Ellwood Conrad Memorial



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Ellwood Conrad Memorial

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Memorial to Ellwood Conrad








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Published by Pasadena MM.

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Chronicler 10/30/2012


The following is the entirety of the memorial:
Memorial to Elwood Conrad
In deep appreciation of the life and work of Ellwood Conrad
This memorial is prepared and published by Pasadena Monthly Meeting of Friends
This memorial is dedicated to the memory of our beloved friend, Ellwood B. Conrad, a member and minister of the Society of Friends.
Ellwood B. Conrad was born in Upper Darby, near Philadelphia, First Month 25, 1850, the eldest son of Lewis and Rebecca Conrad. His great-grandfather was born in that part of Germany known as the Palatinate, was convinced under the ministry of William Penn, and later was among those who accepted William's invitation to settle in Pennsylvania. The family bought a parcel of land north of Philadelphia, the deed of which [editor’s note: this was actually a patent rather than a deed] was signed by William Penn. Ellwood's parents were both born in Philadelphia before the separation of 1827-28. The two Quarterly Meetings of which they were members joined almost entirely with the Hicksites. His parents, however, married contrary to discipline and were therefor disowned. When Ellwood was seven years old, they moved to Philadelphia, made acknowledgements, and were received again into membership with the Hicksite body, and Ellwood (then eight years old) was also taken into membership. However, his parents soon left this meeting and joined the Episcopalians.
Ellwood grew up as most boys of his time and was fond of worldly pleasures. He was about thirteen when he received a religious impression that greatly tendered his mind. This was when he heard a member of his family reading an account of the sufferings and experiences of some North Carolina Friends for refusing to bear arms during the War of Secession then in progress. These Friends had been drafted into the southern army. Their refusal to fight in one case, so enraged the officer in charge that he ordered the Friends shot. The firing squad was drawn up, ready to fire, when the Friend knelt in prayer, which so touched the men in the firing squad that they refused to fire. The officer then ordered the Friend laid on the ground, and attempted to trample him under the feet of his horse, but the animal would not step on him. The military then ordered these conscientious objectors to be placed in the front of the battle lines as a sort of human buffer against the shots of the enemy. The southerners were forced to retreat [editor's note: this took place during the Battle of Gettysburg], and the Friends, having no object in retreating, stood where they were and were taken prisoners. Their plight became known to Philadelphia Friends, who secured their release. The full account appeared in the Philadelphia papers and caused quite a stir.
Ellwood states that he became convinced of the true principles of Friends at the age of sixteen by reading George Fox's Journal. Like Fox, he felt to use the plain language to everyone. When Ellwood and his brother reached the Pennsylvania State Normal School in the spring of 1869, they found all the dormitories in the men's building full, so they had to find board and lodging in a private family in the village. Ellwood's use of the plain language aroused the resentment of a fellow boarder, who struck him in the face. Ellwood, pointing, said, "Here's my other cheek." At this time the man's wrath subsided, and he never bothered Ellwood again. It was during his stay at the Normal School that he adopted the plain dress.
After graduating from Pennsylvania State Normal School, he taught several schools, one of them being the Friends School at Hopewell, Iowa (near Springville), sometime in the early seventies.
In the fall of 1869 Ellwood went to Salem, New Jersey, to take charge of the boy's department of the monthly meeting school. This monthly meeting (Hicksite Branch), with the concurrence of the quarterly meeting of ministers and elders, acknowledged him a minister in 1871, when he was but twenty-one years of age. In the same year he was liberated to attend the ensuing quarterly meetings of Abington and Bucks, and to appoint some meetings within the compass of each. In 1872 he was set at liberty by his monthly meeting to visit or appoint some meetings within the compass of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, as Truth might open the way. In the same year he was liberated to attend Baltimore Yearly Meeting, and for further religious service. He produced returning minutes from Prairie Grove Quarterly Meeting (Iowa), which was then a part of Baltimore Yearly Meeting. In 1875, he expressed a concern to attend the ensuing New York Yearly Meeting, but returned the minute which his meeting granted him for the purpose with the information that way did not open, and he felt released from the service.
It will be seen that Ellwood enjoyed the unity of the monthly meeting of which he was a member. However, he met with opposition in other places. It was probably on a First Day in 1872, while he had a minute for service within the limits of his Yearly Meeting, that an incident occurred in Race Street Meeting, Philadelphia. As he passed under the arch of the gateway to the meeting house grounds, the language came to him, "Other foundation can no man lay than is laid, which is Christ Jesus." Entering the house, he took his seat on the front bench facing the gallery, but a man took him into the gallery, and had him sit on his right [editor note: the memorial states in parenthesis here "that is, toward the partition," though the Race Street Meeting House was constructed without a partition]. As others came into the gallery, they all sat at Ellwood’s left, thus forcing him along until he was sitting head of the meeting. As meeting gathered, and in the ensuing silence, he wondered what to do with the text that had come to him, but the same voice that had spoken the text to him in the yard told him that it was not yet time to use it. Two women spoke, and he waited. Then a woman minister of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting rose, and in the course of her preaching, said "Why, Jesus Christ himself never made a Christian." After she had finished, the Voice said to Ellwood, "Now is the time." He rose and repeated his text, and was favored to enlarge upon it. As soon as he had taken his seat, the woman Friend arose, and pointing at Ellwood, launched into a tirade, endeavoring to tear apart what he had said. This so disgusted some of the young people that they began to leave the house. Since the meeting was already breaking up, Ellwood broke meeting in the usual manner, by shaking hands with the man beside him, while this minister was yet speaking.
After this meeting, Ellwood felt a leading to visit John Stokes, an Orthodox Friend and minister, but he did not know him or where he lived. He decided to go to a neighborhood where Orthodox Friends lived, and asked the first plain dressed Friend he met, where he might find John Stokes. In this way he found the house, and John met him at the door. It seems that certain students, who had been present that morning at Race Street Meeting, boarded at John Stokes's house. They had talked at the dinner table about Ellwood's testimony, and the incident which had occurred in connection with it, and John Stokes had said that he wished he might meet that young man. Now his wish was fulfilled, and they had a good visit. John became as a father to young Ellwood.
Ellwood Conrad now felt to testify of the necessity of faith in Christ in the meetings in which he had a membership; that is, in his preparative, monthly and quarterly meetings and the Yearly Meeting, in each case asking and receiving permission to visit the corresponding women’s meeting. After the session of the Yearly Meeting in which he discharged this duty, a man came up to him in a rage and seized him by the throat; Ellwood stood in silence and the man withdrew. When Ellwood asked to visit the women's Yearly Meeting, there was opposition, and he was not given liberty to do so. In a subsequent session of the yearly meeting, however, a very influential member named William Dorsey (a minister of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting) rose, and not only referred to Ellwood's concern, but reopened it, and expressed his own willingness that Ellwood's request to visit Women's Meeting be granted. This was done with much unanimity, and he proceeded to Women's Meeting with companions of his own selection.
It may be supposed that this occurred in 1875, and had something to do with his not going to attend New York Yearly Meeting. It appears that he went to Iowa that same year. His resignation from Salem Monthly Meeting was offered and accepted in Sixth Month 1876. All meetings thus far mentioned are those maintained by the Hicksites. At the same time, Ellwood Conrad applied for membership within the limits of Hickory Grove Quarterly Meeting (Iowa) which was then a part of Ohio Yearly Meeting. Returning eastward about 1877, he attended Yearly Meeting and came to reside within the limits of New Garden Monthly Meeting (Winona, Ohio).
On Eighth Month 29, 1878, he was united in marriage to Phebe, daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth Dean, of Columbiana County, Ohio. The ceremony took place in the Winona Meeting House. Ellwood attributed his marriage to Divine guidance. To this union six children were born. Later, the Conrads moved to Salem, Ohio. Ellwood taught one term of school and also operated a greenhouse.
Ellwood Conrad, early in life, felt the reproof of the Master. On one occasion, when attending a place of diversion he plainly felt the reproof, and thereafter refused to attend such places. On at least one occasion, he gave a vivid account in meeting of the last time he attended a theater. The Lord was dealing with him at the time, and as he sat in the theater, he felt all that was separating him from the flames of Hell was the floor of that building, and he promised the Lord that if he might only be permitted to leave that place alive, he never would be found in a theater again.
In Eleventh Month, 1890, his gift in the ministry was again acknowledged. His ministry was very weighty, and in his humble way (for he, himself, often remarked how little he felt he could do) was able to cause many to feel the "awful state of man’s condition!" One time in conversing with an acquaintance, the friend made the remark that it makes little difference what meeting we attend. His answer was, "whosoever believeth that I am not He, where I am they can never come." He was always careful to speak of Christ as "our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." Concerning his ministry, it may be said that he "hewed to the line."
At one time while living in Salem, and driving through town, Ellwood felt impressed to go to the mill and buy a sack of bran. He wondered at this, since he had no immediate use for it, but he obeyed the impression. On his way home, the horse ran away and Ellwood was thrown out, his head landing on a soft cushion - the sack of bran. Other articles in the wagon were not thrown out. Doubtless his Heavenly Father, who could have kept the horse from running away, took this method of demonstrating his care over his dependent little ones. When someone solicited our friend for insurance, he pointed up, indicating his trust was not in man.
Ellwood Conrad attended North Carolina Yearly Meeting, held at Woodland, Eleventh Month, 1910, in company with Albert Cope and others, as a committee from Ohio Yearly Meeting, to consider the advisability of corresponding with that meeting. Again in 1916, he attended that Yearly Meeting with Phebe and their daughter Rebecca, and Albert and Phebe Cope. Ellwood and Phebe remained a few months, visiting families and meetings.
In Second Month 1920, he went again to North Carolina to attend the funeral of Benjamin Brown, intending to return at once, but he found, lying at the point of death, another Friend, George Parker, whose wife asked Ellwood to remain for a while if he felt easy to do so, which he did, and was present at the funeral. He was a great comfort to this family, going in and sitting beside the afflicted man frequently and helping where he could. His religious exercises during these weeks were deep and his ministry weighty, so much so that at times he would have to sit down for a few moments to gain control of his emotions, in order to go on with his discourse. The same condition was experienced when attending Canada Yearly Meeting later.
First and Second Months in 1936, he attended both Southern and Eastern Quarterly Meetings, in both of which he was deeply exercised, and the Gospel messages were weighty and convincing. In his social visiting his conversation was edifying, giving much instruction concerning the principles and doctrines of our Religious Society.
The following are a few of the spiritual messages that dear Ellwood Conrad gave us, and we again seem to hear his voice as he rises to speak. "'Iniquity shall abound, and the love of many shall wax cold'! In considering this prophetic declaration of the Savior, in regard to what the condition of the world in a future age should be, it might be well to inquire into the nature of the iniquity he spake of, and its effect on the morals of the world.
"It would seem, that in view of the great lapse of national honor and integrity among the nations of the earth, including our own, and the rejection of a belief in the superintendence of an over-ruling Providence, who controls the destiny of nations, that this condition has been permitted to come on this generation.
"The great wickedness seems to be the widespread rejection of a belief in a heart felt, heart-changing religion, and the wholesome restraint it imposes on the propensities of a corrupt nature. In one word it might be truly expressed - UNBELIEF. From this source, or spring, all iniquity in the world takes its rise, and the human heart, having rejected the love of God, grows cold toward Him.
"At the time of man's creation, he was made in the Divine image, and God pronounced him good. We read that by disobeying the divine command, he lost his divine image, and with it his only source of happiness, both in this world and in the world to come. It was to restore him to his original condition that the Redeemer 'the seed of the woman who should bruise the head of the serpent' was promised, who after long ages, appeared in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of the virgin Mary. He was the only one, of all the innumerable multitude born of women into the world, who was without sin, never having committed it. Herein was the righteousness and goodness of God made manifest, that it was absolutely needful for the whole human family to have a saving faith or religious belief, in order that they might fulfill the destiny intended for them by a great and merciful Creator.
"Among the many remarkable occurrences in religious history, the rise and progress of the Society of Friends in England might be mentioned, where at that time, there was great political and religious excitement, as well as laxity of morals. The principal distinguishing doctrine of Friends was that 'the grace of God (the Lord Jesus Christ, by His Holy Spirit) has appeared to all men, teaching them, that denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.'
"In all their doctrines, testimonies and practices, they held closely to the teachings of Christ and his apostles, as contained in the Scriptures of Truth; believing their profession to be Primitive Christianity Revived. They have frequently published to the world that they were willing that all their doctrines and testimonies be tested by the Scriptures.
"These remarks have been called forth by a statement appearing in print, asserting that the 'Society of Friends has no creed.' A critical examination of the word creed will show it to be derived from a Latin word, credo, I believe, and is mainly used to express a religious belief. A careful examination of the History of the Society of Friends and other standard works, pertaining to their belief, give sufficient evidence that the statement is not true, and should set the matter entirely at rest.
"It is true, that, when any attend our religious meetings regularly and finally request to be joined in membership with us, we do not require them to sign a printed statement of our religious belief, rightly considering that from the fact of their wishing to become one of us, that they hold our religious principles. But to say that no serious, religious conversation is engaged in, between the applicant and the committee considering his request for membership, that it may be fully satisfied of the rectitude of the request, is entirely another matter, as the writer of these lines can testify. When in younger life, on his application for membership, the committee in the case did ask serious questions in regard to religious belief, and rightly so, and he was able to answer to their entire satisfaction. When we call to mind the severe persecutions the founders of the Society suffered, the many cruel imprisonments, beatings, loss of their goods and estates - even their natural lives, in some instances, were offered up willingly, as a testimony to the truth that they held - could any rational mind believe that these faithful witnesses would willingly endure such afflictions, and still possess no religious belief or creed? NO! The Everlasting Truth, that they were living witnesses of, has been untold blessings to multitudes, and will continue to be, if faithfully lived up to, THE VERY TRUTH OF GOD, until the end of time."
We here quote Ellwood Conrad on "Faith and works" – It is a highly important matter to preserve a well balanced mind and not be carried to an extreme in any direction.
"There are people who dwell so exclusively on one aspect of the Truth as to almost ignore all the other views which are needful to give a full understanding of the whole subject. This is exemplified in the old controversy between 'faith' and 'works.' The importance of maintaining sound doctrine, so fills the minds of some, that they are jealous of any who strongly impress upon the minds of their hearers the necessity of good works, as if a controversy existed between them: whereas the two principles are vital parts of Christianity, and in full harmony with each other when rightly understood. On the other hand, there are persons whose minds are so absorbed in the performance of good words as to almost entirely exclude the necessity of adhering to the doctrine of faith (sound doctrine). This condition was prominent in the Society of Friends more than a century ago, in the convulsion which resulted in the separation of many members disaffected from it. It was publicly advanced by them in that day 'that doctrines were not important.' Later publications issued by them in this day still advance the same sentiment.
"We are told in the New Testament on divine authority 'But without faith, it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God, must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.' The natural human mind is so constituted that nothing short of the powerful conviction of the Holy Spirit of God of these solemn truths (upon it) will induce men to submit to its wholesome restraints, and to contend, year after year, with the world, the flesh and the devil, as good soldiers of Immanuel's army.
"When the apostle Paul was miraculously visited on his way to Damascus and shown that he was called to be a servant of Jesus Christ, and to proclaim his name before kings and rulers, he says, 'I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.' Near the close of his life, and in the full assurance of faith, he was enabled to testify: 'I have fought a good fight: I have kept the faith: henceforth, there is a crown of righteousness laid up for me, which the Lord will give me in that day: and not to me only, but to all those that love His appearing!' Can anyone suppose that such would have been his triumphant language if his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ had failed to produce its legitimate fruit in his daily life and conduct? And if through the temptations of this world, he had neglected to perform the duties laid upon him?
"The ground of our salvation is 'faith.' It is a living faith: it does not stand in the wisdom of this world: it is able to overcome the world, for its foundation is the power of God, and the love of God: and its operation is to 'turn man from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God; that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them who are sanctified by faith that is in Me.'
"The apostle James says faith without works is dead, and again, 'I will show thee my faith by my works.' The Savior Himself declared 'by their fruit ye shall know them.' From these solemn declarations it may be truly concluded that religious profession without its corresponding practice is of little or no saving value. It is also clear from the teaching of scriptures and the Holy Spirit that it is by grace through faith we are saved, and that not of ourselves. It is the gift of God.
"It is highly derogatory to the character of the divine Author of Christianity for anyone to assert that Christianity itself possesses an inherent weakness. Far from being the case, ever since its introduction into the world by Christ and his apostles, down to the present, it has been an unspeakable blessing to multitudes who accept its divine authority and experience its divine power to change their hearts and amend their lives. Its function was then and still is to 'turn men from darkness to light' and from the power of Satan to God! In this contest it has the unwearied adversary to deal with; and for bearing their testimony to the Truth, and refusing to deny the Lord that bought them, many early disciples suffered great afflictions; they were thrown to the wild beasts for the amusements of the Roman populace. They were burnt at the stake, cruelly beaten and cast into prison and suffered long and cruel imprisonments."
To Salem Quarterly Meeting of Friends
To be held 11th Month 13th and 14th, 1937
Dear Friends,
Having had you much in mind at the time of this meeting, I feel to salute you in the name of the gospel, and wish your encouragement in every word and work.
As it is without doubt well known, we are living in time of great unsettlement, both religiously and temporally, so that at times it would seem that the very foundations of both would be overturned.
But in all this great unsettlement, when men's hearts seem to be failing them for fear, and are in doubt as to what new developments the future may bring forth, there is one solemn truth that has stood unchanged and victorious, through all the great tribulations that have visited the world in bygone ages.
Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus. He is the foundation of God and the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His.
It was in the ordering of divine wisdom that the queries, which will be read at this time, were designed to preserve the Body at large in a healthy state as well as the individuals that compose it, that by frequent self examination they might be enabled to grow in Grace and the saving knowledge of the Truth, and so bear a fruitful testimony to its excellence before the world. Thus if we are faithful, we become witnesses for the Lord, and great will be our peace.
The Lord has done abundantly more for us than we can ever be able to do for Him; what then shall we render unto Him, for His manifold blessings and tender mercies [but] the worship of our hearts and the dedication of our lives? To love Him supremely, above all else, and our neighbor as ourselves. The first and second Queries of our discipline remind us of this solemn duty and enjoin its observance upon us by asking us from time to time if we are faithful in performing the duties so solemn and far reaching.
I apprehend that a time of trial approaches in the future, and when it comes, it will be well for all to be concerned to have their habitation built on the unchangeable foundation, Christ Jesus, that their building may stand. The wickedness and forgetfulness of God, now prevailing in the world, clearly points this out, and the judgment of an offended deity will not always be withheld. It is sure to come. But in great mercy He hath provided a way of escape. 'Hear, O Israel! Thus saith the Lord, If you will return unto me, I will return unto you, and have mercy upon you, I will heal all your backslidings, and forgive all your iniquities, and love you freely, said the Lord.'"
The following incident was taken from a letter written 2/29/1898 and published by the editor of the Friend.
When John Brantingham of Marlborough, Ohio, was on a religious visit to the meetings of Friends in Iowa, about the year 1874 or 1875 (I do not certainly remember the date), a public meeting, I think appointed at his request, was held in Friends Meeting House at Hopewell, Iowa (Linn County). Shortly after the meeting had gathered, he arose and spoke a few sentences in a clear and straightforward manner (I think on the atonement, but am not positive of the subject), when he began to hesitate, and after uttering a few more rather disconnected sentences, took his seat, but very shortly arose with the expression "Friends, I have missed the stepping stones. I have exceeded," and again took his seat.
After a few minutes of silence a young man, not yet recommended to the ministry, arose and took up the subject where he left it, and was favored to go on with it in a clear and convincing manner. I think J.B. returned to his home in Ohio without knowing the result of his humiliating experiences, but it soon reached the ears of Friends where the meeting was held that there was one there who disbelieved in an inspired gospel ministry, and was led by this circumstance to say that it was the most convincing evidence of an inspired ministry that he ever heard. Another man present on the occasion afterward remarked that when the last speaker arose and began, he said within himself, 'Ah, my little man, that subject is too deep for thee,' but was convinced before he was through that strength is afforded to those who humbly seek it, and depend upon it to minister in the 'ability which God giveth.'
A relative in talking to Ellwood Conrad about this incident, inquired of him who this young man was, upon which he told her that he was the young man. Rachel Patterson was in attendance at this meeting, and noticed that John Brantingham watched Ellwood very closely during his discourse, and could tell by his countenance that he was well satisfied with the ability by which the young man was able to take up and go through with the unfinished subject.
Ellwood and Phebe Conrad went to Santa Paula, California, in the fall of 1928 to spend their declining years. Their membership was transferred from Salem, Ohio, to Pasadena, California Monthly Meeting in Second Month 1939.
Ellwood was in declining health for several months, but was confined to his bed only three days before his death, which took place on 10/25/1943, at the age of ninety-three.
It was a great comfort to his family and friends that he retained his mental faculties to the end and bore his many physical afflictions with much patience, and was true to his faith in God through all his sufferings.
The interment was in Friends burial grounds in Pasadena, California.
A short while before this goes to press, Phebe Conrad departed this life in Eleventh Month 1947 in the ninety-second year of her age. She was laid to rest beside her husband. She was truly a loving wife and devoted mother in the years gone by.