Galusha Anderson: Preacher and Educator
Frederick L. Anderson, Author
Elbridge R. Anderson, Publisher
Missouri Civil War Reader, Volume I – now available
The Fight for Missouri by Thomas L. Snead, 1886
The Struggle for Missouri by John McElroy, 1909
The Story of a Border City During the Civil War by Galusha Anderson, 1908
The Crisis by Winston Churchill, 1901
Basil Duke in Missouri by Gen. Basil Wilson Duke, 1911
The Brown-Reynolds Duel, 1911
Cost per CD ROM is $24.95 + $4.00 priority mail shipping
Introduction: What follows is a biography written in 1933 by the son of Galusha Anderson, a minister who spent the Civil War years in the volatile, divided city of St. Louis, Missouri. In a city of often ambiguous loyalties, Galusha Anderson was one of the devoutly loyal Unionists and one of the most committed abolitionists. In 1908 he wrote “The Story of a Border City During the Civil War,” his remembrances of the war years in St. Louis. The book is one of the most valuable records of these years in the city, with many of the major players in the events of the war years appearing in its pages. The perspective is very decidedly Union with Galusha Anderson giving no quarter to the opposition’s viewpoint. But he is a fine writer with a lively, very readable style, and a fine eye for detail. His view of events is uniquely his own and shaped by his own biases so the critical reader must balance the accounts of “The Story of a Border City During the War” with other reading. This is one of the reasons for the particular selection of texts offered in the Missouri Civil War Reader, Volume I, to provide that balance.
The biographical narrative on these web pages, written by Frederick Lincoln Anderson, born in St. Louis in 1862, offers an interesting background perspective on Galusha Anderson, the person, that he didn’t include in his own book. His background as an abolitionist, the tragic loss of his first family shortly after arriving in St. Louis, and additional events in St. Louis, help round out the character of Reverend Galusha Anderson.
The text of “Galusha Anderson: Preacher and Educator” by Frederick L. Anderson is copyrighted material not in the public domain. It may not be copied, reproduced, or distributed without permission. Contact George L. Thurlow for information.
Thanks to Mr. Thurlow for making this account of his great-grandfather possible on these pages. –D. H. Rule
Pages on Civil War St. Louis excerpted from “The Story of a Border City During the War”:
|1832||Born March 7, in Clarendon, Orleans County, N. Y.; son of Seneca and Lucy Webb Anderson|
|1844||12||Converted and baptized.|
|1851||19||Graduated from Alfred Academy.|
|1854||22||Graduated from University of Rochester.|
|1856||24||Graduated from Rochester Theological Seminary.Married Selina Dorr of Dansville, N.Y.
Pastor of Baptist Church of Janesville, Wis.
|1857||25||Martin Dorr Anderson born.|
|1858||26||Pastor of Second Baptist Church, St. Louis.William McPherson Anderson born.|
|1859||27||William and Martin Anderson died January 1 and 3.|
|1860||28||His wife, Selina Dorr, and John Anderson, his infant son, died March 8 and 10.|
|1861||29||Married Mary Eleanor Roberts, April 23.|
|1862||30||Frederick Lincoln Anderson born.|
|1863||31||Trip to England.|
|1864||32||Elbridge Roberts Anderson born.|
|1866||34||Resigned pastorate in St. Louis.Thomas J. Calvert, adopted son, died.
Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Duties in Newton Theological Institution.
|1867||35||Lucy Caroline Anderson born.|
|1868||36||May, 1868-August, 1869, a year in Europe and|
|1869||37||Palestine to recover his health.|
|1871||39||Mary Freeman Anderson born.|
|1873||41||Resigned at Newton.Pastor Strong Place Church, Brooklyn, N. Y.|
|1876||44||Resigned at Brooklyn. His wife very ill.Pastor Second Baptist Church, Chicago.
Norman Kendall Anderson born.
|1878||46||Resigned at Second Church.President of the University of Chicago.|
|1885||53||Resigned Presidency of University of Chicago.Pastor First Baptist Church, Salem, Mass.|
|1887||55||President of Denison University, Granville, Ohio.|
|1890||58||Professor of Homiletics at Baptist Union Theological Seminary, Morgan Park, Ill.|
|1892||60||Transferred to Divinity School of University of Chicago.Vacation in England, Scotland and Norway.|
|1904||72||Emeritus Professor, University of Chicago.Published “Ancient Sermons for Modern Times” (Asterius).
Resided thenceforth principally in Newton Centre, Mass., with some winters in Florida and California and summers in New Hampshire.
|1908||76||“Border City During the Civil War” (St. Louis).|
|1911||79||“When Neighbors Were Neighbors” (stories of his boyhood and home)|
|1915||83||“Science and Prayer and Other Papers”|
|1916||84||His wife, Mary Eleanor Roberts, died June 11, at Winnetka, Ill.|
|1917||85||Published her “Poems and Biography”|
|1918||86||Died July 20, at 5:30 A.M., at the home of his son, Elbridge R. Anderson, at Wenham, Mass.|
GALUSHA ANDERSON was the son of a western New York farmer. He graduated at Alfred Academy in Allegheny, County in 1851, at the newly-founded University of Rochester in 1854, and at the Rochester Theological Seminary in 1854. He was one of the leading men in college and seminary, one of those students whose future seemed to the professors likely to be brilliant. A deep and permanent impression was made on him by that truly great educator, Martin B. Anderson, President of the University, and also by A. C. Kendrick, Ezekiel G. Robinson and Thomas J. Conant. As my father had more of a practical than a metaphysical cast of mind, President Anderson, no relative of his, had by far the greatest influence with him. The President was his beau ideal, and from the day of my father’s graduation his intimate and trusted friend. No other man in all my father’s career exercised such molding power on his character. When my father graduated from the seminary, he was a very handsome young man of twenty-four, perfectly sound in body, with a well-trained analytic mind and the highest scholarly ideals, bouyant, hopeful, courageous, sure of himself, an indefatigable worker, and a Christian devoted unreservedly to Christ and his work in the world. Under the tutelage of the two greatest Baptist educators of the time, princes among men, he had acquired a breadth and liberality of mind and taste which he never lost.
While the whole world lay before him where to choose, two calls came, one to the prominent, well-established First Church of Auburn, N. Y., at $ 1,800.00 a year, and the other to the smaller, more distant church at Janesville, Wisconsin, at $800.00. With little hesitation, against the advice of nearly all his friends, he accepted the latter call, married and moved to Wisconsin.
His first service was a prayer-meeting. It was a dark, rainy night, and the run-down church greeted its new leader with an attendance of seven women and one man. But in a few weeks all was changed. The energy, sympathy and manliness of the young pastor, together with superior preaching, quickly attracted the people. The house was packed at every Sunday service, the Sunday school and the prayer-meeting suddenly took on new life, and soon a gracious revival of religion broke out in the church and the community. Many of the more intelligent and well-to-do began attending the Baptist Church, and the wife of the Governor of the State, Mrs. Barlow, was converted and with many other happy candidates was baptized in the Rock River. The whole two years of the pastorate were marked by mutual love and uninterrupted spiritual and material progress. My father made lifelong friends in Janesville who were a continual blessing to him. He built up the church so solidly that it has ever since been one of the strong Baptist churches of Wisconsin. As he himself said after years of retrospection, he was “successful beyond his most sanguine expectations.”
This happy work ended when, in the fall of 1858, he left to become the pastor of the Second Baptist Church of St. Louis at a salary of $3,000.00. St. Louis was then, as now, the greatest city in the Mississippi Valley, and the largest in the United States west of the great river. His church was at that time the largest Baptist Church west of the Mississippi and probably the largest Baptist Church west of Cincinnati.
He immediately plunged into the work. He carefully kept up his biblical and theological studies and his general reading, but his afternoons and evenings were full of pastoral and denominational labor. He was the faithful friend of the sick and the poor. He always attended the Sabbath School before church and usually taught a Bible class. He preached at 10.30. In later years, he added a Bible class at 2.30. He often preached at missions, colored churches, or union services at 4,00, and then preached again in the evening at 7.00. In addition to the prayer-meeting, he gave an expository lecture weekly on Wednesday evenings. One of his great features was his monthly sermon to the Sabbath School children, taking the place of the usual morning sermon, and popular alike with the children and the adults.
He was deeply interested in City Missions. He constantly visited and strengthened the Jefferson Mission of the church, until it had 400 pupils, a good house, and regular preaching. He revived the dying Fourth Church, cleaned out the secessionists, put in a new pastor, built them a new house, and set them on their way rejoicing. He got a new house built for the Third Church, and started them on the road to their present prosperity. He brought substantial help to the German and Negro Baptist Churches and made them strong. Under his leadership the men of his church in one year raised as much as $12,000.00 for City Missions. All this involved great and taxing labor and many weary and discouraging days, but he won at list. He put the Baptists of St. Louis on their feet. In addition to all this, he was the faithful friend of Shurtleff College and aided in raising its endowment.
But the Civil War was the determining factor in this pastorate. Missouri was a slave state and a border state and St. Louis was its great city, the prize for which the Confederates strove again and again. The fight to hold St. Louis and to keep Missouri in the Union was bitter and often desperate. Sharp and bloody battles were fought on her soil, and were not always won by the Union forces. The people of the city and the state were divided into two hostile camps, continually plotting to secure the advantage in the great contest.
My father was a western New Yorker, “the meanest kind of Yankee,” as a St. Louis neighbor told him. His father had voted for John P. Hale, the original free soiler, for President in 1852, and my father, like him, was an enthusiastic antislavery man. He protected a fugitive slave in his house in Janesville, and was cognizant of the Underground Railroad and its stations in Wisconsin. Yet at first in St. Louis, he restrained his feelings, but voted for Lincoln with 5,000 other Missourians in 1860.
As soon as Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated, my father, alone among St. Louis ministers, began to pray for him in the public services as he had for Mr. Buchanan. This brought forth vigorous protests from the Southern contingent in the church membership, but they were of no avail with the unyielding pastor. Seven days after Fort Sumter surrendered, my father took his stand in a city seething with secessionist intrigues and without a single supporter among his ministerial brethren. He preached on the “Duty of Loyalty to the Government,” and closed by singing, “My Country, ’tis of thee.” In that sermon he said, “There are those here who have assumed the task of dictating what this pulpit shall say. They belong to a class of men who suppose that when a man becomes a minister, he ceases to be a man, to be a citizen, to have an opinion, that he gives his conscience and judgment up to the pew holders, that he speaks, like the puppet on the stage, when some one in the pews pulls the wires. I do not belong to that class of ministers. When I became a Christian minister, I was not conscious of laying aside my manhood. Permit me to say to all such dictators that I shall not bow down to them nor serve them.” Again, “You may differ with me in judgment upon this question, you have your opinions and the right freely to express them and 1 shall have mine. There is no sufficient reason for this rebellion and revolution. It is the most wicked and condemnable of any recorded in the history of nations. The anarchy, conflict and bloodshed, which it has brought upon us, must rest on the heads of those who, without just cause, have inaugurated and carried it forward.” That was a crucial morning in my father’s life, and in the history of the Second Church and of the State of Missouri. The Southern members of the church, slamming the pew doors, marched out in anger. They never came back, nor were they ever asked to do so. Some who requested letters were granted them. The others were excluded.
The results were important. The secessionists of the city, who had been having it all their own way, realized that a leader of the Union sentiment had appeared and all friends of the United States took heart and rallied around him. The final result was that the Second Church became the great Union Church of St. Louis; the great Union generals, who commanded in St. Louis, Halleck, Sumner, Lyon, Hancock, and Scofield, often attended it with their subordinate officers; the new immigration from the North at the close of the war inevitably gravitated to it, and the future of the church for over fifty years was made by that one sermon.
The immediate result was that threats of assassination were freely made, plots were laid to kill my father, secessionist roughs broke the windows of the church during the next Sunday evening service with bricks. Another minister, named Anderson and curiously enough himself a rebel sympathizer, was attacked and seriously wounded by mistake for my father. One of my father’s deacons was shot through the head and killed. The leading opposition daily newspaper advertised that the Devil would preach at the corner of Sixth and Locust Streets (location of the Second Church). But he wrote in his journal for no eye save his own, “None of these things move me. I am in God’s hands and it is my business to speak His truth and leave the consequences to Him. If my poor life is demanded for the sake of establishing an untrammeled pulpit, it could not better be offered up. This unholy rebellion shall receive nothing but condemnation from my lips. May God help me to do my duty.”
His public answer to these threats was his sermon on the “Sanctity of an Oath,” preached June I5, 1861, in which he denounced the oath-breaking all around him as perjury and firmly maintained his position. The reply of the secessionists to that sermon was taken in a raid on their headquarters. A rebel army was approaching St. Louis and, in hope of speedy victory, their sympathizers in the city had drawn up a list of one hundred Union men whom they would immediately arrest if the city was taken. Ninety names were written in black ink. These men were to be given the favor of a trial. The first ten, whose names were written in red ink, however, headed by Frank Blair, were to be seized and hung to lampposts without ceremony. My father stood third on that first list. I think that he was prouder of that recognition than of any other honor that ever came to him. In imagination and memory he cherished it as a decoration, as the red badge of courage and loyalty.
He was one of the leaders of the Union cause in Missouri, loved and honored by all patriotic men. Nicolay and Hay in their “Life of Lincoln” name him as one of five men who kept Missouri in the Union. How much he had to do personally with the taking of the arsenal, and with the bringing of the Constitutional Convention to St. Louis, the decisive act in the whole drama, I cannot discover. But the implications of his words are that he was not only privy to these important plans, but had a subordinate part in them. He was a member of the Home Guard. He drilled and carried a gun when the Union men manned the earthworks against the oncoming rebels.
General Quimby, who was sent by the Government to clean up Arkansas and Louisiana in 1862, offered him a place on his staff with the rank of Colonel, but he thought that he could do more for the cause in St. Louis and declined. Here he often sounded the trumpet note which heartened and inspired the whole loyal population. Mention should be made of his careful and yet passionate testimony against rebellion and slavery in his Thanksgiving Sermon of 1862. He always believed in the ultimate victory of the Federal cause, even in the darkest days, though sometimes in the earlier months he doubted the continuance of the loyalty of Missouri. This courage and optimism were contagious and extremely valuable. They put hope and heart into all good Union men. Their highest expression is found in his Thanksgiving Sermon of 1864, after a dark summer, when even brave men began to despair and to wonder if the war must not end in compromise.
Here is the peroration of that sermon, whose topic was “Peace and the Sword.” “There are those, however, who cry out for peace. Who does not desire it? Have we not had enough of internal strife? Has not enough blood been shed? Yes, a thousandfold more than ought to have flowed. Have we not had enough of lamentation and tears? Let the Rachels, who weep for their children and refuse to be comforted, answer. He has a stone for a heart, who looking on the desolation of war, does not sigh for peace. But peace at what price? At the price of truth? Shall we give up the principle that good government must be obeyed for the sake of peace? Shall we tamely yield the truth that all men are equal in God’s sight and have a right to the products of their own labor? Shall we timidly assent to the tyrannical doctrine that the normal condition of a portion of our race is slavery? We cannot purchase peace at so great a cost. God giving us strength, we never will. Let our wives be widows and our children orphans; let them beg their bread from door to door; let them die without care in almshouses, and be buried uncoffined in the potter’s field; yea, let a conflagration sweep over our land and an earthquake sink it before we yield one rood of our territory to those who, without cause, lifted up the red hand of rebellion against the Government of our fathers in the interest of slavery. And why all this? Because the truth for which we contend is worth more than your life or mine or more than the lives of a generation of men. When peace shall be obtained that is based in righteousness, which flows forth from justice established and exalted in the midst of the nation which grants to all classes of men their inalienable rights, we will sing pæans of joy over it. But if we are to have a peace based on a compromise with iniquity, which will be as deceptive as apples of Sodom, involving our children in disasters more dire than those which have befallen us, every lover of truth and justice and good government will hang his head and in shame shed bitter tears. O God, save us in mercy from such a peace. Give us anything rather than it. Grant us eighty years of war like that waged by the Netherlanders, rather than pour into our cup such an insidious curse…. This is no time for fear or faltering. We must quit ourselves like men, like Christian freemen. Christ, the Prince of Peace, anticipated such conflicts, and his words, corning across the centuries, shall cheer us till the last blow is struck, truth vindicated, and righteousness immovably established.”
Probably the greatest thing my father ever did was his contribution towards keeping Missouri in the Union. It had a mighty influence in keeping Kentucky, West Virginia and Maryland there. It cheered and strengthened Abraham Lincoln, who watched this struggle with observant eye and anxious heart. It encouraged the whole North. It put 109,000 men into the Union armies. It is quite possible that this great military force added to the Federal Army really decided a conflict that often trembled in the balance; and equally it disheartened and weakened the enemies of the United States.
But in addition to these activities, the war imposed on my father many extra burdens. Besides ministering to his own large congregation, he cared for the refugees, who poured into St. Louis by the thousands before the advance of the rebel armies, and for the Union and rebel wounded and sick. Almost every day he visited the great Sisters’ Hospital until he was given the entire charge of the religious work in the Fifth Street Hospital. He took charge of preaching to the soldiers in one of the camps. He served on the Christian Commission, which carried through the great Sanitary Fair among other things, and finally he took his part in establishing negro schools throughout the city. More than this, he carried on a campaign in behalf of the loyal Baptists out in the state, organized and became President of the loyal Baptist State Convention, and established a loyal denominational paper.
These labors at length broke down even his frame of oak, and he finally resigned in April, 1866, and took the Professorship of Homiletics at Newton. During his pastorate in St. Louis, he had become well known to the denomination and had received urgent calls to the First Church of Philadelphia, the Ninth Street Church of Cincinnati, the Second Church of Rochester, the Chair of Old Testament in Chicago, and the Associate Secretaryship of the Home Mission Society.
After seven years in the Newton professorship, which we will discuss under another head, my father was greatly perplexed by simultaneous calls to the First Church of Cambridge, the First Church of Rochester, and the Strong Place Church of Brooklyn. After long hesitation, he finally decided to go to Brooklyn and began a three years’ pastorate there in September, 1873, at a salary of $6,000.00. Here he found a church, which had been long ruled by an exclusive clique of would-be aristocrats, on the edge of one of the poorest districts in the city. The central thing in the pastorate was a successful contest against this clique and the transference of control to a group of younger successful business men, who were desirous of winning the common people of the neighborhood. Excellent audiences always greeted my father. Many were baptized, among them some who for many years were pillars of the church. An effective constructive work was done. But here my mother lingered at death’s door for months with cerebro-spinal meningitis, and the physicians assured my father that she could never recover her health on the seacoast.
He therefore in 1876 accepted a call to the Second Church of Chicago, which at that time was the largest white Baptist church in the country except Tremont Temple, a harmonious, simple-hearted, working church. This was the happiest period in my father’s career, except perhaps the pastorate at Janesville. He was now in his early maturity, forty-four years of age, had entirely reestablished his health, had great audiences, wide influence, was sincerely loved by his leading men, had the best of helpers in Aunt Lizzie Aiken, nomen semper vererandum, and a church which devoted itself to its Christian business gladly and wholeheartedly. There were no crises in this happy two years, but a steady, fruitful, growing work.
In February, 1878, my father was implored to help save the old University of Chicago, and thinking it his duty consented, much against the unanimous wish of his church. This Presidency of the University, which we shall describe later, was followed by his last pastorate, at the First Church of Salem. My father came to this brief pastorate of eighteen months, July, 1885-January 1, 1887, a weary, discouraged man, after what seemed to him his first and only great defeat. It was to him a haven of refuge and rest, where in the midst of genial surroundings, his spirit gradually revived. The hearty welcome which he received from the Boston brethren, after his hard usage in Chicago and in the Vassar affair, made him feel that he had not lost the esteem of his brethren. His election to the Foreign Board was especially gratifying to him. All this, of course, was subjective, known only to the family circle. Outwardly he was calm, genial, courageous. The Salem church recognized that a master hand was at the helm and the little city soon began to honor him. He built up excellent audiences. The Sunday School and prayer-meeting responded to his touch, and he gave himself with delight to the preaching of the gospel which he loved. But he was too big a man to spend his years in Salem, and in the fall of 1886, Denison University called him to its Presidency and Richard was himself again.
These five pastorates, all but one very short, occupied nearly seventeen years of my father’s life. They were a joy to him. He loved to proclaim the gospel and to shepherd the flock. As a pastor, he was diligent, faithful, sympathetic and sensible. He was equally at home in the houses of the poor and the rich. He was a good leader of the church, because he saw clearly, expounded his policies patiently and convincingly, was persistent in urging them, took a large part of the burden of them himself, and carried them through with conspicuous ability. He was a good administrator, broad in conception, careful in detail, forceful in execution. But my father’s glory was in the pulpit. He was a master of the art of preaching. This is high praise, but it will stand every legitimate test. He always had large audiences. Even when he began pastorates with practically empty houses, it was only a short time before they commenced to fill and soon were full. And the people were always interested and attentive. The common people heard him gladly, and the more scholarly were equally delighted. Although he never used any claptrap or indulged in sensationalism, he was a popular preacher in the best sense. And the highest tribute was that the people did not so much praise the sermon, but went out with hearts stirred to adoration, devotion and duty. Unlike many to which it is a pleasure to listen, my father’s printed sermons read as well as they sounded. Standing there upon the printed page, they are still clear, pungent and eloquent. This is an acid test.
Many of the best churches of our denomination coveted my father for his preaching and urgently called him. The Hyde Park Presbyterian Church of Chicago, which he served for over a year, offered to give up infant sprinkling, if he would be their pastor. The leading Universalist church in Chicago, Robert Collyer’s, was loath to let him go at the end of three months. He charmed Dr. Little’s church in Dorchester after he was eighty, and they asked him to be their stated supply. He was the preacher at the May Anniversaries in 1891, was often asked to preach at State Conventions, was a favorite at the University of Chicago, and when over eighty was preacher at Wellesley. One of the greatest comforts of his old age was that the historic First Church of Providence invited him to be their sole summer supply for his last two years, and during his last illness, he received a request to serve them in like manner for the third time.
Allow me to quote from a letter written in 1916 by a distinguished Congregational theological professor and author, who stole away from his own church while a Harvard student to hear my father at the Old Cambridge Church in the 70’s. “Your preaching has always remained in my mind as the greatest which I ever heard. Always uplifting and full of inspiration, it left me on the mountain tops of religious thought and feeling. Delivered without notes, the address was direct, simple, chaste and beautiful in diction, guided and borne on by a distinct current of definite, original and beautiful thought. And it was religion in its clearest, most essential and universal elements. More than any one thing, those addresses made my ideal of preaching and have been the model on which I have formed my own poor efforts…. Nor were my impressions of that preaching the results of immaturity and lack of knowledge of great men and great speaking. Years afterwards, when I entertained you at _____ and heard you preach all one Sunday, I hung entranced on every word. You were for me and you are now the unexcelled preacher, not only perfect in form, but unequalled in thought.” If we discount this somewhat extravagant encomium fifty per cent, we shall still be right in calling my father “A master of the art of preaching.”
And what was this preaching? Behind it was a forceful, well-balanced man of wide sympathies and deep and varied experiences, capable of great emotion which was always under admirable restraint. Great labor had been bestowed on the sermon and it had been carefully prepared for delivery, always without notes. My father lead an excellent voice, a clear enunciation and insisted on a conversational tone in preaching, speaking directly to the hearers. Sermons, to his mind, must always be conceived in the second and not in the third person. The language was simple and the exegesis carefully worked out and plainly presented. Definition was always a strong point. My father insisted that both he and the people should know exactly what he was talking about. The main thought or proposition was then clearly stated and more thoroughly analyzed, the points of the sermon sticking out conspicuously and therefore sticking in. Application of the truth presented was always a large part of the sermon, for my father was above all a practical preacher. He used all kinds of sermons, but expository, practical and historical sermons were his favorites, and he carefully avoided going too far into metaphysics or the technicalities of theology. He always preached as if the subject was of profound and perhaps decisive importance. President Strong wrote to him in 1903, “You know how to preach. That direct, incisive, sensible, sympathetic style especially befits the gospel message.”
The greatest sermon I ever heard my father preach was on “Eternal Life,” a new sermon for the Newton Centre Church in 1915. Of his published sermons I can hardly chose between “Peace and the Sword,” preached Thanksgiving Day, 1864, and “The Kingdom That Changed Rulers,” preached before the Baptist Young People’s Union in Providence in 1903.