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 William Hirt Penhallegon

William Hirt Penhallegon

Birth
Wales
Death 1926 (aged 76–77)
Illinois, USA
Burial Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 67513835 · View Source
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W.H. PENHALLENGON, DEAN OF PASTORS, DIES
Veteran Presbyterian Minister Led Life of Service In Decatur - Was Loved By All
Dr. William Hitt Penhallegon, for thirty-seven years a resident of Decatur, pastor of the First Presbyterian church for twenty-four years and one of the most prominent ministers if Illiois, died in the Decatur and Macon County Hospital shortly before 5 o'clock Friday afternoon (Oct 22). Death came peacefully while he slept. He had been unconcscious for several hours.
UNDERWENT OPERATION
Dr. Penhallegon had been a sufferer from heart trouble for several years but he had learned how to keep from overtaxing his heart and he appeared to be in very good general health when on Oct. 6 he went to the hospital for an operation for hernia. He went through the operation nicely and but for the heart weakness he doubtless would have recovered in a short time. The shock of the operation was too much for his weakened heart and he could make no permanent rally. He expected to get well and while in the hosptial he spent much time making notes for sermons he expected to deliver as supply pastor of the Presbyterian church in Urbana.
FAMILY WITH HIM
It became apparent Thursday, that death was near. Members of his family remained with him throughout Thursday night and Friday. He rallied Friday and appeared very much improved but the rally was temporary and he soon lapsed into unconsciousness and slept his lift away. About his bedside when the end came were his wife and two daughters and his son, Everett Pehnallegon.
The body was removed to Dawson & Wikoff undertaking establishment and prepared for burial.
BORN IN WALES
Dr. Penhallegon came to the United States when a young man from Wales, England. He was born near Land's End, Cornwall. He came to the United Stated in 1870, and his first idea was to finish his education, which had been secured partly in private schools in the old country. While still a student he married. Having decided to enter the ministry, it was only by the most rigid economy and self sacrifice that he was able to support his family and continue his study.
He took an academic course at Park College, Mo., and gained the degree of M.A. and later he was given the degree of D.D. by Blackburn university. He took a theological course at McCormick seminary and was licensed to preach in 1875 by the Chicago presbytery.
HELD THREE PASTORATES
Dr. Penhallegon held only three pastorates during his ministry. His first charge was at Braidwood, where he remained four years and where he was instrumental in building a church. From there he went to Kansas on frontier on frontier mission work, and while at Wilson, Kan., in 1877 built a church there. He was called back to Braidwood by the church and returned, and during the second pastorate built a parsonage. In 1881 he received a call to Streator, where he remained until 1889, when he received the call to Decatur. At Streator he also built a new church, and the same thing was true of his Decatur pastorate. A new church on every field is a record not made by many miniters.
MAN FOR THE PLACE
The church at Decatur, when it was without a pastor in 1889, looked for a long time before it found what it considered the right man, but after Dr. Penhallegon was secured it had no doubt but that it had found the right one.
The committee which had been named to select a pastor, James Millikin, C.A. Ewing, and D.H. Hellman, considered all the application received, and turned them all down, then went out to look for someone. After many inquiries they heard of a young minister in Streator who had given general satisfaction and the committee went to Streator to hear him. They slipped into town Saturday night. Early Sunday morning they separated and each one asked where was the best place to go to church. The unanimous reply they got was "Park Presbyterian." They dropped into church there singly, in order not to attract attention, heard the pastor at both the morning and evening services, and found they were of one mind in regard to giving him a call to come to Decatur.
It was only after long and thoughtful consideration that Dr. Penhallegon accepted the call to Decatur, but he did eventually, and came here, beginning his work Sept. 2, 1889.
BUILT $35,000 CHURCH
For twenty-four years Dr. Penhallegon was the beloved leader of the Decatur congregation. During that time the church made great advance both numerically and financially. When Dr. Penhallegon came the church had an old dilapidated building on the present site of the Y.M.C.A. The new pastor never preached in that building. The new opera house had just been dedicated, and the congregation took a lease on it, holding its Sunday services there for two years, using the old building for Sunday school and mid-week services only. During the second year of Dr. Penhallegon's pastorate the work of erecting the present church building was undertaken and completed. It was erected at a cost of about $35,000. It was also during Dr. Penhallegon's pastorate that the two chapels, College street and Westminster, were built, and a new parsonage was also erected.
RETIRED IN 1913
During his twenty-four years pastorate, Dr. Penhallegon conducted ninety-six communion services, at all of which new members were received, the smallest number being five and the largest 200.
It was in March 1913, that Dr. Penhallegon resigned the pastorate of the Decatur church. At that time he was the dean of Decatur ministers. He conducted his last service as pastor in June, and was presented a silver coffee set and a purse of gold by his congregation. Various other ministers of the city assisted in the farewell service and spoke highly of the esteem in which Dr. Penhallegon was held by the other churches of Decatur.
He continued his active membership in the Springfield presbytery until September 1922, when he made his request to be placed on the retired list. He had been a member of the presbytery for thirty-one years.
In 1922, when Decatur was without a pastor Dr. Penhallegon served for a time as the acting pastor.
ACTIVE IN SYNOD
Dr. Penhallegon was active not only in the Springfield presbytery but in the Illinois synod. He was for many years chairman of the Home Mission committee in the presbytery and chairman of the synod's committee on home missions. At the time of his resignation as pastor he was invited to become superintendant of the board of home misisons and church extension of the synod, but declined the position. He represented the presbytery at the general assemblies of the church a number of times and served as chairman of some of the general committees. In 1924 he was appointed as commissioner of the World Alliance of Churches holding the Presbyterian system.

Dr. Penhallegon was in great demand as a speaker on puclic occasions, and as laying of cornerstones, dedication ceremonies, and the like. He was unusually successful at raising funds for building new churches and paying off old debts. He delivered the address at the cornerstone laying of the James Millikin university, and gave the dedicatory address when the Conservatory of Music was dedicated in November, 1913.
IN POSITIONS OF TRUST
He filled various positions of trust outside his own church. He was always active in the Decatur Ministerial association and served as president at different times. He was the first president of the Macon County Ministerial union when it was organized. For years he served as a member of the official board of the Kemerer orphans' home at Assumption, and was president of that board. In 1915 he was appointed a member of the Decatur library board.
A BUSINESS MAN
While Dr. Penhallegon's greatest work was as a minister, he was largely identified with educational and business interests, which brought him into contact with all classes of men. It was that contact which gave him which gave him a profound knowledge of humanity, a knowledge which developed as the years went by. He was recognized by everyone as a keen thinker, a broadminded minister, a man of positive views, and a diplomat. He was always busy, always kindly, always generous. His popularity as a speaker was great. It was always Dr. Penhallegon who was called upon to make the address of welcome to a new minister coming to the city, or to speed the parting one.
The bitter struggles of his early days put him in close touch with the toiler. He himself said those early struggles were of great advantage to him. He tried to reach the people through the practical side of life rather than to appeal to their sentiments and emotions.
Funeral services will be held at 2:30 Sunday afternoon at the first Presbyterian church. The body will be placed TEMPORARILY in the Brownback mausoleum in Greenwood cemetery.
J.M.U. TRUSTEE
Dr. Penhallegon was connected with the James Millikin university since its beginning and was president of the board of trustees at the time of his death. He was long a trustee of Winona college and Blackburn college. As a trustee of the estate of James Millikin he had much to do with the many gifts from that fund made in Decatur.


Decatur Daily Review, 23 Oct 1926

Obituary by Kay Petruca






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  • Created by: janet donner
  • Added: 27 Mar 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 67513835
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Hirt Penhallegon (1849–1926), Find A Grave Memorial no. 67513835, citing Fairlawn Cemetery, Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by janet donner (contributor 46623112) .