Mckendree, William

Mckendree, William, a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in King William County, Va., July 6,1757. He was the subject of frequent religious impressions in youth, but he failed to find peace. He was an adjutant and commissary in Washington's army for several years, and was present at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781; in 1787 he was converted, during the great revival that occurred under the labors of the Rev. John Easter; and entered the itinerancy June 17, 1788. In 1796 he was made presiding elder; in 1801 was sent by the bishops to preside over Kentucky District, and to have general superintendence of the Western Conference, then embracing Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Western Virginia, and part of Illinois; and in 1806 was presiding elder on Cumberland District, with the same supervision of the Conference. At the General Conference in Baltimore, May, 1810, McKendree was finally promoted to the highest office in the gift of the Church — the episcopacy. He died March 5, 1835, at his brother's, near Nashville, Tenn., having preached faithfully almost fifty years, been twelve years a presiding elder, and nearly twenty-seven years a bishop in the Church. Bishop McKendree was one of the most eminent of all the preachers and pastors of his age. From the time of his first efforts he was marked as a man of the most vigorous genius, the most genuine modesty, and the most devoted piety. Although not classically educated, his broad and grasping mind went oil acquiring and growing until it had digested and could wield at will a vast and varied knowledge. His imagination was grand and fervid, but always healthy; and could give to his knowledge the freshness of romance, or to his judgment the spell of prophecy. His utterance was copious and forcible, and his voice rich, deep, and flexible. These elements of mind and means, employed by a strong and pathetic heart baptized with the Holy Ghost, made him not only the most truly eloquent bishop that his Church has ever possessed, but one of the best preachers of any Church or age. As a pastor, his administrative abilities were unrivalled. He found the economical methods of the Church crude and indefinite, and imparted to them a systematic vigor; and he was a distinguished promoter of her benevolent institutions. As a man and a Christian he was honored by every class of society. His labors were mighty in laying the deep foundations of evangelical religion in the Mississippi Valley, and his genius and devotion are still a power in the churches, and his memory is blessed. See Minutes of Conferences, 2:402; Life, by B. St. J. Fry, in the M. E. S. S. Library; and that by Bp. Paine, of the M. E. Church South (Nashville, 1869, 2 vols. 12mo); Summers, Biog. Sketches, p. 43; Wakely, Heroes of Methodism, p. 93; Bennett (W. B.), Memorials of Methodism in Virginia (Richm. 1871, 12mo), p. 260 sq.; McFerrin, Hist. Meth. in Tennessee, 1:366; Redford, Hist. Meth. in Kentucky, 2:28. (G. L. T.)

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