While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Ida Tobin Hopper

LOWBER, JAMES WILLIAM (1847–1930). James William Lowber, Disciples of Christ minister and university chancellor, was born in Chaplin, Kentucky, on August 30, 1847, the son of Joseph P. and Elizabeth (Leifler) Lowber. He received A.B. and A.M. degrees in 1871 and 1874 from Butler College. In 1868, while a student, he was ordained a minister in the Disciples of Christ Church. Subsequently, he preached and tutored in Greek before his graduation. He received a Ph.D. degree from Syracuse University in 1880 and the degree of doctor of political science from Wooster University in 1897.

Lowber held various pastorates in Pennsylvania and Kentucky before he moved to Texas in 1888 to become minister of the Magnolia Avenue Christian Church in Fort Worth. He was chancellor of Add-Ran Christian University from 1892 to 1897. From Fort Worth he moved to Galveston to organize a Christian church under the auspices of the American Christian Missionary Society. He served as pastor of the Central Christian Church of Austin in 1897. During his time at the church, the Texas Bible Chair was established at the University of Texas.

Lowber retired from the active ministry in 1909 to devote himself entirely to writing and lecturing. He wrote Struggles and Triumphs of the Truth (1888), The Devil in Modern Society (1888), Macrocosmus, or Hints toward the Greatest Problems (1902), Highest Culture and Christianity (1915), and The Philosophy of Human Progress (1925). He was a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Educational Institute of Scotland, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society; he held memberships in the Royal Societies Club of London, the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and the Italian Mathematical Society.

Lowber was married to Maggie Pleasant LeBaun on July 4, 1882. He died at his home in Austin on December 5, 1930, and was buried at Oakwood Cemetery.

Austin American, December 6, 7, 8, 1930. Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 6. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 1.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Ida Tobin Hopper, "LOWBER, JAMES WILLIAM," accessed May 30, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/flo40.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...