Tarrant County, TXGenWeb

Smithfield Church of Christ



1. Tarrant County, Texas, Tax Records, 1888. Bedford Cemetery, Bedford, Texas, tombstone inscriptions. Charles E. Bolton, PO Box 863, Cuero, Texas 77954-0863, (361)275-2095, personal files of French family historical material. Frances Coen, 3752 Lamkin Road, Mineral Wells, Texas (940) 328-0746, personal files of French family historical material.

Uriah Milton French was born in Franklin County, Missouri on February 12, 1850. His father, Josiah T. French (1820-1878), was a native of New York who had moved to Missouri in time to fight in the United States' war with Mexico in 1846-1848. U. M. French was too young to enlist in the Civil War; he was just past his fifteenth birthday when the War ended. About 1867 a large number of related families left Franklin County, Missouri and settled in northeast Tarrant County. Most of the group settled in the present-day communities of Southlake and Bedford. Josiah T. French and his family settled on a farm about half-way between the centers of the old Bedford and Euless communities. U. M. French's mother died at Bedford in 1875, and his father died not long after in 1878. Some time after his father's death, Uriah moved to the Zion/Smithfield community and settled about where Smithfield Road intersects with Davis Boulevard, south of the church building. U. M. French and his wife, Florence, were married about 1874. Their first three children died at birth, in 1875, 1876, and 1877. None of those first three lived long enough to even be named. Later they had three more children, and at least two of those lived to adulthood. At the time of the church's founding in 1888, French was living on his farm which sat due south of the church house. It included 50.5 acres of the J. H. Barlough survey, and an adjacent 200 acres of the W. W. Wallace survey. U. M. French died on October 24, 1895 at his home in Smithfield. He was buried beside his father in the Bedford Cemetery. Oddly, one of the other original three Smithfield trustees, L. W. Jones, died only four weeks later on November 26. French's last surviving child, Rosa (French) Nance, survived in California until 1966. A direct descendant of U. M. French is Francis Coen, who lives in Mineral Wells, Texas.

2. History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Tarrant and Parker Counties..., (Chicago, Ill.: Lewis Publishing Co., 1895), pp. 250-252. Tarrant County, Texas, Tax Records, 1888. L. W. Jones was apparently interviewed for this extensive biographical article shortly before his death. His full name was Lewis Westmoreland Jones, and he was born in Christian County, Kentucky on June 1, 1817. He moved with his parents, Lewis Westmoreland Jones, Sr. and Frances (Bobbitt) Jones, to Morgan County, Illinois about 1829. L. W. Jones Jr.'s paternal grandfather, Samuel Jones, was a veteran of the American Revolution. After his mother died about 1832, L. W. Jones Jr. went to work for wages as a farmhand, which he continued to do until about 1837. He was married to his first wife, Elizabeth M. Lingle, in Illinois in 1837. They settled on a rented farm where he also worked as a brick maker and bricklayer. In 1852 he left Illinois and settled in Tarrant County, Texas near what would later become the Smithfield community. There he homesteaded a 284-acre tract where he was still living in 1895. In November, 1853 Jones built a cabin on his claim and moved into it. He lived there until 1856, when he rented his farm and moved to Birdville, Tarrant County. Birdville at the time was the county seat of Tarrant County. There he and a partner opened a shop for building and repairing cabinets, and doing other general types of woodwork. Jones's first wife died in 1859 while they were living at Birdville. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Jones moved back to his farm at Smithfield. He was elected Justice of the Peace for his Precinct in 1856, and as such was exempted from going to the Confederate army. He did serve in the Texas State Troops for a while, however, until the war widows and other non-combattants left at home petitioned him to come home and tend to some of the needs of the community which were left wanting from the absence of so many of the men. He continued to serve as a Justice of the Peace until 1890. Jones and his second wife, Mrs. Sally M. (Hawkins) Chaney, were married in 1862. For four years after the Civil War he was also a Notary Public and a County Coroner. At the time of the church's founding in 1888, Jones was living on his farm of 130 acres in the L. W. Jones survey, about 1.9 miles west-northwest of the church house; in that year he also owned 60 acres of the W. T. Jones survey. He was still a Notary Public in 1895. At the time of his death in Smithfield in 1895, he had a comfortable home and a farm with seventy acres under cultivation. Several of Jones's descendants maintain an active interest in their ancestor and his family. Two of them are Betty McCorkle, 3486 Hermitage Drive, Hopkinsville, KY 42240; and Anne Fleming, 312 Brentwood Drive, Hopkinsville, KY 42240.
3. United States Federal Census, Ballard County, Kentucky, 1860, p. 566; Hickman County, Tennessee, 1870, p. 487. Tarrant County, Texas, 1880, Pct. 4, p. 191. Tarrant County, Texas, 1900, ED 115, Sheet 9; Tarrant County, Texas, 1910, ED 163, sheet 326. Tarrant County Tax Records, 1888. At the time of the church's founding in 1888, Garrett was living on a farm of 60 acres in the J. H. Barlough survey in the southern edge of the town of Smithfield. In 1900, Thomas H. Garrett was serving as Smithfield's postmaster. By 1910, he was retired and J. R. Crane was postmaster. In 1900, Mrs. Garrett told census takers she had given birth to 6 children, 5 of whom were still alive. In 1910, she told the census takers she had given birth to 7 children, 5 of whom were still living. Thomas H. Garrett's obituary appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 17, 1919, p. 11. Mrs. Garrett's obituary appeared in the same newspaper on January 16, 1928, p. 4. His and his wife's double gravestone in Smithfield Cemetery originally had an oval photograph incorporated into it but vandals have broken and removed it. A direct descendant of Garrett still lives not far from the church; she is Barbara Garrett Cox, 6313 Riviera Drive, North Richland Hills, Texas 76180. Another of his descendants is Skip Cloud, 143 Cedar Creek Drive, Azle, Texas 76020.
4. Stephen Daniel Eckstein, History of the Churches of Christ in Texas, (Austin, Texas: Firm Foundation Publishing House, 1963), p. xiv.
5. Tarrant County, Texas, Deed Vol. 260, p. 357.
6. ibid., Vol. 56, p. 495.
7. ibid., Vol. 56, p. 494.
8. Funeral eulogy of Rosa (French) Nance. Copy in compiler's files.
9. Eckstein,, p. xv.
10. ibid., p. 29.
11. The Gospel Advocate, August 28, 1889, p. 547. Microfilm at Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas. Carter E. Boren, Religion on the Texas Frontier (San Antonio, Texas: Naylor Co., 1968), pp. 314-315. "LOWBER, JAMES WILLIAM," The Handbook of Texas Online, <http://www/tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/LL/flo40.html>. Lowber later attained some prominence in the Disciples of Christ movement. He was born in Chaplin, Nelson County, Kentucky on August 30, 1847, and was the son of Joseph P. and Elizabeth (Leifler) Lowber. Butler College awarded him A. B. and A. M. Degrees in 1871 and 1874. He received a Ph.D. from Syracuse University in 1880, and the degree of doctor of political science from Wooster University in 1897. In 1868 while still a student, he became an ordained minister in the Disciples of Christ Church, and the subsequently preached and tutored in Greek before his graduation. He held various pastorates in Pennsylvania and Kentucky before he moved to Texas in 1888 to become the minister of the Magnolia Avenue Christian Church in Fort Worth. He was named chancellor of Add-Ran Christian University from 1892 until 1897. He moved from Fort Worth to Galveston to organize a Christian church under the auspices of the American Christian Missionary Society. Her served as pastor of Central Christian Church of Austin in 1897. While at that church, the Texas Bible Chair was established at the University of Texas. Lowber retired from the active ministry in 1909 so he could devote his time to writing and lecturing. Some of his writings included Struggles and Triumphs of the Truth (1888), The Devil in Modern Society (1888), Macrocosmus, or Hints toward the Greatest Problems (1902), Highest Culture and Christianity (1915), and The Philosophy of Human Progress (1925). He was a fellow the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Educational Institute of Scotland, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Royal Scottish Geographical Society; he held memberships in the Royal Societies Club of London, the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and the Italian Mathematical Society. On July 4, 1882, Lowber married Maggie Pleasant LeBaun. He died at his home in Austin, Texas on December 5, 1930, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery there.

A lengthy and very complimentary biography of Lowber appears in the five-volume work by Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans, (Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914), Vol. 4, p. 1786.

In Religion on the Texas Frontier, Carter Boren presents a somewhat less flattering picture of Lowber and his works: "...The multiplicity of works produced by J. W. Lowber and with their educational sounding titles might appear, without examination, to warrant considerable recognition....The best interpretations for these books is attained by giving them slight treatment. They used the vocabulary of scholarship and education. They are reaching out toward scholarship. They show an awareness of the prestige that scholarship would confer. Their significance lies in the fact that the author tried to give himself prestige by appearing to be scholarly, modern, and profound, and did appeal to the people of Texas as being that kind of man. These books are thoroughly grounded in the conservative position...Except for the positions which Doctor Lowber held in the state as Chancellor of Add-Ran Christian University and minister of some important churches, he was not an important figure in the general history of the Disciples of Christ...."

We have not been able to find any assessment of Lowber's importance written by a member of the church of Christ. The Brown Trail School of Preaching, located at Brown Trail Church of Christ in Hurst, Texas, has at least three original volumes of Lowber's works.

12. The Gospel Advocate, October 20, 1892, p. 665; Sept. 12, 1912, p. 1034. An obituary for Bro. J. M. Morton appeared in the Advocate: "Brother J. M. Morton died on Saturday, August 3, 1912. He was active in the ministry up to the last week of his life. He was at Bethany Springs [Tennessee] preaching when he was stricken with the last fatal attack. He was a sufferer from diabetes for years and at time has very poor health. He preached in Hickman, Maury, and adjoining counties [Tennessee] for over twenty years. He moved to Texas about twenty years ago and as an evangelist was active in the ministry all these years. I have known him intimately for thirty-five years, and he ever maintained that high character that becomes a gentleman and Christian. In religious views he was conservative and though he worked with the "progressives," he was a constant reader of the Gospel Advocate and loved his old Tennessee friends and brethren. He was an elder of the church of which I was the minister in Wichita Falls for years and was greatly loved by the congregation." The obituary is unsigned.
13. John M. Moore, (1853-1947), "Bedford Church of Christ, Formerly Known as New Hope, Real Pioneer," in The Tarrant County Citizen, (weekly newspaper), circa 1939. Unreferenced clipping in files of Bedford Historical Foundation, Old Bedford School, 2400 School Lane, Bedford, Texas 76021.
14. Eckstein, p. 191.
15. ibid., p. 239.
16. ibid., p. 152.
17. ibid., p. 153.
18. Reminiscences of Vera Redding. Smithfield Cemetery, North Richland Hills, Tarrant County, Texas, tombstone inscriptions. Mrs. Redding's memories of the church, recorded in two publications done by the church in the late 1990's, are the basis of this church history during the last seventy years. In one entitled "Reflections and Smithfield Church History," Mrs. Redding was assisted by Harry Daggett, J. C. Harston, and Kent Matthews. In 1998, member Darlene Smith also put together "Smithfield Church of Christ, 1888-1998," in which she drew on Mrs. Redding's knowledge. An obituary for Paul Jones Merrill appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Monday Evening, August 1, 1949, p. 3. Merrill was survived by his wife, a son David L. Merrill, and a sister Mrs. Tom B. Tarwater, both of Fort Worth. He was also survived by one grandson. Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Riverside Christian Church, with Revs. Lloyd Thompson of Big Spring and Robert S. Scott officiating. Merrill's headstone in Smithfield Cemetery bears the inscription: "Rev. Paul Jones Merrill, Feb. 1, 1885-July 31, 1949." He and his family were apparently still in the Smithfield community in early 1917, because he has an infant son buried beside him who died on January 12, 1917.
19. Eckstein, p. 359.
20. ibid., p. 363.
21. Vera Redding reminiscences.
22. "School Board Member's Funeral Being Planned," in Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Thursday Evening, July 8, 1954, p. 7. Obituary of Ed Walker.
23. Darlene Smith, comp., "Smithfield Church of Christ, 1888-1998: The Story of a Family," (private printing, 1998), p. 2. Copies in the office of Smithfield Church of Christ and in the compiler's files.
24. Obituary of Ed Walker.
25. The Gospel Advocate, Vol. VI, no. 3 (March, 1860), p. 96. Texas Confederate Pension Application Files, Jonathan T. Prather's application, no. 2129. The Prather family was well-intrenched in northeast Tarrant County by the time the Smithfield church was established. Jeremiah Prather (Sept. 14, 1803-Oct. 23, 1859) arrived in northeast Tarrant County in Novem-ber, 1857 and settled at Birdville. They probably attended worship services at Birdville when they first arrived, but after the Bedford church was established in 1874 several later members of the family attended church there. James H. Prather and his family attended the Smithfield church because of their home's nearness to it.
26. Carol Elder, "Birdville Church of Christ," privately printed manuscript, (Ft. Worth, Texas: Nov. 1978). This paper was presented as an application for a Texas Historical Marker to the State Historical Commission. It was accepted and the marker was subsequently granted. Copy in the Southwest Files at the Fort Worth Public Library's Southwest and Genealogy Department.
27. "M. H. Moore, Head of Schools 16 Years, Dies," in Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Tuesday Evening, October 25, 1938, page 1, 4. M. H. Moore was born at Bedford in 1871. He began teaching in the public schools in 1890, and in 1894 graduated from Sam Houston State Teacher's College in Huntsville. He later earned a degree from Texas Christian University. In 1894 he became a principal in the Fort Worth schools, and in 1900 was elected County Superintendent of Public Instruction. His career in education was long, varied, and full of honors. He was Superintendent of the Fort Worth Schools from 1915 until 1931. After a little more than one year of retirement, he took a position with the State Department of Education in 1933. To the last, Moore remained true to the three major interests of his earlier years: the local public schools, the Bedford community, and the church of Christ. At the time of his death he still owned the sturdy log house at Bedford which his father had built before the Civil War and in which he himself had been born. He died at his home in Fort Worth on October 25, 1938. On the day of his death, flags at all sixty-nine of the Fort Worth Schools, at Texas Christian University, and at Texas Wesleyan University flew at half-mast. The public schools in Fort Worth, Bedford, and several other small rural district nearby released classes for the day so that those who wished to attend the funeral might do so. M. H. Moore lies buried beside the Bedford Church of Christ, which his father helped found in 1874. M. H. Moore's father, Milton Moore (1828-1914), was among the pioneers of the church of Christ in northeast Tarrant County. [The elder] Moore was converted while serving in the Confederate army, as a result of attending a meeting held by evangelist Carroll Kendrick. Milton Moore and a group of other Christians in the Bedford community founded the present-day Bedford Church of Christ. An obituary of Milton Moore appeared in The Gospel Advocate of April 9, 1914.
28. Vera Redding reminiscences.
29. ibid.
30. ibid.
31. Levi Lesley Jameson was born Feb. 5, 1904. He died in Glen Rose, Somervell County, Texas on March 16, 1967. His obituary appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Friday evening, March 17, 1967, Section D, page 5. His survivors included his wife, Rachael Jameson, of Glen Rose; a daughter, Mrs. Dan Pollog?, of Lake Worth; sons Ed Jameson of Glen Rose, and Albert Jameson of Fort Worth; sisters Mrs. B. C. McCarley of Conroe, Texas, and Mrs. A. W. Ford of Lake Worth; and five grandchildren. His funeral service was held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 18, at the Central Church of Christ in Cleburne. He was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in East Fort Worth.
32. Vera Redding reminiscences.
33. ibid.
34. ibid.
35. ibid.
36. ibid. An obituary for Eulice Foy Abbott appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Friday Evening, December 27, 1996, page B-7. E. Foy Abbott was 88 years old, and was the owner of a sand and gravel operation at the time of his death. He died Wednesday at a Fort Worth hospital. His funeral service was Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Mount Olivet Funeral Home, with burial in Mount Olivet Cemetery. Foy Abbott was born July 31, 1908 in Collinsville, Texas. He was reared in Princeton, Texas and spent much of his time on his grandfather's farm. In 1928 he moved to Fort Worth where he lived the rest of his life. Mr. Abbott was a businessman until his retirement. He co-owned and operated Abbott and Newman Sand and Gravel Co., which he built with his partner, Earl Newman. He was a active member of the Masonic Lodge and was an elder in the Church of Christ for over 50 years. His survivors included his wife, Eula Abbott of Fort Worth; sons Tommy F. Abbott and Philip D. Abbott, both of Fort Worth; sister Vera Redding of Fort Worth; four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
37. Vera Redding reminiscences.
38. ibid.
39. ibid.
40. Michael E. Patterson, "Bedford Church of Christ," unpublished manuscript, 1982, p. 10. Copy available at the Old Bedford School, 2400 School Lane, Bedford, Texas 76021. An obituary for Joe Bailey Rhoten appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Monday Evening, February 11, 1991, p. B3. Joe B. Rhoten, 81, of Fort Worth, died Sunday. Wife: Francis; son Dickie Lee Rhoten, Fort Worth; daughter Sue Ellen Rhoten Baldwin and son-in-law Payte Baldwin of Hurst; sister Thelma (Ted) Walker of Bedford. Services 2 p.m. Wednesday at Pipeline Road Church of Christ, Leroy Brownlow and Willard Morrow officiating. Burial at Springtown Cemetery. Lucas Funeral Home on Sylvania Avenue in Fort Worth made the arrangements.
41. Vera Redding reminiscences.
42. ibid., "School honors former board member," in Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Hometown edition, Sunday, September 17, 2000, p. 2. Bro. Banowsky's long and distinguished career was remembered in this article by staff writer Pat Nimmo Riddle, written to honor him on his ninetieth birthday. He and his father, R. H. Banowsky, helped found the Fort Worth Christian School in 1958. He directed the Fort Worth school district's cafeteria system from 1949 until 1976. He was the first president of the Texas School Food Service Association in 1952. His career included service as a teacher, preacher, school principal, Boy Scout field executive, funeral home worker, and Tarrant County bailiff. When he retired from his post as a bailiff at age 85, he was the oldest active employee of Tarrant County.
43. Funeral eulogy of Rosa (French) Nance.
44. Tarrant County, Texas, Deed Vol. 3003, p. 418.
45. ibid., Vol. 3227, p. 34.
46. An obituary for Walter Solon "Dub" Couch appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Monday Evening, March 9, 1987, p. A-19. Walter S. Couch, 63, Rt. 1, Keller, Texas, died Sunday. Wife Ruth; sons Jerry W. Couch, Jimmy L. Couch, daughter Betty Ruth Tracy; father W. G. Couch; sisters Pearl and Ruth Goldsberry, Mrs. Pat Calhoun; brothers B. J. and Bill Couch; six grandchildren, one great-grandchild. Services 10 a.m. Tuesday at Foust Funeral Home in Grapevine, with Wade Banowsky officiating. Burial at Bluebonnet Cemetery in Colleyville.
47. Tarrant County, Texas, Deed Vol. 3636, p. 352.
48. Olen Goldsberry was born in Smithfield on June 6, 1916. He died in Tarrant County on October 12, 1994 after a long illness. His obituary appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Friday morning, October 14, 1994, Section A, page 30. He was a retired welder for Bell Helicopter Company. He was survived by his wife, Pearl Goldsberry, of Keller; by daughters Barbara Hudgens and Wanda Pace, both of Keller; by a sister, Beulah Lane of Dallas; by five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. His funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Saturday, October 15, at Bluebonnet Hills Funeral Home in Colleyville, and he was buried at Bluebonnet.
49. "Meet Your Churches and Your Churchmen: Smithfield Church of Christ," in Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Saturday Evening, December 17, 1960, p 3.
50. Tarrant County, Texas, Deed Vol. 3754, p. 591.
51. ibid., Vol. 7443, p. 425.
52. Eckstein, p. xv.
53. Vera Redding reminiscences.
54. ibid.
55. ibid.; An obituary for Cora L. Beck appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Wed. Evening, December 22, 1976, p. 14C. Cora L. Beck, 91, 7604 Bogart, died Tuesday. Son Tommy P. Beck; Brothers R. A. Tompkins, L. S. Tompkins, W. T. Tompkins, R. D. Tompkins; sisters Eva T. Jones, Mary Etta Rackley, Francis Hall, Willie Mae Gilbert; grandchildren Willard Glenn Beck, Linda Kay Ferris, Tommy Beck, Jr., Deborah Ann Nelson; 4 great-grandchildren. Services 1 p.m. Friday at Lucas Funeral Home on Sylvania. William Morrow and Wade Banowsky officiating. Burial at Mount Olivet Cemetery.
56. According to the Texas Vital Statistics indexes, Rondall Dozier Smotherman died in Tarrant County, Texas on March 22, 1994.
57. Tarrant County, Texas Deed Vol. 7246, p. 190.


This page was last modified 9 Sep 2002.

Copyright © Tarrant County, TXGenWeb 2002. All rights reserved