A Guiding Light in Virginia
James Mourning Appleby
Known to her friends as Lib, Elizabeth Allen Appleby spoke with a soft, southern accent when
asked to share some moments of her husband's inspiring life.
"Jim's father, Flavius Thompson Appleby was born in Lewisburg, Tennessee. As a young man Flavius
was teaching in a girls' school in Farmington, Missouri, when he met and married Mamie Mourning, a
teacher of Latin in the same school. Unfortunately, she was quite young when she died, shortly after the
birth of her son, James Mourning Appleby.
When Jim was about five, he and his father moved to Florence, Alabama. Jim went to the Florence
public schools and upon graduation from high school, he went on to college at Davidson, North Carolina.
After graduation, he remained at Davidson for two years as 'Y' secretary beforeattending Union
Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. I was enrolled just across the street from the Seminary in what is now
Presbyterian School of Christian Education. We were married right after Jim's graduation in May 1931.
Jim received a fellowship from the Seminary to study for eighteen months in Edinburgh, Scotland.
At the end of a wonderful stay in Edinburgh, Jim accepted the call to a small church in Maxton, North
Carolina. We spent six glorious years there, moving on to Anderson, South Carolina to the First
Presbyterian Church. Our first child, Beth, was born in Maxton and Mary Ann and James, jr. were born
in Anderson. After seven years in Anderson we returned to Richmond, Virginia where Jim was on the
faculty at Union Seminary for twenty-five years."
The following excerpts from a memorial service conducted by the Seminary President: "Jim was
quite a gardener. He started his career as a scientist and he and Lib had green thumbs. They loved
the earth and worked hard in it and from it came all the flowers that Lib arranged and the vegetables
he gave to all of us. Jim was a man of prayer. Of sleepless nights, he said, "No, I don't count sheep.
I start counting all the students I've known." More than eighteen hundred of them for whom he prayed
by name and ministry."
James Mourning Appleby was born in 1904; died 21 May 1977. He retired in 1971 as Professor of
Evangelism and Director of Field Work at Union Seminary, Richmond, Virginia.
Genealogy note: Father of James Mourning Appleby was Flavius Thompson Appleby; His
grandparents were Samuel Argyle Appleby and Rebecca Ewing; Great-grandparents were Samuel Bell
Appleby and Emma Jane Ewing; great-great-grandparents were John Appleby and Sarah Bell.
His 3rd-great-grandparents were William Appleby and Elizabeth McKeehan.
revised: 19 Sept 2002
reviewed: 07 March 2005