Dr. Charles Edward Maddry
Pastor FBC Hillsborough, February 1901-1904 and 1951-1957
Charles E. Maddry has the distinction of serving twice as pastor of First Baptist Church Hillsborough. Most fittingly, his formal ministry started and ended here. On both occasions, the church needed a strong, vibrant and visionary leader.
The following is extracted from his own and others biographies:
Maddry was born on April 10, 1876 to W.A. and Julia R. Sugg Maddry. He had five sisters and three brothers. His home was located three miles north of Chapel Hill. His grandmother was a Presbyterian and his grandfather a Baptist. His grandmother strictly observed the Lord's Day. All work on the farm had to be finished by Saturday noon.Following on the heels of Wake Forest College (1917) and the University of Texas (1920), the University of North Carolina also awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1922. He became a popular speaker at university commencement events.2,4 Maddry wrote two books on missionary work: Day Dawn in Yoruba Land (1939), about mission work in Nigeria; and Christ's Expendables (1949), a collection of case histories of missionaries. He wrote a history of the First Baptist Church of Hillsboro, NC in 1953 and a similar history for the Mount Moriah Baptist Church, Orange County, in 1960. His autobiography was written and published in 1955. He ended his autobiography saying, “I now have come to the end of a winding trail. The sun is well past the meridian; the shadows are slowly lengthening. Soon it will be sunset and darkness, but best of all, it will be sunrise in the morning.”3
His formative education was limited to two months a year after crops were “laid by.” The teachers were itinerant and boarded with local families. The curriculum was basically the three R’s – reading, writing and arithmetic. With his father’s consent but without financial support, Maddry left the farm to attend a preparatory school in Chapel Hill, taught by Professor J. W. Canada of Summerfield, Guilford County. At twenty years of age, he was older than the other students and had to cut wood to pay his way. He was an avid student and by 1889 was eligible to enroll in classes at the University of North Carolina. He worked several jobs to pay his way but was eventually compelled to drop out because of debt. After a year of hard work as superintendent of Orange County Schools and pastor of five churches, he was able to reenter the University and graduate in 1903. Hillsborough was one of the churches in his charge during this time.
On May 2, 1906, Maddry married Emma Parker, daughter of T. B. Parker and Penelope Alderman Parker, in the Baptist Church in Hillsborough. The ceremony was performed by Dr. Hight C. Moore, a relative of the bride, and the pastor of the church, Rev. A. C. Hamby. Dr. W. P. Powell, a seminary classmate was best man. With a loan from Edmund Strudwick, president of the South Atlantic Life Insurance Company of Richmond, Virginia, Maddry was able to attend the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1906. When he sent his first loan payment, Strudwick wrote back saying no further payments were necessary; his debt was cancelled.
For a while, the young couple lived in Greensboro. On December 13, 1907, their daughter, Katherine, was born. Soon after, Maddry accepted the call to preach at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Raleigh. He left North Carolina for Texas in June 1916 to become the pastor of the University Church in Austin. He remained there until 1921 when he was appointed secretary of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention.
In 1933, he became the executive secretary of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, Richmond, VA. He served in this position over 12 years. When he took over, the Board was in financial trouble and morale was low. Within a few years, the Board was financially viable, morale was high and the number of missionaries on the field had grown significantly. As part of his duties, he and his wife visited missionaries in Asia, South America, Africa and Europe. He encouraged the churches to launch worthy evangelistic programs that were self-supporting and could be replicated elsewhere. Maddry arrived in Honolulu, HI on Wednesday, December 3, 1941 to survey mission work on the island. He witness the Attack on Pearl Harbor on Sunday morning, December 7th – America’s Day of Infamy.
Maddry retired as executive secretary of Foreign Mission Board in 1945. After retirement, he became "home-sick" for the pastorate. The Hillsborough Baptist Church first called him as an interim but soon decided they needed him fulltime as pastor. The congregation increased, the financial contributions of the church doubled, and many new members were baptized into the fellowship. The church raised funds and built an education building accessible from the original building built in the 1860s. In 1973, Maddry celebrated his 75th birthday in April and the church celebrated its centennial in November with the dedication of the new building. His fifty-six years cycle of ministry that began here in 1901 ended in 1957 when he retired from the ministry.1,2,3
Maddry died in Chapel Hill on September 17, 1962. He was 86 years old. His funeral was conducted at the Hillsborough Baptist Church on September 19 1962 with burial in the Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, VA. His beloved wife, Emma, died on March 25, 1973 and is buried by his side. She was 92 years old at her death.5
- Lloyd, Pauline O., and Lloyd, Allen A. History of the Churches of Hillsborough, N.C.: Ca. 1766-1962. Hillsborough, NC: The Author, 1963.
- Biographical Information: The Charles Edward Maddry papers #3593, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Accessed on March 10, 2011 at: http://www.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/m/Maddry,Charles_Edward.html
- Maddry, Charles E. An Autobiography. Broadman Press, Nashville, TN, 1955.
- Honorary Degrees Awarded by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1799-2009. Accessed on March 10, 2011 at: http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/ref/unc/honorarydegrees.html
- Hollywood Cemetery Genealogy: Richmond, VA. Accessed on March 10, 2011 at: http://www.webcemeteries.com/Hollywood/
Last Updated: March 10, 2011