Thomas Cannon Stockton

1894 - 1990

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister


The Board of Tithing and Budget has been very busy all of this Assembly year in laying its plans for the greatest campaign of our history, and in selecting a Field Man who possesses just the ability, experience, and personality necessary to make a success of the work. The Board is conscious of the fact that the result of its work this year will be taken as an indication of the church's progress. And this knowledge makes us feel very keenly our responsibility. The added members to our Board have brought a great deal of strength to us and we appreciate them. The Board has reduced its expenses as low as sound business judgment warrants, and is determined to succeed this year in spite of any and all handicaps. The officers of the Board together with all the members are putting in many hours of real work, careful planning and prayerful thought upon this year's campaign, and after we do that, then the success of the Budget will depend upon the loyalty and interest of the membership of our church.

The Board last met in Jackson, Tennessee, on August 14. No Board ever met where such harmony of ideas, thought, and purpose prevailed. Each member felt that each plan and decision made was inspired of the Father. And now we want to introduce to the church the new Field Man, who was selected after we had considered practically all the men available in the entire country.

Mr. Thomas Cannon Stockton, a member of Central Church, Memphis, is a young man in his early thirties, and is the son of a long Cumberland Presbyterian line. His father is Rev. J. T. Stockton, of Obion Presbytery, who has been a minister of our church for over 45 years. Mr. Stockton was named for Rev. Thos. Cannon of revered memory. Mr. Stockton is unmarried. His address is 3566 Young Ave., Memphis, Tenn. He was raised at Newbern, Tenn., and educated at West Tennessee State Teacher's College at Memphis. He served with distinction in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army during the World War. After the war he became the local representative of one of the large insurance companies. In the first year of this connection, Mr. Stockton wrote the third largest amount of business secured by any of the company's representatives in the United States. As a result, he was called into the Home office, and became a Supervisor of Agencies, and for several years traveled the 15 Central States, putting enthusiasm and energy into his force, stimulating sales, and keeping a large staff in a highly organized condition.

For the past two years Mr. Stockton has lived in Memphis. He has operated a general insurance agency, and an employment bureau. He has a suite of offices in the Sterick building, is a member of several civic organizations, and stands high in the business life of Memphis. He has been very active in the church life of his city also. He has an exceptionally fine voice and has had considerable experience as an evangelistic singer. He has given his services freely to the West Tennessee Synodical Board of Missions in revival work. Mr. Stockton is relinquishing all of his business connections in taking the Budget work.

Mr. Stockton was selected for this work because of his strong personality, his business experience, his ability as an organizer, his loyalty to the church's program, the fact that there is nothing in his record that makes him partisan to nay portion of the whole denomination, and lastly, because he is in his prime and holds wonderful possibilities in developing a program that can be increased and improved from year to year.

Mr. Stockton began his work Aug. 15. He is planning and working on the campaign night and day. He expects to keep close personal contact with Synodical and Presbyterial Key Men, and, as far as time will permit, with congregations. He is very optimistic as to the outcome of the campaign. You may expect to see the Field Man in your community at any time of the day or night, as he has a new high-powered automobile and he is a hard traveler. Most of his time will be spent in personal contact with Key Men.

All members of the Key Men organization are requested to stand by, prepared for a great year's work, and for success.
J.M. Forbis, President.

[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, September 4, 1930, page 10]


On the day after Christmas in 1894 in Newbern, Tennessee a son, destined to serve as East Side Church's leader longer than any other, was born in the home of a Cumberland Presbyterian minister. This son, Thomas Cannon Stockton, was born to the Rev. Joseph Thomas and Eliza Jane Pace Stockton. After completing his education at the West Tennessee State Normal School, now Memphis State University, young Mr. Stockton became a highly successful businessman in the field of insurance.

Answering a call to full-time religious service, Thomas C. Stockton came under the care of the Memphis Presbytery of West Tennessee Synod and preached his first sermon at East Side during the pastorate of Rev. C.A. Davis. He immediately became the traveling secretary of the Board of Tithing and Budget, forerunner of the denomination's Board of Finance. In that capacity he carried the message of tithing throughout the denomination and laid the foundation for the unified budget program. During this time he was ordained to the ministry by Memphis Presbytery in March of 1931. His first pastorate was at West Union Cumberland Presbyterian Church, near Millington, Tennessee, where he had been ordained. In 1933 he accepted a call tot he pastorate at Elmira Chapel Cumberland Presbyterian Church, near Longview, Texas.

On June 18, 1939, he was united in marriage in Memphis with one of East Side's own members, Mrs. James M. McLeskey, the former Euline Cummings of Rives, Tennessee. With this marriage came the added responsibility of two children. It was soon evident that a bond had been sealed forever between "Papa" and his new children, Mary Dorothy McLeskey (Mrs. William A. Rawlins) and James Thomas McLeskey. He is still their very dear "Papa" as he is to the three daughters of Dr. and Mrs. Rawlins and the son and daughter of James Thomas and Margaret Burton McLeskey. This is T.C. Stockton, a true father and grandfather.

After nine years at Elmira Chapel Brother Stockton became the pastor of the East Side Church on May 15, 1942. The church was happy to have a man that most already knew and loved and to have the joy of having Mrs. Stockton and their children back with us. For eleven and one-half years Brother and Mrs. Stockton labored together to serve their Lord through the East Side Cumberland Presbyterian Church. During that time Brother Stockton also left an indelible mark; for he, too, built a building--the educational wing and an extension of the sanctuary. Leaving no stone unturned in visiting the newcomers in the community and the Cumberland Presbyterians who had moved to the city, he began the church's period of major growth. He also led the church to its greatest denominational recognition throught he hosting of the General Assembly and Convention in 1952.

In leaving East Side Church in October of 1953 Brother Stockton accepted a call to the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Longview, Texas. He remained in that pastorate until 1963, at which time he began what he planned to be a semi-retirement period with a move back to Memphis, Tennessee. Instead he became the pastor of the Bethel Church in Memphis Presbytery where he remained for many years. He also began to serve the Highland Heights Church in Memphis as their assistant pastor, a position that he held for eleven years. Then on April 2, 1975, he came back to East Side Church as the first and only associate pastor of the church, a position that he continues to hold more than eleven years later.

Brother Stockton has served as moderator of Memphis Presbytery and West Tennessee Synod and of McAdow Presbytery and Texas Synod. A former employee of the Board of Tithing and Budget, he was elected to membershipon the board for fourteen years and to its presidency for seven of those years. In 1957 he served as the chairman of the General Assembly's committee that recommended the movement of the Cumberland Presbyterian Theological Seminary to Memphis, Tennessee.

The close association between Brother and Mrs. Stockton and the congregation of the East Side Church has been forged through their love and care in times of joy and sorrow for athe individual members and their families. Brother Stockton has united more couples in marriage, baptized more babies and conducted more funerals than any one else in our history. His visitation evangelism and his care of the church's sick continues to make him a very special person. A denominational leader in her own right, Mrs. Stockton was honored by Bethel College by the granting of a Doctor of Letters degree in recognition of her service to the denomination. The Marrs-Stockton Student Center on the campus of Bethel College was given by Brother Stockton's sister, Bernice Stockton Marrs, as a tribute to her late husband, Ward Marrs, and her father, Rev. J. T. Stockton, and in honor of Rev. Thomas Cannon Stockton. That building stands as a silent tribute to those Christian soldiers for all to see and remember, but East Side Church continues to be fortunate to have Rev. T.C. Stockton with it as a shining example for all to see and know.

[Source: History of East Side Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Memphis, Tennessee 1926-1986. By the Historical Commiteee. Memphis, Tennessee: Frontier Press, 1987, pages 107-108]


Death: The Rev. T.C. Stockton died recently at his home in Longview, TX. His funeral was held at the East Side Church, and the graveside service was held in Union City, TN.

Mr. Stockton, a well-known pastor in the denomination, had been employed by the Board of Tithing and Budget in the early 1930x to travel throughoutthe Church raising funds for the denominational budget. He later entered the pastoral ministry and served churches throughout the southeast. He was pastor emeritus at East Side Church. He is survived by his wife, Euline Stockton, former editor of The Missionary Messenger.

[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, January 1991, page 23]

Stockton Family Information

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Updated June 28, 2004