Vernon, Walter Newton, Jr. (1907–1993)

By: Tracé Etienne-Gray

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1995

Walter N. Vernon, Jr., historian and minister, was born in Verden, Oklahoma, on March 24, 1907, to Rev. Walter N. and Fannie (Dodd) Vernon, both native Texans. The Vernon family spent the first three years of young Walter's life moving around to different Methodist congregations. In 1911 they settled in Paris, Texas, where Vernon went to grammar and secondary school, eventually graduating from Paris High School in 1924. He went on to Paris Junior College and completed his bachelor's degree at Southern Methodist University in 1928. He stayed at SMU and earned a bachelor of divinity in 1931 and a master of arts in 1934. West Virginia Wesleyan College awarded Vernon an honorary doctorate of letters in 1963. While still at SMU, he was elected pastor at the Lakewood Methodist Church in Dallas. He stayed at Lakewood until 1938, when he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and accepted a position as an assistant editor at the General Board of Education of the United Methodist Church. Vernon remained at the GBE until 1972. In 1953 he was promoted to secretary of the curriculum committee, and his duties expanded to include responsibility for all of the church's school publications. Along with his regular job as an editor, Vernon also devoted considerable time and energy to documenting and preserving the history of the Methodist Church in the United States. His first book, Methodism Moves Across North Texas, was published in 1967. He followed it with Forever Building: The Life and Ministry of Paul E. Martin (1973) and Methodism in Arkansas, 1816–1976 (1976). Along with others, he contributed to The Methodist Excitement in Texas: A History which was published in 1984. Vernon was married to Ruth Mason and they were the parents of two children. The minister died on March 10, 1993, and was buried at Furneaux Cemetery near Carrollton, Texas.

Dallas Morning News, March 12, 1993. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • 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.

Tracé Etienne-Gray, “Vernon, Walter Newton, Jr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 24, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1995

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