Wednesday Evening, January 24, 1934
Veteran Clergyman Honored On Birthday
Rev. William Ryan of Auburn Passed His 101st Year on Sunday, When He Received Honorary Degree of D. D. from Mount Allison University.
Rev. William Ryan of Auburn reached his 101st birthday on Sunday and celebrated it in a very quiet way. His son, Rev. W. M. Ryan, D. D., of Trinity United Church, Windsor, and his daughter, Mrs. A. R. Andrews, who now lives with her father, were with him for the occasion. A large number of letters and telegrams of greeting were received.
Mr. Ryan is not as well as he was last year. His strength is gradually failing and with it some of his interest in life. Through his long years he has been a strong and active man, one who met the responsibilities of life courageously, who had great convictions and loyalty stood by them and who fought against wrong doing with all his powers. He has been for years an ardent advocate against the liquor evil and one of his last sermons preached in the Aylesford United Church less than four years ago was on that subject.
He was born January 21, 1833, in Moncton, N. B. His father, the late Matthew Ryan, was born in Ireland, served under Wellington at Waterloo in 1815 and came to this country shortly afterwards where he married and settled in Moncton, then called "The Bend." Mr. Ryan's early life was of the pioneer kind and it was no doubt here that he received much of the training which made him a fearless fighter for right.
As a young man he studied at the Old Mount Allison Academy and today is the oldest living graduate of that institution. On his one-hundredth birthday the student body of last year sent him greetings accompanied by one hundred daffodils. This year at the formal opening of the New Academy last Friday night a special convocation was held at which Mount Allison University conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity. He has always been greatly interested in the success of those institutions.
Mr. Ryan entered the ministry of what was then known as the Wesleyan Methodist Conference of Eastern British North America, was ordained in Brunswick Street church, Halifax, June, 1862, and for the most part has spent his ministry in this province. For years he took a leading part in the affairs of the Conference. He was elected to General Conference which met in Montreal in 1890 and President of the Nova Scotia Conference in 1892. For a number of years, and in the days when forces were arrayed to annoy and possibly destroy the influence of the meetings, he was President of the Camp Meeting Association at Berwick. He proved himself equal to the task and the stories of his forceful leadership in quelling rowdyism are numerous.
He has been retired for many years but all through these years he has kept interested and now he is confined to his home and in failing health he is still glad to hear news of the work in which he was so long engaged.