Clark, Randolph (1844–1935)

By: Carey Goodwyn

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 25, 2019

Randolph Clark, teacher and minister, son of Esther Hettie (D'Spain) and Joseph Addison Clark, was born in Powelltown (now Waskom), Texas, on August 15, 1844, and educated at home. In the spring of 1864 he joined the Sixteenth Texas Cavalry, in which his brother, Addison Clark, had been serving the Confederacy since the spring of 1862. After the war he and Addison attended Carlton School in Kentucky Town and, later, Carlton College in Bonham. On July 5, 1870, he married Ellen Blanche Lee; they had seven children, including Randolph Lee Clark. Early in their education the two brothers decided to pursue teaching careers together. They took charge of the Male and Female Seminary of Fort Worth in 1869 and operated the school until 1874, when the town's railroad-boom atmosphere and the rowdy population it attracted made the downtown location unsuitable. When a land developer in Hood County offered them a large stone school building, Randolph opened Add-Ran Male and Female College at Thorp Springs in 1873. The following year, his responsibilities in Fort Worth fulfilled, Addison joined the school as president. In 1876 Randolph Clark took his family to West Virginia, where he completed a course of study in the physical sciences at Bethany College. Immediately upon his return to Thorp Spring, a dispute with the developer led the brothers to buy land nearby and construct their own building. Clark served Add-Ran College as vice president and full-time faculty member for twenty years, and under the Clark brothers' leadership the school gained a national reputation for educational excellence. He received an M.A. degree in literature from the college in 1896.

Clark was ordained a minister in the Disciples of Christ Church (now Christian Church) in 1873, and throughout his tenure with Add-Ran College he preached in communities throughout Central and North Texas. Addison was a minister in the same communion, but the word Christian was not included in the school's charter until 1890, when the Clarks officially deeded the property to the Disciples of Christ, the church from which the school's trustees had always been selected. When the institution moved to Waco in 1895, Clark stayed in Thorp Spring and taught at Jarvis college; when it closed in 1898, he opened Randolph College in Lancaster, at the request of citizens there. Two years later he founded Hereford College in Hereford, later called Randolph College and, still later, Panhandle Christian College. After 1910 Clark devoted his attention to various pastorates in the state, the Race Street Christian Church in Stephenville being his last. Texas Christian University awarded him an LL.D. degree in 1923, the year he served as chaplain of the Texas Senate. He died in Dallas on November 22, 1935, and was buried in Stephenville.

Joseph Lynn Clark, Thank God We Made It (Austin: University of Texas, 1969). Jerome A. Moore, Texas Christian University: A Hundred Years of History (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1974). Clarence R. Wharton, ed., Texas under Many Flags (5 vols., Chicago: American Historical Society, 1930).

  • Education
  • University Presidents and School Administrators
  • Religion
  • Christian Church
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

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

Carey Goodwyn, “Clark, Randolph,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 25, 2019

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