Rev William Hume of Urr Parish and Nashville, Tennessee.

Thomas Murray, in his book The Literary History of Galloway published in 1822, in the chapter on Dr. Alexander Murray, references a friend and fellow lodger of Dr Murray – Mr William Hume, a native of the parish of Urr. It continues that Mr Hume was now (1822) a teacher in Cumberland College, Nashville, Tennessee, this information seemingly from his own pen.

In the book The American Quarterly Register, Volumes 11-12 reference is made to Cumberland College and Rev. William Hume:

CUMBERLAND COLLEGE was incorporated by the Legislature of Tennessee, September 11, 1806. And in it were merged the name and property and rights of Davidson Academy. This change was effected at the request of the trustees of the latter, in consequence of a previous grant by Congress of one hundred thousand acres of land for the establishment of two colleges, one in East, and the other in West Tennessee.

The first building was commenced in 1805 by the academy, and completed in 1808 by the college, at a cost of $12,240. It was 70 feet long by 47½ wide, three stories high, of brick. No other building of any description was attempted until 1823. And nearly all the important additions have been made since 1825.

The college was opened for the reception of students in the autumn of 1809. The Faculty consisted of Dr. James Priestly, President, (salary $1,600,) Rev. William Hume, Professor of Languages, (salary $1,000,) and Mr. George Martin, Teacher of the Grammar School, (salary $750.) These gentlemen, it is understood, were eminently qualified for their respective stations. The college continued in successful operation seven years - or until October, 1816. Its doors were then closed from the sheer want of funds to sustain it any longer. Its revival was attempted in November, 1820, under the auspices of its former distinguished and respected president: but his lamented death, on the 6th of February following, again prostrated the hopes and efforts of its friends. Nineteen of the students were admitted, in course, to the first degree in the arts, during the above period of seven years.

On the Tennessee Portrait Project website there is a portrait of Rev. Hume. It also carries the following note:

The Rev. Hume came to the Cumberland settlement in 1801 sent by the Presbytery of Kirkaldy Scotland where he was a minister in the Secession Church of the Church of Scotland. A native of Dumfries, he had attended the University of Edinburgh. He was sent to the "leading outpost of the westward movement in the Cumberland County as a missionary to the natives." He was made pastor of the first Presbyterian church on December 2, 1801. He preached Rachel Jackson's funeral in 1828 at the Hermitage just before General Andrew Jackson left to go to Washington to become President.

However, in the next pubication observed, a celebration of 100 years of the First Presbyterian Church in Tennessee, it gives his place of birth as Edinburgh - 


The next minister having a place in the history of this church to reach the Cumberland settlement was Dr. William Hume, who was born in Edinburgh, August 15, 1770. The young Scotchman was studiously pursuing his course at the University of Edinburgh and had almost completed it, when one day he was summoned by the faculty to hear the news that he had been appointed a missionary to Tennessee. After prayerful consideration of the call, he accepted. Included in the modest amount of baggage with which he undertook the long voyage overseas was a Scotch cheese, a reminder of home from a friendly Scotchman to a settler in Kentucky. The young traveler's means were very limited, so limited that when the New York Customhouse officers demanded duty on the Scotch cheese the preacher could not meet it. The captain suggested that he might escape the duty by declaring the cheese was a part of his provisions, but Mr. Hume would not consent to this. Regretfully, he left the cheese with the officers.

On December 2, 1801, Mr. Hume became pastor of a small circle of Scotch Seceders here. This church building was one of Nashville's first houses of worship. The Presbyterians among the settlers, who were pastorless, often enjoyed the privilege of his preaching in that house. In 1818 he united with the Presbyterian Church and the remaining members of his flock of seceders followed him. In his new connection he labored devotedly some fifteen years, often filling the pulpit of the First Church when it was vacant. His name is frequently encountered in the annals of early Nashville. He died May 22, 1833, and Nashville citizens erected a monument to commemorate "his virtues and his active goodness."

An interesting notice appears on a fimily history website regarding Rev. Hume and his wife Rebecca Andrew. On this site it repeats the birth place as Edinburgh, as above, which may be where the details were obtained. The page (see below) also contains details of their children. The eldest son is given as Ebenezer Hume. In the churchyard at Haugh of Urr is a gravestone(#149) commemmorating an Ebenezer Hume (and his family) who died in December 1844, aged 76 years (so born around 1768). If Ebenezer is a family name, it is possible that Rev. William Hume and this Ebenezer Hume were siblings.

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