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Story Courtesy of Jeff Rankin, Monmouth College Historian Author and Literacy Critic.
historic Quinby House was the home of a founder of Monmouth College. What is
perhaps less well known is that it was also the home of a founder of a Big 10
1867 by Judge Ivory Quinby, a charter trustee of Monmouth College, the large
residence remained in the Quinby family for nearly a century after his death
before it was deeded to the college to be used as a presidential residence. So
how did the university founder fit in? One only need look in the front yard for
curb on North Sixth Street is a weathered stone block, which in the days before
automobiles was used for passengers to descend from carriages and buggies.
Carved into the stone is the name HANEY.
Quinby died a young man in 1869, just two years after Quinby House was
completed. His widow, Mary, continued to live in the rambling house with her
daughter, three sons and a Swedish servant. An important part of her life was
the Methodist Church, which she faithfully attended and supported financially.
Sometime between 1869 and 1972, she became personally acquainted with a
Methodist minister who was presiding elder for the Monmouth district.
Richard Haney was no ordinary minister. He was as famous throughout Illinois as
the legendary Methodist circuit rider Peter Cartwright, of whom he was a
contemporary. Haney’s physical stamina was legendary. In 1845, while riding on
horseback form Peoria to a camp meeting in Preemption, Haney and his horse were
struck by lightning. His left stirrup was melted, but miraculously he and the
known as “Uncle Dick,” it was said of Haney that “his grand physical
proportions and his flashing eyes added to the impressiveness of his delivery.
His voice was sweet, pleading and strong. In the pulpit, at camp meeting,
wherever he preached, men yielded.”
Haney’s influence as an evangelist and leader in the Methodist Church cannot be
overstated, perhaps his most lasting accomplishment occurred in 1850 when he
was pastor of the Clark Street Church in Chicago. Haney served as chairman of a
meeting at which Northwestern University was envisioned. His name appears first
on the university’s charter, and he served as a Northwestern trustee for nearly
wife, Adalane, had died in 1865 after having borne him 10 children. Haney’s
hectic preaching schedule helped keep his mind off his loss, but by 1877 he had
reached the age of 65 and was ready to settle down to a more domestic
existence. On May 1 of that year, he married Mary Quinby and Monmouth became
his new home.
remained active in semi-retirement, serving as an agent of the Conference
Claims Society, of Hedding College, and of Conference Temperance. He also
served terms as pastor at Keithsburg, Hermon, Altona, Orion, Cameron and
Altona. At the time of his death in 1900, Haney was considered the oldest
practicing Methodist minister in the world.
life began in Washington County, Pennsylvania, where he was born in 1812—the
son of a Methodist minister with strong Scotch-Irish roots. When he was 3, his
family moved to Ohio, where he attended Norfolk University and became
proficient in Lantin, Greek and Hebrew. It was said he was the only man west of
the Allegheny mountains who had read the Hebrew Bible clear through.
In 1836 he
joined the Illinois Conference of the Methodist Church, and before the Civil
War served as presiding elder of the Peoria, Macomb and Canton districts. In
1861, he enlisted in the Union army and served as chaplain for the Sixteenth
Illinois volunteer infantry. While at Corinth, he became seriously ill and was
cared for by the wife of Gen. John A. Logan. When he survived what had been
considered near certain death, she accompanied him home to Western Illinois.
Years later, Haney would serve as department chaplain of the Illinois Grand
Army of the Republic.
convalescence was brief. At the session of the Central Illinois Conference in
Galesburg in 1862, Haney was chairman of the committee on the state of the
country and drafted resolutions calling on President Lincoln to free every
slave in the United States. It was the first such action ever taken by an
ecclesiastical body. The resolutions were forwarded to the president and were
widely published by the press.
war illness was not the only time his life was in danger. He was twice stricken
down by cholera and once by typhoid fever, but after each instance he snapped
back stronger than ever. It therefore came as a surprise when he was finally
felled by a heart attack at age 88 in 1900.
gone to Galva for the 60th birthday of his son, who was a pastor there. It was
an especially joyous occasion, as he got to see his grandson, who was his
namesake, preach from the pulpit in the Galva church—representing four
generations of Haney pastors. He then went to his former pastorate at Altona,
where he was to preach the following Sunday. While spending Friday night at the
home of an old friend, he became suddenly ill and died the following morning.
It was in
Altona on Sunday morning that Haney was eulogized in the first of three funeral
services. That night, his remains were taken by train to Monmouth, where he lay
in state at Quinby House.
afternoon, the Monmouth Methodist Church overflowed with mourners from across
the state and a large delegation from the local G.A.R. A quartet performed
special music, and pastors from Monmouth, Bushnell, Keithsburg, Galesburg and
Abingdon took turns in leading the service.
night, Haney’s remains were transported to Peoria, where a final funeral
service was held prior to his interment in Peoria’s Springdale Cemetery, next
to his first wife.
newspaper in Cherryvale, Kansas, provided a fitting coda to the eminent
minister’s life: “Dr. Haney belonged to an early type of preachers. Modern
methods of temporizing and tolerance were unknown to him. He believed that
right was right and wrong was wrong, and he fought the devil on that plan, stoutly,
uncompromisingly and fearlessly, and died as he had lived—fighting gallantly to
City Memories, I’m Jeff Rankin.