Friday, December 28, 2018

A Brief History of Hereford College (1)

"Hereford Will Soon Be the Educational Center of the Plains."

The headline of the local newspaper for July 19, 1901, captured some of the excitement. Community leaders in Hereford, a northwest Texas town named after a sturdy breed of beef cattle, were nothing if not ambitious. Now, they had a new ally.

As the paper explained, Randolph Clark had recently visited Hereford at the invitation of G. R. Jowell, a prominent local rancher and surveyor for the town. Clark, a graduate of Bethany College and a long-time educator and preacher among the Christian churches, had changed his mind about Hereford. Before his visit, "the idea of a college at this point or in this section of the country" never entered his mind. He considered the region nothing more than "a waste desert and wholly unfit for anything save cattle raising." But now, said the paper, Clark recognized
the health-giving properties of this dry atmosphere, the excellence of our water and the ease and little cost of obtaining it, the vigorous growth of trees, shrubbery, flowers and all kinds of garden produce and grain, the thriftyness [sic] and high moral standard of our citizens, the excellent drainage of Hereford and the easy access to it from all parts of the country.[1] 
The "easy access" to Hereford had come just two years earlier, in 1899, when the Pecos and Northern Texas Railway completed track running southwest through the town all the way to Farwell at the New Mexico border. As a result, Hereford enjoyed a railroad connection to Amarillo and, from there, to the entire country.[2]

It was an exciting place at an exciting time. When Clark made his first visit to Hereford, the town was only three years old. But it was already home to more than one general store, a grocery store, a meat market, drug store, restaurant, confectionery, hotel, saloon, furniture store, and feed yard. Hereford had a barber, a blacksmith, and a postmaster.[3] Something else would soon be added. In the summer of 1901, a front-page story announced, "We Will Have a College."[4]


[1] Editorial, Hereford Reporter, July 19, 1901. The URL for this issue is as follows:, accessed April 15, 2019.

[2] Handbook of Texas Online, H. Allen Anderson, "HEREFORD, TX," accessed December 28, 2018,; H. Allen Anderson, "PECOS AND NORTHERN TEXAS RAILWAY," accessed December 28, 2018,

[3] Bessie Chambers Patterson, "Hereford: From Cow Town to Capitol [sic] of Farming Empire,1898-1952," 4. This manuscript is housed in the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, TX.

[4] Hereford Reporter, July 19, 1901.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

J. J. Trott: Missionary to the Cherokees, 4

On March 6, 1856, J. J. Trott sent a letter from his home in Franklin College, Tennessee, to the Gospel Advocate magazine in Nashville. He explained that he had just returned home from a three thousand mile trip through Arkansas, Missouri, and the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, in what is now northeastern Oklahoma. Wisely, he had avoided the deadly chaos over slavery in what came to be known as Bleeding Kansas.

The trip, which took up the previous November through February had Trott traveling in frigid conditions "by steamboat, railroads, stage, horseback, and sometimes on foot." He was disappointed that although he had been authorized by the American Christian Missionary Society to solicit funding for his proposed Indian mission, he had managed to collect only $166.
The churches had contributed their thousands to Bethany College and Christian University, and their hundreds for Revision, and therefore came to the sage conclusion, that a few dimes or dollars was all that they could and ought to do for the conversion of the children of Shem![1]
(If you happen to serve as a missionary, or you work with a large, multi-staff church, it might be some consolation to know that your never-ending competition for resources is not a new one).

In spite of the cold weather, Trott enjoyed his time in Indian Territory. While in the Cherokee Nation, he "preached at several important points" and visited with many old acquaintances and friends he had first met in Georgia over twenty years before, prior to the removal of the Cherokee people to the West.

A man of his day, Trott noted with satisfaction that the Cherokees had advanced in all of the ways regarded by Euro-Americans as marks of civilization: large-scale agriculture, animal husbandry, frame and brick home construction, and high rates of literacy resulting from a modern school system. "Thus," he wrote, "we see that the Cherokees have all the means of improvement. All they need in a religious point of view is more missionaries to them in applying the means." He observed that the Moravians, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists already had "missionaries, mission schools, and churches among the Cherokees." Would the Christian churches in the United States continue to do less?[2]


[1] J. J. Trott, "The Indian Mission," Gospel Advocate (April 1856), 110. Christian University was the original name of the school that came to be known in 1917 as Culver-Stockton College. See George R. Lee, "Culver-Stockton College," Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, 258.

[2] Trott, "The Indian Mission," 111.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

James J. Trott: Missionary to the Cherokees, 3

In the spring of 1837, having spent most of the previous fourteen years in Georgia, J. J. Trott moved back to Tennessee. It must have been a bittersweet time in his life. More than twenty years earlier, in 1815, his family had come to Tennessee from North Carolina, when Trott was still a teenager. It was there in the Volunteer State that he had placed his faith in Christ, joined the Methodist Church, and become one of their circuit-riding preachers.[1] Now, having spent so many years away, he was returning to his old home, to his family of origin and long-time friends.

Trott had first moved to Georgia in 1823. By then, his ability and dedication were obvious to Methodist leaders who made him a missionary to the Cherokees. In early 1828, he married a Cherokee woman in Georgia named Sallie Adair. Not long afterward, he was arrested, persecuted, and imprisoned as one of several missionaries to the Cherokees who refused to take an oath of loyalty to Georgia, an oath which effectively denied the land rights of all Indians within the state's supposed borders. It was also during these years that he happened upon the writings of Alexander Campbell, pursued a fresh study of the Bible, was immersed into Christ. A short time later, Sally died, but not before she was immersed by her husband. She left behind a young son and daughter.[2]

In spite of these hardships, Trott remained in Georgia during the early 1830s. He married another Cherokee woman, Rachel Pounds Adair (who was not a sister to the first wife) and pursued his goal of preaching what he called "the primitive gospel" among the Indians.[3] Although he had separated from the Methodist Church by this point, it seems that his early experience as a circuit rider had become a part of him. He was never content to preach in just one place. For example, an 1836 issue of the Millennial Harbinger places him in Louisiana preaching among the Cherokees there.[4]

In 1837, Trott could see that the Cherokees still in Georgia were destined to be removed by the federal government to the region west of Arkansas, Indian Territory. Rather than face that prospect, he chose to move his young family to Tennessee instead.

From 1837 to 1859, Trott resided in Tennessee. According to Tolbert Fanning, much of that time, Trott was a member of the church of Christ at Franklin College, Tennessee. He was also, according to Fanning, a regional missionary, surpassed by no one as a "self-sacrificing, independent, earnest, humble and faithful teacher" of the Christian faith.[5]


[1] Tolbert Fanning, "James J. Trott: Messenger of the Church of Christ at Franklin College, Tennessee, to the Cherokee Nation," Gospel Advocate 11 (March 25, 1869), 271-74; Joseph R. Bennett, II, "God's Gift to the Nation: The Biography of James Jenkins Trott, 1800-1868,"

[2] James J. Trott, "To the Editor of the Millennial Harbinger," Millennial Harbinger (February 6, 1832), 85; Bennett, "God's Gift to the Nation." Regarding Trott's marriage to Sallie Adair, Bennett cites the February 1828 edition of the Cherokee Phoenix, the first American Indian newspaper. Concerning Trott's marriage to Sallie Adair and, later, to Rachel Pounds Adair, see Emmet Starr, History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folk Lore, 404. Starr first published his work in 1921. It has since been reprinted many times.

[3] Bennett, "God's Gift to the Nation." Trott's reference to "the primitive gospel" is found in his letter "To the Editor of the Millennial Harbinger."

[4] J. J. Trott, "Query." [Response by Robert Richardson] Millennial Harbinger (May 1836), 233. According to Russell Thornton, a Cherokee-American anthropologist, in the early 1780s, "Cherokees who had fought on the British side in the Revolutionary War asked permission of the Spanish governor at New Orleans to relocate west of the Mississippi River to what was then Spanish territory." Their request was granted by Don Esteban Miro, governor of the Louisiana territory. See Thornton, The Cherokees: A Population History (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990), 44.

[5] Fanning, "James J. Trott."