Zte AHtecedeHts of A sti College
EVEN before Texas declared its independence from Mexico,
Old School Presbyterian ministers had begun to work
among the Anglo-American colonists. The first sermon
delivered on Texas soil by an Old School Presbyterian was given
by Reverend Henry R. Wilson in the fall of 1833 near present-
day Doaksville.' Other Presbyterian ministers followed Wilson
within a year, Reverend Peter Hunter Fullenwider and his wife
entered Texas in 1834, settling near San Felipe de Austin, where
the couple began teaching school.2 In December, 1834, Reverend
D. S. Southmayd and his wife arrived in Galveston. They settled
between Harrisburg and San Felipe and began teaching school."
That a minister on arrival in Texas should teach rather than
preach was not unusual. Especially was this true prior to i836,
when the need for schools was urgent and the position of Protes-
tant ministers actively engaged in preaching was not too secure,
such preaching being forbidden by law.
The governing bodies of the Presbyterian Church took no
official cognizance of Texas until 1837. While the Mississippi
Presbytery in 1834 and the Mississippi Synod in 1835 claimed
jurisdiction indefinitely westward, no action was taken except to
set up an executive committee in 1835 located at Natchez and
headed by Reverend Benjamin Chase. Through this committee
all mission work in the region was to be channelled. In 1837 the
Assembly's Board of Domestic Missions approved the action,
stating that "under the especial patronage of the Synod of Mis-
sissippi whose Ex-Committee from their location at Natchez will
have many facilities for the instruction [? introduction] of good
and faithful men into Texas."
Thus Natchez became a port of embarkation where missionary
material was screened for the new country. Chase, who had
'See William Stuart Red, A History of the Presbyterian Church in Texas (Austin,
1936), for a more detailed account of early Presbyterian work in Texas.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/. Accessed April 16, 2014.