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A Prized Story: A Reynolds Family Tale

The following is a communication sent to Central’s Librarian, Bev Kelley (CC ’04) via one Rolland C. “Randy” Reynolds

[Hello], I am searching for an essay my grandfather, Rev. Walter C. Reynolds (CC 1918), wrote around 1918 while he was a student at Central Christian College.  He apparently won several dollars for the essay and it was possibly printed in the “yearbook.”  Granddad is kinda sketchy about the details of it….but he was in his late 80s when my father conducted this oral history!  The essay was written from a manuscript Granddad got from his grandfather, Rev. Frederick E. Eaton (also a Free Methodist minister), about his maritime experiences in Nova Scotia.  I know that he apparently earned [his] captaincy and during his career had sailed to Europe.

[I also] have significant ties to Los Angeles Free Methodist Seminary (LAFMS)/Los Angeles Pacific College that you might find interesting:

Professor N.J. Davis [was the] first Principal of LAFMS from 1904 to his death in 1907.  My grandparents named my father “Rolland” after [Professor Davis’] son, Rolland Davis (a graduate from LAFMS and later, missionary to India).  I continue to carry that name.

My great-grandfather, Joel Gordon Baird, served four years as Principal of Wessington Springs Seminary (~1897-1901). He and my great grandmother, Caroline (Bolton) Baird (parents of Leola Janet (Baird) Reynolds), served as Principal and Preceptress of LAFMS following the death of Professor N.J. Davis.  Professor Baird felt that his health would not permit him to continue serving as Principal beyond one year, and he served in this capacity from 1907-1908.  He did serve as President/member of the Board of Trustees from 1904-1921, and as Financial Agent starting in 1907.

My grandfather, Rev. Walter C. Reynolds, after completing studies at Campbell Free Methodist Seminary, Central Christian College [in] 1918, and Greenville College in 1920, served as faculty at Los Angeles Free Methodist Seminary / Los Angeles Pacific College from 1920-22, [again from] 1927-1928, and for some period of time again starting in 1958, as well as serving in a number of Free Methodist pastorates in the LA area.

My grandmother, Leola Janet (Baird) Reynolds served as staff or faculty at Los Angeles Free Methodist Seminary / Los Angeles Pacific College from 1927-28.

Kindest Regards,

Rolland C. “Randy” Reynolds, MD


Central’s Archivist, Lynda Linder, was able to find the prized essay written by his grandfather, Rev. Walter Clinton Reynolds, and delivered it to Rolland. Rev. Walter had received a $2-$3 prize for writing the seafaring essay about his grandfather which was put in the 1917 Centralian yearbook. You can read the article (and more by Rev. Walter) in the attached article here.

Rev. Walter’s twin brother, Wilder Rosbert Reynolds (CC 1918), also attended Central. The photo of the twins found in the article was one Rolland had never seen before. His great grandfather was Rev. Fred Eaton, who lived at 305 S. Chestnut (in McPherson, Kansas) when the twins were at Central. Rev.  Eaton was an FM Supply Pastor for the Iowa region.


Central Christian College of Kansas is a regionally accredited institution offering undergraduate and graduate-level programs. Central strives to offer Christ-centered education for the whole person – heart, mind, soul, and strength. Its history dates back to 1884, and it is located in the friendly town of McPherson, Kansas. Central is a strategically small college that offers over forty areas of residential study and a thriving online program for non-traditional students. To learn more about who Central is go to centralchristian.edu/about. Visit the Foundation of Central Christian College to see what projects and events are coming up.

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