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GREGG, ALEXANDER

GREGG, ALEXANDER (1819–1893). Alexander Gregg, Episcopalian clergyman and bishop of Texas, son of Davis and Athalinda (Brocky) Gregg, was born on October 8, 1819, on his father's plantation near Society Hill, Darlington County, South Carolina. After attending the academy at Winnsboro, he entered South Carolina College (now the University of South Carolina) and graduated at the head of his class in 1838. He then read law for two years in a law office in Cheraw and practiced there for two years. On April 21, 1841, he married Charlotte Wilson Kollock; ten children were born to them. Gregg's people were Baptists, but probably through his wife's influence he determined, suddenly and dramatically, not only to become an Episcopalian but to study for the ministry. He was made a deacon in 1846 and a priest the next year. As deacon he became rector of his own parish, St. David's, Cheraw, and served there until he was elected bishop of Texas in 1859. Texas was then mainly a wilderness with a scattered population and few Episcopalians. After his consecration at the General Convention in Richmond, Virginia, Gregg moved his family, slaves, and household goods to Texas in January 1860. His work was that of a missionary and pioneer, and his field, until 1874, included the whole state of Texas. When secession came, he held that the church in the Confederacy must follow the government and separate itself from the church in the United States. On the failure of the Confederacy the logic of his principles led him to urge that the churches in the Union should again become one. When the General Convention met in Philadelphia in the fall of 1865, he could not himself be present, but five deputies from Texas renewed the antebellum associations. During the war not all the clergy of Texas shared the ardent Southern enthusiasm of the bishop. In particular, he had difficulties with Charles Gillette, rector of St. David's Church, Austin. In 1874 the General Convention set off North Texas and Western Texas as missionary districts. In 1892 George H. Kinsolving was elected assistant bishop and consecrated. Gregg established the University of the South at Sewanee and was elected chancellor. He published a number of addresses and charges and a valuable historical work, A History of Old Cheraw (1867). His collection of books about the Civil War was donated to the Carnegie Library at Palestine, Texas. Bishop Gregg died on July 10, 1893, at his home in Austin and was buried in Cheraw, South Carolina.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Charles Gillette, A Few Historic Records of the Church in the Diocese of Texas during the Rebellion (New York: Gray and Green, 1865). Wilson Gregg, Alexander Gregg, First Bishop of Texas (Sewanee: Tennessee University Press, 1912). Sidney S. Johnson, Texans Who Wore the Gray (Tyler, Texas, 1907). Memorial and Genealogical Record of Southwest Texas (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1894; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). DuBose Murphy, Short History of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Texas (Dallas: Turner, 1935). B. A. Rogers, Memorial Sermon of Rt. Rev. Alexander Gregg (Houston: Coyle, 1894). Texas Diocese, Protestant Episcopal Church, Journal of the . . . Annual Council, 1859–1894.

William James Battle

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

William James Battle, "GREGG, ALEXANDER," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgr47), accessed November 27, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.