Thomas P. Calhoun

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1823 - 1858


Calhoun, Thomas P.--The son of Rev. Thomas and Mary (Johnson) Calhoun, was born in Wilson Co., Tenn., in 1823. He was educated in the Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tenn., and studied Theology in the Seminary at Princeton, N.J. He was licensed by the Presbytery of Chapman, and ordained in 1852. He was secretary for several years of the Board of Foreign and Domestic Missions of the Cumberland Church, and editor of the "Missionary," a periodical of the Church. He paid considerable attention to teaching. In the winter of 1858 he went up to Minnesota, and during his stay, whilst riding out with his wife in a sleigh, his horse became unmanageable, and running off a bridge, they all fell, and Mr. Calhoun was killed instantly, his wife was also injured.

Mr. C., was a son of Rev. Thos. Calhoun, one of the first ministers in the Cumberland Church, and a nephew of Rev. John Provine, and having been carefully trained, with a cultivated intellect and refined manners, he bid fair to be a very useful minister to the Church.

He married Miss Elizabeth Lowry, only daughter of Rev. David Lowry, who, with two children, survives him.

[Source: The Presbyterian Historical Almanac, and Annual Remembrancer of the Church, for 1860. by Joseph M. Wilson, Philadelphia: Joseph M. Wilson, 1860, page 191]


Rev. David Lowry, father of General Lowry, was one of the foremost pioneers of northern Minnesota and one of the strongest intellectually. Leaving Tennessee in 1849 he came to Long Prairie, in the present county of Todd, where he remained for two years teaching an Indian school. He was a man of large frame and great physical strength, and perfectly fearless. It is said that on several occasions when the Indians, after having had too much liquor, became troublesome, he would dash in among them with a club and laying right and left would quickly bring them to good behavior. In 1851 he returned to Tennessee where he remained until the spring of 1856, when he came to St. Cloud, locating in the part of the city then called Arcadia. He at once organized a church of the denomination to which he belonged, the Cumberland Presbyterian, which was within a few months of being the first Protestant church organized in St. Cloud. Of the ten original members of this church, three, Mrs. Margaret A. Biggerstaff, Mrs. Ellen W. Lamb and Mrs. Mary E. Ketcham, are still residents of this city. Mr. Lowry was an unusually strong and able speaker, a man of fine education, and the author of several books. Although southern born he was of antislavery spirit, and bringing to the North the slaves which he had inherited he freed them, and during the civil war was a strong Union man. In 1864 he removed to Iowa and later to Missouri, where he died in 1876.

Mr. Lowry's son-in-law, Rev. Thomas P. Calhoun, followed later, coming to St. Cloud in 1857. He brought overland from Tennessee a herd of pure-bred Durham cattle, these being probably the first blooded cattle ever brought into Minnesota, although upon this point I would not venture to speak positively. His intention was to go into stockraising on a somewhat extensive scale, but in 1859, while crossing a narrow wooden bridge over the deep ravine where now is Fifth avenue south, his horse sprang to one side and breaking through the frail railing fell to the hard ground below, dragging the sleigh with it. Mr. Calhoun received injuries from which he died soon afterward, while his wife, who was by his side, was comparatively uninjured. His father was a cousin of John C. Calhoun, the great nullifier, but had no sympathy whatever with his political views, and after the rupture between Jackson and Calhoun he forbade the latter's name to be ever mentioned on his plantation. David T. Calhoun, the judge of probate of Stearns county, is a son of the Rev. Thomas P. Calhoun.

[Source: Minnesota Historical Society, Vol. XII, 1910, "St. Cloud in the Territorial period" by William Mitchell, pages 641-642]


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Updated February 7, 2012

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