The Souvenir of Western Women/In Memory of Narcissa White Kinney
IN MEMORY OF MRS. NARCISSA WHITE KINNEY.
By MRS. HENRIETTA BROWN, Albany, Or.
NARCISSA WHITE KINNEY was born in Grove City, Penn., in 1854, and died in Portland, Or., January 5, 1901. She was reared by Christian parents in the United Presbyterian Church, and in her girlhood was a member of the Harmony Congregation of Grove City. In this congregation her father, grandfather and great-grandfather worshipped. She always spoke of this "as my home church." After the old building was removed and a new edifice erected, she placed in it a "memorial window" as a token of her loyalty and affection.
Miss White received her primary education in the Grove City public school, and was later graduated from the State Normal School of Pennsylvania, with high honors, showing such marked ability as a teacher that she was immediately elected principal of the training school of Edinboro, Pa., where she taught with great acceptance. In the meantime the temperance crusade and its outgrowth, the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, were claiming public attention. Miss White studied carefully the aims and methods of this new organization, and soon became deeply impressed with the importance of its work. She felt it her duty to take up the cause of temperance under that organization. She at once joined the White Eibbon ranks, and was elected president of the Grove City Union. She was soon called to take a place in the state executive, in the position of superintendent of Scientific Temperance Instruction. In that position she did a vast amount of work, lecturing, writing and pledging legislators to the support of temperance measures. Miss Willard said of her that next to Mrs. Hunt she was probably the most able specialist in that department. She organized the State of Pennsylvania by counties and arranged the departments so systematically that the organization in that state was hold up as a model.
Miss White was next appointed a national organizer and lecturer, and in that capacity visited every state and territory in the Union and also made a tour of Canada. Her success as a platform orator was remarkable. Her presence was magnetic, her manner winning. her arguments forcible. She brought to the platform au intense enthusiasm which at once enlisted the interest of her audience.
In 1884 Miss White was sent by the national officers to what was then Washington Territory, to assist the W. C. T. U. in a special campaign for securing the enactment of temperance laws. Under her persuasive eloquence and wise leadership, the most stringent temperance law ever presented to any legislative body was passed unanimously by both houses of the legislature. Also, in spite of the bitter opposition of the liquor men and their followers, a bill was passed which submitted to the vote of the people the following June a prohibitory amendment, which resulted, later, in a grand victory.
During the two lecture tours Miss White made through Oregon, she became acquainted with Mr. M. J. Kinney, of Astoria. In 1888 she was united in marriage to him and came to the far West to make her home in the little city by the sea. She established a mission among the fishermen in the employ of her husband, and every Sunday afternoon the hall, which she fitted up and maintained at her own expense, was crowded with men and women. There she preached unto them the gospel of the crucified Christ.
Mrs. Kinney was also much interested in educational matters, and was called "the good saint of art and literature" in her town. She assisted materially in establishing the public library in Astoria and was for some time the president of the board of directors. At the request of the presidents of the state universities and colleges, Mrs. Kinney made a tour of the state and delivered before the students one of her most carefully prepared lectures. She also lectured before teachers' institutes. Christian Endeavor and Sunday school conventions, and other gatherings. In 1894 she was elected president of the Oregon Woman's Christian Temperance Union, in which capacity she served until one year before her death, when she was forced to resign on account of ill-health.
Mrs. Kinney neglected no opportunity to advance the cause of righteousness. Whatever she could do to lift up humanity was done, more than a duty—a privilege. Her great heart was full of love and compassion. Her last illness was of short duration. She attended, as usual, the mid-week prayer meeting and joined in the service with her accustomed vigor and earnestness; she urged upon those present the great need for more spirituality in the church, and more thorough consecration to the service of the Master. On her return home she retired feeling as well as usual, but before morning she was taken violently ill. When the pain was allayed she said to her husband, "I will go to sleep now." She fell into a coma from which she did not waken, and within forty-eight hours from the time she was stricken, her soul went out to meet the God who gave it. Her consecrated life was single-hearted and true. Her influence will rest like a benediction upon those who knew her, especially those who wear the white badge.
A selection from Mrs. Kinney's last lecture, "Witnessing for Christ Against the Saloon," follows:
"And what would you do about the saloon? The saloon, which tempts on every hand, the soul struggling back to God with cries for help and strength that would pierce the very heavens. The saloon that defies all law, that violates all ordinances, that desecrates the Sabbath, that debauches public officials, that intimidates witnesses, that perjures juries, that triply Snares the hearts of men by linking to itself gambling and impurity. The saloon that entices through its side door young girls to be drugged and then destroyed. The saloon—Satan's own seat in politics. Answer me, Christian men and women."