Stephen Sewell Estey, Ph. D., D. D., pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Topeka, Kan., and one of the ablest divines in the West, was born in the city of Calais, Me. He was left an orphan at a tender age, being less than two years old when his mother died and but six years old when his father died, and was thereafter reared by an aunt, who lived in Calais. He graduated at the Calais high school when sixteen years of age and at seventeen he began teaching in a country school, where he was engaged for two years, after which he attended the Maine State Normal School at Castine for one year. The following year, or in 1879, he entered Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, where he worked his way through and graduated in 1883, receiving the degrees of A. B. and A. M. For two years after completing his college course he was superintendent of the public schools at Edgerton, Ohio, and then removed to Mattoon, Ill., where he read law one year and was admitted to the bar, but never took up the practice of law. In 1888 he came to Kansas and for seven years was superintendent of the Humboldt public schools, where during the last three years of his residence, in addition to his work as superintendent, he studied theology as he had already determined to fit himself for the ministry of the Presbyterian church. He was ordained and installed as pastor of the Presbyterian church in 1895 at Independence, Kan., where he served a successful pastorate of five years, during which time he built an addition to the church and a new parsonage. In 1900 he became pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Salina, Kan., one of the most prominent Presbyterian churches in the state, and was pastor of that church for three years and a half, during which time the church prospered and enjoyed a healthy growth. Since 1904 he has been pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Topeka, the strongest and largest Presbyterian church in Kansas, having a membership of 1,250, which congregation he has served with ever increasing popularity. In the space of fifteen years he has been in charge of but three churches each of which has been one of increasing responsibility and prominence, his present charge being regarded as the leading Presbyterian church in Kansas. This pastorate is certainly a high compliment to his ability, not only as a pulpit orator of exceptional force and power, but also as a kind and congenial pastor and leader. He enjoys the reputation of being one of the ablest Presbyterian divines in the West and is affectionately spoken of in Topeka, where he is best known, as one of the ablest pastors in the city. In 1901 he completed a sociological course covering three years at Wooster University of Ohio, receiving the degree of Ph. D. He did the work of the course entirely by correspondence and at the same time he performed without interruption his duties as pastor of his church. In 1907 Park College of Missouri conferred on him the degree of D. D. In connection with the sociological course in Wooster University, he did one year's work on sociological lines in Chicago University, this also being done by correspondence.
Dr. Estey was married on Aug. 23, 1888, to Miss Helen Miller Rolland, a native of Williams county, Ohio, and a graduate of the Toledo, Ohio, high school. She was also a student in Wooster University, and at the time of her marriage was a teacher by profession, having formerly been a teacher in the schools of Toledo, Ohio, and later principal of the high school at Humboldt, Kan., at the time her husband was superintendent of the schools there. They have one child, a daughter, Miss Helen Sewell Estey, who graduated at Smith College, Northampton, Mass., with the class of 1911 and is now teacher of Greek at Emporia College.
During his occupancy of the pulpit of the First Presbyterian Church at Topeka, many substantial improvements have been made at an expenditure of more than $30,000. These improvements embrace the remodeling of the church building, the installation of a $4,000 pipe organ, and the building of a $20,000 Bible school annex to accommodate the Sabbath school and Bible class of his church. He is a Thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Knight Templar and a member of the Fortnightly Club.Pages 28-29 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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