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Hay, Samuel Ross (1865–1944)

Clinton P. Hartmann Biography Entry

Samuel Ross Hay, Methodist bishop, the son of William and Martha (England) Hay, was born on October 15, 1865, in Decatur County, Tennessee. He moved to Texas about 1881. He attended Centenary College, Southwestern University, and Southern College, Lakeland, Florida, and was licensed to preach in the Methodist Church in 1886. In 1887 he joined the North Texas Conference, where he held numerous pastorates, and in 1900 was transferred to the Texas Conference to become pastor of Shearn Church, Houston. On August 21 he married Margaret Gulick in Corsicana; they had three children. At various times Hay served as presiding elder of the Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Amarillo districts, and in 1906–07 he was pastor of Centenary Church in St. Louis. On May 16, 1922, he was elected bishop and placed in charge of all Methodist missionary work in China. From 1924 to 1934 he presided as bishop over areas including Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Alabama, Florida, and the Pacific coast. He helped organize the Methodist Church in Mexico and was president of the Board of Missions in 1932. He was a member of several general and international conferences on Methodism before he retired from active service in 1938. He died in Houston on February 4, 1944.

Emory A. Bailey, Who's Who in Texas (Dallas: John B. McCraw Press, 1931). Isabella Margaret Elizabeth Blandin, History of Shearn Church, 1837–1907 (Houston: Dealy, 1908). Houston Post, February 5, 1944.


  • Religion
  • Methodist

Time Periods:

  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Progressive Era
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression


  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Clinton P. Hartmann, “Hay, Samuel Ross,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 24, 2020,

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