John Merritte Driver
J. MERRITTE DRIVER DIED WEDNESDAY
Famous Preacher, Lecturer, Well Known Here, Having Been Born in Jefferson County.
Dr. J. Merritte DRIVER, formerly of this county, died at his home in Chicago
Wednesday night. Dr. DRIVER was scheduled to deliver the commencement address
to the graduating class of the Cairo High School Wednesday night but telegraphed
the school authorities that his condition was such that he would be unable to keep
Dr. DRIVER was well know in Mt. Vernon and throughout Jefferson County as well
as the middle west generally. He was a son of the late James R. DRIVER, in his
day one of Jefferson County's most successful farmers and business men.
Dr. DRIVER attended Irvington College, at one time a prominent educational institution,
and afterward completed his education at one of the leading colleges of the country.
Dr. DRIVER traveled extensively in Europe and wrote a number of books, one of which,
"Purple Peaks Remote," dealing with life in Italy and the United States, is familiar
to many local people.
He was pastor of leading churches in Chicago, and other large cities and was famous
as a lecturer and orator. He was 61 years old.
A Chicago paper contains the following: Dr. John Merritte DRIVER, pastor from
1902 to 1907 of the People's Church in the McVicker's Theatre building, and prominent
lecturer on the Redpath Chautauqua circuit, died suddenly Wednesday night at his home,
1531 East 61st Street. He was a scholar of distinction, having received among other
degrees that of doctor of divinity from Rust University in 1893, doctor of philosophy
from the American University in 1902 and doctor of laws from the Illinois College of
Law in 1909. He was ordained to the Methodist Episcopal ministry.
Dr. DRIVER published several books on religion, travel and some volumes of poems.
Among his literary works are "Songs of the Soul," "Americans All" and "Memories of
Italy." He was a member of the American and Asiatic Archaeological Society.
He is survived by a widow, Mrs. Elsie Driver and a 14 year old son, Merritte.
Funeral services to be private, will be held at the home Friday afternoon. Interment
will take place at Fort Wayne, Ind., the following day.
[Notes: John Merritte DRIVER was born February 10, 1857, the son of James R. DRIVER
and Matilda C. ALLEN. He married Elzira "Elsie" Louisa WILEY on April 11, 1880 in
Clark County, IL. Elsie was born July 1857, daughter of Owen C. WILEY and Sarah Ann FUQUAY,
and died October 30, 1930. They had children: Edna V., James O., Paul M. and Ruth that
preceded them in death. All are buried at the Lindedwood Cemetery, in Fort Wayne,
Allen County, Indiana. They were survived by an adopted son Merritte DRIVER who was
born about 1904.
James R. DRIVER was the son of John DRIVER and Mary CAMPBELL; Matilda C. ALLEN was the
daughter of Charles B. ALLEN and Mary COCKRUM.]
Source: The Daily Register - Mt. Vernon, IL
Date: Saturday, June 8, 1918
Submitted by: Mary Zinzilieta