Saturday, January 26, 2019

Mary E. Pruitt

I have searched for the death and burial location of Elder William Moses Pruitt, an old Baptist preacher connected to our community. I have not found anything, but about four years ago I succeeded in finding an obituary of his wife, Mary Etta Sasnett Pruitt. Mary E. Pruitt is buried in the Old City Cemetery in Henderson. 

  Died, at the home in Smith county, Texas, on Jan. 26, 1899, Sister Mary E. Pruitt, wife of Elder Wm. M. Pruit. Sister Pruitt was born in Talbot county, Ga. Professed faith in Christ and united with the church in early life; was married to W. M. Pruitt July 31, 1850. Eleven children were born unto them, nine of whom are living, M. B. Pruitt being clerk of Rusk county, which office he has filled with satisfaction to the people for nine years. She came to Rusk county, Texas, in 1871 and moved to Smith county in 1896; she leaves a husband, five sons and four daughters. Sister Pruitt was a noble woman, of strong christian character; devoted to the church, zealous in good works and beloved by all who knew her; a devoted wife and loving mother. She died as she had lived, strong in the faith, and fell asleep in Jesus, and was enabled to mark the wonderful change with her last words, “What a change.” We would say to the sorrowing ones, weep not; thy wife, thy mother, is not dead but sleepeth. For beyond the misty river of death, in the sweet paradise of God, “where the wicked cease troubling and the weary are at rest,” she awaits thy coming and the glorious resurrection of the body. Yes the evening shadows gathered and the long days work was done; and she has reached the sweet rest beyond the setting sun. Let us look by faith and press on to that sweet rest where there is no anguish or parting.                              W. H. H. H.
Minden, Texas

This obituary was found in The Henderson Times (Henderson, Tex.), Vol. 40, No. 10, Ed. 1 Thursday, March 9, 1899, page 2. The author, W.H.H.H., is William Henry Harrison Hays, a Baptist preacher in Rusk County.

If anyone knows where W. M. Pruitt is buried, I would like to know. The obituary indicates he was still living at the time of the death of his wife. I have found that he was living in Rockwall County when he applied for Confederate pension in 1907, but I have not found him in the 1910 census. This suggests he may have died between 1907-1910. Perhaps he was living with some of his children who had moved to the Dallas area.

Friday, October 05, 2018

John Sparkman

The following “short notice” of John Calloway Sparkman was written by William Henry Harrison Hays, and was published in Texas Historical and Biographical Magazine, by J. B. Link, (Volume 1, 1891, as found in The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc. Version 1.0, 2005).

— The subject of this short notice was born in Jasper county, Ga., in the year A.D. 1831; professed faith in Christ in his 18th year, and was baptized into the fellowship of the Bethesda[i] Baptist church by Eld. John Dodd.[ii] He afterwards united by letter with the Flint River Baptist church, in Henry county;[iii] was united in marriage with Martha Jarrell in 1853,[iv] who at the time had three children, all of which were boys, who are now useful men with families, two of them being physicians, the other one a successful farmer in Rusk county, Texas,—all of them being prominent members of the Baptist church.

He moved with his family to Texas the same year in which he was married, and settled in Rusk county, where he and his wife united with the Holly Springs church.[v]

He was licensed to preach by this church in 1860, — was ordained to the full work of the ministry in 1861 — Elders William Gwin, G. W. Rogers and M. Melton acting as presbytery.

He had born to him seven children, four boys and three girls, five of whom are still living: Addie, the wife of James Wallace, in Austin county, Texas; Thomas, who is a successful physician, now at Alvord; Virgil, who is with his brother in the drug business in the above mentioned town; A. D. Sparkman, a promising young lawyer, who is the present county attorney of Rusk county; Mattie, the youngest daughter, who now has charge as teacher, of the music school at Clayton, Panola county, Texas. His wife still survives him, and is living at Minden, Rusk county, Texas, where she is spending a happy old age.

Eld. John Sparkman was a self-made man; but his great familiarity with the Bible made him successful, and a power whereever he went. He started in this life poor; not having the advantages of early training in school, he dug his theology from the Bible by a pine knot light at night. It is said of him, that while following his plow, he had a board arranged upon the beam, where he would lay his open Bible, and read and study as he plowed. The Bible was his dictionary, geography, grammar, rhetoric and logic. He was a man of strong convictions, devotedly pious, and earnest and forcible as a speaker, carrying the masses with him in his plain, scriptural arguments, drawing his illustrations principally from the common field of nature, his leading theme being the doctrines of grace, while he was well posted in the distinctive principles of the denomination, and ably defended them when it became necessary.

While he was a great preacher, he was at the same time a successful farmer,—an avocation in which he delighted when not actively engaged in the ministry; hence, by this means, he left his family in good circumstances.

His entire ministerial life was spent in Eastern Texas; being pastor, at different times, of the most prominent churches in Rusk, Panola and Nacogdoches counties. He served with honor to himself, and satisfaction to the brethren, the Mt. Zion Association, as Moderator, for ten years. While he kept no record of the number of conversions and baptisms in connection with his labors, yet there are numbers in the eastern and far western portions of Texas, that were brought to a knowledge of the truth through his preaching, and were by his hands buried in baptism.

He was afflicted with cancer of the face, about one year before his death. Amidst his great affliction, which confined him to his room almost continually, his faith was unshaken, and his principal conversation was upon the love of Christ and the fulness of His great atoning sacrifice.

On the 23rd day of Oct., A.D. 1882, peacefully and quietly, like the beautiful setting sun, he fell asleep in Jesus. His remains were laid away at Zion Hill church,[vi] of which he had been a member, and the beloved pastor since its constitution, in the midst of a great throng of the brethren and sisters of Zion Hill and neighboring churches, as well as friends from all over the country, who had loved and honored him in this life. As we walk through the church yard at Zion Hill, our eyes are attracted by a simple marble slab, that tells us of the last resting place on earth of Eld. John Sparkman.

“Servant of God, well done;
Rest from thy loved employ,
The battle fought, the victory won,
Enter thy Master’s joy.”—W.H.H.H.

[i] Hays gives the name as “Bethesda,” but it probably should be Bethsaida. Robert G. Gardner, Georgia Baptist Historical Society and Senior Researcher in Baptist History, Mercer University, wrote, “The only Bethsaida church was in Fayette County, with J. S. Dodd as pastor in at least 1849-1853. His post office address was Fayetteville (1849-1850) and Fairburn (1852-1853).” Bethsaida Baptist Church, formed in 1829, was led by itinerant preachers traveling in the area. In April, 1843, John S. Dodd, was called to pastor the church on a permanent basis. He faithfully served the church for 50 years, retiring January 25, 1892.” In 1975, Bethsaida merged with Capitol View Baptist Church to form United Baptist Church. Further support of Dodd baptizing Sparkman comes from the fact that the Sparkmans and the Dodds are living in same county – Fayette County, Georgia – when the 1850 census was compiled. 1850 would be roughly the time Sparkman was in his 18th year.
[ii] If the above is correct, the baptizer of John Sparkman was John Sample Dodd (1809-1892). Dodd was a pioneer Baptist preacher in Georgia. He pastored the Bethsaida Church of Campbell County, Georgia for fifty consecutive years.
[iii] “Flint River Baptist Church (predecessor of First Baptist Jonesboro) was organized January 25, 1825, and was located on three acres of land southwest of what is now Spring Street and Highway 19/41. Rev. William Mosely served as the church’s first pastor for three years, during which time membership increased from 14 to 79.”
[iv] Martha M. Buckner married Henry Jarrell in Butts County, Georgia in 1846. After his decease, she married John Sparkman.
[v] It appears that the Sparkman family lived in three different locations  in Rusk County – somewhere near the Holly Springs Church (Pine Hill), somewhere near the Mt. Carmel Church (Glenfawn area), and lastly somewhere near Zion Hill.
[vi] Sparkman led in forming the Zion Hill Church in 1868, and the Smyrna Church in 1873. He was the first pastor of each of these. Sparkman also pastored the Mt. Carmel Church in Rusk County and the Union Church in Nacogdoches County, among others.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

S. M. Carlton, doctor, author, Rusk Countian

A few years ago I heard about a book called Diagram of the Churches by S. M. Carlton, M.D. I was interested because Dr. Carlton was supposed to be a Baptist of the “Two-Seed” variety, and because he lived in my county – Rusk County, Texas. At the time I was unsuccessful garnering further information, but last week I discovered the book had been added to Diagram of the Churches: Illustrated by a Supposed Interview between the Arminian’s All-wise and Omnipotent God of the Universe and his Arminian Ministers (S. M. Carlton, M. D., Middleton, NY: Gilbert Beebe s Sons, 1884).

The book itself is much an unusual dialog with the “Arminian” God and his ministers. Beginning at page 344 Carlton inserts an appendix that includes a “condensed biography” and his religious experience. Dr. S. M. Carlton was Snider Miles Carlton, who was born October 1, 1830, in Thomas County, Georgia, to Shadrack Carlton and Catharine Sloan (p. 346). His parents are buried at the old Randolph Cemetery in Houston County, Texas. The older Carltons had several children, including, Harmon, Margaret, Susan, Elvie, John Sloan, Blake, S.M., and Catharine.

Snider Miles Carlton married Nancy Clark Satterwhite (p. 357). They came to Texas and first located in the Clayton area of Panola Conty in 1872 (p. 369). He also mentions being baptized at “Mt. Carmel Church, twenty miles east of Henderson” where his wife had been a member since that church was constituted (p. 377; Mt. Carmel was probably in Clayton, Panola County). They moved to Henderson in February 1879. Dr. Carlton, his wife and six others constituted a church called Siloam in Henderson, Texas on the 4th day of July 1883 (p. 378). S. M. & Nancy Carlton had six children, Elijah and Catharine R., who died in Alabama while still small; Lobel Alva, Mary Elena, Sallie Ada, and Oswald Snider.

After the death of Nancy, Dr. Carlton married Lucinda (last name unknown) circa 1894. The Carltons lived in Hill County, Texas in 1900, and later moved to Limestone County, Texas, where they are buried in the Thornton Cemetery.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Update on F. O. Gallaway

Frank Owen Gallaway was the son of Amos Ponder Gallaway and Caroline Gewin. He was a member of Mt. Carmel at least by 1867, and probably much earlier. He served as the church clerk until dismissed by letter in May of 1870. The 1870 census lists him as a “medical student”. F. O. Gallaway served clerk pro-tem of the organizational meeting of the Smyrna Missionary Baptist Church, and was a constituting member of the church. He married Susan Salmon, daughter of John L. and Martha Salmon, in May of 1871. Frank O. Galloway was granted a letter of dismission from Smyrna Aug. 21, 1874. This may signal his move from Rusk County (though he is back in 1880). A ‘Dr. F. O. Galloway’ is listed in Butterfield and Rundlett’s 1875 Directory of the City of Dallas. As well as practicing medicine, he was a director of the Exchange Bank in Dallas, Texas (The Dallas Daily Herald, June 7, 1876, p. 3).

Frank O. Gallaway is found in the 1880 Rusk County census, and was postmaster of Gourdneck in Rusk County in 1880 – but was back in Dallas in 1882. A note in a newspaper (Fort Worth Daily Gazette, February 20, 1886, p. 5) puts his arrival in Henrietta circa 1884. F. O. Gallaway was born February 16, 1845 in Alabama. He died in 1889 and is buried at the Hope Cemetery at Henrietta, Clay County, Texas. [My original source gave his death date as January 12, 1882. His tombstone gives the year as 1889, but in her Confederate pension application his wife gave his date of death as January 14, 1888. Based on his newspaper obituary, the day of the 12th, and the year of 1889 is correct.]

“Dr. F. O. Galloway has returned from Rusk county to make his home again in Dallas.” (The Dallas Daily Herald, March 15, 1882, p. 8)

Gallaway was a Confederate Veteran, a member of the Masonic Fraternity and the Knights of Pythias.

Many records give the surname as “Galloway,” but the family seems to have consistently spelled it “Gallaway.”

Fort Worth Daily Gazette, Sunday, January 13, 1889, p. 1

Friday, November 10, 2017

Free Will Baptists in Rusk County: Hezekiah Dunn

Dunn, Hezekiah C. (1854-1931) was born in Georgia, the son of William J. Dunn and Charity Elizabeth Faircloth of Georgia. Hezekiah married Sabrina Frances Griffith and they lived at Colquitt in Miller County, Georgia. The Dunns moved to Texas by 1883, the census stating that his daughter Susan was born in Texas in February 1883.

Dunn may have been affiliated with the Free Will Baptists before moving to Texas. An obituary for his father appears in Chattahoochee United Free-Will Baptist Association minutes in 1885: “William Dunn, a native of Ireland, though for many years a citizen of Miller county, Ga., and for several years past a member of Bellview Church, died on the 15th of September, 1885. Bro. Dunn was an old man full of years, most of which had been spent in sin and dissipation. Notwithstanding, he was an eleventh hour hireling, we trust he will receive the reward, for ‘every man received a penny’.” (Report of Committee on Obituaries, 1885, p. 8)[i]

The 1912 minutes of the Southwestern Freewill Baptist General Convention list Dunn as one of 112 licensed or ordained ministers from Texas who attended the convention in Earlsboro, Oklahoma that year (From the Red to the Rio Grande, pp. 13-20, 261-262). This may, nevertheless, be in error. Extant minutes of the Texas Association (1913, 1914, 1918, 1926, 1929-1931) do not suggest Dunn was a minister. “The Committee on Obituaries made the following report: We find that God, in His wisdom, has seen fit to remove from our midst the following members: Bro. Henry Wilson, Sister Cordell Eldridge, Sister Leola Lunsford, Bro. H. C. Dunn, Bro. T. E. Williamson, Sister Joe Kuykendall, Bro. J. R. Koonce, Sister Bettie Lunsford and Bro. W. C. Morris…”[ii] (Texas Free Will Baptist Association, Minutes, 1931, p. 6)

The Dunn’s daughter Effie Jane married Thomas W. Smith, who was a Free Will Baptist minister.

[i] Find-A-Grave gives May 12th as his death date, rather than September 15th.
[ii] The minutes usually refer to ministers with the title “Rev.”

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Free Will Baptists in Rusk County: Devan J. Dollar

Dollar, Devan Judson (1854-1931) was the son of John A. Dollar and Martha Ann Nutt, who married in St. Clair County, Alabama in 1845.[i] Devan was born in Alabama, but his family was in Arkansas by 1860. D. J. Dollar married Amanda Melvina Alford in the early-to-mid-1870s. He was active in Arkansas Free Will Baptist churches before coming to Texas. In 1899 he represented as a minister in the Greenbrier Quarterly Meeting.[ii] This Quarterly Meeting was part of the New Hope Association. The Minutes of the One-Hundredth Annual Session of Free Will Baptist of New Hope Association, 1980 lists D. J. Dollar among ministers who served in the New Hope Association, and specifically as a pastor of the Bethel/Gravel Hill Free Will Baptist Church (org. 1906) at Romance in west central White County, Arkansas (pp. 13, 16). He and his family were living in White County, Arkansas when the 1900 Census was taken. He was enumerated in the Rusk County, Texas census in 1910.[iii] If D. J. Dollar pastored the Bethel Free Will Baptist Church in Arkansas, and if it was not organized until 1906, Dollar must have moved to Texas between late 1906 and May of 1910 (when the census was taken). D. J. Dollar first settled in Brachfield, southeast of Henderson, but later moved to the west side of Henderson.[iv] He was probably a part of the Christian Chapel Church, west of Henderson on the old Tyler Highway.[v] After the death of A. M. Stewart, Dollar was elected moderator of the Texas Free Will Baptist Association in 1913. D. J. Dollar died in Rusk County in 1931 and is buried at the Mt. Hope Cemetery near Gaston/Joinerville.

Floyd and Minnie Dollar
Floyd was son of D. J. and a FWB deacon

[ii] Related by Winnie Yandell, Oklahoma Free Will Baptist researcher, on Find-A-Grave.
[iii] I found D. J. Dollar in these censuses: 1860, Union, White County, Arkansas (with parents and siblings); 1880, Kentucky County, White, Arkansas (with wife, 2 children, mother and sister); 1900, Kentucky, White County, Arkansas (with wife and 6 children); 1910, Justice Precinct 1, Rusk County, Texas (with wife, 2 children and a grandchild); 1920, Henderson, Rusk County, Texas (with wife). I did not find him in 1870 and 1930.
[iv] “Devan J. Dollar,” by Bonnie Jean Dollar Hardy, in Rusk County, Texas, History 1982, Rusk County Historical Commission, Henderson, TX: The Commission (printed by Taylor Publishing, Dallas), 1982, p. 179. Hardy says that Dollar came to Rusk County in 1896. Either that is in error by ten years, or else he came to Texas, went back to Arkansas for a time and then returned to Texas.
[v] I at least know that some of his children and grandchildren were part of this church. Floyd Washington Dollar, son of D. J. and Amanda, was a deacon in this church (Message from Linda Hardy Abbott).

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Enon and Henderson churches

A little over 10 years ago I posted about the first Baptist church organized in Rusk County. In it I mentioned the Enon and Henderson churches.

I have some photocopies that I made at Southwestern Seminary of the Sabine Baptist Association, an East Texas Baptist Association organized in 1843. In 1845 the Enon Henderson joined the association by association by petitionary letter. This suggests that these two churches were organized some time in between the October 1844 and October 1845 meetings of the Association.