Saturday, January 01, 2011

This Week in Texas Methodist History January 2

Texas Conference and East Texas Conference Meet at San Augustine January 8, 1845

The 1844 General Conference of the MEC authorized dividing the Texas Conference at the Trinity River. The two new conferences would be known as the Western Texas and Eastern Texas Conferences until 1846 when the MECS renamed them the Texas and East Texas Conferences.

As part of the plan of division, the fifth session of the (Western)Texas Conference and the first session of the East(ern) Texas Conference met together at San Augustine on January 8, 1845. Edmund Janes was the presiding bishop. The Eastern Texas Conference also received the churches in northeastern Texas which had formerly been part of the Arkansas Conference. Each of the conferences was organized into three districts. The Western Texas Conference districts were Galveston, Washington, and Rutersville. The Eastern Texas Conference included the San Augustine, Clarksville, and Sabine (Nacogdoches, Marshall, Henderson, etc.) Districts.

The annual conferences were noteworthy for the preachers received by transfer from other conferences. John Fields came from Kentucky. David Bell and Jefferson Shook came from the Arkansas Conference. Four members of the Memphis Conference came into the Western Texas Conference: Mordecai and Pleasant Yell, John Williams and Robert Guthrie.

The Yell brothers, Mordecai and Pleasant are noteworthy. They arrived at San Augustine with some reflected celebrity. They were relatives of Archibald Yell, former governor of Arkansas and member of the United State House of Representatives to whom James Polk had entrusted with pushing Texas annexation through the House.

Since both conferences were meeting in San Augustine, the transfers had a choice of which conference to join. There was speculation that Mordecai Yell would take the Clarksville District in the Eastern Texas Conference as Presiding Elder, but he ended up as P.E. of the Washington District in the Western Texas Conference. Pleasant Yell was appointed to Nashville in his brother’s district.

Both of the Yell brothers lived long, productive lives in Texas. Mordecai served as the P.E. in four districts, was a General Conference delegate, and a charter member of the Northwest Texas Conference when it was created. He retired to a farm near Groesbeck, later moved to Hays County. He died in 1897 and is buried in Caldwell County.
Pleasant Yell pursued secular pursuits. He moved to Montgomery County and was commissioner, County Judge, District Clerk, and County Clerk. He died in 1894 and is buried in Montgomery County.


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