REV. THOMAS TODD
1845-1938, WRIGHT CO., MISSOURI

I'd love to compare notes with you on this family!
E-mail me joannetodd@comcast.net

Son of Andrew TODD & Anna Jane BALES
Born 28 Mar 1845 in Wright County, Missouri
Died 30 Sep 1938 in Wright Co., Missouri
Buried in New Grove Cemetery, Wright Co., Missouri
Minister of the Christian Church, Webster/Wright Co., Missouri

He married Mary Elizabeth "Polly" RIPPEE, daughter of Cyrus RIPPEE & Mahulda YOUNG, 27 Jun 1867 in Wright County, Missouri. She was born 18 Jun 1846 in Wright County, Missouri and died 24 May 1910 in Wright County, Missouri. Buried in New Grove Cemetery, Wright Co., Missouri.

Some of the following notes were written down by Dorothy Miller Schriever in March, 1987 from a booklet entitled "Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) History in Webster and Wright Counties of Missouri" by E.T. Sechler and from the recollections of her mother, Daisy Ethel Todd Miller. The following newspaper article appeared in 1937:

The two hours spent with Thomas Todd on Oct. 28, 1937 will never be forgotten as a source of information and inspiration. His life span reaches almost a century. His parents came from Indiana in the early days. On Mar. 28, 1845 Thomas Todd was born on a farm six miles (later note: Babe Todd thought this might have been the Pickle Place) from his present home near New Grove where he preached for over half a century. Opportunities for schooling were few in his youth yet Elder Todd secured a good education by his wide reading.

The richest memories of his youth are associated with his Civil War services in Missouri and Kansas. He fought under General Sanburn against General Price seven times. He was never touched with a bullet, yet he had three bullet holes in his overcoat. "After the first firing, the scared feeling leaves you," says Rev. Todd.

He knew Wild Bill Hickok, the Government Spy, and told two tales of Wild Bill's daring adventures.

Rev. Todd's history jingle summarized the war:

        1861 the war begun.
        1862 the bullets flew.
        1863 they set the negroes free.
        1864 the war was over.
        1865 the soldiers went home to help their wives.

Soon after the war, two important events in his life occurred. In 1867, he was baptized by Elder William Shaver and was married to Miss Mary Rippee.

Asked how he got started in the ministry he replied "Dr. Bruton got me started in a question about circumcision and baptism." A debate with the Doctor followed with the boy affirming that the whole law of remission was the ante-type of the type circumcision. The Doctor said, "The boy gave me more than I could pack."

In a two weeks revival in Webster County, almost a whole congregation turned to the Restoration movement. Elder Todd held one six-day debate in 1901. Elder Allen Hawkins was his opponent. Brad Gideon was one moderator, Pose Mingus was the other. It was a peaceful debate. Elder Todd's method was to quote Acts 2:38 then ask his opponent, "Is that true or false?" Large crowds attended this debate and the preaching services given at night. Two of Elder Todd's revivals were remembered clearly. In an 18-day meeting at Osage there were 36 additions; in a two week meeting at New Kirk, Oklahoma, 72. Some of the men who were fellow workers of Elder Todd were William Shaver, Van Scott, E.W. Yocum, H. Drennan, Hooten and White. Several young ministers have been ordained by Elder Todd. Among these: William Willbanks who died in his forties, Andrew Prock who began preaching at 16 years of age and died at 22, Mack Shanks, A.B. Todd whom he considers his successor. "Broox couldn't preach a poor sermon if he tried." said Elder Todd.

What books did you find helpful? "Ashley Johnson's Great Controversy, J.B. Briney's writings, Ben Franklin's sermons and Ezell's sermons.' The Christian Standard came to him for forty years. He was a close reader of many other papers. He read his Greek Testament and used it in sermons and debates.

Elder Todd has conducted scores of weddings and hundreds of funerals in Webster and Wright counties. He carries himself as straight as an arrow, has a dignified presence. His more than six feet of height, his long roman nose, his pleasant disposition given him the outstanding personality of the county. Elder Todd is the father of ten children, seven of whom are living. In a comfortable home with his son, Robert, he is spending his last days. His life as a father, singing school teacher, community peacemaker, farmer and as a minister of the gospel was a benediction to all.

Dorothy Schriever's notes from the
recollections of her mom, Ethel Todd Miller:

My great-grandfather, Rev. Thomas Todd, was a minister of the Christian Church and preached for over half a century in Webster and Wright Counties in Missouri. He ministered to congregations at Liberty, Osage, High Point, Old 16th, Corinth and Niangua in Webster County; Hartville, New Grove, Shaddy, Boyer, Wolf Creek and Mansfield in Wright County. Sometimes he went in the buggy and sometimes he would ride horseback. He had a nice riding horse named "Old Bill."

Rev. Thomas Todd was known to everyone as "Uncle Tommy" and, Mary, his wife, was known as "Aunt Polly". They lived on a 175-acre farm in Wright County where they raised a family of 10 children. This land was all cleared except for the trees which bordered the creek (Wood's Fork Creek) and the trees around the building site. On this farm they raised corn, wheat, oats and barley. They rotated the crops. They had big orchards and hauled wagon loads of "Ben Davis" apples to market in Seymour, Missouri in Webster County. They also had peaches and cherries and they had 8 or 10 bee hives. Beautiful Wood's Fork Creek ran through the property near the house and they had a spring house situated on the creek where they kept milk, cream and butter cool.

Other outbuildings on the farm included a barn, chicken house, smoke house and root cellar. Thomas Todd always had a huge wood pile as high as the house with big back-logs for cold winter nights. There was always a big garden and also a tobacco patch.

At first, they lived in a log house on the west side of the creek and their first seven children were born there. Then in 1880, Rev. Thomas Todd built the house which still stands (as of 1987). The last three children were born in this house and Thomas Todd lived in this house for 58 years. It is located on the east side of Wood's Fork Creek. It was a T-shaped house with a side porch and additional bedroom. It had a brick fireplace in the living room and a big stone fireplace in the kitchen.

Rev. Thomas Todd frequently baptized people in Wood's Fork Creek, both where it ran behind the New Grove Church and also where it ran near his home. It was in this creek by the church site that he baptized Mom in 1914. Mom related, "He just laid you back and dunked you under. Afterwards you went and changed your wet clothes and went on your way."

I asked Mom what her Grandma Todd was like. She replied, "Grandma Todd was always an old woman to me. She seemed old. She wore a "Mother-Hubbard", usually gray or dark blue and a tie apron. During the week she wore a colored apron and on Sundays she wore a white apron. She was often called upon to help with the sick in the community or to be a mid-wife. She was a good one, too. She delivered me. She delivered some of my brothers and sisters, too. She also helped doctor sick cows and animals. I helped Grandma Todd shell two sacks of seed corn one day only to have it stolen by someone."

Mom went on to say, "Grandma Todd's kitchen floor was clean enough to eat off of. The floors were oak. She scrubbed the floors with sand rock pounded up. Aunt Sis used to come over to our place to get the sand rock. They didn't have it on Grandpa's place. There wasn't a lazy bone in Grandma Todd's body. She would go out to the fields with the men and work and on the way back to the house she would pick up little sticks and bring them home to start the fire. She didn't have to scavenge, she was just a resourceful person. In her time, Grandma Todd had prepared many a big dinner for the threshing crews in the summertime.

When I was growing up, Aunt Sis did most of the cooking. Grandma used to prefer to have me come over and help with the cooking during threshing time rather than my sister, Edna. Grandma said that Edna was mostly interested in who was there helping thresh, but, that didn't seem to distract me from the work at hand. Grandma Todd never did much work after I knew her (as the years went on). She might wash dishes, hoe a little, stem gooseberries, fix beans, etc. I never snap beans that I don't think of Grandma Todd because she always got the beans ready. Grandma Todd smoked a clay pipe after meals which she kept on the wainscoting by the side of the fireplace in the living room. Grandpa Todd smoked a cob pipe. Grandma had a large loom which they would set up in the living room and she would weave rag rugs on it. You could weave a strip of rug about a yard wide on it. The loom was not always in there because it was so large. They probably stored it in one of the outbuildings the rest of the time.

Mom continued, "One time Grandma Todd told me, 'When I get young and you get old, then I'll wait on you!'"

Mom remembered when Grandma Todd died (1910) . She was 64 and Mom was 12. "Grandma was laid-out on a 'cooling board' which was lain between two chairs in the living room. It was to the left of the front hallway when you came in. It was by the first window. The 'cooling board' had a quilt on it upon which Grandma was placed. Grandma had always wanted a walnut casket. I don't know if she got it. But they put her casket in the wagon pulled by two horses for the trip to the New Grove Cemetery. There were a lot of horse-drawn buggies in the funeral procession."

Obituary of Mary Elizabeth Rippee Todd
June 18, 1846 to May 24, 1910
From the Wright County, Missouri Progress -- June 3, 1910

Mary Todd (commonly known as "Aunt Polly"), wife of Elder Thomas Todd, was born June 18th, 1846 in Wright County where she lived until her death. Her maiden name was Rippee. She was married to Thomas Todd June 27th, 1867. To this union were born 10 children of which 8 are yet living.

She embraced Christianity in early life and for many years has been a member of the Christian Church.

She was a pious woman of good strong character and earnestly devoted to the interests of her family and the church to which she belonged. She was an excellent neighbor, a strong friend and always kind and helpful to all about her in time of sickness. She was patient and resigned to the will of God in all of her sickness. She lived by faith, walked by faith and evidently died in faith. Her last words on earth were, "I am now on my way home." after which she quietly sank into the arms of death and her spirit winged its way to the home of the blest. She died May 24th at 3 p.m. and was buried at 8 p.m. the next day in the New Grove Cemetery. The funeral services were announced by Elder White in the presence of a vast audience of sympathizing friends which showed many tokens of love and sympathy to the bereaved family.

Aunt Polly is gone but not forgotten. She leaves a kind husband and 8 children, also a brother and sister with an aged mother to mourn her absence. She will sadly be missed in our community, but our loss will be her eternal gain. -- D.F. Ellis

I remarked to Mom about the fact that Rev. Thomas Todd had lived another 25 years after his wife died. He lived to be 90. Mom said, "Yes. But he never was any trouble. He was a wonderful man. He took a long walk every day. Sometimes he walked over to our place or over to Aunt Zellie's (his daughter Zella, married to Granville Newton). These places were each about a mile from his house. Sometimes he'd walk around that lovely pasture and see the horses and mules and cattle. They never had to water the animals because they all drank from the creek. They had teams to work in the fields and they had a buggy team."

Mom had many fond memories of her Todd grandparents. "I have never met anyone who did not like to go there," she said. "In the winter time, there was always a wooden bowl full of apples by the fireplace. Grandpa's place meant so much to all of us. It was almost sacred. It hurts a lot to go back now and see it falling into disrepair."

Some additional random notes jotted down from time to time as Mom would recall certain events from her childhood...

"Grandpa Todd had two barns. The 'old barn' where they cured the tobacco and a big new barn. We went over and helped."

"Grandpa always had dogs. Uncle Pres had a shepherd dog called "Old Foster".There was "Old Queen" and a young dog named "Pete". One time a tree fell on Pete and killed him. Mamma said she wished it had been "Old Queen" because she was always having pups."

"After Grandpa's horse, "Old Bill", got too old to go anymore, Grandpa just turned him out to pasture."

"If Grandpa had any animals that needed castrating, they always had my Dad come over and do it. Once when Dad went over, he took one of our hunting dogs. When he went across the creek to castrate the animals, he didn't want the dog to go along so he tied him to a tree. Aunt Sis and I were in the house doing dishes and we heard the dog barking. Aunt Sis said, "That dog is sure having a fit out there." But we didn't go out to see. Pretty soon the dog hushed. When we went out there, his mouth was just full of bees and he was dead. He had been stung to death."

"One time Grandma lost her wedding ring. Later on though, Uncle Pres found it. He was raking the yard and when he went to clean the rake off, there it was on one of the prongs of the rake!"

Timeline:

    • 1845 - Thomas Todd was born in Wright Co., Missouri
    • 1860 - Wright Co. Fed. census shows Thomas, age 15 (born MO) living with Preston PROCK 36, TN; Hannah 42, OH; Rebecca TODD 21, IN; William H. PROCK 13, TN; Andrew TODD 12, MO; Anna J. Prock 6 MO; Susan M. PROCK 4, MO.
    • 1867 - married to Mary Ann "Polly" Rippee in Wright Co., Missouri
    • 1873 - ordained as minister by Elder William Shaver
    • 1880 - built house on 195 acres south of Odin, Wright Co., Missouri
    • 1893 - was ordained minister of the Church of Christ at New Grove, Wright Co., Missouri
    • 1938 - died in Wright Co., Missouri, buried at New Grove Cemetery south of Odin.
    • Rev. Thomas Todd lived for 93 years and 186 days.
    • 11/93 - Yvonna Todd Riley (my aunt) was told by Zalene Todd that she remembers that he sold the horse that he was given on his Civil War discharge and used the money to buy his land in Missouri.

SOME OF JTR'S COLORFUL FAMILIES IN WRIGHT CO., MISSOURI
TODD MARAH CANTRELL LEMONS RIPPEE YOUNG NEWTON

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