Matagorda County Historical Marker Narrative
 

First Presbyterian Church of Bay City
 


2216 Avenue H

 

2858'52.10"N        9558'4.15"W

 

 

 FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF BAY CITY

 

    WITHIN A YEAR OF BECOMING ONE OF BAY CITY'S ORIGINAL

SETTLERS IN 1894, ALEXANDER D. HENSLEY ORGANIZED AN

INTERDENOMINATIONAL SABBATH SCHOOL WITH THE HELP OF

GILFORD M. MAGILL. EARLY RELIGIOUS SERVICES WERE HELD

IN THE COUNTY COURTHOUSE AND IN A COMMUNITY CENTER.

    IN 1898 HENSLEY, MAGILL, AND OTHERS DRAFTED AND SIGNED

A PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH COVENANT TO FORMALLY ORGANIZE

THIS CONGREGATION. FIRST PRESBYTERIAN WAS ENROLLED AS

A MEMBER OF THE BRAZOS PRESBYTERY LATER THAT YEAR.

  HENSLEY IS ALSO CREDITED WITH THE ORGANIZATION OF

THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN BAY CITY.

ACTIVELY INTERESTED IN THAT CONGREGATION, HE TAUGHT

SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASSES IN SPANISH THERE FOR MANY YEARS.

  PASTORS ASSIGNED TO FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH BY THE

BRAZOS PRESBYTERY HELD FEW SERVICES IN BAY CITY, AND IN

1903 THE RELATIONSHIP WAS DISSOLVED. THE CONGREGATION

BUILT ITS FIRST CHURCH BUILDING NEARBY IN 1903 WITH

THE REV. GEORGE WALLACE STORY SERVING AS PASTOR.

  THE FRAME STRUCTURE SERVED THE CONGREGATION UNTIL

1936 WHEN A NEW BRICK SANCTUARY WAS CONSTRUCTED AT

THIS SITE. CHURCH FACILITIES HAVE EXPANDED OVER THE

YEARS TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF A GROWING CONGREGATION.

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CONTINUES TO PROVIDE RELIGIOUS

GUIDANCE FOR MEMBERS OF THE COMMUNITY.            (1994)



 


FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

Bay City, Texas

  

Submitted by Kathleen Tatum and Bobbie Duffy Dykes

 

The history of the town of Bay City, Texas had its beginning in the year of 1894. The first dwelling had not been completed in December of that year, and most of the prospective citizens were still living in tents, waiting for their homes to be built.

During the beginning years, the religious life of Bay City was not neglected. In the spring of 1895, Alexander Duncan Hensley helped organize an interdenominational Sabbath School, along with Gilford M. Magill, another devoted Presbyterian, as well as other Christian leaders. Mr. Hensley served as superintendent for several years. Each Sunday the citizens met at the courthouse to worship together. Later, a community building was built at the corner of Eighth Street and Avenue E to serve all denominations on alternate Sundays.


Mr. Hensley and Mr. Magill took up the matter of organizing a Presbyterian Church and made application to the Home Mission Committee, requesting a visit from the Presbyterial Evangelist. The committee was much opposed to the organization of a church because there was no one to supply the Bay City area.


On July 31, 1898, at the conclusion of the morning service, the congregation met, and it was unanimously resolved to organize a Presbyterian Church. A church covenant was drafted and signed by the following charter members: Font Winston, Fannie L. (Robbins) Winston, Carrie (Robbins) Rugeley, Mrs. C. M. Robbins, G. W. Magill, A. D. Hensley, Dr. J. E. Simons, John McCall, and Jessie McCall. A. D. Hensley was elected Ruling Elder, and office he held for forty-nine years, and G. M. Magill was elected Deacon.


It was not until October, 1898, that the First Presbyterian Church of Bay City was enrolled as a member of the Brazos Presbytery. The dream of Presbyterians who had labored so faithfully in bringing Protestant worship to the new city had at last been realized.


The Reverend Edmund C. Boaz, who was received into Brazos Presbytery from the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1895, was sent to El Campo in 1898 and was assigned to the Bay City church once a month. During the winter months, he was seldom seen due to weather conditions and impassable roads. In the spring of 1899, the Reverend William E. McDonald was also assigned to visit Bay City once a month, but the same experience happened with weather and roads, leaving Bay City Presbyterians without a pastor.

 

In the early part of 1901, the Reverend George Wallace Story, an evangelist, visited the Bay City church and arranged to serve as supply pastor for one Sunday each month. This arrangement carried on until the spring meeting of Presbytery, 1903, when the relationship was dissolved.


During the ministry of the Reverend G. S. Story, the first church building, a white frame structure, was raised on Lot No. 1, fronting on 5th Street, in Block No. 118. This was a 50 X 140 feet lot that was purchased for $400, January 30, 1903, from G. M. Magill. The first services were held in the new building on the 19th day of March, 1903. The 1909 hurricane turned the church around facing Avenue H. Bowing to the will of the Lord, they blocked it up and left it.

The present church building was erected across the street from the original church on Lots 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22, in Block No. 107, fronting 140 feet on Fifth Street and 140 feet on Avenue H. This new brick building was a gift from Fred S. Robbins, dated July 10, 1935.


A Presbyterian homecoming and dedication of the new building was held on July 26, 1936. A new manse was built on the former location of the first church building, across the street from the new church.


At the dedication, the Reverend Ernest F. Deutsch gave a warm welcome to the crowd, and in his message named some of the special gifts which added much to the beauty of the new building.

Among the special gifts, with their donors were:

 

Two large stained glass windows, one on each side of the sanctuary, given by the children of Dr. and Mrs. J. E. Simons. One depicts "The Good Shepherd" and the other, "Praying Christ."

 

The lovely "Rose Window" in the facade of the sanctuary is a memorial to Mrs. P. E. Parker given by her children.

 

The smaller stained glass windows were given in memory of Mrs. J. P. Bryan, mother of Mrs. Thomas H. Lewis and Mrs. Fred S. Robbins.

 

Mrs. Campbell of Palacios donated a piano. Another piano was given by Mrs. Henry James and Mrs. Slater.

 

The furniture in the ladies parlor was given in memory of "Mother Robbins" who lived to be 99 years old. The pulpit furniture was an expression of appreciation from the congregation to the Reverend and Mrs. Deutsch.

 

The beautiful pipe organ was a gift from the Misses Callie Metzger and Pauline Huebner, Mrs. W. W. Wilkinson, and Mrs. Fred S. Robbins, as well as other memorial gifts.

 

Robbins Hall, adjoining the church building, was built in 1938 in memory of Theresa Bryan Robbins by her husband, Fred S. Robbins. An addition to the church school building was completed in the spring of 1950. A new manse, located at 2400 Live Oak and bordering on Cottonwood Creek, was purchased in 1960.

 

An extensive remodeling program of the church building was begun in 1963, at which time the north wing of the church school building and new offices at the front of Robbins Hall were added. The formal dedication service was held on Sunday afternoon, April 19, 1964.

The last addition to church property took place in 1967 when the property at the corner of Fifth Street and Avenue H, where the manse was located, was traded to the City of Bay City in exchange for an adjacent lot north of the church, facing Avenue H on the west and Sixth Street on the north. On the lot where the first church stood, the present City Hall now stands.

Pastors who have served the church since its founding are as follows:
 

1898 - 1899                 Edmund C. Boaz

1899 - 1901                 William G. McDonald

1906 - 1906                 George Wallace Story

1906 - 1917                 Lawrence E. Selfridge

1917 - 1932                 Granville T. Storey

1932 - 1949                 Ernest F. Deutsch

1950 - 1953                 John W. Lancaster

1954 - 1968                 Albert T. Dyal

1966 - 1969                 Joseph R. Cooper, Associate Pastor

1969 - 1977                 William D. O'Neal

1978 - 1986                 Frank Seaman

1986 - 1987                 Linwood Chrshire, Interim Pastor

1987 - 1992                 David Duncan

1992 - 1993                 Alan Anderson, Interim Pastor

1994 -                          Todd A. Collier

 

SESSION MINUTES

 

July 31st 1898                                                 Bay City          July 31st 1898

The Session met at the church shortly after the close of divine worship at noon. Present Rev. E. C. Boaz, the moderator, with Elder A. D. Hensley. The meeting was opened with prayer. Mrs. Fannie L. Winston appeared before the session and was examined on her religious experience. When having made a satisfactory profession of her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, she was admitted to the sealing ordinance of the Lord's Supper. Closed with prayer.

Read and approved.                            A. D. Hensley  Clerk

 

Novem 25th 1900                                           Bay City          November 25th 1900

The session met in the parlor of the Rugely house at 3 o'clock P.M. Present Rev W. S. Red the moderator, with Elder A. D. Hensley, Elder Fred S. Robbins of the Quintana church was also present by invitation.

The meeting was opened with prayer by the moderator. After a conference with the deacons on motion of Elder Hensley the Home Mission Committee was requested to supply this church with preaching for one Sunday in each month and the session guaranteed for pastors salary the sum of $125.00 per year.

The minutes were adopted and the meeting closed with prayer.

Read and approved                             A. D. Hensley  Clerk

 

October 20th 1901                             

The Session met at close of the morning service in the District Court Room. Present: Rev G. W. Story, the moderator, with Elder A. D. Hensley.

The meeting was opened with prayer. Mrs. Maggie B. Hensley wife of A. D. presented to the session her letter from the Presbyterian church at Llano Texas, and it appearing to the session, that the same was in all particulars regular and of recent date, it was ordered that she be received into the membership of this church and be admitted to the sealing ordinance of the Lord's Supper. Closed with prayer.

Read and approved                             A. D. Hensley  Clerk

 

Novem 21st 1901                                            Bay City          Novem 21st 1901

The Session met at the residence of Mr. C. J. Green. Present Rev. G. W. Story, the moderator and Elder A. D. Hensley.

The meeting was opened with prayer. After some conversation on religious matters, Mr. C. J. Green and his wife Mrs. Ida E. Green stated to the session their desire to remove their membership from the Presbyterian church at Port Lavaca to the Presbyterian church at this place, whereupon the session examined them on their religious experience and having made a satisfactory profession of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they were received into the membership of this church and the clerk was instructed to notify the session of the Lavaca church. Closed with prayer.

Read and approved                             A. D. Hensley  Clerk

  

 



 


EARLY MEMBERS
OF THE FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

RECORDED IN THE SESSION MINUTES

 

Courtesy of Bobbie Duffy Dykes
 

1898    Mrs. Fannie L. Winston

1901    A. D. & Maggie B. Hensley from Presb. Church, Llano, TX

C. J. & Ida E. Green from Presb. Church, Port Lavaca, TX; dismissed in 1903 to Presb. Church, San Marcos, TX; received back from San Marcos in 1904

Mrs. H. Woodhouse

1902    Helen Green; dismissed in 1910 to Presb. Church, Galveston

Stewart, Rose & Minnie McClure from West Pullmon Congre-gational Church, Chicago, IL; dismissed in 1903 to Presb. Church, St. Louis, MO.

Mrs. Tina Harrison from Presb. Church, Cuero, TX

J. Walter & Stella Magill from Presb. Church, Beeville, TX

Mrs. Chas. Longuet from Congregational Church,   ? , LA

Infant Baptisms:

Benjamin Ralph Harrison, son of Mrs. Tina Harrison

Nannie Leona Green, daughter of C. J. & Ida E. Green

Dr. P. E. & Mrs. Lulu R. Parker from Methodist Episc. Church, Stephens, AR

E. L. Lancaster from Presb. Church, Lincoln, NE

Walter & Iola Willard from Presb. Church, Winchester, TX

Mrs. Josephine Smith from Presb. Church, Beeville, Tx; dismissed in 1907 to Presb. Church, Victoria

Mrs. C. J. Hill

Mrs. Wm. T. Goode from Wheelock Church

Mrs. Ella Harris from Presb. Church at Columbia; dismissed in 1909 to Presb. Church, Angleton

1903    Mrs. J. C. Willis from Presb. Church, Angleton, TX

J. S. & Ida B. Meanes from Presb. Church, Yoakum, TX

Wm. & Ellen Boyle McConagley from Tabor Presb. Church, Philadelphia, PA

Mrs. Musetta Holland

J. T. Gregory from Cumberland Presb. Church, Rockdale, TX

Stephen Perry from Presb. Church, Gulf Prairie, TX

A. A. & Emily Moore from Presb. Church at      ?   

J. A. Barret

1904    J. J., Emma & Lula Blake from Presb. Church, Gneydan?, LA

B. Lancaster from Presb. Church, Ennis, TX

Kate Montgomery Lewis, Broadway Presb. Church, Sedalia, MO

Mr. & Mrs. L. G. Little from First Congregational Church, Port Arthur, TX; Mrs. L. G. Little dismissed 1907 to Presb. Church, Port Arthur

Mrs. Lizzie Graham

Mrs. Ida Anselin

W. R. Lewis

Mrs. Annie Schindler & Miss Bertha Bruce of Matagorda

Mrs. Kate Douglas

Mr. & Mrs. Charles E. Duller from Presb. Church, Crawley, LA; dismissed in 1907 to Presb. Church, Pearsall, TX

Herbert Parker

Eleaner Harrison

Nellie Montgomery

Matty Gainer

Geroth Green

M. S. & Lizzie H. McCullough

Mrs. Irna Gill

1905    Mrs. Maggie Hay (Sister of W. McConaghy) from First Reformed Presb. Church, Philadelphia, PA

Mattie, age 8, & Annie, age 2, dau of Maggie Hay, baptised

Lynn B. Garrison; dismissed 1908 to Presb. Church, Galveston

1906    R. N. Garnett and  Mr. C. R. Garnett

Laura Bain

Children of Mr. & Mrs. C. E. Duller, baptised (no names given)

Misses Bernice & Katie Lee Harrison & Josephine McCullough

Onofre C. Perez & wife; in 1909 Senor Onofri Perez dismissed to Mexican Mission, Victoria, TX

Alfredo Munguia & wife, Mexican Presb. Church, Victoria, TX

Mrs. M. Brunner from Presb. Church, Birmingham, AL

Archie Roy Harrison

Lucile Magill, a child of the Covenant, received into Church

Mrs. Emily C. Selfridge from Coleman Presb. Church

John Dewey Bell

Mrs. Laura Emmill dismissed to Presb. Church, Lockhart

1907    Wm. D. & Louise C. Reed from Presb. Church, Omaha, NE; dismissed in 1908 to Presb. Church, Omaha, NE

Frank L., Frank Maynard, Lilie Rebecca, & Samuel Robert Rugeley

Lila Virginia & Leland S. Winston

Joseph Holt; dismissed in 1908 to Presb. Church, Palacios

Mrs. Tony Ramey

Mrs. Ed Little

Viola Alice Gove, age 14, recieved into the Fellowship of the Church at Matagorda

William Viscar

Mrs. Fanny L. Winston & children, Lela Virginia & Leland, dismissed to Presb. Church, San Marcos, TX; received back in 1910 from Presb. Church, San Marcos

Mrs. Marguarette Harrison, wife of Archie Harrison

Mrs. L. J. Dickey & Mary K. from Presb. Church, Clareton, TX

Frank L. Dickey from Presb. Church, Anson, TX

Mr. M. S. Perry from Gulf Prairie Church

Mr. T. J. Poole from Presb. Church, El Campo

Mrs. Manscra K. Maluf Badouh, Presb. Church, Pottsville, PA

1908    Miss Mabel Greebe from Presb. Church, Greenville, IL

Norman Calhoun from Presb. Church, Ft. Worth, TX

Mr. S. R. Ramsey from Presb. Church, Haskell

W. M. Mann

Mrs. Elizabeth Keller Poole, from Presb. Church, El Campo; her children, Donald Keller Poole & Mary Kathryn Poole

Jessie Alice Anselin

Virgie Amelia Olheson & Ruby Ruhamy Olheson

W. C. Lloyd from Fordyce, AR

Mrs. Maggie Erwin

Misses Ruth Montgomery & Francis Poole

Master William O. Mearns

Mr. J. C. McDonald

J. W. Reeves

Mrs. C. W. Jones, Ralph Wickham, and Marion Alwood & her children from Presb. Church, Norwell, OH

1909    Mrs. Laura Nindes from Baptist Church, Fort Wayne, IN

A. A. & Emma Perry Moore, from Presb. Church, Markham

Aaron & Sadie Ohleson, Mary Tepesa Moore (dau of Mr. & Mrs. A. A. Moore), Laurence Selfridge (son of Rev. L. E. Selfridge), and Ralph Ramey

Miss Jane Nindes

Mrs. Bettie Bell

Albert Leroy Schultz

Frank Harrison

Fred Brunner

D. E. Redden & Sadie Redden; dismissed in 1910 to Kingsville

Jennings Ohleson

Mrs. LeSage and Lillian Louisa & May Katherine LeSage

Lily Unice Anselin

Mrs. Annie Elizabeth Simons

Mrs. Cora Bell Perry

Mrs. Cassie Perry Bryan from Presb. Church, Quintana

Mrs. Thomas H. Lewis from Presb. Church, Gonzales

Mrs. W. S. Goode, dismissal to Presb. Church, San Antonio

1910    Mrs. E. L. Thompson from Presb. Church, Florence, NE

Terese B. Robbins & Fred S. Robbins, from Quintana, TX

Transferred from Markham when Markham Presb. dissolved:

Mr. & Mrs. E. R. Ulrich, S. S. Perry, J. A. Barnett, Mrs. J. H. Davis, Mr. & Mrs. J. J. Blake, Mrs. W. A. Black, and Mrs. Stephens

Miss Callie M. Metzger from Presb. Church, Denver, CO

Robert & Alice G. Pogue from Presb. Church, Dallas

C. A. & Carrie Ericson from Methodist Church, Bay City

Mr. & Mrs. J. S. Hunt & Grover from Presb. Church, S. Houston

E. L. Perry from Presb. Church, Gulf Prairie, TX

Mrs. E. L. Perry from Episcopal Church

 

Alberta & Allen Poage
Robert C. Russell
George E. Anderson
Miss Addie Harrison
Emily Ninds
Mrs. C. A. Lathgue
Leona Green
Kathryn Lucile Moore
Margaret Fay 
Carrie Lee Hicks

Pauline Eleanor Ruse
Mollie Laflin Foot
Gladiola Belle Willard
Miss Avis Morrow
Granville L. Berry
Emma Jane Hunt
Margaret Mearns
Norale Griffith
Roy Russell Ramey

 



 

Robbins Hall

 

2216 Avenue H



 


 

 

Copyright 2010 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

This page was created
Apr. 6, 2010
This page was updated
Apr. 6, 2010
   

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