San Francisco Genealogy - San Francisco Theological Seminary, 1907
San Francisco Theological Seminary, 1907

Source:  Curry, James, D.D., History of the San Francisco Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and Its Alumni Association
Reporter Publishing Company, Vacaville, California, 1907.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF THE FOUNDERS AND PRINCIPAL SUPPORTERS
OF THE
SAN FRANCISCO THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY.

Thomas Fraser, D.D.

The subject of this sketch was a man of much ability, who served the Church of Christ in many ways and with wide-extended influence for many years.  He was born in Kalkieth, Scotland, 1819.  Graduated Union College, N.Y., B.A., 1842, and received D.D. in later years from the same institution.  He graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1845; was licensed the same year and ordained in 1846 by the Presbytery of New York.  He was Stated Supply at Port Washington and Decatur, Wis., 1845-52; Newburn, N.C., 1852-53; Pastor at Little Rock, Ark., 1853-59; Home Missionary at Santa Rosa, Bodega, Tomales, Bloomfield and Two Rick, Cal., 1859-67; Stated Supply of the First Church, Portland, Ore, 1867-68; Synodical Missionary for the Synod of the Pacific, 1868-83; Professor of Systematic Theology in the San Francisco Theological Seminary, 1887-92; Stated Supply in Makawo, Maui, Hawaii, 1893, and Evangelist, Oakland, Cal., 1893 until his death, October 25, 1903.

Dr. Fraser was by birth, education and preference a Presbyterian, and he gave himself to the service of the church he loved with much zeal, devotion and efficiency for almost three-score years.  Immediately upon graduating from the Seminary he went as a Home Missionary to Wisconsin and helped to found Presbyterianism in that State.  Like Paul, he was determined not to build on another man’s foundation.  He then spent several years in the South, came to California in 1859 and continued here for forty-four years, engaged most of the time in earnest, self-denying work.  He had the true missionary spirit, and was so on the move in carrying the gospel out into “the regions beyond” that he seems to have been installed as pastor of but one church.  His great work was to found churches and then leave them for others to nurture.  He did much of this in Wisconsin, but most of his work was done upon the Pacific Coast.  In this service he traveled almost continuously for years in Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and elsewhere, and founded more Protestant churches probably than any other man on the Pacific Coast.  From what he once told the writer, the number must have been not less than seventy-five.

He had a happy faculty of interesting men of wealth and influence in his work, and understood how to seize upon strategic points and hold them.  Mr. W.S. Ladd of Portland, Ore., was his warm friend, and Dr. Fraser doubtless had much influence in leading him to give so liberally of his means for the cause of Home Missions and our Theological Seminary.  Dr. Fraser had an acute and logical mind, received a good education and was well fitted to give instruction in Theology.  On April 28, 1887, he was elected Professor of Systematic Theology in the San Francisco Theological Seminary.  He was then sixty-seven years old, but he accepted the position, entered upon his duties in the following September, and did efficient work for five years.  The closing years of his life were spent at his home in Oakland, where he died October 25, 1903, at the advanced age of four-score and four years.


John S. MacIntosh, D.D.

In all great enterprises, where a number of people are associated together for the accomplishment of important purposes, there is need of a recognized leader to direct their affairs.  The authorities of the San Francisco Theological Seminary had long felt this to be the case in that institution, and after due consideration the Directors asked the Synod of California to give them authority to elect a President of the Seminary.  Accordingly, at its meeting in San Francisco, October, 1903, Synod made provision for such election, and at their next meeting the Directors elected Dr. John S. MacIntosh, Professor of Systematic Theology, as “President of the San Francisco Theological Seminary.”  He accepted the position, and soon thereafter he was installed as the first President of the Seminary.  Thus here devolved upon him the double duty of Professor and executive head of the institution.

Dr. MacIntosh was of Scotch-Irish parentage.  His father fled to America after the battle of Culloden and settled in Georgia.  He was born in Philadelphia in 1839.  His father died when he was very young, and his mother took him back to Ireland.  He received his collegiate education in Queen’s College, Belfast, and in Edinburgh, and his theological at Erlangen, Germany.  After graduation, in 1865, he was pastor of the old Antrim parish of Conner for two years, and while there was married to Miss Sophia Moore of Dublin in 1867.  The same year he accepted a call to the May-street Presbyterian Church in Belfast, as successor of the great preacher, Dr. Henry Cooke.  This was a high honor and involved great responsibility, but Dr. MacIntosh ably filled the position for thirteen years, exerting a wide influence throughout the North of Ireland.  During this time he received the degree of D.D. from Edinburgh.

Dr. MacIntosh was a delegate to the Pan-Presbyterian Council in Boston in 1880, and afterward received a call to the Second Church of Philadelphia.  This he accepted, and in the Spring of 1881 he left Ireland and returned to his native land, and entered upon his pastorate, continuing in it until 1895.  He remained in Philadelphia until 1902, engaged in other lines of work for the church and for other purposes.  He assisted in founding the American Society for University Extension and the Scotch-Irish Society in America, and was Chairman of the Evangelistic Committee for the city of Philadelphia and the surrounding country.  Here he did good service in strengthening weak churches and organizing new ones.

Dr. MacIntosh was elected Professor of Systematic Theology in the San Francisco Theological Seminary September 16, 1902; President of the same November 3, 1903, and was installed in both offices February 4, 1904.  He was appointed a member of the General Assembly’s Evangelistic Committee in 1904 to represent the Pacific Coast.  He entered enthusiastically upon the discharge of his duties in this three-fold position.  He wisely planned for the larger work of the Seminary, led it along in earnest labor, and inspired all with bright hope for its future.  He traveled over the whole Coast, visiting individuals, churches and Synods, giving information concerning the work and needs of the Church and Seminary, and infused into others his own spirit of zeal, enthusiasm and hope.  But in the midst of his abundant labors he was, after a brief illness, called to rest January 5, 1906.  His death was a great loss to the Seminary and the Church, but the impress of his character and life will long abide.


Henry Collin Minton, D.D., LL.D.

The chair of the Systematic Theology in the San Francisco Theological Seminary has had five incumbents during its history.  The third of these was Dr. Henry C. Minton, who was elected to that position December 2, 1891.  He entered upon the discharge of his duties therein in February, 1892, and continued until he resigned, October 1, 1902, to accept a call to the First Presbyterian Church, Trenton, N.J.

Dr. Minton was born in Prosperity, Pa., and educated at Washington and Jefferson College, in that State.  From it he received B.A., 1879; M.A., 1882; D.D., 1892; and LL.D., 1902.  He graduated from the Western Theological Seminary, 1882; was licensed, 1881, by the Presbytery of Washington, Pa., and ordained June, 1882, by the Presbytery of St. Paul, Minn.  He was Pastor of the First Church, Duluth, Minn., 1882-83, and Pastor-elect Second Church, Baltimore, 1882-82.  On account of ill health he came to California in 1884, and was Pastor of the First Church, San Jose, Cal., 1885-91; Pastor-elect St John’s Church, San Francisco, 1891-93, and Pastor First Church, Trenton, N.J. 1902--.

In 1888-89 Dr. Minton traveled, making a journey around the world.  He has received his full share of the honors of the Church.  He was sent as a delegate to the Pan-Presbyterian Council in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1896.  He was elected President of Centre College, Ky., in 1897, but did not accept.  He was a member of the General Assemblies of ’86, ’92, ’94, ’97, ’02, ’04 and ’05; was Moderator of the General Assembly in Philadelphia in 1901, and by the same Assembly was made Chairman of the Committee on Revision of the Confession of Faith.  He is at present a member of the Board of Education of the Presbyterian Church and a Director of Princeton Theological Seminary.

In 1891 he was elected Stuart Professor of Systematic Theology in the San Francisco Theological Seminary, entered upon his duties in February following, and continued as such for ten years.

The President of Washington and Jefferson College said Dr. Minton was one of the best-equipped men ever graduated from that institution, and in all positions held by him he has displayed eminent ability.


Warren Hall Landon, D.D.

Among the prominent friends and supporters of the San Francisco Theological Seminary from Oregon is Dr. W.H. Landon.  He was first a friend, then a Director, and for fifteen years has been Professor of Practical Theology.  His address is San Rafael, Cal., and the following is his record:  Born, Alburg, Vt.; University of Vermont, B.A., 1874; D.D., 1887; Union Theological Seminary, N.Y., 1879; Licensed, February, 1879, Presbytery of Champlain; Ordained, September, 1880, Presbytery of Lyons; Stated Supply, Palmyra, New York, 1879-80; Pastor same, 1880-86; Pastor Calvary Church, Portland, Ore., 1887-92; Professor Practical Theology, San Francisco Theological Seminary, 1892 to the present; Director of same, 1889-92; Commissioner to the General Assembly, 1884 and 1895.

Dr. Landon has attended Assembly on eight other occasions on important business for the Church.  He was one of three delegates from the Pacific Coast to the World’s Presbyterian Alliance in Liverpool, England, in 1904, where he presented a paper on the “Union of Mission Agencies in Foreign Fields.”  He has published the following sermons:  “Peace Through War,” “The Pursuit of Charity” and a series of three sermons on  “The Bethany Family,” all of which have been highly commended.  He is an interesting and pleasing speaker.

He has twice visited Europe, and after his last trip wrote and delivered a lecture on “A Yankee in Ireland,” which was quite popular.  He served as a Director of the Seminary from the Synod of Oregon for several years, and took a deep interest in its affairs.  When a vacancy occurred in the Oregon Professorship he was unanimously chosen to fill that place.  As a Professor giving instruction to students and in advocating its cause in public, Dr. Landon has done excellent service for the Seminary.  Since the death of President MacIntosh he was been Chariman of the Faculty.


John Hemphill, D.D.

While Pastor of the largest Presbyterian Church on the Pacific Coast Rev. John Hemphill was elected Professor of Apologetics and Pastoral Theology in the San Francisco Theological Seminary, and for over two years discharged the duties of both positions very efficiently.  His record is as follows:

Born, County Derry, Ireland; Royal University, Ireland, B.A., 1865; Lafayette College, Pa., D.D., 1883; Magee College Theological Seminary, Londonderry, Ireland; Licensed, 1868, Presbytery of Newton, Ireland; Ordained, July, 1868, Presbytery of Tyrone; Pastor Union Road, Magherafelt, Ireland, 1868-69; Calvary Church, San Francisco, 1969-82; West Arch-Street Church, Philadelphia, Pa., 1882-93; St. John’s Church, San Francisco, 1893; Calvary Church, San Francisco, 1893--, and Professor, San Francisco Theological Seminary, 1880-82.  Dr. Hemphill discharged his duties in the Professor’s chair efficiently, and resigned when called to the pastorate in Philadelphia.  While but a young man he was called to the pastorate of Calvary Church, and by his able, earnest preaching drew large audiences and greatly strengthened the church.  He has served this church for twenty-seven years in two pastorates.  During the last one the church has erected its new house of worship, which is one of the largest, finest and best on the Pacific Coast.  Dr. Hemphill has traveled extensively.

He has been a Commissioner to the General Assembly four times, and was Moderator of the Synod of the Pacific in 1880.  For the past ten years he has been a Director of the Seminary, and is now Chairman of the Seminary Committee, which is “charged with the actual oversight of the inside work of the institution.”


John Henry Kerr, D.D.

The chair of Greek Exegesis and New Testament Literature in the San Francisco Theological Seminary was ably filled by Dr. John H. Kerr for seven years.  He is now Secretary of the American Tract Society, 150 Nassau street, New York.  He was born at Monongahela, Pa., April 7, 1888; Princeton University, B.A., 1878; M.A., 1888; Western University of Pennsylvania, D.D., 1896; Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburg, Pa., 1881; Post-graduate, 1882; Licensed, April 27, 1880, by Presbytery of Blairville; Ordained, August 15, 1882, by Presbytery of Lake Superior; Stated Supply, Oconto, Wis., 1882-87; Pastor, Normal, Ill., 1890-95; Professor of Greek Exegesis and New Testament Literature, San Francisco Theological Seminary, 1895-1902; Pastor, Trinity Church, San Francisco, Cal., 1901-02; Publishing Secretary American Tract Society, 1906--; Author, “An Introduction to the New Testament,” (Fleming H. Revell Co.: $1.50) 1892; “A Harmony of the Gospels,” (American Tract Society, $1.00 net) 1903.

Dr. Kerr discharged the duties of his chair to the entire satisfaction of all concerned.  During the last year he supported himself by preaching in Trinity Church, San Francisco, and resigned his Professorship only because there were no funds to support it.

The two books written by Dr. Kerr are clear, concise and scholarly.  Of his “Harmony of the Gospels” an eminent authority says:  “I have used it along with others, and have found it the most satisfactory . . . The weight of scholarship is with it.”  Dr. Kerr is also the General Editor of a series of ten volumes by eminent authors on “The Teachings of Jesus.”


Go to San Francisco Historic School Records
San Francisco CAGenWeb
copyright © 1996-2004  Pamela Storm Wolfskill & Ron Filion.   All rights reserved.

San Francisco Biography Project

California Biography Project

San Francisco County

California Statewide

Golden Nugget Library