This Week in Texas Methodist History May 19
Rev. John Bunyan
Denton Killed While Attacking , May 24, 1841 Indian Village
John Bunyan Denton; preacher, attorney, and namesake of
, was killed by a
bullet to the chest on May 24, 1841 near the present Fort Worth-Arlington city limits.
At the time of his death Bunyan was leading an attack on an Indian village. He
was buried where he fell, but his body was eventually buried on the Denton
County Courthouse grounds. Denton
John Bunyan Denton was born in
orphaned at age 8, and a runaway from his new home at 12. At 18 he married, and his wife taught him to
read. The young couple was converted, and John felt the call to preach. He supplied churches in the Missouri
Conference (which included Arkansas),
and was admitted on trial in the Arkansas Conference at the 1837 annual
When Littleton Fowler traveled through
Arkansas on his way to
the Texian Mission, he invited Denton
to accompany him. Although Denton was never commissioned as a missionary to Texas, he preached as far south as Nacogdoches
before eventually settling in Clarksville.
Only months after being admitted to the Arkansas Conference,
Denton turned his attention to the practice
of law. (see post for March, 2009). Such a career change was needed to provide
for his family which included three sons and two daughters. Two of his sons, J. F. Denton and J. B.
Denton later became Methodist preachers.
The Rev. William Allen composed a poem for
third burial on the courthouse grounds
Who knows the best? Only one; that is God;
He knows best when to give, and when to take,
He knows it all.
He places all beneath His chastening rod,
He watches men, and marks the time and place;
Where e’er they fall.
Who knows the best? Can others speak and say?
Knows anyone a new or better way
Then why speculate or make search to find
Or other thought or proof among all mankind
Than from the skies?
And still will cling.
He is an anthem on the lips and heart,
A song engraved, and which will never part
From souls that sing.