Sunday, August 19, 2012

Stories From the Minnigh Family - Part 1

**Post has been updated...thanks to Cousin Joel for clarifying some of the details

Picture taken circa 1938
left to right: Wendell Minnigh, Circie Bates Minnigh, Elmer O. Minnigh

Wendell E. Minnigh (1911-1986). Graduated from high school 1928, attended Allegheny College and Boston University School of Theology. He was a pastor at a number of Methodist churches in Western Pennsylvania. He held, over the years, several high level administrative appointments within the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the (United) Methodist Church. In high school and college he was a member of Varsity Baseball and he was also outstanding in tennis and was a member of the varsity swim team. He also played the clarinet and piano.

Wendell was extremely intelligent and well read.

My Grandfather (Robert Minnigh) once said about Wendell..."I got to know him quite well over the years and in my judgement, had he not chosen the ministry, he could have mastered whatever he chose, particularly law, as his father had before him, or because of his speaking voice and good looks the theater or movies."

Wendell married Alene Hyde, who also excelled at swimming and tennis. They first met in Volant when they were both 6 and went to the first grade together. Alene's family attended the church Elmer Minnigh pastored. They were reconnected in about 1932. Together they had five children: Wendell Jr., Diane, Judith, Miriam (Mi-Mi) and Joel.

Wendell's Obit: PA--Sharon Herald....11 Sep 1986
REV WENDELL MINNIGH Sr: Greenville; 74, died Wed morning (9/10/86) in Gilmore's White Cliff Nursing Home after an extended illness. MrMinnigh was born 11 Nov 1911 in Tidioute, to the late RevElmerO & Circie Annette Bates Minnigh. He was a 1928 graduate of Conneautville High School & a 1933 graduate of Allegheny College. He earned a bachelor of sacred theology degree in 1938 from Boston University School of Theology. In 1959 Allegheny College awarded him a doctor of divinity degree. He served Methodist churches in NewCAstle, Townville, Crawford County & UnionCity. From 1948-1964 he was pastor of First Methodist Church-Greenville; then he went to Pittsburgh where he served for 2 years as pastor of Emory Methodist Church. In 1966 Appointed disrict superintendent of the Allegheny District Western PA, which in 1968 became the Butler District of the Western PA Conference of the United Methodist Church. In 1972 he became pastor of the United Methodist Church-GIrard. He officially retired in 1975 & returned to Greenville. {several more paragraphs re activities} Surviving are his wife the former Alene Hyde, whom he married 26 Dec 1934; 5 children: Diane Minnigh-Boston; Judith (MrsThomas) Gardner-Girard; Miriam Marshall-BerthoudCO; Rev WendellE MinnighJr-BathNY; JoelD Minnigh-Pittsburgh; a bro: HaroldA Minnigh-Cooperstown & 7 grandchildren. Two bros preceded him in death. Service will be Sat for the former pastor of Greenville First United Methodist Church, a district superintendent for the United Methodist Church & long-time trustee at Allegheny College-Meadville. {Services will be held Sat in First United Methodist Church with his son Rev DrWednell MinnighJr officiating, burial in ParkLawn Cem. Arrangements by Loutzenhiser-Jordan Colonial Funeral Home}

Circie Annette Bates (1881-1941).

Circie Annette Bates

Her parents had owned a considerable amount of land in Ohio bordering on the Pennsylvania state line at a place, appropriately named "State Line". They raised horses among other things. Her parents donated some land and money for the construction of a Methodist church in State Line.

George Bates
Father of Circie 

Nancy Towner (Bates)
Mother of Circie

As a teenager, Circie, was the official rider, when it came time to prepare her parents horses for riding, it was her job to accustom the horses to having someone on their back, which they didn't always take too kindly to. But she prevailed.

Upon the completion of the church in State Line, the very first pastor to occupy the pulpit on Sundays was a man named Elmer Orville Minnigh (unmarried). Circie would accompany her parents to church on Sunday and by the time she had reached the age of 18 and the pastor the age of 38 a courtship had begun and a wedding followed in 1900.

Circie Annette Bates, Elmer O. Minnigh with son Harold

My Grandfather (Robert Minnigh) once said about Circie: "I was fortunate enough to have known Circie quite well, having visited her during my summer vacations. We spent much time sitting on the front porch at Robinson Chapel during the warm days of summer while war clouds were gathering over Europe - just prior to WWII. Our game was Chinese Checkers. If I ever did win a game - I don't remember. She would laugh heartily whenever she won. I venture to say if she were here today. I would still not be able to beat her. She was a wonderful grandmother to me."

Circie Bates and Elmer O. Minnigh

Circle played the piano and organ at church services and also had a piano in the house.

Elmer and Circie had 4 sons: Elmer Jr. (who died shortly after birth - approx 1901), Harold Arden (born 1902), Wendell (born 1911), and Marion LaFern (born 1915 - died 1918 at the age of 3).

Circie Bates with son Marion LaFern
who died at 3 years of age

Marion Minnigh

Circie Bates Minnich {Minnigh} Obit: Mrs. Elmer Kinsman; 59, died at home here Thursday evening after a 2 month illness. She was born 12 Jun 1881 at State Line, a daughter of George and Nancy Bates and was a member of the Methodist Church. Surviving are her husband, Rev. Elmer Minnich; 2 sons: Harold - Linesville; Rev. Wendell-Townville; 5 grandchildren; 2 sis: Mrs. Charles Bush - Williamsfield; Mrs Harry Sharp-Kinsman; 2 bros: Morah Bates - Conneaut and Earl Bates - Denver Co. Service will be held Sun afternoon at McLean Funeral Home with Rev Lee Smith-Sharon and Rev Albert Marriott - Meadville officiating. Burial will be at Jamestown PA (ParkLawn Cem)

Elmer Orville Minnigh (1861-1945).

Elmer O. Minnigh and Circie Bates

His parents had a 200 acre farm located at Bradleytown (named after his mother Eliza Bradley's father, John Bradley). Elmer was born there. He was the only son of Eliza and William Minnigh. He had two sisters: Mary (May) Adeline Minnigh (McLean) 1862-1936 and Catherine Amanda Minnigh (Foster) 1867-1938

Catherine Amanda Minnigh (Foster)
Elmer's Sister

He attended the Sunville Seminary in PA. Sunville Seminary was a high school located near Bradleytown. Elmer graduated from there in 1878. He attended Allegeheny College where he graduated with degrees of A.B. and A.M. in the class of 1882. He was a classmate of Clarence Darrow - famed lawyer to be. During that time Elmer, for a while, dated Darrow's sister, Mary, who lived at the family home in Kinsman, Ohio. Incidentally that home is now on the National Register. The distance from Allegheny to Kinsman was close to 50 miles and could be reached via a trolley. So on weekends Elmer would travel to visit. Just how serious of a relationship it became, is unknown to me, but it apparently ended up on his graduation from Allegheny and enrollment at the university of Michigan. Elmer graduated from that institution with the degree of LLB. He was to practice law, successfully in the state of Missouri for eleven years and then dedicated his life to Christian Service, being ordained and received into the Methodist ministry in 1895. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta National College Social Fraternity, of which he was a charter member.

left to right: Elmer O. Minnigh, Eliza Bradley, Harold Minnigh holding son Robert Minnigh

left to right: Circie Bates, Elmer O Minnigh, Wendell Minnigh, Harold Minnigh, Eliza Bradley and George Bates

He was extremely articulate, with a voice that was made to order for a lawyer or minister.

Robinson Chapel in Parker, PA

My Grandfather (Robert Minnigh) once said about Elmer..."He was most impressive while standing at the pulpit on Sundays. I, at the young age of 12, found myself mesmerized by his sermons whenever I was at one of his Sunday services. He would spend hours during the week in his "study" preparing his up-coming sermon, and when Sunday arrived, when he approached the pulpit he would have only his bible in his hand. And from that moment on, until he had concluded his sermon, everyone within earshot was hearing a story being told in such a way that it was hard to believe that he had not personally witnessed everything first hand. As a lawyer he must have been outstanding. He was a good and wise man."

Elmer was active in his ministry for 50 years and died at the home of his son Wendell.

New Castle Newspaper Saturday March 17, 1945

Obit says: Rev. E. O. Minnigh Dies in Union City
Well-known retired minister passes away at home of his son Thursday.
Rev. E. O. Minnigh, retired Methodist minster, passed away, following a month's illness on Thursday March 15, at the parsonage home of his son, Rev. Wendell E. Minnigh, 46 East High Street, Union City, PA. Mr. Minnigh was aged 83 years. He had lived with his son since the passing of his wife four years ago this month.

Born June 13, 1861 near Sunville Pa, the only son of William and Jane Minnigh, Elmer Orville Minnigh was the oldest of four children. The others preceded him in death. Mr. Minnigh attended Sunville Seminary and was graduated with honors from Allegheny College, with degrees in A.B. and A.M. in the class of 1882. 

Attending the law school of the University of Michigan, he was graduated from that institution with the LL.B degree several years later practicing law successfully in the state of Missouri for 11 years. Mr. Minnigh dedicated his life to Christian devotion and service and was ordained and received into the Methodist ministry in 1895. Serving in the St. Louis Conference until 1899, Mr. Minnigh transferred back home into the Erie Conference. He was united in marriage on February 7, 1900, with Circie Annette Bates of near Jamestown, PA. They lived happily together for 41 years until the death of Mrs. Minnigh on March 13, 1941 They had four sons, two of whom died in early childhood. Two survive, Harold Arden Minnigh of Linesville, PA and Rev Wendell E. Minnigh, Pastor of the Methodist church in Union City, PA. In addition six grandchildren are living.

The Rev. Elmer O. Minnigh with his wife served the following charges in Erie Conference, Sate Line on the Jamestown charge, Espyville, West Middlesex, Tidioute, Volant, New Wilmington, Linesville, Conneautville, Edinburg and Robinson Chapel, all in Pennsylvania. Little Valley and Silver Creek in New York state. He had served in the ministry of the Methodist church for 38 years in the effective relation and help a pastorate for seven years more following his retirement.

Mr. Minnigh was a charter member of Phi Delta Theta national college social fraternity, a Mason and a member of the I.O.O.F.

His son Rev. Wendell E. Minnigh served at Wesley-Kings Chapel Methodist charge from 1936 to 1938. 

The body will be at the McCurdy funeral home Kinsman O until Sunday, where friends may call. Funeral services in his memory will be held at the Methodist church Jamestown, PA, Sunday at 3 p.m. Interment will be in the family lot in the Jamestown cemetery.

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