YEAR BY YEAR, 1873 - 1899

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1873 - 1899



See also:  First Baptist Church, Hamilton, TX
Includes pictures


Psalms 84:1-5, 10-12

1 How lovely is your dwelling place
O LORD Almighty!

2 My soul yearns, yea, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
where she may have her young--a place near your altar.
O LORD 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
than a thousand elsewhere;
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;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

12 O LORD Almighty,
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. 





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 school 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 Counties.

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, Grove, Siloam, Lamkin, Indian 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 in 1890:

A. The five largest churches and membership:

Hico--93; Blue Ridge--84; Hamilton--59;

Stringtown, King, Coryell County--58;

Sweet Home, Evant, Coryell County--56

B. Churches which owned property:

Cottage Hill; Friendship, Hico; Jonesboro; and Sycamore at Lanham

C. Churches which had services twice a month (All others were once a month.)

Blue 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; Carlton--97; Stringtown 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)

Carlton ($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 House (54).


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 following statement:

"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, Hico, Mt. 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 them."

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; therefore,

"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 southwest.

"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 Trustees."

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 criticism.

"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.

Respectfully submitted:

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 Church

"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 injustice.

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 Home--81.

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 each month.



YEAR BY YEAR, 1900 - 1925

YEAR BY YEAR 1926 - 1950

YEAR BY YEAR 1951 - 1975

YEAR BY YEAR 1976 - 1998











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People and Places: Gazetteer of Hamilton County, TX
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Copyright © March, 1998
by Elreeta Crain Weathers, B.A., M.Ed.,  
(also Mrs.,  Mom, and Ph. T.)

A Work In Progress