The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976 Page: 148
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
solicited financial support and personnel to assist in this project, but a mis-
understanding developed and the Texans were left to their own very lim-
Nearly a decade after the forming of the Texas Presbytery, McGown
sent forth from Victoria a sample number of the Texas Presbyterian dated
November 3, 1846, describing it as "A Family Newspaper Devoted to Reli-
gion, to Morality, to Education, to Agriculture, and to the News of the
Day." Members of the Texas Synod, which had been organized in I843,
quickly endorsed the weekly, praised its physical appearance, and com-
mended the editor for his ability. The financial and editorial responsibilities,
however, were strictly McGown's and so remained until he ceased pub-
lishing with the issue of September 13, 1856. When the paper commenced,
there had been about forty Cumberland ministers in Texas who led a con-
stituency of no more than 2,000 lay members. Entering his second year
with the Presbyterian, McGown reported a circulation of 6oo-scattered,
he said, from Maine to Mexico City. By the time he ceased publication,
McGown was claiming a circulation of I,ooo within a membership that
had grown to 126 ministers and 6,200 laymen. Efforts by others to revive
the Texas Presbyterian or to put out a substitute for it bore no fruit until
well after the Civil War.8
The first congregation of the conservative Old School Presbyterians in
Texas was formed in San Augustine in 1838 by the Reverend Hugh Wilson.
The Brazos Presbytery was organized with three ministers in 1840 and the
Synod of Texas was formed in 1851. By 1861 the Synod included four
presbyteries, 47 ministers, and 2,1o3 members. Old School personnel had
discussed the possibility of issuing a newspaper at some of their earliest
organizational meetings in 1854 and 1855, again revealing the zeal for this
instrument even when a very small constituency existed. Meanwhile a reli-
gious newspaper of standard form and content, known as The Panoplist
and Presbyterian of Texas, did materialize at Houston in 1855 under the
auspices of the Reverend Joseph P. Wilson, who had come from the Mis-
sissippi Presbytery. The Reverend Jerome Twitchell served as editor. After
a series of discussions in Synod meetings, a decision was reached in 1855
to arrange for the publication of a religious paper (whether this meant
7Brackenridge, Voice in the Wilderness. 16-29, 32-34, 35 (quotations), 51, 6o-61.
8Texas Presbyterian (Houston), September 4, I847; January I, 1848; (Huntsville),
May 17, 1856. The Texas Presbyterian was published successively in Victoria (January
2, 1847-March 24, 1847), Houston (May 29, 1847-?), and Huntsville (?-September I3,
1856). Brackenridge, Voice in the Wilderness, 47, 62-63. Andrew Jackson McGown was
proprietor and editor throughout. The Barker History Center at the University of Texas
at Austin has a nearly complete file of bound volumes.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976, periodical, 1975/1976; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/m1/180/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.