ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY; Volume 38, Summer 1979, p. 146

 

F. E. Maddox:

Chaplain of Progress, 1908

 

BY LARRY R. HAYWARD*

Memphis, Tennessee

In the first decade of the twentieth century, Texarkana was a small, relatively young town in the southwest corner of Arkansas. Though located in that part of America commonly labeled the Bible Belt, it had a Presbyterian church whose minister---the Reverend Finis Ewing Maddox---preached doctrines known as "modernism" almost a quarter of a century before the climactic confrontation between modernism and fundamentalism at the Scopes Trial.

Maddox was a child of the Bible Belt. Born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in 1873, he grew up on a farm. From 1890 to 1893, he attended Southwestern Presbyterian University in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he studied theology privately under Joseph Ruggles Wilson, the father of Woodrow Wilson. Upon graduation he served churches in Cleveland, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; and Greenwood, Mississippi, before becoming vice-president of his brother's private girls' school in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he also taught "Mental and Moral Philosophy." Maddox left the school in 1905 to become the first minister of the First Presbyterian Church of Texarkana. Three years later, he became embroiled in religious controversy (1).
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* The author, a graduate of the University of Arkansas, is a student in the Master of Divinity program at
Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He is at present working at the University Interfaith Association, University of Tennessee Medical Units, in Memphis.
1. Barbara (Overton) Chandler and Jolley Edward Howe, History of Texarkana and Bowie and
Miller Counties,Texas-Arkansas (Texarkana, 1939), 293, 324; Ministerial Directory of the Presbyterian Church, U. S., 1861-1941, comp. by Eugene Crampton Scott (Austin, 1942), 427.

 

 

 

 

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