James Milton Carroll

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James Milton Carroll (January 8, 1852 – January 10, 1931) was an American Baptist pastor, leader, historian, author, and educator.

Early life and education[edit]

James Milton was one of twelve children born to Benajah and Mary Eliza (Mallard) Carroll. His father was a Baptist minister. Born near Monticello, Arkansas, he moved at age 6 with his family to Burleson County, Texas in 1858. He had to leave school early to help the family.

Marriage and family[edit]

On December 22, 1870, at age 18, Carroll married Sudie Eliza Womble.[1] Despite having had to leave school early, he later graduated from Baylor University after five years of intensive study. He won every award offered to students.


Carroll was a denominational leader in both the state Baptist General Convention of Texas and the regional Southern Baptist Convention (which became a national organization).

Active as an educator, he led in founding and was the first president of San Marcos Baptist Academy. He later served as the founding president of Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, followed by service as president of Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas.[1] An amateur ornithologist, Carroll had a large collection of bird eggs and bird specimens.[2] When Oklahoma Baptist University faced financial difficulties, he sold his entire collection to the University of Oklahoma with the proceeds used to pay off the debts of the university.

His lasting legacy among Baptists is his booklet entitled The Trail of Blood (1931). This collection of five lectures describes Baptist history as a direct succession from apostolic times of early Christianity. It promoted the Landmarkist view of Baptist origins, a movement that developed in the mid-nineteenth century among Tennessee and western congregations, and had lasting influences.[3] Since the end of the 19th century the trend in academic Baptist historiography has been away from the successionist viewpoint to the view that modern day Baptists are an outgrowth of 17th century English Separatism.[4]

James Milton Carroll died in Fort Worth.[2] He was buried in San Antonio.


  • Texas Baptist Statistics (1895),
  • A History of Texas Baptists(1923), and
  • B. H. Carroll, the Colossus of Baptist History, a biography of his brother Benajah Harvey Carroll. (Later edition, ed. J.W. Crowder (Fort Worth TX: pvt. prtg., 1946)

Legacy and honors[edit]

  • 1884, Carroll was awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree by Baylor University after delivering the commencement sermon.[1][5][2]


  1. ^ a b c Francis White Johnson, ed. Eugene C. Barker and Ernest William Winkler, A History of Texas and Texans, vol. 3, Chicago and New York: The American Historical Society, 1914
  2. ^ a b c J.A. Reynolds in Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association, [1] accessed 2 April 2009
  3. ^ William Hull, "William Heth Whitsitt: Martyrdom of a Moderate," Distinctively Baptist: Essays on Baptist History, ed. Marc A. Jolley, John D. Pierce, pp. 237-78, p. 255, note 70.
  4. ^ Cross, I.K. (1990). The Battle For Baptist History. Columbus, GA: Brentwood Christian Press. p. 174. ISBN 9780892113378. 
  5. ^ Walter Prescott Webb, Eldon Stephen Branda, Texas State Historical Association, The Handbook of Texas, vol. 1, Texas State Historical Association, 1952

Further reading[edit]

  • Davis C. Wooley, Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists Vol. 1, Broadman Press, 1958, 1982.

External links[edit]