Monday, July 30, 2007

On Vacation

This Week in Texas Methodist History is on Vacation

but before we head to the beach with lots of good reading material like
O. P. Fitzgerald's Doctor Summers: A Life Story, Nashville, Southern Methodist Publishing House, 1884 and George Smith's Life and Times of George F. Pierce, Sparta, Georgia, 1888, there are two unrelated items of interest.

1. I visited a retired member of the Oklahoma Annual Conference last week. He was entertaining me with stories of his ministry in that conference and mentioned Bill Wallace. That really made my ears perk up since Wallace was the subject of last week's column. I asked more about Wallace. My retired preacher friend said that when Wallace was appointed to St. Luke's in Tulsa, he immediately challenged Boston Avenue about who had more organ pipes in the respective churches. It seems that Wallace's competitive juices were still going strong.

2. I stumbled across one of the weirdest stories I've ever heard in my Methodist history research. I was researching the Hardin family of Kentucky. John Wesley Kenney married Maria McHenry whose mother was a Hardin. After Maria's parents died in a cholera epidemic, the Kenney family and Maria's unmarried sister, Lydia McHenry, came to Texas where they made important contributions to the establishment of Methodism in Texas. I know that the family stayed close to their Hardin cousins because of correspondence in the Chicago Historical Society collections. John and Maria named a son Martin McHenry Kenney after Maria's uncle, Martin Hardin.

I was reading in William Barton's The Paternity of Abraham Lincoln: Was He the Son of Thomas Lincoln: An Essay on the Chastity of Nancy Hanks, (1928)
That is one weird book. In it Barton relates the rumor that Martin Hardin had an affair with Nancy Hanks that resulted in a pregnancy. If that rumor were true, Maria and Lydia would be first cousins to Abraham Lincoln! To his credit Barton dismisses the rumor as preposterous. Never know what you'll find when you poke around in old books.


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