William Porcher DuBose

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William Porcher DuBose (April 11, 1836 – August 18, 1918) was an American priest and theologian in the Episcopal Church in the United States. He spent most of his career as a professor at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He is remembered on August 18 on the Episcopal Calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. His middle name, Porcher, is French and pronounced as if it were spelled por-shay.

Early life[edit]

In 1836, William Porcher DuBose was born near Winnsboro, South Carolina, into a wealthy family descended from French Huguenots[1] who had immigrated as refugees in 1686 and settled in the Midlands of South Carolina. He grew up on the 2,500-acre (10 km2) family plantation near Winnsboro; his parents were planters and major slaveholders. DuBose began his education at Mount Zion College, a kind of seminary or male academy in Winnsboro.

From there, at age 15, DuBose entered the South Carolina Military Academy, now The Citadel, in 1851. By his final year (1855), he was the ranking officer and the Assistant Professor of English. He graduated from The Citadel in 1855 "with first honors".[1] At The Citadel, DuBose had what he described as his "conversion experience." He wrote:

I lept to my feet trembling, and then that happened that I can only describe by saying that a light shone about me and a Presence filled the room. At the same time, ineffable joy and peace took possession of me which it is impossible to either express or explain.[2]

In 1856, DuBose entered the University of Virginia, graduating with a Master of Arts degree in 1859.[1] Later that same year, he entered the South Carolina diocesan seminary in Camden, South Carolina.[1] During the period, the American Civil War broke out.

Civil War service[edit]

DuBose signed up with South Carolina's Holcombe Legion, and was appointed its adjutant.[1][3] The legion saw action at the Second Battle of Manassas, where DuBose was injured twice. For a portion of 1862, DuBose was a prisoner of war before being exchanged.[1] He was wounded again in December of the same year.

In 1863, family friends and church contacts helped gain a commission for DuBose as a chaplain. He was ordained in December 1863, and joined Kershaw's Brigade as its chaplain in Greeneville, Tennessee.


After the war, DuBose was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church by Bishop Davis and served St. Stephen's Episcopal Church near his home of Winnsboro.[1] While there, he also taught Greek at nearby Mt. Zion College.

In July 1871, DuBose was nominated by Vice-Chancellor Charles Todd Quintard to serve as Chaplain of the University of the South and Professor of the School of Moral Science and the Evidences of the Christian Religion. DuBose served as Chaplain of the school from 1871-1883 (he was succeeded by Thomas Frank Gailor). DuBose helped to establish the Theological Department at the university, which would later be known as the School of Theology at the University of the South. He served as professor in the Theological Department from 1877-1893. In 1894, DuBose was elected as Dean of the Theological Department, a position he held until 1908.[1]

Marriages and family[edit]

On April 30, 1863, he married Anne Barnwell Peronneau. She died in December 1878.[citation needed] (The South Carolina Biographical Dictionary states she died in 1873 and that he married Louisa Yerger in 1878.[1]) He later married Maria Louise Rucks Yerger.


William Porcher DuBose died in Sewanee in 1918 and is buried there.


  • The Christian Ministry. no publisher, 1870.
  • The Soteriology of the New Testament. New York: MacMillan, 1892.
  • The Ecumenical Councils. New York: Christian Literature Co., 1896.[4]
  • The Gospel in the Gospels. New York: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1906.
  • High Priesthood and Sacrifice. New York: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1908.
  • The Reason of Life. New York: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1911.
  • Turning Points in My Life. New York: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1912
  • More than 40 published articles.
  • A Dubose Reader, ed. Donald S. Armentrout. Sewanee, TN: University of the South, 1984.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Onofrio, Jan (January 1, 2000). South Carolina Biographical Dictionary. Somerset Publishers, Inc. pp. 192–195. ISBN 9780403093076. Retrieved April 14, 2017. 
  2. ^ Dubose, Wm. Porcher. Turning Points in My Life, (New York: Longmans, Green, & Co) 1912, p. 18-19.
  3. ^ Stone, DeWitt Boyd, Jr., Wandering to Glory: Confederate Veterans Remember Evans' Brigade, University of South Carolina Press, 2002. ISBN 1-57003-433-8
  4. ^ "The ecumenical councils". archive.org. 

External links[edit]