Saturday, October 31, 2015

This Week in Texas Methodist History November 1

Texas Conference Trivia Question:  Which Bishop Was the Last One to Preside before A. Frank Smith Began his 26 Year Consecutive Presiding Streak?

The Answer;  Bishop Hiram Boaz at Marvin MECS in Tyler, Nov. 1-5, 1933. 

Bishop Boaz, born in Kentucky in 1866, moved with his family to Texas as a small boy and attended both Sam Houston Normal (today’s Sam Houston State University) and Southwestern University.  He taught school in Fort Worth but then received a license to preach and served churches in Fort Worth, Abilene, and Dublin.  He became president of Polytechnic (today’s Texas Wesleyan University) and earned praise for his vigorous leadership.

Boaz failed in his effort to move his alma mater, Southwestern, to Fort Worth, but became the vice-president of SMU as it was being organized.  Boaz was given much of the responsibility of raising the funds to get SMU started.  He accomplished that and went back to Polytechnic for a second tenure.  He served as Secretary of the Board of Church Extension briefly but was called back to Texas in 1920 to become SMU’s second president. 

In 1922 he was elected bishop of the MECS and assigned to the Asian conferences.  After one quadrennium presiding there, he was assigned conferences in the United States where he served until his retirement in 1938.  He lived until 1962.  His remains were laid to rest at Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas. 

Marvin MECS in Tyler was a frequent host of the Texas Annual Conference.  Its commodious sanctuary, convenient location, good rail connections, and generous Tyler residents who offered accommodations made it a good place to meet.  Just three years earlier, in September, 1930, the Daisy Bradford #3 had come in just a few miles from Tyler.  While much of the rest of the United States was coping with the Great Depression, the Tyler area was experiencing a boom.

Two Tyler laymen were invited to address the Annual Conference.  The first was Galloway Calhoun, the subject of a previous post.

The other was also an attorney, Earl Mayfield, (1881-1964) who had served as U. S. Senator from Texas 1923-1929.  Mayfield had emerged victorious in the 1922 Democratic Primary over James, “Pa” Ferguson.  Ferguson’s impeachment as governor did not disqualify him for the Senate seat.
Mayfield became known as the preferred candidate of the Ku Klux Klan or “Klanidate” as the newspapers reported it.  Ferguson, although the son of a Methodist preacher, was a “wet,” and the Klan favored “dry” candidates. 

Mayfield was unable to win re-nomination in 1928 so he moved to Tyler, close to his birthplace of Overton.  There is no record of what the two laymen said to the Conference.


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