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.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Rusk County Minister Writes The Free Will Baptist

The following letter from Egbert Statewright Jameson of Tatum, Texas appeared in The Free Will Baptist (Ayden, NC) Vol. 62, No. 10, March 5, 1947 on page 11. Jameson knew Angus McAllister Stewart, that he started the oldest Free Will Baptist Association in Texas (org. 1878), and that he came from Georgia. Somehow along the way the fact that he came from Georgia seems to have been lost, with many historians saying that Stewart was a missionary of the Free Baptists of the Northeast.

TEXAS.

This is to state to the good people that my health has failed now, and I had to give up active ministry, but I am still trying to do things for the Master. I have a goal for the raising of one hundred subscriptions for the Baptist paper for this year.

I am in the oldest association of Free Will Baptists in the State of Texas, and it is still young. The association was organized by the late Reverend A. M. Stewart, who came to Texas from Georgia about seventy years ago. We now have more pastors in this association than we have ever had, and they are doing the greatest work that has ever been done by Free Will Baptists in this State. We are mainly a rural church here in Texas, and some of these rural churches have gone on half-time for the first time.

We still are in need of more pastors, because a few of our churches still have no pastors to hold services for the congregations. This State is a great open field for men who are earnest, sincere, and capable of doing fine work for the Lord.

I preached for forty years, but now it seems that my work is about done. I cannot depend on my health to make dates for holding services, but I am hoping as I pray that our work may progress as never before throughout the nation. It will if we will all get to work in dead earnest. In this section the field is all white and ready for harvest, if we had the workers. Those we have here are doing good, but we just need more such loyal and active men.


Yours in His Name,

Rev. Egbert S. Jameson,
Tatum, Texas

E. S. Jameson (1878-1950) was the son of Doctor Reuben Gideon Jimmerson, who was also a Free Will Baptist preacher. [Doctor was a given name of D. R. Jimmerson, not a title. He was often referred to as Dock. The are several surname variations in this family -- including Jimmerson, Jimerson, Jemison, Jamison, and Jameson -- but Egbert Jameson was the only one in his immediate family who used his spelling.]

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Old Prospect Meeting, October 20-22

Old Prospect Baptist Church will have a weekend meeting, Friday October 20, Saturday October 21, and Sunday October 22, Lord willing.



John 1:46 Come and see.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Free Will Baptists in Rusk County: Berry and Brashier

In 1955
Berry, Hubert Ray (1912-1999) son of Fonza Monroe Berry and Mary Ann McGehee of Rusk County; married Asa Hillin. According to an article in the San Antonio Express, Hubert Ray Berry was ordained about 1932.[i] The 1932 Annual session met at Harper’s Union Church in Rusk County, but the minutes do not mention his ordination. Berry pastored several Free Will Baptist churches in Texas, including Pine Prairie near Huntsville circa 1952; Fellowship, Bryan, beginning in 1955;[ii]  Faith FWB in San Antonio beginning in 1962 at least until 1975.[iii] He was instrumental in organizing First FWB, Houston and First FWB, Nacogdoches.  In 1967 “H. Ray Berry, pastor of Faith Free Will Baptist Church, 704 W. Gerald Ave., was chosen ‘Minister of the Year’ by the Texas Association of Free Will Baptists.”[iv]

Brashier, Lewis K. (1905-1990) son of James Plinie Brashier and 
In 1967
Lillie Curry; married first, Grace Spillers; second Clover Phillips. He was born in Greenville County, South Carolina and left there sometime after 1940. He was in Sebastian County, Arkansas in 1942, when he married Clover Phillips and also enlisted in the Army for World War II. Brashier pastored at least Union Arbor and Stewart, and probably others. Brashier was living in Nacogdoches in 1957, but it is not known where he was pastoring at the time.[v] When I was a child attending singings at Stewart (sometime in the 1960s), he was the pastor or at least a member there. He was also a carpenter and a member of Carpenters’ Local 1097 in Longview, Texas.[vi]


[i] “Rev. Berry is Chosen by Baptists,” San Antonio Express, Saturday, September 2, 1967, p. 10-A “Ordained 35 years ago in Harpers Grove, Henderson, Rev. Berry has been pastor of Faith Church since its organization in 1962. He also has been instrumental in organizing churches in East Texas, Pine Prairie and Huntsville. Rev. Berry served on the General Board of the National Association of Free Will Baptist, and has been moderator of his district association, a member of the ordaining council and was secretary-treasurer of the Missions and Church extension Board.” [Note: H. Ray Berry did not organize Pine Prairie, but was pastor there when they built a new building. See Pine Prairie Free Will Baptist Church brings new building to community.]
[ii] The Bryan Daily Eagle (Bryan, Texas), Friday, October 28, 1955, p. 4
[iii] “Church News,” San Antonio Express, Saturday, August 23, 1975, p. 9-A
[iv] “Rev. Berry is Chosen by Baptists,” San Antonio Express, Saturday, September 2, 1967, p. 10-A
[v] Obituary of Rho Hutchison, who died September 22, 1957
[vi] The Carpenter, Vol. XCIII, No. 3, March 1973 (page 21) Official Publication of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Free Will Baptists in Rusk County: Churches

I have recently begun to research Free Will Baptist churches in East Texas and Rusk County. My knowledge of them has been limited, and I have found there once was many more than exist today. The first white Free Will Baptists of continuing existence (Cf. Free Will Missionary Baptist Association) began in East Texas near Clayton (Panola County) in 1876, with Good Hope in Rusk County and a few others organized shortly thereafter. The Texas Free Will Baptist Association was formed by these churches. The churches in the list below come from minutes of the association and other sources. The locations of some of them are uncertain, and in some cases may not be in Rusk County. If anyone has knowledge of these churches that are no longer in existence, I would like to hear from you!
Churches
  • Broom’s/Broome Chapel (probably in northeast Rusk County)
  • Campbell Hill (unknown)
  • Chalk Hill, Chalk Hill Community
  • Christian Chapel (unknown)
  • Christian Form (possibly in Rusk County; 2 representatives in 1940 were from Tatum; since one messenger was also listed elsewhere with Crystal Farms, it is easy to imagine that “Christian Form” was a mis-hearing and/or misprinting of “Crystal Farms”)
  • Crystal Farms (possibly near Tatum; there is a Crystal Farms Road west of Tatum)
  • Dirgin, Dirgin Community
  • Fellowship, somewhere in or near Henderson
  • First, Henderson
  • Good Hope, FM 840/Brachfield Hwy
  • Harper/Harper’s Grove/Harper’s Union, north of Minden
  • Isabel’s Chapel, Sand Hill Community in south Rusk County
  • Mt. Olive, Compton Community
  • New Hope, 4 miles north of Henderson (Chickenfeather)
  • Old Prospect, Sand Flat Community in south Rusk County
  • Sharron (unknown)
  • Stewart/Stewart Chapel, Tatum
  • Tatum (listed as Panola County in 1894 minutes)
  • Turners Chapel (location unknown, but E. S. Jameson is the delegate)
  • Union Springs (possibly in the Dirgin area, based on names of messengers)
  • Venice, south Rusk County or Nacogdoches County
The churches in bold italics are still in existence.