Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    An able representative of the Christian church, Rev. Henry Y. Rush has labored effectively in the cause of Christianity. He is a man of ripe scholarship and marked executive ability whose life has been consecrated to the cause of the Master and to the uplifting of man. He has devoted himself without ceasing to the interests of humanity and to the furtherance of all good works. His reputation is not of restricted order and his power and influence in his holy office have been exerted in the spirit of deepest human sympathy and tender solicitude. He is not at the present time connected with any religious organization as its pastor, but is living retired in West Milton, Miami county.

    Mr. Rush was born in Randolph county, North Carolina, August 25, 1835. His father, Azel Rush, was also a native of Randolph county and was a son of Benjamin Rush, whose birth occurred near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The great-grandfather was a native of England and became the founder of the family on American soil. Dr. Benjamin Rush, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a cousin of the grandfather, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. When a young man the grandfather of Rev. Henry Y. Rush removed from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. A lameness prevented army service in the Revolutionary war, but he became an officer in the home guards. He was a planter and slaveholder, carrying on an extensive business in his adopted state. At one time he owned a large number of slaves and his landed possessions were also extensive. In politics he was an active Whig and was a member of the Methodist church, in the faith of which he died when about eighty years of age. His wife bore the maiden name of Dorcas Vickery and was born in North Carolina. She belonged to one of the old families of this country. One of their sons, Zebedee, was elected to the legislature by the Whig party of North Carolina and served for seven consecutive terms. The family was one of prominence in that state, exerting a wide influence in party affairs. When the trouble arose between the two sections of the country nearly all the representatives of the name became loyal adherents of the Union cause.

    Azel, Rush, the father of our subject, was reared in the state of his nativity upon the home plantation, and afterward became the owner of a large tract of land and several slaves. But about the year 1834 he freed his Negroes, ten in number, for he became convinced that slavery was wrong. He sent most of them to Wayne county, Indiana, and aided them in securing homes, but two of them would never leave him--a fact which indicates that he must have been a very kind and considerate master. In 1850 he sold his property in the south and removed to Grant county, Indiana, where he purchased about five hundred acres of land, which he improved, transforming the tract into a highly cultivated farm. He made his home there until his death, which occurred when he was eighty years of age. In early life he was a Whig and on the organization of the Republican party joined its ranks. His business affairs were crowned with a high degree of success and he became a well-to-do citizen. In early life he was an ardent member of the Methodist church, but later joined the Society of Friends on account of their opposition to slavery. He married Sarah Young, a native of Randolph county, North Carolina, where she was reared and educated. Her parents were Henry and Lizzie (Ritter) Young, both of whom were natives of Maryland, but their parents were born in Germany. Mrs. Rush also held membership relations with the Society of Friends. She became the mother of three children: Thomas, a farmer of Jonesboro, Indiana; Henry Y.; and Noah, who carried on agricultural pursuits near Fairmount, Indiana.

    In his eleventh year the subject of this review began a two- years apprenticeship in a printing office at Ashboro, North Carolina, the county seat of his native county. When his term of service had ended he entered the Brooks Male Academy and continued as a student for two years. In 1850 he emigrated with his parents to Grant county, Indiana, and after some months passed on a farm in that locality he spent a year in the Friends high school at Back Creek, where he continued his education under the direction of Professor William Neil. Later he was a student in the Doan Academy at Marion, Indiana, and on leaving that school he engaged in teaching in select and day schools :for a year. Subsequently he matriculated in Antioch College at Yellow Springs, Ohio, which institution was then under the presidency of Horace Mann. After two years, however, he was compelled to leave there on account of failing health, caused by hard study and manual labor performed outside of school hours in order to meet his expenses. For nearly a year thereafter he devoted his attention to teaching, in the meantime preaching at different places as opportunity offered. He had become imbued with a desire to enter the ministry and devote his life to the uplifting of his fellow men, and in 1854 he entered the Meadville, Pennsylvania, Theological Seminary, in which institution he was graduated in the year 1887.

    On the 27th of April, 1858, Mr. Rush was united in marriage to Miss Mary J. Kepper, daughter of John and Lucinda Kepper, and about the same time began pastoral work at the Cove Springs Christian church, also having charge of adjacent churches in Clark and Champaign counties.

    In July, 1862, prompted by a spirit of patriotism, Mr. Rush aided in raising a large part of Company E, of the One Hundred and Tenth Regiment of Ohio Infantry, and was commissioned first lieutenant by Governor Tod, but the hard services of marches scouting and battles so seriously affected his health that he was honorably discharged in October, 1864. Returning from the army he soon resumed the work of the ministry. In 1865 he was elected to the editorship of the Herald of Gospel Liberty, a religious paper published in Dayton, Ohio. He held that position for thirteen years, and on the expiration of that period was called to the pastorate of the Franklin Christian church, in Warren county, Ohio, where he remained for ten years. Resigning the charge at that place, he then removed to West Milton, where he has since made his home. For a number of years he was pastor of the church at this place and afterward of adjoining churches, all prospering and maintaining good audiences and growing interest under his ministry.

    Unto Mr. and Mrs. Rush has been born a daughter, Effie May. She was graduated with honor in the Glendale Female College, at Glendale, Ohio, in her eighteenth year, and while her parents resided in Franklin she was married to Daniel H. Pfontz, of Dayton, Ohio, a member of the present law firm of Pfontz & Hartranft. Both Rev. Rush and his wife have exerted strong influence for good in every community with which they have been connected, their efforts being effective in social, intellectual and moral circles. Their home is the center of a cultured society circle, and their circle of friends is almost co-extensive with that of their acquaintance. Rev. Rush belongs to the Masonic lodge of West Milton, and to Coleman Commandery of Troy, and is a member of the Grand Army post. His is that practical appreciation of the affairs of life that lends greater potency to his ministerial labors, while as a pulpit orator he is logical, convincing and eloquent, appealing not alone to the emotional side of human nature, but to the most mature judgment and most critical wisdom. His strength as an organizer and practical worker is evidenced sufficiently in his accomplishments, and the Christian religion has an able and devoted supporter and advocate in the honored subject of this sketch.

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