Thomas William Humes

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Thomas William Humes
Thomas-william-humes-branson.jpg
Portrait of Thomas William Humes by artist Lloyd Branson
Born(1815-04-22)April 22, 1815
Knoxville, Tennessee, United States
Died January 16, 1892(1892-01-16) (aged 76)
Knoxville, Tennessee
Resting place Old Gray Cemetery
Knoxville, Tennessee [1]
Alma mater East Tennessee College
Occupation Clergyman, educator
Notable workThe Loyal Mountaineers of Tennessee (1888)
Political party Whig
Republican
Spouse(s) Cornelia Williams (18351847, her death)
Anne Betsy Williams (18491879, her death)
[2]
Parent(s) Thomas and Margaret Russell Cowan Humes [3]

Thomas William Humes (April 22, 1815 January 16, 1892) was an American clergyman and educator, active in Knoxville, Tennessee, during the latter half of the 19th century. Elected rector of St. John's Episcopal Church in 1846, Humes led the church until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he was forced to resign due to his Union sentiments. He was named president of East Tennessee University in 1865, and during his tenure, he led the school's expansion and transition into the University of Tennessee. Humes later served as the first librarian of the Lawson McGhee Library, and published a book about East Tennessee's Unionists entitled, The Loyal Mountaineers of Tennessee. [3]

Knoxville, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Knoxville is a city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Knox County. The city had an estimated population of 186,239 in 2016 and a population of 178,874 as of the 2010 census, making it the state's third largest city in the state after Nashville and Memphis. Knoxville is the principal city of the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which, in 2016, was 868,546, up 0.9 percent, or 7,377 people, from to 2015. The KMSA is, in turn, the central component of the Knoxville-Sevierville-La Follette Combined Statistical Area, which, in 2013, had a population of 1,096,961.

St. Johns Cathedral (Knoxville, Tennessee) Church in Tennessee, United States

St. John's Cathedral located at 413 Cumberland Avenue in Knoxville, Tennessee, is the cathedral church of the Episcopal Diocese of East Tennessee.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Contents

Early life

Humes was born in Knoxville in 1815, the son of Thomas Humes (17671816) and Margaret Russell Cowan Humes (17771854), both of Scots-Irish descent. [3] Humes's father, a native of Armagh, Ireland, [3] began building the Lamar House Hotel in 1816, but died later that same year. Humes's mother oversaw the hotel's completion, however, and under her direction, it grew to become Knoxville's premier hotel. [4] The younger Humes was a half-brother of James Cowan (18011871), a cofounder of the wholesaling firm, Cowan, McClung and Company, and a stepbrother of historian J. G. M. Ramsey (17971884).

Armagh county town of County Armagh in Northern Ireland

Armagh is the county town of County Armagh and a city in Northern Ireland, as well as a civil parish. It is the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland – the seat of the Archbishops of Armagh, the Primates of All Ireland for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland. In ancient times, nearby Navan Fort was a pagan ceremonial site and one of the great royal capitals of Gaelic Ireland. Today, Armagh is home to two cathedrals and the Armagh Observatory, and is known for its Georgian architecture.

Bijou Theatre (Knoxville) theater and former movie theater in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

The Bijou Theatre is a theater located in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. Built in 1909 as an addition to the Lamar House Hotel, the theater has at various times served as performance venue for traditional theatre, vaudeville, a second-run moviehouse, a commencement stage for the city's African-American high school, and a pornographic movie theater. The Lamar House Hotel, in which the theater was constructed, was originally built in 1817, and modified in the 1850s. The building and theater were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Fidelity Building (Knoxville) Historic building in Knoxville, Tennessee

The Fidelity Building is an office building in Knoxville, Tennessee, United States. Initially constructed in 1871 for the wholesale firm Cowan, McClung and Company, the building underwent an exterior renovation and was converted to Fidelity-Bankers Trust Company in 1929 and has since been renovated for use as office space. In 1984, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its architecture and its role in Knoxville's late-nineteenth century wholesaling industry.

Humes graduated from East Tennessee College (the forerunner of the University of Tennessee) in 1831, and obtained his master's degree from the school two years later. [3] He then entered the Princeton Theological Seminary with the intention of becoming a Presbyterian minister, but left after deciding he could not take the Westminster Confession of Faith. [3] After returning to Knoxville, Humes briefly worked for his half-brother's business before embarking on a career in journalism. During the late 1830s and early 1840s, he worked variously as editor of the Knoxville Times, the Knoxville Register , and a Whig Party paper, The Watch Tower. [3]

Princeton Theological Seminary seminary

Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) is a private, nonprofit, and independent graduate school of theology in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1812 under the auspices of Archibald Alexander, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, and the College of New Jersey, it is the second-oldest seminary in the United States. It is also the largest of ten seminaries associated with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Westminster Confession of Faith Presbyterian creedal statement

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the "subordinate standard" of doctrine in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

The Knoxville Register was an American newspaper published primarily in Knoxville, Tennessee, during the 19th century. Founded in 1816, the paper was East Tennessee's dominant newspaper until 1863, when its pro-secession editor, Jacob Austin Sperry (1823–1896), was forced to flee advancing Union forces at the height of the Civil War. Sperry continued to sporadically publish the Register in Atlanta, and later Bristol, until he was finally captured by Union forces in December 1864.

In the mid-1840s, Humes began studying under the authority of Tennessee's Episcopal Bishop James Otey (18001863). He initially served as Sunday lay reader for Knoxville's St. John's Episcopal Church congregation, and after being ordained a deacon in March 1845, he served as assistant to the church's rector. In July 1845, Humes was ordained a priest by Bishop Otey, and in September 1846, the congregation elected him rector. [3]

A lay reader or licensed lay minister (LLM) is a layperson authorized by a bishop in the Anglican Communion to lead certain services of worship or lead certain parts of a service. They are members of the congregation permitted to preach and preside at some services, but not called to full-time ministry.

Civil War

Although he was a slave owner, Humes helped several slaves in Knoxville purchase their freedom during the late 1840s and 1850s. [3] [5] He also opened a school for Knoxville's free blacks and freed slaves. [3] During the secession crisis of 1860 and 1861, Humes remained fervently loyal to the Union, even though many of his relatives and most of his congregation supported secession. After he refused to acknowledge Confederate president Jefferson Davis's National Day of Prayer in mid-1861, he was finally forced to resign. [5]

Jefferson Davis President of the Confederate States of America

Jefferson Finis Davis was an American politician who served as the only President of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865. As a member of the Democratic Party, he represented Mississippi in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives prior to switching allegiance to the Confederacy. He was appointed as the United States Secretary of War, serving from 1853 to 1857, under President Franklin Pierce.

After Tennessee seceded in June 1861, Humes wanted to move to the North, but a broken leg prevented him from doing so. [5] Humes dubbed the Confederate occupation of Knoxville a "reign of terror," [5] but remained in the city throughout the war, protected in part by his blood and marriage ties to many of the city's Confederate leaders. In June 1863, Humes prayed with dying Confederate Pleasant McClung, who had been mortally wounded in an attempted raid on the city by General William P. Sanders. [5]

William P. Sanders Union United States Army general

William Price Sanders was an officer in the Union Army in the American Civil War, who died at the Siege of Knoxville.

When General Ambrose Burnside's Union forces occupied Knoxville in September 1863, the general asked Humes to resume his position as rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, which Humes accepted. Confederate diarist Ellen Renshaw House, a member of the St. John's congregation, boycotted Humes's opening sermon, calling Humes "the grandest old rascal that ever was." [5] In November 1863, Humes performed a funerary sermon for General Sanders, who had been mortally wounded by advancing Confederate forces in West Knoxville. [6]

Later life

Humes was named president of East Tennessee University in 1865, and almost immediately managed to secure an $18,500 federal grant to help restore the school's deteriorated campus, which had been occupied by both Union and Confederate armies during the war. [3] [7] In 1869, Tennessee's state government designated the school the recipient of the state's Morrill Act (land-grant) funds. This amounted to $400,000, which generated for the school $24,000 in annual interest. [7] As required by the Morrill Act, the school established colleges of agriculture, engineering, and military science.

East Tennessee University changed its name to the University of Tennessee in 1879 in hopes of obtaining more state funding. [7] Humes resigned as president in 1883, and was succeeded by Charles Dabney.

Throughout his later years, Humes used his influence to raise money for educational and economic development in East Tennessee. In 1864, he was elected chairman of the East Tennessee Relief Association, which raised money to help East Tennessee Unionists impoverished by the Civil War. [3] During the late 1860s, he helped Knoxville obtain Peabody funding, which the city used to establish a public school system. In 1873, Humes cofounded the St. John's Orphanage, which operated in Knoxville into the 20th century. [3] In 1886, Humes was named the first librarian of the Lawson McGhee Library, which had been established the previous year. [3]

In 1888, Humes published Loyal Mountaineers of Tennessee, an account of the Civil War in East Tennessee. While Humes attempted to provide a dispassionate view of the war, he also hoped to justify the largely pro-Union sentiments of East Tennessee. He considered these sentiments a manifestation of the region's Revolutionary War patriotism, linking them to the penchant for independence the region had shown during the Watauga and State of Franklin periods. He criticized the actions of Confederate military leaders as tyrannical, while praising the actions of Union leaders such as Ambrose Burnside as just. [8] The book includes Humes' eyewitness accounts of key wartime events in Knoxville, including the Battle of Fort Sanders and the aftermath of the East Tennessee bridge burnings.

Death and legacy

Humes died on January 16, 1892, shortly after collapsing while working in the Lawson McGhee Library. His funeral was held at the Second Presbyterian Church, and his funeral procession was accompanied by University of Tennessee faculty and students. [2] He is buried in Knoxville's Old Gray Cemetery.

Humes Hall, a residence hall on the campus of the University of Tennessee, is named for Humes. In 1983, Humes' Federal-style house in Knoxville, which had stood behind St. John's Episcopal Church for nearly 140 years, was torn down. Many of the house's fixtures were salvaged by preservationists, however, and the local group, Knox Heritage, has considered building a reproduced version of the house. [9]

See also

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References

  1. Thomas William Humes at Find a Grave
  2. 1 2 Robert Booker, "Humes a Restless Giant in Local Affairs," Knoxville News Sentinel, 24 April 2012. Retrieved: 8 May 2012.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 East Tennessee Historical Society, Mary Rothrock (ed.), The French Broad-Holston Country: A History of Knox County, Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.: The Society, 1972), pp. 244, 293-295, 309, 315, 431-432.
  4. Dean Novelli, "On a Corner of Gay Street: A History of the Lamar House—Bijou Theater, Knoxville, Tennessee, 1817–1985." East Tennessee Historical Society Publications, Vol. 56 (1984), pp. 3-45.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Robert McKenzie, Lincolnites and Rebels: A Divided Town in the American Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 141-143.
  6. Digby Gordon Seymour, Divided Loyalties: Fort Sanders and the Civil War in East Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 1963), pp. 148-149.
  7. 1 2 3 Milton Klein, University of Tennessee. Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2009. Retrieved: 10 August 2011.
  8. Noel Fisher, "Definitions of Loyalty: Unionist Histories of the Civil War in East Tennessee," Journal of East Tennessee History, Vol. 67 (1995), pp. 69-77.
  9. John Shearer, "Salvaging a Dream: Humes House May Be Restored," Knoxville News Sentinel, 30 March 2011. Retrieved: 21 January 2013.