This Week in Texas Methodist History January 18
W. P. Smith Reports on Camp Meeting and
Sunday School in Texas
Presbyterian, January 22, 1848
Andrew Jackson McGown (1817-1871) provides a
good example of interdenominational cooperation in early Texas.
Although McGown was a Presbyterian minister, he often included materials
about other denominations in his newspaper, the Texas Presbyterian.
The January 22, 1848 issue of that
publication contained a long, informative flowery letter from W. P. Smith,
pioneer Methodist preacher, physician, and post master. The letter recounted a successful camp
meeting and other religious news from Fayette County.
It is reproduced here.
a Minister of a different branch of Christ’s church than that to which you
belong, I doubt not that you, with the readers of your excellent publication,
will be pleased to hear of the prosperity of Zion from any quarter; for we have
lived to see the day where error is receding before the light of the
Gospel—when the ultras of sectarianism are being merged into the gulph of
oblivion. . . .We have had some glorious
camp meeting in this section. . .the one in which the Divine power was most
signally manifested , was the Methodist camp meeting near LaGrange, in this
county. It was conducted under the
direction of the Rev. Mordecai Yell, P. E. of this district. The meeting continued nineteen days, and from
the least estimates one hundred and fifty souls emerged out of natures’
darkness, to walk in the light of the immaculate Son of God. May the gracious work continue until Satan’s
Kingdom shall totter to its dark centre and fall; and the Kingdom of King
Emanuel be built on the ruins thereof; when knowledge shall spread to the four
corners of the world, and universal righteousness pervade the earth.
midst of the benevolent institutions of the day, we have a Sabbath School
operation, in our neighborhood. It
commenced last year without a regular organization under any distinctive head,
for the sole purpose of doing good to the children and youths of this section
by imparting moral and religious instruction.
M. Callar was our first superintendent; but his engagements being such as to
preclude his regular attendance, he resigned.
school is taught in my office, and for the accommodation of the different
denominations is now organized under the Union head. The following is a list of officers:
Smith, Teacher of Bible Class
Buncan, James A. I. Smith, male teachers
C. Scates, Mary M. Callar, Female teachers
M. Callar, Treasurer and Librarian.
The regulation for the winter season is that the Sabbath School commences its exercises at 2 o’clock
p. m. of each Sabbath evening and at the conclusion of
which our prayer meeting begins.
Our prospects in a moral and religious point are
onward—may they continue their march until righteous becomes the motto of every
Your brother in Christ,
W. P. Smith