Saturday, May 02, 2009

This Week in Texas Methodist History May 3

Joint Clergy Meeting in Houston May 8, 1837

The Republic of Texas attracted many pious, God fearing, honest immigrants who wanted nothing more than a chance to improve their lives. Unfortunately, it also attracted a number of criminals, rascals, and con artists. The muddy, bustling capital city of Houston became a magnet for such rogues. Some of the con artists presented themselves as preachers.

A few legitimate preachers met on May 8, 1837 to form an association that would police such claims. It was their intention to examine the credentials of men claiming to be preachers.

F. R. Lubbock later commented on this meeting in his Memoirs

In the general rush for Texas were included many preachers, whose lives in some instances did not tally with their profession. To guard against imposition on that line, a kind of preachers’ vigilance committee was organized at Houston during the first session of Congress in the town. Dr. R. Marsh and Z. Morrill, Baptists from Alabama, appeared to be the leaders in the movement. The other members were W. W. Hall, a Kentucky Presbyterian, and three Methodists, to wit, W. P. Smith of Tennessee, L. I. Allen of New York, and H. Matthews of Louisiana. This body pledged themselves to recognize as such no preacher coming into Texas from the United States of elsewhere unless he had with him a testimonial of good character.

Francis R. Lubbock, Six Decades in Texas or Memoirs, Austin, Ben C. Jones & Co., Printers, 1900.


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