Rev. John M. McArthur
From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing
biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.
REV. JOHN M. McARTHUR, of the United Presbyterian Church at Stronghurst, was the first resident pastor of any
denomination in that place. He was born at Mclndoe's Falls, Vt., January 9, 1850. His father, the Rev. James
McArthur, was born in Cambridge, N.Y., January 1815, and was first engaged in farming, then in teaching, and after
the usual courses of study- was graduated successively from Cambridge Academy, Franklin College and Canonsburgh
Theological Seminary. He was ordained September 11, 1846, and settled as pastor of Barnet and Rye-gate
congregations in Vermont for twelve years. In 1859 he came to Henderson County, Ilk, and for thirteen years was
pastor of Ellison congregation, worshipping at Walnut Grove. Impaired health led him then to resign, and his
friends, feeling that he was too valuable a man to leave unemployed, without effort on his part secured his
election by a large majority as County Superintendent of Schools. Refusing re-election, he lived on the home farm
until he removed to be with his sons in Walton, Kan., where he made his home until the Sabbath of October 9, 1SS7,
when he fell asleep. Father McArthur, as a preacher, was clear, earnest and fearless; as a scholar, he would read
for recreation, as he grew old, the Greek theologians, with Latin foot notes; as a pastor, he was a wise winner of
souls, and his presence was accounted a benediction in every home; as a reformer, he successfully opposed evil, and
was that rare man who gained the respect and affection of even the classes he opposed. He lived a life that was a
model and an inspiration, and leaves a fragrant memory of his words and deeds.
The mother of Rev. John McArthur was born in Gloversville, N. Y., in 1826. She was an accomplished woman, who
placed her talents and attainments on the Lord's altar beside her husband's. She was called away by death in 1870,
and was laid to rest in Walnut Grove Cemetery, where her husband has since also received interment.
In the McArthur family were the following children: Nettie, now of Walton, Kan. ; John M., of this sketch; J.
Wellington, who died at the age of thirty-four; Cecil, who is engaged in farming at Walton, Kan.; Samuel R., a
successful clothing merchant, also of Walton; Anna M., who died at the age of twenty-six; and Nellie E., wife of
Henry Brush, of Kansas.
When nine years of age, John M. McArthur came with his parents to Henderson County, 111., and lived but three
and a-half miles from his present church. He was graduated from Monmouth College in 1872, spent one year at the
Newburgh Theological Seminary in New York, and was graduated from the Theological Seminary of Xenia, Ohio, in 1874.
He was licensed by the Presbytery of Monmouth in 1873, and ordained by the Presbytery of Xenia in 1874. In the fall
of that year he was installed pastor at Reynoldsburgh, Ohio, remaining until 1S77; was pastor at McDonald, Pa.,
from 1877 to 1880; at Yorkville, Wis., from 1881 to 1886; and in Iowa, from 1886 to 1890. During 1891 and 1892,
Rev. McArthur was engaged as a lecturer in Ohio, Illinois and Iowa on temperance and kindred themes. Visiting his
former home here in 1892, he was secured as pastor of Stronghurst congregation, and duly installed pastor September
On the 1st of December, 1881, Rev. McArthur married Miss Jennie Burns, of Waupaca, Wis., an accomplished lady,
and peculiarly successful in Sabbath-schools and Junior Bands. James Leroy, their first child, died in his sixth
year; Robert Cecil, Ethel W. and Anna Margaret are the names of the rest.
The standing of Rev. John M. McArthur in pulpit, on platform and in literary criticism, is recognized and
established. Well-organized churches, religious, educational and secular enterprises fostered by his tongue and
pen, the poor and troubled ones who have found his helping hand, and the cultured class of hearers who every-where
attend his ministry, are the witnesses to his consecration to the service of God and man.