Saturday, October 05, 2013

This Week in Texas Methodist History October 6

Three Preachers Issue Prospectus for Texas Wesleyan Banner   October 1848

The early history of Texas Methodist journalism is a story of fits and starts.  The first Methodist newspaper in Texas was a project of the Rev. Robert B. Wells, the preacher at Brenham.  In 1847 he began publishing the Texas Christian Advocate and Brenham Advertiser.  Although he had the support of Texas Conference clergy and laity, Wells couldn’t make a success of the enterprise.  In early 1848 Wells turned the paper over to his father-in-law, Orceneth Fisher, who moved the paper to Houston and renamed it The Texas Christian Advocate.  Fisher ran the paper as a private enterprise. 

There was a large camp meeting at Rutersville in September 1848.  Preachers at the meeting discussed putting the newspaper on a sound  basis.  Three of the preachers,  Robert Alexander, Chauncey Richardson, and Homer Thrall, issued a prospectus which they printed in several Texas newspapers in October, 1848.  Here is the prospectus

The Texas Christian Advocate shall be devoted to Religion, Literature, Morals, Science, Popular Education, and General Intelligence.  To blend mental delight with the acquisition of valuable knowledge; carefully religious and moral effect in the selection and arrangement of subjects—to develop & concentrate the efforts of genius and taste and to aid in the advancement of those moral, religious, and intellectual attainments, which will produce a richer and more enduring revenue of glory to Texas, than either her sunny clime or her unbounded natural resources, are the paramount object of the Advocate.

It will be printed weekly, on an imperial sheet, in a tasteful style of typography, at Two Dollars, if payment be delayed more than one month.

Its publication will be commence about the first of February, 1849. 

The itinerate and local preachers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, are duly authorized, and earnestly requested, to act as agents for the Advocate.

Advertisements in keeping with the character of the paper will be inserted on the usual terms.

The three preachers then obtained the blessings of the Texas Annual Conference.    With that support, the committee entered into a printing contract with the firm of Cruger and Moore in Houston for 1000 copies per week.  Chauncey Richardson assumed the editorship and changed the name to the Texas Wesleyan Banner.  He missed the February date, and brought out the first issue on April 14, 1849.  


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