Henry Clay Morrison
1857 – 1942
H. C. Morrison was born in Barren County, Kentucky. His parents died when he was very young and he was raised by his grandparents. The rugged religious atmosphere and the constant spirit of revival throughout the Blue Grass region made a profound impression upon him. It awakened his consciousness to his need of Christ and the assurance of deliverance from sin. About the age of 11, he was converted and soon after felt the call to the ministry. Although he made no attempt to preach for about eight years, he was much occupied with church work. At the age of 19, he was licensed to preach and demonstrated the validity of his call.
In his work as a circuit rider and station pastor, he was called to one of the most responsible Methodist churches in Kentucky. In 1890 he left the pastorate to give himself to the work of evangelism and to the publishing of a religious paper called, The Old Methodist, which later became The Herald. Morrison’s evangelistic leadership in Methodism grew rapidly from Kentucky to most of the other states and foreign lands. A contemporary said of him, “To him was given by God a heart to move the multitude, a mind to think God’s thoughts, and a voice to rouse his century, his church, and his country.”
The camp meeting became one of his chief instruments; and perhaps no other man ever gave more time or effective leadership to this phase of evangelism than he. In addition to this, he served as President of Asbury Theological Seminary in 1923. William Jennings Bryan said, “I regard H. C. Morrison the greatest pulpit orator on the American continent.” And at Morrison’s death in 1942, it was written of him, “… a tall tree has fallen in the forest, but it went down with a great shout of victory. He died as he lived … in the midst of a campaign for souls.”