Born: No­vem­ber 13, 1867, Ma­du­ra, In­dia.

Died: Feb­ru­ary 4, 1958, En­gle­wood, New Jersey.

Buried: Brook­side Ce­me­te­ry, En­gle­wood, New Jer­sey.


Penfield was the son of Thorn­ton Bi­ge­low Pen­field and Char­lotte De­vins, mis­sion­ar­ies to In­dia, and hus­band of Mar­tha Lee Mar­tin (mar­ried 1894).

After his fa­ther’s death in 1871, his mo­ther moved the fa­mi­ly to her par­ents’ home in Mont­clair, New Jer­sey.

He at­tended St. Johns­bury Aca­de­my, Ver­mont, then re­turned to New York and lived with his mo­ther and step­fa­ther while at­tend­ing Co­lum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty in New York Ci­ty. He then stu­died at Un­ion Se­mi­na­ry, and worked for the New York Tri­bune.

After gra­du­a­tion from se­mi­na­ry, Pen­field went to work for the Pres­by­te­ri­an Board of Home Mis­sions, and lat­er, the In­ter­na­tion­al Com­mit­tee of the Young Men’s Chris­tian As­so­cia­tion (YMCA).



The Call

As I sat in my window one afternoon
And watched the snow flakes fall,
And communed with myself, while all alone,
I heard a soft voice call;
And it said to me in the silence deep,
I love thee more than all.

I turned, but nothing could I see
From whence the voice could come,
So I said to myself, It is the wind
That through the trees doth roam.

But the voice kept ringing in my ears,
And it said, My child, come home.

Then all at once I understood—
’Twas the voice of my God above
Who was speaking to me in this quiet way
These tender words of love;
And I gladly cried, My father, I come—
No longer will I rove.

And now, content, I rest in Him,
Secure from all alarm,
And when I feel my strength will fail,
I lean on His strong arm;
For I know that He will keep me safe
From every kind of harm.

Thornton Bancroft Penfield
The Four Leaved Clover, 1900