Saturday, June 16, 2018

This Week in Texas Methodist History June 17'

Robert Crawford Hints that Appointment is Chastisement for not Embracing Separation   June 17, 1845

Some appointments are more desirable than others.   That was true in the 1840s and is still true today.   Preachers obligate themselves to go to whatever appointment the bishop thinks best and most cheerfully comply with that obligation.  When a preacher received an appointment which he considered a demotion, he sometimes asked himself, “what have I done to deserve the demotion?”  
In the early days of Texas Methodism there were not enough desirable appointments to give everyone what he wanted.  On the other hand, each appointment would last only one or two years, the disappointed preacher could just wait for annual conference and move. 

Robert Crawford expressed his sentiment that his appointment to Clarksville was chastisement for his not embracing the separation of the MEC soon enough.  Let him tell it.
June 17, 1845
. . .
The people here are all in favour of a separate organization, I think. I was opposed to a division and would not hear to it until I saw that it would take place & I was never fully satisfied of this until about the time of our con[ference] & a little after—and I accordingly labored to keep down excitement on the subject – but when I discovered that nothing else would do I said let it come -- & have done all I could to produce unanimity on the subject – for if a separate organization does take place it is important that the whole South be united – and that none be left to hang as waits to it, or produce a jar or scism in our ranks. I am aware that my hanging back after so long (& when others thought Division would take place) caused strong thoughts, and some of my friends to treat me a little harsh: but Frenologists say I have the bump of cautiousness verry strongly developed & probably it was a little too strong – but then I have, go aheadiveness very strongly developed – and so when I am fully satisfied I go it – Notwithstanding the explanation which you gave me in reference to my appointment, (and Bro. Alexander & Wilson give me the same) yet the thought would rush on my mind that the appointmen[t] was [p. 4] designed as a kind of chastisement for the opinions I held & the course I persued. Though I would repel the thought it would come rushing like a tornado upon me and paralize every nerve. I could not do violence to my conscience. I could not be draged – and I had thought that some brethren had tried to drag me. I ever gave evidence that I was altogether Southern but this did not do some with whom I talked. Thank God the storm is all over. And thank you for your kindness to me. I had no temptation to blame you in reference to my appointment. I have never mentioned this to any one before. You will not name it. Your brother
Affectionately R. Crawford

Robert Crawford, a South Carolina native (b. 1815) came to Texas and served in Sam Houston’s army at San Jacinto.  Although he had been raised Calvinist, he experienced conversion to Methodism and was licensed exhorter by Martin Ruter.  Hew helped build the church at Washington on the Brazos and served as a pall bearer for Martin Ruter. He was admitted on trial when Texas was still part of the Mississippi Conference.  He moved to Rutersville to participate in the establishment of Rutersville College, but when the Texas Conference was split, he cast his lot with the Eastern Texas Conference and served as secretary of its first session.  

Robert Crawford assumed important positions in his conference, serving as delegate to the 1850 General Conference of the MECS, but locating soon after that.  He was in and out of the ministry.  For a time he lived in Fannin County and then started Cedar Mountain Methodist Church in southwestern Dallas County.  He taught school in that church.

When he was already elderly, he attended the medical school in Galveston.  He eventually moved to Franklin.  His land grant for his military service was in Robertson County.  He affiliated with the Northwest Texas Conference, which at the time included Robertson County. 

Robert Crawford---member of the Mississippi Conference, Texas Conference, Eastern Texas Conference, Northwest Texas Conference, San Jacinto veteran, teacher, . . .the list could go on. 

  He died there in 1888.  He was buried at Mt. Vernon Cemetery in Calvert.  


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