This Week in Texas Methodist History September 4
Quarterly Conference of the Nacogdoches Circuit Meets , Sept. 8, 1838
McMahan’s Camp Ground hosted the quarterly meeting of the Nacogdoches Circuit of the Methodist Episocopal Church on Sept. 8. 1838. The presiding officer was Robert Alexander.
It was quite a gathering! Littleton Fowler was there. He was the preacher on the circuit. James Porter Stevenson, son of William Stevenson, served as secretary. The elder Stevenson preached the first Methodist sermon on Methodist soil. Henry Stephenson was there. He had been visiting Texas from Louisiana since 1824. Both Friend and Samuel Doak McMahon were there. Friend as a local preacher and S. D. as an exhorter. Enoch Chisum and James T. P. Irvine—both exhorters at the time, but soon to receive licenses.
In September 1838 the Nacogdoches Circuit was part of the Texian Mission. The bishops had already decided to attach the Mission to the Mississippi Conference, but that would not occur until the Mississippi Annual Conference met the following December.
The minutes of the Quarterly Conference are personally significant because one of the local preachers licensed was Milton Stringfield, the author’s great-great-great grandfather. The minutes of the meeting, now preserved at Bridwell Library provide the first documentary evidence of any of my ancestor’s being in Texas.
Milton Stringfield was born in Springfield, Illinois, in 1802 and migrated southward through Arkansas.
He enlisted in the Somervell Expedition from Montgomery County and in the census of 1850 was enumerated in Springfield, then the seat of Limestone County. The census manuscript shows that he lived 7 residences from Mordecai Yell, the Presiding Elder of the Springfield District. He died in Harris County in 1856.He followed a common practice of the era, naming his children after Methodist heroes—some of his sons were Thomas Wesley Stringfield, Littleton Fowler Stringfield, James McKendree Stringfield. Both James McK. And “Lit” became preachers in the Rio Grande Mission Conference (the predecessor to the West Texas Conference) but did not survive the Civil War. Thomas Wesley died in the Stringfield Massac