Saturday, November 19, 2011

This Week in Texas Methodist History November 20

Jesse Boring Addresses Mass Meeting in San Antonio November 23, 1860

Soon after news of Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency reached San Antonio, anonymous handbills appeared

The citizens of San Antonio are respectfully invited to attend a meeting to-morrow evening at half past seven o’clock, in front of the Menger Hotel, to take into consideration the present position of the South.

At the appointed hour a large crowd did assemble. After a presiding officer was selected, the speeches began. The first speaker was the Rev. Dr. Jesse Boring, a fifty-three year old Georgian who had come to San Antonio only two years before. His frail, sickly appearance did not match the energy with which he had served his church. He entered the itinerancy at age 18 and was appointed to the Chattahoochee Circuit in Alabama. As he gained experience, he received appoints to larger churches. Like many of his colleagues, riding circuit broke his health and in 1832 Boring received an easier appointment, Milledgeville, at that time the capital of Georgia.

In 1849 he was appointed superintendent of the California Mission. After several years in California, he returned to Georgia, and in 1858, Boring and Hamilton G. Horton transferred to Texas. The 1858 General Conference authorized the division of the Texas Conference. Its southwestern churches were to be organized into the Rio Grande Mission Conference (today’s South West Texas Conference). Horton was appointed to the dangerous Uvalde Circuit (see column for July 30, 2011) and Jesse Boring to the Methodist church on Soledad Street in San Antonio.

Boring had a dual appointment. He was not only the preacher, but he was also charged with organizing San Antonio Female College which met in basement of the church. He was thus a well-known public figure in San Antonio.

The reporter for the San Antonio Ledger and Texan who covered the mass meeting shared Boring’s political views. The reporter stressed that Boring did not unleash his powerful oratorical talents, but spoke calmly and dispassionately. His argument was that the Lincoln election had, in effect, dissolved the Union already. Boring finished, and a union speaker named Anderson followed him. Other sppeakers, both pro and anti Union continued long into the night. Meanwhile a resolutions committee was organized which produced a resolution in favor of disunion.

When the Civil War began, Boring, who was also a physician, enlisted in Henry McCullough’s division as a military surgeon. The troops were initially assigned to guard western and southwestern Texas, but in 1862 were sent to Fort Nelson, Arkansas. Boring served as both doctor and chaplain in the Confederate service, and when peace was restored, he was appointed to Goliad and elected a delegate to the 1866 MECS General Conference. His next appointment was to the Medical Department of Soule University which was located in Galveston.

The rigors of circuit riding, missionary travel, and army camp life finally caught up with Jesse Boring In 1868 he returned to Georgia and served twenty more years. He is credited with establishing orphanages in both Decatur and Macon. His last days were spent with his daughter and son-in-law in a small Georgia town. He is buried in Atlanta.

Jesse Boring would be high on the list of number of annual conferences in his 60- year career. His conference affiliation is as follows:

South Carolina (admitted 1827)
Rio Grande Mission
West Texas
North Georgia (superannuated 1887)

Boring claimed to be a founding member of five of those conferences.


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