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Churches of Hearn Texas

Robertson County TX


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The congregation that worships in the Methodist Church on the corner of First and Magnolia Streets has reason to be grateful to those pioneers in the faith who blazed the trail for religious privileges under circumstances that often were extremely trying to men's souls.

History of the planting of Methodism dates back to the year 1870 when Horace Bishop, a young Missionary Methodist preacher, was appointed to the Hearne and Sutton charges from the Northwest Texas Conference meeting at Waxahachie.  At that time this charge was in the Corsicana district which extended to the South line of Robertson and Leon counties. 

When Horace Bishop arrived, Hearne was a new railroad town and Sutton was not on the map.  There was no church building of any kind, so young Bishop made arrangements to hold his first service in Joe Lambert's Saloon, using the upstairs of this building because the saloon owner would not allow anything to stop his business conducted on the ground floor.  There was no Methodist membership in Hearne at this time but there were a few families here that had been Methodist in their former locations.  Mrs. Horatio Hearne, Mrs. Wash Hearne, Gideon Wilkerson and Nathan Kilgore were the first Methodist that Mr. Bishop contacted upon his arrival in Hearne and from this small group he started a Methodist Church in Hearne.

These were very trying days for the Missionary-minded young Methodist preacher in a young frontier town that was known to be wide open to gambling and a meeting place for many who had little or no regard for law and order.

After holding services for three months in Joe Lambert's Saloon, a small school building was built and churches were allowed to hold services in this building.  A Sunday School was organized and with the help of a Dr. Carrington (an Episcopalian), Mrs. Will Hearne (an Episcopalian), Mr. Will Hearne, A Brazos Bottom planter and business man, Nathan Kilgore, and Gideon Wilkerson.  Kilgore was made Superintendent of the Sunday School and Wilkerson teacher of the Bible Class.  Miss Sallie Powell was appointed teacher of a young ladies class and her sister, Miss Fannie Powell, was given a class of children.

In 1885 the Methodist congregation built a church building of their own on the corner of Magnolia and First Streets.  At that time, Hearne and Calvert were on the same charge, and Seth Ward, who later was elected Bishop, was sent to this station the year the church was built.  Old timers recall that before the church was a year old a storm moved it off its blocks and three feet south of its original location.  New pillars were put under the church and it was allowed to remain on the spot to which it had shifted.

In the old records of the church for 1893 and 1894, appear names of members of some Hearne families whose decendaiits continue to carry on the church.  Prominent on the record is the name of W. A. "Uncle" Billy Craig, who was elected Steward in 1893.  Dr. H. W. Cummings, a pioneer Hearne doctor, was also a board member for many years.  Other familiar names on the church roster are the Craigs, the Cummings, the Waltmons, the Moseleys, the Shaws, the W. A. Scotts, the Kirkseys, the J. E. Cooks, the Welchs, the Rodells, Mrs. Mastyn Brack, the H. K. Davis family and many others.

Listed in order are those who have been known to Hearne since the first pastor, Horace Bishop, planted the seed that was to grow and prosper through the years; Seth Ward, C. M. Keith, A. J. Anderson, T. S. Williford, S. H. Morgan, W. W. Horner, G. H. Phair, C. E. Farrington, T. S. Williford (second time), A. C. Biggs, J. A. Kenny, M. L. Lindsey, J. C. Carr, L. H. McGee, Harry Hayes, R. S. Marshall, I. T. Andrews, A. A. Wagnon, J. C. Cooper, E. W. Solomon, T. Walter Moore, J. W. Goodwin, Leifeste, Hal Cunningham, T. Miller Smith, and H. E. Floyd.





The First Baptist Church has a long and stirring history which began in 1869 when the first congregation was organized, and was first known as Hearne Station Baptist Church.

The following is a copy of the minutes of the first meeting with charter members, copied from the original church clerk's book: 

Hearne Station' Robertson County, Texas April 18, 1869,

Baptist Church, Sunday the 18th day of April, 1869.

   After a sermon, preached by Elder J. N. May, a Presbytery was organized, consisting of S. G. Thomas, T. S. Allen, D. P. Everett, J. N. May and W. G. Williams to organize a Baptist Church by calling Elder D. P. Everett as Sec. When the foregoing articles of faith and covenant were read and adopted, prayer by Elder T. S. Allen charge by S. G. Thomas, on motion and second, the church was called Hearne Station Baptist Church.  Brother Henry Vernon was appointed clerk pro tem.  The following members went into organization, viz: W. G. Williams, L. S. Knight, Taina Echols, Henry Vernon, Sister Virginia Echols, Sister Martha Echols, Sister Judy Echols, Sister Helena Echols, Sister Josephine P. Vernon, and Sister Ellen H. Knight.  Time of meeting, 3rd Sabbath on Sat. before.

The early struggles of this faithful band is a most interesting story.  As to the progress made by the church for the next two years history does not record, but we find that on September 23, 1871, Reverend Edward F. Thiving preached from the text Matt. 18:20, "For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there I am in the midst of them." 

From this time on the records show a steady increasing membership.  On September 19, 1877, we find the record of a revival meeting beginning in the new church under the able leadership of Reverend W. E. Penn.  A large increase in membership resulted from this revival, many of whom were faithful workers through the years.  Of this original group prominent members were Mr. and Mrs. Heny Lewis and Dr. Henry Parnell and others. 

The church was organized in what was then the Masonic Hall which was located at the intersection of Davis and Magnolia Streets but just opposite west of the present church site.  At one time the church was located on the corner of Magnolia and First Streets just east of the present Methodist Church building. 

The present church building was begun and completed under the leadership of Reverend Hulen Carrol, pastor from 1905 to 1909 and Rev.  Isenhower who followed Reverend Carroll.

In 1918, Reverend C. E. Bullock was called as pastor and under his leadership the church grew in numbers and interest.  In 1933 the church erected the first Educational Building as the result of Brother Bullock's untiring efforts. 

Following is a list of early pastors of the church; Rev.  Allen, Rev.  Raines, Rev.  Twain, Rev.  Bell, Rev.  Figh, Rev.  Muse, Rev.  Joe Stephens, Rev.  Lumpkin, Rev.  Hulen Carroll, Rev.  Isenhower, Rev.  W. A. Bowen, Rev.  Frazier, and Rev.  Bullock.  Later pastors were: Rev. 0. G. Barrow, Rev.  Tilson F. Maynard, Rev.  A. E. Riemann, Rev.  R. L. Brown, and Rev.  Buford Harrel. 

Listed among the early church members were: Mrs. J. P. Ayres, Mr. and Mrs. George M. Williams, Mrs. Lelia Harding, Mrs. R. L. Green, John W. Green, Mrs. R. Boswell, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Ely, Mr. and Mrs. R. M. McCarver, Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Jett, Mr. and Mrs. John New Iudge and Mrs. A. G. Cobb, Mrs. Mary Welch, Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Ely, Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Ely, Mr. and Mrs. W. S. Hoyt Sr., Mrs. Beulah Brown, John Luke, judge J. Felton Lane, Mr. and Mrs. John H. Moss, Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Oliver, Mrs. E. C. Vaughan, Mr. and Mrs. D. B. Carrington, and Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Allen.





Sometime in the 1870's the International & Great Northern Railroad Company erected St. Theressa's Hospital in Hearne.  This hospital was erected on the top of a high hill east of the H. & T. C. Railroad near the stone quary and near what was then known as the Ward's home.  Near the hospital was a rough frame building which served as a church and a residence for the Sisters of Charity who had charge of the hospital.  When these buildings were dedicated, a number of members of the Catholic faith came by special train to Hearne, bringing a choir and organ to celebrate the christening.

Dr. Edward A. Pye was asked to take charge of the hospital and in the fall of 1872 he moved his family to Hearne.  When the terminus of the H. & T. C. Railroad moved to Groesbeck, the Sisters of Charity returned to Galveston and the building was sold to a Negro congregation for use as a chapel called "The Little Flock Church."  This building was located on the corner of Brenken and Live Oak Streets.

When the Yellow Fever epidemic broke in Calvert in 1873, Dr. Pye went to help the unfortunate people there, losing his own life when he contracted this dread disease.  Dr. Pye's wife was allowed to go to his bedside when he was dying, although a strict quarantine was observed.  Both died within a fortnight.

The railroad company donated a building lot to the church and on this lot a chapel was built and used for a while.  This building finally succumbed to the ravages of time and its use was discontinued in 1893.  During 1893 Father Thomas Keany, residing at that time in Burlington, Milam County, Texas, was appointed by Bishop N. A. Gallager of Galveston to visit the Hearne Catholics every month and Mass was celebrated in the William Crenan home. 

Under the guidance of Father Keany, the Catholics of Hearne built a chapel.  While the chapel was in course of erection, Father Keany was moved to the Gulf Coast area and his successor was Father P. Bienman under whose leadership the building was completed.  In 1897, Father Gustav Wiese was appointed as resident priest.  For about four months he continued his work and was then transferred to a parish in the Tours Settlement.

In December, 1897, Father J. B. Gleissner came to Hearne as priest.  In 1898 a neat rectory was built by his good people.  Missions attached to Hearne were Mexia, Calvert, Rockdale, Caldwell, Milamo, and Franklin.  Father Gleissner continued his pastoral work until March 24, 1904 when he was placed in charge of St. Joseph's Church in Bryan.

Fathers Spinnweber, J. J. Gallager, and George Hynes were at Hearne following Father Gleissner's removal to Bryan.

After a few years during which the above named priests ministered in Hearne and Missions, the Bishop appointed Father Gleissner to again take care of Hearne and Calvert.

On February 8, 1935, the church building located on the corner of East Fourth and San Antonio Streets was destroyed by a windstorm.  During the period from the time this church building was destroyed until the new church was built on the corner of Cypress and First Streets, the communicants of St. Mary's Catholic Church used the facilities of St. Philips Episcopal Church.

Some of the earliest families of the Roman Catholic Church faith to move to Hearne were: the Crenans, the Bradys, the Currys, the Martins, the Rileys, the Connors, and the Teelings.





Organized religion had its beginning in Hearne in a little Union Church Building erected in 1870.  This church building, which was located on the corner of Barton and Post Oak Streets, was used by the churches of all faiths.  It was in this Union building that the first Episcopal service was held by The Reverend J. W. Philips.  From the Mother Church at Matagorda, Texas had come the Wadsworth and Brashear families, and around these families for many years centered the Episcopal Church activities.  Personal interest in these two church families of old Matagorda lineage actuated Bishop Gregg in supplying this group with the services of Father J. Cooper Waddill of Matagorda to minister to the infant mission.

Under the leadership of Father Waddill, the mission grew and in 1873 erected and occupied its own church building on a site donated by the New York gc Texas Land Company, and which site has been retained by the mission and on which the present church building stands.  The communicants of the Episcopal Church chose to name this mission St. Philips Episcopal Church, honoring the patron St. Philip and the church's first Vicar, The Rev.  J. W. Philips.

Following Father Waddill in 1875 came Father Edwin Wickins, who carried forward the work to 1880 leaving the mission on a firm footing.  Father Sherrod W. Kennerley, an aged clergyman, came then, and left the work in 1882.  Then followed intermittent incumbencies of the following: the Reverend Messrs.  F. N. Atkins, Harry Cassil, M. Wilson DeHart, W. K. Lloyd, C. P. Dorsett, William Jeffreys, W. L. Smith, Edgar Sherrod, J. W. Davis and J. W. Swann, all of whom carried on the church work here, in connection with other neighboring parishes and missions.

These many years have been filled with many blessings and almost as many viscissitudes.  The mission grew as the town developed, but the communicant list of those years was largely transient.  The mission record reflected alternately a feast or famine as to communicants. 

In 1912 a small legacy by a devoted churchwoman became the nucleus of a building fund, which was augmented by the heroic efforts of the women's auxiliary.  During the time that the Reverend W. W. Daup was in charge of St. Philips Church, the old church building was razed and the present churchly brick chapel was erected.

An unusual feature of this building was the completion and furnishing of it without incurring debt.

From 1914 to 1917 the Reverend J. H. Randolph Ray, then Rector of St. Andrew's Church of Bryan, and then later Rector of the Church of Transfiguration (The Little Church Around The Corner) in New York, served this congregation.  The succeeding eight years were served by the following: The Reverend Messrs.  H. B. M. Jamison, Sidney Dixon, Samuel Rainey, and H. R. Zeigler.  The Reverend Mr. Sidney Dixon was a resident, the others supplying from Calvert or Bryan.  In 1925, the Reverend J. Parker Love served St. Philips as well as supplying missions at Cameron and Rockdale.  In 1934 and 1935 the Reverend Homer Neville Tinker served St. Philips and Epiphany Church at Calvert.  Other priests who have served St. Philips since then are: The Reverends Messrs.  John McKee, Frederick McKinney, James Butler, Meade Brown, Horace W. Fairbrother, Jim McKeown, and Warren F. Merritt.

As one goes into the church building, he sees the many memorials given in loving memory of so many of Hearne's earlier citizens.  The Cross, candlesticks, missal, the beautiful silver chalice and paten, and the Credence Shelf, the organ and Altar are all memorials given to the church in memory of some former communicant.  Hearne people will remember with fond affection Mrs. Sarah Wadsworth Wilkerson, Mrs. Bertie Brashear was also one of the church pioneer founders, and other old-timers include "Uncle Billy" and Mrs. Mattie Henson, Miss Mollie Wadsworth, Mrs. Valesca Steffan Marshall, and J. W. Harlock.  Mr. Henry Schultz was one of the earliest church organists.





The Hearne Church of Christ was organized in May 1929 when a small group of Hearne citizens of this faith met in a downtown building on Third Street.  The group that composed the charter members included: Mr. and Mrs. Mike Yankie, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Blackmon, Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Cobb, Mrs. Melton McNair, Mrs. Harvey S. Spiller, Mrs. G. H. Blackmon, Mrs. D. R. Melton, Mrs. J. T. White, Oxsheer Cobb, and John Henry Reagan.  Others who contributed to the early day organization of the church in Hearne were: J. T. White, Melton McNair, D. R. Melton, Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Ewing, Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Mathews, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. McIlroy, Mr. and Mrs. Jess Reagan, and Mr. and Mrs. C. K. Oden. 

After the church was organized in the business building located on Third Street in the downtown section, services were held regularly at this location.  Later on the church was moved to the Hostrasser building on Magnolia Street and remained at this location until the first church building was constructed on the corner of East Evans and San Felipe Streets.  The first service in this new building was held November 5, 1939.  The church did not have a full time minister at the time the building was completed, but later A. D. Martin assumed the duties as the first minister.

Other ministers who have served the Hearne Church of Christ are: F. B. Shepherd, Raymond Whittington, John Haygood, M. L. T. Jackson, H. I. Taylor, Bill Manning, Charles Garner, R. L. Nolen, Calvert H. Wylie, Lewis Case, Joe Burton, and Syd Wyatt.

In 1955, the congregation of the Hearne Church of Christ constructed a beautiful church building on the corner of Live Oak and Barton Streets.  This building was completed during the time that Joe Burton was minister and the first service was held in the new building November 6, 1955.




In 1874 Charles H. Raymond wrote an interesting letter about Harrison Owen and his "Historical Church." Excerpts from the letter follow:

"I understand that you take an interest in the old soldiers of Texas.  There is one veteran still living, in 1874, who is engaged, as I learn, in the noble enterprise of erecting a "Historical Church" in Robertson County near Hearne, of whom I love to think and speak.  He is Harrison Owen.  I once settled in Robertson County.  I took up my lodging with Harrison Owen.  He supplied the table with wild turkey and venison.  His wife prepared it to the satisfaction of the most fastidious taste.  He always kept a good horse.  He had a splendid rifle, and was an unerring marksman.  Harrison Owen was among the foremost to respond to the call of the bleeding frontier, and to drive back our savage foes."

The "Historical Church" is said to have been the repository of a complete history of Texas from its colonization by the North Americans to its annexation to the United States.  This church was said to have been located near Hearne.  The dimensions of Anniversary Hall were 40 x 80 feet, 3200 square feet with an additional apartment to be added and to be used as a library.

Books of record on this church were kept.  The ground had been donated by an old Confederate veteran, Colonel Harrison Owen, for the temple. 

The foundation had been laid, and a part of the superstructure already built by Colonel Owen, with the help of a few Confederate veterans and the public.  Colonel Owen sent out the following notice; "We earnestly appeal to our fellow citizens for assistance in completing this church.  The Houston & Texas Central Railroad Company and the International & Great Northern Railroad Company came forward nobly to our assistance.  We appeal to the ladies of the entire community in behalf of the Historical Church." This appeal was signed by the following: W. F. Williams, Andrew McMillian, E. N. Eubanks, E. Q. Haley, J. H. Collard, Robert Crawford, Harrison Owen, and William L. Glass.



Used with permission of Norman Lowell McCarver, Jr.  These electronic pages may not be reproduced in any format by other organizations or individuals. Persons or organizations desiring to use this material must obtain the written consent of McCarver family relatives.




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Page Modified: 02 September 2014



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