YEAR BY YEAR
1926 - 1950
HAMILTON BAPTIST CHURCH, 1873--1946
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMILTON, 1947-1998
See also: First
Baptist Church, Hamilton, TX
There were 833 Home Missionaries, 400 State
Missionaries, and 544 Foreign Missionaries representing the Baptists of
Hamilton County around the world through the SBC and BGCT. The first
report of the Co-Operative Program was presented. This organized effort
unified all Baptist causes--Foreign Missions, Home missions, Christian
Education, Hospitals, Orphanages, Old Ministers Relief, and State Missions
into one financial endeavor. Until this time each organization had to make
appeals to each church and association for support. A distribution formula
insured that every dollar given through the Cooperative Program would help
every Baptist cause.
Summer assemblies were held at Leuders, Southeast
Texas, Port Menard, Palacios, Lampasas, and Cristoval.
The association voted to charter a car (railroad) to
collect provisions to be sent to Buckner Orphan Home.
Local expenses of Hamilton Baptist Church were
W. L. Stewart was the associational missionary.
There were sixteen summer assemblies, with Clifton being the newest.
Baptists schools in Texas were: Baylor University, Baylor College,
Howard Payne College, Marshall College, Burleson College, Decatur College,
Rusk College, Maryland College, and San Marcos Academy.
Sweetwater Baptist Association operated Simmons
University, while the SBC owned Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
and W. M. U. Training School in Fort Worth.
The Laymenís movement had a new name--Baptist
Brotherhood of the South. The association planned to charter a car
(railroad) to send meat, lard, flour, meal, canned or dry vegetables,
fruit, syrup and honey, feed stuffs, and a box of turkeys about November
20 to Buckner Orphans Home. The Cotton Belt Railroad provided the railroad
car without charge to the association. Stephen Anderson Rains was
recognized as the pastor with the longest years of service--33 years,
while Donavon Duncan Tidwell was the youngest pastor with four years of
Local expenses of Hamilton Baptist Church were
The Cooperative Program provided a means for every
Baptist to support all facets of SBC and BGCT work. Still recovering from
the throes of financial crisis as the result of overspending (borrowing
money to finance mission efforts) the Home Mission Board had reduced its
staff by one-third in Independent and Direct Missions and had not filled
other vacancies leaving only 105 Home Missionaries. The crisis was
heightened when the discovery was made that Clinton S. Carnes, Treasurer
of the Home Mission Board had embezzled more than $900,000.
There were 513 Foreign missionaries who each
received a salary of $800 annually. The Relief and Annuity Board was
organized in July, 1928. W. L. Stewart was employed as associational
missionary for both Erath and Hamilton Counties. More than 800 children
lived in Buckner Orphans Home.
Local expenses of Hamilton Baptist Church were
$3,370.25. Hamilton was one of only three churches in HCMBA which had
services every Sunday. The other two were Hico
R. W. Bynum was employed as the associational
missionary on April 15. The estimated population of Hamilton County was
15,000 with half of that number unsaved. Local expenditures of Hamilton
Baptist Church were $1,084.49.
If the Social and Civic Righteousness Report
presented to the association had been heeded, many of the current moral
and social problems of 1998 would have been averted.
Social and Civic Righteousness
"Righteousness exalteth a Nation but Sin is a
reproach to any people." Proverbs 14:34
"The righteousness of any community will be
determined solely by the righteousness of the individual lives of the
people of the community. Since this be true, your committee makes the
following recommendations, and prays that this Association body go on
record as advocating the same:
"1. A strict observance of the prohibition law,
and a stand against any person, group of persons, or political party who
would attempt to defeat the letter of the spirit of the 17th Amendment.
"2. A return to the observance of the Lordís
Day as a Holy Day and not a holiday to be contaminated by Sunday baseball,
motion pictures, and all forms of Godless amusement.
"3. A definite stand against anything that
would tend to destroy the God-given modesty and purity of the sexes, such
as mixed bathing, dancing, etc.
"4. The closing of the doors of our homes to
any worldly amusement that would tend to weaken character and lead our
homes away from God.
"5. The demand on the part of our churches of
its members for a clean life of separation from the world, 2nd Cor. 6:10.
We believe this to be necessary, for if the Church of Jesus Christ fails
to condemn that which is sinful, it stands to reason that no one else will
do so and largely upon the shoulders of the Christian people shall fall
the task of promoting civic righteousness and temperance."
Thomas Edwin Stribling,
The financial crisis of the Home Mission Board was
further explained-- "The Home Mission Board has passed through a
serious crisis in the defalcation of our treasurer, Clifford S. Carnes, to
the amount of $909,461." This was a devastating blow to the image of
the convention and damaged the trust Baptists had in their Boards.
Local expenses for Hamilton Baptist Church were
$4,270.80. R. W. Bynum remained the associational missionary. Many of the
small churches were able to have church services only when Bynum could
preach for them. The association was in arrears in paying Bynumís
salary. Messengers were assigned homes in Agee
to stay overnight during the annual meeting.
1931 and 1932
The impact of the Great Depression hit Hamilton
County in 1931; hence, the 1931 and the 1932 minutes of the annual
meetings were not printed until 1933 when they were included with the
minutes of that year. Consequently the 1931 and 1932 minutes were
For the first time (and apparently the only time) in
the history of Hamilton County Baptist Association/Hamilton County
Missionary Baptist Association, the annual session was convened in 1931 by
a lady, my great-aunt, Anna Jane Stribling, who was the ranking
associational officer present at the beginning of this session at the Ohio
Baptist Church. A. J. Quinn was soon elected moderator pro tem.
The association appointed a committee to oversee sending a car (railroad)
of goods to Buckner Orphans Home. Pledges were made to pay the delayed
salary of R. W. Bynum, the associational missionary.
Dr. J. Howard Williams, General Secretary of the
BGCT attended the 1933 annual session of HCMBA. The depression caused the
work of the Foreign Mission Board to be reduced drastically. Missionaries
on furlough could not return to their fields, and missionaries who were
due furloughs could not come home. Schools, seminaries, and hospitals were
closed. The FMB paid $65,000 interest on borrowed money.
Buckner Orphans Home reduced the number of children
being cared for from about 750 to 568, cut staff, reduced salaries for the
remaining staff, and needed repairs could not be made.
Baptist hospitals in TX included: Baylor University
Hospital, Dallas; V. L. LeTulle Hospital at Bucknerís Orphan Home;
Valley Baptist Hospital; Memorial Hospital, Houston; Central Texas Baptist
Sanitarium, Waco; and West Texas Baptist Sanitarium, Abilene.
Frank Tripp, pastor of First Baptist Church, St.
Joseph, MO, organized in 1933 and led a fight--the Hundred Thousand Dollar
Club-- against the indebtedness of the SBC. The members of this club were
Baptists who pledged to give $1.00 per month above their usual
contributions to be used to pay off the debt. Some loans were
re-negotiated at lower rates. Tripp promised that SBC would pay all of
their debts--and we did.
Determined not to exceed funding Buckner Orphans
Home could admit only the children most desperately in need. The home was
caring for 525 school-age children whose care per day cost a minimum of
sixty cents. Churches were urged to take birthday offerings through the
Sunday School so that there would be monthly offerings for the benefit of
Julius King made a report of his first eight months
as District 16 Missionary. HCMBA voted to cooperate with the District in
developing an encampment at Menard. Two hundred people served as Home
Dr. R. C. Campbell, Secretary of the BGCT attended
the annual association as well as Mr. Bohannon, a representative of the
Baptist Book Store. Judson Prince made a report about the Hundred Thousand
Club. First Baptist Church, St. Joseph, MO, had allowed their pastor,
Frank Tripp, to lead the movement to raise money to pay the indebtedness
of various agencies of the SBC. Every penny raised through this club was
used in debt-retirement.
Every church was urged to have a standard Sunday
School and to have a Vacation Bible School. The Sixtieth Annual session
passed the following resolutions:
"1. That we, the people of God, set an example
of Sabbath observance. We feel that Sabbath desecration is one of our
"2. That the frequenting of beer joints be
looked upon as one of the great sins of our day.
"3. That we look with disdain upon bridge and
card parties, playing for prizes or otherwise.
"4. That our socials be under church control
for our young people so they may be tied on to our church program instead
of a worldly program."
Randolph Hunter "Randall" Gibson
C. C. Onstott
The original name of the association was restored--
Hamilton County Baptist Association--by a constitutional revision.
The number of Home Missionaries had increased to 235
and Foreign Missionaries to 417. Baptist hospitals in Texas were: Baptist
Sanitarium, El Paso; Baylor Hospital, Dallas; Memorial Hospital, Houston;
Hillcrest Memorial Hospital, Waco; Fort Worth Hospital, Fort Worth; West
Texas Sanitarium, Abilene; and Valley Hospital, Harlingen.
Two revivals were held during the year, the Lordís
Supper was observed twice; and 62 families of Hamilton Baptist Church
received the Baptist Standard. The eighteen-room brick church
building was built in 1925. The auditorium would seat 500 people. The
pastorís home was valued at $2,000. Church indebtedness was $1,800.
Insurance was not carried on either the church or the parsonage.
The W. M. U. was not separate from the Association,
the BGCT, or the SBC, but rather an auxiliary to these organizations. In
the local church it included the Womanís Missionary Society (WMS), the
Young Womanís Auxiliary (YWA), the Girls Auxiliary (GAís), the Royal
Ambassadors (RAís), and the Sunbeam Band, and its purpose was to provide
training in missions, Christian Education and benevolence. Within the past
nine months the W.M.U. of Hamilton County had gathered $1,538.84 for
missions, Christian Education, and benevolence. Six hundred and fifty
children were residents of Buckner Orphans Home and hundreds were being
turned away each year.
Conditions existing in some countries in the world
had caused curtailment of Baptist Foreign Missions.
Church indebtedness on church property was $1,200.
Insurance coverage was $26,250. Total number of rooms in the church
building was reported as 16 with 7 department rooms.
Report on Civic Righteousness
"1. Sabbath desecration. In view of the fact
that the day was set apart by God for rest and worship, we may well decry
two lines of Sabbath desecration which are being practiced today. One is
the common Sabbath desecration of the worldly type, as carried on by the
great unbelieving world, and which the Christian world must strive to
overcome. The other is the non-religious use of week-ends, including the
Sabbath, by church people. Sunday trips, Sunday visiting, Sunday reunions
and other Sunday gatherings, though without any evil intention, draw
seriously on the spiritual life of our churches. And so long as church
people thus turn away from church responsibilities to attend such things
we cannot grow strong churches.
"2. Gambling. This is trying to get something
for nothing on the basis of chance. There is much of this in civic
circles, social circles, and even in the home. So-called innocent
beginnings like these often start people off on courses that culminate in
the rankest of gambling and its attendant evils. Let every home,
especially, be free from such beginnings of evil.
"3. Questionable pictures. After all that has
been said about the supposed uplifting influence of the movies, it still
remains that our young people, as well as older ones, see pictures which
mar the purity and uprightness of their thoughts and lower their ideals of
morals and religion. We insist that this unfortunate tendency could be
greatly changed if our fathers and mothers themselves would consider the seriousness
of the matter and strive for improvement especially
in behalf of their children.
"4. Drink. The enemies of soberness and total
abstinence have always been busy at their iniquitous business--as much
today as at any other time. Godís people have it as their responsibility
and by every available means, the building of sentiment against this
world-wide enemy that never fails to bring unmeasured harm to body, mind,
"And in conclusion, the unsettled state of the
world at this time, and the war prospect that hangs over us as a
possibility, make it urgent that for all interests of civic righteousness,
our people be at their best physically, mentally, morally, and
spiritually, at any and all times, and surely in the testing days that may
be coming on."
Signed, Alvin Swindell
There were 8 Baptist colleges/universities in Texas.
Baptist hospitals were Baptist Sanitarium, El Paso; Baylor Hospital,
Dallas; Memorial Hospital, Houston; Hill Crest Memorial Hospital, Waco;
Fort Worth Hospital, Fort Worth; West Texas Sanitarium, Abilene; and
Valley Hospital, Harlingen.
The minutes of this year reflected that the
18-room-church building was erected in 1924. Insurance coverage had been
increased to $27,000, and indebtedness on the church had been reduced to
$500 although the total church debt was $1,263. This was the first year
for Vacation Bible Schools to be reported in the associational minutes.
During the year there had been two revivals.
There were 446 Foreign Missionaries and the last
Lottie Moon Offering set an all time high at $300,000 for the SBC. $35,000
of the Foreign Mission Board debt (from the $75 Million Campaign) was
paid. The goal was to complete paying an indebtedness of $214,000 by 1945.
In the 110 Baptist associations in Texas there were 3,221 churches and
2,308 pastors. Christian education was provided through
Baylor University, Mary Hardin-Baylor College,
Hardin-Simmons University, Wayland College, Howard Payne College, The
College of Marshall, Decatur College, and San Marcos Academy.
Baptist Church was established on 11 September, 1941, and was admitted
to the Hamilton County Baptist Association on 20 August, 1942. On June 17,
1940, a small group of people met in the yard of Bro. Sam Thompson for a
revival meeting. T. Lynn Stewart, pastor of First Baptist Church,
Hamilton, preached and Arvord Abernethy led the music. Cottage prayer
meetings began in August, 1941, in various homes and by 11 September,
1941, Littleville Baptist Church was organized into a church with Bro.
John Dempsey West serving as moderator. Charter members were Frances
Thompson, Sam Thompson, Mamie Thompson, Buck Anderson, Bethel Anderson,
Grace McCaleb, Crea McCaleb, Martine Hoard, Jimmie Hoard, Grace Rigsby,
Laura Jo Rigsby, Carolyn Rigsby, and Deaton Rigsby. Jimmie Hoard was the
first pastor and a building was completed by 7 December, 1941, on land
donated by Omer Little.
Hamilton Baptist Church had a weekly prayer meeting,
two revivals, and 70 families who received the Baptist Standard. Insurance
coverage was $27,800. There were 90 men in the church over age 20.
Julius R. Hickerson, Sr. was the new missionary of
District 16 on June 18, 1942. Monthly Workers Conferences were inaugurated
with the first conference to be held with the North
Lampasas Baptist Church at McGirk.
Six hundred children lived in Buckner Orphans Home which had a long
waiting list of children needing placement. There were over 150 stars in
the service flag of Buckners .(Each star represented one former resident
of the home who was in a military service.)
Report on Civic Righteousness, August 20, 1942
To the Hamilton County Association:
"We are thankful to God today that even though
there is world-wide chaos with gross suffering and trouble on every hand,
that Baptist still stand for something. We all agree that if an individual
does not have convictions of his own and really stand for noble
principles, he is practically worthless to society. Baptist, likewise,
would be worthless in society and also to Godís kingdom unless they had
the courage to stand for the godly principles of righteousness. In this
brief report we cannot even touch every evil of the day, but there are
several in particular that we cannot refrain from talking about.
"Instead of being mum and complacent every
Christian ought to shout from the house top, as it were, that it is wrong
to drink liquor. Even though some may say that it is popular to drink, it
certainly is not Christian. Even though our government
sanctions the liquor traffic and it runs loose in nearly every town and
city of our nation, seeking whom it may devour, we just cannot believe
that Jesus is pleased with any part of it. Even plain old "horse
sense" tells us that a drunken army just cannot be accurate and
effective against the enemy as a sober army. God hasten the day that
America will come to her senses and realize that Hitler, Italy, and Japan
are not our only enemies but that this alcoholic saboteur is taking
precious lives, by the score, every day.
"Is it wrong to gamble?" That question is
asked thousands of times every day. On the other hand, we logically ask:
Is it wrong to cheat? Is it wrong to lie? Is it wrong to steal? All of
these evils go hand in hand together. Maybe we are just thinking in terms
of so-called "small-scale" gambling. But I say that gambling is
gambling regardless of its so-called mildness in form; if it is gambling
at the bridge table or if it is gambling at a horse race.
"When we think today of the separation of our boys
from their families, sweethearts, wives, and children, because of the war,
our hearts are made sad. But I just wonder if we realize the tragedy of
the separation brought about by divorce in our civilized America.
"God is love." He instituted the home. He sanctioned marriage.
He will be the head of every home that will permit him to be such.
Therefore, God surely is displeased and broken-hearted when He sees the
thousands of homes being dissolved every year in our civil courts, and
even more so when He sees innocent children scattered and suffering like
lost sheep. Marriage is not just something to try out, but it is to last
until death. May God help us to have more Christian homes with the holy
vow of marriage exalted to its rightful level all over our land.
"When we turn our radios on today we are lucky if
"Grand Prize" beer is not the first phrase that we hear.
"Drink a quart to help the war effort conserve caps" or
"smoke Camels for your nerves" or "come to the Hill Top
Tavern to dine and dance." "Eat, drink and be merry, because we
donít believe that we will ever die,"í seems to be the theme and
attitude of America. I say, God pity us in this evil day. Things just
cannot go on like this forever. We claim and boast that we are the most
Christianized nation in the world, while our crime record shows that we
are the most criminal nation in the world. Why, our drink bill for 1940
was conservatively estimated at $4,500,000,000 and the average individual
alcoholic beverage consumption for the same year was 14.14 gallons. My
fellow Christians, let us stand for righteousness because "all
unrighteousness is sin."
W. T. Lewis
The indebtedness of the Foreign Mission Board had been
reduced to $128,000. The Extension Department of the Sunday School was
revitalized to reach all young men and women in the U. S. Service. The
Sunday School lessons were published in pocket-size quarterlies, "On
Duty for God and for Country."
West Texas Sanitarium had become Hendrick Memorial
Hospital in Abilene. No longer was there a Baptist hospital in Fort Worth.
Seventy-two families in Hamilton Baptist Church were
receiving the Baptist Standard. The WMU contributed $2,034.42 to
missions. Insurance coverage on church property remained the same as in
1941. Church debt was $728.51.
The annual associational meeting was shortened to
one day because of gas rationing in effect during World War II. To
conserve time all reports were presented without being adopted
individually. I remember that lunch was served in the Indian Gap School,
across the road from Indian Gap Baptist Church. The Executive Board voted
to continue monthly Workers Conferences.
Baptist Book Stores in Texas were located in Dallas,
Houston, and San Antonio. The Home Mission Board had 435 missionaries. At
this point in World War II the Allies had taken the offensive and the
defeat of the Axis Powers was anticipated. Seven hundred children lived at
Buckner Orphans Home with 150 being admitted within the past year. War
conditions made it difficult to maintain an adequate staff. All of the
older boys had enlisted in the armed services, and the younger children
bought War Saving Stamps with almost all money sent to them by relatives
Mrs. Arvord M. Abernethy [nee Anna Belle
Durham] presented the WMU report in which she stated that it was "the
responsibility of women as Christian citizens to stand for family altars,
total abstinence, Christian observance of Sunday, high standards of
speech, dress, and conduct, law observance, improved industrial
conditions, child welfare, public health, patriotism, prohibition,
Christian Americanization, universal education, international and
interracial justice, and world peace."
The following excerpt from the report on Christian
Education pinpoints what can happen without Christian education and
"Whatever proof is needed as to the
desirability of Christian Education is found in the present chaotic
condition of this war-torn world. For the half century preceding World War
I, Germany was the acknowledged center of the highest academic learning.
It was conceded that one in order to claim the highest attainment in
scholarship [one] must do graduate work in a German university. Yet
Germany in cold blood and in pitiless greed prostituted her knowledge to
murder, rapine[sic], slavery, degradation, and ruin, not only to
her own land and youth. The soulless learning of Germany became a scourge
and a curse which but for Christian England and America had set back the
hand of civilization a thousand years. Scholarship is desirable, but
Godless scholarship withers and blights the soul....
J. B. Pool, Committee
"Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a
reproach to any nation." Arvord M. Abernethy skillfully noted in the
Civic Righteousness report that these sins were a reproach to our
nation--liquor--Public Enemy #1; young girls sacrificing virtue in the
name of patriotism; and youth delinquency. It is the responsibility of the
home, the church, and the school to teach righteousness.
The value of a mission chapel was recorded as
$1,000. Mission gifts through the WMU were $2,148. No indebtedness on
church property was reported, although there was a church debt of $117.68.
Visitors at the annual associational meeting
included Rev. Grayson Tennison and Miss Betty Waters. Mrs. John D. West
died during this session which convened in Providence
Baptist Church. I remember the sadness which flowed throughout
the congregation when someone arrived on October 12, to bring this news to
Bro. West who was the host pastor. The association voted not to include
reports in future minutes to reduce expenses.
Seating capacity of the auditorium was reported at
600 and Hamilton Baptist Church still owned a mission chapel valued at
$1,000. Insurance coverage for church property was $22,500 on the 22-room
church building. The WMU contributed $293.57 to missions. Sixty people
were enrolled in the church extension department of the Sunday School.
Wednesday prayer meetings continued and 80 families received the Baptist
Building and repair costs were $3,204.34. The
twenty-two room church plant had 7 department assembly rooms with 15
separate classrooms. Insurance coverage was $20,000. Average attendance
for Wednesday night prayer meeting was 52. Ninety-seven families were
receiving the Baptist Standard; and the church had both a music
director and a library. The WMU contributed $2,522.69 for local work and
$643.20 to missions.
Expenditure for the church library was $577.40. The
building fund was $1,480.The Baptist Standard was included in the
church budget to which 345 members had subscribed. The WMU contributed
$712.27 to missions. Girls Auxiliary had an enrollment of 36; Royal
Ambassadors, 14; and Sunbeams, 32. Twenty-seven people were served through
the Sunday School Extension Department. The church did not own a 16mm
projector. The pastorís home was valued at $5,000.
Minutes of the Hamilton County Baptist Association were
published for the first time as a part of the District Sixteen of BGCT
Minutes. Hamilton Baptist Church was now recorded in associational minutes
as First Baptist Church, Hamilton. There were 75 additions by letter
during this church year. The WMU contributed $204.27 for Local Work and
$492.03 for Missions.
This was the first annual associational meeting
since 1906 that Rev. John Dempsey West was not able to attend. Within HCBA
there were 1,802 enrolled in Sunday School, 392 enrolled in Training
union, and 657 enrolled in Vacation Bible Schools.
First Baptist Church, Hamilton had 50 additions by
letter during the church year ending in October, 1948. Six hundred and six
of the membership of 797 were resident members. Within the church were 50
tithers and the Baptist Standard was being sent to each family in
the church. The pastorís home was valued at $9,000 and $8,517 had been
spent on building and remodeling. Total church debt at the end of the year
was $500, although there was a surplus of $800.16 in the building fund.
BGCT had two orphans homes--Buckners in Dallas and
Mexican Orphans Home in San Antonio. Within HCBA 2,073 were enrolled in
Sunday School, 469 in Training Union, and 729 in Vacation Bible Schools.
During the year $681 had been spent on a new building and $576.30 was paid
on church debt.
The first "M" Night--Association-wide
Training Union Monday Night-- was planned for December 4, 1950, in
cooperation with a SBC-wide emphasis on Training Union. The District XVI
Baptist Encampment at Lake Brownwood had been opened. A new Baptist
orphans home had been opened at Round Rock. FBC built a cabin at Lake
C. Applegate, editor of The Hamilton Herald-News
frequently wrote about Raymond Columbus Tennison, better know as R. C.
Tennison, pastor of First Baptist Church. On one occasion he quoted Bro.
Tennisonís prayer before preaching, "Lord, fill my mouth with
worthwhile stuff, and nudge me when Iíve said enough." On another
occasion he made a comment that Bro. Tennison was a very friendly person
whom everyone in Hamilton knew, and even all of the dogs in town exchanged
friendly greetings with him each time they met him on a street.
THE BEGINNING OF BAPTIST WORK IN HAMILTON COUNTY
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, 1896-1897
YEAR BY YEAR, 1873 - 1899
YEAR BY YEAR, 1900 - 1925
YEAR BY YEAR 1926 - 1950
YEAR BY YEAR 1951 - 1975
YEAR BY YEAR 1976 - 1998
A HISTORY OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, HAMILTON