Rev. Haydon is the son of Jarvis and Harriet Ann (Mitchell) Haydon, and was born near Lynchburg, Virginia, June 8th, 1835. His father (Jarvis) was born in the same State, February 1st, 1797, and died there February 10th, 1852. His mother was a daughter of John Mitchell, and was born in Amherst county, Virginia, April 18th, 1805. She was married at sixteen years old, and died August 7th, 1850. William Jackson Haydon was the third born in a family of six children, all but two of whom are dead. The other surviving one, Alexander, still lives in Virginia, engaged in railroading. The subject of this sketch received his education at Lynchburg, and Lewisburg, West Virginia, and at an early age professed religion and joined the Old School Presbyterian church. After leaving school Mr. Haydon engaged in the mercantile business at Lewisburg, and was afterwards engaged in teaching. He came to Missouri in the spring, of 1860, landing at Louisiana, where he remained for some time engaged in teaching in Pike county. Subsequently he was engaged in merchandising in Mexico, Missouri, for about five years. Although the war was raging, Mr. Haydon’s zeal in the Christian cause would not allow him to remain idle and he promptly and earnestly engaged in church and Sabbath schoolwork. He was elected a deacon in the church, and his devotion to church work was known far and near, he assisting in the convocation and organization of one of the first Sabbath school conventions ever held in Missouri. The superintendent of missions for the American Sunday school Union recommended Mr. Haydon for Sunday school missionary for North Missouri, and he accepted that work in “times that tried men’s souls.” The war just over, it required great Christian courage to stand up for the cause, but Mr. Haydon, like the Apostles of old, quit his peculiar vocation in which he had been successful, and followed the Master. He was commissioned June 15th, 1866, and has been faithfully laboring ever since. June 27th, 1867, he married Miss Maggie C. Ford, an accomplished young lady of Monroe county, Missouri, and a descendant of one of the best families of Kentucky. Six children have been born of this union, five of whom—Ambrose Paxson, Laura C., Bettie Ford, William Wurtz, and Leonard Mitchell, still survive. The one deceased was named William Jackson, Jr. Ambrose is, at this writing, a student of Drury College. Mr. Haydon came to Springfield in December, 1868, and took charge of the missionary work of Southwest Missouri and Northern Arkansas, under the auspices of the A. S. S. U. He went earnestly to work organizing schools, and has visited nearly all the school houses and churches in this entire region of country, from Iowa to Central Texas. Up to date (February, 1883), he has organized in this State, Arkansas and Texas, 800 schools, and gathered in 50,000 children, besides visiting and aiding as many more, out of which have grown 125 church organizations. In former years he has done the prodigious amount of work of presiding or addressing the people every evening in the week and three times on Sundays, traveling from five to twenty miles to reach appointments. He organized twenty counties into county Sunday-school conventions, and was president of the Greene county convention for seven consecutive years. April 30th, 1878, Mr. Haydon was licensed to teach the gospel by the Presbytery, and has faithfully dispensed the Christian doctrine from the pulpit since then, aiding his brethren in many revivals and meetings. Besides his devotion to the Christian cause in general, he is also a strong temperance advocate, and was, at one time grand worthy patriarch of the Sons of Temperance for Missouri, and, organized 51 temperance lodges. He was one of the original movers in the Confederate Cemetery Association, and is still secretary of the same. In every good work Mr. Haydon is a leader in good works, and well known as one of the best organizers in the West. He is a member of the Odd Fellows’ fraternity, and was grand representative of the Encampment for the session of 1882, held at St. Louis. He has taken all the degrees and passed all the chairs in that order. So far, he has been a success, not only as a Christian worker, but as a good, ready financier. A large, carefully-selected library—mostly works on religious subjects—has a place in his well appointed home, and his comfortable residence is ornamented with works of art and enlivened with music—the two greatest essentials to make home attractive.
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