Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Sacred Harp Markers, Wells

An historical marker for the Primitive Baptist Church of Wells relates the a cappella singing of the church to Sacred Harp, which continued to be sung in the building for many years after the church ceased to function. The marker was approved/erected in 1984 and apparently updated in 2012.

The last line of the original marker read:
“Although the Primitive Baptist Church no longer exists in Wells, the church building still stands as a reminder of its history.”

It now has:
“The Primitive Baptist Church congregation no longer exists in Wells. Due to damage in 2012, the church building no longer stands.”

This marker is located on FM 1247 in Wells, Texas, at the location where the church building used to stand.

Original Marker Text:
Primitive Baptist Church
of Wells
  Alabama native Francis Marion Sessions is credited with the organization of the Primitive Baptist Church of Wells. Prior to his 1890 arrival in the town, Primitive Baptists traveled to Angelina County to worship in the Old Sand Hill Primitive Baptist Church. Although a formal organization date for the Wells church is unrecorded, Sessions and others began meeting in their homes and in the public schoolhouse and in 1918 purchased this school building and property for use as a permanent place of worship.
  Early leaders in the church included members of the Childers, Wilson and McAdams families. Often in attendance at the monthly services were residents of Angelina, Nacogdoches and Trinity counties. Hymns were sung in special arrangements without the accompaniment of musical instruments, a tradition in rural America known as sacred harp singing. The Old School Primitive Baptist Church, as it came to be known, often served as a gathering place for area harp singers.
  Sessions’ death in 1930 was followed by that of other older members of the church, and the congregation eventually ceased to meet. Although the Primitive Baptist Church no longer exists in Wells, the church building still stands as a reminder of its history.
Marker is Property of the State of Texas (1984.2012)

Francis Marion Sessions, who is mentioned on the historical marker, at Find-a-Grave

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