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Rev Robert Archibald “R.A.” Hodge

Rev Robert Archibald “R.A.” Hodge

Birth
La Grange, Fayette County, Texas, USA
Death 12 May 1918 (aged 76)
Sherwood, Irion County, Texas, USA
Burial Sherwood, Irion County, Texas, USA
Memorial ID 28793722 · View Source
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Robert was only a baby when his mother died sometime between 1842 and 1850. He grew up on his father's cotton plantation there in Fayette County, Texas. He was about 16 years old when his father died in 1858. In his will, William F. Hodge states his property "to be held and maintained together and be mutually enjoyed by my said three sons (John M., William N. and Robert A. Hodge) until the maturity of my youngest son, Robert A. Hodge, when by amicable agreement and compromise, all my property may be divided to the mutual benefit and satisfaction of my said three sons ... "

At the time of the death of his father, Robert A. Hodge was probably studying to be a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. His father had been an elder in the church, helped to found at least two Cumberland Presbyterian sponsored colleges nearby, and had several Cumberland Presbyterian ministers as friends and associates.

R.A. Hodge may have been educated at Ruttersville College, which was not far from his home, but more likely he attended Ewing College at La Grange, which prior to 1854 was known as La Grange Collegiate Institute. This school was sponsored by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Colorado Presbytery, and had on its board of directors his father, W.F. Hodge, and uncle, W.B. McClelland (Cumberland Presbyterian Church by T.H. Campbell, p. 93). In Voice in the Wilderness by R.D. Breckenridge, a book also about the church in early-day Texas, it is stated that in 1858 Ewing College had 76 students "drinking inspiration from its scientific faucets".

On February 3, 1861 in Fayette County, Robert A. Hodge married Miss Mattie P. Renick, sister of Elizabeth Jane Renick, his brother John's wife. The couple was married by Mattie's father, Reverend Henry Renick, also a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. According to family tradition they had one child, a daughter, name unknown. He left on a mission and while he was gone, both his wife and daughter died, presumably of the yellow fever - prevailing at that time.

On July 17,1865, he married Nancy Susan Smith in Bastrop County, Texas, with A.C. Delaplain M.G. officiating. Nancy (or "Nannie") was the oldest daughter of George and Emeline E. Sanders Smith, and was born in Monroe County, Mississippi, on November 26, 1842 according to the Hodge bible.

He preached and taught school in Travis, Bastrop, San Saba, Brown and Irion counties. "It is interesting to note that in the 1880 census of San Saba County, he listed his profession as "Teacher" rather than "C.P.M." as he had done earlier, (V 28, ED 113, S 16, L 21).

The circuit riding preacher used to ride across the land with a rifle on his saddle and a Bible in his hand. He preached all about the Promised Land and he went riding, singing down the trail. The territory around San Saba was rough and wild. Circuit riders were given $25.00 to buy a pistol and $125.00 to buy a horse. The territory was tough, churches were few and far between and the Bible was scarce. They were strong men possibly wearing a swallow-tail coat and black hat. They knew how to quote scripture when fighting the devil; could also shoot a carbine as straight as anyone and, if needs be, could kill an Indian when said Indian was on the warpath. No history of the frontier, with a record of its valiant citizenship, would be complete unless there was a chapter devoted to the grand old patriarchs of this type. They planted the flower of faith in the footsteps of the first pioneers and kept the flower perennial by personal sacrifice. If they didn't charm so much with their eloquence, or with the sheer power of a gifted personality, they, with their faith and helpful kindness, adorned the rugged manhood of the old West.

According to Johnnie K. Back, R.A. Hodge never had responsibilities for money matters - all he wanted to do was preach and read his bible. He was supposed to have had a falling-out with his brothers over his inheritance. As Roy Kight wrote, maybe he was a staunch abolitionist, while his brothers were slave owners.

Public records support the family tradition that R.A. Hodge had little use for real property. On July 31, 1868, his wife Nancy's grandmother, Nancy Scroggins, had deeded them "for love and affection" fifty acres in Bastrop County. They sold the same land January 11,1869, the following year. The following year, on December 1,1870, he sold, for an unspecified amount, his 1/3 share of the land inherited from his father in Wharton County, over 700 acres in all, (Wharton County Deed Book B-85J). His signature was notarized in Bastrop County January. 11, 1871, while that of his wife, Nannie, was notarized later that year, on June 13th, but in Williamson County. We are trying to learn if she had relatives living in Williamson County at that time. R.A. Hodge also sold his 1/3 share of the inheritance land in Bee County, about 427 acres, to his brother John on November 5, 1874 for $213.00, (Bee County Deed Book H-426).

R.A. Hodge must have moved his family to San Saba County about 1877 judging from the birthdates and places of his children recorded in his bible. It was here in San Saba County on June 2nd, 1887, that his wife died, only a few months after the death of their youngest child, Addie Alice who lived about 4 months. Family tradition is that the oldest son, Will, and his wife, Fannie, helped to care for the younger children. R.A. Hodge seemed to have lived with different members of his family during his later years. In 1900 according to the census (Eastland County, Texas, V 32, EJ 62, S 4, L 23), he was living in the home of his son, John R. Hodge, along with two other sons, Newel G. and Neely E. Hodge. His oldest son, William E. Hodge, lived with his family nearby.

He must have moved back to Sherwood soon after this, for in the fall of 1909, when the entire Dameron family left Sherwood for Washington County, Arkansas, he went with them, living for a time in a little cabin on a hill above the home of his daughter Minnie, near West Fork. When Minnie and her family moved to Eldorado, Oklahoma, a few years later, he must have again moved back to Sherwood.

Reverend R.A. Hodge died there at Sherwood, Irion County, Texas, on May 12, 1918 and was buried in the Sherwood Cemetery. Reverend Thomas H. Campbell, noted Cumberland Presbyterian author and historian, wrote in 1977 of what he remembers of the funeral:

I remember as a boy attending a meeting of a Brownwood Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in August, 1918, in which a memorial service was held in memory of the Reverend R.A. Hodge. As I recall, one of the older ministers, the Reverend W.H. White, who incidentally also lived at Sherwood, Texas, for some time, stated that Brother Hodge had been a member of four presbyteries without ever transferring his membership. This came about through the creation of new presbyteries, changes in boundaries, etc.

I have only limited records in my office. The earliest General Assembly Minutes I have are for 1871. Brother Hodge was already listed as an ordained minister, was a member of Colorado Presbytery, and his address was given as Sandfly, Texas. Later he was a member of Little River Presbytery, and still later of San Saba Presbytery, which was formed about 1881. He lived for a while at San Saba, later at Rising Star, Texas, and for some time at Sherwood. The name of San Saba Presbytery was changed to Brownwood Presbytery in about 1902.

This compiler [Kyle Dameron] did research at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church Archives, Memphis Theological Seminary Library, 168 East Parkway South, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 in the summer of 1978. There were very few references to Reverend R.A. Hodge outside of the Ministerial Registers. The handwritten Minutes of the Brownwood Presbytery for August 1918, page 318 has the following brief reference:

10:40 A.M. The Reverend W.H. White then conducted the memorial services in honor of our deceased brethren, the Reverend R.A. Hodge … which proved to be very impressive and inspiring."


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  • Created by: Linda McCallister Smith
  • Added: 5 Aug 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 28793722
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rev Robert Archibald “R.A.” Hodge (11 Jan 1842–12 May 1918), Find A Grave Memorial no. 28793722, citing Sherwood Cemetery, Sherwood, Irion County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Linda McCallister Smith (contributor 46786576) .