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LOUGHRIDGE, ROBERT McGILL (1809-1900)

A Presbyterian missionary who served among the Creek (Muskogee) Nation in Indian Territory, Robert McGill Loughridge was born in Laurensville, South Carolina, on December 2 [or 24], 1809, to James and Deborah Ann McGill Loughridge. They soon moved to Alabama, where young Loughridge grew up. He attended Miami (Ohio) University, graduated in 1837, and spent one year at Princeton Theological Seminary before returning home to support his widowed mother. Further study under a local minister led to Loughridge's preaching licensure in 1841 and his ordination as a Presbyterian minister in October 1842.

After marrying teacher Olivia D. Hills in December 1842, Loughridge was sent to the Creek Nation, in Indian Territory, where in 1843 he established Kowetah Mission and school near present Coweta. Both Loughridges taught there, and two children were born to them before she died of tuberculosis on September 17, 1845. In December 1846 Loughridge married Mary Avery, a Massachusetts native who had taught at Park Hill in the Cherokee Nation. When the Creek government established Tullahassee Manual Labor School at the confluence of the Verdigris and Arkansas rivers in 1848, they named Loughridge superintendent, and he supervised the construction in 1848-50. Joining the school as a missionary teacher was William Schenck Robertson. Mary Loughridge died in 1850, but her husband retained his post until forced from the Creek Nation into Texas during the Civil War. He stayed in Texas until 1880 or 1881, returning to become superintendent at the Creek Nation's new Weleaka School, where he remained until retiring in 1892.

During his ministry to the Creek people Loughridge became an expert in their language. He translated and transcribed portions of the Bible, assisted by Legus Perryman, and hymns and catechisms, assisted by Ann Eliza Worcester Robertson, wife of William Robertson. In 1890 Loughridge published an English and Muskogee Dictionary, with David M. Hodge. Loughridge spent his last years in Waco, Texas, where he died on July 8, 1900.

SEE ALSO: AMERICAN INDIANS, AMERICAN INDIANS AND CHRISTIANITY, RELIGION.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: W. Edwin Derrick, "Coweta Mission: Struggle for the Mind and Soul of the Creek Indians," Red River Valley Historical Review 4 (Winter 1979). Carolyn T. Foreman, "Report of the Reverend R. M. Loughridge to the Board of Foreign Missions Regarding the Creek Mission," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 26 (Autumn 1948). Virginia E. Lauderdale, "Tullahassee Mission," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 26 (Autumn 1948). Ethel McMillan, "Women Teachers in Oklahoma, 1820-1860," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 27 (Spring 1949).

Dianna Everett

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