Sunday, April 07, 2019

This Week in Texas Methodist History  April 7

P. E. Gregory Holds Quarterly Conference Near Site of Clarksville, April 8, 1837

The northeastern corner of Texas  was evangelized from Arkansas.  Many Methodists, including several local preachers, settled in Miller County, Arkansas and ignored the international boundary to come on the other side of the Red River to preach.  In the fall of 1835 the Arkansas Conference appointed John Carr to the Sulfur Fork Mission which composed manly of today’s Red River and Lamar Counties.   Carr arrived at his new appointment about the first of December 1835 and began organizing the Methodists who had previously been served by the Reverends Overby, Ramsey, and Denton, all of whom came from Arkansas on an irregular basis. 

Evidently the population was fairly dense because in a matter of weeks, Carr was able to establish 12 preaching points on his circuit.  At the Conference of 1836, Carr was not reappointed so the Sulfur River Circuit was listed “To Be Supplied.”
The Presiding Elder, Gregory supplied it by moving E.B. Duncan from the Washington (Arkansas) Circuit to the Sulfur River Circuit.  Duncan arrived about the first of February, 1837.  About the same time the Rev. William G. Duke, who had been a member of the Arkansas Conference, moved to Lamar County near the Sulfur River.  

The enhanced Methodist population made a quarterly conference possible.  On April 8, 1837, P. E. Gregory held a quarterly conference near the site where Clarksville stands today.  Duke was secretary of this meeting.    Continued Methodist migration to the area swelled the 12 appointments.  One of the new comers was Green Orr who was a local preacher.  Among the laity of whom we have a record was the Claiborne Wright family who had already been in the area for about twenty years.  Mrs. Clara Wright was Littleton Fowler’s aunt.  

Bowie County was brought into the work when Methodist settlers stopped there, and DeKalb UMC traces its origins to this era.

The churches along the Sulfur River remained a part of the Arkansas Conference even after the Texas Conference was organized in 1840, but when the Texas Conference was split into eastern and western conferences at the General Conference of 1844, northeastern Texas was placed within the bounds of the newly created Eastern (later East) Texas Conference.


Post a Comment

<< Home