Question of the Week: Do you have an ancestor who was in the clergy?

+22 votes

Do you have an ancestor who was in the clergy?

P.S. Answer here and/or here and on Facebook. If you reshare the image on social media with your answer, it might get your family talking!

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
edited by Eowyn Walker
I am a retired United Methodist pastor who was born 167 years to the day after my great (3) grandfather who was an active minister in Lewis County, WV.  He helped create the Methodist Protestant Church in the early 1800's because the Methodist Espicapol Church's bishop's wife owned slaves and would not free them.  The serendiiity is that we have same birth date and entered the clergy late in life.  I entered seminary at 58 years old, he became after his children were raised, and we both retired when we were in our early 70"s.  As a great wikitreer have documentation of all of the above one of which are marriage records of marriages he had officiated when he was in his 70;s.that document.
I have an ancestor who became a missionary for the Connecticut Missionary Society in 1805 following his Rev War service, which included fighting at Bunker Hill, the Saratoga Battles, and the Mohawk Valley Campaign. He was posted as a missionary to western New York where he was instrumental in organizing well-more than 50 churches during the pioneer period, 1805 to 1826, when he died in Chautauqua County, NY. All the churches except one, were either Presbyterian or Congregational. Interesting Man.
Well mine went west and yours to New England.  Bet there are lot more.  PTL.
My gr-grandmother, Virginia EUBANKS_ROTH had a brother (Edwin Dozier EUBANKS b.03/29/1844 - d 01/27/1926 -81 yrs old ) who was a minister in Comstock & Coburg, Custer County, Nebraska.
I am a descendent of Fleming Mitchell Miller, Cumberland Presbyterian Minister and Farmer,  Andrew County, Missouri. He is my 3rd great uncle.  2 of his brothers became Cumberland Presbyterian Ministers, including Samuel T. Miller, who was my 2nd great grandfather and an Oregon pioneer and homesteader in 1850.  They followed the Barlow Road into Oregon. Miller-7910 and Miller-60177
Isn't it interesting to note in this day and age of the number of clergy who took the oaths away back when religion meant much more to the settlers than it does today? The variety of religious positions in organized churches was rather extensive, too.

Hal Spencer
As a Methodist minister you'll appreciate this, my distant uncle was William McKendree, through my 2x Great Grandpa, Zachariah William McKendree!

Looked your great 2 grandpa and William on wikitree but not bio yet so just typed in Rev William McKendree and walah got him in Wikipedia.  When got to the part about being bishop was hoping as I read he was not the one who said the slaves belonged to his wife and she did not have to sell them.  He was not because he never married.  What a relief.  thanks for the fun.

As an aside my great 1 grandpa was trustee at UMProtestant church that was built in 1893 on land donated by his wife's Berry cousin cleared by my Lowther Great Uncle and grandmother's brother that I live one mile from was my sending church.  Bet they would be surprised.

I have several ancestors who were in the clergy.  Mayflower passenger Elder William Brewster is my 11th g-grandfather.  

An 8th g-grandfather is Rev. James Keith, the first pastor of Bridgwater, MA.  He received his education in Aberdeen, Scotland, was ordained in February, 1664 probably just about the time he came of age.  Rev. Keith was introduced to the people of Bridgewater by Dr. Increase Mather, to whom he'd brought letters of introduction from home.  

Evidently his first sermon was preached from atop a large rock - now called Pulpit Rock - in Bridgewater, MA.  He served as pastor of Bridgewater for fifty years.
Deacon Thomas Parker (1609-1683) came to America in 1635 as almost certainly the first Parker in my direct line to do so. He was a deacon and probably a founder of a church in Reading, MA that is still extant and thriving I think. There are a number of Protestant and Catholic clergy in the family over the years. Four of my Dad's 7 sisters were nuns.
My second cousin, Father Cornelius Doherty, was a Roman Catholic priest. He married my husband and I on July 12, 1969 in Torrington, Connecticut, USA. Our fiftieth anniversary is next week!
Too many to look them all up. One day when I get time. Just too many

83 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer
My maternal grandfather, William Jesse Fears (Fears-50) was ordained in 1888 as a Christian (Disciples of Christ) minister. He moved from Arkansas to East Texas and for a brief time to the Indian Territory (later Oklahoma). He was a circuit minister in East Texas for many years.

His grandfather, my 2x great grandfather, William Sadler Fears (Fears-53) became a minister in Georgia. He donated land in Hampton, Henry County, Georgia for the Berea Christian Church where he was the minister until he was in his 80's.
by Virginia Fields G2G6 Pilot (383k points)
selected by GlenAlan Graham
Thank you, GlenAlan Graham!! Appreciate the "Star" designation.
+13 votes

My maternal 2nd great-grandfather, William Dodd Bond (1838-1922) was a Methodist Protestant minister and circuit rider in Georgia and Arkansas.

by Karen Macagno G2G6 (6.7k points)
+14 votes

My third great-grandfather, Rev. John Sample Dodd, was pastor of Bethsaida Baptist Church in Riverdale, Georgia for fifty years; my 7th great-grandfather Rev. John Henry graduated from Edinburgh University in 1703, was ordained by the Presbytery of Dublin, and was called to Maryland in 1709, where he was minister of Pocomoke Church in Somerset County from 1710-1717; my 10th great-grandfather Rev. Philip Edelen graduated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, was ordained a  minister of the Church of England, and was rector of several churches throughout the period of the English Civil War and interregnum; my 12th great-grandfather Rev. Edmund Smith  graduated from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and was headmaster of the Merchant Taylors' School in London and rector of Tenby in Pembrokeshire.

by C Handy G2G6 Mach 8 (85.7k points)
+12 votes
My grandfather, Jim Allen Parks, was a Cherokee and a Methodist minister.  After earning his Master’s degree and teaching school for several years he went to Vanderbilt and earned his divinity degree. He was ordained in 1896 in the Indian Mission Conference of the Methodist Church.  He served churches in Oklahoma Territory, Indian Territory, and after statehood, in Oklahoma.  His last pastorate was in Haskell, Oklahoma.
by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (192k points)
+11 votes

My ancestor, Reuben Underwood, was considered to be the first Baptist preacher to cross the Catawba River in North Carolina.

Uncle Buddy Sheppard was as Baptist minster who stood in for my dad as my best man.

Two brothers, second cousins of mine, were also Baptist ministers. One of the two officiated at the marriages of my Aunt Mildred, my Aunt Doris, my mom, and also, 39 years later, at my wedding.

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
+12 votes

My great grand-aunt Eliza Jane Morris married Marion Reece, who was a Civil War veteran. His Civil War pension has his name as General Marion Reece. He later came to Nebraska where he became involved in faith healing. He went to Canute, Kansas and on down to Oklahoma to make the land run of 1893. In 1895 he married Eliza, who was 22 years younger, and he and her brother John Marshall Morris were the beginnings of the True Followers of Christ Church. With around 100 churches in Oklahoma there has been a migration west and a split into different sects, but they still hold to the name Followers of Christ.

+8 votes

My ggg uncle Nathaniel Salsbury  attended a Methodist Episcopal barn meeting in 1816 in Central New York, and later spent 11 years riding the circuit, was on station for 17 years, and was presiding elder of the Black River Conference for 15 years. He preached at the village of Geddes (which later became the city of Syracuse) as early as 1822. Based on the articles written about him, he was a very moving speaker.

Unfortunately, he left no clues about his parents or other siblings.

by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (304k points)
+9 votes
My 4th great grandfather, Joseph Williams, Jr. was a Baptist preacher sent to the Charlotte area of NC to help tame the "heathens"--he served in the Revolutionary War as a private and worked as a preacher for the soldiers.  After the war, he was instrumental in creating Wingate School (later it became Wingate University) in Monroe, NC.
by MaryLou Crouch G2G Crew (530 points)
+9 votes

My brother, Jacques Gilchrist, who died two years ago yesterday, was an ordained Baptist minister.

Two of my first cousins are ordained ministers--one was a missionary in Turkey who now teaches at a theological seminary, the other and his wife are missionaries in Kenya.

My great-grandfather, Marvin Bascom Hildreth, was a Seventh Day Adventist preacher.

My great-great-grandfather, Travis Z. Hildreth, was a Methodist Circuit Rider in southeast Alabama. His father, Benjamin G. Hildreth, was also a Methodist preacher. Benjamin's brother-in-law (my 4th great-uncle), Zacheus Dowling, was a Methodist preacher, as well. 

Another of my great-grandfather's, Kenneth Fletcher Raynor, was a "Free Will Baptist" minister.

by Nelda Spires G2G6 Pilot (187k points)
+9 votes

My 3 great grandfather James L. Wright was a Methodist minister,  as shown in the 1850 and 1860 U.S. Census.   He died in Arkansas.

by Peggy McReynolds G2G6 Pilot (327k points)
+11 votes

Not my ancestor, but my 3x great grand uncle was William Agate Petch Whitney who became a Reverend after emigrating to Australia. His father-in-law was the Reverend Charles Price who was a congregational minister.

I've always wondered where his middle names 'Agate Petch' came from. According to Google, agate patch is basically another name for marbles. Why he would be named after marbles is a mystery.

by James Knighton G2G6 Mach 2 (22.1k points)
+7 votes
My aunt on my mother's side and her husband were Baptist ministers.  Their daughter is married to a Baptist minister and their son and his wife are ministers.

On my father's side there where several ministers on both his father's Roach side and his mum's Hunnicutt side.

I was once on that path but decided to work with horses and dogs instead of people.
by Trudy Roach G2G6 Pilot (179k points)
+8 votes
How many do you want to know about? In our - from origin - catholic family we have lots of priests, brothers and nuns. Every generation had at least one of them but the tradition stopped with my father who left the seminar in the '50s for a secular existance. Although, now I think about it: his uncle left the cloister and got married later in life also.

On my mothers side her brother and my godfather was the one meant to become a priest. He left the seminar because he wa a victim of (sexual) abuse. He never told anything about it till he was almost dieing.
by Eef van Hout G2G6 Mach 5 (58.1k points)
+8 votes
My great-grandfather, Samuel A. Sisler (1839-1897), was a traveling Dunkard minister in Preston County, WV. He and his sons built three churches there, two of which are still being used.
+9 votes
I started a document to keep track of my grandfathers who were clergymen. There are 10 reverend ministers, five elders, two vicars, and 17 deacons on the list.
+9 votes
And how! Both grandfathers, one great-grandfather and one great-great-grandfather.

My paternal grandfather, for whom I was named, was a missionary in Zambia for about 14 years, before returning to South Africa as a Dutch Reformed minister.

My maternal grandfather was a Dutch Reformed minister in five different congregations. Several of my cousins on that side are/were also in the clergy.

My maternal-paternal great-grandfather was J D "Vader" Kestell, who during the South African War ministered to friend and foe alike.

My maternal-maternal-paternal great-great-grandfather was prof N J Hofmeyr, one of the first two professors of theology in South Africa.
by Dirk Laurie G2G6 Mach 3 (35.2k points)
+9 votes
[[Street-27|Nicholas Street]] was born in Somerset England and came to America in about 1637.  He was pastor at Taunton, Massachusetts, then New Haven , Connecticut.  His son [[Street-20|Samuel Street]] was also a pastor.  Nicholas is my 10th great-grandfather and Samuel my ninth great-grandfather on my father's maternal line.  My mother's maternal line includes [[Turrentine-140|James Wilson Turrentine]] who was a preacher in Morgan County, Alabama before the Civil War.  We think his faith may have contribute to him leaving Alabama for Illinois when the Civil War broke out.  One of his sons died while serving in the Union Army.  James Wilson Turrentine is my 3rd great-grandfather.    On my maternal line there were several members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) who preacher or speakers.  The best documented is [[Wilson-5127|Christopher Wilson]] my 6th great-grandfather.
by Joyce Hodges G2G2 (2.1k points)
+8 votes
My father, Robert Quenelle Olmsted, after running his own modest business for for 20 years, became a school teacher.  When the children (7th graders) were too much for him to handle, he went to seminary and became an Episcopalian Priest.  He served in Sonora, CA until his death in 1986.
+8 votes
I have two maternal 2nd Great Uncle's (they are brothers) who were the First and Second Australian born Vincentian Priests, the Very Reverend Father John Hall C.M. ordained 1904 and the Reverend Father Mark Hall C.M. ordained 1911.
by Mark Gibbons G2G Crew (880 points)
+8 votes

I have 2 Catholic priests in my family. Both of them are my fathers parents brothers. Father Robert F. Dobihal and Father John Francis Parkos. Father Parkos is actually the priest that married my husband and I as well as baptized all three of our children.

by Lisa Roberts G2G6 Mach 1 (14.7k points)

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