Saturday, March 30, 2013
This Week in Texas Methodist History March 31
J. H. McLean Dedicates New
at Manor, April 6, 1882 Church Building
F. A. Mood, Regent of Southwestern University, was scheduled to give the dedicatory sermon for the new church at Manor, but he was indisposed, so J. H. McLean, the Vice-Regent filled in for him. Methodists in Manor traced their origins to 1854 when they met in a school. In 1871 the
Austin branch of the Houston and Texas
Central Railway provided access to markets, and northeastern
prospered. The Methodist church
dedicated in April 1882 was one of three churches in Manor in the
mid-1880s. Travis County
The Day set for the dedication of the our church at Manor, Travis County, Texas, found a large congregation in attendance –more than could be comfortably seated although the house is 34 by 50 feet. On account of the indisposition of Dr. Mood, Bro. J. H. McLean from the
came to our relief, for which we give thanks.
The theme selected for the occasion was “Spiritual Worship,” and it was
well handled, and the preacher peculiarly fortunate in the elucidation of the
want of modality in all the instances of worship as given in the Bible. . . Southwestern University
The friends brought refreshments of the most kind and greatest abundance, showing the cordiality with which they greeted the new enterprise.
May this building long stand a monument of the zeal and devotion of a few Christians.
W. C. Nelms,
Christian Advocate, April 22, 1882. Texas
Saturday, March 23, 2013
This Week in Texas Methodist History March 24
Orleans---At the last
West Texas Conference the Rev. T. W. Biggs was appointed to .
He was judged to be a very fit man for that very important frontier rail
road city, which les on the border of Laredo Mexico
and . His first and greatest need is a church
building, and to this work he is now addressing himself. If Southern Methodism would hold the keys of
the state of Texas
we must do by faith and works. That she has the faith, who can doubt? But faith without works will not hold Texas , whatever it may
have accomplished else where. There are
at present only a few church members there, but a large population of rail road
men and new settlers are coming who will attend upon the preaching of the word
if opportunity is afforded them. Thus by
the blessing of God and the presence of the Holy Ghost, these bones on the
border may be breathed to life. , and become a strong force in the great
Bishop Keener Issues Appeal to
Church in Laredo, “The Strong Should Support the Weak.” March 25, 1882
Bishop John Christian Keener (1819-1906) was the MECS Bishop most closely associated with the denomination’s Mexican Missions. It was Keener who founded the MECS Mexican Mission in 1873. He had been elected bishop from the editorship of the New Orleans Christian Advocate in 1870 and continued to reside in a
New Orleans suburb. For most of the first part of his episcopacy he
was thus the MECS bishop who lived closest to Mexico. In the fall of 1881 Keener presided over the Texas conferences. At the West Texas Conference he appointed T.
W. Biggs to Laredo.
1881 was a pivotal year in the history of
That was the year that the International and Great Northern Railway
extended its tracks from San Antonio to Laredo. Also in 1881 rails connected Laredo
to Corpus Christi. The rail connections made Laredo
the most important inland port connecting the United
States and Mexico. It continues to hold that rank. In 2012 there were 2,800,000 truck crossings
at Los Dos Laredos.
became an important center for international commerce, it also became important
for MECS missions. In 1880 the wives of
two presiding elders took some Mexican girls into their homes to teach
them. From such small efforts by Mrs.
Frank Onderdonk and Mrs. Joseph P. Norwood came Laredo Seminary. Laredo Seminary was later renamed Holding
Just months after appointing Biggs to
Laredo, Keener wrote the editor of the Texas Christian Advocate an open letter
appealing for aid in helping Biggs raise funds for a church building.
Here is the letter from the March 25, 1882 Advocate.
It is a well settled principle in Methodism that the strong should support the weak and I therefore commend Bro. Biggs to all the church he may visit in furtherance of building a good and creditable house of God in
. J. C. Keener. Laredo
Saturday, March 16, 2013
This Week in
Methodist History March 17, 1844
Reverend Thomas Brown Preaches First Methodist Sermon in
Dallas Area, March 19,
Texas Methodist history and the history of
Dallas have been intertwined since the city
was surveyed into lots in 1844. The first
recorded preacher in Dallas
was the Rev. Thomas Brown. Isaac Webb’s
diary entry for March 19, 1844, reads in part, “Thomas Brown, the first
traveling Methodist preacher that visited the Colony, stayed all night with me
and preached at Wm. M Cochran’s the first sermon in the neighborhood. From Romans 1:16, hymn, From All that Dwells Below the Skies, tune, “Kedron,” . Webb
was referring to William and Nancy Jane Cochran. Webb was married to Nancy Jane’s sister, Mary.
The next year, 1845, the Rev. Daniel Shook formed a circuit in the area. In 1846 Isaac Webb built a chapel and
was designated the temporary county seat until an election could be held. In 1851 the Cochran family bought a section
of land on what is today called Bachman Branch.
In 1856 Jane Cochran deeded land to the Methodist Episcopal Church South
for a church building and cemetery.
Cochran Chapel and the cemetery still exist. The location is on
Northwest Highway near Love Field. The congregation at Cochran Chapel UMC is proud
of its history. It honors its heritage
by providing vital ministries too numerous to list here. I invite you to visit the Cochran Chapel UMC
website to learn more about its history.
Saturday, March 09, 2013
This Week in
Methodist History March 10
Rev. Charles H. Brooks Leads
Houston in Revival, March 10, 1856
Rev. Charles H. Brooks was appointed to Shearn Methodist (today’s First Methodist UMC) in
at the Texas Annual Conference in December 1855. When He arrived at his new post, he found the
church had stagnated. Rev. T. O. Summers
had instituted pew rents as way of raising the church’s budget. The church membership roll had
disappeared. When Brooks re-organized
the rolls, he found the church membership numbered 70 fewer members than had
been reported at annual conference. It
was clearly time for action. As the
weather warmed, Brooks called for a four week protracted meeting. The four weeks of preaching resulted in 100
professions of faith, love feasts, reorganization of the Sunday School and
class meetings. At least one German
immigrant was “slain in the spirit” and fell to the floor unable to move.
Rev. Brooks described part of the protracted meeting in a letter dated March 10, 1856.
(Spelling and punctuation as in original)
My prospects for doing good in
are increasing. I preached to a large
congregation on Sabbath, on the depravity of the human heart, which I
illustrated 1st from the bible 2dly from the City of Houston . Sabath night the house was crowded. I preached an hour & a half from Hbrs 11th
and 7th. I am laboring night and day for
a revival of religion. Without it Houston is gon. Pray for
Saturday, March 02, 2013
This Week in Texas Methodist History March 3
Mary Sherwood Helm Wightman Warns Niece Against Methodism, March 6, 1853
Although Methodism claimed more adherents in the
than any other denomination, it
was not universally respected and admired.
The Protestant Episcopal Church (Anglican) was particularly strong in Republic of Texas and at least one of the members
of that church had nothing good to say about Methodism. Matagorda County
Mary Sherwood Helm Wightman (1807-1886) lived in
from 1829-1841. She and her husband were part of an immigrant
group from Matagorda County New York. They founded the town of Matagorda and owned a salt works and
agricultural land. Mary taught both a
civil and a Sunday School, making her one of the pioneer educators in Texas.
Matagorda holds the distinction of having the first Protestant Episcopal Church in
and Mary Sherwood Helm was one of its main supporters. In 1841 the Helms moved to Kentucky where Mr. Helm died and Mrs. Helm
remarried. In 1884 Mary S. H. Wightman
published Scraps of Early Texas History. The book contains very interesting first
person accounts of Texas,
Native Americans, the Texas Revolution, and so on. It also contains much religious dogma
including a letter to a niece dated Mar. 6, 1853 in which she criticizes her
niece’s new religion—Methodism. Here are
. . .In the (Episcopal) litany. . .we pray to be delivered from heresy and schism—from those who are in error and are deceived; for all who are distressed in mind, body, or estate. I hope the books I have sent you, have the tendency to restrain you from warming up your devotions by “strange fires.’
Be it remembered that if you go with the multitude, under some circumstances, you may become a Papist, or even a Mohammedan, without looking into the reason, history, and evidence of these things, but the Methodist system is such that they are bound to remain ignorant: they are made to believe and feel that they are more holy than others, not by their fruits, but by their feelings, and why, say they, should they examine any further, “Their religion is good enough for them.” . . .they are required to spend all the time that can be possibly spared from their daily vocations in attending the various meetings—class, prayer, quarterly, protracted—sometimes for eight weeks. And should a young man wish to read to become a preacher, they chalk out his work from month to month, with such poison as to confirm every erroneous notion he has imbibed from his former teaching.
Scraps of Early Texas History is available at Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=54wWAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=HELM+TEXAS&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VdEwUZq7MILc9AT6x4CQAQ&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA