Tarrant County, TXGenWeb
History of the
|Ministers who served the nearby Euless Church during the remainder of
the 1890's included Houston Petway Schrader (1893-1894), A. T. Culbertson
(1894-1896), and William Nathaniel Curry (1896-1900).60
Some of these might also have preached at Oak Grove.
In 1902 the Methodist churches in northeastern Tarrant County, including Oak Grove, were moved from the North Texas Conference of the church to the Northwest Conference. In 1910 all of Tarrant County was placed in the newly-created Central Texas Conference, where it has remained to this day.61
Methodist conference records do not contain the names of the the several small country churches on each circuit prior to 1935. An examination was made of the records of J. E. Foust and Son, Funeral Directors, who have been in business in nearby Grapevine continuously since 1880. It was hoped that some clues to the names of ministers might be gained from records of funeral services held at Oak Grove.
However, before 1920 the funerals of persons known to be active members of Oak Grove were often held in the churches nearest their burial places, probably owing to the long time needed to travel there in horsedrawn vehicles. The bodies of two of Oak Grove's founders, Harvey and Mary Ann Sparger, were carried from their home near Oak Grove to Smithfield in Foust's horsedrawn hearse in 1914 and 1916, respectively.62
No cemetery ever developed near or in association with Oak Grove Methodist Church like those beside the churches at Smithfield, Minter's Chapel, and White's Chapel. There was an abandoned pioneer cemetery (founded by the family of Alexander Allen who died about 1870) a few hundred yards northwest of the church, but it had fallen from use before the church was established in 1886.63
More than any other area cemetery, Oak Grove's members seem to have used
Smithfield Cemetery, about five miles to the west. Bedford Cemetery, much
closer to Oak Grove's meeting house, was less often used by area Methodists
who seem to have preferred any of the three others associated with Methodist
churches. One notable example was Marcus D. Arthur, one of the three founding
Oak Grove trustees, who was buried in 1893 in Bedford Cemetery beside the
Church of Christ.
IV. Entering the Twentieth Century
Nearby Euless Methodist Church's pastor list for the first twenty years of the new century may include some men who also served Oak Grove. They included Milton K. Little (1900-1901), John Phillips Mussett (1901-1902), Claude B. Smith (1904-1905), Marcus S. Leveridge (1905-1908), Isaac Elisha Hightower (1908-1910), Will H. Harris (1910-1911), Joe Thomas Bloodworth (1911-1912), J. A. Ruffner (1912-1914), George Floyd Kornegay (1914-1916), and some service during the same era by J. B. Curry, a Mr. Sherwood, and a Mr. Russell.64
Charles Ware Daniel served the Euless church for a time in 1918, and was succeeded by Robert Sylvester Watkins (1918-1919). W. L. Brandon served for a time in 1920.65 If and when Methodist conference records can be found for these years, perhaps they will tell whether or not Oak Grove was on the same circuit with Euless for any part of that time.
Myrtle L. (Weddle) Wells [1895-1981] recalled riding in a wagon to Oak Grove with her aunt and uncle early in this century. She remembered the Sitton family as very staunch, foursquare, "rock-ribbed" Methodists. Services at the church were quite long. Worshippers spent much of their time testifying, calling sinners to repentance, praying over sinners, or calling people to the altar. When someone responded, the service was prolonged even more as calls were issued for still more responses. She remembered worshippers shouting, hollering, and saying "Amen!" often.66
Revivals in any country community were happy times of diversion from the hard day-to-day work and isolation of farm life, and those at Oak Grove were no exception. Family members recalled seeing and hearing Harvey Sparger at them:
Mabel (Sparger) Trigg, Harvey R. Sparger's granddaughter, also recalled an incident at Oak Grove which seemed funny to the young people at the time but was seen by the adults to be a very serious matter. One of the principals involved in it was her brother:
One of the most memorable events which ever happened at Oak Grove came about 1900 at the end of a church service. The young child, Gladys Siler, mentioned in one of the interviews was born in June of 1899, hence the approximate date of 1900. It began innocently enough but grew to involve two of the staunchest families in the church...the Spargers and the Sittons.
We were unable to locate any Sitton descendants who remembered the story. Sparger descendants remember that the trouble started when young Harvey Sitton [1878-1942], William M. Sitton's son, was chewing tobacco inside the church house. Some of Harv's grandchildren had the job of cleaning the church. Several people there that day remembered it:
Years later, Leona (Sparger) Cavender's daughter (this compiler's grandmother) remembered an incident which happened there one morning before church began, probably about 1909. A young man who had been trying to get her attention saw her grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Sparger, approaching the church. He jumped up out of his seat, ran outside, and then made a great production of helping them out of their buggy and into the church. Then he sat down beside my grandmotherand asked if she'd like to hold his hat in her lap during the church service. She was embarrassed by his overt attention to her and her grandparents.76
In a section titled "Hurst Community," the Arlington Journal of December 26, 1913 reported that, "...Miss Grace Keith spent Saturday night with Miss Ollin Hurst, and Sunday afternoon, Messrs. Herman Sowder and Bob Martin and Misses Ollin and Grace went to Oak Grove singing...Mr. and Mrs. Jim Warnick went to Oak Grove singing Sunday p.m."77
The Grapevine Sun reported on Sunday, January 17, 1914, that "...Several of our young people [of Pleasant Glade Community] attended singing at Oak Grove last Sunday evening."
Harvey R. Sparger's funeral was held at nearby Smithfield Methodist Church on February 16, 1914. William G. Bailey was the minister at Smithfield at the time. Bailey would also have been the minister of Oak Grove if they were on the same circuit.78
A short note in The Grapevine Sun on Saturday, March 6, 1915, says: "...Bro. Barber preached at The Methodist Church [referring to White's Chapel] Sunday. He will preach here every 4th Sunday." Oak Grove may have been on the circuit with White's Chapel in 1915, so Bro. Barber may have been its minister also.
Another incident involving a well-known young man in the community took place about 1918. One morning during the preaching service the back door opened and he rode into the church on horseback, kicked a kerosene lamp off a table, kicked a member in the chin who had risen to restrain him, and rode out the back door.79
Ina Olene (Rutledge) Mann [1900-1991] attended the Oak Grove Church as a girl. She was a granddaughter of Layton and Margaret Rogers and a great-granddaughter of Harvey and Mary Sparger. Her father, Lee Drue Rutledge, was later an exhorter at Oak Grove.
Mrs. Mann recalled two preachers at Oak Grove...Brothers McBride and Bailey...probably William G. Bailey. Preachers often spent the weekends at her Rogers grandparents' home, just across the road and a little to the south of the church, when they came to preach.
Mrs. Mann remembered that the wooden benches in the church were very hard and uncomfortable, but the children were expected to sit quietly anyway. Oak Grove was an old-fashioned "shouting" Methodist church. Both men and women became very emotional during the services. They shouted and screamed, saying "Amen!" very often.
Mrs. Mann's grandmother, Margaret Rogers, especially liked to respond with a loud "Amen!" several times during each sermon. Mrs. Rogers once became so agitated during a summer outdoor revival that she knocked over a bench. Miss Rutledge and the other children sometimes became frightened by their elders' religious zeal; at other times they found it amusing. In addition to the members mentioned by other informants, Mrs. Mann remembered that the Honeycutt family also attended the church.80
Another member who went to church at Oak Grove from his earliest childhood was Lloyd Couch [1894-1973]. His grandfather, Harvey Sparger, was one of the first trustees, and his parents, George and Alice (Sparger) Couch, attended the church from its formation onward. Lloyd recalled that the original church building had no door or window openings on the back (west) side. In his earliest memory it was heated by a huge woodburning stove which sat in the center of the building. It took long pieces of wood. Whoever arrived at the church first on Sunday mornings would sweep the floor and build a fire in the stove. During those years Sunday School began at 10 a.m. and preaching began at 11 a.m. There were services on Sunday nights as well.
Mr. Couch remembered several preachers. One was an elderly man named Brother McBride who was a local farmer. Bro. McBride was later buried at Minter's Chapel, Couch recalled. There was also a Brother Maxwell, a full-time minister who lived in the parsonage at Smithfield and who had charge of a circuit including Oak Grove, Smithfield, Minter's Chapel, and perhaps one other church. On Saturdays before his appointments at Oak Grove, Brother Maxwell would ride horseback to George Couch's home where he would spend the night.
Mr. Couch also remembers preachers named Brother Day and Brother
Lancaster.81 The Bro. Lancaster remembered by Mr.
Couch was probably P. E. Lancaster, who also served the Euless Church in
1920-1923. He was succeeded at Euless by Enoch M. Daily from 1923 until
1925.82 Church members during that time were the
families of Harvey Sparger, George Couch, Layton Rogers, William M. Sitton,
Oscar Daniel [1877-1956], John Creecy, Jim Holder [1860-1939], Lee Willis,
and Brother McBride.83
V. The Foundation of the Colleyville Methodist Church from Oak Grove's Membership
By the early 1920's a new population center was developing about one mile northwest of the Oak Grove Church at what was becoming known as Colleyville. In the spring of 1924 a group of interested Methodists began holding meetings at Colleyville. On November 12 they met at Oak Grove and formally organized another congregation with seventeen charter members.
The seventeen Oak Grove members who formed the new Colleyville Church included Minnie Josephine Babb [1879-1969]; Audry (Couch) Bryant [Mrs. John B. Bryant, born 1902]; Mr. and Mrs. John B. Burns; Earl E. Burns, Thelma B. Burns [later Mrs. Curt L. Siler]; Audrey H. Burns; John Richard Couch [1882-1965] and his wife, Cora E. (Sitton) Couch [1886-1975]; Lloyd L. Couch and his wife, Mozie Couch [1887-1966]; Samuel Lee Couch [1884-1969] and his wife, Josie (Kirkland) Couch [1887-1946]; James Thomas Couch [1889-1970] and his wife, Myrtle (Kirkland) Couch [1893-1989]; Mrs. Carrie Davis; Mrs. Pearl (Couch) Forbes [1887-1976] and her daughter, Oma Mae Forbes [1910-1996, later the wife of Gordon R. Burns].84 That body is still active today as the First United Methodist Church of Colleyville.
Exactly half of Colleyville's charter members were direct descendants of one of Oak Grove's first trustees, H. R. Sparger, and most of the others were related to him by marriage. Cora (Mrs. John) Couch was the daughter of William M. Sitton, with whom Sparger had the altercation at the church about 1900.
It is interesting to note that many of the people who formed the new Colleyville Church continued to attend preaching services at Oak Grove, because during the time the churches were served by a circuit minister there were never formal worship services at both buildings on the same Sunday morning. Two of the Oak Grove trustees who finally transferred ownership of the Oak Grove land out of church hands in 1949 were charter members of the Colleyville Church in 1924.85
The Colleyville Church has also maintained a list of its ministers since its establishment. Until 1935 or 1936, Oak Grove's ministers and Colleyville's were the same since they remained on the same circuit.
VI. Oak Grove in the 1920's and 1930's
Enoch M. Daily served Oak Grove and the other churches on the circuit in 1924-1925. On June 25, 1925, The Grapevine Sun announced that:
In 1925 the Oak Grove members hurried to complete a new meeting house. They worked extra-long hours to get the floor installed so that the funeral of Samuel Hamilton Sparger [1869-1925], the son of one of the first three trustees, could be held there on March 24.86 Bro. Daily preached the funeral.87 The new building sat facing south and was built quite close to the fence on the north side of the church lot. This was the building later moved to the Colleyville site in 1950.
E. M. Daily was followed by Floyd Thrash, who served the congregation twice, first in 1925-1926 and again in 1933-1935.88 Mr. Thrash, now ninety-six years old, lives in a retirement center in Fort Worth, Texas.
Annie (Powers) Baze [born 1909] began attending the Oak Grove Church in 1928 at the time of her marriage to Priest Baze. The first preacher she can remember was Richard Call. Priest Baze's parents, John R. and Mattie (Cheek) Baze, had already been long-time members. Mattie Baze's father, William Burgess Cheek, had been a founder of the church.
Mrs. Baze recalls that when she first saw the Oak Grove church the outdoor tabernacle had already been built south of the church house. She does not remember ever seeing a brush arbor standing at Oak Grove. She recalls that a large family of Creecys went to the church, and they were all good singers. She also remembers that Sallie Driskill, Mrs. Jessie Boyer, and Mrs. Boyer's two daughters were members at Oak Grove during her time there.
The Bazes drove a truck from their dairy-farm home a few miles northeast of the church to services at Oak Grove, and Annie Baze recalls that many times they'd collected a truckload of people along the way by the time they arrived at the church. During her time there the church held a dinner on fifth Sundays of months. The church had a Christmas tree at Christmas. She recalled that her husband's grandfather, Uncle Billy Cheek, sometimes led a brief service in conjunction with Sunday School on days the circuit preacher was at another one of his appointments. Her husband, Priest Baze, sometimes did the same. The songleader was usually Lee Drue Rutledge. Francis Lee played the piano at Oak Grove during those years. Priest and Annie Baze and their children went to Oak Grove until about 1947, when they moved their membership to Euless.89
Floyd Thrash's first term was followed by C. A. Norcross (1926-1928), Paxton Smith (1929-1931), and Robert Walker Call (1931-1933). Bro. Thrash's second term was followed by G. C. Davis (1935-1936).90 The Oak Grove ministers through 1935 served Euless also. The congregations were probably on the same circuit during those years.
Through the 1930's, occasional references to Oak Grove Church appeared in The Grapevine Sun mixed in with the routine social news of the surrounding communities:
In The Grapevine Sun of Thursday, February 26, 1931, under the classification of "Pleasant Run News " it states that:
We have an interesting map from 1931 showing the Euless Charge and the partial boundaries of the five parishes within it...White's Chapel, Colleyville, Oak Grove, Minter's Chapel, and Euless. Portions of Oak Grove's northern and eastern boundaries are shown. This map is also useful because it clearly shows the configuration of the area's roads of that time.91
Prior to 1935 facts specific to Oak Grove or any other Methodist congregation are virtually nonexistent in the conference records. In some cases it is possible to guess who may have been the minister at some specific time based upon anecdotal evidence from former members or records of who may have preached a funeral at the church on a certain date.
Beginning with the minutes of the Central Texas Conference, held November 6-10, 1935, some fairly detailed statistical information is available for each year of the church's life through its demise in 1949. In 1935, Oak Grove was a part of the Euless Charge of the Fort Worth District, and was on a circuit with Euless, Colleyville, Minter's Chapel, and White's Chapel. From a membership of 90 reported in 1934, the church had experienced nine additions on profession of faith, nine additions by certificate, and nine removals "by death or otherwise," resulting in a membership of 99 at the year's end. They reported seven baptisms during the year. Their building was worth $1500.92 The records of the Euless Church indicate that Ross Gillean Smith served the circuit from 1935 to 1938.93
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