Saturday, November 29, 2014

This Week in Texas Methodist History    November 30

Texas District of the Mississippi Conference Created Dec. 5, 1838

First there was a mission. Then there was a district.  Then came a conference.  The three step process took a very short time.  Robert Alexander, the first of the missionaries, arrived in Sept. 1837, and the conference was organized in December, 1840.  From December 1840 until that organization, most Texas Methodist churches were in the Texas District of the Mississippi Conference.  

Circuits in northeastern Texas were part of the Arkansas Conference until 1844 when they were incorporated into the newly-created Eastern Texas Conference. 

The Texas District 1838 appointments included

Littleton Fowler  Presiding Elder
Houston and Galveston  Abel Stevens
Nacogdoches  Samuel Williams
Washington   Robert Alexander and Isaac L. G. Strickland
Montgomery  Jesse Hord
Brazoria  Joseph Sneed.

There was one name conspicuously absent from the appointments—Llewlyn Campbell who had been preaching  in Texas for most of the second half of 1838.  It was Campbell, for example, who performed the wedding ceremony for Littleton Fowler and Missouri Porter in June, 1838, in Nacogdoches.

Campbell was appointed to New Orleans instead of a Texas circuit.  He and Fowler were both deeply disappointed, but accepted the appointment .  It is true that New Orleans needed a strong Methodist preacher, but Campbell’s appointment had a negative effect on recruitment of more volunteers for Texas.  Before 1838 a preacher in the United States could  volunteer for the Texas Mission through the Mission Board.  From December 1838 until December 1840 the volunteer had to transfer to the Mississippi Conference and then hope for a Texas appointment.  

Distance was also a problem for the Texas District.  In brief, sessions of the Mississippi Anual Conference were simply too far away so that few Texas preachers ever attended.  The creation of the Texas Annual Conference had to wait until the 1840 General Conference of the MEC authorized such action.  The Texas District of the Mississippi Conference existed only two years. 


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