His Early Years
Chester Cicero McReynolds was born on March 16, 1853, in Washington, Iowa, to Mary B. (Holland) McReynolds, age 35, and Roland Rollins McReynolds, age 56. Chester became a public school teacher in 1872 and married Mary Emma Adams in 1874 when he was 21 years old. They had one daughter, Julia, and three sons, James Arthur, William Henry, and John Chester McReynolds (Ancestry, 2019). In 1877 the McReynolds moved from Iowa to Kansas, where they became Seventh-day Adventists and Chester C. McReynolds became a minister in 1879 (Grave, 2015). They moved to Arkansas around 1886 (Ancestry, 2009).
Years of Ministry
At the 1890 constituency session in Van Buren, Elder McReynolds was elected as the third Arkansas Conference president. A visiting minister reported at the session that the leaders in our conference were “crippled for lack of means.” At the 1891 session McReynolds told the delegates: “While many and most urgent calls are being received from every quarter of the State, asking for help, the financial condition of the Conference is such that ministerial labor must cease for the present, only such being done as the minister might be able to do without charges to the Conference, unless there is a positive and general move in the payment of back tithes and old pledges. . . . A debt of $600 hangs over us.” Elder McReynolds went on to recommend that the pastors go into the canvassing field for the remainder of the year (McReynolds, 1891). The Arkansas members were mainly low income farming people and they had been slow to fully commit themselves to the tithing plan, but at the close of the session, they gave a liberal offering that covered the cost of the camp meeting, and by the following year, tithe had increased. Elder Chester C. McReynolds was the Arkansas conference president from 1891-1893, then became the Kansas conference president. Elder McReynolds stepped in as acting president in Arkansas in 1899 until December, when he resigned (Beeler, 1996).
The McReynolds moved to Oklahoma that winter, then moved to Wisconsin around 1906. Chester’s wife died March 18, 1907, and a year later, on March 22, 1908, Elder McReynolds married Mary Cornell Cook, who was thirty-five years younger then Chester (Ancestry, 2011). They had a son, Chester Cornell McReynolds, who grew up to become a physician and surgeon of the San Diego County hospital in California (Daily Sun, 1937). The McReynolds moved to California where Elder McReynolds retired in 1917. Mary became a physician at Pacific Union College around 1918, while Elder McReynolds continued to serve many years on the General Conference committee. Elder McReynolds contracted pneumonia and passed away March 16, 1937, at the White Memorial Hospital in Loma Linda, California (Grave, 2015).
(1937, Mar. 18). Death Claims High Official of Adventists. San Bernadino Daily Sun, p. 15.
Ancestry.com. (2009). Kansas State Census Collection, 1855-1925. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.
Ibid. (2011). Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.
Ancestry Family Trees. (2019, Sep. 26). Chester Cicero McReynolds. Retrieved from ancestry.com.
Beeler, Charles R. (1996). A History of Seventh-day Adventists in Arkansas and Louisiana 1888-1996.Keene: Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, pp. 33, 36, 43.
Find a Grave. (2015, Oct. 4). Elder Chester Cicero McReynolds. Retrieved from findagrave.com.
McReynolds, C. (1891, Dec. 8). Review and Herald, p. 764.