Cyrus Haynes

1805 - 1871

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister


The subject of this sketch was born in Indell [sic: Iredell] county, North Carolina, June 16, 1805. When about two years old he came to Giles county, near Cornersville, Tennessee. He was converted to God when a youth in that same country while ploughing in the field of his father. The writer greatly regrets that, after repeated efforts to obtain the necessary data on which to write a full sketch of this good man's life and labors, he has not been successful. But he has determined to pen what he knows, believing that even this will be better than passing over in silence the life and labors of one who bore such an active part in the early work of the Church in Illinois. A letter from Dr. Beard, of Lebanon, says:

"My first knowledge of Rev. Cyrus Haynes was a a student of Cumberland College. When I reached that institution in May, 1830, he was there preparing for the ministry. I number of others whose names I call to mind were there engaged in the same way. Elam McCord, Silas N. Davis, F. C. Usher, J. D. Perryman, John Napier, T. B. Reynolds, were among the number. Mr. Haynes was one of the oldest of those whom I have mentioned. He continued a student to September of that year, when the vacation occurred. The next collegiate year commenced in November. Rev. Hiram McDaniel took charge of the farm and boarding house, and employed Bro. Haynes to superintend the farm. He spent one year in that business. In the following year he entered College again, and graduated in December of 1833. His class was one of the largest and best that ever left the institution. Among them were J. F. Ford and W. A. Scott. Both of these with Cyrus Haynes were licentiates when they graduated. Some time after his graduation he went to Illinois, and I only met him casually afterwards, mostly at meeting of the General Assembly. I have no knowledge of his earlier history. He was licensed and ordained, I suppose, by what was then Elk Presbytery, and is now a part of the same under the old name.

"I entertained a high opinion of Bro Haynes, not so much on account of his ability as his integrity. I had unbounded confidence in the latter. He would have been considered rather eccentric. And he was inclined to extreme opinions; but he filled up my ideas of an honest man. I would have trusted him anywhere and to any extent, as far as integrity of purpose was concerned. From the commencement of my acquaintance with him he was more to me than a common friend and brother. The last time he was at my house he came late in the evening. The next morning I asked him to lead us in our family worship. He read an ordinary portion of Scripture, and commenced to lead us in singing the old hymn:

"'Grace--'tis a charming sound,
Harmonious to mine ear.'"

Before we were half through the hymn, however, he broke down under the force of his feelings, and wept like a child. It was a good morning service, and the last we ever held together in that capacity."

We find on the minutes of the Spring session of Vandalia Presbytery for 1834, that he was received as a licentiate from Princeton Presbytery, Kentucky. He was immediately placed by order of Presbytery on what was called the "Shelbyville circuit," on which he rode five months. From the records of this Presbytery we also find he was ordained to the whole work of the ministry at Bethany church, Shelby county, Illinois, on the 4th of October, 1834. Rev. John Barber, Jr., preached the ordination sermon from II. Cor. ii; 15, 16, and Rev. Joel Knight presided and gave the charge. At the same session we find an order for Mr. Haynes to ride "six weeks" the Shelbyville circuit; and near the close of the proceedings the record says he was dismissed by letter. He became a member of Sangamon Presbytery on the 6th of March, 1835, that body being in session at Mount Pleasant church, Morgan county. At this session Mr. Haynes was appointed principal commissioner to the General Assembly. He was also ordered to ride and preach in what was called "the military tract," and from this on for many years we find the records of this and other Presbyteries abounding with work connected with his name and influence. The following is from the pen of Rev. J. R. Lowrance:

"Mr. Haynes came to Morgan county, Ill., in 1836, and labored in Sangamon Presbytery. He preached the funeral of a brother of mine--the first that ever occurred in my father's family. He traveled extensively in Central Illinois, and labored incessantly for several years. He opened a school in McDonough county, near Macomb. Just before this he was married to a Miss Smith, a most estimable and pious lady. This school was begun about 1837 or 1838. J. G. White and I were pupils in this school about 1839. He then removed his school to Cherry Grove. Here for several years he was quite successful in his school. W. S. Campbell, James McDowell, and others of useful lives were among his pupils. For some cause not remembered he quit this school, and about 1847 opened a school in Stouts Grove, McLean county, Illinois. Here his noble wife ended her useful life of toil., and the writer preached her funeral. After a few years of successful teaching he ceased to teach, entered on the active labors of a traveling minister, and went to the State of Iowa. Here he was again married to a Miss E. T. Biddle Dec. 3, 1852, another noble, intelligent, and pious lady. He traveled and preached for years all over Southern Iowa, an indefatigable worker. About 1860 his health gave way, and for a time his mind was somewhat injured. In 1869 to 1870 he removed to Northern Missouri, and there he sleeps in Jesus. He was a fine scholar and a great student. He published a very learned comment on the sixth chapter of Hebrews in or near 1840. A good reasoner, of great zeal and energy of character, he, as all others, had faults. But he loved his Church and his brethren. Above all, he loved his Savior, and was deeply devoted to the ministry."

We fist met with Mr. Haynes at the General Assembly at Princeton in 1849. He was elected Clerk of that body, and it was the lot of the writer to be assigned to the same boarding place, room and and bed with him. A very king family of Episcopalians, whose name we have forgotten, entertained us very hospitably. For years afterwards, and until near his death, we often met in the Church judicatories, and often corresponded. He certainly was a man of more than ordinary energy, of untiring industry, and undeviating integrity. His efforts to afford the Church and the country better educational facilities than they had previously enjoyed were certainly very successful and worthy of all praise. The seminaries of Cherry Grove and Stouts Grove in that day were among the foremost institutions of learning in the State, and quite a number of men who are to-day in the front rank of society received their education, in whole or part, from these valuable schools.

The last time we met with Mr. Haynes was at the General Assembly in 1863 in the city of Alton. He was only a visitor, and evidently was laboring under some mental aberration. The war was then upon us. Darkness and uncertainty, like a universal pall, hung over the land. How much of his seeming mental infirmity might have resulted from brooding over this terrible national calamity, we do not know. We have never heard of any other probable cause. We do know that many strong minds and stout hearts quailed and sank down into the grave under that dreadful ordeal He was with us in our family circle for some days after the Assembly closed, and, although it was evident that his mind was to some extent impaired, there was nothing in his acts which, in the slightest degree, could be construed into conduct immoral, or which cast any doubt upon the sincerity and uprightness of his former Christian or ministerial character. We felt relieved when we heard he had gone home,

"Where the wicked casue [sic: cease] from troubling,
And the weary are at rest."

Mr. Hayes left a devoted companion and several children, who are all respectable and respected wherever known.

Shortly after his second marriage he removed to Centreville, Iowa, where he remained until 1866, when he removed to Putnam county, Missouri. His health gradually declined, until July, 1871, he gave up all out-door life. He was confined to his room and much of the time to his bed until the 10th of December, when, in the language of his bereaved companion, feeling his end drawing near, he exclaimed, "I feel ready and willing to die;" and sinking into a peaceful slumber his soul was wafted to his Father's house on high.
[Source: Logan, J. B. History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Illinois, Containing Sketches of the First Ministers, Churches, Presbyteries and Synods; also a History of Missions, Publication and Education. Alton, Ill.: Perrin & Smith, 1878, pages 197-202]

Born: June 16, 1805-- Iredell County, North Carolina

Moved: 1807-- near Cornersville, Giles County, Tennessee

School: 1830-33-- attended Cumberland College, Princeton, Kentucky

Ordained: October 4, 1834-- Vandalia Presbytery

Married: 1st wife-- c1836-- Mahala Smith

Married: 2nd wife-- December 3, 1852-- E.T. Biddle-- Lee County, Iowa

Moved: c1853-- Centreville, Iowa

Moved: 1866-- Putnam County, Missouri

Moved: c1869-70-- Northern Missouri


Vandalia Presbytery

Sangamon Presbytery

Rushville Presbytery

Rushville Presbytery
- Sangamon Synod

Rushville Presbytery
- Sangamon Synod

Rushville Presbytery - Sangamon Synod

Mackinaw Presbytery - Sangamon Synod

Des Moines Presbytery - Sangamon Synod

Des Moines Presbytery - Sangamon Synod
[Stated Clerk]

Des Moines Presbytery
Attended General Assembly

Des Moines Presbytery
- Iowa Synod
Attended General Assembly

Des Moines Presbytery - Iowa Synod
Pleasant Home, Missouri

Kirksville Presbytery
- McAdow Synod
Pleasant Home, Missouri

Kirksville Presbytery - McAdow Synod
Pleasant Home, Missouri

General Assembly Mortuary List
Died - December 10, 1871
Member of Kirksville Presbytery

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Updated February 23, 2016