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).