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George Washington Truett

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George Washington Truett
Born(1867-05-06)May 6, 1867
DiedJuly 7, 1944(1944-07-07) (aged 77)
Cause of deathPaget's disease, Cardiorespiratory complications
EducationGrayson College,
Baylor University
Years active1890–1944
Spouse(s)Josephine "Jo" Jenkins Truett (married 1894–1944, his death)
Parent(s)Charles L. and Mary R. Kimsey Truett
ReligionSouthern Baptist
ChurchFirst Baptist Church of Dallas (1897–1944)
OrdainedWhiteright Baptist Church (1890)
Offices held
President, Southern Baptist Convention (1927–1929)

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.[1][2] He was one of the "most famous Southern Baptist" preachers and writers of his era.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Truett was born on a farm[2] in Hayesville in Clay County in far western North Carolina as the seventh child of Charles L. Truett and the former Mary R. Kimsey.[4] He entered school at Hayesville Academy in 1875 and graduated in 1885.[1] He taught in a Towns County, Georgia, schoolhouse and, in 1887, founded the Hiawassee Academy in that same county, with the intention of making enough money to pay for law school.[1][2][4] In 1889, however, he left his position with the Academy to move with his parents to Whitewright, Texas, where he joined the Whitewright Baptist Church and attended Grayson College.[5][1] He was ordained to the Baptist ministry at the Whitewright church in 1890.[4] He preached his first sermon at the First Baptist Church in nearby Sherman, Texas.[6]

Baylor University[edit]

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.[4][2][1] After his stint as the school's financial secretary, Truett enrolled as a freshman at Baylor in 1893. From 1893 to 1897, he studied at Baylor and served as a student-pastor of the East Waco Baptist Church to pay for his tuition.[1][4] He graduated in June 1897 with an A.B. degree.[4] Truett would later serve as a Baylor trustee from 1934 to 1939.[4]

Pastoral career[edit]

Truett accepted the position of pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas in September 1897, a position he would hold until his death.[4] 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.[1][4] The church was rebuilt three times during his tenure there due to the expanding congregation.[2]

Truett was the president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1927 to 1929 and of the Baptist World Alliance from 1934 to 1939.[1] During World War I he was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson as one of 20 preachers sent by the president for a six-month tour to preach to the Allied forces.[1][4]

One of Truett's most famous sermons, "Baptists and Religious Liberty", was delivered on the steps of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on May 16, 1920.[7] In this sermon he claimed that the United States was founded on the principles of religious freedom and separation of church and state.[1][4]

Over the course of his pastoral career, he published ten volumes of sermons, two volumes of addresses, and two volumes of Christmas messages.[2]

Truett worried that cowboys who worked the cattle drives were too isolated from family, church and society. He made annual trips through the Davis Mountains of West Texas for thirty-seven years, traveling with cattle drives there and preaching.[2][3][8]

Personal life and death[edit]

Truett married fellow Baylor student Josephine Jenkins on June 28, 1894, with whom he had three children, all daughters.[1] He died in Dallas on July 7, 1944, and was survived by his wife, who would die twelve years later. Both are interred at Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery in Dallas.[9]


In 1957 Truett was portrayed by Victor Jory 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.[10]

An authorized biography of Truett written by James Powhatan was published in 1939 by Macmillan.[4]


Baylor Medical Center exhibit honoring Reverend Truett.

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 c d e f g h i j k George Washington Truett Papers Accession #0095, The Texas Collection, Baylor University
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Perez, Joan. "TRUETT, GEORGE WASHINGTON". The Handbook of Texas. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b Canipe, Lee (2011). A Baptist Democracy: Separating God and Caesar in the Land of the Free. Mercer University Press. pp. 128–129.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "George Washington Truett". Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives Biographies. Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  5. ^ Stroupe, Henry S. (1996). "Truett, George Washington". NCpedia.
  6. ^ "George Washington Truett". Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives Biographies. Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  7. ^ "George W. Truett Sermons". Baylor Digital Collections. Baylor University. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  8. ^ Holden, Melvin L. (January 7, 2015). "State of the City Address". Baton Rouge Government Website. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  9. ^ Durso, Keith E. (2009). Thy Will be Done: A Biography of George W. Truett. Mercer University Press. p. 272.
  10. ^ "Lone Star Preacher". Internet Movie Data Base, March 15, 1957. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  11. ^ Baylor University || George W. Truett Theological Seminary || The History of Truett Seminary at

External links[edit]

Preceded by
George W. McDaniel
President of the Southern Baptist Convention

George Washington Truett

Succeeded by
W.J. McGlothin