Hubert Allen Dixon
Biographical Sketch On The Life Of H.A. Dixon
Hubert Allen Dixon was born October 3, 1904, at Delrose, Tennessee, in Lincoln County. His parents were Albert and Mary C. (Sumners) Dixon.
Schools that he attended were Morgan Prep School, Middle Tennessee University, Freed-Hardeman College, University of Alabama (B.A.). He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Both Harding University and Pepperdine University presented Dixon with an LL.D.
On October 5, 1929, Dixon married Mary Louise Cowan. To this union one boy and one girl were born. The son was named Hubert Allen, Jr., and the daughter was named Sara (now Mrs. Glenn Sargent).
Dixon began preaching in 1936 in Memphis, Tennessee. Places where he did full time local work were: Martin, Tennessee; Springfield, Missouri (South National Church); Jackson, Tennessee (Highland Church); Tuscaloosa, Alabama (Central Church). States in which he preached were Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, California, Illinois, Texas, and Louisiana.
H. A. Dixon might not be considered by the world as a Bible scholar, but the tremendous things that he accomplished, the positions that he held, the influence that he wielded, the example that he set before us testify that he was. He had a hunger and thirst for a knowledge of the Bible which led him to study it for himself. He read with regularity the works of great men who commented on the sacred scriptures, and took advantage of association with great men who were able to teach him. He worked seven years with G. C. Brewer and the Union Avenue Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Brewer was doubtless a scholar and Dixon considered those years worth more to him than a degree in theology.
Dixon served on the board of directors for Voice of Freedom. He was a staff writer for Minister's Monthly, and contributed articles to the Gospel Advocate. He was called upon to preach many baccalaureate sermons or addresses, speaking at the University of Mississippi in 1967 on "Some Reasons Why I Believe in God." Christian colleges sought him for many lectures, and he accommodated them when he could. His last lecture was at Harding Graduate School, October 27, 1969, on the theme, "The Church and Sound Doctrine.
H. A. Dixon became a Christian at the age of 13, being the only one baptized in a meeting in which J.W. Brents did the preaching at Delrose. His father was a devout Christian, a fine song leader and taught singing schools. He saw his mother obey the gospel, knowing that act would cut her off from her own family. The courage of his mother had a profound effect on him throughout his life.
He led singing in a meeting at Martin, Tennessee, in which I.A. Douthitt did the preaching. At the close of the meeting the church invited Dixon to serve as their full-time minister. After preaching there for two years he moved to Springfield, Missouri, to work with the South National Church. In 1940 he began preaching for the Highland Church (now Allen and Edgewood) in Jackson, Tennessee. Here he spoke regularly over the radio as one of the opportunities he had to preach the gospel. The next move was to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to work with the Central Church (now Wood Avenue) in 1943. In 1948 the Dixon family moved to Florence, Alabama, to work with the Poplar Street Church (now Wood Avenue).
In 1950 N. B. Hardeman retired from the presidency of Freed-Hardeman College. The Board of Directors unanimously selected H.A. Dixon as president of the school. Dixon assumed his office as President of Freed-Hardeman College in June of 1950.
Dixon followed the pattern of Hardeman in teaching two Bible classes daily, continuing with only one interruption until his death. He taught the books of Revelation, Hebrews and Romans. In addition, he taught courses on Premillennialism and Christian Evidences. These classes were offered primarily to second and third year students. Classes which gave him opportunity to teach freshmen were the Life of Christ and General Epistles.
"Thousands of souls have been saved and strengthened through his firm and courageous proclamation of the Bible. His life and good influence touched the lives of thousands of students. He was nationally and internationally recognized as a faithful gospel preacher, a scholarly teacher and an eminent Christian educator." Two Christian colleges honored him with the LL.D. degree.
The foreign student program was very close to his heart. In 1956 he conducted the Far East Fellowship in Japan.
A quotation attributed to him is as follows: "We will not fulfill the great commission until we believe with all our hearts that people throughout the world who do not believe in Christ and have not obeyed the gospel are lost unless they do, and that we are lost unless we preach the gospel to all the world."
Hubert Allen Dixon departed this life November 8, 1969, in the hospital at Jackson, Tennessee. He was survived by his wife, Mary Louise, one son, Hubert Allen, Jr., and one daughter, Sara (now Mrs. Glenn Sargent). Funeral service was conducted at Henderson, Tennessee, with Tom Holland, C. P. Roland, and E. Claude Gardner officiating. Burial was in the City Cemetery at Henderson.
In the passing of Hubert Allen Dixon, truly a great soldier of the cross went home to be with the Lord.
-From In Memoriam, Gussie Lambert, Shreveport, LA, c.1988. pp.71-73
Freed-Hardeman College is one of our oldest Christian schools and has been operated for over half a century. However, for almost a century private schools have been operated in Henderson. A. G. Freed and N. B. Hardeman organized and launched this excellent Christian school in 1908. It has enjoyed a steady growth over the years and has been served by Brother Dixon as president since June 1, 1950.
Freed-Hardeman College provides a sound academic program in a Christian environment. It provides for the development of Christian character and good citizenship. Emphasis is given to the four-fold development of youth:the spiritual, intellectual, social, and physical aspects. Every effort is made to teach the students how to live and how to make a living, and the Bible is the heart of the curricula. Freed-Hardeman College exists because it is rendering a great service. It seeks to develop man’s moral and spiritual nature as the greatest guaranty of his success and happiness. The college stands unreservedly for the primitive faith. It subscribes wholeheartedly to the motto:“Where the scriptures speak, we speak; and where the scriptures are silent, we are silent.” It has no patience with human opinions, hobbies, speculations, or inventions of men or compromises with error of any kind. It stands foursquare for the Bible without addition, subtraction or modification.
Courses are offered in these thirteen departments:Art; Bible; Business Administration; Education and Psychology; English; Physical Education; Home Economics; Mathematics; Modern Languages; Music; Natural Science; Social Science; Speech. Pre-professional work is provided in several fields, such as pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-pharmacy, pre-nursing, pre-law, pre-engineering, etc.
Freed-Hardeman College is located in Henderson, Tennessee, which is the county seat of Chester County. Henderson is a town of about twenty-five hundred inhabitants. The college is located on a twenty-five acre campus right in the heart of the city. The property of Freed-Hardeman College consists of seventeen buildings, some of them off the campus. A few of the main buildings are here pictured, one of which is a dormitory for young women which includes the student center, bookstore, post office and laundry. It was named H.A. Dixon Hall in honor of the author of these sermons.
THE LIFE OF H.A. DIXON
On a farm situated in the rolling hill country of Lincoln County, in Middle Tennessee, Hubert Allen Dixon was born on October 3, 1904. He was one of six children born to Albert Lee and Mary Cordelia Sumners Dixon. He was brought up in a family where he became accustomed to hard work and stringent economy. His family was not poverty stricken, but limited income forced on them rigid management of their affairs. His father provided for the family through public school teaching, farming and the teaching of singing schools. It was quite common in the days of his youth for singing schools to be held wherein the rudiments of music were taught, and people were instructed how to improve their song services in the house of the Lord. The Dixon family was a musical family, and at one time they had a family quartet composed of father, mother, Vernon and Hubert, or H.A. Dixon, as we now know him.
H.A. Dixon grew up on farms in Lincoln and Giles Counties in Tennessee, under the influence of a godly father and mother. He started to school at the age of five at Center Ridge. When he was about eight years of age the family moved into Giles County, and for the next seven years he attended Elkton High School, walking to and from school (about 2 1/2 miles) each day. With another exchange of farms the family moved back near Delrose and the final year of Junior High School training was at Delrose High School. In 1921 he entered Morgan Preparatory School at Petersburg, Tennessee. His parents were unable to send him to this private school, so he made his own arrangements with R. K. Morgan and enrolled there with practically no money at all.
It was here that he spent three of the happiest years of his youth, taking advantage of the education offered and enjoying the activities of the school, participating in many extracurricula affairs. He took part in most every sport and belonged to the school quartet. When he had completed the third and fourth years’ work at the Morgan School he was granted another year of eligibility in athletics. Mr. Morgan arranged for him to return for a year of post-graduate work, and to play football and basketball. Too, he was to teach the eighth grade in this school and to substitute for Mr. Morgan when he was away from school. His pay for teaching the eighth grade, as he participated in the athletics of the school, consisted of board, room, laundry, and a little spending money. Only one other person had a greater influence on the life of H.A. Dixon than did Mr. R. K. Morgan, Sr., headmaster of Morgan School. Mr. Morgan’s daily chapel talks, Sunday afternoon lectures, and firmness and kindness in dealing with boys left a deep impression upon H.A. Dixon’s life. At the end of his third year in this school Mr. Morgan graciously handed him his note to the school marked “Paid in Full.”
There was no church in the Delrose or Elkton communities during brother Dixon’s boyhood. The family traveled some seven miles each Sunday to worship at Bunkerhill, Tennessee. Due to the efforts of his father, the late Albert Lee Dixon, and a few others, a church was started at Delrose about 1917 or 1918. In the year 1918 J. W. Brents was brought into this community to hold a meeting under a tent. This was a community where religious prejudice was very deep rooted and very few people attended the meeting. There was only one baptism—a boy at the age of thirteen years. This young man was Hubert Dixon. At the close of this meeting brother Brents stated publicly that it had been a good meeting. We know now that brother Brents perhaps never held a better meeting than this one because he influenced the young lad, Hubert Allen Dixon, to become a Christian; and his life has blessed thousands upon thousands of people.
During the years that followed World War I a series of unfavorable events befell the family. The last farm trade mentioned earlier proved to be unwise. The land of the new farm was badly run down. A series of poor crops increased the financial burdens of the whole family.
Near the close of H.A. Dixon’s last year at the Morgan School his father became seriously ill of pneumonia. He passed away in May, 1924, at the age of forty-nine years. Within the next few weeks following the death of his father, one of the girls in the family had to have surgery, and thus, debts continued to mount.
Thus, at the age of nineteen, H.A. Dixon was forced to assume the responsibilities of a man. An offer of a college education with a football scholarship had to be forgotten. For his mother and the younger children he must now provide. In order to bear the principal support of his mother, brother and two sisters, he qualified for a teacher’s certificate by taking an examination. He had never studied some of the subjects upon which he took the examination so he had to dig out the needed information for himself. He secured a teaching position at Isom in Maury County, Tennessee, and began as principal and teacher in a junior high school in the fall of 1924. In this school he had some students who were as old as, or even older than, he was at that time. But with hard work and study he was able to do the job.
In November of the fall of 1924 H.A. Dixon became seriously ill of typhoid fever. He lay in King’s Daughter’s Hospital in Columbia for weeks at the very point of death. For thirty days he was delirious. In time, however, he was able to be taken home; and when school convened after the Christmas holidays, he was back at his job of teaching and coaching basketball. This long siege of illness brought this six-foot- three, one hundred ninety-five pound football player down to almost a walking skeleton. He sat in a rocking chair on a pillow while he taught and for a time as he coached basketball.
The next year he moved his mother, younger brother, and two younger sisters to Isom. Here they lived in a most undesirable house, but it was all that his salary of one hundred fifty dollars a month could provide. After staying here for two years, he was offered a teaching position and coaching job in the high school at Hampshire, also in Maury County and not far from Isom. This gave him the opportunity to coach a senior high school team. At Hampshire he spent three years, but due to his lack of schooling he had to spend the summers attending school at the Murfreesboro State Teachers College, at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. If there was any time left between the summer session at the Murfreesboro State College, he used it to lead songs for gospel meetings.
Even though school teaching was his first love, he was forced for financial reasons to leave it. It took all he could possibly make for the family to live through the school year. Then came summer when he must go to school and live on borrowed money, mortgaging his salary for the next school year. He has always loved teaching because he feels that in this way he can influence young people for good, better than in any other way.
In 1927 he became acquainted with Mary Louise Cowan, and they were married October 5, 1929. They have two children. The older is Hubert Allen, Jr., who was born January 29, 1932. Their daughter, who was born March 9, 1936, is named Sara Cowan. His son, Allen, is a gospel preacher; and so is his son-in-law, Glenn Sargent, who now with his daughter, Sara, is doing mission work in Italy. Brother and Sister Dixon have at this time four grandchildren.
In the spring of 1929 he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where his older brother at that time lived, and through his influence obtained a job selling automobiles. Even though he lacked experience in this work, he was fairly successful because of a deep determination to do whatever he undertook. In 1933 Brother Dixon was made office manager for the firm with which he was working and, even though he had never kept a set of books, he did the job and for the first time was able to command a decent regular income.
Brother Dixon has always been a great believer in the providence of God, and we here relate two incidents in his life wherein he feels that he could see the hand of the Lord at work. During one of the summers when he was teaching school, he had a call to sing in a meeting. As the time drew near to go, he had no money for a ticket nor even any money to provide needed clothes. Just before the time to leave for the meeting he received a letter with a check in it from a congregation where he had led singing several years before. They had not paid him at the time but here it came at a real time of need. Too, he feels that in 1929 when he went to Memphis and began selling automobiles that the providence of God led him into the presence of the great and beloved G. C. Brewer. The first thing Brother Dixon did when he went to Memphis, Tennessee, was to look up the church. G. C. Brewer, minister of the Union Avenue church, knowing of the musical ability of brother Dixon, in a little while arranged for brother Dixon to lead the singing there. For some time he continued to lead the singing and to teach Bible classes. At the suggestion of brother Brewer the Union Avenue church employed him to work as song leader and assistant to brother Brewer. For seven years or better he continued to work for the good people at Union Avenue, and he values his association with brother Brewer, I.A. Douthitt and the Union Avenue church as one of the most helpful experiences of his life. Perhaps brother Dixon was influenced more by brother Brewer in his preaching and work than by any other person with whom he came in contact.
His desire to preach was very deep and was growing deeper and deeper because of his association with brother Brewer, but the responsibility of a family and the lack of education caused him to postpone entering into full-time work. The brethren at Union Avenue encouraged him to go ahead and preach, and sent him in the year 1935 to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to conduct a mission meeting. They also used him some to fill the pulpit in the absence of the regular preacher at Union Avenue.
After leading the songs in a meeting at Martin, Tennessee, in the summer of 1936 he was encouraged to move to Martin as their regular preacher. So, in November 1936 he moved with his family to Martin, Tennessee, where he worked for over eighteen months. He has always felt a deep sense of gratitude to the good brethren at Martin for their help and encouragement in his first work with the church.
From Martin, Tennessee he moved to Springfield, Missouri, in 1938, where he worked with the South National Avenue congregation for about one and one-half years. In January 1940 he came to Jackson, Tennessee to work for the Highland congregation; and while there he took advantage of the opportunity to attend Freed-Hardeman for special courses. Brother Hardeman employed him to teach sight-singing and to substitute in teaching his Bible classes when he was out of town. Brother Hardeman greatly encouraged him to prepare himself so that he could become a regular teacher at Freed-Hardeman College.
After about four years of pleasant and profitable work for the Highland congregation in Jackson, Tennessee, brother Dixon received an invitation from the congregation at Tuscaloosa, Alabama to work with the good brethren there. In November 1943, during World War II, he moved there to work with the church, and to attend the University of Alabama as he so much desired to do. While he attended the University of Alabama he taught Bible classes for credit at the University, the beginning of what is now known as the Bible Chair at the University of Alabama. This work has been carried on with but slight interruption since it was begun by brother H.A. Dixon in 1944. He pursued his studies in the University of Alabama until he was awarded the Bachelor of Arts degree. When he was graduated he was awarded the much coveted Phi Beta Kappa key. (In June 1961 he was awarded the LL. D. degree by both Harding and George Pepperdine Colleges.)
From 1948 to 1950 he worked with the Poplar Street church in Florence, Alabama. In June 1950 he moved to Henderson to become president of Freed-Hardeman College.
As a Writer
Brother Dixon has been very active in writing and in helping to publish good literature among the brethren. He is on the Board of the Voice of Freedom, and a staff-writer for the Minister’s Monthly. He is a member of the editorial council for the splendid magazine known as Power for Today. Occasionally his writings appear in the columns of the Gospel Advocate, published in Nashville, Tennessee.
As a School Man
In 1950 brother Dixon was elected president of Freed- Hardeman College. He came to the school in a trying time. Freed-Hardeman College had closed its 1950 school year with an enrollment of about fifty students and a very limited faculty. Being endowed by nature with ability to influence and control men, he immediately set out to build a student body and to rebuild a capable faculty. He was, and has been, so successful in this that the school has grown from a half a hundred students in the spring of 1950 to five hundred sixty-three in the fall of 1962. The permanent endowment of the school has been increased by more than $150,000. The administration building has been enlarged, and the science building has been doubled in size. A new, modern, air-conditioned girls’ dormitory has been built, which contains an air-conditioned student center with a seating capacity of over two hundred forty. A new, modern, air-conditioned library has been erected. A home economics building has been provided; an education building acquired wherein a kindergarten is conducted; and thirteen acres of land have been added to the campus upon which stands a large colonial building of thirteen rooms that is now being used as a boys’ dormitory. A large athletic field has been prepared. This represents an increase of over $500,000 in the physical assets of the school. A new gymnasium is in the immediate program of the College.
Brother Dixon is not only an outstanding preacher, but he excels in the classroom. Testimony to this fact can be borne by hundreds of young men who have sat at his feet. Such courses as Christian Evidences, the Book of Revelation, Acts of Apostles, The Life of Christ, and The Book of Romans are among the many topics that he teaches and has taught over the years. His lessons are well prepared, meticulously outlined and delivered with the detail of a J.W. McGarvey. Some of his class outlines, such as Hebrews and Romans, Acts and Revelation are now in print and may be secured by anyone desiring them.
As a Preacher
H.A. Dixon can better be appreciated as an evangelist when one understands his conception of what it means to be a preacher. He ever impresses upon his students that preaching is the first calling of life. His philosophy is that “the best orator is the one who best carries his point.” Young men who have received their training under him will remember that he constantly impressed upon them that the best preaching is the preaching that includes the most truth and excludes the most error, and results in making the most Christians. The great motive that prompts him to preach is the salvation of the lost and the encouragement of the saved. The love of personal ease and flattery have had no effect on his life nor his way of preaching. He has never sought worldly distinction nor yielded to the vanity to become a popular public speaker. He never makes an effort to sway great audiences by what is known as psychology and is never puffed up by newspaper paragraphs that are complimentary and flattering. This does not mean that he has no feeling, for he is not indifferent to the good opinion of the brotherhood; but it does mean that he in no wise uses the pulpit as a preacher to obtain it. He does his duty as to his Master alone.
Nature was exceedingly kind to brother Dixon in that he was given a strong physical body. He stands six feet and three inches, weighs about two hundred ten pounds, and has soft brown eyes. He has been blessed with a broad fine sense, an active mind, and the power of concentrated, persistent thought. He is utterly free from eccentricities and noticeable oddities. He never attempts to make an audience laugh, but he is blessed with what the world calls “Mother wit,” which gives proof of a naturally well-regulated brain. His temperament is well balanced. He is not on the mountain top today, like Moses, nor under the juniper tree on the morrow, like Elijah. If he goes from the valley to the mountain top and from the mountain top to the valley, the ascent or descent is gradual. His mind and life exhibit solidity, uniformity and trustworthiness. In his sermons you will find some degree of originality. In his works and sermons he utilizes the thoughts that have been gathered from books, but he believes, “it is vain stupidity which never aspires to anything more than to be the wick which absorbs the oil and bears the flames supplied by another.”
Brother Dixon is a man who is careful about his personal appearance. He is faultlessly neat and his dress is simple and plain. His every bearing indicates a consciousness of and a regard for the good taste and refined sense of his audience. His conduct in the pulpit is such that men are affected with a high personal regard for him and a polite, pleasurable feeling is stirred in their hearts. He never compromises truth, but he does enlist in his behalf the most cordial and agreeable emotions of which his audience is capable. His manner is always easy and graceful, perfectly natural and dignified. Even though he is one of the outstanding preachers of this age he never appears to be one who has set out to make a speech. His great sermons are produced wholly by the activity, fertility, precision and glow with which his mind works. He begins his sermon in a simple, unstudied, natural way. As his mind warms, it quickens and his emotions begin to play, his attitude gradually increases to the most effective and desired height.
The Lord has blessed brother H.A. Dixon with a great and musical voice. He has been and is one of the great song leaders of the church. When I first came to know him, he led songs for me in a meeting at Alamo, Tennessee, in 1940. He knows the importance of a keynote in a tune, and he knows the importance of a keynote in a sermon. He never sets out on a wrong key that would affect and mar his speech during its delivery. He begins a sermon on a key where the sound of the voice is natural and is perfectly manageable, and always keeps his voice natural and manageable even in the chief and most important points of his discourse. He never speaks in a monotone, neither is his voice too high nor too low. His audience is kept constantly in an easy, pleasant mood. He never elevates his voice to a scream and then suddenly depresses it to a whisper. His speech is measured, lively, and animated, but not impetuous. He neither speaks too fast nor too slow, and yet he has a very rapid manner of delivery. His audience follows with ease because his articulation is distinct, his pronunciation is full, and his manner is fluent and varied.
His sermon preparation is always very careful in every detail. He never talks at random. One never has to sit and listen to a shower of hollow words that some men use to take up time. He is always gentle and kind, and never boisterous and sarcastic. The Lord has blessed him with a strong, clear voice, so that he can be easily and distinctly heard in every nook and corner of almost any auditorium.
The reader of this book will be impressed with the fact that these sermons are filled with the word of the Lord. It is one thing to preach about the Bible and another to preach the Bible. These sermons by brother Dixon are truly Bible-centered. To many who read them they will be a message from a man of God whom they have never seen, a message from someone who perhaps lived in a generation far removed from the reader. To others they will stir memories of association with this great man of God. These pages will speak to you, arouse you, terrify you, comfort you, and open your hearts to the way of God.
-G K. Wallace, Saving Faith, And Other Sermons, Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, c. 1963, pages 6-15
MRS. H.A. DIXON
Mrs. H.A. Dixon is a typical Southern lady. She knows how to adjust to the modern way of living, but could easily fit into the polite society of the gay nineties so far as grace, charm, and dignity are concerned. As a hostess she makes a guest feel perfectly at home, and yet, no one has any doubt that she follows the instructions of Paul in 1 Tim. 5:14, to “rule the household.” We mean by this that there is order, design, and symmetry in everything that she does. Her meals are served with elegance, gracefulness, and a procedure that would compliment the customs and manners of the refined society of the antebellum home, except her home is modest, and she personally does a big part of her own work. As a cook she is unexcelled.
Her home is one where color blends as in a spring flower garden when it is in full bloom. Every year she holds open house for all the graduates of Freed-Hardeman College. This is generally arranged on their spacious, beautiful lawn, and delightful and tasty refreshments are served to the faculty and all graduating students.
Mrs. Dixon not only maintains a good and comfortable home for her busy husband, but she has time to share with him in his work and travels. She goes with him to many places to stand by and encourage him in the task that is his. In addition to this, she teaches a class of women once a week at the meetinghouse, and those who attend will testify to her efficiency as a teacher.
-H.A. Dixon, Saving Faith, And Other Sermons, Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, c. 1963, page 15
The Jackson Sun Obituary of Mrs. Dixon
Mary Louise Cowan Dixon, age 100, died
Wednesday, November 9, 2005 at Bright Glade Convalescent Center in Memphis. She
was born and reared in Jefferson City, Tennessee, the daughter of the late
Andrew Walker and Eva Mae Harris Cowan. She attended schools in Jefferson City
and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Carson-Newman College with a double
major in English and history. She taught in public schools in Hampshire,
Tennessee and was married to H.A. Dixon on October 5, 1929.
Special Thanks To Tom Childers For Providing The Jackson Sun Article And Picture Of Louise Dixon
Location Of The Grave Of H.A. Dixon
Hubert Allen and Louise Dixon are buried in the City Cemetery at Henderson, Tennessee. From I-40 in West Tennessee, take the Hwy 45 exit south. Go through the city of Jackson, and continue south about 15 miles to Henderson. You will be on the bypass in Henderson. Go to you come to Hwy. 100. Turn left and go to the next stop. Turn left on North Church St.. Go about 100 yards and turn into the cemetery on the right. The cemetery will fork close to the entrance. Take the right fork and head to the very rear of the cemetery. Just past a little storage house on the right, stop the car and you will probably see the Dixon grave to your right. Grave faces East.