Thomas Elihu Scott II
Gospel Preacher In West Tennessee
Thomas E. Scott
Thomas E. Scott, chairman of the
Freed-Hardeman College Social Science Department, was born February 9, 1915, in
Dyer County, Tennessee to Horace Hall and Jessie Lee (Midyett) Scott. Scott was
the second of three children. He has an older sister, Annie Maude (Mrs. Edward
Brown) and a younger, Janie Sue (Mrs. Martin Green).
Brother Scott's education began at Yorkville,
Tennessee, but after three years he transferred to the Demonstration School of
Freed-Hardeman College. He returned to Yorkville the next year for a short
period in the fifth grade and then moved to Newbern, Tennessee, where he
finished the Newbern Elementary School and attended high school until the middle
of his junior year. His family then moved to Kenton, Tennessee, where he
graduated from high school in May, 1933.
Due to financial conditions, Brother Scott did not
attend college the next year. Then in the fall of 1934, through the kindness of
W. C. and Lelia Hall he attended Freed-Hardeman College. He stayed in their home
one year and led singing in meetings while attending school. He next year he
lived with Mr. and Mrs. J. I. Galhraith, where he worked for part of his room
After graduating from Freed-Hardeman College, brother
Scott stayed a third year to help supervise student work and take Bible and
Greek. It was during his third year that he met Margaret LaVonne Billingsley who
later became Mrs. Thomas E. Scott.
After his third year at Freed-Hardeman, he made an
effort to obtain preaching appointments near Murray, Kentucky which would make
it possible for him to attend school at Murray State College. After this failed
he had the opportunity to attend Pepperdine College. Brother Scott went to a
friend, borrowed $100 and left by train. Through the kindness of friends who
recommended him, he was given employment on the campus and obtained appointments
for preaching. He preached on Sundays at Wasco and San Pedro, California
and picked up laundry and dry cleaning on weekdays.
The second year at Pepperdine, he was a member of the
honor society, the Polygrammatics.
After completing his work at Pepperdine, he was
selected to go to Pullman, Washington to try to establish a congregation there.
While there, he was allowed to attend classes at Washington State College, from
which he received his Master of Arts degree in 1940. He was the first Pepperdine
graduate to receive an advanced! degree. He received a personal gift from
Mr. George Pepperdine to enable him to
further his education.
In September, 1940, brother Scott began teaching
history at Freed-Hardeman College. On October 18, 1940, he and LaVonne
Billingsley were married.
After leaving Freed-Hardeman College, the Scotts moved
to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where brother Scott preached supported by the Union
Avenue church of Christ, Memphis, Tennessee.
In the fan of 1946, after working with congregations in
Sylacauga, Alabama, and Springfield, Missouri, brother Scott moved to
Stillwater, Oklahoma. It was there that their oldest son Tommy (Thomas Elihu
Scott, III) was born. Their next move was to San Angelo, Texas in 1949 with the
Harris and Irving Street congregation, at Terrell, Texas. While at Terrell,
brother Scott developed a bronchial infection and was advised by the specialists
to give up full time church work. Taking the specialist's advice, he was
employed by the Prudential Insurance Company of America and was sent to Temple,
Texas. He found Sunday work with the Moody church of Christ near there.
Brother Scott continued working in both fields, but
left the Moody church and the insurance business to work for the 4th and Barton
Streets church of Christ in Temple, Texas.
While working at the 4th and Barton Streets church he
received an invitation to return to Freed-Hardeman College.
On June 15, 1953, brother and sister Scott adopted
Ralph Burdine. Betty Susan Scott was born June 13, 1957.
From childhood Thomas had wanted to preach but after
his baptism, August 1928, he said, "I will not preach until I have learned to
use the English language enough to properly clothe my thoughts."
"Any success I may ever attain will be largely
traceable to the three most influential women in my life-my mother my wife and
Mrs. W. C. Hall, my "second" mother. The encouragement and help of these three
godly women have meant steadfastness where a falling away might have existed
For the second time, brother Scott is preaching for the
Troy Tennessee church of Christ.
"It has proved a blessing to me and my family to have
the opportunity to help train young people for Bible teachers. Indeed young
people are my favorites because their minds are pliable and their modes of
living are frequently changed. Young people ought to be dealt with frankly,
because they are capable of greater understanding than most people give them
credit. Veiled language can only lead to misunderstandings and the fullness of
life depends upon the understanding of men and forces surrounding them."
He was added to the Voice of Freedom staff in 1968.
Brother Scott has preached and conducted singing
schools in ten states. While preaching at Stillwater, Oklahoma he also taught
religious education courses at Oklahoma State University. In addition to history
he teaches Bible and church history at Freed-Hardeman College. He publishes his
own workbooks for Life of Christ and Acts.
Claude Gardner, President, Freed-Hardeman College, Henderson, Tennessee,
In The Minister's Monthly Magazine, Vol. XVI (16) #6; February, 1971
Directions To The Grave
Of Tom Scott
Tom Scott was buried in the
Chester Co. Memory Gardens Cemetery in Henderson, Tennessee. The cemetery
is located on Hwy 45 south of Henderson about 2 miles. Enter the cemetery
to the west and as you enter the cemetery, the grave is straight ahead of
you. Go until the road dead ends into a "T". Straight ahead will be
a hearse road that goes up to a statue/flag pole at the back of the cemetery.
Scott is buried in the section to the left of the flag. Other preachers
buried in the cemetery include Frank Van Dyke and
Olan Hicks and Willie Bradfield.
N35º 24' 60.7" x WO 88º 38' 48.8"
Special Thanks to Tom Childers for
providing photos of the grave of Tom Scott.