rhe b'zzruig kush
T HE SOCIETY of the Burning Bush was formed in Chicago,
Illinois, about the turn of the last century by a group of
Free Methodists, who, dissatisfied with the growth of what
seemed to them undue formalism in their church and unable to
reform it to their own tastes, organized the Metropolitan Church
Association, commonly called the Burning Bush. It came to
have its headquarters at the Foundation Springhouse at Wau-
kesha, Wisconsin. Through its intensely evangelistic nature and
because of the great emotional appeal of its services, the move-
ment attained such impetus that in a decade it had a consider-
able number of adherents. Among its more prosperous leaders
were Duke M. Farson, a Chicago bond broker, and Edwin Har-
vey, "a millionaire hotel-keeper."' These men put both their
hearts and their fortunes into the church; it is largely to them
that credit for its growth and survival is due.
There arose in the church a desire to form religious colonies,
Christian commonwealths, as it were, where the members might
work and worship together in peace. A number of these colonies
were founded in Virginia, in West Virginia, and at New Or-
leans; the one at Bullard, Texas, is the subject of this study.
In 1912, the real estate firm of Bloom and McCammon in-
formed Farson of a tract of 1,520 acres in East Texas which
seemed suited to be the site of such a colony. This land was
located about one-half mile southeast of the town of Bullard
in the W. H. Steel and A. Ferguson surveys and the Vincent
Moore league, partly in Smith and partly in Cherokee County.
It was level, fertile, well drained land, not traversed by any
large stream, but watered by numerous springs. Most of the
land was cleared; a large part was in cultivation. What wood-
land there was consisted chiefly of pine, gum, and oak.
The land had been settled several years before the Civil War
by William Pitt Douglas, a cotton planter from Montgomery
County, Alabama. He had built, for its day and location, a
veritable mansion: a white, two-story, frame structure with
stack chimneys and a suspended staircase which is unshaken to
'Statement by M. H. Payne, Bullard, Texas, personal interview.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/. Accessed May 5, 2015.