Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Gore, Thomas Jefferson (1839–1923)

by Herbert R. Taylor

This article was published:

Thomas Jefferson Gore (1839-1923), by unknown photographer

Thomas Jefferson Gore (1839-1923), by unknown photographer

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 45121

Thomas Jefferson Gore (1839-1923), Churches of Christ minister, was born on 23 March 1839 in a log house at Bloomfield, Nelson County, Kentucky, America, son of Volney Gore and his wife Elizabeth, née Stone, both of whom descended from early English settlers in Virginia. Educated in Lexington at Transylvania University (A.M., L.Th., 1863), he first ministered to the Hustonville Christian Church, Kentucky. In 1866 he accepted an invitation to the Grote Street Church of Christ, Adelaide, where he served from 3 March 1867 to 1885 and in 1893-98. His other pastorates were at Norwood, York (Kilkenny), Glenelg, Unley and Henley Beach; but all the congregations in South Australia came under his influence because of his readiness to leave his own pulpit to visit them on special occasions. When he arrived in the colony the membership of Churches of Christ was 500; by 1923 it had reached 7000. He probably did more to mould the thought and direct the energies of the communion than any other member. Thorough knowledge of the scriptures gave his pulpit work an expository nature, and the eloquent presentation of his subjects always drew large congregations. He was also a diligent pastor. To prepare young men for the ministry he organized a Bible Students' Training Class in 1867 and continued to lead it for fifty years. Later he was invited to be principal of the College of the Bible, Glen Iris, Victoria, but reluctantly declined because of his age. His scholarship and facile pen found scope as the editor of the Australia-wide periodical, Christian Pioneer, and he contributed to other religious publications. Wide sympathies and sound judgment made him tolerant towards all who did not share his deep convictions, and a highly respected citizen and counsellor in every community where he served. He visited his homeland twice and maintained strong connexions with the Disciples there.

On 17 November 1868 at Mitcham Gore married Jane, daughter of the Hon. Philip Santo, member of the Legislative Council and founding member of the Grote Street Church; they had four children before she died. On 5 October 1876 he married her sister Sarah; they had seven children. He died at his home in Unley on 4 July 1923, survived by his wife, three sons and four daughters.

Select Bibliography

  • A. S. Gore, Thomas Jefferson Gore (Melb, 1926)
  • H. R. Taylor, The History of Churches of Christ in South Australia (Adel, 1959).

Citation details

Herbert R. Taylor, 'Gore, Thomas Jefferson (1839–1923)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 1 April 2023.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4, (Melbourne University Press), 1972

View the front pages for Volume 4

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2023

Thomas Jefferson Gore (1839-1923), by unknown photographer

Thomas Jefferson Gore (1839-1923), by unknown photographer

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 45121