Assemblage of eight extensive diaries and journals covering the years 1858 to 1884 by important Westward Expansion pioneer Presbyterian pastor, Civil War Chaplain, and advocate of Entire Holiness and the Healing Movement, Rev. W. M. Stryker. Born in Princeton, N.J. March 21, 1819, he was converted to Christ March 10, 1839 and licensed to preach the Gospel by the Presbytery of Fort Wayne, April 5, 1848. He planted and pastored churches in Union, Hopewell, Muncie, El Dorado, Chelsea, Lexington, and Fort Wayne. Nearly 2,000 pages of extensive manuscript.
This archive presents a unique glimpse into the pioneer pastors of Iowa and Kansas during the middle part of the 19th century, their interaction with the Civil War, the impact of prayer revivals during the reconstruction era, Presbyterian polity and theology during the time, and has incredible content related to the origins of the Faith, Higher Life, and Divine Healing movements.
For a glimpse at some of content related to healing and the faith movement, see the 1881-1882 diary. There is more in this volume and in the others.
The Archive Contains
Journal from 1858-1865. Very important first-hand diary and journal of his ministry during the Civil War, his work as a Chaplain in the United States Christian Commission for Union troops, etc., Also includes accounts of hearing Albert Barnes preach, etc.
December 30, 1860 “This Sabbath concluded the year 1860. Its last sun set most beautifully as I was returning home from Bedford. My own mind is deeply anxious about the condition of our country. These are serious apprehensions of a dissolution of our Union and a civil war. A day of fasting humiliation and prayer is appointed by the President of the United States. Next Friday is the day to be observed. O Lord, revive thy work, in the midst of the years make known, in wrath remember mercy.”
“There were very few out. Alarming news of an intended invasion of the State of Iowa had been circulated and most of our people had gone to the seat of the war. Some four men and about a half dozen women were present.”
Tuesday started out with J. C. McCandliss and Lieutenant J T Chittendan, afterwards killed in battle of Pea Ridge [later note]
“Attended a war meeting on the day previous and was interested in seeing a company organized, which took place in our church at Clarinda . . .”
“Went to Quincy Adams Co, Iowa to attend a war meeting; felt included to offer for chaplain for the regiment in which our Calinda men may be placed. A call has been issued for 600,000 new troops and 600 chaplains will be needed. I have informed my people of my intentions to offer myself for the chaplaincy of the 23rd Iowa Infantry.”
“Preached to the volunteers from John 3.16 in the Hall of the House of Representatives”
“Honorable John A Kasson and D. O. Finch, Candidates for Congress were present while I preached this morning at Clarinda”
“October 15, 1862 started to Council Bluffs to visit our soldiers in Camp Dodge. Preached in the camp from 2 Sam 15th, 31st. A Very crowded and attentive audience, etc.,”
“Preached at Lexington. Captain Brooks and several of his company were present ready to leave for St. Joseph, MO on Monday morning, on their way to Kentucky. Farewell to the 29th Reg of Iowa, Volunteers. Who will live to return? & Who will fall?”
“A slanderous report which had been set afloat, viz, that The Elder at Clarinda had closed the church door on me on account of my disloyalty, was traced to N. B. Moore, a little pettifogging lawyer, and a lying, swindling Methodist preacher & county judge.”
“Saw Beecher, McAlpine, and Samuel Glasgow – Returned soldiers from the 23rd regiment Iowa Volunteers.”
“Went to the Presbytery. The Presbytery enjoined the observance of Thursday, April 30th as a day of fasting and humiliation and prayer in obedience to the call of the President of the United States.”
“On Saturday previous to this appointment men were going by hundreds down to the lower counties at the call of General Fisk to drive out guerillas who were doing much damage in the country. Some of our men were pressing horses & demanding arms & it was unsafe for a person to be seen out with a good horse. For this they plead an order from General Fisk, who it seems denies issuing any such order.”
“Received a letter from the Corresponding Secretary of the St. Louis Branch of the United States Christian Commission soliciting me to accept of a commission to go to the front as a delegate. To this call my heart responds with joy; most gladly will I engage in promoting the personal comfort and spiritual welfare of our poor soldiers on the field.”
“Went to St. Louis and thence to Rolla, MO and established a reading room and labored among the soldiers at the camps, hospitals, forts, and prisons for about five weeks, spending another week at St. Louis, Benton, Marine, and Alexander Hospitals and at Jefferson Barracks. Returned home May 3d. See the journal of the USCC.”
Etc., etc., also includes notices of having married Captain W. B. Kemper and Miss Fee, Lieutenant Peter Laininger and Miss Sarah Dennelsbeck, etc.
Journal from 1869-1870. c.100 pages again of extensive content related to ministry, personal spiritual life, etc. Content similar to others.
Journal from 1871-1873. 317pp of extensive personal content; entirely full. Content similar to others, including attendance of prayer meetings run by revivalist, Edward Payson Hammond, etc.
Journal from 1872-1876. Small wallet style diary beginning April 29th, 1872, coinciding with the beginning of their ministry in El Dorado, KS, Chelsea, KS and Lexington from 1872 to 1876. As many Presbyterian pastors did, especially in the effort to push westward, he served multiple congregations simultaneously. Includes rather extensive diary entries and a complete list of all sermons preached during these four years.
Opening prayer as pastor, “And now, O Thou Great Shepherd & Bishop of Souls, I solemnly commend to thee the care of this little church. It is small in numbers & feeble in strength, but not beneath thy notice. Thou hast all power in heaven & on earth; thou canst strengthen the feeble; thou canst awaken the careless & unconcerned; thou canst quicken into activity and spiritual life those who are at ease in Zion; O blessed Saviour Thou knowest who are thine own, bought with thy precious blood; keep in thine own name & by thine own power thine own dear children through faith unto salvation! Revive their drooping graces; pour fresh life into their souls, awaken them to newness of life, and quicken them to greater activity and usefulness and thine shall be the glory forever. Amen.”
This item also includes his address book of fellow Presbyterians, in manuscript. Lists prominent Presbyterians W. P. Breed, H. C. McCook, J. P. Wilson, etc.
Journal from 1877-1881. 278 pages of extensive content.
Includes a 10pp account of his attendance of holiness camp-meetings, his reflections on the sermon, and, interestingly, a detailed engagement with the theology of the “higher life” and “holiness” theologies being preached.
Accounts of his attempts to trust God for healing, the power of God and how he sustains people at the time of death, Wesleyan-Methodist protracted revival meetings [which he is quite fond of], etc., etc.
Journal from 1881-1882. 8vo wallet styled diary with 282 pages full of extensive and interesting content.
Includes some superb content in miraculous healing, “In the evening, Mrs. Stryker read to me an article from a little paper entitled, “Words of Faith,” concerning a man who claimed he was healed of liver complaint in a manner very remarkable, in answer to prayer. And also the case of another who after a severe struggle was brought to the experience of, “The Higher Life.” These articles both made a deep impression on my mind; for I had been for a long time desiring the experience of The Higher Life, and as to physical health, I have now been laid aside form preaching for over a month on account of some disease in the brain & have been forbidden to preach at least for a year. The thought occurred to me on hearing the article on healing read that I might be healed in the same way; and I asked Mrs. S. to remember me in her prayers, which she promised she would do. . . in the night I awoke and began renewing my petitions for healing. As my mind became more deeply interested and I became more fervent in prayer for healing, the thought came to me that it was ambition that prompted my prayer and that if the Lord should heal me of my complaint in answer to my prayers, that I would be puffed up with pride, and vain glory. And then I saw that I needed a double blessing. I needed healing and holiness. I now began to ask for healing in my body and holiness in my heart. Then the thought was suggested, most likely by the adversary, that I was too greedy, and that I was asking too much. But I grew more importunate. Text after text came up to encourage my faith, until at lengthy my faith kindled into a flame on these words, “What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.” I resolved and said, “Lord I accept of this two fold blessing: Holiness of heart and health of body.” And as my faith laid hold upon the blessing I felt a change in my whole system in a moment of time. My dizziness of head ceased and strength, fresh strength, coursed its way through my whole frame and I was suffused with tears of gratitude and I waked up my wife and told her I am well!”
This of course relates to W. E. Boardman’s famous “The Higher Life,” which is often thought of as the genesis of the Keswick movement, etc., Later, he would run the Bethshan Healing Home where Andrew Murray and Otto Stockmayer would be healed. Words of Faith was a holiness and healing periodical that published material by Stockmayer and others like Carrie Judd, R. Kelso Carter, Alexander Dowie etc., who were opening healing houses, etc.
There is another account where his wife is in so much pain she is moaning. He begins to cry out to God. He says, “My faith seemed to take hold upon God, and I poured forth my petition for her relief. It wa perhaps not more than a minute after that she ceased to moan & seemed easier. A few moments later Dr. Buchman arrived and examined her and said that her disease had taken a turn for the better. I note this as an answer to prayer!
Another, “I have been thinking much upon the efficacy of prayer, and especially in reference to my own case; I need the faith of healing; I need the faith of entire consecration to Christ, and of the assurance of my own personal acceptance with Christ.”
On the assassination of the President: “President Garfield Died! Shortly after a private dispatch passing on the wire announced the fact: and at 12 o’clock the tolling bells all over the city proclaimed the solemn news of his departure. Great excitement prevailed.
Extensive account of his conversation as a young man which happened in relation to God healing his mother. 24 pages.
Reading “Word of Faith.” An article entitled Faith before Sight told of the case of a person healed in answer to prayer. The case suggested Mark 11.24, especially the phrase, “Believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them. I have had some previous experience of some efforts in that direction, as may be seen in the first part of this volume. I fully believe in the truth of this Gospel statement; but as yet I have not had the faith of entire healing.”
Journal from 1882-1883. 8vo sized diary with 184 pages full of extensive and interesting content from Fort Wayne, IN.
Records attending Methodist prayer meetings, the arrival of the new translation of the New Testament, missionaries leaving for Japan [extensive account of the farewell service], records of miraculous answers to prayer for financial provision, record of a sermon against the perfectionists, attending a magic lantern lecture on Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress [with which he was not pleased, “Do the ministers of Christ weary of preaching Him!?”], the burning to the ground of First Presbyterian of Fort Wayne, a history of First Presbyterian of Fort Wayne, comments on the value of using the Greek New Testament for personal and family devotion, hears John B. Gough lecture in Indianapolis, a miracle of God leading him to a particular person for provision, ministering to a man about to he hanged for murder, etc. etc. etc.
Moving prayer on the 44th anniversary of his conversion: “Dear Lord Jesus, on this forty fourth anniversary of my espousals to thee, I desire to acknowledge thy faithfulness in fulfilling all thy precious promises which thou hast made to thy people, both as regards the life that now is and that which is to come. And I humbly desire now to renew my covenant vows to be thine in soul and body, in heart and in life, in thought and in purpose for all time to come. I hereby implore thee thy grace to enable me to live for the honor and glory of Thy name while I live and to die at last in the triumph of a living faith, and to be admitted into thy presence in fulness of joy and at they right hand forevermore.
O Lord, I am not my own, but thine, bought with a price, even with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, thy dear Son. O I beseech of thee grant unto me renewed evidences of my acceptance with thee through Jesus Christ, our Lord. And now, Lord do thou graciously be pleased to bring all our dear ones into Thy Kingdom and grant us all grace to live in accordance with Thy holy will, that we may please Thee in all things and at least hear that welcome applause, Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Moving passage where he observes that he has lost 58 pounds over the last few years. He knows it is disease and that he is, in all likelihood, dying.
There is a fascinating section of this diary devoted to the miraculous healing of Mrs. Fannie Leonard of Fostoria. She had been relegated to her room and bed for four full years, thought beyond cure. Sensing that she would die soon, she cried out to the Lord and “two peculiar sensations, as of electricity, passed from her head to her feet. At that instant all pain left her, and she became conscious of the fact that she was well. She rose, unassisted and walked into another room and back. She then dressed and talked with her parents. She rose the next morning in perfect health and claims to be absolutely cured. She is the daughter of the former Mayor of Rigby, and her family well-known.” Stryker is fascinated by this account, sends copies of the paper to the Herald and one to the Presbyterian. He then wrote Mrs. Leonard inquiring further about her healing. She responded and he had the response published in the Fort Wayne Daily News. The clipping is inserted here. “It is true. I was a great sufferer for four years; have not been free from pain all that time; I have been impressed for some time that Jesus, the Great Physician, could heal me; Wednesday evening at six o’clock I cam to Him with a full consecration and asked Him, if according to His will, to heal me of my disease and relieve me from suffering, I asked for a sign. . . . and she then writes a very moving account of her surrender to Christ and his power to heal, etc.,” He then mails the letter and article to a host of Presbyterian and other periodicals and persons of influence, etc.
Journal from 1883-1884. 8vo sized diary with c.160 pages full of extensive and interesting content from Fort Wayne, IN.
Mr. Joseph Duglay has received a miracle cure. He was afflicted with neuralgia and had a stroke and paralysis. He prayed to be restored to health and as he prayed the thought came into his mind that the Lord Jesus is just as able now to restore to health instantaneously as he was when he was here on earth. And he resolved that he would seek an instantaneous cure, that he would pray believing that the cure would come. And it did come. All the neighbors in that region are witnesses to his restoration.
Recounts conversation with Samuel McDonnell who is sentenced to be hanged on October 9, 1883 during his jail visitation. “Sam. McDonnell is a hard case and was disposed to sneer at the subject of his soul’s salvation.”
Accounts of YMCA meetings, ministry in the prison, hospital, sermons, etc.
We have in no way exhausted these volumes; in fact, several of them are almost entirely untouched and none of them have been read in their entirety. Certainly loads more interesting material available.
Also included is a Mathematics book used in the small seminary he ran in Goshen and two family account books, one of which also contains part of a journal by his daughter, Lizzie.