Archives and Manuscript Repository for the Continuing Presbyterian Church

Manuscript Collections :
Synthetic Collections :

James McDonald Chaney

Synthetic Collection #219
Box #tba

Content Summary: This synthetic collection has been gathered by the staff of the Historical Center and consists of various editions of published works by James McDonald Chaney.

Span dates: 1894, 1920-1980s Size: 0.25 cu. ft. (one box)

Access: This collection is open to researchers.

Preferred citation:
James McDonald Chaney Synthetic Collection, PCA Historical Center, St. Louis, Missouri.

James McDonald Chaney
[18 March 1831 – 18 September 1909]

Biographical sketch—
James McDonald Chaney was born on 18 March 1831 in Salem, Ohio to parents William and Harriet McDonald Chaney.  He was educated at the Des Peres Institute in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating there in 1852.  Upon graduation, he was married to Eliza M. Dunklin of Jefferson County, Missouri, on 20 May 1852.  The young couple later moved to Princeton, New Jersey, where James attended Princeton Theological Seminary from 1853-1856.

Other degrees included a master’s degree from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri [date uncertain], and the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by King College [Bristol, Tennessee] in 1885.

Chaney was licensed to preach by the St. Louis Presbytery in August of 1856.  On 4 April 1858 he was then ordained to his first pastorate in Dover, Missouri under the auspices of Lafayette Presbytery.  He served this church until 1867 and during that time concurrently served as pastor of the Presbyterian church in Waverly, Missouri, from 1858-1860.  At some point after 1861, Rev. Chaney moved his ministerial credentials to the Southern Presbyterian Church, officially known as the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS).

Leaving his church in Dover, he moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where he served as stated supply [interim pastor] for the Central Presbyterian Church, from April of 1868 until December 27th of that same year. Thereafter, he returned to Dover to serve as stated supply there from 1869-1870.

From 1871-1876, Rev. Chaney was first the vice president and then the president of the Elizabeth Aull Female Seminary of Lexington, Missouri.  During his tenure here, his wife Eliza died on 25 June 1874.  He then married Mary Parke, of Sedalia, Missouri, on 6 July 1875.  Returning to the pastorate, he served in the pulpit of the Presbyterian church in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, from 1877-1885.  His final known employment was as the president of the Ladies College of Independence, Missouri, working there from 1885 to 1891.  During these later years, he preached regularly at Lamonte, Hughesville, Pleasant Hill, Corder and Alma.

Records indicate that he continued to work as a teacher and as stated supply for various churches in the area around Independence from 1891 until the year of his death in 1909. According to one account, he left the Ladies College to take a post as president of the Independence Academy of Missouri, a men’s school which specialized in mathematics. He died in Independence, Missouri on 18 September 1909. In the other noted accomplishments of his life, it is recorded that Rev. Chaney invented a planetarium.  In his work for the Church, he served as the Stated Clerk of Lafayette Presbytery in 1874 and again from 1880 until 1884.  It is not known whether his papers were preserved.  

Rev. Chaney’s publications include the following:

1.  William the Baptist, (Richmond, VA:  Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1877.  245pp.; 17cm.
Some of the known reprints include [with copies held by the PCA Historical Center indicated in brackets]—
1877 —Richmond, Va. : Virginia Conference Depository, 1877, 12th edition.  144pp.; 20cm. Acccession [PCAHC]
1877—Philadelphia, PA : Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1877.  144pp.; 17cm.
1886—Independence, MO : M.R. Wright Printing Co., 1886, 3rd edition.  160pp.; 15cm.
1892—Richmond, VA : Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 4th edition, 1892.  144pp.; 20cm.
Philadelphia : Presbyterian Board of Christian Education, 1920, 14th edition.  144pp.; 17cm. [PCAHC]
1920—Richmond, VA: Presbyterian Committee of Publication, Fourteenth edition, 1920. Pb, 144 p.; 17 cm. [PCAHC]
1950-59?—Columbia, SC : Committee on Publications of the Bible Presbyterian Church, 1950-1959?; printed by  the Bible Presbyterian Press, Walker, Iowa.  133pp.; 18cm. [PCAHC]
1965-82?—Wilmington, DE : Dept. of Publ., Reformed Presb. Ch. Evangelical Synod, 1965-1982?.  133pp.; 18cm.
undated—Wilmington, DE: Puritan Reformed Discount Book Service, Inc., undated.  133 pp.; 18 cm.  [PCAHC]
1994—Greenville, SC : Reformed Academic Press, 1994.  133pp.; 18cm.; [PCAHC]
2009—Doulos Resources, 2009.

14th edition, 1920 :
BPC edition, circa 1950 :
Wilmington, DE edition, undated:
wb-d_sm wb-f_sm wb-h_sm

2.  Agnes, daughter of William the Baptist, or, The Young Theologian.  (Richmond, VA:  Presbyterian Committee of Publication, 1894), 129pp. [PCAHC Accession #017a143000].

3.  Poliopolis and Polioland, or a Trip to the North Pole, (Kansas City, MO:  J.M. Chaney, Jr., 1900), 172pp.  One copy is known to be housed at the Library of Congress.

4. Mac and Mary, or The Young Scientist. [published in 1900; details not yet found]

5.  “The Woman Question,” in The Presbyterian Quarterly 17.3 (January 1904) 391-403. A copy of this article is preserved in the Historical Center. A footnote describes it as an excerpt from a pending publication, namely #6 below:

6.Truth Pushed Beyond the Perpendicular. No further details are known about this work, and it has not been found on WorldCat or elsewhere.

Gravesite search:
Chaney died in Independence, MO.  Two nearby cemeteries, possible locations as to where he might be buried, are the Woodland Cemetery [816-325-7365] and the Mound Grove Cemetery.

Text of his obituary, as published in The Kansas City Journal on 13 January 1910—
Independence Man Was President of Elizabeth Aull Seminary at Lexington, Mo., in 1885 -- Born in Ohio in 1831.

Rev. James McDonald Chaney died late Saturday night at his home, 532 South Main street, Independence, from the rupture of a blood vessel. For several days he was indisposed from acute indigestion.

Mr. Chaney has been in the ministry for fifty-three years, and fifty-one in the Lafayette, Mo., Presbytery of the Presbyterian church. Aside from his ministerial work, he was president of the Elizabeth Aull Seminary, at Lexington in 1885 and later of the Kansas City Ladies' college.

He was born near Salem, O., March 18, 1831. He was graduated from the Princeton Theological seminary, after which he entered the Presbyterian ministry.

He came West to be president of the Elizabeth Aull college at Lexington. He was married to Miss Mary Parke, at Lexington, in 1875. From the Elizabeth Aull college, Rev. Chaney was tendered the presidency of the Kansas City Ladies' college at Independence, Mo., which position he held for several years.

During his connection with the Lafayette Presbytery, Rev. Chaney preached regularly. During his ministry he has had charge at Lamonte, Hughesville, Pleasant Hill, Corder and Alma, Mo.

Rev. Chaney was of a mechanical train of mind, and was interested in various devices, some of them his own patents. His laboratory at home was an attraction for young and old.

Rev. Chaney, after severing his connection with the Kansas City Ladies' college, promoted an academy for young men at Independence, making a feature of higher mathematics.

His son, J. Mack Chaney, is an attorney of Kansas City. A half sister, Mrs. W. B. Wilson, resides at Lexington, Mo.

Astronomy was a field of science that fascinated the dead minister and his proclivities in this direction won him much local note. About ten years ago he invented a planetarium whereby an astronomer could determine the relative positions of all the known planets in the solar system, provided he knew the meridian passage or declination. If taken to any part of the earth's surface, the instrument could be made to indicate the movement of the planets, whether north or south of the equator. It was used in a number of schools.

Rev. E. C. Gordon, former president of Westminster college at Fulton, Mo., will conduct the funeral service, which will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock from the First Presbyterian church, Independence.

August 31, 1909
[http://www.vintagekansascity.com/100yearsago/labels/Lexington.html, accessed on 10/11/2010 @ 4:45 PM]

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