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Matagorda County
Historical Marker

Matagorda
 

Matagorda United Methodist Church

Founded 1839


813 Fisher Street (SH 60)                  28°41'28.82"N      95°58'4.00"W


MATAGORDA METHODIST CHURCH

 

ONE OF THE EARLIEST METHODIST CHURCHES IN TEXAS. FOUNDED JAN. 6, 1839, BY THE REV. JESSE HORD, A CIRCUIT RIDER WHO RECORDED THAT HE CAME THROUGH “BLACK MUD, A POURING DOWN RAIN AND A HOWLING NORTHER” TO HOLD SERVICES IN MATAGORDA. WHEN HE PREACHED AT “EARLY CANDLE LIGHT” (DUSK), FOUR PERSONS CAME FORWARD TO FORM THE NUCLEUS OF THE PRESENT CHURCH.

THE FIRST CHURCH BUILDING WAS ERECTED ABOUT 1851 BUT WAS DESTROYED BY THE GREAT HURRICANE OF 1854, WHICH LEVELED ALMOST EVERY BUILDING IN TOWN. IN 1869 WORSHIP WAS HELD IN THE COUNTY COURTHOUSE; IN 1891 THE PRESENT PARSONAGE WAS BUILD. IN 1892 MEMBERS DECIDED THEY MUST HAVE A PROPER CHURCH AFTER BEING ACCIDENTALLY LOCKED OUT OF THEIR MEETING PLACE—THE SCHOOLHOUSE—ON A COLD, RAINY THANKSGIVING DAY.

LONG LEAF YELLOW PINE AND CYPRESS WERE BROUGHT IN FROM GALVESTON AND THE PRESENT CHURCH WAS COMPLETED 1893. A SUNDAY SCHOOL WAS SOON FOUNDED BY THE LADIES’ AID SOCIETY. IN 1927, SUNDAY SCHOOL ROOMS, A KITCHEN AND STUDY WERE BUILT. IN 1942, ANOTHER HURRICANE AND FLOOD DAMAGED, BUT DID NOT DESTROY THE CHURCH.

TODAY, THOUGH MANY IMPROVEMENTS AND NEW FURNISHINGS HAVE BEEN RECENTLY ADDED, THE ORIGINAL BIBLE, BELL, AND HAND-MADE CYPRESS PEWS ARE STILL IN SERVICE. (1968)

Marker inscription typed by Faye Cunningham.
 


History of Matagorda United Methodist Church

By Louise Walker Ryman & Geraldyne Ryman Havard

The Matagorda United Methodist Church lays claim to a history beginning in the late 1820s and 1830s. Henry Stevenson of the Mississippi Conference preached in Texas in those early years, “… along the whole Western boundary of the settlements, and all the way to the Colorado River.” About the same time Rev. H. S. Thrall, author of A History of Methodism in Texas, preached as a circuit rider in Matagorda.

On December 18, 1837 Dr. Ruter suggested, the Mississippi Conference form  three circuits in Texas—Matagorda being named as an appointment in the Houston Circuit. The circuit was unsupplied, however, except as Dr. Ruter himself or another circuit rider touched it. It is supposed that Dr. Ruter did preach in Matagorda as he states in his records of January 9, 1838, that he had been near the mouth of the Colorado River.

Texas remained attached to the Mississippi Conference and on December 5, 1838, the conference met with Bishop Morris presiding. Appointments were made for the “Texas Mission District,” of which Matagorda was a part. Able Stevens was appointed to head the Houston-Galveston District.

On January 1, 1839, Jesse Hord recorded that he started for Matagorda from Bay Prairie, “pulling through black mud, a pouring down rain and a howling norther.”

On January 6, 1839, he wrote, “I attended the Episcopal service at 11 o’clock am. At 3 pm I preached. We had much interest. I also preached at early candle light with much liberty. I opened the doors of the church, and four came forward. This was the beginning of the first Methodist class in Matagorda.”

Jesse Hord continued to return to Matagorda as time permitted. He had 20 appointments “embracing a circuit of about 500 miles, over flat and muddy country.” At times he had to cross the swollen San Bernard River “dry shod, by riding upon my knees in the seat of my saddle.”

It was difficult to complete the circuit as he noted January 23-24 “These two days I rested… Am quite worn and weary, even to sickness, and my poor horse is more worn than I, for he has carried me about four thousand miles with but little intermission or rest. I thank God for a good horse.”

In the year 1839 we find that Hord had organized four societies, the first in their respective localities—namely, Matagorda, Richmond, Bay Prairie (now Bay City), and in the De Moss Settlement.

In December of 1839, the Mississippi Conference organized the Ruterville District of Texas; Matagorda was one of the seven churches in the district. Rev. R. Alexander was the presiding elder, and  the Rev. Robert H. Hill was appointed pastor to Matagorda.

On December 25, 1840, the Texas Conference of the Methodist Church was organized in Baltimore, Maryland. The pastor appointed to the Methodist Church was D. N. V. Sullivan.

It is not known when the first Methodist church building was erected. A Methodist church building was listed as one of the public buildings in Matagorda in a letter written on November 11, 1851, by County Treasurer J. H. Selkirk to Texas Land Commissioner J. de Cordova. This building was destroyed by the great hurricane of 1854, which leveled almost every building in town. Quoting from A History of Early Methodism in Texas: “…it is supposed that the roof of the building was blown out to sea as it was never found.”

In 1853, the Galveston District Annual Report shows the membership of Matagorda consisted of “20 whites and 13 colored.” By 1858 it had grown to “50 whites and 32 colored.”

There were few records for the next few decades. An article in the Matagorda Gazette in 1858 shows that attempts were made to raise money to rebuild the church. If it was rebuilt, it was destroyed again, because services were held in the courthouse in 1869, and later in the schoolhouse.

In 1891 the parsonage was erected with money borrowed from Fred S. Robbins. In 1892 members decided they must have a proper Church after being accidentally locked out of their meeting place, the school house, on a cold rainy Thanksgiving Day.

Long leaf yellow pine and cypress were brought in from Galveston and the present Church was completed in 1893. Robbins again loaned the money, and Charles Baker was the building. The trustees were Conrad Franz, Waldo Thompson, John Matthews, W. E. Moore, and F. S. Robbins. There being no stock law at this time in Matagorda, a fence was needed to protect the Church lawn.

A Sunday School was soon formed by the Ladies Aid Society and in 1927 Sunday School rooms, a kitchen and study were built. The hurricane of 1924 did extensive damage to the church and the parsonage. In 1957 another room and a large kitchen were added, the men of the church doing the work. The appearance of the building was changed in 1965 by the addition of a large entrance porch.

In 1942, another hurricane and flood damaged, but did not completely destroy, the Church. After observing the damages, Dr. Landrum, the District Superintendent, asked the membership if they wanted to repair, rebuild and continue the Church. Mrs. Carroll Ryman, a longtime member, immediately replied, “Certainly, there will always be a Methodist Church in Matagorda.”

The earliest local records, salvaged from many hurricanes, are dated 1887, and they list the following members:

Dr. and Mrs. F. Rugeley 1887
Capt. Henry and Catherine Cookenboo 1887
Baltes A. and Jennie Ryman 1887
Mrs. Minnie Bedford 1891
Charlie Williams 1891
William C. and Helen Elizabeth "Lizzie" Berg 1892
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Baxter 1892
Bessie Baker 1892

as well as James B. Watkins, Mary L. Watkins, Mary Duke, Linnie M. Phillips, J. Edward Savage, Phillip Yeamans, Bettie Mahavier, and Charles Eidlebach.

Today, through careful improvements, repair, and maintenance the Church is ready. As a Church we are ready to ring the original bell, with people filling the original cypress pews to hear God’s original message of love and forgiveness preached from the original pulpit. The next 150 years are to be the best years yet as God continues to bless this church with a new mission.

Historic Matagorda County, Volume I, pages 570-571
Matagorda United Methodist Church Sesquicentennial program, 1989


LIST OF PASTORS
1839 - 1989

 

NAME SERVICE

Jesse Hord

1839

Robert Hill

1840

Daniel V. N. Sullivan

1841

Isaac M. Williams

1842

Robert Crawford

1842

Chas. F. Rottenstein

1851

A. B. F. Kerr

1852

Oscar M. Addison

1853

Wm. L. Kidd

1854

Robert Paine Thompson

1857

Egbert H. Osborne

1859

Robert N. Drake

1860

Love M. Harris

1861

W. G. Foot

1862

T. B. Buckingham

1863-64

E. R. Smith

1865

Norman Savage

1869

E. P. Rogers

1870

J. M. Turner

1871

John C. Huckabee

1873

M. C. Fields

1874

Samuel H. Brown

1875-77

W. M. Shockley

1878

A. W. Bowen

1879

V. A. G. Beaumont

1880

B. F. Johnson

1882

John W. Holt

1885-86

G. H. Collins

1887-88

J. H. Kennedy

1889

L. P. Davis

1890

Harry May

1891

J. Walker Norris

1892-93

W. C. Bracewell

1894-95

A. J. Anderson

1896

J. H. Calloway

1897-1900

J. C. Stewart

1901

C. N. Morton

1902-03

H. R. Kimble

1904

A. S. Whitehurst

1905-07

C. E. Garrett

1908-09

E. C. Escoe

1910-12

D. S. Burke

1913-15

T. S. Williford

1916-19

J. D. Dorsey

1920

W. R. Crawford

1921

 

NAME SERVICE

Walton Day

1922

J. H. Stuckley

1923

J. W. Wardlow

1924

C. C. Bell

1925-28

W. A. Pounds

1929-30

C. A. Mangum

1930-32

J. D. F. Houck

1933-34

R. M. House

1938-39

E. J. Davis

1940-43

H. A. Springfield

1944

L. J. Maedgen

1945

J. L. Rutan

1945-46

W. Ed Mitchell

1946-47

John Rakestraw

1948

Abie Jack Adrian

1949

Frank Hollingsworth

1950

Marvin Cory

1951-52

Harvey F. Matney

1952

George Olson

1953-Feb 1, 1955

T. G. Stamps

Feb 15-Sep 1, 1955

William J. Commer

Sep 16, 1955-Jun 3, 1956

J. P. McGown

1956-57

W. H. Langham

1958-60

Jerry Hoffpauir

1960-62

Virgil "Jack" A Cox

1962-65

W. C. Hall, Jr.

1965-66

Roy Lee Hogg

1966

Chalice White

Jun-July 1967

John H. Vawter

1968

John F. Teer

1969

James Cross, supply

Jun-Oct 1969

Forrest Dyson, supply

Nov 1969-Jan 1970

Jim Thompson, supply

Feb-Jun 1970

Joe Fred Crabb

1970-71

Bruce LeGrande, supply

Mar-Jun 1972

Thomas E. Carter

1973

Ben S. Behrens

1974

Bluford E. Weikel

1974-76

Ralph Hasten

Jul-Dec 1976

Robert E. Main

Jan-Jun 1977

Floyd Forse

1978

Bob Dickens

1978-86

Cramer Johnson

1986-88

David H. Martin

1988

Harold Travis

1989-

 


MARRIAGE REGISTER

The first page of the Marriage Register is illegible due to water damage.
The first marriage is dated November 13, 1890, but the remaining page is washed out. This record begins with page 2.
 

NAMES BY WHOM MARRIED DATE

Robert J. Baxter & Oddie Sterling

J. W. Morris

Aug 9, 1893

Sylvian Matthews & Sadie Green

J. W. Morris

Dec 20, 1893

Wm. Bedford & Minnie Baxter

J. J. Callaway

Nov 16, 1898

Ed. Baxter & Bessie Baxter

J. J. Callaway

Nov 30, 1898

B. B. Watkins & Lila J. Savage

J. C. Stewart

Jan 9, 1901

James Richmond & Mrs. Bettie Mahavier

J. C. Stewart

Mar 25, 1901

C. W. Smith & Marie Thelma Carson

J. D. Dorsey

Jan 1, 1920

Geo. Wall & Amanda Gibson

J. D. Dorsey

Dec 24, 1919

Amos E. Duffy & Helen G. Gilbert

D. S. Burke

Aug 6, 1912

Hilmar W. Mecklenburg & Mary E. Culver

J. H. Stuckey

May 9, 1923

Joe Hopkins Patterson & Elieen Ruth Moberley

J. D. F. Houck

Mar 10, 1934

J. H. Boring & Homer Currie Boring

J. D. F. Houck

Mar 3, 1934

A. A. Fanson & Minnie Moberley

S. H. Innes

Aug 21, 1935

Thomas Brandon & Trude Ann Duffy

S. H. Innes

Jun 4, 1935

Ralph E. Kelley & Margaret Fanson

S. H. Innes

Aug 20, 1937

Clarence Calhoun & Elva Ray Patterson

S. H. Innes

Aug 22, 1937

Oscar Rucks Moberley & Doris Lee Bell

S. H. Innes

Sep 4, 1937

 


REGISTER OF INFANT BAPTISMS
 

NAME PARENTS BY WHOM
BAPTIZED
DATE

Oran G. Ryman

 

L. W. Arnold

Jun 30, 1889

Fred R. Winston

Milton & Fannie Wilson

H. V. Philpot

Aug 11, 1889

Mina M. Elmore

John & Lena Elmore

H. V. Philpot

Aug 11, 1889

Roland Rugeley

Dr. H. L. & Lizzie Rugeley

H. V. Philpot

Aug 11, 1889

Walter Hubert Rugeley

John & Bertha Rugeley

H. V. Philpot

Aug 11, 1889

Lola Blair

John & Carrie Blair

H. V. Philpot

Aug 11, 1889

Mary L. May Savage

Green & A. Jane Savage

H. V. Philpot

Aug 11, 1889

Chas. W. A. Smith

D. E. Smith

L. W. Arnold

No date

Edward J. Watkins

 

L. W. Arnold

No date

Elsie C. Ryman

 

L. W. Arnold

No date

James Nye Ryman

B. O. & Jennie Ryman

Harry May

Jul 26, 1891

Geo. Carrol Ryman

B. O. & Jennie Ryman

Harry May

Jul 26, 1891

Lillie Lorna Ryman

B. O. & Jennie Ryman

Harry May

Jul 26, 1891

John M. Williams

James & Caroline Williams

Harry May

Jul 26, 1891

Ollie Elmore

John & Lela Elmore

Harry May

Sept 1891

Herbert Morris Berg

William C. & Blanche F. Berg

J. W. Morris

May 29, 1892

Mary L. Ray

Frank & Eliza Ray

J. W. Morris

Jan 5, 1892

Arthur A. Ray

Frank & Eliza Ray

J. W. Morris

Jun 5, 1892

Fred S. Ray

Frank & Eliza Ray

J. W. Morris

Jun 5, 1892

Maud I. Ryman

Wm. & Belle Ryman

J. W. Morris

Jun 5, 1892

Mary A. Smith

 

J. W. Morris

Jun 5, 1892

Norman G. Savage

Edward & Fannie Savage

J. W. Morris

Aug 6, 1892

Ilene Morris

J. W. & Mattie Morris

D. H. Hotchkiss

Aug 6, 1892

Minnie T. Williams

 

J. W. Morris

Aug 6, 1892

May M. Savage

Green & A. Jane Savage

J. W. Morris

Aug 6, 1892

Oscar George

O. E. & Mabel George

J. W. Morris

Apr 1893

Rubir Ola Savage

Edward & Fannie Savage

J. W. Morris

Aug 6, 1893

Albert Lamar George

O. E. & Mabel George

Seth Ward

No date

Eliza Ray

Frank & Eliza Ray

A. J. Anderson

Feb 19, 1896

Elizabeth Phillipps

Am. & Jennie Phillipps

A. J. Anderson

No date

Gertrude Eidlebeck [Eidlebach]

P. & D. Eidlebeck

A. J. Anderson

No date

Laurence Austin D. Savage

Edward & Fannie Savage

J. J. Callaway

Aug 1898

Mary Thereca Watkins

James & Mollie Watkinds

J. J. Callaway

Aug 1898

Charlie Pelton Eidlebach

P & Dee Eidlebach

J. J. Callaway

June 1899

Seaborn Lynn Duke

Fred & Mary Duke

C. N. Morton

Oct 17, 1902

Mary Marie Duke

Fred & Mary Duke

C. N. Morton

Oct 17, 1902

Kalita Pete Eidlebach

Mrs. Dee Eidlebach

C. N. Morton

Apr 19, 1903

Frances Lorena Kilbride

Mr. & Mrs. G. T. Kilbride

T. S. Williford

No date

Myra Fannie Lide

B. T. & Ruby Lide

J. D. Dorsey

Oct 20, 1919

Leon Harrison

Mr. and Mrs. Jim Harrison

T. S. Williford

Apr 6, 1920

Alom Denison

Nora B. Denison

E. C. Escoe

Jan 29, 1921

George Perrenot Kilbride

G. P. & Tommie Kilbride

W. R. Crawford

May 1, 1921

Bill Benton

 

J. H. Stuckey

1923

Videll Calhoun

 

J. H. Stockey

1923

Charles Edward Kilbride

G. P. & Tommie Kilbride

J. W. Wardlow

Mar 30, 1924

Jack Gilbert Duffy

Amos & Helen Duffy

R. W. Adams

May 11, 1924

Mary Elizabeth Harrison

J. J. & Lola Harrison

J. W. Wardlow

Aug 24, 1924

Betty Lou Duffy

Amos & Helen Duffy

C. A. Mangham

*

James Lee Culver

Mr. & Mrs. N. W. Culver

C. A. Mangham

*

June Robbie Cross

Mr. & Mrs. M. Cross

C. A. Mangham

*

Joan Mecklenberg

H. & Mary Mecklenberg

C. A. Mangham

*

Margaret Elizabeth Kilbride

G. T. & T. L. Kilbride

C. A. Mangham

*

Catherine Lawhon

Claude & Enone Lawhon

C. A. Mangham

*

Dolores Rogers

W. T. & Thelma Rogers

J. D. F. Houck

*

William George Mecklenberg

H. W. & Mary Mecklenberg

J. D. F. Houck

*

Nancy Pearl Kain

Douglas & Grace Kain

S. H. Innes

*

Ann Earline Culley

Earl & Mildred CUlley

S. H. Innes

*

Jacquelyn Rogers

William & Velma Rogers

S. H. Innes

*

Etta Pauline Henderson

P. H. & Thelma Henderson

S. H. Innes

*

Edmund Stuart Boe

E. S. & Edith Boe

S. H. Innes

*

Jessica Elizabeth Beck

Ruby Landrum & Rex T. Beck

S. H. Innes

*

Charles Bryan Baker

Charles Bryan & Evelyn McNabb Baker

S. H. Innes

*

Annabel Culley

E. C. & Mildred Culley

S. H. Innes

*

* Baptism dates were included in original record, but deleted here due to privacy issues.

 


REGISTER OF CHURCH MEMBERS
 

NAME WHEN RECEIVED

Henry Cookenboo

 

Catherine Cookenboo

 

James B. Watkins

1887 or 1888

Mary L. Watkins

1887 or 1888

Mary Duke

1887 or 1888

Linnie M. Phillips

1887

J. Edward Savage

 

Phillip Yeamans

1887

B. A. Ryman

1887

Wm. C. Berg

1887

Bettie Mahavier

1887

Lizzie Berg

1887

Charles Eidlebach

1887

Jennie Ryman

1887

Lillie Culver

June 1891

Charles Williams

July 1891

Sam J. Berg

July 1891

Minnie Baxter

July 1891

Oscar E. George

1892

Nancy Sterry

1892

Blanche F. Berg

1892

Mabel George (Bailey)

1892

Mary E. Rugeley

1892

Addie Baxter

Mar 6, 1892

John Sterling

Mar 6, 1892

Bessie Baxter

Mar 6, 1892

Wm. Sterling

May 25, 1892

Eliza Sterling

Oct 16, 1893

James Phillips

Mar 1, 1893

Peter Eidlebach

May 1, 1893

Jennie Phillips

Aug 14, 1893

Robert J. Baxter

1893

Fannie C. Savage

 

Lula George

1895

D. Eidlebach

1895

Love A. Bracewell

1895

Mrs. E. J. Anderson

1896

Clara Anderson

 

Rebecca Richmond

 

Mary E. Lawson

Jan 1897

Miss Jessie Bedford

Aug 1898

Robert E. Sossaman

Jan 1899

Nancy E. Sossaman

Jan 1899

James L. Sossaman

Jan 1899

Katie F. Sossaman

Jan 1899

Alva A. Stewart

Mar 7, 1901

Miss Dora Bonce

Apr 7, 1901

Lyda Baxter

Apr 4, 1901

Jennie Lorena McNabb

Nov 16, 1902

T. F. Carr

Nov 16, 1902

Mrs. T. F. Carr

Nov 16, 1902

Elfie May Carr

Nov 16, 1902

John B. Cookenboo

Nov 1, 1903

Mrs. Daisy Cookenboo

Nov 1, 1903

L. F. Carr

Oct 25, 1904

Mrs. L. F. Carr

Oct 25, 1904

Effie May Carr

Nov 6, 1904

L. L. Holland

Nov 6, 1904

Mrs. _ E. Holland

Nov 6, 1904

Mrs. Sophia Kellerman

Nov 6, 1904

NAME WHEN RECEIVED

Mrs. Winnie Smith

Apr 12, 1905

Mrs. Myra Daniel

Apr 12, 1905

Howard O. Smith

Sep 3, 1905

Dr. John M. Ehlert

Feb 4, 1906

Bonnie Green

Jul 19, 1908

Nammie Matthews

Aug 30, 1908

J. N. Ryman

Sep 20, 1908

Emma Harrison

Sep 20, 1908

Berdie Sterling Rhodes

 

Mrs. Steve Phillips

 

Carroll Ryman

 

Bowie Ryman

 

Calvin Baker

 

Prof. W. B. Greer

Aug 23 1909

Ida K. Greer

Aug 23, 1909

Mrs. Henry Baxter

Jan 15, 1911

Mrs. Nora B. Denison

Jan 29, 1911

Clara A. Denison

Jan 29, 1911

Alford W. Denison

Jan 19, 1911

Charlie E. Denison

Jan 19, 1911

Cassie Duke Dunbar

Aug 1912

Lola Duke Harrison

Aug 1912

Marie Duke

Aug 1912

Will Burke

Aug 1912

E. C. Baker

Aug 1912

Mr. C. E. Gilbert

Aug 12, 1912

Aubrey Bedford

1911

Ira Stribling

1911

Has. Richmond

1912

Lela Baxter

 

Thelma Baxter

 

Gober Serrill

 

Mrs. Louis Ellis

 

Frank Dixon

Jan 1913

Mary Dixon

Jan 1913

Alford Dixon

Jan 1913

Mrs. Cora Burke

Jan 1913

Helen Gilbert Duffy

Jun 1913

Robert Smith

Jun 1913

Thomas Atzenhoffer

Jun 1913

Mrs. Jennie Savage

Jun 1913

Miss Calie G___ Norwood
(Mrg. name)

Jan 1914

Mary Culver

Jul 1914

Annie Ruth Ellis

Jul 1914

C. A. Swadley

1914

Mrs. C. A. Swadley

1914

Zella Swadley

1914

Hetty Swadley

1914

Miss Huldah Espy

1914

Mrs. Sunshine Ryman

1915

Mrs. Louise Ryman

1915

Miss Carrie Morrison

Oct 1915

Arthur Culver

Oct 1915

Miss Cecilia Hall

Apr 17, 1916

W. S. Wooddall

Sep 14, 1916

W. L. Wood

Sep 14, 1916

Mrs. W. L. Wood

Sep 14, 1916

Winnie Williams

1917

 

Records originally printed in Matagorda County Genealogical Society publication, Oak Leaves, Vol. VII, No. 3 & 4

 

Copyright 2011 - Present by Matagorda United Methodist Church
All rights reserved

Created
Jun. 23, 2011
Updated
Jun. 23, 2011
   

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