend to return to the United States within 4 months with the purpose of residing and performing the duties of citizenship therein; and I desire a passport for use in visiting the countries hereinafter named for the following purpose: Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, Constantinople, Turkey for Mission Business. I intend to leave the United States from the port of Boston sailing on board the S.S. "Scythia" on March 23, 1922.

Oath of Allegiance: Further, I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion: So help me God.

Signature of applicant: Harold B. Belcher

Sworn to before me this 24th day of February, 1922: Signed Mary E. Prendergast, Deputy Clerk of the U.S. District Court at Boson.

Identification: Feb. 24, 1922: I , Herbert E.B. Case, solemnly swear that I am a native citizen of the United States; that I reside at 58 Bourne St., Aburndale, Mass.; that I have known the above-named Harold B. Belcher personally for five years an know him to be a native citizen of the United States; and that the facts stated in his affidavit are true to the bet of my knowledge and belief. Signature: Herbert E.B. Case, Secretary, American Board, 14 Beacon Street, Boston

Sworn to before me this 24th day of February, 1922, Mary E. Prendergast, Deputy Clerk of the U.S. District Court at Boston, Mass.

Applicant desires passport to be sent to the following address: 14 Beacon St., Boston, Mass.

1937

The Nashua Telegraph, Nashua, N.H., Saturday, October 23

Mission Sessions, Concord

Page 1, 2: Concord (AP) - Need for new missionaries in foreign field was stressed today at the 128th annual meeting of the American Board of Foreign Missions.

Rev. Carl M. Gates of Wellesley Hills, Mass., chairman of the Prudential committee of the board, said it was necessary to send additional workers abroad in spite of retrenchment policies.

He expressed regret over the situation in China, where, he said, board workers "are compelled to witness either the wiping out of results of years of devoted work or at the very best the setting back of many years of the movement which was just gaining such splendid momentum."

Harold B. Belcher of Malden, Mass., treasurer, reported the board ended its 128th year last August with an operating deficit of $51, 511.

Rev. Juston Nixon of Colgate-Rochester Divinity school was the major speaker today.

"Modern society," he said, "is in grave danger of breaking up. Events of the last two decades have made it clear we face possibility of an entirely different organization of human life. it is a question whether civilization is not going to be shattered by a fratricidal struggle along class and nationalistic lines."

Business committee - Rev. James F. English, Hartford, Conn.; and J.E. Taylor, dean of Dunn college, Crete, Nebraska.

Committee on nominations: Rev. Raymond B. Walker, Portland, Ore.; Mrs. James W. Bixler, Exeter, N.H.; Mrs. George R. Wilson, Hinsdale, Ill., and Rev. G. Homer Lane, Torrington, Conn.

It was also announced today that five new corporate members-at-large of the American board will be elected early this evening. The following committee will act on these names:

Rev. Frank M. Sheldon of Milwaukee, Wis.; Mrs. Herman F. Stark of St. Paul, Minn.; Rev. Niel Hanson of Chicago, Ill.; Mrs. R.L. Bowen of Los Angeles, Cal.; Rev. Carl Carl Gates, Wellesley Hills, Mass., and Dr. Fred Field Goodsell, Boston.

Sessions will continue through Monday. Tonight, William R. Castle, former assistant secretary of state, will address a fellowship dinner. Tomorrow visiting missionaries will preach in numerous nearby pulpits.

Regional committee elected officers last night at a pre-convention meeting, Mrs. H.J. Humphrey of Providence, R.I., was named vice chairman and Rev. James E. Walter of Boston, chairman of the executive committee. The conference chairman will be named Monday.

Rev. James F. English of Hartford, Conn., superintendent of the Connecticut Congregational conference was chosen a missionary representative.

1938

Daily Journal-World, Lawrence, Kansas, Tuesday, September 20, 1938

Missionaries Carry On

Work in China Continues Despite Hostilities There.

Page 6: Most of the activities in China of the American board of commissioners for foreign Missions "are being carried on as usual" despite hostilities, Treasurer Harold B. Belcher reported today, announcing a $40,417 deficit at the close of the board's 129th fiscal year on August 31.

The war forced increased expenditures to evacuate mothers with small children from the areas of fighting, he said, but the board managed to cut its expenses approximately $24,000 to $984, 511.

Belcher said the year's receipts were $944,094, approximately $12,000 less than last year.

1941

  • The Livonia Gazette, Livonia, N.Y., Thursday, April 17, 1941

    Page 6: Jay White and Arthur White visited Harold White Friday and Sunday, Mr. and Mrs. Fred White and Mr. and Mrs. Harold Belcher spent the day at Ft. Niagara with Harold.

  • The Lewiston Daily Sun, Tuesday, September 16

    70 American Missionaries Returned From Abroad

    Back from Japan, China and Greece Because of War

    Page 11: Boston, Sept. 15 (AP) - The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions reported tonight that only about 70 of its 409 workers in foreign lands have had to return home because of war conditions.

    The war-affected workers returned from Japan, China and Greece.

    The Board, which is the foreign service arm of the Congregational Christian churches of the United States, has workers in India, Ceylon, Africa, China, the Philippines, Turkey and Syria.

    At the same time, Harold B. Belcher, treasurer of the board, reported a surplus of $24,979.75 at the close of the fiscal year, Aug. 31, due, he said, to "the reduction of expenditures rather than to an increase of receipts."

    "The increased expense due to the relocation of missionaries in the Far East," the Board said, "was more than offset by savings due to the inability of missionaries now home on furlough to return to their posts and by economies in other expenditures, including those for administration and promotion."

    Nearly 300 of the Board's workers are in active service in the field, the Baord said, and of the remainder, about 50, are on regular furlough.

1942

The Livonia Gazette, Livonia, N.Y., Thursday, July 2, 1942

Richmond Center Locals

The annual Belcher reunion was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Lester Dugar in West Bloomfield, with fifty-five members and four visitors present. After a dinner, including roast pork and all the fixings, served by four young ladies, the business meeting was held, at which the following officers were elected for another year: President, Harold Belcher; secretary and treasurer, Mildred Cotroneo; committee for sports, Ogden Duffy and Belmont Swingle. Five births and one deaths ere reported for the past year. Mr. and Mrs. Irving W. Belcher will act as host and hostess for another year. The oldest member present at this year's reunion was Mrs. Lina Belcher, the youngest was Daniel Lee Duffy. Sports were enjoyed by young and old, for which prizes were given. The committee was Mrs. Leslie Dugar and Mrs. George Wright.

1948

The Lima Recorder, Lima, N.Y., January 8

Allen's Hill

By Mrs. B.E. Swingle, Correspondent

Mr. and Mrs. Harold Belcher of West Bloomfield were New Year's eve dinner guests of Mr. and Mrs. George Deal.

1961

  • Redlands Daily Facts, May 13, 1961

    Page 3: Mrs. Harold Belcher announced a Methodist Men's barbecue for 27 in Sylvan...

  • The Geneva (N.Y.) Times, Friday, August 11, 1961

    Long Range Committee Named -

    New Appointees Spur Plans For Spa Hospital's Future

    By Jane Hunter

    Page 15: CLIFTON SPRINGS - Active new blood has entered the main circulatory system of Clifton Springs Hospital and Clinic.

    With the recent appointments of four businessmen to the board of trustees, plus the formation of a long range planning committee, plans for the future of this institution are moving ahead. ....

    Among the prominent businessmen recently appointed to the board is Andrew M. Schuler of Cato, N.Y., a consultant for the Sunshine Biscuit Co. His interests are many and varied, among them being ownership in several seed potato farms, a ranch in Northern Florida and timber property in the Adirondacks. ....

    Members of long standing include Harold Belcher of Melrose, Mass., who is associated with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions; Weir Stewart, a shoe manufacturer who lives in Skaneateles Lake near Auburn .....

Obituary

The Nashua Telegraph, Thursday, April 1, 1971

Melrose, Mass. (AP)Harold B. Belcher, 79, former treasurer of the America Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, died Wednesday.

The board, an arm of the Congregational Church, now is known as the United Church Board of World Ministries.

Belcher was graduated from Dartmouth in 1912, and took a master's degree at Harvard the following year. From 1914 until retirement in 1958 he was in the financial administration of the missions board, starting as a field treasurer in Foochow, China. He was appointed treasurer of the board in 1920.

He leaves his widow, Marian, a son and two daughters, 10 children and seven great-grandchildren.

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