Saturday, February 16, 2008

This Week in Texas Methodist History February 17

James Addison writes about Waxahachie February 22, 1852

One of the most prominent Methodist families in 19th century Texas were the Addisons. The family immigrated from Baltimore to Burleson County in 1835. Isaac Addison donated land for Waugh Campground, and three of his sons, Oscar, John, and James, became Methodist preachers.

James Addison joined the Texas Conference in 1848. He was appointed to the Waxahachie Circuit and arrived in February, 1852. This column has related many stories of the hardships faced by circuit riders. It is rare to find a circuit rider account of an easy circuit, but that is what James Addison reported.

Waxahachie was a new town when Addison arrived, having been founded only in August 1850 to be the county seat. What is really rare is that when Addison arrived, he found an existing Methodist church building in a town so young. Here is an excerpt from a letter dated February 1852.

My circuit is a pleasant one in several respects 1st. The rides are not hard, twenty miles being the farthest ride in a day, and only twice do I make such rides in a round, the distance averaging each day about 8 miles. 2d. In having a very
hospitable set of folks to deal with, those who feel for a preacher a correct moral community. As an evidence of this I may state that in this town (Waxahachie) which has not been in existence more than about 12 months, and which now numbers about 100 souls has a very fine M. E. Church, and no Doggery,
nor has there been one. Beat that if you can 3d. Because there is no jarring with other denominations all is peace and prosperity, and methodism takes the day

Were there no problems in Waxahachie? No ruffians or gamblers? No forces of evil with whom to contend? Addison did tell about a woman who would not put down her knitting when he led devotions.

But as usual there are drawbacks, one for instance, a Lady at whose house I was
stopping, a member of the church, after supper placed the books down on the table, invited me to hold prayers, and then quietly took up her knitting I selected my chapter & hymn, and waited till she quit she knit on and I waited, till she was convinced I would not commence till she quit, she folded up her work &
I commenced, but as soon as she had got me fairly started she recommenced her knitting with a will. I soon put a stop to it by calling her to her knees—

If that was the worst behavior Addison had to deal with, no wonder that he praised Waxahachie.


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