Red, George Clark (1820–1881)

By: Lel Purcell Hawkins

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 1, 1995

George Clark Red, pioneer Texas physician and teacher, son of Samuel and Mary (Boyd) Red, was born at Newberry, South Carolina, on December 16, 1820. He attended the United Presbyterian College at Xenia, Ohio, for several years, and obtained his medical degree at South Carolina Medical School in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1844 before moving to Texas for his health. He had lost both parents at the age of fifteen, so he took his three unmarried sisters with him. A fourth sister had married Thomas Stalworth Henderson in 1840, and the Henderson family moved to Texas with Red in 1845 to settle near Washington-on-the-Brazos. Dr. Red practiced medicine (and dentistry when needed) in that area until his retirement in 1875. A devout Presbyterian and a supporter of educational activities, he also served as an elder, a lay preacher, a teacher, and a trustee of Austin College for six years from the time of its founding at Huntsville in 1850. Red missed military service in the Mexican War because his unit marched away while he was attending a patient. Although his poor health might have been a sufficient excuse, he refused to serve in the Civil War because he was opposed to slavery and secession. He was regarded as a traitor, but he pleaded his own case before the court and was exonerated. Red met Rebecca Stuart (see RED, REBECCA J. K. S.) at the annual meeting of the Brazos Presbytery in October 1853, and the two were married on January 10, 1854. Live Oak Female Seminary, where Rebecca was teaching, thereby acquired a physician and a science teacher, and the young couple acquired an instant family of three Red sisters and Rebecca's two younger brothers (Robert Stuart, who later became a cotton buyer, and David Finney Stuart, a prominent Houston physician). The Reds had four children of their own: William Stuart Red, Harriet Irene Red (a teacher), Lel Red (a teacher), and Samuel Clark Red. After Red retired because of ill health, Live Oak Female Seminary was closed; he and his wife and family moved to Austin, where they founded the Stuart Seminary in 1876. Red died in Austin on August 16, 1881, and Mrs. Red died on May 24, 1886. With the cooperation of the other Red heirs and the aid of her husband, John McLeod Purcell, Lel Red continued to operate Stuart Seminary until 1899, when the Red heirs joined with the trustees of the defunct Austin School of Theology to give the property, debt free, to the Presbyterian Synod of Texas for use as the site of a school of theology. The Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary was started in 1902 at 1212 East Ninth Street in the buildings and at the site formerly occupied by Stuart Seminary.

Mabelle and Stuart Purcell et al., This Is Texas (Austin: Futura, 1977). Mabelle Purcell, Two Texas Female Seminaries (Wichita Falls, Texas: University Press, 1951). George Plunkett [Mrs. S. C. Red], The Medicine Man in Texas (Houston, 1930). William Stuart Red, A History of the Presbyterian Church in Texas (Austin: Steck, 1936). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • General Practitioners

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

Lel Purcell Hawkins, “Red, George Clark,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995

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