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Old Chester, PA: Obituaries:
Rev. Henry Engard Gilroy

Annual Minutes of the Philadelphia Conference
pp. 86-88

Henry Engard Gilroy was born Mount Holly, N.J., January 11, 1821.  He was converted when in the thirteenth year of his age, and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in Mount Holly, which was then one of the appointments on Burlington circuit.

Removing to Philadelphia, he became a member of Mariner's Bethel.  When seventeen years of age, he received license to exhort, and, a year later, license to preach.  In the year 1839, he served as a "supply" on Strasburg circuit, under the Presiding Eldership of Solomon Higgins, with Edward Kennard as preacher-in-charge. He was received on trial in the Philadelphia Conference in 1840, admitted into full membership, and ordained Deacon by Bishop Waugh in 1842, and ordained Elder by Bishop Hedding in 1844.

His active ministry extended over a period of forty-six years, and was spent in the following appointments: Dauphin circuit, 1840; Rising Sun, 1841;  Cohocksink, 1842; Mauch Chunk, 1843;  Milestown circuit, 1844-45;  New Market Street, 1846-47; Sanctuary, 1848;  Port Carbon, 1849-50;   Smyrna, Delaware, 1851-52;  Dover, Delaware, 1853-54;  Port Deposit, Maryland, 1855-56;  North East Maryland, 1857;  Pottsville, 1858-59;  Front Street, 1860-61;  Mariner's Bethel,
1862-63;  Mt. Zion, Manayunk, 1864-65;  Madison Street, Chester, 1866-68; Lebanon, 1869;  Asbury, 1870-72;  Sixteenth Street, 1873;   Cheltonham, 1874-76;  Phoenixville, 1877-78;  Paschalville, 1879-80;   Bristol, 1881-83; Bridesburg, 1884 to the Conference of 1886, when he became supernumerary, in which relation he continued until the close of his earthly life.

In 1844, Brother Gilroy was married to Miss Catharine Smith, of Philadelphia, who proved herself a worthy helpmeet, and who died in 1870, leaving a daughter, now Mrs. James Wallace, of Manayunk, and a son, Mr. Henry Engard, of the Philadelphia Bar.

In 1874 Brother Gilroy was united in marriage to Miss Eliza Blakeley, of Chester, Pa., whose loving companionship brightened the remaining years of his life.  Two daughters by this marriage, Mrs. Emily B. Damon of Darby, and Miss Alice B., survive.

From 1866 to the time of his death, Brother Gilroy resided in Chester, Pa., and for five years was connected with Madison Street, as "supernumerary with work."

This brief summary of the life of our brother is, if itself, sufficient to show the value of his work.  But only the older members of the Conference, who knew what the charges which Brother Gilroy served were, and the character of the service which he rendered in them, can estimate the success and efficiency of his ministry.  When we recall the names of the men who were his contemporaries in the Conference, and note how well he ranked with them, we recognize the fact that he possessed abilities which made him their peer.

As a preacher, Brother Gilroy was strong and clear.  His sermons were analyses of the subjects suggested by the chosen texts, closing with faithful application of the truth to the heart and conscience.  He was empathetically a student of the Bible, and out of the treasury he brought forth things new and old.  He so preached the Gospel as to convince and persuade, as the revivals which attended his his ministry abundantly prove. He was an efficient administrator and a faithful pastor.  His sympathetic nature made him a friend of the erring, the helper of the needy and the comforter of the sorrowing.  His appearance and manner, his modesty and reticence, inspired confidence.  He was strong in his friendships, and to those who came closest to him, there was a revelation in the tenderness and strength of his nature which awoke their deepest affection.  Though spared to see more than seventy-five years of life, he never grew old in appearance or spirit.

After his retirement from the active ministry, he was always found in his place in the public services of the Church, and in the social means of grace.  He was the friend of his pastors, unobtrusive and helpful. The closing years of his life were passed amid the most delightful surroundings, and in the serenest peace.  Honored by all who knew him, beloved by the family which God had given him, and by a wide circle of relatives, and favored with large manifestations of Divine favor, he passed his days in service, in study, in meditation and prayer, waiting the call of the master to come up higher.

At times during his last sickness his sufferings were extreme but his confidence in God never wavered and his peace was never broken.  He seemed to forget himself in his consideration for others.  From his lips that had so often uttered the words of eternal life.  Came expressions of holy confidence and of inexpressible love for the Saviour.  To his son he said, "If you ever hear any man expressing doubts, tell him that you saw a man die who hadn't the shadow of a doubt!"  At another time he said, "Not only will my loved ones be watching for me, but also, those who, through my humble instrumentality, were brought to Christ."  When in great bodily distress, laying his hand on his struggling heart he said, "Let my triumphant spirit go."  "Precious Jesus! In mercy, send the messenger, oh! send the messenger."  And then, as if fearing that he had been impatient, he added - "Thy will be done - not my will."   Through his sickness down to the end, Brother Gilroy was the same gentle, patient, thoughtful and trustful man, that he had been in health.

On the night of Friday, June 19th, 1896, Brother Gilroy peacefully passed to his home in heaven, leaving to his loving and beloved family the priceless heritage of a well-spent life, and to the Church the inspiration of his faithful ministry.

His funeral took place on Monday, June 22nd, at 3 p.m.  The services were held at his late residence in the city of Chester.   The large attendance of the people of the city, and of his brethren of the Conference, testified the esteem in which he was held.  The following took part in the impressive services:  J.F. Crouch; T.C. Murphey, D.D., W.L. McDowell, D.D.; Nathaniel Turner, F.A. Gilbert, R.W. Humphriss, D.D.;  and J.L. Russell, D.D., of the Darby Presbyterian Church.   Addresses were made by Drs. W.J. Paxson, S.W. Thomas, and J.R.T. Gray.  The interment took place in the Chester Rural Cemetery.  The service was read by Drs. T.M. Griffith, W.J. Paxson, A.M. Wiggins and J.R.T. Gray. As we finished life of our lamented brother, we may sum up the purpose for which he lived and the object for which he labored, in the expressive phrase, "For Christ and His Church."

Thanks to Tina Culbertson, CupaTea712@hotmail.com, for sharing this obituary.

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2001 John A. Bullock III.

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