Rev. Hugh Park McClurkin, D.D.

1821 – 1905

By: Roger Kemps © 2010



The following biography includes a composite of two published biographies and his obituary, listed below.

“Hugh Park McClurkin was born near Rocky Creek, in the Chester District of South Carolina, on November 6, 1821.” (There is conflicting information about the date of his birth and contrary to the date on his headstone). His parents were John McClurkin (1792 – 1874) and Elizabeth Park (1790 – 1874). “They were deeply religious people, who gave up all the advantages they enjoyed in a beautiful Southern home, because they were conscientiously opposed to slavery.” In the fall of 1833, they moved to near Oakdale in Washington County, Illinois. His siblings were:

·      Rev. John Johnston was born on June 6, 1813 and died on February 28, 1907.

·      Rebecca Donnelly was born on December 15, 1814 and died on January 15, 1834.

·      Thomas was born on April 4, 1816 and died on February 6, 1898.

·      Esther Torrens was born on April 6, 1819 and died on May 14, 1843.

·      James B was born on December 23, 1823 and died on March 17, 1901.

·      William was born on June 6, 1826 and died on November 24, 1861.

·      Archibald was born on October 26, 1828 and died on March 14, 1896.

·      Samuel Donnelly was born on March 24, 1834 and died on November 7, 1916.


“Hugh received his early education in the schools of his native and adopted states.” He married Jane Ann Orr (1824 – 1911), of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 17, 1843. They had nine children:

·      Mary Elizabeth McClurken (1844 – 1921) married the Rev. Thomas Patton Stevenson (1838 – 1912).

·      Juliette Louisa McClurken (1846 – 1927) married James R Magee (1840 – 1920).

·      Esther Rebecca McClurken (1850 – 1852).

·      Rev. Thaddeus Zwingle McClurkin (1853 – 1890) married Laura Wiggins Coverleigh.

·      John Park Melancthon McClurken (1855 – 1857).

·      Emma Amanda McClurken (1858 – 1928) married the Rev. Joseph Carson Gibney (1849 – 1926).

·      Eva Maria McClurken (1861 – 1935) married Lafayette Ellwood Gruver (1862 – 1936).

·      Rev. Albert Witsius McClurkin (1864 – 1926) married Anna Adelaide Garland (1861 – 1942).

·      Carrie Melville McClurken (1866 – 1940) married William Henry Meyer (1874 – 1944).


“Inheriting much from his worthy parents, Hugh was a youth of strong mentality, and during his school days at Duquesne College (now Western University), Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, he was far in advance of his fellow-students. He graduated in 1845. Upon completing his theological course in the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Cincinnati, he was licensed by the Lakes Presbytery” on April 20, 1848. “He was ordained by the Pittsburgh Presbytery, and installed pastor of the Salt Creek congregation in New Concord, Muskingum County, Ohio” on October 15, 1850. “He was for many years a Trustee of Muskingum College, and President pro tempore of that institution for two years, beginning in 1859. He was Moderator of the Synod of 1868. He was honored with the degree of Doctor of Divinity by Muskingum College in 1879.” He remained in Ohio until 1882 when he resigned this charge “after 32 years of work in this field. From 1884 to 1891 he was pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian congregation in Wahoo, Nebraska, and from 1891 until 1893, he was pastor of the United Presbyterian Church at Denison, Kansas.” In 1894, he returned to the congregation in Wahoo, Nebraska and “then came to Topeka, where he served as pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church from 1896 until 1902.” “He was compelled to give up the work in the year 1902 on account of failing health. He continued, however, to make his home in Topeka, glorifying God by a godly life until the call came for him to enter the Heavenly Ministry, on February 18, 1905.”


“During his active years, no clergyman wielded a more powerful influence, which was not confined to the pulpit, but permeated the communities in which he lived, bringing about reforms, arousing public sentiment,” “and always exerting a deep influence upon his community. A beautiful tribute was paid to his memory by the Ministerial Association of Topeka, Kansas, at his funeral. His fellow ministers attended in a body, and his pall-bearers were ministers with whom he had been associated in past years in various reform efforts. He had been ordained to the Ministry of the Gospel on October 15, 1850, and served the Lord in that capacity for 55 years. A short life is too long for any sinner. A long life is too short for any saint.” “He was a man of deep spiritual character and one of the great expounders of the Presbyterian faith.”


A resolution by the Topeka Ministerial Union read "That in the life work and zeal of the late Rev. H. P. McClurkin, D. D., we recognize with gratitude to God, the noble man, the Christian gentleman, the ripe scholar, the wise teacher, the sound theologian, the loving companion, the loyal Christian, and zealous worker and helper in all good causes within his reach. His long and useful life was a blessing to the world, and his faithfulness to this union for many years gives a fragrancy to his memory which we will cherish through all the coming years."


Additional material, that describes his life and his character, is found in the fourth reference, below, and is recommended reading.


Another relevant issue was his position against slavery. A lecture that he delivered, about 1858, is recounted in the fifth reference, below, as well as, how it changed the life of one of those present.


The Rev. Hugh Park McClurkin, D.D., is buried in Topeka Cemetery in Topeka, Kansas. To see an image of the headstone, see this link.


Reference Sources:

History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America  see page 580

Sketches of the Ministers of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America  see pages 192 & 193

History of Shawnee County, Kansas and Representative Citizens (Obituary) see pages 420 & 423



1830_J_McClurken.jpg included in line 19

1840_James_McClurken.jpg included in line 8

1860_H_P_McClurkin.pdf  see line 31

1870_Hugh_McClurkin.pdf  see line 26

1880_H_P_McClurkin.pdf  see line 36

1900_Hugh_McClurkin.pdf  see line 76


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