Monday, September 25, 2017

Free Will Churches, including Old Prospect


Our information is scant about the early history of the [Free Will Baptist, rlv] movement in Texas. Elder A. M. Stewart seems to be the earliest worker of whom we have an account.

The Texas Association

This is the oldest body that we have an account of and is located in and near Rusk County. It was formed in 1878. Through the ministry of Elder Stewart the Good Hope and Union Springs Churches in Rusk County, Union Chapel and Beckville in Panola County; Lone Star in Cherokee County, and Rape’s Chapel Churches were all gathered by Elder Stewart.
The Bright Light and Christian Home Churches were gathered by Elder T. H. Adams, in 1886. The Old Prospect in Rusk County, by Rev. James R. Lunsford, in 1887. The Beckville and Rape’s Chapel had been scattered before 1888, and at that time there were seven churches in this Association.

Excerpt from A Brief History of the Liberal Baptist People in England and America, From 1606 to 1911, G. W. Million and G. A. Barrett, editors, Pocahontas, AR: Liberal Baptist Book and Tract Company, 1911, p. 298 (I noticed in some genealogical research that Elder Stewart also pastored the Bright Light FWB in or near Bryan, Texas. He is buried at the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Carthage, Texas. The "R" initial is incorrect on Elder Lunsford. This is James Pierce Lunsford.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Lemuel Herrin

I am not that up on his genealogy, but the preacher Lemuel Herrin is a fairly well-known name in Texas Baptist history. He came here from Tennessee and was one of the pioneer preachers in East Texas. He was associated with Elder Isaac Reed, another pioneer preacher from Tennessee, and there is a good bit of marriage between the Reed and Herrin families. Though the name is sometimes given as Samuel, Lemuel is the correct given name.

Lemuel came here to Texas from Tennessee, but marraige records show that Lemuel married Mary Hendon in Oglethorpe County, Georgia in 1808. His brother Abner married Mary’s sister Keziah Hendon. The man I believe is probably Lemuel’s father-in-law was living next door to him in Franklin County, Tennessee in 1820, and died in 1822.

Lemuel and Mary Herrin were living in Franklin County, Tennessee (on the TN/AL line) when the census was taken in 1820 and in 1830 they are further north and west in Humphreys County, Tennessee. I believe they are in the 1840 census in neighboring Henry County. He was in Benton County, Tennessee before coming to Texas (at least pastoring in that county). Likely what happened was that where he lived in Humphreys County became part of Benton County when it was formed in 1835. Riley’s History of the Baptists of Texas says he came in 1841 (p. 40), and Z. N. Morrell’s book also says so, and that he settled in Harrison County (Flowers and Fruits in the Wilderness, p. 188; Panola was formed from Harrison County in 1846). Morrell was a contemporary of Herrin, so he should have been in a position to know. We know that Herrin was here at least by then through his involvement in organizing churches and association early in that decade.

By the time the censuses list children (1850), Lemuel and Mary had only one child left at home. (Year: 1850; Census Place: Panola, Texas; Roll: M432_913; Page: 163A; Image: 327) The daughter living at home was named Emaline Herrin. In 1851 in Panola County, Texas, she married John Reed. She probably died before 1860, as John appears in the census with 3 children and no wife. I am fairly certain that William M. Herrin was Lemuel and Mary’s son. Mary as a widow was living with him in 1860. I think Amanda Herrin who married Pleasant Reed was probably their daughter. I know that Karenhappuck Herrin, who married P. M. C. Winder, was their daughter. The Winders donated the original land where the church was located in the community where I preach. There was also a Gresham/Greson Herrin that I suspect was their son, and Find-A-Grave links a Lorenzo Herrin to them.

A nephew of Lemuel gave family information in a couple of letters to men in Texas (link below). Though it may not be totally accurate, it gives the passed down family information. He says that Lemuel, Elisha and Abner Herrin were son of Moses and Agnes Herrin, and about 1800 the brothers went to Tennessee. This is probably off a few years, at least for Lemuel, for we know he was married in Georgia in 1808. According to the nephew, Lemuel, wife and a daughter were given letters of dismission from his church in Tennessee in 1838, so he may have been in between leaving Tennessee and getting to Texas when the 1840 census was done.

Here are also some links that might be helpful, though I am not vouching for their accuracy.

Herrin Letters Transcribed by Marylee W. Knight
Benton County, Tennessee Genealogy Obituaries
Elijah Allred and descendants
East Texas Family Records, Volume 20, Number 04, Winter 1996
Flowers and Fruits in the Wilderness

Lemuel Herrin 63
Mary Herrin 63
Emaline Herrin 21
15 Dec 1851
Marriage Place: Panola, Texas, USA
Spouse: John Reed, probably died before 1860, as John appears in the census with 3 children na dno wife.

Name: Lemuel Herring
Spouse: Mary Hendon
Marriage Date: 5 Oct 1808
Marriage County: Oglethorpe
Marriage State: Georgia

Name: Lemuel Hevrin
[Lemuel Herrin]
Home in 1820 (City, County, State): Franklin, Tennessee
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
1830 Humphreys, Tennessee

Name Elizabeth HERRIN
Birth Oct 29, 1820, Tennessee
Death Aug 7, 1876, Texas
Father Lemuel HERRIN (~1787-1852)
Mother Mary "Polly" HENDON (~1787->1850)
1 Charles S. SCRUGGS
Marriage Sep 15, 1842, Harrison County, TX