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!
  • 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.


Blogger R. L. Vaughn said...

There was a community called Venice or Wonders in northeastern Nacogdoches County.

"WONDERS, TEXAS. Wonders, also known as Wander's and Venice, was a rural community sixteen miles northeast of Nacogdoches on Wonders Creek in northeastern Nacogdoches County. The area was first settled around 1858...Both names were evidently used for a time, but eventually Wonders became more common. By 1885 Wonders had four churches..." Would be nice to know the four churches!

Delegates from Venice Church in 1932 were: J. B. Fry and wife, S. E. Lunsford, L. A. Boatman
Delegates from Venice Church in 1934 were: C. E. Curbow, I. F. Lunsford, F. A. Boatman, S. E. Lunsford

C. E. Curbow is likely Charlie Ebbin Curbow, who is buried at Walnut Grove. He was a son-in-law of I. F. Lunsford, who is also buried at Walnut Grove. If the initials were reversed, S. E. Lunsford might be Edgar Shade Lunsford, son of I. F. There is a Floyd A. Boatman buried at Garrison. Could be the right person. Wonders Creek is west of Garrison and probably begins somewhere near Walnut Grove.

Note that Venice is a different church than Mt. Union, which was also in existence at the time. In the 1930s Mt. Union may have been further north of Walnut Grove than it is now. Venice/Wonders was likely south of it. Perhaps I can find an old map that located the community.

10:19 PM  
Blogger R. L. Vaughn said...

Venice is probably out of existence by 1940, when it is not listed in the minutes and Mr. & Mrs. C. E. Curbow are delegates from Mt. Union.

1:38 PM  
Blogger R. L. Vaughn said...

Broom's/Broome Chapel may have been in Panola County rather than Rusk County. There was a school called Broome at Sugar Hill. The Sugar Hill Cemetery is basically at the Rusk-Panola County line. It is north & east of Church Hill, and south & west of Tatum. The school was probably in this vicinity and the church might have even met in the school.

4:54 PM  
Blogger R. L. Vaughn said...

Google Map showing Sugar Hill Cemetery coordinates

5:09 PM  
Blogger R. L. Vaughn said...

Christian Chapel was on the west side of Henderson. A descendant of D. J. Dollar and Floyd W. Dollar, who attended the Christian Chapel Free Will Baptist Church as a child, gave me information on its whereabouts. The church was located on the Old Tyler Highway, now known as County Road 424 W. The church was at the top of the hill next to R. Q. Bynum's home on the right side of the road from Bonnie Jean Dollar Hardy's home (3692 CR 424 W). Floyd Washington Dollar, a deacon in the church, and his wife Minnie lived next door to his daughter Bonnie and their General Store was on the other side of their home.

9:23 PM  
Blogger R. L. Vaughn said...

Messengers from Union springs in 1894 and 1913 were: A. M. Richardson (probably Andrew McDonald Richardson, son of Brooks Washington Richardson), Lloyd Adams, J. P. Jennings (James Percy Jennings). These seemed to live in the Harmony Hill/Dirgin vicinity in north Rusk County at the times of their services.

1:40 PM  

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