The attached timeline incorporates Ministers, Interim Ministers, and Associate Ministers of First Presbyterian Church.
Special acknowledgement and appreciation is expressed to The Rev. R. Milton Winter, Ph.D., Historiographer of Saint Andrew Presbytery (PCUSA). His research of Presbytery Minutes of the 1800’s and 1900’s was leaned upon heavily within this timeline. Rev, Winter’s research is on the St. Andrews web site and a link is at the bottom of this page.
Through this research, it seems apparent the early beginnings of the Presbyterian faith in Mississippi was extremely challenging and only possible through the strong faith of men and women working together as Stewards of The Word of God.
Much of the data, being from the Internet, is believed to be correct. However, dates, titles, and other information may have some inaccuracies. There is a wealth of additional data within the church’s library, Tower newsletter, and Bulletin archives, plus the memories of many members of the congregation.
Suggestions, corrections, and additional details are desired!
[themify_icon link=”http://” icon=”fa-check”] represents ordained ministers who were called a pastors of FPC.
[themify_icon link=”http://” icon=”fa-asterisk”] represents interim ministers if FPC
[themify_icon link=”http://” icon=”fa-star”] represents associate ministers of FPC
All the above faithful stewards of Jesus Christ who had a small part in the forming of the present day First Presbyterian Church.
Rev. Dr. Tom Groome
Rev. Dr. Tom Groome is a lifelong Presbyterian. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, GA in 1998 and his Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia in 2003. Tom was called to serve the Tupelo church in August 2006 after serving the Covenant Presbyterian Church, Spartanburg, SC for eight years. He served a one year term as Moderator of St. Andrew Presbytery for 2013
Rev. Harry Daniels
Marion Mccoy Franklin
Coy graduated from The University of Tennessee where he attended on a football and track scholarship. He worked a short while as an electrical engineer for Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Then he attended Columbia Theological Seminary, graduating in 1964, being ordained and beginning his first ministry at Graham Presbyterian Church in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Over the years he continued his career at Hermitage Church, Hermitage, Tennessee; First Presbyterian, Auburn, Alabama; and retired in 2003 from First Presbyterian, Tupelo, Mississippi, where he was named Pastor Emeritus.
Rev. Thomas Morton McMillan, Jr.
He served more than 50 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA. He served at the Atmore Presbyterian Church in Atmore Ala., for five years; at the Hunter Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Ky., for seven years; and the Presbyterian Board of Christian Education in Richmond, Va., for five years. His longest tenure was with the First Presbyterian Church in Tupelo, where he served for 14 years. He returned to his roots in south Alabama in 1987, where he served the Stockton, Ala., Presbyterian Church for more than seven years. He served two years as interim pastor of the Government Street Presbyterian Church in Mobile, Ala. Since 1996, he had served Trinity Presbyterian Church in Fairhope, Ala., in several capacities. Throughout his years with the Presbyterian Church, he devoted considerable energy to the national church by serving its presbyteries, synods and General Assembly.
One of his proudest contributions was the reunion of the northern and southern branches of the Presbyterian Church.
Among his other passions was his love of acting. He began with the Tupelo Community Theater playing the role of Satan in “JB”. He played many memorial roles over the 12 years, including Sherlock Holmes, Henry II, and Scrooge. His most memorable role was Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird”. After playing Atticus in Tupelo, he went on to help found the Monroeville County Museum production of “Mockingbird,” now an annual event. He also played Atticus in the MCM performance in Jerusalem as a guest of the government of Israel.
Rev. Robert Boynton Smith
A native of Bath, SC, Smith grew up in Augusta, GA. After serving in the United States Marine Corps, he graduated from Presbyterian College and Union Theological Seminary (now Union-PSCE) and later continued his studies at Edinburgh University in Scotland and Oxford University in England.
Smith spent 30 years in pastoral ministry, mostly in Mississippi and Texas. In 1986 he was named the president of World Neighbors, a global self-help organization, for which he traveled extensively in South America, Asia, India and Africa.
From 1989 until his retirement in 2003, Smith served as a special assistant to the president of the PC(USA)’s Board of Pensions, helping the board and the church navigate difficult and complex financial circumstances with grace and good humor
Dr. George W. Long
After serving as pastor of the Chickamauga Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Tupelo, Ms., he became pastor of Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church in 1964, where he served for the next 22 years.
Following his retirement from the pulpit in 1986, he served for five years with International Students Incorporated and seven years with the Barnabas Ministry, both of which provided the opportunity to combine his love of flying small planes with ministry throughout the Southeast. His first love of flying developed from his love of country when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps during WWII, was stationed in England and flew 46 combat missions over Germany in his P-51D Mustang, which he named “Kitten,” his nickname for Katherine.
He served on a number of boards, including King College, and received various honors along the way, but as George would say, “not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20).
Through his many active years, he loved tennis, his family, the people of his church and community, but none so much as his Lord Jesus, whom he began to serve on this earth and continues on.
Rev. Dr. Samuel Edgar McFadden, Sr. was born on September 16, 1886 in Oakland, Tennessee, the son of William Steel and Alcie Ann (nee Murray) McFadden. He attended Sligo Community School near Warren, Tennessee, for elementary school, and Fayette County schools (with some possible home schooling) for high school. He then attended Southwestern Presbyterian University at Clarksville, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1911. That was followed by seminary at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, where he received a Bachelor of Divinity in 1914. He also later attended Southwestern College (now Rhodes College) at Memphis, where he received a Doctor of Divinity degree in 1933.
On August 16, 1922, Rev. McFadden married Lois Veleria “Vallie” McKinstry of Fayette County, Tennessee. Rev. and Mrs. McFadden had four children: Samuel Edgar, Jr. (b. June 4, 1923); William James (b. December 14, 1924); Lois Valeria (b. January 27, 1928) and Betty Ann (b. December 30, 1929. They also had seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Mrs. McFadden died in February of 1986 and was buried in the Somerville, Tennessee town cemetary.
Rev. McFadden served as a Presbyterian minister for over 50 years, beginning after seminary with service in Liberty, Mississippi. Prior to serving Oakland Presbyterian Church and Hickory Withe Presbyterian Church concurrently, his pastoral service included 21 years as minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Ruston, Louisiana and 14 years as minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Tupelo, Mississippi. Rev. McFadden also served Alabama Presbyterian Church in Choudrant, Louisiana. Oakland Presbyterian and Hickory Withe Presbyterian were Rev. McFadden’s last call to ministry before his retirement in 1972.
Robert Woodson began his ministry as pastor of the Andalusia (Ala.) First Presbyterian Church in 1922-23. He spent the next 13 years involved in student work: at Charlottesville among University of Virginia students, 1923-27; then Starkville and Mississippi State from 1927 to 1936. He filled the pulpits of the Tupelo (Miss.) First Church (1936-39) and the Hot Springs (Ark.) First Church (1939-40) prior to five years’ duty as an Army chaplain.
While in service, he prepared the devotional booklets “Spiritual K Rations” and “Spiritual Service Record” of which more
than one-third of a million were distributed among service personnel. After the war, he
entered upon the pastorate of his longest tenure as minister of the Yazoo City (Miss.)
First Church, from 1946 until his departure for Charlotte in 1958.
Dr. Samuel Eyrle Howie
Dr. Joseph Allen Christian
Doctor of Divinity
Dr Frank Roland Dudley, 77, former minister of Central Presbyterian Church, here, died at his home at 2124 NW 26 Saturday. He had been in ill health the past two years. Services will be at 4 pm Monday in the First Presbyterian Church with burial in Rose Hill Cemetery. The body will lie in state at Guardian Funeral Home all day Sunday and until 2 pm Monday.
Dr Dudley was born in Union Hall, VA on Dec 25, 1880. His first pastorate was the First Presbyterian Church in Azusa, CA, in 1916. In 1918 he became YMCA director of religious education in the Hawaiian district for the Army and Navy. Following WWI, he held pastorates at Tulpelo, MS, and El Dorado, AR. He came to Central Presbyterian Church here in 1930 and served as pastor until 1941. Since then he preached in many churches throughout Oklahoma as supply minister and served as hospital chaplain for the Oklahoma City Council of Churches.
Survivors are his wife; two sons, Frank R Dudley Jr of New York City; and Cmdr John A Dudley, with the US Navy in Washington DC; a daughter, Mrs Jack Baer, Norman; and three grandchildren. The family suggests that instead of flowers, contributions be made to the Akin and Appleton Medical Research Trust Fund and sent in care of Dean Mark Everett of the University of Oklahoma Medical School.
(The Oklahoman, Sunday, Jan 12, 1958)
Rev. George Pendelton Scott
Born Aug. 23, 1875. He was married to Lora CORRITH
DEATH 2 Mar 1967
BURIAL Tupelo Memorial Park Cemetery Tupelo, Lee County, Mississippi, USA – PLOT Section D – Row 2
Rev. Alvin Otto Price
Rev. S.P. Pryor
Apr 1903 - Jan 1905
Dr. Charles Nicholas van Houten
The Tupelo Church presented a call for the pastoral services of Rev. Chas. N. Van Houten, on a salary of $800.00, payable quarterly. The call was accepted and the first Sunday in May at 11 a.m. was appointed as the time for installing him pastor.
Rev. C. N. Van Houten tendered his resignation as pastor of the Tupelo Church & requested Presbytery to dissolve the pastoral relation between him & said Church, whereupon the Tupelo Church was cited to appear at the adjourned meeting & show cause why such request should not be granted.
The Stated Clerk read the purpose of the meeting which was to consider the resignation
of Rev. C. N. Van Houten as pastor of Tupelo Church. The Church was then called upon to show cause why this resignation should not be accepted. Ruling Elder C. E. Hood, representing the Church stated that [the] Church, while regretting to give him up, had unanimously acquiesced. After some feeling remarks on the part of some of the brethren expressing their regret at such a step taken, the Presbytery granted that said dissolution take place on the 31st day of Jan’y 1905.
The following resolution was then adopted by Presbytery. The Presbytery of Chickasaw in dismissing Rev. C. N. Van Houten from its bounds, desires to place on record the following resolutions:
1. That we express the highest regard for the Christian character of Rev. C. N. Van Houten, which he has always shown while a member of th9s Presbytery, both in his social intercourse with us, & as a co-worker in the Church of God.
2. That we fully appreciate the faithful work done by him while in our bounds & regret that he feels it his duty to leave our Presbytery for work elsewhere in the Master’s vineyard.
3. That we do most earnestly pray that the richest blessings of God may rest upon him, his family, & his labors wherever the Lord may cast his lot.
The Presbytery then authorized the stated Clerk to grant him a letter of dismission to such Presbytery at such time as he might request
(above from Chickasaw Presbytery Records 1888-1905)
Rev. William Vincent Frierson
Rev. C. H. Maury
Dr. Howe Steen
Rev. Thomas David Latimer
Rev. Isaac Paul Osborne
Rev. Milton Monroe Hooper
Rev. James Knox Polk Newton
Dr. Frank Patton
A call for the pastoral services of Rev. F. Patton, for half his time, was received from the church of Tupelo; and also a request for his services for half his time as stated supply from Zion Church. The call from Tupelo being found in order was placed in Brother Patton’s hands. Bro. Patton signifying his acceptance of the call from Tupelo, and his disposition to accede to the request from Zion, Pres. proceeded to make arrangements for his installation over Tupelo, by appointing Rev. J. D. West, to preach the sermon & deliver the charge to the pastor, & Rev. O. F. Rogers to deliver the charge to the people, & propound the constitutional questions.
Rev. J.R. Sloan
Rev. David Alonzo Todd
Rev. James H. Gaillard
Ordination of Mr. Gaillard –
Rev. F. Patton preached the ordination sermon of Mr. Jas. H. Gaillard, after which he was solemnly set apart to the full work of the Gospel Ministry, by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Rev. T. C. Stuart presided, proposed the constitutional questions & offered the ordaining prayer & Rev Wm A. Gray delivered the charge to the newly ordained minister.
Rev. J. H. Gaillard was appointed to preach the doctrinal sermon at the next stated meeting of presbytery.
Rev. T. C. Stuart & J. A. Kimmons were appointed a committee, to install Rev. J. H. Gaillard pastor of Zion Church. Rev T. C. Stuart to deliver the charge to the pastor, & Rev. J. A. Kimmons to the people.
Rev. Thomas C. Stuart
Thomas Caldwell Stuart, was born on the 29th of Sept. 1794, and was, therefore, at the time of his death, on the 9th of Oct. 1882, 88 years & ten days old. His mother died when he was but a few days old, & he was taken by a lady in the neighborhood who had just lost an infant. He remained in this family several years. He made a profession of religion when quite young, & from the first resolved to enter the ministry. He was licensed by the Pres. of South Carolina in April 1819, & in the fall of that year was sent as a domestic missionary to south. Ala.
On his way home from this tour, he received a notice of the appointment of himself & Rev. David Humphreys to visit the Southwestern tribes of Indians with a view to locating a mission station. Hastening home, he & his associate Mr Humphreys, set out early in the summer of 1820. They first visited the Creeks, who declined to receive them. They then came on to the Chickasaws, & spent Sabbath the 20th of June, at the house of an Indian chief, Levi Colbert in five miles of Tupelo, Miss., where more than 62 years afterward, one of them was to end his long pilgrimage. The next day they attended a great national ball-play in the immediate neighborhood, where they met & conferred with the principal men; and soon afterward they received formal permission from the General Council to establish a mission, to be located wherever the 2 commissioners might see proper.
They selected a spot about eleven miles south of where Pontotoc now stands, which Mr Stuart afterward named “Monroe” in honor of President Monroe. On their return to South Carolina, Mr. Humphreys decided not to engage in the undertaking, & Mr Stuart determined to push forward alone. He was accordingly ordained on the 13th of Dec. 1820 by the South Carolina Pres. “as a missionary to bear the glad tidings of salvation to the heathen of our borders.” The ordination sermon was preached by Rev. Richard B. Cater, from 2 Tim. 2:3, “Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” The charge was delivered by Rev. W. S. Barr.
It is difficult at the present time to realize the magnitude of such an enterprise. This region was then the “Far West,” occupied by uncivilized, some of them unfriendly, tribes. Almost everything necessary to the establishment of the mission had to be brought the entire distance in wagons, over bad roads, often no roads at all. But in spite of all impediments, Mr. Stuart, on the 21st of Jan. 1821, reached the site of the future mission with his party consisting of mechanics & farm laborers with their tools & implements; for the young missionary was destined to become not only the “bearer of glad tidings of salvation” to many a benighted soul then dwelling in the shadow of death, but now rejoicing with joy unspeakable, but also to be the founder of the civilization of a people.
Everything was to be done—houses to be built for a boarding school, fields to be cleared, a gristmill to be erected, & even the furniture to be manufactured. In 1823 Mr Stuart returned to S. Carolina & married Miss S. C. Caldwell. Having been joined by several other missionaries, it was deemed expedient to establish more stations at a distance from Monroe, of all of which he was made superintendent. This necessitated long journeys often at inclement seasons, attended with much exposure, & sometimes danger in crossing swollen & bridgeless streams. Once a year he went to Tennessee for the purpose of hiring laborers and getting up a drove of hogs & various supplies for the mission. The nearest post office was at Columbus, Miss. as was also the nearest physician.
From the fact that Mr. Stuart outlived nearly all his contemporaries, but few who knew him in his last years were aware of his long & laborious efforts for the good of the human race, or of their successful results. He himself had but little conception of the great work he had been instrumental in setting in motion, till many years afterward when visiting the Chickasaws in their home in the Indian Terr., he was present at the meeting of their first legislature, & the inauguration of their first governor. If the com. are not mistaken, all the Senators, & some members of the House, were former pupils of the school at Monroe—the Governor certainly was. They were a fine looking set of men, combining much of the education & culture of the white man with the grave dignity of their forefathers; & when they invited him to a seat in their midst, & formally thanked him for what he had done for them & their people, he felt that he had not labored & “endured hardness” in vain. It is not claimed for Mr. Stuart that he accomplished all this by his own unaided efforts, but that he was the pioneer in the good work which has advanced that interesting people to a high degree of civilization.