Rev. Eleanor Bicknell Forbes

cropped version of Eleanor Forbes obituary

Rev. Eleanor Bicknell Forbes (11 Nov 1860 – 8 Jul 1955) was Gray’s first female pastor. A native of Buckfield, she graduated from Hebron Academy in 1878 and from Bates College in 1882. Eleanor was a school teacher for several years before ill health forced her to give up teaching. 

She moved to Boston in 1886, became interested in the New Thought movement and trained under Mr. & Mrs. Julius Dresser at the School of Spiritual Healing. In 1898, Eleanor adopted 6-year-old Charles A. Sanborn after his mother died.

Eleanor came to Gray in 1901 where she was formally ordained as a Universalist minister on October 17th of the same year. She served as a clergywoman in Gray and New Gloucester through 1914. On Sundays, it was her custom to preach at the New Gloucester Universalist Church in the morning and at Stimson Memorial Hall in the afternoon.

She went on to minister at two other Universalist parishes in Canton and West Paris; and retired in September 1949 at the age of 88.

Eleanor was a founder of the Ferry Beach Park Association of Universalists (AKA Ferry Beach Institute) in Saco in the early 1900s.

In August 1951, the Eleanor B. Forbes Chapel in the Pines at Ferry Beach was dedicated in her honor.

View/Download Full Obituary