YEAR BY YEAR
1873 - 1899
HAMILTON BAPTIST CHURCH, 1873--1946
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMILTON, 1947-1998
See also: First
Baptist Church, Hamilton, TX
Psalms 84:1-5, 10-12
1 How lovely
is your dwelling place
2 My soul
yearns, yea, even faints,
for the courts
of the LORD;
my heart and
my flesh cry out
for the living
3 Even the
sparrow has found a home,
where she may
have her young--a place near your altar.
Almighty God, my King, and my God.
4 Blessed are
they who dwell in thy house:
they are ever
praising you. Selah.
5 Blessed are
those whose strength is in you,
who have set
their hearts on pilgrimage.
10 Better is
one day in your courts
I would rather
be a doorkeeper in the house of my God,
than to dwell
in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the
LORD God is a sun and shield;
bestows favor and honor;
no good thing
does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
12 O LORD
blessed is the
man who trusts in you.
The following is a documentary of events as recorded in
the minutes of Leon River Baptist Association, Hamilton
County Baptist Association, Hamilton County Missionary Baptist
Association, and the Hamilton Baptist Association. Information and format
is widely varied from 1873 through 1997. If important information has been
omitted, it is because it was not reported in the associational minutes.
BAPTIST CHURCH OF HAMILTON
There was no mention of Hamilton Baptist
Church in the 1873 minutes of the Leon River Baptist Association which met
September 20, 22, and 23 at the Mountain Springs Baptist Church in Bell
County. Petitionary Letters were received from Palo Alto, Belton, Pleasant
Grove, Leon, and Lampasas River churches.
A ten-day Fall revival in Hamilton resulted in three converts who were
baptized into the nearest Baptist Church-- Leon
Baptist Church seven miles from Hamilton. It is possible that this
revival occurred after the annual meeting.
Minutes of the Leon River Baptist
Association are not available. Dr. Donavon Duncan Tidwell wrote that the
18-member Hamilton Missionary Baptist Church was admitted to the Leon
River Baptist Association in 1874.
A. J. Carr was appointed to the
Executive Board of the Leon River Baptist Association from Hamilton
Baptist Church in 1875 at the Annual Associational Meeting held August 6,
7, and 9th at the Philadelphia Baptist Church in Coryell County.
C. M. Boynton arrived in Hamilton in
1875. Boynton, who became editor of the Hamilton Herald, organized the
first Union Sunday School in Hamilton for all Protestant churches in the
village of 200 people. This Sunday School was first held in a small
building on the east edge of Hamilton before moving to the new rock
on College Hill. In 1886 each denomination had enough members for each to
form its own Sunday School.
Minutes of the Leon River Baptist
Association are not available.
Representatives of Hamilton Baptist
Church attended the organizational meeting on 4 July, 1877, of the Hamilton
County Baptist Association at Cottonwood
Springs, west of Evant but did
not join in the organization of the Hamilton Association since they were
members of the Leon River Baptist Association. On August 10, 1877, the
Baptist churches at Hamilton, Leon,
and Plum Creek were given letters of
dismissal from the Leon River Baptist Association which had been composed
of churches from Bell, Bosque, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, and McLennan
When the first annual session of the
newly formed Hamilton County Baptist Association was held three months
later on October 10, 1877, at the Plum Creek Church, Hamilton,
Leon, and Plum
Creek petitioned for membership.
Association Minutes for 1877 are not
available for Hamilton County Baptist Association..
The second annual meeting of Hamilton
County Baptist Association was held in 1878 when one ordained minister
(not named) was a member of the Hamilton Baptist Church which held
services on the fourth Sunday of each month. The total church funds
reported was $1.00.
The Third Annual Session of the Hamilton
County Baptist Association was held at the Cottage
Hill Baptist Church in Hamilton County, beginning July 25, 1879. At
this meeting Elders R. S. Hurt, Dave W. White, and J. H. More (Spelled
with only one "o") were appointed to a committee to establish
ties between the Hamilton County Baptist Association and The General
Association. In 1879 Joseph Alexander Land was the only ordained minister
who was a member of Hamilton Baptist Church.
There were only four Sabbath (Sunday)
Schools within the Hamilton County Baptist Association. The first day of
the annual association meeting convened at New
Hope Baptist Church, but the meeting for the remaining two days was
moved to the courthouse in Hamilton.
Hamilton Baptist Church had 4 baptisms
and 10 additions by letter in 1891 with a total membership of 31. The five
largest churches in the association were (1) New
Providence--66, (2) Cow House--65,
(3) Pleasant Valley-- 64, (4) Bennett
Creek--60, and (5) Cottage Hill--47.
In 1882 Eld. N. J. Ethridge and D. L.
Haralson were appointed as correspondents with the Pecan Valley
Association. Eld. N. J. Ethridge, C. C. Jones, and James Percival
"Pert" Henderson were chosen to represent HCBA as correspondents
with the San Saba Association. Bro. Ethridge chaired the Temperance
Committee, as well as the Ministers Education Committee at the HCBA
meeting. Ordained and licensed ministers whose address was Hamilton
included: N. J. Ethridge, Presley O’Keefe, and T. D. Talley.
In 1883 N. J. Ethridge, pastor of
Hamilton Baptist Church, was moderator of HCBA. Ordained ministers whose
address was Hamilton included: W. D. Anderson, Presley O’Keefe, and N.
J. Ethridge. T. D. Talley, a licensed minister lived at Hamilton.
Hamilton Baptist Church did not submit a church letter
to the Annual Association meeting.
Home missions was at the very doorstep
of the churches in Hamilton County Baptist Association. The unchurched
areas were considered to be destitute. Bro. G. F. Freeman, of Hamilton
Baptist Church was appointed to a committee of men from all of the HCBA
churches to be responsible for encouraging each church to contribute to
"meeting the needs of the destitute among us." From time to time
ministers were employed to be missionaries to the destitute in HCBA
territory which included all of Hamilton County and parts of Coryell,
Lampasas, Mills, and Comanche Counties.
1886 was the year in which the second courthouse
of Hamilton County burned on February 2, 1886. Residents of the southern
portion of Hamilton County were disgruntled that they were so far away
from the courthouse and petitioned for an election to be held to consider
moving the county seat to Pegtown, a
site near Shive on the land owned by John
Dillard Hunt. To retain the county seat in Hamilton the County
Commissioners negotiated a compromise so that the southern portion of
Hamilton County would be released to the new county of Mills when it was
established the following year. When the county seat election occurred,
the village of Hamilton retained the county seat by a narrow margin. The
southern border of the county was moved seven miles northward from Sims
Creek south of Center City to
immediately south of McGirk.
Rain did not fall in Hamilton County in
1886, and there was no rain in 1887 until August.
Hamilton Baptist Church pledged $25 for
Sabbath schools. W. A. Garrett, pastor of Hamilton Baptist Church, was
paid $49.37 (plus ½ cent) for two months work as the Sunday School
missionary. The HCBA Executive Board then employed Eld. Garrett to work 27
days during each of the next twelve months as a Sunday School missionary
for a total salary of $200.
The drought which began in January,
1886, was broken in August, 1887.
In 1888 congregations in HCBA were
encouraged to build church houses. The churches in of the association were
divided into districts. The churches of the first district included: Hamilton,
Gap, and Cow House. Alfred Haynes
Watson, W. W. Kilpatrick, George H. Robbins, S. J. Allen, and G. R.
Freeman, trustees of the unincorporated Baptist Church in Hamilton
purchased a lot on August 24, 1888, for a future church building.
In 1889 Hamilton Baptist Church
contributed $4.55 to home and foreign missions. Some of the diversities
which plagued the Southern Baptist Convention were manifested in Hamilton
County by 1889. To deal with the issues during one of the evening
services, a preaching services was conducted in the Methodist Church in
Hico, while the messengers continued a business session in the Hico
Baptist Church. Some of these issues were identified in later years as
the Antimissionary thrust, Hardshells, and Landmarkism. The association
had to deal with a dispute between Jonesboro
Baptist Church and Eld. J. C. Coombs. Dual Sunday morning services
were scheduled to accommodate the large number of people attending the
Annual Association meeting. Elder Dave W. White preached in the Hico
Baptist Church and Shelby King preached at the Methodist church. Dr. B. H.
Carroll preached during this annual association meeting.
By 1890 half of the 32 churches in HCBA
had a Sunday School. Only one preacher in the association was a full-time
preacher, i.e. not bi-vocational. Perhaps that preacher was the
association missionary, Bro. A. A. Hensler, who "labored 311 days
preaching 278 sermons." School Creek
Baptist Church (Lampasas County) hosted the three-day annual
association meeting and provided tents and bedding, hired cooks, and a
committee of eight young ladies to wait on tables. Four hundred guests
were served Sunday lunch.
This was the status of churches in HCBA
A. The five largest churches and
Blue Ridge--84; Hamilton--59;
King, Coryell County--58;
Home, Evant, Coryell County--56
B. Churches which owned property:
Hill; Friendship, Hico;
Jonesboro; and Sycamore
C. Churches which had services twice a
month (All others were once a month.)
Ridge; Harmony, Pidcoke, Coryell County;
and Sweet Home, Evant.
The membership in Hamilton Baptist
Church 1891 was comprised of 20 males and 42 females. Five churches ( Hico--131;
at King--73; Cow House (Pottsville) --
67, and Blue Ridge--65) were
larger than Hamilton.
Hamilton Baptist Church hosted the
annual association meeting in 1892. At this meeting letters from two
churches each purporting to be the Jonesboro
church were read. A committee was appointed to determine which church
would be seated. The committee was not able to decide which, if either, of
the contending parties was the Jonesboro church. The matter was referred
back to Jonesboro with the advise to call a council of sister churches to
assist in settling the controversy.
The pastor’s annual salary was $125 at
HBC; $5.25 was paid for association missions; $16 was sent to Buckners
Orphans Home; $2 was paid for minutes; and total expenditures for the year
was $148.25. Hico was the only church
which met more than one Sunday each month.
Nine churches reported owning property:
(value of church property is in parenthesis)
($200), Liberty at Hico ($200), Siloam
at Lamkin ($350), Stringtown at King
($325), Cottage Hill at Shive ($300), Blue
Ridge ($1,000), Sweet Home at Evant
($1,500), Simpsonville at Levita
($150), and Sycamore at Lanham ($500).
The 29 churches (not including Jonesboro)
reported a membership of 1,327, with the five largest churches being: Hico
(175), Carlton (107), Hamilton
(62), Stringtown (56), and Cow
Messengers from Jonesboro
were seated after discussion at the annual association meeting. Dave W.
White, pastor of Hamilton Baptist Church was elected moderator of HCBA.
None of the 15 ordained ministers in HCBA was supported by churches; all
were bi-vocational. Four of the 27 churches in the association had Sunday
Schools. Prior to the Cooperative Program a collection and or pledges were
taken following every report--foreign mission, home missions, state
missions, association missions, orphans home, old ministers relief,
ministerial training, colleges, etc. By the time the last report was
given, the offerings were very meager.
The budget for Hamilton Baptist Church
was $181.75 for the year.
Alien immersion and the Hardshell/Antimission
movements were causing division in the association which resulted in the
"RESOLVED: that this Association
now puts herself on record against alien immersion as unscriptural, and
consequently without church authority, and that this body advise and
request the various churches to take action and report on same subject at
our next regular session."
This was a year of growth for Hamilton
Baptist Church with the addition of 22 members--11 by baptism and 11 by
letter, three were restored, and three joined by statement. Losses
included three by letter, three by expulsion, and one by death. making a
total of 75 members--33 males and 42 females.
There were 1,480 Baptists in 29 churches
in HCBA. The five largest churches were: Hico
(227), Carlton (162), Sweet
Home (89), Hamilton (75) and Simpsonville
(62). Blue Ridge, Carlton,
Olive at Bee House, Sims Creek at
Atherton, Sycamore, and Sweet
Home churches owned property.
By 1895 the town of Hamilton had a
population of 726. The railroad had not arrived, although there had been a
post office since 1874.
Within HCBA there were five Sunday
Schools with 240 in attendance, and twenty-two churches with a total
membership of 1,212. Heresies continued to cause problems for HCBA, thence
the following resolution was made:
"RESOLUTION: Whereas, As there has
been division and dissention sown through our Association by the advocacy
and dissemination of extreme positions on assurance and prayer, viz. That
if a professor of religion ever had a doubt of his salvation. That he is a
lost sinner, and that it is no use for a sinner to pray: and
"WHEREAS, As we the Hamilton County
association regard each extremes as heresy of the deepest dye we advise
the churches to discountenance any one as a Baptist who holds and
advocates these heresies; and
"WHEREAS, As Friendship
church is supporting or fellowshipping the above named heresies and the
said church is also causing trouble by receiving members from other
churches in an irregular and unauthorized manner; therefore be it
RESOLVED, That Friendship
church be dropped from the roll, and we would recommend to all the
churches composing the Association to mark them that cause divisions and
offenses contrary to the doctrine which they have received, and void
J. P. Rodgers
P. H. Young
On motion Jonesboro
and Sycamore churches were dropped from
the roll and this body refused to recognize B. S. Bassell, J. P.
Henderson, and J. Linebarger as ministers of the gospel on the same
charges of heresy as mentioned in the above resolution.
While the churches in HCBA were not able
to raise enough money to pay a missionary to serve within the association,
a committee of one-- F. L. DuPont was selected to correspond with W. D.
Powell in Mexico in regards to HCBA’s paying the salary of a missionary
in Mexico, without going through the Foreign Mission Board.
The controversy faced by the Southern
Baptist Convention about research done by Dr. William H. Whitsitt,
President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY, was
considered by HCBA and resulted in the following resolution.
"Resolution: Whereas Dr. Whitsitt
is professor of Church History in the Baptist Theological Seminary at
Louisville, KY, and has recently published to the world that Baptism by
immersion was unknown to and unpracticed by the Baptists of England prior
to 1641 and was about that time first invented and practiced by them, and
"Whereas, this teaching is well
known to be contrary to well-established facts recorded by both Baptists
and Pedo-Baptist authors from whom we have derived the church history of
that period, and
"Whereas, this teaching of Dr.
Whitsitt is both counter to the truth and reflects discredit upon the
Baptists of England from whom many of our churches have descended;
"Resolved, That we respectfully
call upon those in charge of said seminary to remove Dr. Whitsitt from the
position occupied by him as an unsafe teacher of the young ministers who
are being sent to that institution from the churches of Texas and all the
"Resolved, further, That if he
refuses to resign and the trustees retain him in his position, that this
body respectfully urge upon our young ministers that they refuse to
patronize this school and that our Baptist people every where withhold
their support from this institution until Dr. Whitsitt shall have vacated
its presidency, either by resignation or removal by the Board of
Respectfully submitted, G. R. Freeman
The first church building of Hamilton
Baptist Church was completed prior to August 13, 1896. Hamilton
Baptist Church reported a Sunday School and a weekly prayer meeting.
[The June 9, 1897, issue of the "The Hamilton
Herald" reported that this build was still being built.]
For the second time Hamilton Baptist Church hosted
the Annual Association meeting in August, 1897. At this meeting
resolutions were considered about (1) the removal of Dr. William H.
Whitsitt from the presidency of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in
Louisville, KY, (2) about the removal of Dr. R. C. Burleson from the
presidency of Baylor University, and (3) a resolution from Hico
about mission work conducted by the State Mission Board at Waco.
Whitsitt had published articles about the Separatist
origins (instead of Anabaptist) of modern Baptists. In 1896 he published A
Question in Baptist History, in which he recorded his research that
Particular Baptists had "recovered immersion in 1641." Wade D.
Vinson, Chairman of the Ministerial Education Committee recommended that
HCBA withhold contributions to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary until
the retirement or removal of Dr. Whitsitt as president. (Whitsitt was
forced to resign from Southern Seminary in 1898.)
"RESOLUTION: We understand that whereas the
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, of Louisville, KY, was endowed by
Baptists all over the Southern and Western states for the complete
education in religious learning and Bible knowledge of preachers of the
gospel: Whereas the fact that has recently been developed that the
President of that Seminary many years ago wrote and published without
signature teachings antagonistic to what is believed by Baptists to be the
established history of the Baptist churches of England from which the
churches of America are to a large extend descended, and did so (as he now
publicly owns) from a Pedo-Baptist standpoint and whereas he taught in
those publications that prior to the year 1641 Baptists of England
practiced sprinkling for baptism, and at about that time baptism by
immersion was first invented in England.
"In the face of the established historic fact
that immersion was always required by the scriptures, and was practiced by
the Apostolic churches, having begun with the very inception of
Christianity, and has been practiced by orthodox churches or congregations
in every age since that time, and was the practice of those churches in
England since the introduction of Christianity into that county, and
whereas to teach otherwise is to war upon the doctrine of Jesus, where He
said: "Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell
shall not prevail against it." and to unsettle the faith of our
people who believe that in the Baptist churches that promise and prophesy
have been fulfilled and whereas Dr. Whitsitt, president of that Seminary,
has recently and again publicly owned such teaching being at the same time
professor of Church history in the Seminary and as we deem so to each is
exceedingly hurtful to the truth, and to place a weapon in the hands of
the enemies of our denomination, and tends rapidly to convert our great
Seminary into a Pedo-Baptist Institution, while falsely instructing our
young ministers who attend the seminary and whereas the trustees of that
Seminary having their attention called to these facts by protests from
Baptists all over the South and West have failed to remove Dr. Whitsitt
from the faculty of the Seminary and whereas it has come to our notice
that under the charter of the seminary the trustees are not directly
amenable to the Baptist churches of the South, and there is no practical
means of controlling the Seminary in the hands of the Baptists by whom it
was endowed; Therefore, resolved:
"That this body of Baptists advise that so long
as Dr. Whitsitt remains in the faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological
Seminary that the seminary should not be patronized by Baptists or
attended by Baptist ministers and we will not give it our support by any
means or receive the ministry of its students, and that however the
seminary belongs to the Baptists justly and equitably as their property,
and we urge upon its trustees and especially upon its trustees residing in
Texas that at the earliest possible time they use all the means and
influence within their control to remove Dr. Whitsitt from the faculty of
this seminary and see that the other members of the faculty are free from
the prevalent heresy of the day, especially that of the so called higher
"Resolved further: that the trustees are
requested to order to restore unshaken confidence in the institution to
take steps to have its charter so amended as to place it more directly
under the control of the Baptist denomination by providing that the
trustees be selected by the Southern Baptist Convention at stated times
and their term of office be only for a certain number of ---say ten years.
W. M. Howell
S. J. Allen
L. S. Bratton
James W. McKenzie
J. P. Rodgers
Controversies and problems facing the
SBC were present in HCBA. The Committee also offered the following report
as a substitute for resolutions No. 1 and 2 offered by W. W. Grace of Hico
"Your committee on resolutions
would respectfully offer the following:
"As a substitute for resolution
No. 1 offered by Bro. Grace of Hico church relative to the State Board on
Retrenchment, we would recommend that the churches of Hamilton County
Association send to the next meeting of the State Convention a full
delegation. While we would not retard the progress of missions we would
urge upon the churches that they instruct their delegates to favor
retrenchment in the management of our finances, by cutting down the
official force and reduction of salaries, thus enabling us to increase our
force in the field, also enabling us to promptly pay our Missionaries
their hard earned wages.
"And on Resolution No. 2,
offered by Bro. Grace relative to the removal of Dr. R. C. Burleson as
president of Baylor University that while we greatly deplore the removal
of our venerable brother, Dr. Burleson, from his honored position in which
he has so faithfully labored for near half a century, we have not
sufficient information before us to act intelligently. Therefore we
recommend that the delegates sent by the several churches of our
Association to the State Convention fully investigate this matter, and
endeavor to bring about a reconciliation without hurting our educational
interests at Baylor or doing Dr. Burleson or the Board of Trustees any
Signed by the same resolution
committee as above.
There were six Sunday Schools in
HCBA. Hamilton Baptist Church had five additions by baptism, and lost
eleven members--8 by letter, 2 were expelled, and one died. Membership was
composed of 33 males and 58 females.
In June, 1897,
construction was in progress on the stone building which would be the
first church building owned by Hamilton Baptist Church.
In Texas in 1898 there were 98 associations, 2,818
Baptist churches with 186,989 members, 1,647 ordained ministers, and 1,058
Sunday Schools. Twenty churches and 7 Sunday Schools were in HCBA. Old
(retired) ministers were paid $3.33 1/3 per month by the State Convention.
Eld. P. B. Chandler was an appointee from the Home Mission Board who was
working in Gatesville.
Eld. M. L. Davis, of Hico, was
introduced as a Sunday School Missionary and Colporteur. The five largest
churches in the association were: Hico--339,
Carlton and Martin’s
Gap--146, Hamilton--92, and Sweet
Hamilton Baptist Church became the first church in
HCBA to have services three Sundays each month.
The report from the Ministerial
Education Committee indicated that the problem at Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, had been solved, and Dr. E. Y.
Mullins was now its president. Dr. Whitsitt had been forced to resign
because his research undermined and challenged the tenets of Landmarkism.
The views of Dr. Whitsitt were supported by most of his faculty.
This was a year of growth for Hamilton Baptist Church
with the addition of fourteen members by baptism and fifteen by letter.
There was only one loss--a death. Forty-two males and sixty-seven females
were members of this church. Services changed from three to two Sundays
A HISTORY OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMILTON
YEAR BY YEAR, 1900 - 1925
YEAR BY YEAR 1926 - 1950
YEAR BY YEAR 1951 - 1975
YEAR BY YEAR 1976 - 1998
PASTORS, BAPTISMS, MEMBERSHIP, CHURCH PROPERTY VALUE
SUNDAY SCHOOL and DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING
LIBRARIAN, CHURCH DEBT, STAFF SALARIES
CHAIRMAN OF DEACONS, MUSIC DIRECTOR, PIANIST, ORGANIST
WMU and BROTHERHOOD
TREASURER, CHURCH CLERK, EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER
THE CHURCHES OF HAMILTON BAPTIST ASSOCIATION