Tidwell, Donavon Duncan (1906–1982)

By: Samuel B. Hesler

Type: Biography

Published: July 1, 1995

Donavon Duncan (D. D.) Tidwell, college professor and Baptist historian, was born on February 16, 1906, in Iredell, Texas, the oldest son of Charles Len and Fannie Stell (Harris) Tidwell. He joined the First Baptist Church in Iredell and was baptized in August 1921. He graduated from Howard Payne College in Brownwood with a bachelor's degree in 1931, and from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth with a master of theology degree in 1936 and a doctor of theology in 1940. He was licensed to preach by the Honey Creek Baptist Church in Hamilton County, Texas, on August 26, 1923, and ordained there on December 31, 1925. Tidwell married Thelma Turner on April 30, 1930; they had two sons. He pastored the First Baptist Church in DeLeon, Texas, from 1938 to 1941 and the Walnut Street Baptist Church in Carbondale, Illinois, from 1941 to 1944. Tidwell and his wife taught from 1944 to 1946 at Hannibal-La Grange College in Hannibal, Missouri, and he taught Bible and Greek at Howard Payne College from 1946 to 1963. He served as chairman of the Division of Religion for seven years at Howard Payne. At Houston Baptist College, he served as professor of Bible and chairman of the Division of Christianity from 1963 to 1971. He was a participant in the organization of the Texas Baptist Historical Society in 1938 and its reorganizations in 1953 and 1977. At his death he was a member of the Texas Baptist History Journal editorial advisory board. Tidwell became a master Mason on June 9, 1928, at Hico, Texas. He served as grand chaplain of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas in 1957, grand high prelate of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar in Texas in 1961–62, grand high priest of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas in 1970, and grand chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Texas in 1973. In 1967 he became a thirty-third-degree Mason. Tidwell was a charter member, past master, and fellow in Texas Masonic lodge research. He was editor of The Texas Freemason for ten years and authored A History of the Baptists in Erath County (1937), Freemasonry in Brownwood (1966), A History of the Baptists at Iredell (1968), and A History of Gray Lodge, Houston, Texas (1970). He also contributed articles to the Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists, the Wycliffe Biblical Encyclopedia and other religious, historical, and Masonic publications. He died on November 24, 1982, in Waco and was buried at Iredell Cemetery. At the Howard Payne Alumni Banquet on October 30, 1987, Tidwell was made a distinguished alumnus and received a Medal of Service award posthumously.

Hamilton County Historical Commission, A History of Hamilton County, Texas (Dallas: Taylor, 1979). Keith C. Willis, "In Memoriam: D. D. Tidwell," Texas Baptist History 2 (1982).
  • Education
  • Educators
  • Religion
  • Baptist

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

Samuel B. Hesler, “Tidwell, Donavon Duncan,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/tidwell-donavon-duncan.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995