|Early Church Roll Additional Pictures|
courtesy Mopac House Foundation
a small community on
is situated in southwest
August and September of 1907, Abel B. Pierce had the townsite of
Collegeport, 320 acres, surveyed by J. C. Carrington. It became known as
the Hurd Sub-Division of the A. B. Pierce Ranch.
was founded by the Burton D. Hurd Land Company on
immediately these first settlers of the community began plans for a
Murray A. Travis, center, his
wife, Rena, fourth from right.
to the ARTICLES OF THE ASSOCIATION:
We the citizens of Collegeport and vicinity realize the need of a church
in Collegeport, and
We the citizens of Collegeport and vicinity realize the need of a church
in Collegeport, and
We belong to different denominations and faiths, none of which has
sufficient number of adherents to support and maintain a suitable church
at the present time, and
The day has arrived when men and women have learned to emphasize their
common ideals and service in the interest of the best and highest
citizenship and for the glory of God, we join together and agree to the
following article, to-wit:
in part the following articles:)
II - PURPOSE - The purpose of this organization shall be the maintenance
of religious services in Collegeport, and the moral and religious
welfare of the citizens of the town and community.
III - DOCTRINES - The doctrines and ideals of this Church shall be those
common to the so-called evangelical denominations of the present time as
embodied in the Young Men's and Young Women's Christian Association.
member agrees to refrain from the introduction and discussion of
questions which may stir up denominational strife or prejudices in any
service of the church.
chief aim of the Church and its members shall be the development of
Christian character rather than the adoption of theological ideas or
The first officers of the church were E. C. Van Ness, Moderator;
Mrs. Gussie Elmer, Records; and Charles E. Duller, Treasurer. At the
time of installation, the text taken by the Dean of the University,
M. A. Travis, from Joshua 1:4 was adapted to read as follows: "From
the Tres Palacios and this Bay on, even unto the great river, the
Colorado; all the land of the ranchman, and unto the great sea
toward the going down of the sun, the Matagorda Bay shall be your
Murray A. Travis had come to Collegeport in 1909 from
Continuing to meet in the chapel the members purchased Lots 11 and
12 in Block 88, on
Murray A. Travis and his brother, William H., were born in
the most familiar figures upon the streets of our city as well as
the roads of the surrounding county is Professor W. H. Travis, the
president of the Gulf Coast University of Industrial Arts located in
Collegeport. Travis born in
a term of two in the old
....Travis then entered the ministry and spent a number of years as
some years as pastor in
heard of contemplated development in
Nothing daunted by his apparent failure,
he spent the following months in perfecting his study and investigations
in truck and fruit growing upon his own farm and watching for an
opportunity to carry out his plans under more favorable conditions. The
opportunity presented itself nearer and sooner than he or anyone
expected, for soon after the Moore and Pierce lands were put upon the
market and Professor Travis set out to interview the officers of the
Burton D. Hurd Land Company. He found these men to be built on a large
scale, and they at once saw the adventure of such an institution to the
new development. A handsome tract of five hundred acres located on the
most beautiful spot upon the
this time on Professor Travis might be seen every morning very early
rowing across the bay, often walking over four miles to the
demonstration farm at Satsuma, now Citrus Grove, and back again in the
evening. The professor spent a number of months demonstrating the
possibilities of the country and perfection of the school. In September
(1909) the present temporary quarters were erected and early in October
(1909) the faculty and students took possession of the building.
Collegeport Chronicle dated
were held in the University Chapel, Hotel Collegeport, and on the
pavilion until the new five-room church was built. The evening
services were held in the hotel due to the fact that there were lights
and that every second week the land seeking parties were present to
help swell the congregations.
the beginning the church tried to raise $750 for the pastor's salary
and $550 for incidentals annually. The church roll counted 94 members
in 1911, and was revised in 1912 with 119 communicants. That same
year, a resolution was passed which read in part: "...That First
Church, Collegeport express herself as not favoring dancing,
card-playing, and other amusements reasonably classed as
two years the church doubled as the public school and for twenty-four
years it was the town's community center. In January 1922, the First
Church of Collegeport - Federated unanimously passed a resolution
favoring the organization of a Presbyterian Church,
the years that followed, the church had its good years and bad years.
It continued to serve as an affiliated church under the supervision of
the Presbyterian Church,
in the early church involved not only Collegeport members but
neighbors in nearby Citrus Grove. Citrus Grove held an annual
Thanksgiving dinner beginning in 1910 and the
moist coastal climate and devastating hurricanes resulted in
structural problems with the building which brought about the needs
and plans for a new building. In January of 1955 at a congregation
meeting, Dean Merck, chairman of the Building Committee, explained and
showed plans on ways of financing a new Sanctuary. The committee had
contacted the Board of National Missions for assistance but felt it
would be impossible to pursue that avenue with the many rulings. The
committee recommended to use the money in the Lord's Acre Fund, and to
transfer $1000 from the general fund to the building fund and to
borrow up to $5000 from the Bay City Bank and Trust, if necessary. The
recommendation passed 27 to 1 and in May of 1955, a ground breaking
service was held with 66 members and friends in attendance.
Sadie-Ellen Hall was added to the church in 1969. Named for the
mothers of Dean and Dorothy (Franzen) Merck, this recreation hall is a
meeting place for the WOC and the Young Adult class. Church dinners,
luncheons, receptions and showers are enjoyed in this Fellowship hall.
The kitchen, known as "Carrie's Kitchen" is fully equipped
and has central air and heat.
1982 the sanctuary and Sadie-Ellen Hall were renovated. Members of the
congregation refinished the pews, contractors were hired to put on a
white gloss paint on the interior and exterior and new carpeting was
installed. A central air and heat system was installed. The cross at
the front of the church was made by W. L. Ellis.
present day church building whose construction began in 1955 has actual
pieces of the old church within it. The chancel panel in the Greek
Revival Style was removed from the old building intact, and became the
focal point of the new sanctuary. Also, salvaged from the old building
were structural beams used in trusses, pine flooring used for roof
decking, and two pocket doors.
original lectern is still used in the back of the sanctuary as is the
pulpit and the pulpit chairs were the ones in the original church
building. The communion service used in the worship services is the same
one presented at an Easter service in 1912. It is inscribed,
"Presented to the First Church of Collegeport - Federated, by Mr.
and Mrs. John W. Hansel and friends in other states."
current renovation project of First Presbyterian Church in Collegeport
began in 1997. Among the many improvements made were repainting, new
carpet, new pew cushions, installation of drywall, and modernizing the
who have served the
A. Travis, 1910-18; A. B. Buchanan, 1922-23; H. Paul Janes, 1924-27; H.
L. Smith, 1928-29; John W. Van Dyke, 1931-32; J. T. Morrow, Student,
1932; J. Marshall Janes, 1932-33; Hubert Travis, Student, 1933; James
Aiken, Jr., 1934-35; J. Marshall Janes, 1935-36; F. H. Pope, 1937-38;
George Gillespie, 1939-48, and A. G. Fitzgerald, 1954.
Pastors who served for the summer months 1950-1966 were: Bob Hawkins,
Merrell Proudfoot and Billy Bob Shifflet, 1950-54; Joe David Ruffin,
1954; Dick Holmes, 1955; David Campbell, 1956; Don Scruggs, 1957; Dan
Sebesta, 1958; Douglas Finch, 1959; William F. Menn, 1960; Bruce
Schumacher, 1961; John Massey, 1962; Steve Kerr, 1963; Guy Delaney,
1964; David Thomas, 1965; and Louis Petmecky, 1966.
pastors were A. T. Dyal; and Joe Cooper, January 1, 1967 - December 31,
1967; Tom McGee, January 1, 1968 - September 1, 1968; Lloyd Nixon,
August 1973 - June 28, 1987, alternating with Elroy Weikel, 1975-87;
John Dee McClelland, July 5, 1987 - January 15, 1994; W. S. (Doug)
Blanton, 1994; David Gallaher, 1996 - January 1998; and Andrew Blair and
Janell Blair, February 1998 to present.
the church did not always have resident pastors, the pulpit was always
filled each Sunday by either student pastors from the Austin
Presbyterian Theological Seminary, or others affiliated with the
the years many dedicated members have carried on the work of the church.
Dorothy Corporon was recognized for having served 70 years as a church
pianist in 1995. She is currently in her 73rd year (1998).
Dean Merck was recognized for 40 consecutive years of service on the
Session. First Presbyterian Church of Collegeport in its 89th
year with 12 of those years as "First Church of Collegeport -
Federated" and 77 years as "First Presbyterian Church of
Collegeport" has survived hurricanes, loss of a University and
businesses and today is still an active viable influence in the lives of
people who live in this farming community. Most have roots of those
early settlers who came from
OF ELDERS 1922-1996
The town of Collegeport, on Tres
Palacios Bay in Matagorda County, was planned by the Burton D. Hurd Land
Company as a promotional scheme for selling the lands of J. E. and A. B.
Pierce. The company provided land for a townsite and the creation of the
Gulf Coast University of Industrial Arts. In November of 1909 community
leaders joined together at the University's chapel to discuss the
creation of Collegeport Federated Church. Representing fourteen
denominations, the congregation's early mission was to unify the
community and support a common church for all citizens. Murray A. Travis
was called as the first pastor of the church. Pastor Travis had moved to
Collegeport in 1909 from Canada to join his brother William H. Travis,
and help with the development of university programs as dean. In
addition to his university duties, Pastor Travis also ran the
COLLEGEPORT CHRONICLE, one of the area's first newspapers. In 1910 the
congregation began work on their first sanctuary building at an
estimated cost of $2,000. The five-room building was opened for services
on November 27, 1910. Among the charter members who signed the first
register were persons of Baptist, Methodist, Union, Universal, and
Presbyterian backgrounds. For many years the church doubled as a
schoolhouse and community center. In 1922 the congregation unanimously
passed a resolution to join the Presbyterian church, U.S.A., and became
the First Presbyterian Church of Collegeport. The congregation continued
to use the 1910 sanctuary until 1955 when new facilities were built
using materials and furnishings from the original church. (1999)
This little sock I give to you BUT DON'T FORGET THE SOCK!
This little sock I give to you
BUT DON'T FORGET THE SOCK!
Copyright 2005 -
Feb. 23, 2005
Oct. 25, 2009