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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Rev. Francis P. Ihrman

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 789-790 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Though but a comparatively recent acquisition to the valley of the Mohawk, the Rev. Francis P. Ihrman, one of the younger of the clergymen of the Reformed church in this section of New York and pastor of the Reformed church at Mohawk, has so impressed himself upon the social and cultural life of the community in which his lines have been cast that it is but proper there should here be carried some general reference to his life and works. He is a native of Iowa, born at Maurice, a pleasant village in Sioux county, that state, on October 23, 1899, and is a son of the Rev. Peter and Fannie (Klomparens) Ihrman, both of sterling Dutch ancestry and the latter of whom was born in Holland, Michigan, a daughter of Hiram Klomparens, a native of the Netherlands, who was one of the influential pioneers of that section of Michigan. She died in Maurice, Iowa, in 1901, when her son, the subject of this biographical review, was but a babe in arms.

The late Rev. Peter Ihrman was a native of the Netherlands, born on April 8, 1859, and was a lad when he came to this country with his parents, the family locating in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he received his preparatory schooling. Early turning his attention to studies for the ministry, he entered Hope College at Holland, Michigan, and was graduated from that institution in 1882. He then entered the Western Theological Seminary in Holland, received his degree in theology from that institution in 1887, and was ordained to the ministry of the Reformed church. Among the early charges to which he was appointed was that at Maurice, Iowa, where his son was born. He occupied three other charges before being installed as pastor of the Reformed church at Marion, in Wayne county, New York, and it was while serving in this last charge that his useful labors came to an end, his death occurring there on September 16, 1911, when he was in the fifty-third year of his age and in the very prime of his life, his early taking off having been a matter of sincere regret, not only in church circles but in the even wider circles of his general acquaintance. The church at Marion enjoyed his services but one year, but this proved for him not only a very strenuous but a very serviceable year. Upon his arrival in Marion he found there a small congregation without any material property but a strong ambition to push forward. Before he was called from his life of service here he had placed the congregation on a substantially organized basis and had secured for it the erection of a neat church building and a splendid parsonage, so that the memory of his brief service at Marion will long be kept green. He had taken this congregation in its day of small things and in a year of devoted ministration had developed a situation that insured its further growth and usefulness. It was in the field of domestic missions that the Rev. Peter Ihrman excelled, and his earnest labors along that line and his familiarity with the work of that field led in 1909 to his appointment by the General Synod to a place on the domestic missions board of that body, his service on that board proving valuable by reason of his knowledge of the needs of the home mission field and his intense enthusiasm in behalf of that department of the synod's work. His zeal in behalf of the home mission field, however, did not affect his interest in the work of foreign missions and he was widely known throughout the church for his effective labors in both fields. It has been written of the Rev. Peter Ihrman that he "was of a somewhat quiet and reserved disposition" and that "some of the characteristics that made him a valuable and attractive friend were modesty, faithfulness and zeal, kindness and courtesy, resolution in advocating any cause on the side he had chosen; his genuine love for the truth and his passion for souls". Certainly a worthily bestowed encomium and one to which his friends unreservedly subscribe.

As will be noted by a comparison of dates above, the Rev. Francis P. Ihrman was hardly two years of age when his mother died. He lived with his father on various charges until his death in 1911, then moved to Holland, Mich., and there grew to manhood under the influence of the excellent schools maintained in that community. Upon leaving the public school he entered Hope Preparatory School at Holland, in furtherance of his ambition to study for the ministry, and was graduated from that school in 1917. In that same year he entered Hope College and while there served in the Students Army Training Corps in preparation for possible military service should the exigencies of war require, for this country then was engaged in that struggle at arms that had involved the whole world. In 1921 Mr. Ihrman received his Bachelor degree from Hope College. He then entered the Western Theological Seminary at Holland and in course received from that institution his Master degree and later his Bachelor degrees in theology and divinity. During this course of preparation, in the summer of 1922, Mr. Ihrman served for four months as summer pastor of the Reformed church at Raritan, Illinois, and in 1923 served for four months as summer pastor of the Reformed church at Owasco, New York. On July 1, 1924, in the Reformed church at Mohawk, he was ordained to the ministry of the Reformed church in this country, by the ministers of that classis, and was installed as pastor of the Mohawk church, which ministerial relation he still maintains, having started in there on a work which has much promise of splendid development. The Rev. Mr. Ihrman is a republican and has ever given a good citizen's attention to civic affairs. He is a member of the fraternal society of Hope College and while he was in college gave active attention to general athletics, having been a member of the track team.

On June 4, 1924, Mr. Ihrman was united in marriage to Miss Florence Glenna Wasson, daughter of Dr. R. E. and Florence Belle (Cobun) Wasson. Mrs. Ihrman was born in Fairview, Illinois, and her elementary and high school training were acquired in the Fairview schools, after which she attended the State Normal School at Normal, Illinois. She taught for a while and subsequently entered Hope College, Holland, Michigan, from which she graduated in the class of 1921. Following her graduation she taught in Michigan for one and a half years, and spent the next year at home. Upon her marriage to Rev. Mr. Ihrman she came with him direct to Mohawk, where he was installed as pastor of the reformed church.

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