|Birth: ||May 10, 1855|
|Death: ||Apr. 22, 1905|
Rev. John D. Donovan was the eldest son of George Washington Donovan and Lee Ann Swecker Donovan. His mother died when he was small and his father married Mary Elizabeth Weller. George and Mary had four more children but Mary loved and treated John as one of her own.
John knew early in life that his calling was to serve the Lord as a United Brethren minister, and he was ordained in 1881, at the age of 26.
John married Lillian Croft, in 1896, and their only child, Gladstone, was born the following year. The ministry was not a place to gain material wealth and he never accumulated enough money to buy a home of his own. His early salary was $154.00 per year and, during his final year, as Presiding Elder, was $705.00.
Rev. Donovan was known to make direct comments from the pulpit to members of the congregation and, when on one occasion a young man came to church with a plug of tobacco in his mouth and began to spit tobacco juice on the floor, the reverend announced that if he would lay his tobacco on the fence rail before entering, he would personally guarantee "no dog or hog" would touch it before services were over.
Early ministers rode "circuits," which were often wide-spread areas, over rough terrain, and during all weather. Rev. Donovan was known to be an emotional speaker who often finished his sermon soaked in perspiration and traveling in such a state probably contributed to a rapid decline in his health. Because of declining health, Rev. Donovan resigned his appointment as Presiding Elder in 1903. He was reassigned to pastor the Martinsburg, WV, charge, but a continuing decline in his health forced him to retire from the active ministry the following year. Rev. Donovan died in Martinsburg on Easter Sunday, April 22, 1905, of tuberculosis. Funeral services were conducted in Martinsburg at the St. Johns Lutheran Church, rather than the United Brethren Church, because of the close proximity of the railroad station to the Lutheran church which allowed the casket to be quickly loaded to the train for the trip home to Singers Glen. The funeral service in Martinsburg was presided over by 6 ministers. The burial service that followed in Singers Glen was attended by the largest number ever assembled at the church. Five ministers presided over the service and an additional 6 ministers acted as pallbeares.
The cemetery at Singers Glen sits atop the hill, in the center of this picturesque little town. Rev. Donovan and his wife and son are buried there, as well as other family members. This peaceful and immaculate cemetery holds the remains of the founding families of the area once known as "Mountain Valley."
The Donovan Memorial Church, in Singers Glen, Va., is named for Rev. John D. Donovan and is still in use today.
Note: Information for this biography was obtained from Donovan Memorial Church of the Singers Glen Community by Dale E. MacAllister and used with his permission.
Singers Glen Cemetery
Plot: Row 42
Maintained by: FDP
Originally Created by: Gayle Wilcox
Record added: Sep 03, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 21337479