William Porcher DuBose (April 11, 1836-August 18, 1918) was an American priest and theologian in the Episcopal Church in the United States. He spent most of his career as a professor at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He is remembered on August 18 on the Episcopal Calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. His middle name, Porcher, is pronounced as if it were spelled por-shay.
Early Life Through the Civil War
In 1836, William Porcher DuBose was born near Winnsboro, South Carolina into a wealthy Huguenot family that had been in the Midlands of South Carolina since 1786. He grew up on the 2,500-acre (10 km2) family plantation near Winnsboro. DuBose began his education at Mount Zion College in Winnsboro. From there, at age 15, DuBose entered the South Carolina Military College, The Citadel, in 1851. By his final year (1855), he was the ranking officer and the Assistant Professor of English. He graduated from The Citadel in 1855.
It was at The Citadel that DuBose experienced his "conversion experience." He wrote:
I lept to my feet trembling, and then that happened that I can only describe by saying that a light shone about me and a Presence filled the room. At the same time, ineffable joy and peace took possession of me which it is impossible to either express or explain.
In 1856, DuBose entered the University of Virginia. He graduated from that institution with a Master of Arts in 1859. Later that same year, he entered the South Carolina diocesan seminary in Camden, South Carolina. It was during DuBose's seminary studies that the American Civil War broke out.
Civil War service
DuBose signed up with South Carolina's Holcombe Legion, and was appointed as the adjutant of the legion. The legion saw action at the Second Battle of Manassas, where DuBose was injured twice. For a portion of 1862, DuBose was a prisoner of war. He was then wounded once more, in December of the same year.
In 1863, through family friends and church contacts, a commission was obtained for DuBose as a chaplain. He was ordained in December 1863, and joined Kershaw's Brigade as its chaplain in Greeneville, Tennessee.
Career as a Priest & Theologian
After the war, DuBose served St. Stephen's Episcopal Church near his home of Winnsboro. While there, he also taught Greek at nearby Mt. Zion College.
In July 1871, DuBose's name was given to the Board of Trustees of the University of the South by Vice-Chancellor Charles Todd Quintard, to serve as Chaplain of the School and Professor of the School of Moral Science and the Evidences of the Christian Religion. DuBose served as Chaplain of the school from 1871-1883 (he was succeeded by Thomas Frank Gailor).
Among his work at the University of the South, DuBose helped to establish the Theological Department, which would later be known as the School of Theology at the University of the South. He served as professor in the Theological Department from 1877-1893. In 1894, DuBose was elected as Dean of the Theological Department, a position he held until 1908.
Marriages and family
On April 30, 1863, William Porcher DuBose, married Anne Barnwell Peronneau, who died in December 1878. He later married Maria Louise Rucks Yerger.
William Porcher DuBose died in Sewanee in 1918 and is buried there.
Writings of William Porcher DuBose
- The Christian Ministry. No Publisher, 1870.
- The Soteriology of the New Testament. New York: MacMillan, 1892.
- The Gospel in the Gospels. New York: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1906.
- High Priesthood and Sacrifice. New York: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1908.
- The Reason of Life. New York: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1911.
- Turning Points in My Life. New York: Longmans, Green, & Co., 1912
- Over forty published articles.
- William Porcher DuBose. A Dubose Reader, ed. Donald S. Armentrout. Sewanee, TN: University of the South, 1984.
- Ralph Luker, author of A Southern Tradition in Theology and Social Criticism, 1830-1930: The Religious Liberalism and Social Conservatism of James Warley Miles, William Porcher DuBose, and Edgar Gardner Murphy. Mellen Press (1984) Hardcover: ISBN 0-88946-655-6, ISBN 978-0-88946-655-5.
- Edgar Gardner Murphy