Thursday, May 31, 2007

M. M. Wallace

One fairly early Rusk County Baptist minister was M. M. Wallace (Miles Milford Wallace 1810-1867). M. M. Wallace preached in East Texas in the 1850s-60s. He came to Texas from Arkansas;He is in the 1850 Ouachita County, Arkansas census. in East Texas as early as 1853, when he preached before a conference at Union Church, Nacogdoches County. He was pastoring in Rusk and Nacogdoches counties in 1856, and he is found in the Polk County (TX) census in 1860.

The following is from Pioneer Faith: The History of Missionary Baptist Associations and Churches in Arkansas from 1818 to 1920. It was published by the History and Archives Committee of the State Association of Missionary Baptist Churches of Arkansas in 1994:

From page 243:
"In June of 1848, Elder Miles M. Wallace...
"In his report of the results of these meetings, Elder Wallace reported, 'I assisted in the constitution of two Baptist Churches, one in Saline County and one in
Jefferson County...'
"Miles Milford Wallace was born February 6, 1810 in South Carolina. He became a Baptist in 1830 and was ordained in the Gospel ministry in 1832. By 1836 he was pastoring two churches in Greenville County, South Carolina...
"His first stop seems to have been Greene Co., Alabama where he pastored for several months and made many acquaintances. He later located some of these previous acquaintances in Arkansas and organized churches in several places in the State..."

The footnote on page 267 states, "...Most of the information...on Miles Milford Wallace was supplied by Russell P. Baker, Deputy Director of the Arkansas History Commission."

In 1856 M. M. Wallace was a delegate to the Judson Baptist Association from the New Salem Baptist Church -- which is listed as in Nacogdoches County, but no post office is given. Other delegates from this church were: W. L. Eddins, A. H. Morgan and G. Petty. Wallace was the pastor. At this time Elder Wallace was also pastoring two churches in southern Rusk County: Cool Springs and Mt. Zion. Mt. Zion was about 3 miles east of Mt. Enterprise and Cool Springs was about 4 miles west of Laneville. He was also pastoring a New Hope in Rusk County in the Soda Lake Association.

Source: 1860 Census, Polk County Texas, Pct. 7, HH#159
M.M. Wallace, age 50, b. ca 1810 SC; Occupation:
Baptist Minister
J.S. Wallace, age 42, b. ca 1818 NC
William Wallace, age 23, b. ca 1837 SC
Byron Wallace, age 18, b. ca 1842 AR
Caroline Wallace, age 15, b. ca 1845 AR
George Wallace, age 14, b. ca 1846 AR
Aldax Wallace, age 9, b. ca 1851 LA (female)
Lucy Wallace, age 5, b. ca 1855 TX
Ann Wallace, age 7, b. ca 1853 LA

M. M. Wallace is buried in the Jacksonville City Cemetery.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Free Will Missionary Baptist Association

This post diverges from our Rusk County theme, but relates to a bit of information brought up in my last post.

Relative to the division in the Sabine Baptist Association, Z. N. Morrell wrote, "One extreme, if pressed persistently, usually begets another, and this furnished no exception to the rule. Antinomianism, founded on predestination and election, pressing the eternal purposes of God, without the proper consideration of the means leading to the end, drove some brethren to the opposite extreme, who, under the influence of Arminianism, waged a relentless war against their 'iron jacket' brethren. These opposing elements, both alike at war with truth, finally resulted in the dissolution of the Sabine Association, at its sixth or seventh session, held with Mount Olivet church, Cherokee County.
1 The anti-missionary and free-will elements, went off into small and separate organizations....

"The extreme measures adopted by these brethren in their opposition to all mission organizations drove other brethren off to the other extreme, even into fanaticism, under the name of 'Free Will Baptists'.

"These gave man more to do than the Bible allowed, while the others placed less upon his shoulders than it required of him. The exact date of the organization of the 'Free Will Missionary Baptist Association' I cannot give, but the minutes of October, 1850, show that it met with the Ayish Bayou church, in San Augustine County, Elder G. W. Slaughter as moderator. The churches composing the Association in 1850 were four,-- Ayish Bayou, Bethel, Milam and Sardis. So zealously did these brethren advocate instrumentalities, that the following resolution appears in the minutes alluded to: --

"'Resolved, That this association recommend to the prayerful consideration of all the friends of the Redeemer, that, in place of building tents out of wood on such occasions, each head of a family make a tent of cloth, and take their wagon, with forage enough to feed their horses for a few days, and enough of light diet to feed their families, and approach the door of the sanctuary, as the Israelites did the tabernacle, and take God at his word, and lay hold of his promises, and see if he will not pour you out a blessing, that wilt fill your heart with gladness, and make you rejoice in place of mourn when you come to press a dying pillow.'

"Trembling under a sense of their responsibility, and aroused by the inactivity of their predestinarian brethren in their very midst, the messengers of these four churches passed a second resolution in favor of missionary combinations and extensive operations: --

"'Resolved by this association, That it is our prayerful desire to see three thousand six hundred missionary boards organized in our bounds, and see flowing therefrom, as a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, one hundred and seventy thousand itinerant preachers, such as Paul and Silas, going forth in the name of Israel's God, conquering and to conquer, till iniquity becomes ashamed and hides its head. Then will the church of the living God come together like Solomon's temple, without the sound of a hammer.'

"Distressed by what they termed illiberality on the part of the Regular Predestinarian Baptists, touching church order and the atonement, they aspired to an enlarged liberality, and passed another resolution: --

"Resolved, That the ministers and deacons of other associations are respectfully invited to be in attendance in all our churches and meetings that are convenient, and that all Christian ministers shall receive a cordial welcome in our stands, at any time, of every denomination.'

"But little progress was ever made by this organization. The leaders and followers alike possessed a zeal without knowledge, and if they have maintained an organization in later years, I have been unable to find any published statements of the fact."

-- Flowers and Fruits from the Wilderness by Z. N. Morrell (Boston, MA: Gould & Lincoln, 1872, pages 189-193)

Morrell terms the above group "Free Will Baptists". The name is given as the "Free Will Missionary Baptist Association." From the way he writes, it appears that he had a copy of the 1850 minutes. Other information puts the beginnings of Free Will Baptists in Texas in the 1870s.

Information on George Webb Slaughter (1811-1895) probably points us toward the right direction here. In 1850, Slaughter was the moderator of this association. The 1847 minutes of the Sabine Association list him as a "licensed minister", and other sources state that he left the Methodist Church and united with the Baptists circa 1842. Open communion was the official reason that Bethel, Bayou and Milam churches (3 of the 4 churches named by Morrell) were excluded from the Sabine Association in 1848 (p. 5). Slaughter is later connected to the Brazos River Association, the
Brazos Institute in Palo Pinto County, and men like Noah Byars and Choctaw Bill Robinson. He evidently "re-entered" Southern Baptist life after his stint with the "Free Will Missionary Baptist Association." If I'm not mistaken, his son C. C. Slaughter was a major financier of Baptist General Convention of Texas causes.

The Free Will Missionary Baptist Association came out of the old Sabine Association and probably died out after a few years. It is very likely that they never had any connection with the Randall or Palmer branches of the Free Will Baptists. I think they probably should be considered Free Will Baptists only in the general sense.

Other Links
G. W. Slaughter, Handbook of Texas online
G. W. Slaughter, 1st married in Republic of Texas
Colonel C. C. Slaughter

1. The Sabine Association dissolved itself in 1849 at the meeting of the Mt. Olive Church Oct. 6-8, 1849. Many of these churches met together to form the Eastern Texas Association of United Baptists in November of that year. An almost complete set of Sabine minutes (1843-1845, 1847-1849) is available at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. (And Baylor also, I think)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Older Baptist churches in Rusk County

The following notes suggest some of the older Baptist churches in Rusk County. These are preliminary and subject to reassessment, clarification and/or correction as I research all the Baptists in Rusk County.

**Updated, October, 2019**

African-American Baptist
Mother Zion, Henderson, 1869
Mt. Zion, Laneville, 1870

Information from Clyde McQueen’s Black Churches of Texas: A Guide to Historic Congregations and Mt. Zion’s cornerstone

American Baptist Association
Pleasant Hill, New London, between 1855 and 1859

Information from Mt. Zion minutes, 2003

Baptist (not classified)
[ext.] Enon, southeastern Rusk County, ca. 1845 (in the Sabine Baptist Association by fall of 1845)

[ext.] Henderson, Henderson, ca. 1845 (in the Sabine Baptist Association by fall of 1845)
[ext.] Hepsaba, Henderson, ca. 1847 (in the Sabine Baptist Association by fall of 1847)
[ext.] Mt. Zion, Lawsonville, by 1857 (Mt. Zion Association was organized at this church)
Information from Sabine Baptist Association minutes

Baptist Missionary Association
New Salem, New Salem, 1858
Information from Baptist New Service’s BMAA Directory and Handbook

Free Will Baptist
Good Hope, Henderson, before 1878 (constituent member of the Texas Free Will Baptist Association in 1878).

[ext.] Union Springs, location unknown, before 1878 (constituent member of the Texas Free Will Baptist Association in 1878).
According to the History of Free Will Baptist State Associations (Robert E. Picirilli, ed., 1976, Randall House Publications, Nashville, TN), the first Free Will Baptist Church in Texas was organized at Clayton in Panola County (Rusk County’s eastern neighbor) in 1876. In contrast to this, Z. N. Morrell identifies a division of the old Sabine Baptist Association as the “Free Will Missionary Baptist Association” (org. sometime before 1850, with churches evidently in San Augustine and Sabine counties; p. 192, Flowers and Fruits from the Wilderness).

Primitive Baptist
[ext.] Mt. Ararat, Henderson (was in the Union Association at least by 1854 and the Little Hope Association in and after 1855; the Henderson Primitive Baptist Church may be a descendant of Mt. Ararat)
[ext.] Little Hope, New Salem (was in the Little Hope Association at least by 1855; one can wonder whether the association might have been formed at this church circa 1846)
[ext.] Pilgrim’s Rest, Mt. Enterprise (was in the Little Hope Association at least by 1855)
[ext.] Union, Harmony Hill (was in the Little Hope Association at least by 1855)
[ext.] Concord, Millville (was in the Little Hope Association at least by 1855)
[ext.] Pilgrim, Belleview (was in the Little Hope Association at least by 1855)

Information from notes on East Texas Associations made by Pauline Shirley Murrie and housed at the East Texas Research Center at SFA, Nacogdoches. I have not seen the above minutes.

Southern Baptist Convention
First Baptist, Henderson, 1850
Pine Hill (orig. Holly Springs), Pine Hill, 1851
London, New London, 1856
First Baptist, Overton, 1857

Information from Rusk-Panola Association minutes, 2000

United Baptist
[ext.] Friendship, New Salem (was in the Eastern Texas Association by 1852)

Information from notes on East Texas Associations made by Pauline Shirley Murrie. I have not seen the above minutes.

The notation “ext.” is for “extinct”, meaning the church is (evidently) no longer in existence.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

First Baptist church in Rusk County

At this late date it will probably be near impossible to ever identify the first Baptist church in Rusk County, Texas. Among Baptist churches still in existence, First Baptist Church of Henderson is apparently the oldest. Another Baptist Church, now extinct, existed in Henderson before this one. Other existing Baptist churches in Rusk County among the oldest include: Pine Hill, Pleasant Hill, and London.

Possible candidates for the first church in Rusk County:
Mt. Zion (I have read claims this is the oldest but can't determine when it was organized)
Shiloh (a comment in an obituary indicates this church could go back to 1840)
Henderson (there was a Baptist Church in Henderson by around 1845)
Enon (possibly around Mt. Enterprise and an early member of the Sabine Baptist Association)

I will offer some more thoughts on this a little later.