Church: Greenwood - Zion Church of Christ (History of Pastor - 1980)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Hendren

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 6/12/1980

Zion Church of Christ (History of Pastor - 1980)

Zion Church of Christ of Greenwood will soon be celebrating an anniversary. Having purchased the present church from another denomination, the event has brought to light events of by-gone days.

It was on October 9, 1866, when William Turner Hendren took for his bride Lorinda Milwaukee Wright as his bride in the home of her twin sister in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. He was a native of Ohio and a graduate of Western Teleological Seminary in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Together, they went to Caledonia, Minnesota, where he was a presbyterian minister for six years.

In 1872, he was called to Neillsville where he built a brick church at the corner of 5th and Court Streets. He served for 29 years as pastor. In a brief history of this church it says. “No man is better known in Clark County than the pioneer and founder of the church, Rev. Wm. T. Hendren.” It goes on to tell that he had gone to every schoolhouse for miles around. Many are the stories of his heroism in facing all kinds of weather to keep his appointments.

While in Neillsville, the Hendren’s adopted a daughter, Emma, and also took in Edith McIntyre, who became Mrs. Willis Peacock. The two girls were with them when they went to Greenwood.

The record says that at Greenwood the chapel was too small. He purchased the land to erect a Presbyterian Church. There were only eleven families in the church membership. He deeded his land to the Presbyterian Church for $2.00. The following year the land was mortgaged for $600 (1892) in the name of the Synod of Wisconsin Presbytery of La Crosse. This must have been for the construction of the new church.

Missionary work had been the goal of Hendren, but he failed a physical exam which would allow him to go to Africa. But that idea provided he sent his gold watch and chain to the African post as an expression of his interest.

In Greenwood, he also purchased the one block west of the church ground for a family home. The street on which the house was located was name for him.

Hendren was not a selfish man. He had written in his will in 1903 that $1,000 be paid upon his wife’s death or upon the 15th birthday of Genevieve Joyce Ball, the only daughter of the late Mrs. Emma Hendren Ball. The rest of his possessions were to go to Lorinda, his companion and helper in life since October 9, 1866. He did not say where this would go if Lorinda were no longer living.

It was in May in 1910 that a new Town had been organized in Township 26 North, Range 3 West. It had been give a name but the next day the County Board of Supervisors voted to rename it and selected “Hendren” in honor of the Rev. Hendren.

In appreciation, Hendren responded at the next session of the board with these words: “I Wm. Turner Hendren, a resident, of Neillsville from 1972 to 1891 and a resident of Greenwood from 1891 to 1910, 38 years in all, take this opportunity to express to you my heartfelt thanks for the hour conferred upon me at your session in May last when you chose my family name as the name of the newly organized Town of Hendren in this county. By me, this honor was entirely unsought and unexpected. Being born near Columbus, Ohio, I can now say that I have spent one-half of my life as a citizen of Clark County and if during these long years I have done anything worthy of this honor, I am pleased to have 40 good men say so in black and white. Gentlemen, I thank you one and all for your kind remembrance.”

Hendren was no longer a young man and for some reason the Synod had not called another pastor to replace him. The congregation was not increasing in strength and the building was finally sold to the Zion German Reformed Church for $1,000.

Hendren continued to be active in the community. An old timer recently recalled his pattern of helping others. In crossing the city on foot, he would pull up a carrot here and another there. By the time he reached the home intended, he would have a handful of carrots for the family. No one seemed to resent his actions. Helping out others had earned him the name, “The Old Shepherd of Clark County.” His wide-spread church activities is still in evidence among dusty papers, like a marriage certificate at Tioga.

The Rev. Hendren died in 1920. Although he did have a lot in the Neillsville City Cemetery he was laid to rest in Greenwood.

Lorinda Hendren lived in the house on Hendren Street until she want to live with Mrs. Peacock. The house had been left for Barbara Jean and Mary Agnes Peacock, but their mother, who was their special guardian, sold it to Arthus and Gertrude Currie in 1930. Mrs. Hendren died in 1935.



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