JOHN W. DINSMORE, D.D., LL. D.
SURNAMES: ANDERSON, VANCE, BACHUS, BLACKFORD,
A prominent minister of the Presbyterian Church and one of the most
distinguished alumni of Washington and Jefferson College, Rev. John W.
Dinsmore, D. D., LL. D., died at Los Gatos, April 2, 1922. Dr. Dinsmore
was born on the Dinsmore farm in Canton township, Pa., (now the
residence of the sixth generation of the Dinsmore family), March 13,
1839, a son of William and Rebecca (Anderson) Dinsmore. He received his
academic education at Crosscreek Academy, was graduated from Washington
College in the class of 1859, and from the Western Theological
Seminary in Allegheny in 1862. He was licensed by the presbytery of
Washington, April 25„ 1861, and ordained June 28, 1863, by the
presbytery of Winnebago. He was stated supply at Cambria, Wis., for one
year; pastor at Prairie-du-sac, Wis., 1864-1870; Bloomington, Ill.,
1870-1891; San Jose, Cal., 1891- 1901, and retired from•the active
pastorate in 1901. Dr. Dinsmore was moderator of the synod of Illinois.
1883; synod of California, 1904; a member of ten Presbyterian general
assemblies; chairman of the general assembly special committee on
judicial commissions, which framed the constitutional articles
providing for the supreme court of the Presbyterian Church in U. S. A.;
was chairman of the permanent judicial committee; organized the effort,
in conjunction with Archibishop Riordan of the Catholic Church and
bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and secured the passage of
the law exempting churches of all denominations in California from
taxation; was an original member of the board of aid for colleges and
academies of the Presbyterian Church, and member of the executive
committee; director of McCormick Theological Seminary of Chicago;
director of San Francisco Theological. Seminary; and member of the
board of visitors to U. S. Naval Academy and U. S. Military Academy. He
had written much for the press, and was the author of the well known
work "The Scotch Irish in America," a valuable historical work, the
researches of whose author added materially to the knowledge of this
important part of our population.
Dr. Dinsmore came of the stock of the early settlers of Western
Pennsylvania. His great-grandfather; James Dinsmore, and his brother,
Robert, came from Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania, and settled at Millers
Run in Allegheny County, in 1774. There James Dinsmore took out a
patent for 300 acres of land, which farm, after various changes of
ownership, has now for the third time come into the possession of the
Dinsmore connection, being the farm on which the Maud mine of the
McClane Mining Company is now located.
Dr. Dinsmore was married to Miss Adeline Vance, a daughter of Isaac
Vance, December 22, 1852. She was born on the farm which is now the
site of Marshalsea, in Allegheny County. To this union were born six
children, four of whom are still living: William V. and Paul A.
Dinsmore, of Oakland, Cal.; Dudley F. Dinsmore of San Jose,
Mrs. Margaret Dinsmore Bachus, whose present residence is in Alaska.
Dr. Dinsmore was twice married, his last marriage being with Miss Alice
Blackford, in 1919. Previous to her marriage Miss Blackford had been a
teacher under the care of the Women's Board of Home Missions. Dr.
Dinsmore's late home was in Los Gatos, where his wife survives.
Dr. Dinsmore was a man of large mould and vigorous personality, a
preacher of great power, and a man who always took a foremost place in
the assemblies of the church. He was a man of genial personality and a
delightful companion. He contributed much to the life and guidance of
the Presbyterian Church in the United States, having been chairman of
the permanent judicial commission, and largely instrumental in the
formation of that and other agencies of the church, as above noted. He
was a leader in the civic reforms of every community in which he had
his residence and was a man of courageous speech to defend what he
deemed were needed reforms.
Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1108
That San Jose well illustrates in her various business enterprises all the life, aggressiveness and progress of a great interior city is admirably illustrated in the development and activities of such important concerns as Dudley F. Dinsmore's Wholesale Grain and Feed Store at 352 South Market Street, under the personal direction of the proprietor, who was born in Bloomington, Ill., in May, 1873. His parents, Rev. J. W. and Adeline (Vance) Dinsmore[above], came to Santa Clara County in August, 1891; and after the calm satisfaction of a long and very fruitful life as a Presbyterian minister, standing high in that denomination, he passed away in April, 1922.
Dudley Dinsmore finished the work required in the public schools of his locality, and then took an excellent course in the Lake Forest Academy when he came to San Jose in 1891. On coming to California, he engaged as an orchardist in the eastern foothills in both the growing and buying of fruit. At the end of seven years he sold the ranch, when he engaged in buying and shipping fruit for a period of six years. He then began the grain business and at the same time he engaged in the cattle business in Contra Costa County for five years and then started his present establishment exclusively for the sale of grain and feed in large quantities. He knew what the public not only called for, but what it needed, and how and when and where; he even anticipated their wants, and so, very naturally, from the first he has been successful, shipping all over the coast country. He belongs to the San Jose Chamber of Commerce, and through his support of the good work done by that fine organization, he keeps himself in vital touch with the agricultural and commercial life of a community in which he has become such an important part.
In national politics a Republican, and first, last and all the time a patriotic American, Mr. Dinsmore enjoys an enviable popularity in the circles of the Masonic fraternity, as well as a member of the Ancient Egyptian order of Sciots and is also a member of the Royal Arcanum. In patriotic societies we find him a member of the California Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.
Transcribed from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1245