Noble Leslie DeVotie

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Noble Leslie DeVotie
Noble Leslie DeVotie.jpg
BornJanuary 24, 1838
DiedFebruary 12, 1861(1861-02-12) (aged 23)
Resting placeLinwood Cemetery
EducationPrinceton Theological Seminary
Alma materUniversity of Alabama
Parent(s)James H. DeVotie
Margaret Noble DeVotie
Military career
Allegiance Confederate States of America (1861)
Service/branch Confederate States Army
Years of service1861

Noble Leslie DeVotie (January 24, 1838 – February 12, 1861) was a Baptist minister, Confederate chaplain, and the lead founder of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a national fraternity.

Historical marker about Noble Leslie DeVotie at Fort Morgan.

Early life[edit]

Noble Leslie DeVotie was born on January 24, 1838 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.[1][2] His father, Dr. James H. DeVotie, was the pastor of Siloam Baptist Church in Marion, Alabama and later the First Baptist Church of Columbus, Georgia.[1][2] His mother was Margaret Noble DeVotie.[1] He had a brother, Howard DeVotie.[2] DeVotie was baptized in the Baptist faith by his father at Siloam Baptist Church when he was eleven years old.[1]

DeVotie first attended Howard College, later known as Samford University, before transferring to the University of Alabama.[1] He graduated in 1856.[1] While there, he co-founded Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the age of eighteen.[2] He then studied Christian Theology at the Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey for three years.[1]


He was ordained as a Baptist pastor in Selma, Alabama in November 1859.[1] He served as pastor at the (now demolished) First Baptist Church of Selma, built in 1850 and located on the corner of Church Street and Alabama Avenue.[3]

In the lead up to the American Civil War as Abraham Lincoln became the President-Elect and the secession crisis occurred, he joined the Confederate States Army as a chaplain.[1] Many of his young male congregants had joined the CSA.[1] He was stationed at Fort Morgan near Mobile, where he pastored many of his former congregants.[1] He also pastored the Independent Blues and Governor's Guards, two Confederate companies from Selma.[1]


He drowned on February 12, 1861.[1] As he was about to board a steamer at Fort Morgan, he made a misstep and drowned.[1] He was buried at Linwood Cemetery in Columbus, Georgia.[2][4] His funeral was conducted by Isaac T. Tichenor,[5] with a sermon by Basil Manly, Sr.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Boykin, Samuel (1881). History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia. Vol. 2. Atlanta, Georgia: Jas P. Harrison & Co. pp. 191–193. ISBN 9781579789145. OCLC 244107338.
  2. ^ a b c d e Linda J. Kennedy, Mary Jane Galer, Historic Linwood Cemetery, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2004, p. 93 [1]
  3. ^ Selma, Alabama: Historic Churches of Selma Prior to 1925, p. 21
  4. ^ Linwood Cemetery: Notable residents
  5. ^ Daniel J. McDonough, Kenneth W. Noe, Politics and Culture of the Civil War Era: Essays in Honor of Robert W. Johannsen, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania: Susquehanna University Press, 2006, p. 244 [2]