Robert Franklin Bunting collection, 1846-1947
Robert Franklin Bunting (1828-1891), a Presbyterian minister and Confederate Army chaplain, was born in 1828 in Pennsylvania. At age nineteen Bunting was admitted to the junior class of Washington College in Washington, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1849. At his mother’s urging, Bunting decided to devote his life to the ministry. Bunting entered Princeton Theological Seminary in 1849 and graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1851.
After preaching around Pennsylvania for a year, Bunting was ordained an “evangelist to Texas” at his own request. Bunting’s childhood fantasies about the wild west and a plea issued at Princeton Seminary by Dr. Daniel Baker for preachers in Texas fueled Bunting’s decision to become a Texan. After arriving in Houston and spending some time there, Bunting’s first mission circuit was performed in the Colorado Valley in 1852. In 1856 Bunting went to San Antonio where he, in conjunction with Rev. John C. McCullough and Dr. Daniel Baker, revitalized the small congregation there and established a church in spite of the dangerous living conditions and strong opposition from the Roman Catholics. Bunting served as pastor at this church, the First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio, for several years, until he received the call to be a chaplain in the Confederate Army in the American Civil War. As a chaplain Bunting served the 8th Texas Calvary, commonly known as “Terry’s Texas Rangers.”
After the war Bunting remained very active in the church, serving as Moderator and Stated Clerk of the Synod of Texas, Commissioner to General Assemblies, on the board of Daniel Baker College, helping to found The Texas Presbyterian, the first Presbyterian newspaper in Texas, in addition to serving as an amateur historian of Presbyterianism in Texas. Bunting was married twice and had five children with his second wife. Robert Franklin Bunting died September 19, 1891.
Five inches of manuscript material, correspondence, photocopied and typescript copies of archival research material including minutes, sermons, congregational records, and correspondence (1847-1947) describes and documents the ministerial career of Robert Franklin Bunting, particularly as an evangelist and Confederate Army chaplain in Texas. This collection was created and maintained by Henry Stanhope Bunting, Robert Franklin Bunting’s son. The material is comprised of drafts of and research material for a historical biography Henry S. Bunting wrote about his father and the founding of the First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio. Henry S. Bunting wrote this biography in reaction to the existing church history, which he believed was composed by his father, and which he believed grossly down-played his father’s and John C. McCullough’s roles in the founding of the church while giving undue credit to Dr. Daniel Baker. The material is arranged in two series: Drafts (1895-1947) and Research Material (1846-1910).
The first series, Drafts (1895-1947), contains various drafts of Henry S. Bunting’s biography of Robert F. Bunting and history of the First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio. The drafts trace Robert F. Bunting’s ministerial career, focusing on Bunting’s early years as an evangelist in Texas and the history of the Presbyterian Church in San Antonio. Drafts include genealogical descriptions of Robert F. Bunting’s family lines, and short testimonials of some of “Terry’s Texas Rangers,” the men he served as chaplain for in the Civil War. Two pieces of correspondence between Henry S. Bunting and the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio in this series reveal Bunting’s motive for composing the history, and that the material in the second series, Research Material (1846-1910), is photocopied from the archival material residing at the church and was requested for the purpose of writing the biography and history. Among the research material are copies of sermons preached to “Terry’s Texas Rangers,” session minutes relating to the founding of the First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio, and the original church history presumably written by Robert F. Bunting.
Materials are available by appointment only. Contact the archivist for details.
Robert Franklin Bunting collection, 1846-1947, Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Materials in accession #2007-009 were originally held at the Montreat office of the Presbyterian Historical Society. They were transferred to the Austin Seminary Archives in 2007.
Detailed Description of the Collection