Tuesday, September 24, 2019

East Texas Association and Church

According to the Digital Archives of the East Texas Research Center, “Holloway Lee Power was born April 14, 1802 in Floyd County, Kentucky…In 1821 he married Elizabeth Meals of Madison County, Alabama where he served as a Justice of the Peace from 1824 to 1826. In February 1825 he was baptized into Bethany Baptist Church and licensed to preach on October 22, 1842. In 1850 he moved his family from Hickory Flat, Alabama to Nacogdoches County, Texas where his son William already resided…First associated with North Church, Power became unhappy with the salaried preacher there, B. E. Lucas, and left to help organize Bethany Baptist Church of Nacogdoches County in 1853. Power preached in this church which was a member of the Little Hope Association of Primitive Baptists.”

The following brief transcription from the Holloway Lee Power Diary, Part I gives his impressions and disappointment when he attended the Central Association (formerly Eastern Texas Association of United Baptists) at the North meeting house, October 8-10, 1853. Shortly thereafter, the Bethany Baptist Church was constituted. I do not know when the Union Church officially changed its name to Old North Church, but it is evidenced here that even in 1853 the building was called the “North Meeting House.”

8. Clear. Asso at north meeting house: heard the introductory by [W., or Mr.] Skates, he had the good samaritan for his text. He made the Samaritan [rep.][i] Christ; the wounded man the Sinner, the beast the Gospel, the inn the church, the host the preacher, the two pence, one the comd [i.e. command] to go into all the world & the other the promise Lo I am with you [&c] and whatsoever thou spendest more when I come I will repay thee (end of page 147) the spending was the labor toil and suffering of the preaching in obeying the comd and the pay the reward to be given him for his services. This as a whole was as worthless a discourse as is commonly heard and far from the gospel though the man affected great zeal and said the missionary spirit was was [winning] in all his bones & [perhaps] through every drop of blood in him. Next day Elder Hickman to me that to his knowledge Mr. Skates was a drunkard and publicly known as such and that he was a runaway from his native state and was there an excluded member. how can a man thus dissemble & act the hypocrite.
9 Sunday. heard Elder Lucas[ii] preach a [firey] missionary discourse from Is. he had great liberty of speech and made as affecting an effort in behalf of missionism as I have ever heard a collection followed = then a sermon from Elder Hickman of considerable interest. He maintained that in Christs death & resurrection a complete satisfaction to the Adamic [law] was affected and all men brought to a resurrection and made the subjects of the promised seed which was thence born in every soul of man a life principle or germ of [of] life which would grow up unto eternal life if not resisted by the sinner and that resisting this principle untill the spirit ceased to strive with them was the unpardonable sin of sin against the holy Ghost which is the only sin which will condemn men in the day of Judgment. He argued that the natural position of the literal eye was to be open & so of the spiritual eye and the only reason why all were not converted was that they closed their eyes & hardened their hearts & stopped their (end of p. 148) ears and that so soon as they ceased to close their eyes &c God would through this promise [recd] or life principle convert the soul.
10. Sat in the house and heard the deliberations of the Asso. they were quite awkward in doing business They passed resolutions & appointed comt [i.e. committee] to beg aid of the S. Baptist miss. society & of the State conv. of Texas also to memorialize Congress in behalf of toleration for our foreign citizens and also to memorialize the state legislature and request the passage of the Maine liquor law. I sat amazed to hear an asso. of Baptist  thus spending their strength in money and politicks O how unlike the baptist thirty years ago “I returned home [striped] of all missionary propensities.” (p. 149) …
30. Sunday Attended meeting at the N. meeting house br. Brittain[iii] Preached a very interesting discourse from mat. [1] br. Davis followed and as br. Brittain could not stay on tomorrow it was agreed to go into the constitution whereupon H. L. Power & wife, J. Burns & wife, & E. Young presented letters. Some others who had (end of p. 149) not their letters could not go in. an abstract compiled by myself was offered and unanimously adopted & the Presbytery being satisfied declared us a church of Christ.
31. The church met at the school house and after br Davis Preached conference was held and br. I. Fowler received by experience and baptism in the [evening] adopted the name Bethany and [agreed] to hold our Monthly meetings on the [1st] sunday & day before.[iv] O Lord grant thy kind Providential care and in blessing bless us and glorify thy name by us for Jesus Sake. (p. 150)

[i] Words in brackets [] are those which are hard to read, uncertain, or unreadable.
[ii] Basil Eli Lucas. According to Morrell in Flowers and Fruits (p. 309), “Brother Lucas was ordained by Bishop Andrews as a preacher in the Methodist church, in 1843, in the State of Tennessee. He came to Texas in 1846, and settled in Sabine County. In 1850, being greatly dissatisfied with the ordinances and government of the Methodist church, he made application and was received as a proper candidate for baptism by the Hamilton Baptist church, Sabine County, and was immersed by Elder William Britton, in May, 1850. The same year he was ordained by Elders William Britton and Robert Turner.” I have been unable to identify Elders Hickman and Davis, and have not found what became of W. Skates.
[iii] Apparently this is Thomas Brittain. William Brittain died in 1850. Thomas is known to be in the Little Hope Association later, and possibly was in 1853.
[iv] This is hard to read but evidently is the first Sunday, since they met next on the 5th and 6th of November, which is first Sunday and Saturday before.

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