ST. MARY’S PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH
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The History of the Protestant
Episcopal Church St. Mary’s Union of Hamilton has been taken from a
report made by the Reverent Thomas Booth at the request of the late Bishop
Garrett, and notes and diaries left to the Reverend Charles G. LaBagh by
Quoting from the letter written by Mr. Booth:
"Among the early settlers, was one Judge Bell and
his wife, Mrs. E. D. Bell, an earnest church woman of whom Bishop Garrett
says, ‘If it had not been for Mrs. Bell, I would never have found
Hamilton.’ The nearest point by railroad on the Ft. Worth and Rio Grande
railroad was 42 miles and on the Texas Central 21 miles away. This
overland journey had to be made the best way one could make it, until 1905
when Hamilton got a branch railroad of its own from Stephenville.
"In 1875 at the request of Mrs. Bell, Bishop
Alexander C. Garrett made his first visitation and so continued yearly.
Meanwhile other settlers came in, and it was found that many were church
people from other states, among them being Mrs. Spurlin, Mrs. F. Cotton,
Mrs. F. James, and Mrs. Maud Williams from Comanche, who labored hard for
the erection of a church building, and to whose memory has been erected a
three light window in the sanctuary.
"The Bishop continued his yearly visits and in the
year 1888 a Ladies Guild was formed (quoting from their minutes)
consisting of 14 confirmed members, and so earnestly did they work that in
two years they had the pleasure of seeing our beautiful church erected. At
this time Hamilton was taking shape, business houses were going up in a
square, in the center of which stands the Court House.
"One block from the Square Mayor Cotton gave a
beautiful lot on which in the year 1891 a beautiful little Church was
built with a seating capacity of 200, and at a cost of $2,000. A certain
amount was collected in town and considerable sum was collected by Mr. J.
L. Spurlin, a leading business man who gave the altar, ornaments, and
"In the year 1896 the building was consecrated, and
was received at the First Annual Council as an Organized Mission. From
this time, services were more frequent, the Rev. Edwin Wickens spent a
week among the people and gave instruction to a class of four for
"The Rev. Mr. Sartewell came often from Comanche in
the early days and the Rev. W. W. Patrick served for a long time, and at
his death was followed by the Rev. F. C. Berry, who resided at Hico,
making his 21 mile journey overland to take the monthly service.
"As the membership continued to grow it was felt
that Hamilton ought to have more spiritual oversight, and now having a
railroad, an effort was made to have a resident priest. Mayor Cotton made
an offer of a splendid lot, one block from the church, funds were
subscribed and I in 1905 a fine Rectory was built, and Mr. Berry became
the first incumbent, and Hamilton became the headquarters of a large
"In 1908 Mr. Berry left to become General
Missionary of the Diocese and was followed by the present incumbent, the
Rev. Thomas Booth, who also supplies the Missions at Dublin, Hico,
Stephenville, Ireland, Walnut Springs, Morgan, Meridian, and at the
present time the Mission is in a healthy condition having a list of 47
communicants. See report to Council 1911, for all of which we give thanks
to Almighty God for his unspeakable mercies.
The latest communicant list available was dated 1888 and
it carried the names of Mr. A. S. Boynton, Mrs. J. Boynton, Mrs. E. D.
Bell, C. K. Bell, Annie Bell, Mrs. B. Fletcher, and J. Y. Rust.
The present rector of St. Mary’s Mission in Hamilton
is the Reverend Charles G. LaBagh. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1869
and received his education in church schools and colleges. He has been a
resident of Texas for 34 years and had lived in Hamilton for sixteen
years. He was an especially licensed lay reader appointed by Bishop
Alexander G. Garrett during the World War and after ordination came from
Dallas to minister to the missions of Meridian, Dublin, Comanche, and
Hamilton. He had worked in every Parish in Dallas except the Cathedral and
St. Andrews parishes. Since the retirement of Bishop Garrett the Diocese
of Dallas has been under the guidance of the Right Reverend Harry T.
The Hamilton County News, Vol. IV, Number
Historical and Trading Expansion Issue
W. F. Billingslea, Editor-Publisher
Subscription Price ONE YEAR ..$1.00
June 29, 1934