Southern Methodist University

Homer S. Thrall sermons


Creator: Thrall, Homer S., 1819-1894
Title: Homer S. Thrall sermons
Dates: 1864-circa 1910
Dates (Bulk): 1864-1867
Abstract: This collection comprises fourteen manuscript sermons preached by Rev. Homer Spellman Thrall between 1864 and 1867 and two additional documents physically associated with the sermons: a receipt from 1870 and an unsigned essay on home economics and the role of women, circa 1910. A native of Vermont, Homer S. Thrall (1819-1894) was a Methodist circuit preacher, presiding elder, American Bible Society agent, and conference secretary in Texas between 1842 and 1891. He was also an early Texas educator, journalist, and historian.
Identification: BridArch 3.150
Quantity: 1 box (.25 linear foot)
Language: Material is in English
Repository: Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

Homer S. Thrall was born at Underhill, Vermont on December 19, 1819. In the 1830s he moved to Ohio and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. Thrall entered the ministry in 1840, serving Ohio Conference pastoral charges Little Kanawha (1840) and Summerville (1841). Upon being ordained in 1842, he requested a transfer to the Texas Conference, where he served Brazoria (1842) and Egypt Circuit (1843-1844) as a deacon and these ministerial appointments as an elder: Rutersville Circuit and College (1845); Austin (1846-1847); Washington (1848); Galveston (1849-1850); Victoria and Lavaca (1851-1852); American Bible Society agent (1853); Rutersville District (presiding elder 1854); Galveston District (presiding elder 1855-1857); Austin District (presiding elder 1858); LaGrange and Colored Mission (1859); Columbus District (presiding elder 1860-1861); Victoria District (presiding elder 1862-1864); Columbus Station (1865); Indianola and Colored Charge (1866); Victoria and Lavaca (1867); Houston Circuit (1869); Navasota (1870); Brenham (1871-1872); Chappell Hill District (presiding elder 1873); Chappell Hill (1874); San Antonio (1875-1877); Corpus Christi (1878-1879); San Marcos (1880); Luling (1881); San Antonio District (presiding elder 1882-1885); Seguin (1886-1889); and Del Rio (1890). He retired from the ministry in 1891.

Thrall’s interests included education, journalism, and historical writing. He taught at Rutersville College and was a trustee of Soule University. Thrall was one of the founders of the Texas Wesleyan Banner newspaper in 1849. He also served as secretary of the Texas Conference from 1852 to 1857 and of the West Texas Conference from 1882 to 1890. Thrall’s published writings include History of Methodism in Texas (1872), A History of Texas (1876), A Pictorial History of Texas (1879), The People's Illustrated Almanac, Texas Handbook, and Immigrants' Guide (1880), and A Brief History of Methodism in Texas (1889). In retirement Thrall wrote historical articles for the San Antonio Daily Express.

Homer S. Thrall married Amanda J. Kerr on June 27, 1847. She died in July 1851 and he married Amelia Trueborn West of Port Lavaca one year later. After a long illness Rev. Thrall died at his home in San Antonio on October 12, 1894.


Horton, H. G. "Homer S. Thrall, A.M.," Texas Methodist Historical Quarterly1 (July 1909).

Phelan, Macum. A History of the Expansion of Methodism in Texas, 1867-1902; Being a Continuation of the History of Early Methodism in Texas. Dallas: Mathis, Van Nort and Co., 1937.

Spellmann, Norman W. "Thrall, Homer Spellman." Handbook of Texas Online,, accessed April 11, 2017.

Vernon, Walter N. et al. The Methodist Excitement in Texas. Dallas: The Texas United Methodist Historical Society, 1984.

Scope and Contents Note

The Homer S. Thrall sermons document the theology and homiletical approach of a prominent nineteenth-century Texas Methodist minister. None of the documents in this collection bear Thrall’s name of initials. However, the preaching points (locations both in Texas and in Vermont) and dates noted on the sermon texts match his career path and family connections convincingly.

The Duxbury, Texas, treasurer’s receipt found with the sermons is likely associated with Thrall. The essay on home economics and the role of women is a circa 1910 speech or editorial that includes references to statements made by “Miss Terrill” (Bertha M. Terrill, 1870-1968, the first female faculty member of the University of Vermont), and “Miss Richardson” (Bertha June Richardson Lucas, author of The Woman Who Spends, 1904). This last item post-dates Thrall but may have been associated with his extended family.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection contains a single series:
Series 1: Manuscript sermons and additional documents, 1864 – circa 1910.


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the Head of Special Collections of the Bridwell Library.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Sensitive Material Statement:

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications for which Bridwell Library assumes no responsibility.

Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms:
Subjects (Persons)
Thrall, Homer S., 1819-1894.
Subjects (Organizations)
Methodist Episcopal Church, South -- Clergy.
Document Types

Related Material

Walter N. Vernon papers, Bridwell Library Special Collections, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Item], Homer S. Thrall sermons, Box 579B, Bridwell Library Special Collections, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Purchased, 2017.

Processing Information

Arranged and described by Timothy S. G. Binkley, 2017.

Encoded by Ada Negraru, 2017.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Manuscript sermons and additional documents, 1864 – circa 1910

This single series contains fourteen manuscript sermons and two associated documents: a receipt from 1870 and an essay written circa 1910. Most of the sermons were preached on several dates at different locations. The final sermon was delivered in Victoria, Texas at the funeral of Rev. William T. Harris (1833-1867), a Methodist preacher who died of yellow fever.
Box Folder
579B 02 Sermon on Ephesians 2:1 first preached at Clinton, Texas, 1864 March 19
Sermon on Hosea 6:1 first preached at Irish Creek, Texas, 1864 December 16
Sermon on Romans 4:25 first preached at Clinton, Texas, 1865 January 7
Romans 3:20 (“Good Works”) first preached at Irish Creek, 1865 May 6
Sermon on Romans 9:33 first preached at Victoria, Texas, 1865 September 24
03 Sermon on Romans 9:33 first preached at Victoria, Texas, 1865 October 8
Sermon of Galatians 6:14 first preached at Victoria, Texas, 1865 October 22
Sermon on Ecclesiastes 7:14 first preached at Victoria, Texas, 1865 November 26
Sermon on John 3:14-15 first preached at Victoria, Texas, 1866 March 25
04 Sermon on 1 Chronicles 29:5 first preached at Victoria, Texas, 1867 January 6
Sermon on Isaiah 55:6 first preached at Victoria, Texas, 1867 February 3
Sermon on Isaiah 32:2 first preaches at Victoria, Texas, 1867 March 3
Sermon on 2 Corinthians 5:14 first preached at Victoria, Texas, 1867 May 5
Sermon on Psalm 116:15 preached on the occasion of the death of Rev. W. T. Harris, Victoria, Texas, 1867 August 18
05 Treasurer’s receipt, Duxbury, Texas, 1870 April 1
Unsigned essay on home making and the education of women, circa 1870-1910