Rankin, George Clark (1849–1915)

By: Brian Hart

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

George Clark Rankin, minister, editor, and social reformer, was born to Creed Wilson and Martha Jane (Clark) Rankin on November 19, 1849, in Jefferson County, Tennessee. He received little formal education as a youth, as he was forced to work to help support his family after the death of his father in 1860. In 1865 the family moved to Georgia, where Rankin worked on a farm. At eighteen years of age he entered an academy in Bradley County, Tennessee, where he remained for three years, and then he completed an additional year's schooling at Resaca, Georgia. Rankin then entered Hiwassee College, in Monroe County, Tennessee, where he completed his education about 1873. He married Fannie L. Denton of Dalton, Georgia, on September 30, 1875. The couple raised six children. Rankin was ordained a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1871 and preached in various churches across the South, beginning in southwestern Virginia in 1873. Three years later he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he was minister at the Church Street Methodist Episcopal Church for four years. In 1880 he received an honorary doctorate of divinity from the University of Tennessee. The succeeding twelve years took him to churches in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Asheville, North Carolina, and Kansas City, Missouri. In 1892 Rankin accepted the pastorship of the Shearn Memorial Church in Houston, Texas. Four years later he moved to Dallas, having been selected minister of the First Methodist Church. He resigned this post in 1898, following his election to the position of editor of the Texas Christian Advocate, the journal of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Texas (see UNITED METHODIST REPORTER). He held this office until his death. As an advocate of prohibition, he was influential in the adoption of dry ordinances in some 150 Texas counties. He was a Mason and a lifelong Democrat. In 1912 he published his autobiography, Story of My Life. He died at his home in Dallas on February 2, 1915.

Dallas Morning News, February 3, 1915. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 1.


  • Journalism
  • Religion
  • Methodist


  • 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.

Brian Hart, “Rankin, George Clark,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 24, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/rankin-george-clark.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: