Page 640-642, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.

Rev. Isaac Mooney


Rev. Isaac Mooney.—The first sermon I ever heard preached in my life came from the lips of Rev. Isaac Mooney, and it gave me a favorable impression of the ministry. It was in the little old Diamond Creek school house that stood in what is now the western edge of the town of Potwin. I was about six years of age, and it was before the days of churches in northwest Butler. The country was sparsely settled, but the neighbors came from great distances to hear the sermon, which was the first to be preached in the community for a long time. I well remember the particularity with which I was cautioned by my good mother as to my behavior, and my childish curiosity as to what a sermon was like and how a preacher would look. I had heard of preachers, but had never seen one, and had only a vague idea of what a sermon was like. There were no song books in the neighborhood and the services were conducted without music. Rev. Mooney did not charge for preaching, and the "hat" was not passed. It was the primitive beginning of a religious awakening in the community. Rev. Mooney came up from Towanda about once a month to preach and the "neighbors" all attended, and if Isaac Mooney left the same impress upon others as he did upon me in my early childhood, as he no doubt did, his memory will brighten with an imperishable luster throughout all eternity.

Isaac Mooney was born in Miami county, Ohio, May 22, 1820. He died at Towanda, Kans., October 20, 1902. Coming to Kansas in 1869,


he purchased from J. R. Mead, the old Indian trader, the land lying south of Main street, upon which the town of Towanda now stands, and homesteaded the land north of Main street, moving thereon in 1870. In 1871 he platted and laid out the town site.

Isaac Mooney was married to Eliza Rhodehamel, of Miami county, Ohio, in 1848, and was the father of nine children: Mrs. G. W. Lane, of Pomona, Cal.; Sol R. Mooney; Vol P. Mooney, author of this history of Butler county; Mrs. Dr. F. T. Johnson, now deceased; Mrs. A. Swiggett, Walter Mooney, Mrs. E. A. Spalding, Joseph Mooney and Mrs. M. Orban, Jr. Mr. Mooney became a Christian in early life and was ordained a preacher in 1843. He never preached for pay. His first sermon in Butler county was preached in June, 1870, and he continued preaching till the time of his death. He was a farmer before coming to Kansas, preaching on Sundays in the summer time, and holding meetings every Sunday, and almost every night during the winter season. He married more than 1200 couples during his ministry and preached about the same number of funeral services.

The first funeral sermon I ever heard was also preached by Rev. Mooney in the same old Diamond Creek school house. A little baby daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Cornelius died, and my father rode down to Towanda and notified Rev. Mooney, who came and performed the last sad rites. Strange and incredible as it may appear, I still remember the text which Rev. Mooney used, although I was very young. It read: "Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh." Rev. Mooney's last act was a double wedding about a week prior to his death, and it was said of him that he had either married or buried almost every one he had ever known. His patriarchial presence in the community in which he lived so long, was like a perpetual benediction, and he compelled by his goodness, his gentleness, his patience and his rectitude, the respect, affection and reverence of all who knew him, and especially of the little children, to whom his arms, like the Master's were always outstretched in sympathy and kindness.

The Walnut Valley "Times," through my beloved friend, its editor, Alvah Shelden, who attended the funeral, said: "Elder E. Cameron of Sycamore Springs, associated for a quarter of a century in church work with Rev. Isaac Mooney, preached the sermon yesterday. The attendance was the largest ever known at a Butler county funeral. He was the founder of churches, an establisher of Sunday schools, and a preacher of the Gospel, without money and without price. At his death he left surviving him, eight children, thirty grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

I seized a brief respite from the never-ending cares of business to attend the funeral myself of the good man who had preached the first sermon I ever heard, and whose daily life had ever afterwards charmed me with the perpetual perfume of its unbroken and uninterrupted good-


ness. The sentiment that possessed my heart on that occasion was shared by every person present. I have known many good and worthy men, but should I be called upon to select from among them the one who, in my opinion, had come nearest to living a perfect, unselfish, unblemished, patient, forbearing, tireless and effective Christian life, I should unhesitatingly name Rev. Isaac Mooney; and with a heart full of affection, admiration and gratitude, I pay this tribute to the rich and radiant memory of this beloved pioneer, patriarch and preacher of Butler County. His good deeds live after him.

Written by J. B. Adams.

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