Location:  Howard Payne University
Corner of Austin and Center
 

 
THE REV. DR. JOHN DAVID ROBNETT

   FOUNDER OF HOWARD PAYNE UNIVERSITY, JOHN DAVID ROBNETT
(1845-1898) WAS BORN IN MISSOURI, WHERE HE WAS EDUCATED AT
WESTMINSTER AND WILLIAM JEWELL COLLEGES AND WAS ORDAINED TO THE BAPTIST MINISTRY.
   IN 1883, ROBNETT WAS CALL TO SERVE AT THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH 
OF BROWNWOOD, TEXAS.  THERE HE MET PIONEER MISSIONARY NOAL 
TURNER BYARS (1808-1888) AND EMBRACED BYARS' VISION OF A BAPTIST
COLLEGE IN CENTRAL TEXAS.  BYARS' DREAM WAS REALIZED WHEN THE 
PECAN VALLEY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION, WHICH HE AND ROBNETT HELPED FOUND, AGREED IN 1889 TO ESTABLISH SUCH A COLLEGE.  AS A MEMBER 
OF THE FIRST BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE SCHOOL, ROBNETT VISITED 
HIS HOMETOWN OF FULTON, MISSOURI, WHERE HE SECURED SIZABLE PLEDGES AND FUNDS WITH THE AID OF HIS BROTHER-IN-LAW, EDWARD
HOWARD PAYNE.  THE TRUSTEES NAMED THE FLEDGING COLLEGE IN 
HONOR OF PAYNE'S GENEROSITY.
   DR. ROBNETT CONTINUED AS CHIEF FUND RAISER FOR HOWARD PAYNE 
COLLEGE WHILE SERVING AS FIRST BOARD PRESIDENT AND LATER
AS COLLEGE PRESIDENT.  HE RETURNED TO THE PULPIT IN 1896. AS PASTOR OF GASTON AVENUE BAPTIST CHURCH IN DALLAS, AND 
CONTINUED THERE UNTIL HIS DEATH TWO YEARS LATER AT THE AGE 
OF  53.
   ORIGINALLY BURIED ON THE HOWARD PAYNE COLLEGE CAMPUS NEAR
THE OLD MAIN BUILDING, JOHN DAVID ROBNETT WAS REINTERRED IN
BROWNWOOD'S GREENLEAF CEMETERY UPON THE DEATH OF HIS WIFE, 
DOLLIE, IN 1911.

Return to Historical Marker
Return to Historical Commission Home Page