It all started with a tweet.
“I am a descendant of James Octavius McClurkan and have some of his personal Bibles, prayer books, sermon notes and personal correspondence,” Lane Warmbrod tweeted to Trevecca’s Twitter account on May 9. “Interested?”
On May 14, Warmbrod and her grandparents David and Judy Lantrip Mason brought the items to Trevecca. Judy is the great granddaughter of J.O. McClurkan and his wife, Frances. Warmbrod is their great great great granddaughter.
J.O. McClurkan, a Cumberland Presybeterian minister, founded Trevecca in 1901 as the Pentecostal Literary and Bible Training School. By 1911, the curriculum had been enlarged and the school was renamed Trevecca College for Christian Workers. Trevecca became a Nazarene institution of higher education in 1917 and moved to the current location in 1935.
Today, the University is home to students from 44 states and 22 countries and offers 15 associate degrees, 83 undergraduate majors, 20 master’s programs, and two doctoral programs, as well as specialist and certificate programs.
Members of the Office of Alumni Relations and Dr. Steve Hoskins met with the family in the Hardy Alumni Center to receive the memorabilia.
Among the items the Masons and Warmbrod presented to the University are several family Bibles, including Frances McClurkan’s personal Bible, a McClurkan family diploma from 1913 with the Trevecca College for Christian Workers designation, and several deeds for Trevecca properties. Tucked within the pages of Frances’ Bible are preaching notes and sermons she delivered, as well as her ordination certificate from the Church of the Nazarene.
For Mason, giving the items to the University was a way to honor her great grandparents’ memory and make sure others remembered them, too.
“I’m the last generation who will really remember Mama, and Papa was gone before I was even born,” Mason said. “[The Bibles and memorabilia] were in a trunk in my mom and dad’s attic for many years. When Mama died, Dad took the trunk and the papers, and no one really knew what was in there. When my mom died, I went through it. I knew that Trevecca did have some memorabilia of Mama and Papa, so I just decided to call and take a chance. I’m glad I did because I wanted to give it to someone who would appreciate it.”
Mason was preparing to call the University when her granddaughter, Warmbrod, suggested trying Twitter.
“She said, ‘No one answers the phone anymore,’” Mason said with a laugh.
Warmbrod, who is completing her master’s degree, then helped her grandmother reach out to Trevecca through Twitter.
“I am very close to my great grandparents and I was very lucky to get to know them before they passed,” Warmbrod said. “Being around them and hearing their stories, I just always really enjoyed family histories, I got into genealogy when I went to college because I missed my family. I knew that Nana had all this stuff, and I started going through it and trying to understand it.”
Warmbrod reflected on what she’d learned about her family and her growing appreciation for the Church of the Nazarene and the example the McClurkans set.
“I wasn’t raised Nazarene, but I when went to graduate school, I met a few people who are just by happenstance,” she said. “We started talking about theology, and I knew I had some history with the church, but I didn’t know much about it at all. I started really appreciating it. It’s really nice to see my great great great grandmother who is a strong female role model.”
The University plans to display the McClurkan items at a later date.