Henry R. Vollmar

REV. HENRY R. VOLLMAR. On the 5th of May, 1898, the community of Williamsburg, Kansas, was called on to mourn the death of Rev. Henry R. Vollmar, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church of that city, and formerly pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Columbus, in this county. He was favorably and well known throughout the South Kansas Conference and in this field held a number of important charges, building churches in different places and, in all, rejuvenating the spiritual life of the membership. In these communities are many noble men and women, whose lives now stand as fitting monuments to the earnest efforts of this godly man.

Rev. Mr. Vollmar was a German by birth, and was born November 4, 1855, in Rhenish Bavaria, Germany. When eight years of age, together with his parents and their family, he came to America, where settlement was first made on a farm in Fulton County, Illinois. Later they removed to Corydon, Iowa, where they continued to live for a time. Of delicate health in his earlier childhood, Henry R. Vollmar became robust after his removal to Iowa. As a youth, however, an attack of measles unsettled his health, and for two years he had a struggle for existence. As a last resort, in company with friends, he made an overland journey to Kansas. This proved beneficial, and he soon recovered his wonted vigor, and, entering the State Normal School at Emporia, pursued a course of study for a period. Again his health failed. This time he recuperated in the Rocky Mountain region, and after two years returned to Iowa, where he became an inmate of the home of his brother Philip, then a minister at Garden Grove. On this brother's advice he entered the academy there and amid these Christian influences developed a state of mind that made clear his call to the ministry. He thereafter directed his study to preparation for his life work, manifesting great talent as a public speaker, and in 1883 he was licensed, and entered upon active work in the South Kansas Conference. To go into details concerning the effective soul-winning efforts of this man of God, during his all too short lifetime, would be but the repetition of the story of successful revival work and church building, as he took up the work in each charge in turn. These physical monuments remain, —at Cecil, his first charge, three churches; a parsonage at Altamont; a needed addition to the church at Columbus; a fine parsonage at Williamsburg, and a church at the nearby town of Agricola. But his enduring monument, and one which shall stand in the judgment witnessing to his splendid work while in the flesh, is found in the lives of the men and women made more full and complete and Godlike by the magnetic influence which was a part of his spiritual nature. He held many successful revivals, and at Columbus, alone, brought 150 souls into the Kingdom. His charges, in turn, were Cecil, Altamont, Hallowell, Columbus and Williamsburg.

But death "loves a shining mark." The end came all too soon, in all human prescience, to this gifted man. Having rebuilt a parsonage at Williamsburg, he was just entering upon the work of building another church, when he underwent a surgical operation from which he never recovered, dying the afternoon of the same day. Thus ended a beautiful life on earth, to unfold with brighter lustre in the life to come! Truly can it be said of him,—"While he is dead, yet he speaketh." His last audible expressions were a message to his brother Philip, and a prayer to his Master—"Tell Philip it is well with my soul!" "Oh, I want to go! Come, Lord Jesus, take me!"

Interment was at the old home in Corydon, Iowa, where an aged mother, a brother and four sisters survived him. The funeral services at Williamsburg were conducted by Presiding Elder S. S. Martin, assisted by Revs. J. D. Smith, of Waverly, and M. S. Rice and C. S. Nusbaum, of Ottawa, and participated in by a large concourse of mourning friends.

Rev. Mr. Vollmar is survived by a widow and two daughters,—Pauline and Avis,—his eldest daughter, Fra, having died in September, 1901; the family now resides in Columbus. Mrs. Vollmar, nee Angelia Bishop, was the daughter of Alexander and Almira (Elliott) Bishop, natives of Ohio, who removed to Postville, Iowa, where Mrs. Vollmar was born; thence the family located on a farm in Labette County, Kansas, in 1869. Mr Bishop was an active and useful citizen of that county for many years, and there Mrs. Bishop died, in 1887. In 1892 Mr. Bishop went to Oklahoma, where he died in 1897, from injuries received in a cyclone at Chandler. Mrs. Vollmar is a graduate of the State Normal School at Emporia. She taught successfully for several years, and at the time of her marriage was first principal of the Oswego schools. Her marriage to Rev. Mr. Vollmar took place at the home of her parents, while Mr. Vollmar was stationed at Cecil, Kansas. She is a woman of much strength of character and during the life of her husband was a splendid helper in his religious work, a field in which she is still a valued and earnest worker. Of fine executive ability, she manages the three farms of which she is possessed near Columbus, with ease and profit, leasing two and personally supervising a third.

A portrait of Rev. Henry R. Vollmar accompanies this sketch, being presented on a preceding page.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by Judy Hartman, staff from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, 11/19/96.


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