Bonner, Rev. Thomas Joel—”Was born in Monroe Co., Ala., Dec. 23. 1821. His father, William Bonner, had moved from Cedar Springs, in Abbeville Co., S. C; afterward located in Wilcox Co., Ala., and later in Freestone Co., Texas. Thomas spent his early years on the farm. He attended Miami University a while, but graduated from Erskine College in 1843. The same year he married Miss Amanda Posey, of Abbeville Co., S. C. His theological studies were prosecuted under Rev. Joseph McCreary one year, and in Erskine Theological Seminary.
He was licensed by the Alabama Presbytery in 1846. For a number of years he was S. S. for a vacancy in Lowndes Co. and occasionally visited vacancies in Georgia and Mississippi. At the solicitation of friends and kindred, he moved to Freestone Co., Texas, in 1859.
Some time before this he was ordained sine titudo by the Alabama Presbytery. He preached regularly in this new field, always loyally maintaining the principles of the church of his choice. For perhaps 15 years, he never saw the face or heard the voice of an Associate Reformed minister, yet always had a lively interest in the enterprises of Synod. About the year 1865 he organized a Psalm-singing church at County Line school house, near the line between Freestone and Navarro counties. This church was temporarily placed under the care of a presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. The congregations of Harmony, Richland and Ebenezer come out of this organization. In the organization of the Presbytery of Texas, at Harmony Church, Dec. 9, 1876, Rev. T. J. Bonner presided and preached the opening sermon. He, with Revs. J. M. Little and W. L. Patterson composed the Presbytery. Failing health compelled him to retire from the active work of the ministry about the year ’79. He died June 13, 1895, at the home of his son, W. B. Bonner in Wortham, Texas. He left a widow and six children.
Dodds, Robert James, D.D.–“Son of Archibald and Margaret (Davison) Dodds, was born near Freeport, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, August 29, 1824. Possessed from his youth with integrity of character and amiability of disposition he was dedicated to God for the work of the ministry. At an early age he began his classical studies under the direction of his pastor, the Rev. Hugh Walkinshaw, and made such rapid progress and proficiency in all the departments of literature taught in a College, that he was recommended as sufficiently advanced to begin the study of theology in the spring of 1844. He studied theology in the Allegheny and Cincinnati Seminaries, and was licensed by the Pittsburgh Presbytery, June 21, 1848. As a preacher, his sermons were rich in Scriptural truth and illustration. He was not a popular orator owing to a hesitancy in his speech, and he was more spiritual than ornate; more thoughtful than rhetorical; more anxious about conviction than elegance of style. He was admirably adapted with every qualification for a successful Missionary. He was a good classical scholar, and made such proficiency in the study of the Arabic tongue that he was able to preach a sermon in that language in eighteen months after beginning the study of it. He was a remarkably cheerful man, uniform in his feelings and sympathetic in his disposition. His intellectual character was marked with keen and vigorous reasoning powers, a retentive memory, and the ability to concentrate his ideas. Among his earlier publications is, “A Reply to Morton on Psalmody,” 1851, pp. 140. His writings are principally letters to the Foreign Mission Board and are published in the Church magazines. He translated the Shorter Catechism into the Arabic language, and was engaged in writing and translating other works for the use of the Mission. He was honored with the degree of Doctor of Divinity by Monmouth College in 1870. He was Moderator of the Synod of 1866. During a subsequent journey to Idlib, he contracted a severe cold which adhered to him. In the beginning of December following, he suffered from a slight hemorrhage of the lungs, intensified by typhoid fever, from which he died, at his home in Aleppo, Syria, December II, 1870.” from History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of America by William Malancthon Glasgow, p484-487. Dodds’ work “A Reply to Morton on Psalmody can be found here
Hemphill, William Ramsey.—”Born in Hopewell, Chester Co., S. C, March 14, 1806; was a son of Rev. John Hemphill, D. D., a conspicuous figure in the history of the Associate Reformed Church for the first quarter of the 19th century. In June. 1837, he was ordained and installed by the Second Presbytery pastor of Cedar Springs and Long Cane, Abbeville County, S. C During the ten years of his pastorate he stulied hard, preached with all his might, spared neither body nor mind, and succeeded in laying the foundation of his ministerial fame. In 1848 he was elected by Synod to the Chair of Latin in Erskine College. This position he filled until the College was temporarily broken up by the war. In 1871 he removed to New Hope, Madison Co., Ky., where he remained three or four years, until failing health caused his return to his old home in Due West. He was somewhat of a polemic, indulging occasionally in the controversial. About the year 1843 and 1844 he was drawn into a controversy in the “Charleston Observer” with “Charlestoniensis” (Dr. Thomas Smyth) on the subject of Psalmody. The fire was kept up for some time with spirit on both sides, neither party being willing to admit that he had been beaten. This well-known and highly esteemed minister departed this life at his home in Due West, Abbeville county, S. C., on the morning of Friday, July 28, 1876, aged 70 years. 4 months, and 14 days.” from The Centennial History of the ARP, 1803-1903