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Biographical Information
Bishop Willard F. Mallallieu

I am indebted to a man named Paul Atkins for the following biographical information on Bishop Willard F. Mallalieu. I only know Paul from the Internet. A long time ago, he was doing genealogical research on the Internet. The Bishop was related to his family by marriage. He contacted me to see if I had any information on the Bishop. I didn't. But, he shared quite a bit of information with me! (You can find the results of some of Paul's genealogical research in the photos that are here.)

The first item below is from the Minutes of the 57th Annual Conference of the Central Illinois Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, September 1911.

The second item is a brief article (reprinted here with their permission) from the Cross Currents newsletter of the New England Conference of the The United Methodist Church Volume 6, Number 3, October 7, 2002.

— Craig L. Adams


C. O. McCulloch

[From the Minutes of the 57th Annual Conference of the Central Illinois Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, September 1911.]

Willard Francis Mallelieu, a Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal church, was born in Sutton, Mass., December 11, 1828, and died August 1, 1911, in Auburndale, Mass.

He descended from French Huguenot stock. His ancestor, Francis Mallalieu, on the introduction of that reign of terror which wrote the crimson history of the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, found an asylum of safety in England. From Yorkshire, England, the father of our beloved bishop came to Sutton. Mass., very early in the last century. Bishop Mallalieu was seventh in a family of ten children.

He was thoroughly converted to God when not quite eleven years of age. Even before his remarkable conversion he had a unmistakable drawing toward the Christian ministry, which he entered in 1858, and honored for more than a half century by an intensity and devotion which increased until his translation.

He graduated from Wesleyan University in 1857. He laid the rich gifts he possessed –– the gold, frankincense and myrrh of a robust body, a keen, cultivated mind, and a heart wherein was shed abroad the love of God –– at the feet of hid Lord and Master. Without complaint he went to his first assignment as a traveling preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church, Grafton, Mass., where there was neither church, nor Sunday school nor congregation awaiting him. This great church to which he felt it an honor to belong, whose doctrines he esteemed it a glory to expound and defend, and whose polity received his enthusiastic support because it of all policies was best adapted to the evangelization of the world, had built up its vast membership and won its incomparable influence by sending two-thirds of its ministers to their fields of labor for the first half hundred years of its history in the United States in the same way. This had no small part in cultivating in the subject of this sketch the spirit of apostolic heroism and devotion to God.

Hands beckoned and voices called to him to engage in lines of work somewhat different than that of the ministry strictly interpreted. He loved the pastoral office and work, and in it he served some of our most important churches in New England, in one instance, at least, being sent to the same charge for the third term, so great was his success in that office. He was called to the distinguished honor of a place among our General Superintendents in 1884. For twenty years, approved of both God and man, he executed the trust of this high office, greatly to the upbuilding of the church and the good of mankind. Relieved of the chief responsibilities of his office as a Bishop at the General Conference of 1904, for the past seven years from his home in New England, as he had always done as pastor, presiding elder and acting bishop, he mightily preached the glorious gospel of the blessed God. Thus he labored with voice and pen, through pulpit and press, by lip and life, in ceaseless activity showing lost man the way to God, until the faithful heart ceased its beating and he lived with God.

The limitations of a sketch so brief as this must be, will not permit of an adequate forthsetting of a life so long and useful, or the analysis of a character built so nobly on a range of endowments and experience so wide and varied. But it may be said, should be said, he believed most cordially in the all-sufficiency of the grace of God to save the human soul to the uttermost, and to redeem and transform the most wasted life from a jungle of ravin, pestilence and death into a fragrant, fruitful garden of God, and in "the precious blood" as a fountain broad, deep, efficacious to make spotless the robes of the spirit of man "so as no fuller on earth can white them."

Without question he accepted the Bible –– the entire Bible –– as the word of God, as both the efficient and sufficient expression of God's will and love toward man –– self-interpreting, self-enforcing, "the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth."

He was a reformer of the New Testament pattern, an earnest and powerful advocate of the emancipation of the Negro until emancipation became the crowing act in a century of great deeds. And since the black man was made free, he has plead for his education and full enfranchisement until by real manhood and genuine worth he should be credentialed to take his place at the side of his white brother in working out their destiny.

He was a most ardent advocate of the abolition and annihilation of the traffic in strong drink, and an intense evangelist of peace for all the world.

So close did he live to the Christ who had redeemed him, so loyal to God, and so faithful to man was he, we are prepared to believe that though with a tread swift, noiseless and without announcement, the messenger came at the final moment, the King was ready, and saying: "Well done ... good and faithful ... enter." He wrapped "the Everlasting arms" about His tired servant and bore him into wearyless rest.

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Bishop Willard Francis Mallalieu Honored by Descendents

By Patricia J. Thompson,

[From: Cross Currents, the newsmagazine of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church Volume 6, Number 3, October 7, 2002.]

On Saturday May 11, a beautiful spring day, members of the New England United Methodist Historical Society (NEUMHS) along with family members from Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Maryland gathered to place a clergy marker on the grave of Bishop Willard Francis Mallalieu. When markers are placed on the graves of pastors who have been dead for 75 years or more, there are rarely family members who can be located. Thus, this was a very special occasion, indeed, with more family members present than NEUMHS members!!

Bishop Mallalieu’s grave had been located some years before by the New England Commission on Archives and History (NECCAH). There was discussion about finding family members who could give permission to mark the grave, but no follow-up had been done. Then in the fall of 2001, I was contacted by a man named Paul Atkins, from Green Bay WI, who was seeking information about a relative named Willard Francis Mallalieu, a Bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Paul turned out to be the great-great-grand nephew of the Bishop and was researching his family genealogy.

He contacted the bishop’s office and Dorothy Hollenbeck gave him my name and email address. Thus began a correspondence that culminated in the grave marking in May 2002. I explained our grave-marking program to Paul. He talked to his aunt, Dorothy Atkins, currently the oldest living Atkins. (She is the great-grand niece of the Bishop and his wife, Eliza Frances Atkins.) The organizing of the grave marking service began.

Paul, his wife Sandy, sister Donna, his mother Florence, “Aunt Dorothy”, and Sandy’s parents all traveled to Cape Cod to attend the service. The Historical Society was represented by C. Faith Richardson, Leonard Bachelder, and me, as we all remembered a remarkable man, pastor, and bishop.

Willard Francis Mallalieu was born on December 11, 1828 in Sutton MA. He attended the East Greenwich Academy (sponsored by the Providence Conference), Wilbraham Academy, and Wesleyan University. He was received on trial in the New England Conference in April 1858, admitted to full membership in 1869, and remained a preacher-in-charge until 1882, when he was appointed presiding elder (now district superintendent) of the Boston District. Two years later, he was elected to the episcopacy. As bishop, he presided at nearly 200 annual conferences in every state in the Union, as well as conferences in Europe, Mexico, Japan, Korea, China, and India. In Honolulu in1892, he ordained the first Methodist preacher ever ordained in the Hawaiian Islands.

Besides his work within the church, the bishop was involved in many other organizations. These included the New England Historic-Genealogical Society, the Boston Bethel Club, the Massachusetts Total Abstinence Society, the American Peace Society, the American Health League, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. His conference memoir states, “In the ministry he was conspicuous from the beginning and his prominence was due to the strength of his convictions, the frankness of his utterances, and the wide scope of his sympathies. These characteristics remained to the last day of his life.”

Many thanks to Paul Atkins, his Aunt Dorothy, and the rest of their family, for making this a truly memorable occasion.

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On Saturday May 11, 2002 a beautiful spring day, members of the New England United Methodist Historical Society (NEUMHS) along with family members from Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Maryland gathered to place a clergy marker on the grave of Bishop Willard Francis Mallalieu.