The Methodist Church
The first church organized in the county, of which there is anything known, was in the Allen neighborhood and was effected by Rev. William Monk, a pioneer preacher, who attended his first Texas Annual Conference at Tyler, in 1854. In 1865 Mr. Monk was on the Palo Pinto Mission, which included Eastland County. With a few members he organized a Methodist church on the Allen and Davidson ranch. The members were Peter Davidson, wife and four children, Robert Newberry and Uncle Bobbie Martin, with their families.
Rev. William Monk, Iredell, Texas
Mr. Monk writes:
"In 1872 I was Presiding Elder on the Stephenville District. In 1873 I attended a Quarterly Conference at McGough's Springs. Rev. Levi F. Collins was the missionary and had organized a little church there, which I suppose was the second organization in the county. The county was infested by Indians. We all went to church with our guns, not knowing what moment we would be attacked. Two nights before I went to McGough Springs the Indians stole my horse at Picketville in Stephens County. I made my way down there on borrowed horses, and from there to Comanche I went on a wagon, where I secured another horse.''
The following letter is self-explanatory and will be interesting to many old settlers:
October 13, 1903.
Dear Sister Langston:
Yon want to know what territory was included in the Palo Pinto Mission when I was pastor in 1865 and 1866. It included all of Palo Pinto County, all of Erath, east of Stephenville and all of Johnson west of the Brazos River. Hood County was not organized then. I also had two appointments in Parker County, Big Valley, where your father then lived, and Kickapoo. I made the round on my work every four weeks, preaching under trees, in private houses, under brush arbors and in little school houses. Our congregations would be from twenty to one hundred people. We had some great revivals.
I organized the first church at Big Valley and held a great meeting. When I traveled the Stephenville District in 1872, ‘73 and '74, it included all the territory west of the Brazos River from Waco to Fort Belknap, Fort Griffin, San Angelo, Camp Colorado and Fort Mason. These were the outside settlements, but all the territory to New Mexico belonged to the district. I made the round every three months on horseback, with my Winchester rifle hanging to the horn of my saddle, and my wardrobe in a pair of saddle bags. These were the happiest years of my life. I believe all the preachers that were associated with me then have passed away, except Levi Collins and Brother Smith of Stephenville. If I could see you I could tell you many things of interest, but can write but little now. Wishing you success with your book, I am yours,
Today there are about 2,000 Methodists in this County. Histories of a few of the individual churches follow:
Rising Star Church.
This charge first belonged to the Pecan Circuit and was served by L. S. Chamberlain in 1877. In 1879 this same preacher was returned to the work and then organized the class at Rising Star with eight members, James Irby, Sallie J. Irby, Andrew Agnew, N. S. Agnew, T. P. Agnew, Sarah Agnew,
The Methodist Church, Rising Star.—Photo by Watkins, Rising Star
This charge first belonged to the Pecan Circuit and was served by L. S. Chamberlain in 1877. In 1879 this same preacher was returned to the work and then organized the class at Rising Star with eight members, James Irby, Sallie J. Irby, Andrew Agnew, N. S. Agnew, T. P. Agnew, Sarah Agnew, Dennis Bond and Sarah Tannerhill. Out of the eight members only James Irby and wife remain with the church today. It was at a night appointment this organization was made in a little 10x12 log school house with a dirt floor, and was the first church organized in this part of the County.
The Rising Star Mission was created some time later with two appointments (Jewell being the other), and had an appropriation of one hundred dollars from the missionary board. It was included in the Breckinridge District, with A. K. Miller as Presiding Elder and G. F. Fair pastor, 1883-1885.
By and by a new school house was built near where the cemetery now lies and served for church purposes. The class continued to gather strength; to its membership were added those of Uncle Tommie Anderson and his family. Mrs. L. S. Anderson still retains her membership. She is the aged mother of H. E. Anderson.
In 1881 the first Sunday school was organized in the school house. A Methodist Sunday School in a school house did not prosper, so under the leadership of the indefatigable R. R. Raymond a church was built and later a parsonage. They are valued at $2,000. On a beautiful, grass-covered lawn this church has put up a tabernacle at a cost of $300.00.
In 1902, under the pastorate of J. H. Chimbliss, assisted by J. C. Watkins, a most wonderful revival took place, resulting in such an increased membership that the church had to be enlarged. This was done at a cost of $500, making a total of $2,800 of church property. With a membership of nearly three hundred, a fine Sunday school, both Senior and Junior Epworth Leagues and an active Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, the church is doing well.
Rev. D. A. McGuire is the present pastor.
Source: History of Eastland County, Texas, by Mrs. George Langston, A. D. Aldridge & Company, Dallas, Texas, 1904.