Harlan G. Mendenhall

Rev. H. G. Mendenhall, now of Kansas City, but formerly of Grand Forks, has been in the city for some days as the guest of E. M. Prouty.  Mr. Mendenhall was at one time proprietor of the Grand Forks Plaindealer, but now he is pastor of a prominent Presbyterian church in Kansas City.  He is becoming quite portly in personal appearance and intimates he has quit the newspaper business for good.  When he purchased the Plaindealer (From W. J. Murphy in early 1889) he paid a good stiff price, but the paper did not correspond to expectations in income. (The Saint Paul Daily Globe, Saturday Morning, October 5, 1895, Volume XVIII, Number 278, Page 8).

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REV. HARLAN G. MENDENHALL, pastor of the First Presbyterian church in Grand Forks, North Dakota, is also president of the Grand Forks Plaindealer Company, that paper being owned by a stock company.  He is one of the most powerful pulpit orators in the Red River Valley and a man of excellent literary attainments.  He is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Chester county of that State on the 12th of April, 1851, and is the son of W. B. and S. A. (Harlan) Mendenhall, natives also of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Mendenhall, of whom this article treats, attended the common schools in Chester county until he was ten years old, when he entered the Willis Seminary, East Hampton, Massachusetts, which he attended for two years.  In 1869 he was connected with the Springfield, Massachusetts, Republican, and later he entered LaFayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, and after one year went to the Western Theological Seminary, Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, where he remained three years, graduating with high honors in 1874.  From 1875 to 1878 he was pastor of the Third Presbyterian church at Fort Wayne, Indiana, and for the succeeding three years had charge of the Sixth Presbyterian church at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania 

From Pittsburgh he was transferred to Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, where he had charge of the pastorate for two years, and in

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November, 1883, was stationed at Lamoure, Dakota Territory, where he remained till the following April.  In the summer of 1884 he took charge of the First Presbyterian church at Grand Forks, North Dakota, where he has since remained.  He is a man of extensive and versatile knowledge, a thorough scholar and a forcible speaker.  He is a powerful orator, and is popular and highly esteemed wherever he is known.  In February, 1889, he bought an interest in the Grand Forks Plaindealer, of which he is president.  The paper is owned by a stock company, and is one of the leading journals in the Red River Valley.  Mr. Mendenhall is a man of the strictest honor and integrity, and is a conscientious Christian gentleman.

Our subject was united in marriage in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, on the 12th day of October, 1882, to Miss Lucretia Brewer, who died in that place, March 18, 1883.  She was an estimable lady and highly esteemed by all who knew her for her many virtues.  Our subject is a member of the military order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, and also belongs to the Sons of Veterans.  In political matters he affiliates with the republican party. (Illustrated Album of Biography of the Famous Valley of the Red River of the North and the Park Regions, Including the Most Fertile and Widely-Known Portions of Minnesota and North Dakota, Alden, Ogle & Company, Chicago, 1889).

A FAREWELL.  Interesting Exercises at the Presbyterian Church.  Last evening the Presbyterian church was the scene of a large gathering to bid farewell to Rev. H. G. Mendenhall as pastor.  The reception was under the direction of the ladies of the church and congregation, and although called together for an unpleasant duty the meeting had an unexpectedly happy termination.  Around the altar a large number of flowering plants added a sweet fragrance to the atmosphere and made the surroundings more cheerful.  Nearly an hour was spent in receiving visitors and presenting them to Rev. Mendenhall.  All were cordially greeted and many were the expressions of regret tendered the retiring pastor.  After the pleasant preliminaries were completed, J. Walker Smith rapped for quiet.  Don McDonald ascended the platform, said he had been asked by the committee to speak a few words of farewell to their pastor.  To Rev. Mendenhall he said:  “The members of this congregation desire to express the deep feeling of regret with which they part with you as pastor.  During the past five years you have been our friend, advisor and comforter.  Our hearts are too full to express our gratitude for the services you have rendered us – you have been our guide in all duties.  As a small token of appreciation, the congregation desire me to present you with this watch.  The metal is emblematic of the golden truths you have taught us.”

After a moment’s pause Mr. Mendenhall spoke in reply expressing the sorrow it caused him to part with them as pastor and referring to the hours he had so pleasantly spent in the homes of his congregation and saying:  “I cannot say more than I did from the pulpit the Sabbath morning I left you but I can turn the story and say this gold is an emblem of your purity of heart and kindly feeling.  These hands as they go around will point to the passing time and bring eternity.  I have a surprise in store for you which I think can be more expressive of my feelings than I can utter.  Several of you wanted to know what I had in my hand.  I will tell you.  You will all remember how, when the organ was purchased and the frescoing was being done, the church gave a note for the work and became in debt.  I hold in my hand the note now, amounting to $913 which has written across the face of it “paid.”  Now, I’m not connected with this gift understand, but these two gentlemen (to his right) having cancelled this note the church is free from debt.  Thank God.  Farewell! till we meet in that everlasting home, where there are no tears or weeping and all is bright as day.  I think we can do no better than sing the longmetre doxology.”

A brief prayer followed from Rev. Mendenhall and again the ladies and gentlemen moved about, now congratulating each other upon the fact that the church was entirely free from debt.  Many were the surmises as to the names of the gentlemen who had so generously contributed the funds necessary to liquidate the debt.  It was generally conceded that S. S. Titus and J. Walker Smith were the ones and the ladies who have worked so earnestly to furnish the church and keep it free from debt were highly delighted.  Refreshments were served in the parlor, the following ladies receiving the guests and serving the tables:  Madames Burr, Bull, Prouty, Stewart, Titus, Rae, Higham, Lay, Luke, Rucker, Russell, Chapman, Smith, Dow, McDonald, Walker, Freeman and Bosard.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Friday Evening, April 5, 1889, Volume XV, Number 130, Page 4)

RESIGNED.  E. M. Prouty Succeeds Rev. H. G. Mendenhall as Regent.  Rev. H. G. Mendenhall some time ago tendered his resignation as regent of the North Dakota University (UND) to Gov. Mellette, for the reason that his newly assumed duties as the president of the Jamestown college made it inconvenient to longer serve upon the board.  Gov. Mellette has commissioned E. M. Prouty as Mr. Mendenhall’s successor, and he will tomorrow sit with the board at its regular meeting.  Mr. Prouty is well qualified for his new duties from his intimate and extended acquaintance with the University, its needs and its interests.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Monday Evening, September 16, 1889, Volume XV, Number 269, Page 5)

In the fall of 1884 Rev. H. G. Mendenhall, who had been filling a pulpit at Fort Wayne, Ind., broke down in health and came west in the hope that a change might be beneficial.  He settled first at Larimore, but after a few months there consented to take charge of this church (Grand Forks).  He was never regularly installed as pastor, but remained with us until 1889.  The work of the church took on new life under him.  He was of fine personal appearance, an eloquent preacher and very soon took a prominent place in the community.  He was held in high esteem by every one and was greatly loved by the members of the church.  The growth of the work during his time was a lasting nature, and many who took a stand for the Master during his pastorate, have been for years among the best supporters of the church.  (Grand Forks Daily Herald, Tuesday Morning, March 7, 1911, Page 7)


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