Whipple, Josiah W. (1813–1894)

By: Norman W. Spellmann

Type: Biography

Published: October 1, 1995

Josiah W. Whipple, pioneer Methodist preacher, was born in Bennington, Vermont, on August 1, 1813, the first son of Angel and Celinda Whipple. After moving to Illinois with his family in the 1830s, he became a preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was admitted on trial by the Illinois Conference in 1839; his first appointment was to Sycamore. When the Rock River Conference was established in 1840, he was appointed to Galena. After his ordination as deacon in 1841, he transferred to the Texas conference, along with his former presiding elder, John Clark. Traveling by horseback and buggy, the ministers left Illinois in early October, joined Bishop Thomas A. Morris at St. Louis on October 19, and entered the Republic of Texas at Gaines Ferry on December 17, 1841. At the second annual meeting of the Texas Conference, held at San Augustine on December 23, Whipple was received into full connection and appointed to the Austin circuit, which included Travis and Bastrop counties. The diary he kept from 1841 to 1844 is a rich source of information about frontier life in the Republic of Texas. Ordained an elder in 1843, he was appointed to the Houston circuit, which he continued to serve until January 1846. When American Methodism divided in 1844, Whipple declared his loyalty to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He served the Austin Mission from 1846 to December 1886. In addition to Whipple's twenty-four years as a presiding elder, his leadership in Texas Methodism is also exhibited in his election as a delegate from the Texas Conference to six General Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Whipple was married three times: to Sarah McGhee, with whom he had a son; Anna Rideout, mother of his daughter; and Sarah Dietricht, whose son he adopted. Whipple died in Austin on May 8, 1894.

Frank Brown, Annals of Travis County and the City of Austin (MS, Frank Brown Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin). Frank Brown Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (Nashville: Southern Methodist Publishing House, 1845–1923). Walter N. Vernon et al., The Methodist Excitement in Texas (Dallas: Texas United Methodist Historical Society, 1984).


  • Religion
  • Methodist

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

Norman W. Spellmann, “Whipple, Josiah W.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 05, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/whipple-josiah-w.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995