Celebrating Native American Heritage Month in the WNCC: Rev. William Hornbuckle
November 24, 2022
By: Jim Pyatt, WNCC Archivist & Historian
Rev. William Hornbuckle (1880 - 1937)
When the Rev. Patrick Freeman was appointed as pastor at Cherokee UMC in 1991, he was the first Native American to be appointed as pastor at Cherokee in more than 50 years, with the last Native American pastor at Cherokee being the Rev. William Hornbuckle.
A native of Cherokee, the Rev. Hornbuckle was educated in the Native American school in Cherokee, then attended Carlisle University. Prior to entering the ministry, he was Sunday School Superintendent of the Echota Methodist Episcopal Church, South from 1921-23. The Rev. Hornbuckle received his Local Preacher’s License in 1922, was admitted into the Western North Carolina Conference On Trial in 1926, and in Full Connection in 1928. He was ordained Deacon in 1928 and Elder in 1931. His years of ministry were all with his home circuit through several realignments, serving the Whittier Circuit (Junior Preacher) 1923-26, Cherokee Mission 1926-32, Whittier Circuit (Junior Preacher) 1932-33, Cherokee 1933-34, Whittier Circuit 1934-36, Retired 1936-37.
His memoir states, “He was pre-eminently a preacher. In the delivery of his messages he was noted for his simplicity and clearness. Yet underneath this simplicity there were to be discovered unprobed depths of meaning and profound spiritual understanding. Considered from any angle Brother Hornbuckle was the perfect example of the Christian minister. He possessed a faith in God which knew no bounds. His simple trust in the Father of us all was something that caused one to marvel.” (1937 Journal, 166)
“His love for his people was a joy to behold. Ever did he toil among them, seeking to lead them into the knowledge and joys of that life which is the portion of those who ‘walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Insincerity, covetousness, place-seeking, and unbrotherliness were alien terms to this good man.” (1937 Journal, 166)
Rev. Carlos Alberto Rodriguez, a key figure at the Board of Missions Office of The WNCC in 1961.
Be sure to read the other biographies written by WNCC Archivist & Historian Jim Pyatt:
Daphine Strickland, part of the Task Force that led to the organization of Triad Native American Church, the first Native American congregation in our Conference outside of Cherokee.
Thomas Queen, the Director of the Cherokee Mission from 1973 until his death in 1992.
Jeremiah Wolfe, the first Native American to be elected a delegate to General Conference from the WNCC in 1976.
Rev. David Ortigoza, the Director of Hispanic and Latino Ministries for the SEJ in 2003.
Rev. Diana Wingeier-Rayo, the first Hispanic/Latina woman to be received into full clergy membership in the WNC Conference.
Raul Adriano, the first known person of Hispanic/Latino heritage to be elected by The WNCC to serve as a Lay Delegate to General Conference.
Rev. Dr. Abraham Kim, the first Asian-American to be elected as a clergy delegate to Jurisdictional Conference from the WNC Conference.
Rev. Karen Miyoshi Kagiyama, the first Asian-American women to be ordained an Elder in the WNCC.
In Muk Kim, the first Asian-American to be elected as a delegate (clergy or lay) to Jurisdictional Conference from the WNC Conference.
Rev. M. B. Lee McCrary, the first woman to become a full clergy member of the Western North Carolina Conference.
Rev. Dolores Barus Queen, the first woman to serve as District Superintendent in the Western NC Conference.
Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer, the first (and to date, the only) woman to serve as Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference.
Mrs. Jettie Morrison, a key figure in the Women's Society of Christian Service and the integration of The United Methodist Church in 1968.
Bishop L. Scott Allen (May 4, 1918-September 18, 2004), the first (and to date, the only) African-American to serve as Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference.
Mrs. Effie Miller (September 17, 1930-September 1, 2008), a leader in the Western North Carolina Conference and the United Methodist Church, especially with regard to the United Methodist Women.
The Rev. Dr. J. C. Peters (July 10, 1925- July 2, 1998), the first African-American to serve as a District Superintendent in the Western North Carolina Conference.
Mr. Clarence Winchester, a leader in the North Carolina Conference (Central Jurisdiction) and in the WNC Conference.
Dr. Isaac Miller (September 26, 1920-November 1, 2008), a leader in Higher Education and in the United Methodist Church.