Education of the La Favre and Christensen Ancestors
Central Holiness University
Central Holiness University campus, University Park, Iowa (ca. 1916). Building on right housed the classrooms and building on left was women's dormitory. Male students roomed in homes of residents near campus.
Same building as one on left in top photo. This building is currently the men's residence at Vennard College (photo taken 9/25/2007).
Same building as one on right in top photo. This is currently the Administration building of Vennard College (photo taken 9/25/2007). The property has been home to the following sequence of institutions: Central Holiness University, John Fletcher College, Kletzing College, Chicago Evangelistic Institute and Vennard College. The Chicago Evangelistic Institute bought the property and moved their campus in 1951 after the closing of Kletzing College. The institute name was changed to Vennard College in 1959 in honor of Dr. Iva Durham Vennard, the founder of Chicago Evangelistic Institute.
I have created this separate page for my family history because Central Holiness University was so important to the education of a number of my ancestors. In particular, a number of children from the families of Andrew and Mary Christensen and John and Mary La Favre attended C.H.U.
On a visit to Vennard College on September 25, 2007, the registrar was so kind in helping us locate documents relating to our family history. One book, entitled "Book of Enrolled Students 1906 - 1951", was used to establish the entrance dates of the following students:
Lydia Christensen - fall 1911 (graduated spring 1913)
In addition, I believe that John Ivan La Favre and Verna
Mildred La Favre also attended C.H.U. or its successor, John Fletcher
College. However, we did not have time to confirm this during our visit
to campus (next time maybe).
Photo and text from 1913 graduation edition of Aletheia (the school magazine). As of this writing, we have not been able to locate a copy of Lydia's transcripts. But this entry in the Aletheia combined with an entry date of fall 1911, indicates that she graduated from C.H.U. in the spring of 1913.
Floyd La Favre - graduation photo 1916 - Central Holiness University, University Park, Iowa.
Photo and text from 1916 graduation edition of Aletheia. Floyd continued at C.H.U. as a postgraduate student for the 1916 - 1917 school year. During that time he studied music and public speaking. We were fortunate to obtain Floyd's transcripts and his course of study is given below:
Secondary Credits from Afton High School are listed on the transcript as follows:
Floyd La Favre, professor of history at Central Holiness University, University Park, Iowa (1917). He built the church in Harlem, Montana. He and the family were there for 7 years. His second assignment was in Dayton, Ohio. He took this as a student pastorite for 2 years while he was attending the United Theological Seminary. He earned a Bachelor of Divinity and a Master of Divinity while there for 3 years. Originally the school was named Bonebrake Seminary. Next, he served 3 years in Great Falls, Montana and then to California in Otterbein (Puente) from 1938 to 1945. Later he had a church in Long Beach and Pacoima. He semi-retired in 1960. Floyd was elected Superintendent of the Montana Church Conference and later, the California Conference during World War II 1944 - 1946.
Agnes Christensen was a student in his history class one semester. Floyd and Agnes knew each other for 6 years before they married on August 24, 1920. - Barbara La Favre
My mother left out Floyd's early church assignments, which are mentioned in the biography further below. She also neglected to mention another stay in California, during which time my father was born. This was also before the move to Harlem. - Jeffrey La Favre
Photo above is from the November 1917 issue of Aletheia (the school magazine). This is Floyd's faculty photo. He taught history during the 1917 - 1918 school year.
Below is text from same issue of Aletheia:
F. B. LA FAVRE
To C. H. U. I am not a stranger. Five golden years have endeared her to my heart. She is my Alma Mater. And now the son must introduce himself in these public columns to his mother.
Born on a southern Iowa farm about the close of the nineteenth century, reared in a Christian home, early visited by the Holy Spirit in regenerating and sanctifying power, from the age of five to the present year privileged to pursue an education without interruption, sheltered from the rough winds of adversity, and granted a position in the service of the King of kings - surely I ought not to be a complainer. In view of such providence and mercies I can do no less than return thanks, submit myself altogether to the will of God, and render a hearty service to Him and my neighbor. With this purpose I take up the duties of a professor in Central Holiness University.
On page 9 of the same issue, with the title "Our New Faculty Members (From a Student's Point of View.)"
FLOYD B. LA FAVRE
We can hardly adjust ourselves to the fact that he is a professor, and not one of us still. Parliament would not be Parliament without him. The Aletheia could have no prose and poetry contests without his annual speech. As preacher and orator he ranks high among us. Open programs indicate to us that he is not as invulnerable as he looks. We wonder just how near to the close of the nineteenth century he was born. He teaches the history of the past, and an occasional elocution class. He furnishes almost the lowest part in our male chorus.
"Yet he was kind, and if severe in aught, The love he bore to learning was in fault. (the end quote character is missing)
end of text from Aletheia
Floyd related some of his early religious experiences in a letter to his grandson, Jeffrey La Favre.
Biography found in Floyd's file at Vennard College, University Park, Iowa (formerly Central Holiness University and then John Fletcher College):
Floyd Bennett La Favre, '16
Floyd Bennett La Favre was a graduate of the Afton High School in 1912, and entered C.H.U. in the same year. During his collegiate course he also did some work as instructor in the English Department. The summer following graduation was spent as a member of the C.H.U. Gospel Quartette singing and preaching in Iowa Holiness campmeetings.
During the next school year, Mr. La Favre took Expression and Vocal Music at C.H.U., at the same time preaching on Sundays at a rural United Brethren Charge southwest of Albia. At the close of this year, he received his Public Speaker's Diploma. During the summer of 1917, he remained on his charge, working on a farm about four days in the week and preaching twice on Sunday. Late in the summer, he had charge of the music in a campmeeting in Illinois.
The year 1917-'18 was spent at C.H.U. as Professor of History. During part of this year, Mr. La Favre acted as pastor for a Baptist Congregation at Beacon, Iowa. The summer vacation was spent in evangelistic work in Iowa and Missouri with the Helberg-Youngberg Evangelistic Parties. In September, 1918, Mr. La Favre became the pastor of a church near Arnold, Nebraska. During his work there, his ministry was attended by spiritual blessing. In August, 1920, he was married to Miss Agnes Christensen, a graduate of the State Teachers' College at Cedar Falls, a former C.H.U. student.
In September, 1920, Mr. La Favre joined the Iowa Conference of the United Brethren Church and took up work as pastor at Ogden, near Boone, where he remained until 1923, when the family moved to Los Angeles, California, and Mr. La Favre began teaching in the California Bible College. The life of a frontier pastor however, had always appealed to him and in June, '25, he took up such work at Harlem, Montana, where he is at present.
Mr. and Mrs. La Favre have three fine children which we hope will be added to the J.F.C. generation of La Favres at some future date. Mr. La Favre writes:-
"I am more and more thankful for the type of experience and training which Fletcher stands for. I covet these things for all the young people in my parish."
Mr. La Favre reports a vacation in Glacier National Park in July, 1928. His church is building a new $10,000 house of worship. He writes:-
"Still proud of my Alma Mater and the training I received at her hand."
end of biography
C.H.U. College Parliament (student government). Photo in Aletheia 1916 or 1917 (in our haste, we lost track of the issue containing this photo). Caption lists names from left to right, begining with lower row. However, this is in error. The correct order is right to left, begining with lower row.
J. Orval Eagle - Striving for a Ph.D. - Eloquent toastmaster.
There are 35 individuals in the photo but 37 in the list. The order of males and females is correct if we start with the bottom row on the right and start each subsequent row on the right. Then I would assume that the last two names on the list are not in the photo. For quick reference here is the location of following individuals:
Floyd La Favre - 4th from right in first row
Photos and text from an issue of Aletheia. At the bottom of this page is the text " '16 ", which I would interpret as seniors for the year 1916. However, Magnus graduated in 1920 and Agnes transferred to Iowa Teachers' College and did not graduate from C. H. U. as far as I know - Jeff La Favre
Article (below) in Aletheia (again we lost track of the issue - however, the year of the summer experiences must have been 1919 since Floyd started at Arnold, Nebraska in September, 1918 and Magnus would only be returning to school in the fall if the year was 1919, not 1920 when he graduated).
It would be impossible for me to tell in a short article the story of all the experiences and blessings of the past summer. All that I can possibly hope to do, is to touch some of the salient points. Part of the summer was spent in evangelistic work and part on a missionary tour in behalf of a Bible School for Africa.
Soon after school was out Wilbert Helberg and myself boarded the train for Arnold, Nebr., to hold a series of meetings at Floyd La Favre’s charge. Many of you remember Floyd. He is pastor of a country church eight miles northeast of Arnold. The meeting was blessed of God. It continued over three weeks, and in that time more than forty bowed at the altar for pardon or cleansing. To climax the meeting, on the last Sunday the good people there pledged a thousand dollars for Missions – to God be all the glory.
From here I went to hold the Woodbury Co. Holiness camp, with Manuel Will as co-worker. The battle was hard but God blessed us as we labored to advance the cause of holiness. His work will not return unto Him void.
The next endeavor that lay before me was a five weeks missionary tour in the west. I went trembling for I had never gone out to raise money before, but God who had said unto me, “Go” poured out his blessing upon me as I launched out in obedience to His command. The work was among the Swedish people. Let me say in passing that God has many saints among this people. The places visited were, Concord and Gothenburg, Nebr.; Greeley, Eaton, and Denver Colo.; Los Angeles, Kingsburg, Turlock, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco Calif. It was a real privilege to preach full salvation to these people. They responded to the gospel call and gave liberally of their means for the advancement of Gods cause. I came back east with praise to God in my heart and love for the Swedish people. The secret of the success of this trip was the prayers of Gods people that followed me continually.
Over three weeks still remained before the opening of school. A little over two weeks of this time was spent in another evangelistic meeting. This meeting was held south of Fremont, Ia. The workers were Rev. A.L. Whitcomb and son Lawrence, and myself. I counted this a rare privilege to be thus associated with Bro. Whitcomb, who has been a spiritual father to many of us. God blessed His work to the hearts of the people there, and a number bowed at the altar of prayer.
The last week before school started was spent at my home in Cedar Falls. I had a good rest and came back to C. H. U. ready for a hard years work.
I saw may things of interest on my trip west which I would be glad to relate if space permitted. The Rocky Mountains were majestic and sublime. The ocean held me entranced and the scenery, along the way was far beyond my power to describe.
Magnus Christensen ’20.
end of article
This photo is from an issue of Aletheia (most likely 1920 - again we lost track of the issue). The caption reads: "Mr. & Mrs. M. D. Christensen - C. H. U. Outgoing Missionaries to Africa"
Photo found in Grace La Favre's photo album housed in archives of Vennard College. Bottom of photo is captioned "Memories of French II." Also listed are names as follows: Grace White, Hazel Reid, Audrey Johnston, Grace La Favre. Grace is on the far right of photo.