Saturday, August 06, 2011

This Week in Texas Methodist History August 7

Celebrate Bicentennial of Robert Alexander's Birth August 7 1811-August 7 2011

As Texas Methodists gather for worship and Sunday School on August 7, they would do well to remember the bicentennial of Robert Alexander's birth, August 7, 1811 in Smith County, Tennessee.

Alexander was the first of the three officially commissioned missionaries to arrive in the Republic of Texas, crossing the Sabine River in the summer of 1837. Although junior to the other members of the mission, Martin Ruter and Littleton Fowler, he was to outlive both of them by decades and was involved in almost every signficant event in Texas Methodist history until his death in 1882.

He was presiding elder of several districts, presiding officer of the Texas Annual Conference when no bishop was able to come, leader of the Texas Conference delegation to eight General Conferences, one of the main supporters of Rutersville College, chair of the commission that led to the founding of Southwestern Unviersity, President of the Texas Conference Missionary Society, Representative of the American Bible Society, college trustee, member of the Board of Vistors to Methodist colleges, supporter of Texas Methodist journalism, etc.

About six months after his arrival in Texas, in January, 1838, he married Eliza Ayres, the daughter of David Ayres, the most prominent and generous Methodist lay man of the era. The couple lived in Rutersville, Cottage Hill (their ranch in northern Austin County) Belton, Waco, then back to Cottage Hill, then to Perkins Island in Galveston Bay, and then to Chappell Hill. Both Eliza and Robert died in Chappell Hill and are now buried in Brenham.

The Texas United Methodist Historical Society celebrated the bicentennial of Alexander's birth during its March meeting. They honored a man who cast a giant shadow over 19th century Texas Methodism.


Blogger Eric said...

It was a great honor for me to portray this prominent character of Texas Methodist History during the March TUMHS Annual Meeting at Chappell Hill. Stepping into Robert Alexander's shoes for an evening probably provided greater insight in preparation for pulpit ministry than all the other training I've received thus far. May his legacy and indomitable spirit continue through the ministries of our pastors currently serving the Texas Annual Conference. I pray that the congregations I serve are able to see some of his mettle in me.

6:49 AM  

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