Sunday, July 02, 2006

This Week in Texas Methodist History--July 2

Henderson Palmer Licensed to Preach -July 7, 1838

One of the problems facing the Methodist church in the Republic of Texas was a shortage of preachers. Texas was big. Settlements were scattered. The preacher shortage often meant that circuits were very large. Some of them rquired two months to make a complete circuit. The church depended upon preachers recruited from more settled areas of the United States. The main source regions were the Upper South and Ohio River Valley. The problem was that many of the missionaries did not stay very long. Some, such as Martin Ruter and Daniel Poe, died soon after they arrived in Texas. Others, including Abel Stevens and T. O. Summers, went back to the United States after brief ministries in Texas.

One solution to the preacher shortage was elevating pious laymen into the clergy ranks. The first person so licensed in Texas was Henderson Palmer whom Littleton Fowler licensed at Box's Fort in Nacogdoches (now Houston) County on July 7, 1838. Palmer had been born in Alabama in 1812 and attended LaGrange College, Fowler's former employer. Palmer came to Nacogdoches and taught school until his career change. Upon being licensed Palmer was assigned to Crockett. He joined the Mississippi Conference in 1839, and upon the organization of the Texas Conference in 1840 was appointed to Jasper.

Palmer served East Texas churches for thirty years. In 1866 he assumed a superannuate relationship and died on Feb. 17, 1869. He was buried in Upshur County.


Post a Comment

<< Home