Thomas Shelby Love

1831 - 1902

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

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Rev. T. S. Love, was born in Gibson County, Tenn., 1831. He was the son of Rev. Wm. Calhoun Love, who was a cousin of the statesman, John C. Calhoun, and who was a minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian church for about forty years. His mother was a Shelby, a member of the celebrated Shelby family of Kentucky. Brother Love's boyhood was spent in Kentucky, where he labored on a farm, sought such school advantages as the country afforded, and by private study fitted himself for teaching school. He spent several years teaching school in Arkansas and Missouri, and was school commissioner of Washington county, Missouri, for three years. At the age of 26, he became a candidate for the ministry in St. Louis Presbytery. He was immediately licensed, and 18 months later was ordained in the city of St. Louis. Rev. Milton Bird, for many years a personal friend of Brother Love's father, preached the ordination sermon. At once Brother Love became one of the leading ministers in southeast Missouri and was the prime factor in the organization of West Prairie Presbytery. his itinerary extended to several counties. Preaching in churches, schoolhouses and the homes of the people, and being sociable, spiritual, and evangelistic he did a great work in that almost spiritually destitute country. He was pastor of our church at Irondale, for twenty-one years.

In 1881, Brother Love moved to Louisiana, Mo., and was the pastor of several churches in Salt River Presbytery until 1888, when he became pastor of the Slater congregation. Two years later he located in Marshall, and preached for congregations in New Lebanon and McGee Presbyteries till he moved to St. Louis in 1899. Though in poor health he continued to preach whenever opportunity offered till he was too feeble to leave home. He died in St. Louis, August 13, 1902, and was buried in Belfontaine Cemetery. This record of Brother Love's faithfulness during the 45 years of his ministry is emphasized by the fact that he preached about 4,000 sermons.

Brother Love was one of the loyal and liberal sons of his church. He was at one time a member of the Board of Missions, and as such helped to locate, and project the work of the Lucas Avenue church in St. Louis, and was everywhere and always a staunch supporter of that board. He was a member of the first commission to plan for a locate a college in Missouri, after the suspension of McGee College. Having secured his education through difficulties, he appreciated the necessity for a well equipped college with such facilities as would make it easy for young men of moderate means to obtain an education, and where probationers for the ministry would have special advantages. He delighted in the success of M.V.C., was a warm personal friend of the students, and donated his library to that institution.

Brother Love was a frequent contributor to the periodicals of the church, and was the author of two books "The Difference" and "A Plan and Plea for Organic Christian Union." The first of these sets forth the doctrines of our church in distinction from those held by other denominations; the other expresses the liberal spirit of the author in seeking a ground for church unity. He was a most fraternal man, and greatly interested in the proposition to bring all the Presbyterian churches into one great denomination. For the means at his command, for his salary was always small, few men gave as much to the enterprises of the church. This was because he was a systematic giver--a firm believer in and advocate of tithing; he practiced what he preached, and his heavenly Father whom he thus honored enabled him to live comfortably and to educate his children, and prepare them for usefulness and success in life. Brother Love was a consistent prohibitionist, teaching that doctrine and voting that ticket.

At the time of his death he was chaplain of Occidental Lodge, A F. and A.M. Several years before his death the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by Montezuma University, in Alabama, of which his longtime personal friend, Rev. J. A. B. Lovett, was president.

In 1857, Brother Love was married to Miss Nannie McFarland, of St. Francois County, Mo., and in her he found a most excellent wife. Her noble qualities as mother and homekeeper made it possible for Brother Love to be absent a great deal without any interest of their family suffering. Her fine prudence and great kindness of heart made her most helpful in promoting her husband's work. The reward of her self-sacrifice comes to her now in delightful memories, the excellent character of her children, and in their beautiful devotion to their mother. Two sons and three daughters not only honor their mother, but hold in high reverence the memory and labors of their father. Sister Love makes her home with a daughter, Mrs. Casey, in Springfield, Mo.

What Brother Love achieved should be a stimulus for every one to trust God and go forward. From a youth in feeble health and with very limited opportunities, he rose to a position of influence and usefulness in his church worthy of the aspirations of any man. The writer knew him intimately for years and was with him a great deal in his last months of sickness; he always admired him as a pure minded, capable and godly man.
St. Louis, Mo.
Note.--Some explanation is due for this delay which was due to misplacing the matter from which the items of the sketch were gathered. The Committee on Union recalled the fact of his father's interest in Union to Brother Love's son; he has made diligent search and sent me the matter.

[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, October 29, 1903, page 575]


Rev. Dr. Thomas Shelby Love, at one time a resident of this county, and who has a number of relatives and many acquaintances here, died at his home in St. Louis on the 13th inst. in the 71st year of his age. He was born March 22, 1832, in Gibson county, Tenn., and was reared in Kentucky. In his early life he taught school in Arkansas and Southeast Missouri. He was ordained a minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1859, and had up to the time of his death preached nearly 4,000 sermons and written several books. He was pastor of the Church at Irondale for 21 years. Mr. Love was married
Feb. 5, 1857, to Miss Nannie McFarland of St. Francois county, who with the five children of the union, survives him. The children are Mrs. Frank D. Richmond, Hannibal, Mo., Dr. William H. Love, St. Louis, Mo., Robertus D. Love, St. Louis; Mrs. Walter S. Casey of Springfield, Mo., and Miss Maud Love, St. Louis.

[Source: Farmington Times, Farmington, St. Francois County, Missouri, Thursday, August 21, 1902]

Books by Thomas Shelby Love

Love, T. S. The Difference; or, The Identity, Unity and Difference in the Church, and Wherein Cumberland Presbyterians Differ from Other Denominations. St. Louis, Mo.: The Cumberland Presbyterian Printing House, 1873.
[One copy in archives]

Love, T. S. The Difference, or, The Identify, Unity, and Difference in the Church; and Wherein Cumberland Presbyterians Differ from Other Denominations. A New Edition, Revised. Nashville, Tenn.: Cumberland Presbyterian Publishing House, 1875. [One copy in archives]

Love, T. S. A Plan and Plea for Organic Christian Union. No copy in archives. Please contact us if you locate a copy.

Love Family Information

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Updated February 9, 2012