Thaddeus W. McRae papers, 1866, 1880, 1929
Thaddeus McRae (1831-1882) was a Presbyterian pastor in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. He was born on October 10, 1831, in South Carolina, and after his family moved to Mississippi he studied with Rev. John Morrow in Columbus. He was ordained in November 1855 and served at churches in Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana before settling in Port Lavaca, Texas in February 1861. In Port Lavaca, McRae fought against church member’s desire for Texas’ secession and the division of Presbyterianism into northern and southern sects. With Texas a Confederate state, most church members joined the southern Presbyterian division. McRae traveled to New Orleans and joined the Union Army and served as chaplain of a black regiment. In 1866, he returned to Texas and became head of the majority faction of Unionists of the Austin Presbyterian Church. In 1868, he organized the Presbytery of Austin.
McRae was deeply interested in politics, and wrote prolifically on the subject using pseudonyms. He was elected chaplain of the Constitutional Convention of 1866 and served as private secretary to Governor Elisha Pease. McRae served as clerk of the committee on lawlessness for the Constitutional Convention of 1868-1869. In 1870, he moved to Pennsylvania and ministered to several churches. In 1875, he moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he became pastor of the local Presbyterian church until 1878. He died there on December 14, 1882.
The Thaddeus W. McRae papers are comprised of a letter, memo, and autobiography. The letter documents the difficulties McRae faced in Port Lavaca during the fractioning of his church membership due to disagreements surrounding the Civil War (1866). The memo (1929) describes the original source of the autobiography and that it was transcribed from an original copy. The autobiography, written in 1880, details McRae’s life; he discusses his ancestors, childhood, family life, work as a pastor, the Civil War and other subjects.
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.
Materials are available by appointment only. Contact the archivist for details.
Thaddeus W. McRae papers, 1866, 1880, 1929, Austin Seminary Archives, Stitt Library, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
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