rhe A4ctkodist episcopal eCh fr
and the ivil Disturbases iN
North rexas if 1859 and 1860
A SERIES OF FIRES AND INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE OCCURRED IN
North Texas communities in July of 186o, suggesting to
local residents a slave insurrection instigated by outside
influence. Just before his establishment succumbed to one of
the fires, the editor of the Dallas Herald quoted the North Texian
to the effect that "abolition emissaries" were at work creating un-
rest among the slave population. The editor of the North Texian,
alluding to an incident of the year before, implied an identity
for the emissaries. "Before the expulsion of Northern Methodist
preachers from Fannin [County] ... masters and servants lived
in harmony; but ever since, certain of the latter have become
sullen and disobedient-evidently under some secret influence."2
So fully did the northern Methodist Episcopal Church and its
clergy come to be identified with the disturbances, that events
reached a climax with the hanging of the Reverend Anthony
Bewley, an ordained elder of that denomination who was active
in its missions in the Southwest.
A study of the relationship of the Methodist Episcopal Church
to those disturbances is warranted because that denomination
IThe incidents are examined with emphasis upon contemporary newspaper
accounts in William W. White, "The Texas Slave Insurrection of 186o," South-
western Historical Quarterly, LII, 259-285. White concludes that an organized
though ineffective plot seemed to have existed. As part of a broader theme, events
of 186o are covered in Wendell G. Addington, "Slave Insurrections in Texas,"
Journal of Negro History, XXXV, 4o8-434. While he makes some allowance for
distorted reporting, Addington nevertheless tends to assume the widest possible
incidence of insurrectionary activity. In his judgment, the Negroes were aided by
white allies locally, but he views as erroneous the assumption that this element
initiated or led the movement. Frank H. Smyrl also covers the incidents in Union-
ism, Abolitionism, and Vigilantism in Texas, 1856-1865 (Master's thesis, University
of Texas, 1961).
2Dallas Herald, June so, 186o, cited in Smyrl, ibid, 48.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101198/. Accessed May 29, 2015.