Methodist Church at Ranger, Cisco and Carbon, Texas
The Church at Ranger was organized by Rev. Hightower in a tent in 1881. The membership has grown to ninety-two with church property valued at $1,500.00, which includes a house of worship and parsonage. The present pastor is Rev. B. R. Wagner.
M. V. Mitchell
The Cisco Methodist Church had its beginning in the fertile brain of a pioneer "circuit rider," Rev. Lamb Trimble. On the quiet hunt for anyone who wore the name of Methodist, where he might find a kindred spirit, shelter and something to eat, he discovered M. V. Mitchell and wife (in a log hut 10x12 feet) running a sheep ranch. The tired preacher was not long in accepting a large hospitality in small quarters. The dirt floor to the little room had been overlaid with grass and on this was spread a carpet. The cubby-hole, (or shed room) and a bed of skins was the only place for the preacher, while plenty of blankets for cover and a good case of religion made him happy.
In 1880 this preacher organized the first church, and when that roll was called the only names were M. V. Mitchell and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Walton. Mr. Mitchell was elected steward. This church was begun in a little log school house, located where now lies the beautiful cemetery. Rev. Andrews was the next circuit rider, and John Lane steward. In 1881 Cisco was founded at the junction of the railroads, and everybody moved to town, the school, post office and church following the people.
Rev. Mills was the next pastor. He and Rev. R. B. Vaughan canvassed the new town for Methodists and found about twenty. The people were all living in tents. A school house was soon built by popular contributions, and this sufficed as a place for the monthly preaching. Two or three years later, during the pastorate of Rev. John A. Wallace, a small church, costing six or seven hundred dollars, was erected on the lot where the present building now stands.
During the pastorate of Rev. T. C. Ragsdale the house was enlarged to meet the growing demands of the congregation. This was swept away by the cyclone in 1893, and a beautiful and commodious house was erected at a cost of about $6,000. The church has a parsonage valued at $1,200, and a membership of three hundred and thirty members. During the past year under the pastorate of S. J. Vaughn there was a net gain in membership of eighty, and about $800 were expended in improvements on the church and parsonage. The church is doing fine work in all departments. The building is lighted by electricity.
The Carbon Church was first organized in 1890 by I. N. Reeves, with about twenty members. There was no building other than Thurman's store, which was utilized, the counters serving, in part, for pews. As the preacher stood with his back to the door he could not understand, during this first sermon at 11 o'clock Sunday morning, why a row of girls directly in front of him were so intensely amused. They caused so much confusion that he stopped shortly after he began and dismissed the audience. Afterwards he learned that a man out on the street in front of the door, with a woman's sunbonnet on his head, was "making a monkey of himself."
At night the audience gathered early. The counters were filled with boys, who wore clanking spurs. The preacher had barely reached his "secondly" when one of the boys on the counter noisily left the room, brushing right by the minister, who stood near the entrance. In a very few minutes another boy was rattling his spurs in his rush to get outside with the one who started what was evidently meant to include all who sat with them. At this juncture Dr. Jules Trader rose to his feet and with an impetuous oath exclaimed, "Parson, I don't want to interfere, but if you'll knock the next boy down who tries to pass you, I'll stand by you." The sermon continued without further interruption.
I. N. Neel, agent of the railroad, organized and taught a Sunday school in the station house where he lived. Later, the railroad gave the town an acre of ground on which to build a school house. When this was completed the Sunday school went there, and at the end of Mr. Reeves' second year there were eighty-seven members. The church building was erected during the pastorate of Rev. Maxwell. The present pastor is Rev. J. H. Walker.
Source: History of Eastland County, Texas, by Mrs. George Langston, A. D. Aldridge & Company, Dallas, Texas, 1904.