George Washington Truett

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George Washington Truett
Born (1867-05-06)May 6, 1867
Hayesville, Clay County
North Carolina, USA
Died July 7, 1944(1944-07-07) (aged 77)
Dallas, Texas
Cause of death
Paget's disease and cardiorespiratory problems
Resting place
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas, Texas
Residence Dallas, Texas
Alma mater

Grayson County College

Baylor University
Occupation Pastor, First Baptist Church of Dallas (1897-1944)
Years active 1890-1944
Spouse(s) Josephine "Jo" Jenkins Truett (married 1894-1944, his death)
Parents Charles L. and Mary R. Kimsey Truett

George Washington Truett, also known as George W. Truett (May 6, 1867 – July 7, 1944), was an American clergyman who was the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, from 1897 until 1944 and the president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1927 to 1929. He was one of the most significant Southern Baptist preachers and writers of his era.

During World War I, Truett was invited by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson to address the Allied forces in Europe. In 1920, he gave a memorable speech supporting freedom of religion on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Truett was born on a farm[1] in Hayesville in Clay County in far western North Carolina, to Charles L. Truett and the former Mary R. Kimsey. He graduated from Hayesville Academy in 1885 and founded the Hiawassee Academy in Towns County, Georgia.

Following his family to Whitewright in north Texas in 1889, he joined the Whitewright Baptist Church. It was there that he accepted the divine call to enter the ministry and was ordained in 1890. He preached his first sermon at the First Baptist Church in nearby Sherman, Texas.

In 1891, Truett was hired by the president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, to serve as its financial secretary. Enterprising and energetic, Truett raised $92,000 in less than two years and completely wiped out the school's indebtedness.

He enrolled as a freshman at Baylor in 1893. In 1894, Truett married the former Josephine "Jo" Jenkins (1872-1956) of Waco and served as student-pastor of East Waco Baptist Church while he studied at Baylor. He graduated in June 1897 with an AB degree.

Life as a pastor[edit]

Truett accepted the position of pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas in September 1897, and remained there until his death in July 1944. During his 47-year pastorate, membership increased from 715 to 7,804; a total of 19,531 new members were received, and total contributions were $6,027,741.52.

While serving at First Baptist, he was the president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1927 to 1929 and of the Baptist World Alliance. He was appointed by President Wilson for a six-month tour to preach to the Allied forces.

Truett's most famous sermon was delivered on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on May 16, 1920. Thousands heard his message, "Baptists and Religious Liberty", in which he reminded the audience that the United States was founded on the principles of religious freedom and separation of church and state.

Truett had a special affinity with cowboys who worked the cattle drives. He was concerned that these men spent a great deal of their lives isolated from society and the availability of the church. Every year for thirty-seven years, he took several weeks from his pulpit to travel with the cattle drives in the Davis Mountains of West Texas. By the 21st century, many area had established Cowboy churches to minister to these individuals.

Truett died in Dallas on July 7, 1944. He and his wife, who succumbed twelve years later, are interred at Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas.[2]

In 1957, the actor Victor Jory portrayed Truett in the episode "Lone Star Preacher" of the syndicated television series, Crossroads. The actress Barbara Eiler was cast as Truett's wife, Jo, who died eleven months before the episode aired.[3]


Published works[edit]

  • George W. Truett (1915). We Would see Jesus: and other Sermons. New York: Fleming H. Revell. 
  • George W. Truett (1917). A Quest for Souls. Harper & Brothers. 
  • George W. Truett (1946). Some Vital Questions. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 
  • George W. Truett (1954). After His likeness. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 
  • George W. Truett (1973). Sermons from Paul (George W. Truett Library). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House. ISBN 0-8010-8796-1. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Texas State Historical Association". TSHA Online. 1944-07-07. Retrieved 2012-08-24. 
  2. ^ "Josephine Jenkins Truett". Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Lone Star Preacher". Internet Movie Data Base, March 15, 1957. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ Baylor University || George W. Truett Theological Seminary || The History of Truett Seminary at

External links[edit]