An Opportunity to be Better - Biographies

Henry E. Millikan

Henry Edwin Millikan was born on May 25, 1893 in West Farmington, Ohio, a small village about 40 miles southeast of Cleveland. His parents were farmer and woodworker Edwin Millikan and his wife Julia (Curtiss) Millikan. Henry was the only boy of the five children.

His father died on November 1, 1916 and Henry became his mother's primary support, working first in a store that sold electrical goods and later for the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railroad. When the United States entered World War I, Millikan became a soldier, serving in the Argonne-Meuse offensive that brought the war to an end.

After the war, Millikan attended Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio, obtaining his bachelor's degree in 1920. He was admitted as a trial member of the Ohio Conference of the Methodist Church the following year. He received additional schooling at the Drew Theological Seminary in Madison, New Jersey and was admitted as a full member of the Ohio Conference in March of 1925.

On June 16, 1927, Millikan married Florence Gertrude Shike. She too was a Methodist minister and 9 years younger than her husband. The marriage took place at the home of her Methodist minister brother Charles Shike in Wakefield, Kansas. She had been born in Adair County, Iowa, the daughter of farmer George A. and Amelia Shike, who later moved to a farm near Baldwin, Kansas.

The couple had two children, Mona, born in 1929, and Richard, born in 1931, both in Kansas.

Millikan became an Army chaplain in February 1943, serving in, among other places, France. He was discharged in March of 1946. After his discharge, he returned to school until his appointment to Morganville in the fall of 1947.

He left Morganville in December of 1948, beginning a pattern of moving frequently between small Kansas villages - Bronson, Culver, Fall River, Netawaka, Melvern, Colony, Valley Falls, and Strong City.

Accounts of church-related activities in the Morganville paper give reason to believe Millikan was not a simple rural clergyman who limited himself to reciting stories taken from the Bible, but instead encouraged active participation by congregants. Another example comes from his 1956 posting to the United Methodist Church in Valley Falls, Kansas, a village of nearly 1,000 people located 30 miles northeast of Topeka. He prompted the congregation to create a living version of Leonardo Da Vinci's "Last Supper." It became a tradition that continues to the present.

Mona was an honor student at and graduated from the University of Kansas in journalism. For a time, she worked for the Salvation Army in Lawrence and later as the religion reporter for the Salina Journal and the Emporia Gazette. In 1956, she accepted a position as a missionary to the Congo. Her obituary said, "She believed strongly in the Christian Life," and she was "associated with the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia." She never married and died in Atlanta in 2004.

Millikan probably in the mid-'50s.

Richard attended the University of Kansas for two years and appeared to do well before leaving. He worked in several states and died in Linville, North Carolina in 2001. Like his sister, he never married.

Henry Millikan died in 1975 and his wife Florence passed 10 years later. They and their children are buried in the Colony Cemetery about 10 miles north of Iola, Kansas.