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William Elhanan Manning Todd8, (Orrin K.7, William6, Simeon5, Joel4, Ithamar3, Michael2, Christopher1) born Sept. 13, 1864, married Dec. 25, 1890, Rose Jane Stover of Mount Etna, Iowa.
WRITTEN BY A HUNDRED PENS
William Elhanan Manning Todd had the usual ups and downs of a healthy Connecticut and eastern American boy in matters temporal, but being of a practical, active and vigorous mental makeup which often left him high and dry upon the shores of things far future, where some swiftly rolling psychological tidal-wave would land him away thru the years of coming events, when, in the very nature of things, he would sometimes be compelled to “hold his hosses,” “slow down the train,” “change the course of his ship,” “puncture a tire,” or lock his aeroplane to mountain top and “call a halt” for a time. And while waiting would plan the next move on the tresselboard of the yet unborn days.
For a number of years the writer of this sketch has tried in vain to get bits of his story, being able to secure but little, and even now must be content with articles of his life work which appeared at different times in the periodicals and newspapers throughout the length and breadth of the United States, and from other authentic sources from which the following is eptomized:
The Rev. William E. M. Todd, archaeologist and litterateur, is a typical New Englander, and altho spending much of his youth in Virginia was educated in Connecticut schools.
Always an inveterate reader from his earliest days, besides his careful studies he devoured two whole libraries, one private and one public, a later invaluable asset in his chosen vocations. He was ordained in 1890, and has preached and lectured from over five hundred popular platforms and leading pulpits in twenty-nine of the states and the Dominion of Canada; addressed twenty State Assemblies; four interdenominational gatherings and five National Conventions; was member of and addressed fifty local and international councils; edited four periodicals, issued sixty publications, and over two hundred leading journals have published his work; has addressed forty G. A. R. occasions, ten Independence Days, and has spoken in more than seventy-five places in his native state.
He has lectured at a number of institutions of learning, occupied on special occasions more than seventy-five college town pulpits, held six public discussions and has been tendered over forty public receptions. Some of his best sermons are said to have been on “Power of Choice,” Omaha First church, published at Omaha, Creston and Brookfield; “Blessings of Misfortune,” published; “Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver”; “Unity of Religion”, published at Charleston; “The Call of the Twentieth Century”, published, and “His Sword is Dipped in Heaven”, in memoriam of soldiers and sailors lost in the Spanish-American war, on request of the National Monument Committee and published for them. This was a great occasion, the Mayor of the city presiding and the Blue and the Gray veterans present in full-dress uniform. His Alfredian address, commemorating the one thousandth anniversary of the death of England’s great formative ruler, King Alfred, was published and widely commented on, and his pulpit theme on “The Sermon that Christ would Preach,” while the pastor at Key West, Fla., was said to be “the greatest heard in that city in ten years.”
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His studies in Arts, Science, Prophecy, Biography and Literature being unusual, continuous, arduous and successful, his archaeological researches being principally in Asiatic, Egyptian and American antiquities, his demonstrations have met with favor. Thrice he has been called to education work. He has been a careful disciple of the interpretation of the Bible in the beauty of Dr. David Swing, the constructiveness of Dr. Lyman Abbott, the optimism of Dr. R. S. Storrs, and the persistent aggressiveness of the Fathers in the cause of applied Christianity, and from willingness to respond to every call he has been styled “a minister of the people.” His pulpit talks on “Famous Men I Have Known, and the Theology They Taught Me,” and on the Bible “As a Book of Science,” “As the Word of God,” “As a literary Work” and “As an Inspiration,” at union and interdenominational meetings and from his own pulpit have been commended as most timely and helpful; his untiring interest in civil affairs has been appreciated by municipal, commonwealth and national officers, whose communications of hearty accord have been of great encouragement to his ministry. His prayer at the conclusion of one of our great wars entitled “Thanks For National Peace,” was handsomely engrossed and embossed, and sent to the President, the members of the cabinet and also to the Peace Commission and was most cordially acknowleged by each. And at another time he was given the personal thanks of the President and the Secretary of War for his Memorial address in defense of the army in the Philippines.
Contemporaries have mentioned him as a man of unusual scholarly attainments, holding degrees in Art, Law, Science, Theology and Music, with two others pending, he has been indefatigable in his labors in both school and church, as well as in the field of letters, college extension and post graduate work. Association with Learned and Biographical societies supplied inspiration for growing educational enthusiasm, so that even with increasing pulpit endeavors and evangelistic calls, time was found under Divine guidance to help plant schools and to assume college responsibilities, among which a few are mentioned; lectured at Western School for ministers and at Brookfield College, helped to found Mendota College nearly forty years ago, had interest in the founding of the University of Omaha, and Lincoln Memorial University, all strong institutions and doing worthy work. A member of the Co-Educational Association of Virginia; lecturer for the Farmer’s Educational and Co-operative Union of America (4,000,000 members), and director of their Virginia State band of 40 pieces. But chiefly individually founding and establishing Central College in Virginia, a corporation with preparatory schools, literary institute, School of Pedagogy, (Normal Training, with Departments of Agriculture and Domestic Science) College of Arts and Sciences, School of Religion and Conservatory of Music, all standard, acknowledged and accredited in the government. In five years funds were secured, buildings constructed and a student body of over 1400 enrolled–an unprecedented result–the assemblies at school and educational affairs sometimes numbering from 1,000 to 6,000. These associated details resulting in many conversions and in much community improvement leads to the strong conviction that with proper liberty and Heaven-led initiative much and lasting good can be doubly productive.
Dr. Todd was admitted to Holy Orders under an exhaustive examination by a foremost body of New England scholars, the clergy of the Rhode Island Association of Othordox Congregational Ministers, in the old whitedomed Beneficent Church, Providence, and has observed an unswerving ministry, baptismal waters opening to his service for this sacrament from the Naragansett Bay of the Atlantic Ocean to the far western coast. He feels that the church is more moving and appealing than any other modern activity and that every sensible effort possible should be prayerfully and persistently maintained to effectively bring to the public mind the lasting, enduring qualities of a livable christianity. His whole heart is with the church in all her aggressive, pleasant ways to awaken a more or less lost race from the sin-slumbering of these swiftly flying days.
Qualifications and work attaining degrees were graduate studies, and partly for theses on many themes, for numerous phases of activity in the churches and acknowledged standing in scholarship recognized at different times by eminent schoolmen, statesmen and clergymen of New England, the South and the West, from among whom the several notable signatories below are selected. There have been two calls to the legislature, he was twice appointed postmaster and a Naval Chaplaincy was offered. He edited two national magazines and owned and edited an important southern journal with a wide circulation and was national correspondent for five standard religious periodicals. He was member of the great Eccumenical Council on Foreign Missions in New York City in the spring of 1900, was vice-president of National Cyclopedia of America Biography, for years lecturer before many patriotic bodies and an accredited delegate-at large to the Atlantic National Congress for a League of Nations, under the auspices of the League to enforce peace, held in New York, February 5-6, 1919.