A New Home for an Old Church
The historic Eagle Springs Baptist Church was recently moved to a new home, on property adjacent to the place where it served the people of Eagle Springs for the last one hundred and thirty years.
Scheduled for demolition this summer, the storm-damaged old building is now being restored and will be used by the community for weddings, funerals, family reunions and other religious and civic events. A group of interested citizens, The Historic Eagle Springs Baptist Church Association, has been working with the congregation of the “new” Eagle Springs Baptist Church to save the unique old building for future generations.
Lovingly shored up and strengthened with “hard work, lumber and lots of prayers” by Mr. Earl Booker of Crawford, the aged building was loaded onto a truck and moved a few hundred yards to a shady spot donated by Jerry and Sandra Ferrell next to the Eagle Springs Cemetery.
Located just off FM 107 between Moody and Gatesville, the church was built in the 1870s by the citizens of the town of Eagle Springs, a once thriving community with a post office, two doctor’s offices, a cotton gin, two general stores, a school and a blacksmith shop. The church is the last remaining building in the vanished town of Eagle Springs.
History seeps from the pores of the old building.
Noah and Isabella Neff, parents of former Governor Pat Neff, helped to build the little church. It is a unique design with two front doors. Women entered through the right door and sat on the right side of the church; men entered on the left. It is said that some men attended services in the early days with rifles lying across their knees because of the threat of Indian attacks
The Reverend Raleigh R. White, father of one of the founders of Scott & White Hospital was pastor of the church from 1896 – 1900.
“Great-Grandfather White preached as many as three sermons on a single Sunday traveling between churches on horseback,” said Dr. Raleigh R. White IV.
“We hope the church will serve the people of this area for many more generations,” a spokesperson for the Historic Eagle Springs Baptist Church Association said. “There are lots of celebrations left in the old building yet.”
Now that the church is finally unloaded from the truck and nestled among the trees in its new location, the work will have only just begun. Paint is peeling and the roof needs repairs. The windows are broken out and will have to be replaced, as will the two front doors. Citizens of the area and others from as far away as Austin have volunteered to come to Eagle Springs to work on restoring the old building.
By Martha Deeringer