Saturday, July 27, 2013
This Week in Texas Methodist History July 28
Texas Epworth League Convention Stunned By News of Missionary
One of the highlights of the 1907 Texas Epworth League meeting at Epworth-by-the-Sea near
Corpus Christi was a
farewell speech from one of their own.
Ruby Kendrick, a 24-year old Leaguer from Plano
told the 5,000 assembled there that in a month she was going to depart for
missionary service in Korea.
Kendrick was well-prepared for the mission field. She had been a member of the Junior Epworth League and Senior Epworth League. She graduated from
High School in 1903 and spent two
years at Scarritt and another at . Since she was still too young to be commissioned as a missionary, she taught Bible classes at a Methodist school in Terrell. Southwestern
In 1908, the North Texas Conference Epworth League met in
While they were in session, a cablegram arrived informing them that Ruby
Kendrick had died of appendicitis in . Few missionary deaths have inspired great
One of the actions was immediate. The North Texas Conferences organized a memorial service on the day the telegram was received. It concluded with an appeal to continue her Korean missionary service. Eleven Leaguers answered the altar call and volunteered for missionary service.
The next year at the state convention at Epworth-by-the-Sea participants collected funds for a memorial stone to be erected over Kendrick’s grave in
Korea. The monument recorded her last words, “If I
had a thousand lives to give, Korea
would have them all.”
The Leaguers raised so much money for the monument that after paying for the monument they had a surplus of $1000. They decided to use that money to build a missionary hall at Epworth-by-the-Sea. Before they could begin construction, a hurricane destroyed the encampment. Although a new site for a new encampment was soon acquired, trustees decided to take the $1000 on hand and add $3000 raised for the missionary hall and create a missionary scholarship at the new Methodist university then being created in Dallas, Southern Methodist University. From 1908 to 1928 the Epworth League members raised $120,000 for scholarships for future missionaries in honor of Ruby Kendrick.
Saturday, July 20, 2013
This Week in
Texas Methodist History July 21
Texas Methodist History
Most of us don’t think much about milk except when prices rise. Some of us have memories of home delivery of milk or even a family milk cow, but for most of us milk has been a staple we consume every day but don’t often think of where it comes from.
What about the connection between Methodism and milk? Sure some churches still have ice cream socials, but most of the ice cream is purchased from commercial sources rather than hand cranked. It would surprise most Methodists to know that not too long ago most Methodist residential institutions had their own dairy herds to supply fresh, raw milk to the dining halls.
It is a little ironic that the state in which Gail Borden had so much early influence, the dairy industry was very slow to develop. Travelers to 19th century
such as Fredrick Law Olmsted looked at all the cows and marveled at how little
fresh milk and butter he saw. The cheese industry was practically non
Part of the reason was that the dairy breeds of cattle had originated in the cool marine climate of northwestern Europe and suffered tremendously in the
In sprite of that difficulty, people wanted milk.
Milk production in
Texas tended to be very localized. People purchased milk from neighbors or very
small producers. Milk is very difficult
to transport so agricultural censuses show that dairy cattle populations in Texas about 1900 were
greatest in the largest cities. As
better roads and rubber-tired vehicles became more common, each metropolitan
area in Texas
developed a nearby “milkshed,” from which its milk came. Houstonians drank milk from Grimes and . Washington Counties Corpus Christi
got its milk from Alice. Parker
County supplied Fort
Worth, and the greatest milkshed of all was Hopkins
County which supplied much of North
Texas, including Dallas. El Paso, isolated as it was, continued to
report a large dairy cow population long after milk cows moved from other Texas
The maintenance of dairies in Methodist institutions made a great deal of economic sense. The college or home could assure itself of a guaranteed supply of a staple over which it had control at every step from production to consumption. Memories of illness transmitted by milk were still fresh, and Progressive Era muckrakers pointed out the dangers of adulterated milk sold in cities. By owning its own dairy the school could ensure the purity of the product.
There were other benefits. Devout Methodists could pay part of their tithe in hay. There are records of donations of box cars of hay to the Methodist Home in
from Methodists in Wharton and . During the Great Depression some students at Matagorda
Counties paid part of their
tuition in hay. Lon Morris
Landing a job in college dairy for one’s student work assignment was considered a real plum and the best of all possible campus jobs. Dairying is hard, dirty work that begins very early in the morning, but college boys vied for the job. What made it so desirable? Other campus jobs, such as in the dining hall or the library, existed only when school was in session, but the dairy herd had to be tended year-round so employment continued through holidays and summer vacation.
There were other minor perks such as having a key to the kitchen cooler and the ability to skim off some of the cream before delivering the milk. A Lon Morris College Yearbook includes a cartoon based on the establishment of the “Mu Chi Mu fraternity” among the dairy hands who hosted their dates with ice cream made from cream they had skimmed before taking the milk to the kitchen.
Texas Methodist schools got out the dairy business long ago, but there are still alumni who fondly remember that they were able to finance their education by milking cows.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
This Week in
Texas Methodist History July 14
William Faris Informs Fowler of Death of Moses Speer July 18, 1840
Most of the Methodist preachers who immigrated to the
young men, but Moses Speer was a notable exception. He was already over 70 years old when he came
of Texas Texas. He began preaching in Kentucky
about 1804 and then moved to Tennessee. He later preached in the Red
River circuits which were then part of the Arkansas Conference
before coming to the Texas Mission of the Mississippi Conference in 1838.
Littleton Fowler assigned him to the settlements in southeastern
and in that capacity is remembered as the founding pastor for the Methodist
church at Jasper. At the next annual
conference he was appointed to Montgomery. In July 1840 he died at Robinson’s Settlement
on the Montgomery Circuit and was buried there.
William Faris attended Speer in his last days and then wrote a letter to Littleton Fowler describing Speer’s last hours and his wishes concerning the disposition of his property.
Speer directed Faris to send his horse and saddlebags to Fowler. How fitting—the circuit rider’s earthly journey was over, but his horse would continue to carry the gospel.
Saturday, July 06, 2013
This Week in Texas Methodist History July 7
Bishop Bascom Holds His Only Annual Conference July 10, 1850
A previous post told the story of the short episcopal career of Bishop J. J. Tigert (see post for December 8, 2012). One of his predecessors, Bishop Henry Bidleman Bascom, also had a brief career.
Henry Bascom (b. 1796) was a shining star of Methodism in
and Tennessee. His reputation as a pulpit orator earned him
the notice of Henry Clay who had him appointed Chaplain of the U. S. House of
Representatives (1824-1826). He left
that position to become the first president of Madison
College in Pennsylvania. Two years later he became an agent for the
American Colonization Society, an organization that promoted the immigration of
African Americans to Liberia. In 1832 he accepted a professorship at Augusta College,
a Methodist college in Kentucky
founded by Martin Ruter. He served there
until 1842 when he accepted the presidency of Transylvania Univeersity (the alma
mater of Stephen F. Austin) in Lexington.
At the General Conference of 1844 Bascom assumed much of the leadership of the southern faction and wrote the “protest of the minority.” His leadership in the formation of the southern branch of Methodism made him a contender in the episcopal elections of the MECS. At the General Conference of 1850 he received the necessary votes and began his brief episcopal career. He was chosen to hold the annual conferences in
Indian Mission, and East Texas. On July 10, 1850, less than two months after
his election, he opened the St. Louis Annual Conference held at Independence. He became ill, returned home to Lexington and died on
Sept. 8 after being a bishop for four months.
Bascom had been scheduled to hold the East Texas Annual Conference in
in November. Palestine had a new church building, and it was
common for towns with new churches to host annual conference to show off the
new facilities. The Discipline stipulated that in the absence
of a bishop, conference members would elect a presiding officer. S. A. Williams was chosen to preside and J.
W. Fields chosen secretary for the 6th session of the East Texas
As a tribute to the deceased bishop, the new church at
was named Bascom Chapel. Eventually it
(see history at http://www.fumcpalestine.org/history/) Palestine First United
Bascom Chapel was not the only way Bishop Henry Bascom was honored in
Texas. Historians believe that the town of Bascom in was named for him,
and an 1845 letter from Robert Alexander to Littleton Fowler reveals that
Alexander named his horse “Henry Bascom.”
Alexander, Fowler, and Bascom had all been delegates to the Louisville
Convention of 1845 that planned the creation of the MECS. Smith