William C. Martin, Methodist bishop, was born on July 28, 1893, in Randolph, Tennessee, the son of John Harmon and Leila (Ballard) Martin. He attended the University of Arkansas, received the B.A. degree from Hendrix College in 1918, the B.D. degree from Southern Methodist University in 1921, and many honorary degrees from various universities. He was married to Sally Katherine Beene of Blevins, Arkansas, on July 1, 1918. They had three children: Donald Hankey, Mary Katherine, and John Lee. Martin was ordained to the ministry in 1921 and served churches in Port Arthur and Houston. After a pastorate of three years at First Methodist Church in Little Rock, he served seven years as pastor at First Methodist Church, Dallas.
He was elected bishop in 1938 and assigned to the Pacific coast and later to Kansas and Nebraska. From 1948 to his retirement in 1964 he served the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He was special lecturer at Perkins School of Theology (Southern Methodist University) and served on many church-wide bodies. He was president of the National Council of Churches, 1953–54, and a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches, 1954–61. He was considered one of the most dedicated and effective leaders in the Methodist Church. In 1952 he was designated a distinguished alumnus of Southern Methodist University, for which he had been a trustee since 1939. He died on August 30, 1984.
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Nolan B. Harmon, ed., The Encyclopedia of World Methodism (2 vols., Nashville: United Methodist Publishing House, 1974). William C. Martin Papers, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas. O. Eugene Slater, "Bishop William Clyde Martin," Journal of the North Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, May 26–29, 1985. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who's Who in the Methodist Church (Nashville: Abingdon, 1966).
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Walter N. Vernon,
“Martin, William Clyde,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 19, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
April 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
November 12, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: