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Biography: Elred Burder Teague born January 20, 1820

Happy Birthday!




Shelby, Montgomery, Greene, Sumter County, Macon, Jefferson Counties & Georgia

Eldred Burder Teague, the son of John Williams and Mary Davis Teague, was born on January 20, 1820, in the Newberry District of South Carolina. He described his childhood home…” The farm lay on the north side of the above named brook. It was bordered on the north by a forest of pines stretching many miles to the north and west, and inhabited by nothing but its’ native wolves and straying herds of cattle etc. The old house, first of logs, was fitted up to appear like a framed one, but without glass, painting or ornament of any kind. Imagine a weather-stained house, cut up into small rooms, filled with commonest and cleanest of furniture and small children — protected by a wide-spreading mulberry tree – – the whole surrounded by a rail fence, and the picture is complete.”

One of Elred’s sisters was Martha Ann Teague and his father, John Williams Teague, a farmer, was heard to remark “If it were not for Martha (his idiot daughter) he would feel ready to die” John was so concerned about the care of Martha should he die before she, he specified in his will that she be left a slave, Margaret, to care for her. Father and daughter died just 2 days apart. Several years later the Civil War began and the slaves were set free, including those owned by Eldred Burder. John’s wife, Eldred’s mother, Mary Elizabeth Davis, lived to the age of 97. She continued to enjoy her 13 children and many grandchildren.
Eldred’s dad was a Deacon his and he and his grandfather, Rev. James Teague were very involved in the early Baptist Church formation in the South. His great grandfather, Joshua Teague was a a Patriot who almost got hung by the British for blowing up an ammunition dump during the Revolutionary War.

Dr. Teague received a very limited elementary education in the public schools of Shelby County. He stated, “These schools were very inferior — one of them tyrannically governed, in which I was frequently and severely punished, not on account of idleness or ineptitude, but on account of my pugnacity and ill behavior. I became the subject of prejudice and fared worse on that account–”
He described the Dutch neighbors in the society he lived in during his childhood. “Their intelligence was of a very humble order and manners plain, and even coarse.” He hated school so much he welcomed the times his father took him out of school to help the slaves on the farm at harvest time etc..

In the spring of 1822 his family moved to Greene County, Alabama, but in the fall they moved to Shelby County.

Teague received a limited education, but in 1836 he was admitted to the University of Alabama, from which he graduated in December 1840. He married Sophia Nelson Blount, daughter of James G. Blount on June 15, 1843, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Sophia was born 1823 in SC.

He began his career teaching in Montgomery County, simultaneously preparing for the ministry. He was licensed to preach in 1843 and was ordained in March 1844. For the next ten years, he held various pastorates in Greene and Sumter Counties.

Eldred and Sophia had the following children:

  1. Melancthon Blount Teague born 1845. She died 1892 in St. Louis, independent City, MO. USA
  2. Anne Mary Teague was born November 3, 1846, and died Oct. 31, 1892. She married Henry Mercer Shank Oct. 31, 1872.
  3. Andrew Fuller Teague was born 1849. He died 1861.
  4. Sophia Blanche Teague was born 1851.
  5. John Shepard Teague was born 1856. John married Henry M. Wood.
  6. Eldred Burder Jr. Teague

In December 1854 he accepted the call of the Baptist Church of LaGrange, Georgia, and remained there for ten years. His wife, Sophia died April 2, 1858, and was buried in LaGrange, Troup County, Georgia. He is reported to have made the first secession speech in Georgia, served with the Rebel Army of Tennessee from Chattanooga until Hood’s expedition into that state and was made the chairman of the relief committee after the war began.

After the war, he served for three years as president of East Alabama Female College, Tuskegee, Macon County, Alabama where he married Louise Emeline Philpot on June 1861.

They had the following children.

  1. Felicia Pauline Teague was born 1863. She died April 1863.
  2. Sarah Parnel Teague was born 1864. She died Sep. 8, 1874.
  3. Elbuda Teague was born 1865. She died 1895.
  4. Imogene Teague was born 1867. She died 1868.
  5. William Calloway Teague was born 1868 and died before 1930. He married Rosa Wallace and they had one known child William Wallace Teague.
  6. Frank Philpot Teague was born 1869. He died Jan. 1874.
  7. Gertrude Teague was born 1870. She died 1870/1873.
  8. Louella Teague was born 1873. Louella married Thomas G. Nelson.
  9. Edward Baptist Teague was born Feb. 5, 1876, and died Oct. 19, 1957. He married Kathleen Favre June 3, 1908 in Montgomery, Alabama and they had one known child, Edward Baptist Teague, Jr.
  10. Bessie Reynolds Teague was born 1878. She died 1878.

He then returned to the active ministry, serving churches near Selma, Alabama around 1870, for nearly eight years. During this period he purchased land in Shelby County, planning to retire to his farm, Red Lawn.

Ruhama was the first Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. It was established March 27, 1819 and closed its doors December 5, 2001, 182 years later. Christmas Day, 1886, Dr. Eldred Burder Teague became Ruhama’a tenth pastor and the first one to be paid full time for his services, $1,000.00 per year. He served two Sundays per month. He stayed less than two years at Ruhama. Dr. Teague was 65 years old when he came out of retirement from his farm, Red Lawn in Shelby Co., to take up this ministry.

He later served several churches in Birmingham. Teague, a founder of the Alabama Baptist and a trustee of Howard College (now Samford University), was instrumental in having the college moved from Marion to Birmingham. In the 1880 and 1900 census, Eldred was residing in Wilsonville, Alabama on his farm. He died on November 24, 1902, in Abernant, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.


  1. Autobiography of Rev. Eldred Burder Teague D. D. 1-17, Alabama Baptist Historical Society Files, Special Collections, Harwell Goodwin Davis Library, Samford University,Birmingham, Alabama.
  2. William Cathcart, ed. The Baptist Encyclopedia
  3. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen Published by The S. J. Clarke publishing company, 1921 4 vols.
  5. The Birmingham Alabama Directory for 1888-1890 lists the local address of Dr. Teague as “boards corner Underwood avenue, East Lake”

More information about Rev. Elred Burder Teague’s family can be found in the book Shelby County Alabama Pioneers Volume I

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  2. A little mix up on a marriages. Sophia Blanche Teague (not John Shepard Teague) married Henry F.Wood, 2 Nov 1875, at the home of E. B. Teague, in Dallas Co., Alabama. See Alabama, County Marriages 1809-1950 and see image for name of E. B. Teague. I think the mix-up attributing Henry Wood to John Shepard Teague comes from the Teague Family Resource Center by Julie Shepard, UK, which was usually a very reliable source. The Teague Family Resource Center in presently off-line.
    The Teagues are my wife’s grandmother’s family. Eldred Burder Teague was the brother of her g-grandfather, Chesley J. Teague.

  3. …and thank you a thousand times for your contributions to Alabama history and making these biographies available, Donna. You are doing very valuable work.

    1. Thanks Charles!

  4. Edward Baptist Teague and his wife Kathleen Favre Teague had three sons:
    Eldred B.
    Robert L
    Sidney P.

    I am the oldest son of Sidney P. Teague.

    Sidney P. Teague, Jr

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