Presbyterians of the Past



The purpose of Presbyterians of the Past is to provide articles, biographies, snippets of information, digital publications, extended writings, and some curiosities from church history to facilitate study of those who have gone before and their contributions to the Presbyterian and Reformed churches. It is hoped that these resources will raise the interest of students in school, college, and graduate studies along with their professors, as well as history buffs and genealogists, to follow up on issues of interest with their own research and writing.


To be informed of newly posted articles click the “Join the Mailing List” button on the right side of each post page and fill in the form. There is also a “Contact the Author” box on the right side of each page.

Each new article on Presbyterians of the Past can be accessed by clicking on the home page header. With each new post the previous one will move into “Latest Posts” and eventually into the archive. A click of the “Archive” button on the toolbar at the top of the page will list all the previous posts. There is a magnifying glass image on the toolbar which provides access for full-text hunting using key words. The “Categories” button provides a list of several topics any one of which includes relevant articles.

Copyright and Use

The resources provided on Presbyterians of the Past are for educational purposes and readers are encouraged to use the materials to teach others about the history, lives, publications, subjects, and teaching of those who have gone before. The materials may be duplicated for teaching purposes, use in church newsletters and bulletins, handouts for Sunday school classes, guidance for church building committees, and other educational purposes so long as the copies are distributed at no cost. Please give credit to the author, Barry Waugh, on each of your copies or digital postings. It would also be appreciated if you mentioned the Presbyterians of the Past website, but this is not required. Resources from Presbyterians of the Past are not to be used in any way that involves charging fees for their use or are they to be included in materials for sale.


PCA Historical Center, St. Louis, Missouri—is the source for the archival collection of the Presbyterian Church in America which was founded in 1973. The collection includes materials specifically related to the PCA including documents, images, newspapers, journals, articles, personal collections, audios, congregational histories, and judicatory records (church sessions, presbyteries, and general assembly). The Historical Center also houses the records of the following predecessor denominations—Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, 1965-1982; Bible Presbyterian Church, Columbus Synod, 1955-1965; Bible Presbyterian Church, 1938-1955; and Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod, 1833-1965. Many resources are available in digital form online including the minutes and other records of the PCA General Assembly. The director of the center is Wayne Sparkman, Th.M., C.A. Two resources by the author of Presbyterians of the Past are available for PDF download on the PCA HC site—Guide to the Works of Thomas Smyth, D.D. (1808-1873), and Index to the Journal of Union Theological Seminary, Virginia, 1889-1922.


Barry Waugh has the PhD in Historical and Theological Studies from Westminster Seminary. The title of his dissertation is “The History of a Confessional Sentence.” He has written articles and reviews for the Westminster Theological Journal, The Confessional Presbyterian, periodicals, and online venues including over 275 pieces on this site. He has also contributed to Gary L. W. Johnson’s, B. B. Warfield: Essays on His Life and Thought, 2007, and edited Letters from the Front: J. Gresham Machen’s Correspondence from World War I, 2012. He can be emailed using the contact form on this page.