William Henry Black


Cumberland Presbyterian Minister ( 1876-1906)

Presbyterian Minister (1906-1930)



W. H. Black - Covington, Ohio - Candidate - Miami Presbytery
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1874, page 104]

William H. Black - Covington, Ohio - Licentiate - Miami Presbytery
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1875, page 80]

W. H. Black - Waynesburg, Pennsylvania - Licentiate - Miami Presbytery
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1876, page 91]

W. H. Black - Centerville, Indiana - Minister - Pennsylvania, Presbytery
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1877, page 89]

Ministerial Necrology

NAME: Wm. H. Black, D.D., LL.D.
PLACE OF DEATH: Marshall, Mo.
DATE OF DEATH: June 23, 1930
AGE: 76

[Source: Minutes of PCUSA General Assembly, 1931, page 557]

Presbytery of Kansas City


(Prepared by President George Herbert Mack, Missouri Valley College)

William Henry Black, son of the Rev. Felix G. and Lydia (Carruthers) Black, was born in Centerville, Indiana, March 19, 1854. Intending to practice law, the sudden death of his father turned his purpose to the gospel ministry. His college and seminary courses were carried closely together and while pursuing these he was in the active ministry. He graduated from Waynesburg College in 1876 and from Western Theological Seminary in 1878. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Miami (C.P.) April 10, 1875, and was ordained by the Presbytery of Pennsylvania (C.P.) Sept. 14, 1876. He was at the same time supplying the churches of Old Concord, Pa., 1875-6, Centerville, Ind., 1876-7, and entered upon his Pittsburgh pastorate in the latter year before the end of his seminary course. In 1881 he became pastor of the Lucas Avenue (C.P.) church of St. Louis, Mo. Thus fourteen years of his life, up to 1889, were given to active ministry in the pulpit.

When the Synods of Kansas and Missouri of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church founded the college at Marshall, known as Missouri Valley College, they offered the presidency to Dr. Black. He first declined it, but on being pressed he accepted, and, with his family, moved to Marshall to March, 1889. He became President Emeritus in 1927. Thus during thirty-seven school years President Black was the active and efficient head of this institution.

In several respects did President Black make distinct contributions. As head of the College he made many friends throughout Missouri, and elsewhere, and received from them generous support. Under his administration six buildings were erected on the campus beside the Main Building, which was here at his coming. He saw the endowment grow from the original $100,000 secured by the Commission of Synod to $650,000. Likewise growth marked the student body through the years.

He was a pulpit and platform speaker of great ability, much sought after for addresses and sermons. He was an orator of dignity, culture and great appeal. Some very important decisions followed addresses which he delivered.

A further distinct contribution was made by his leadership in the union negotiations which brought together the Cumberland Presbyterian and Presbyterian Churches. As chairman of the committee for the former body, he was a wise leader. As one who directed the subsequent litigation, he showed remarkable legal acumen. The result of his services in this respect has been to place upon the records of the United States Supreme Court opinions which will aid in any further church union projects.

Finally, as a leader in the Church, President Black exercised wide influence. Prominent in the General Assembly, listened to always with marked respect, and as a member on important committees, he was one of the honored Church statesmen of his time.

President Black passed away quietly among friends and loved ones at Marshall on June 22, 1930. His funeral in Stewart Chapel was conducted by graduates of the College that he loved, including President George H. Mack, Rev. George P. Baity, of the Westport Avenue Church, Kansas City; and Rev. W. R. VanBuskirk, of the Odell Avenue Church, Marshall.

Dr. Black was married April 3, 1879, at Pittsburgh, Pa., to Miss Mary E. Henderson, whose death occurred on October 14, 1930. Three daughters of this union survive.

[Source: Minutes of the Synod of Missouri (PCUSA), 1931, pages 66-67]

Black Family Information

Updated July 2, 2009

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