Early Methodism in Dallas County, by Rev. W. H. ("Uncle Buck") Hughes
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     Under the title of "Early Methodism in Dallas County," the Texas Christian Advocate has begun the publication of a series of three articles which have been prepared by Rev. W. H. (Uncle Buck) Hughes. Rev. Hughes is the oldest Methodist minister in Dallas county, if not in this section of the state, and no one is better qualified than he to write a history of the struggles and triumphs of the Methodists in this county for the past sixty years. The first installment of the article is complete within itself and The Times Herald, by permission of L. Blaylock, publisher of the Texas Christian Advocate, has reproduced the article, and also a picture of Uncle Buck Hughes. The article is as follows:
     Brother W. C. Everett, the wide-awake and very efficient manager of the Methodist Publishing House, in Dallas, is collecting facts with regard to Methodism in Texas, for the use of the future historian. As I am the eldest surviving preacher in Dallas county, he requested me to collect such facts as I could concerning the rise and progress of the church in the county. In addressing myself to this work, I find no official records for ten or fifteen years after its organization and, therefore, I am compelled to depend alone upon memory and private information.

About Dallas County.
     Dallas county is situated in what is usually known as North Texas. It lies astride the Trinity river, and in an early day, was known as the "Three Forks of the Trinity"--Elm and West Fork come together just above the city, and the East Fork, some miles below--hence, the name Trinity. For a home--taking everything into consideration--perhaps no county in the state surpasses, and few, if any, equal it. There is a better distribution of wood, land and lasting water, and a greater variety of soil adapted to the growth of cereals, fruits, vegetables and melons. This county has the black-waxy soil in all its grades, and a variety of sandy-loam unsurpassed anywhere. This county is bounded, north by Denton and Collin, east by Rockwall and Kaufman and south and west by Ellis and Tarrant counties.

About Early Settlers.
     In 1841, Isaac B. Webb and William M. Cochran, of Murray county Tennessee, with their young wives, who were sisters, daughters of William and Alsie Hughes, moved to Missouri and settled near Springfield. In 1842, not being satisfied in Missouri, Webb came to Texas as a home-seeker. "Peter's Colony," a land syndicate, was giving 640 acres of land to a family and 320 to a single man as actual settlers. The office of the company was then located at Keenan, on Farmers' Branch, not far from what is now the north boundary of Dallas county. Webb wended his way through the trackless prairies to this office, and, at once, selected a section of land for himself and one adjoining for Cochran, on Farmers Branch, and returned home. In March, 1843, Cochran and family came to Texas and settled on the section of land thus selected, and the next winter, was followed by Webb and family.
     Webb makes this statement in a letter now in the hands of his daughter, Mrs. Ford: "In January, 1844, I drove up to Cochran's cabin with my family. Now, Keenan and family, Cochran and family, myself and family and John L. Pulliam, a single man, constituted the first settlers on Farmers Branch. Bonham was the nearest settlement, which was seventy miles away."
     Keenan, the first settler, was a Baptist; Mrs. Cochran and Webb and wife were Methodists, while Cochran and Pulliam were not members of any church.

Indians Were Numerous.
     At that time, the few settlers in this virgin country were isolated from the civilized world by many miles, and hostile savages, who did all in their power to prevent the occupancy of this lovely country by the white man. Infuriated bands of Indians made frequent raids upon this unprotected settlement, armed with tomahawk and scalping knife, bent on theft and murder. They stole their horses and cattle. The only way a settler could keep a horse was to put a chain in a running noose around a log in his cabin and lock the other end around the horse's neck. These first settlers had to undergo untold danger, sacrifices and suffering. Their closest markets were Houston, 275 miles, or Shreveport, 200 miles away, with no road to either place, hence, they were compelled to supplement their scanty supplies of food and raiment by fishing and hunting. Buffalo, bear, deer and wild turkey and smaller game were abundant, and bee-trees, with abundance of honey, were easily obtained, and from these they obtained food, any by dressing the hides, they largely shod and clothed themselves. These pioneers, as a precaution to same themselves from being waylaid by the marauding bands of Indians who lingered about the little settlement to steal and murder, when they went out to their fields or elsewhere, always returned on another route. To entrap these settlers, who were so dependent upon wild game for a living, the Indian showed his shrewdness and strategy by hiding himself and howling like a wolf, gobbling like a turkey, or chattering like a squirrel, and thereby make an easy prey of the unwary hunter attracted thereby.
     Webb related the following incident, in which he was saved from this strategy of the Indian by his faithful dog: He was in the woods hunting, when nearby, he thought he head the gobbling of turkeys. He, at once, started in that direction and his dog bounded off ahead of him. In a few moments, the dog came skulking back and seemed much alarmed. Webb, at once, awoke to the fact that the gobbler was an Indian, and not a turkey, and quickly made safe his retreat.

Birth of Methodism in County.
     We are wholly indebted for reliable facts with regard to the beginning of Methodism in this county, to the diary of I. B. Webb, written at that time, which is now in possession of W. D. Webb, his eldest son. Speaking of self and family, he writes: "We landed at W. M. Cochran's January 27, 1844." Webb was an old-fashioned Methodist of the Wesleyan type, and had been class leader and steward for many years in Tennessee and Missouri. He brought his religion and Methodism both with him to the wilds of Texas. Hence, he makes this very significant entry in 1844: "For a season, while others hunted and fished on Sunday, I gathered the women and children together and sang and prayed." In this service of song and prayer, he had the hearty co-operation of his wife, Mrs. Mary Webb and      Mrs. N. J. Cochran, both of whom were deeply pious from early childhood and Methodists to the manor born. Both of these sisters were mighty in prayer. They were what were called, in those days, "shouting Methodists," and were often closeted with God in secret prayer, who "rewarded them openly," with ecstasies of joy, and they were not ashamed to praise him in the assembly of the saints.
     Mrs. N. J. Cochran has the honor of being the very first Methodist settler in this territory, which is now Dallas county. At that time, this was a part of Nacogdoches county, which with their other inconveniences, placed them 150 miles from their county seat. For a time, there were no mails and their only communication with the civilized world was through travelers and immigrants. Through these channels, Webb learned that the Rev. J. W. P[?] McKenzie was teaching and preaching near Clarksville. Having known him in Tennessee, Webb wrote him to send them a preacher, for the little settlement was like sheep in the wilderness without a shepherd. As the result of this correspondence, Webb makes this entry in his diary: "March 19, 1844, Thomas Brown, the first Methodist preacher who visited the colony, stayed all night with me and preached the first sermon ever preached in the neighborhood in the cabin of W. M. Cochran. His text was Rom. 1:16: 'For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth to the Jew first and also the Greek. Hymn, 'From all that dwells beneath the skies, let the Creator's praise arise: let the Redeemer's name be sung in every land by every tongue;' sung to the tune, 'Kedron.' "

Organization of First Church.
     We find the following note in the diary with regard to the first Methodist society organized: "Daniel Shook, the first circuit preacher in the colony: the first society was formed March, 1845; the first circuit preacher was in my cabin, May 5, 1845, and a society was formed, composed of five members, namely, I. B. Webb, Mary Webb, N. J. Cochran, M. F. Fortner and Mrs. Fortner." Franklin Fortner, as his intimate friends called him, was from Kentucky, and was a good man, and of high order of native intellect, and no one in conversation with him, on listening to his devout public prayers, would suspect his being wholly without book learning. He was a good and useful man.
     To this little band of Christians in the wilderness, deprived of every comfort of civilization, and exposed to all the dangers the presence of blood-thirsty savages could inflict, the coming of these men of God to preach the gospel, which the angel said "Was good news and glad tidings to all people," was a veritable jubilee. It was the coming in of Noah's dove with the olive leaf, which was the earnest of the retiring flood, and the bow which promised great prosperity in the future. All the members of this little organization lived long enough to see the fulfillment of this promised prosperity. The Indian, with tomahawk and bloody scalping knife, was gone, the wild prairies were converted in to fields of wheat, corn, oats and every product needed to meet the normal appetite of intelligent people. They saw the five organic members multiplied into hundreds and churches sprung up in every part of the country. But, all these who first planted Methodism in Dallas county have crossed over the river and gone to a better country, but thank God, though they be dead, they yet speak, and "their works do follow them," as is shown in the marvelous growth of the church in the county.
     Farmers Branch, small and obscure as it may be today, has the honor of being the location of the first land-office of Peter's Colony; the first Methodist church (Webb's Chapel), and first Baptist church (Keenan's Chapel), ever built in Dallas county, as well as the first postoffice in the county.

Letter of Long Ago.
     The following letter, written by Webb, and published in the Nashville Christian Advocate, in May, 1845, speaks for itself:
"Farmers Branch, Tex., May 11, 1845.
     "Brother McFerrin, Dear Sir: Believing a large portion of your numerous readers would be interested in hearing from this new and favored land, I beg leave to submit a few items to them through your excellent paper, and if this falls under the notice of any of my old friends in Tennessee, and especially of Pruitt's-Lick's Class, I would say to them to read this, and then determine whether or not it is your duty and interest to emigrate to this new, but desirable, portion of the Southwest. This portion of the Republic lies on what is called the forks of the Trinity, in latitude 32 degrees north, in what is called Peter's Colony: a large grant of land made by the government of Texas to Peters and others, for the purpose of settling the public land of the Republic. The company donates 320 acres of land to all actual settlers on their grant who are the heads of families, and 160 acres to single men. The land is equal in fertility to any in the West, being of a black, sticky soil, and very deep, with a consistency of about twenty per cent lime. The prairies are large and beautifully undulating, and interspersed with springs, rivulets and fine streams of water, gushing from crystal fountains, and flowing off in bold and living streams during the year. The timber is somewhat scarce, and chiefly along the water courses, consisting principally of post oak, Spanish oak, ash, Chittam, elm, black walnut and a variety of shrubbery. I have found the country, so far, to be healthy in general. Persons, when first settling here, sometimes have some chills and fever, but this is generally light, and afterwards, they are healthy. The Trinity river is though to be navigable to the forks, ten miles below my residence. We can raise in this country, good corn, wheat, oats and all kinds of garden vegetables, and as fine [a] cotton as any part of the United States. Our crops in the colony are very promising, corn above knee-high, and we are now harvesting our wheat, which is as good as I have seen in any country. We have a class formed here, consisting of eight or ten members, and have circuit preaching every four weeks. There are five appointments within a compass of fifteen miles. Methodism, with its characteristic zeal and untiring perseverance, is pioneering this far West with great success. Let Methodism be stopped, and what will be the situation of the frontier settlers? Literally without a preached gospel for years yet to come, and, oh, what indescribable anguish it gives us to witness the dark and portentous cloud that hangs over our beloved Zion. We can but give ourselves to prayer, that the Lord of Israel may direct her destinies. We lift our voice in Macedonian cry to the local preachers of the states, 'Come over and help us!' Here is a wide field for usefulness. Does not duty say, "Go where you are needed most?" Here, many can better their temporal circumstances, and be more extensive and useful as ministers.
Yours, etc.                       I

- February 11, 1912, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. I, p. 10, col. 1-5.
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     Below is given the second installment of the article written by Rev. W. H. (Uncle Buck) Hughes, which is now running in the Texas Christian Advocate:
     Through the influence of this little society of faithful Christians in shaping the moral and religious character of this rapidly growing population--through gracious revivals among the settlers--many were added to the church, while hundreds of Methodists came by the influx of immigration.
     In 1847, Webb makes this note: "November 5 our protracted meeting commenced: James A. Smith, Joab Biggs and William Cole are our preachers. Thirty-four joined the church and twenty-eight were converted. A sweeping shower, indeed. Oh, what a happy time we had, so many converted and such displays of the power of Almighty God my eyes never beheld before." By this date, the settlement had spread over so large a territory, and the membership so multiplied, that it became necessary to organize other societies. One was organized in the Cedar Springs schoolhouse, which stood near a ravine, about two hundred yards north of where the Cotton Belt railroad crosses Cedar Springs avenue. I have no roll of membership, or record of the exact date of its organization. It must have been in 1847 or 1848. Some of the organic members were Rev. Anderson, a local preacher, upon whose land the schoolhouse stood; O. W. Knight and family; G. B. Knight, Jack May and family; Dr. Staten and wife, Jefferson and Foster Dunaway, and others, whose names I cannot now recall.
     About this time, a third church was formed on Duck Creek, near where the town of Garland now stands. Of the organic members, I only call to mind the names of Rev. Abner Keen, a local elder; William, John and Melvin Keen, with their families; William Turner and family, Charley Newton and wife, R. D. Jones, Elias Myers and family. This church was the mother of what is now Garland station.
     Webb's, Cedar Springs and Duck Creek, I believe, were the only Methodist organizations in Dallas county, east of the Trinity, up to 1850.

Camp-Meeting and Other Churches Organized.
     This little diary of Webb's says: "Webb's Chapel was the first church put up in the county. It was built in the spring of 1846. This house was built of hewed logs on Webb's headright and was eighteen feet square, but was sufficiently large to shelter the congregation and school of that day."
     Again, he says: "The first camp-meeting held in this part of the country was in 1845 on Joe's Branch; this camp-meeting was held near what is now Letot, a station on the M. K. & T. railroad." These feasts of tabernacles have been kept up annually to this day. All except the first and the one in 1859, which was held at O. W. Knight's Spring, and has been at various places on White Rock creek. In 1873, W. J. Clark and John Bryan generously donated to the church, thirteen acres, upon which, a large shelter was built with many permanent tents around it. The first camp-meeting on this ground was conducted by Rev. Henry South, Geo. S. Gatewood and W. F. Cummings, with wonderful displays of divine power and the conversion of many souls. This located, permanently, the annual camp-meeting.
     At the time of this valuable gift by Messrs. Clark and Bryan to the Dallas circuit--which, at the time, was quite large--the circuit has since been divided and subdivided into what is now all the stations in the city, and all the charges in the county east of the Trinity, and including Plano and Renner, in Collin county. By these subdivisions of charges, each one of these charges have an equity in this camp ground. By the same process of dividing this camp ground, is a line between the Dallas and McKinney districts, thereby placing it in the joint jurisdiction of two presiding elders. Unfortunately, in this division, individual and personal responsibility was lost, and in the multiplicity of jurisdiction, the old adage has come to pass, "what is everybody's business is nobody's business." The glory of the once powerful arm of our church has departed. It is to be hoped that our next district conference will look into these things and rejuvenate and restore this means of grace to its former glory.
     At the first camp-meeting in 1845, W. M. Cochran joined the church and became a most efficient member. He was a fine character and very popular with the early settlers. He was affable, social and an expert business man, had undaunted courage, and was well calculated to become a leader in this noble land of enterprising pioneers. Up to this time, what is now Dallas county, was a part of Nacogdoches county, which required one hundred and fifty miles' ride to reach he county-seat, and necessitated the creation of a new county, which was authorized by the legislature in 1846. When Dallas county was organized, Brother Cochran was elected the first county clerk, and Brother Thomas, another Methodist, the first county judge.

Some Early Ministers.
     These isolated societies were first attached to the Bonham mission, but as the population increased, and new circuits were formed, they were placed in the McKinney, and then in Dallas circuit. This territory, up to 1852, was served by the following pastors, viz.: Daniel Shook, Joab Biggs, William Cole, J. W. Harding, Andrew Cummings and W. K. Masten. These were good men; they did not preach as a profession, but for the love of souls. It was both dangerous and laborious to cover the distance they had to ride on horseback, with no roads through the prairies, nor bridges across creeks; they had to rough it, and partake of all the inconveniences of the newcomer. His horse, his only dependence on transportation, found few, if any, mangers filled with provender, and often traveled for days on what it could gather at the end of a rope. They certainly did not preach for the money, for their salaries averaged less then $300 per year. While they got but little pay, their efforts to do good were greatly owned and blessed, and God gave them souls for their hire.
     Daniel Shook, the first pastor, I never met. He was a brother of Rev. Jefferson Shook, late of East Texas conference, and died in East Texas many years ago. Joab Biggs was from Arkansas, and a good man, but rather exacting and credulous. In those days, feed for the horse was scarce and the preacher's horse had to be lariated, or hobbled and graze for a living. Brother Biggs, while on this circuit, stopped with Rev. Simpson, a local preacher, near Bonham, who was fond of practical jokes, so when Biggs went out to hobble his horse (Pilgrim, with whom he was deeply in love), Simpson suggested if he would put the hobble on his hind feet, instead of the front, the horse could get about better. Biggs caught the idea and put the hobble on the hind feet. So, when he went out after his horse, to the great amusement of Simpson, he loped off as glibly as if he had been foot-loose, and Biggs running, almost out of breath, crying, "Ho, Pilgrim! Ho, Pilgrim!" That was the last time Pilgrim was ever hobbled by the hind feet. Brother Biggs located in Collin county and died in peace at his home.
     The Bonham mission was quite large. It covered all the territory now occupied by three presiding elders' districts, and had two preachers. Bro. William Cole was the junior preacher. He was a precious, good man, loved by all the people. He lost his eyesight, but patiently and happily waited until they opened to see the King in His beauty. He died in Grayson county.
     Of J. W. Hardin, the next preacher, I know but little. He died somewhere in West Texas.
     Andrew Cummings was a strong-bodied, good-natured, useful pioneer preacher, and has long since gone triumphantly to the good world.
     W. K. Masten was a fair preacher of popular turn, and was in good order with his people when I landed in Texas, Nov. 2, 1852. Masten located that fall and settled in the city of Dallas, went into the mercantile business, and afterwards, was elected county clerk and lieutenant colonel in the Confederate army. He immigrated to California and died in that state.

Church Grows Rapidly.
     The presiding elder, up to and including 1860, was Rev. Paine, of whom I knew nothing, except he went to California in an early day.
     Next came John W. Fields, a transfer from Kentucky. He was a strong preacher, and for years, did good work in East Texas, and died at Forney.
Then came Rev. Ross, who only presided here for one year, and who also died in East Texas.
     Rev. John W. Tullis, who died in Marshall, was succeeded by Rev. J. M. Belamy, a large-bodied, clear-headed man, and a good preacher. He was succeeded in 1860 by W. H. Hughes.
     Under the faithful preaching of these servants of God, there were added to the church daily such as are saved. These early Christian workers were greatly reinforced in 1846 by the arrival from Mississippi, of the Rev. James A. Smith, a local preacher, with Francis A. Winn, John Howell and other families, who promptly connected themselves with the church at Webb. Brother Smith was a man of God, full of the Holy Ghost and zeal for the Master, and ready for every good word and work. He was a strong and attractive preacher, and had the good of church at heart. He co-operated earnestly with the circuit preacher. He was the honored instrument in the hands of God in doing more in giving high, moral tone, and building up a sound Christianity in this new county than any other one man. He was a most lovable character and justly popular with all who knew him. He died as he lived--happy in Christ Jesus. John Henry Brown says in his history of Dallas county that Brother Smith's neighbors called him "Cedar Top." For the truth of history, I must say that I was his close neighbor for many years, and if anybody ever called him by such an uncanny name, I never heard of it until I saw it in that history. It is not true. Capt. Lafayette Smith was sometimes called "Cedar Top" by the boys.
     The silent, but mighty, power of the little leaven the Master says was hidden in the three measures of meal was strikingly illustrated in the grace of God, diffused under the ministry of these men of God. Hundreds were converted and added to the church. The constant stream of immigrants brought scores of Methodists who helped to swell the membership and render the little school house insufficient to shelter the growing congregation. Therefore, the societies at Webb's and Cedar Sprigs agreed to unite and build a church on the half-way ground. Mrs. N. J. Cochran gave three acres of land on her homestead--two acres for the church and one for a family burying ground. On this plot of ground, the two congregations built "Cochran's Chapel," which was the first Methodist house of worship in Dallas county, deeded and dedicated to the exclusive worship of Almighty God. The house was 30x40 feet. The rough lumber was hauled on ox wagons from East Texas, 150 miles, and had to be dressed by hand, and was worth from $3 to $5 per hundred. The record shows the trustees of this property were W. H. Hughes, O. W. Knight, J. A. Smith, G. W. Record, F. A. Winn, F. M. Fortner, L. B. Webb, J. B. Bachman and John Howell, all of whom have crossed over the river, except the writer. It is a coincidence worthy of notice that that first house of worship in the county was dedicated by Rev. W. P. McKenzie, who was the man who sent the first preacher who ever preached in the county. The house was dedicated without a collection or a dollar's indebtedness. this was a strong church, and hundreds have been converted at her altar. The pioneer house has been superseded long since by a much larger and better house.

A Pioneer Educator.
     Dr. McKenzie was among the first preachers in North Texas, and he was certainly a pioneer as an educator. As early as 1841, he began McKenzie Institute, in which many of our leading men in church and state were educated. He did more for the intellectual uplift of the boys and girls of his day than any other man. He was an expert disciplinarian, and had a happy art of controlling wild and reckless boys, many of whom were sent to him for that very reason. He was a bright and shining light in the early days of Texas. As far as I know, the first district conference ever held in Texas was in this house. The sainted Marvin was present and preached, as but few can preach, and was the first live bishop many of them ever saw. Since that time, the population in this section of the country became so numerous that it became necessary to reorganize the Webb's Chapel Society, which, for a length of time, had been united with Cochran. This was done, and a nice chapel was erected for the worship of Almighty God, near the spot the first little log house stood, in which the first society in the country was organized in 1844, and still later, the congregations have built an excellent church in the town of Farmers Branch.
     The rapid increase of population made it necessary, also, for the accommodation of our people in Cedar Springs community to again organize a church in that neighborhood. Hence, a church was organized in the Oak Lawn school house, which was less than one-half mile from where the old Cedar Springs congregation worshipped in 1857. This congregation, afterwards, built a good church, and is, today, the worthy successor of the second Methodist society organized in Dallas county. It is known as the Oak Lawn Station. Mrs. Knight, ninety years old, belongs to this church, and is the only living charter member of the old Cedar Springs church.

From 1852 to 1860.
     In 1852, Texas had only recently been wrested from the Mexican government, and annexed to the United States. Arkansas and the Indian Territory were the veritable Western frontier. Texas being still west of those, was though to be something even worse than a frontier, and almost beyond the bounds of civilization. There were no railroads, nor telegraphs--the only chance of information was through the mails carried on slow stages or horseback; hence, the masses of the old states were in profound ignorance of the real merits of the Lone Star State. Its rich, productive soil, its beautiful blooming prairies, which, in their native state, made them a veritable garden of flowers, and its salubrious, healthful climate was never dreamed of by the populace. The idea prevailed that her population were semi-savages and her people, at best, were a motley set. Somewhat discouraged by these crude ideas of Texas, I, for a time, hesitated, but absolutely broken down physically, and being advised by my doctor to change climates, and the recovery of health being the paramount consideration, I determined to move to Texas. Securing a wagon and team and camping outfit, through rain and mud, and across the dreadful Mississippi bottoms, we landed in Dallas county, on Farmers Branch, November 2, 1852. I first settled on Brownings Branch, near what is now called Bachman's Dam or Reservoir, six miles north of the city. Since that [time], and up to this date, I have been deeply interested in the growth and prosperity of the church in this county.

Dallas Struggling Village.
     Dallas was then a struggling village in the woods on the banks of the Trinity, with only 150 or 200 inhabitants. At that time, there were only three little stores in the town, viz.: Smith & Patterson, Adams and Caruth Bros.
     The reader may imagine my pleasant surprise when I state I found in the early settlers of Dallas county, taking them altogether, the best community I had ever met. Instead of these pioneers being composed of the riff-raff and refugees from justice, as often falsely asserted, I found they were from the very best class of people in the old states. They were from the middle class, which always contains the bone and sinew of all good communities. The lazy, indolent lower class have not energy or courage to get up and rustle and undergo the labor and dangers of a frontier life. What is called the upper, or wealthy class, who live in ease and luxury, had no need to deprive themselves of the comforts of fortune, and go into the wilds and privations of a frontier life. Therefore, we repeat, these early settlers were from the very best element of the old states. It is true they were poor, but intelligent, brave, industrious, hospitable and self-reliant. They came to this virgin country to hew out their own destiny and secure homes for themselves and place their posterity above the iron grip of poverty and want. There was not a dissipated man in the neighborhood and there was absolutely no need of lock and key. Every man seemed to vie with all the rest to build up a model community in this new country.
     In the summer of 1853, I learned that Rev. James A. Smith was to preach in the village of Dallas. I determined to attend, and for the first time, I worshipped with the pioneers of what is now the great city. We worshipped in a little fourteen-foot square building on the southwest corner of the public square. The framing timbers were hewn out of post oak saplings, and it was weatherboarded and covered with clapboards split out of the native oaks. My recollection is, there were not more than one dozen present. At that time, there was no church organization in Dallas. In the course of a year or two after this, a society was organized, by whom, I do not recollect, nor do I know the exact date. In this instance, as in almost all the other early churches, we have no record of the organic members, hence I give them as I remember them, viz.: James A. Crutchfield and family--he was the first postmaster, and kept the first hotel in the town; the widow Browder, who was a model Christian matron; Ed Browder, district clerk; Sarah Cockrell, who donated the lot upon which the first church was built; Dr. Rice, Marlin Thompson and family; Andrew Moore and family. We had no house of worship in Dallas until the Lamar Street church was built in 1868. We preached up to that time in the lower story of the Masonic hall, and in the court house.

Tells of Early Preachers.
     The first preachers I met in Texas were Rev. W. K. Masten, of whom I have already spoken; Rev. Wm. E. Bates, a supply, a local elder from Kentucky, and who was rather rugged in his make-up; he understood Methodist doctrine and polity, and was always ready to ably defend both; he died in Denton county; Harvey Cummings, the next preacher, was a young man and rather eccentric, but did his best, and, as far as I am informed, is living yet in Delta county; the next was Alexander Hinkle, an elegant Christian gentleman whom, to know, was to love; this year, he was much afflicted with an enlargement of the arteries in his legs and had to superannuate, in which role, he continued for many years; he died somewhere in South Texas. Rev. L. R. Dennis succeeded Hinkle. He was a meek, good man and a strong preacher. He was a transfer from the Tennessee conference. When the East Texas conference was divided and the Trinity (now North Texas) set off, he remained in East Texas, and settled his family in Tyler. He was presiding elder of the Palestine district at the time of his death. Rev. A. C. McDougal was a tall, fine looking man and preached well. He lived to good old age and died in Denton. Rev. J. W. Chalk, one of the organic members of the North Texas conference, came from Maury county, Tennessee, in 1851; was admitted on trial in the old Texas conference, and sent to the frontier work. He organized the church in Fort Worth in 1855 or 1856; transferred to the East Texas conference, and was a pioneer preacher when it took grit and grace to do the work of a Methodist itinerant preacher. In those days, it was necessary to protect himself from the marauding bands of Indians, and he had to carry his gun, as well as his Bible. He had seen service in the Mexican war, and learned to face danger, and trust in God. He was a most honorable man, and was popular with all the people. His work on this circuit was crowned with great success, and many were added to the church. After more than a half century in the ministry, he fell asleep in Pilot Point. Many will rise up in the judgment and call him blessed.
     The above is a list of the Methodist pastors in Dallas county, east of the Trinity river, up to, and including, 1860.

- February 18, 1912, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sec. II, p. 6, col. 3-5.
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     Below is printed the third and last installment of an article by Rev. W. H. (Uncle Buck) Hughes on the early history of Methodism in Dallas county, which has been running in the Texas Christian Advocate:
     The reader will discover that in my former article, I have confined myself to the east half of Dallas county. In those days, the Trinity river, which runs through the center of the county, was first the boundary line between the Texas and the East Texas conferences. When the North and the Northwest Texas conferences were created, it was continued as the line between them until a comparatively recent date, when the west boundary of Dallas county was made the line between the [missing text] under different jurisdictions left each [missing text] Dallas county in the North Texas conference. Hence, writing about early Methodism in the east half of the county, which was my home, I have written of things of which I was largely, personally cognizant. But, the two sections of the county, being in an early day in two different conferences, had to be half in profound ignorance of what the other was doing. Hence, the meager facts we have of the earliest development of Methodism in the west half of the county.
     More than sixty years have elapsed, and there are not many written records accessible. All those, so far as I can learn, who were then actively engaged in church work, have crossed over the river and are at rest under the shade of the trees. So, I can get but little information with regard to the early days of Methodism in that part of the county.
     According to the best information at hand, there were but two church organizations in the west half of the county in the early '50's, one at Wesley chapel, and the other at Cedar Hill. The early members at Wesley chapel were Thomas Bransford and family, Asariah Moss, Christianna Moss, William Sprowls, Nancy Sprowls, Jack Garner, Elizabeth Garner, John Brandenburg and Sally Nance.
     As early as 1853, Rev. George S. Gatewood held near Wesley chapel, what he called a self-supporting camp-meeting, in which each person prepared for their own entertainment. Hundreds of people came to this meeting on horseback and in buggies, and camped in the open air. Scores were converted and added to the church. Wesley chapel was later removed to Wheatland Station.
     As to the Cedar Hill church, nothing reliable as to the date when it was organized, or who composed its early membership, can be obtained. I know that the Rev. Robert Crofford was on that work and taught school at Cedar Hill. On April 29, 1856, one of the most fearful cyclones that ever visited this section struck Cedar Hill, which was then a prosperous village, and almost demolished it.

Description of Cyclone.
     Brother Crofford gave this writer a most graphic description of this fearful cyclone. He said in substance:
     "I saw the cyclone strike Cedar Hill when it blew it to pieces. The destruction of houses, wagons, fences and everything else was complete. Eight or ten persons were killed, and some of the dry goods were picked up twenty-five or thirty miles away. I saw the funnel-shaped, rotating clouds coming directly toward my house. It was as dark in the center as midnight, and as it whirled, I saw the great timbers of the destroyed village flying off at a tangent. To my great relief, when only a short distance from me, it deflected down a hollow on the prairie and missed my house. The prairie southwest of the village, was then unsettled, and the native grass was mowed smooth to the very ground."
     The Cedar Hill church and Wesley chapel were first placed in the Waxahachie circuit. Some of the early pastors were Revs. Henry W. South, J. M. Wright, Robert Crofford and I. P. Jeffers. The presiding elders were Mordecai Yell and William McLendon.
     Up to 1850, the state of Texas was in a sort of formative condition. In less than a half century, it had been under three different governments. During that time, there seemed to be a state of unrest. All were new-comers, and none had lived at any location long enough to form a special attachment for any particular place. Lands were cheap, and many places were on the market. Almost every improved place was for sale, and there were buyers for every place. This state of affairs was not so much from dissatisfaction with the country upon the part of the settlers as a conviction that if they could get an advanced price for their improvements, the could, from the vast areas of unoccupied country, get land as good and be able to improve it to a better advantage.
     This restless, migratory disposition upon the part of the early settlers largely accounts for the loss of all church records. This loss was not so much the fault of our fathers, as the peculiar times in which they lived. They labored, and we have "entered into their labors," and are under everlasting obligation to them.

About Pioneer Methods.
     It is too often the case that those who come after and enjoy the well-prepared places, refuse to recognize any obligation to those who went before, the fruits of whose labors they enjoy. They forget the hard labor and great sacrifice upon the part of their predecessors which made possible these pleasant places. The pathfinders' engineering skill is never through of by the traveler who enjoys the well-graded, smooth and well-macadamized road prepared for this comfort. The legatees of great fortunes sometimes fail to appreciate the sweat and toil of the father who amassed the wealth for them--they often speak contemptuously of their refinement and intelligence. Not so with the parents who have gone before. They always rejoiced in the success and prosperity of even their most wayward and ungrateful children.
     May this not be so with the children of the worth[y] Methodist pioneers of Dallas county? May they proudly know whence they sprang, and gladly carry forward the great church, enterprises made possible by their worthy ancestry? These pioneer fathers wrested from savage Indians and wild beasts, this best of all counties, and transmitted it to us. They laid well the foundations for moral, religious and intellectual citizenship which we enjoy today. These early settlers have bequeathed to us a rich legacy, and it is but just and right that we, their posterity, as well as the future generations, should have some idea of the names of these pioneers who wrought so well. Therefore, with no disposition to disparage the worth of their co-workers in other denominations (who are equally worth), I give from memory the names of the heads of Methodist families in Dallas county, as far as I can recall them, in the '50's.

Names of Early Members.
     I would be glad to add the names of the wives and children. I would be proud to call the name of every Methodist in the county up to date, but time and space forbid. I am painfully conscious that the names of many Methodists who were here prior to 1860 have escaped my memory. In a few instances, I give names of men who were not members themselves of a church, but their families were. I insert the following names:
     James Armstrong, Rev. L. T. Anderson, Thomas Bronson, Samuel Brown, Rev. John B. Bachman, Joshua Barker, Rev. James Barker, Rev. James Bird, Absolom Brandenburg, James Brandenburg, Mrs. Lucy Browder, Edward Browder, Isam Browder, Jerry Brown, N. M. Burford, William Carr, W. M. Cochran, R. M. Cook, James Canaday, Thomas Crutchfield, James Crutchfield, William Caruth, Walter Caruth, William Cox, Howard Cox, Sarah Cockrell, Thomas Chenoweth, James Cates, Rev. Robert Crofford, Henry Carr, Jake Caster, Rev. Jesse Daniel, Miss ___ Daniel, Foster Dunaway, Jefferson Dunaway, Frank Daniel, James Dillon, A. J. Dennis, Rev. L. R. Dennis, Mrs. Elizabeth Dergen, William Edmondson, Joseph Elliott, Franklin Fortner, Elijah Fike, Nat C. Floyd, John D. Floyd, D. G. H. Gilbert, John J. Good, Jack Garner, John Howell, Edward W. Hunt, John Harvey, Rev. W. H. Hughes, Enoch Horton, Wm. Jenkins, R. D. Jones, O. W. Knight, G. B. Knight, Wm. A. Knight, Rev. Abner Keen, William Keen, Rev. John W. Keen, Melvin Keen, David Lane, Henry Lively, G. W. Laws, John Laws, L. P. Minter, Mrs. ___ Moon, Marion Moon, W. C. McKamey, A. J. May, Rev. W. K. Masten, A. J. Moore, Azeriah Moss, Wm. McCuller, Jilson McCuller, Rev. John Morgan, Joseph Morgan, Charles Newton, Charles Newby, Charles Nash, George W. Record, Dr. A. D. Reece, D. W. Reedy, Rev. James A. Smith, Wm. Sprowls, Joshua Smith, Rev. James A. Smith, Capt. LaFayette Smith, Rev. W. R. Smith, J. W. Smith, J. P. Smith, J. P. Shelby, Dr. Slaton, Rev. T. J. Sherwood, Rev. Wesley Sherwood, David Shahan, John Thomas, Ellis Thomas, Alexander Thomas, Marlin Thompson, Dr. D. B. Thomas, Wm. Turner, I. B. Webb, Asbury Webb, R. J.[?] West, Thon C. Williams, Ned Welborn, J. M. Wright, J. M. Wright [listed twice], F. A. Winn, Phillip Winn, Wm. Wester and Nathaniel Yergen.
     Absolute accuracy is not claimed for some of these dates. These things began more than sixty years ago. In some instances, my memory may have limped, but they are all substantially correct. Since 1860, the population of the county has so increased, and the church so multiplied in both congregation and membership, that it would take a large volume to give anything like a full history of the Methodists in this county up to date.
     The growth of the church, in both numbers and wealth, is marvelous. The growth of Methodism in this county is illustrated by the great fig tree, spoken of by Mr. Froude. He says: "I saw in Natal, a colossal fig tree. It had a central stem, but I knew not where the center was, for the branches bent to the ground, and struck root there, and at each point, a trunk shot up erect and thrown out new branches, in turn, which again, arched and planted themselves, until the single tree became a forest, and overhead was spread a vast dome of leaves and fruit, which was supported upon innumerable columns, like the roof of some vast cathedral." The reproductive power of the many trees in one may well illustrate the growth of connectional Methodism. The little society of five members, which has sent out its branches, has taken root in every part of the county until its members are now numbered by the thousands.
     We have, today, in Dallas county, thirty-three churches, with 7,180 members, and thirty Sunday schools, with 6,000 scholars, officers and teachers; twenty-five Epworth Leagues, with 1,500 leaguers. We have in church property, counting churches, schools and the publishing house, $2,000,000. When we consider this wonderful success, we are surprised at the unequaled growth of Methodism. With grateful hearts, we exclaim: "What hath God wrought?" For these gratifying results, we have abundant reasons to be thankful to the Great Head of the Church.
     But, while we with grateful hearts rejoice, we should not forget to depend upon the Almighty Father for further and greater success. Just in proportion to the great success and wonderful increase, are our obligations and responsibilities multiplied. Where much is given, much is required. While the growth of the church has been most gratifying for the past three-score years, the increase of population in the county has outstripped us, and is, today, nearly 150,000, and the number of unsaved is greater than ever before. God help the church to meet the enlarged obligation and providential opportunity.  Amen.

- February 25, 1912, Dallas Daily Times Herald, Sect. II, p. 3, col. 1-3.
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