The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976 Page: 149
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Religious Newspapers in 'Antebellum Texas
continuation of the Panoplist or establishment of a new paper is unclear),
"yet so as not to involve the Synod in any responsibility with regard to
means or matter of said paper . . ." Little if anything came of the resolve.
The Panoplist continued for an undetermined period-Twitchell lost his life
by drowning in August, 1856, and Wilson at last gave up the enterprise.
No other paper appeared to fill the breach.9
Ministers of the Methodist Episcopal church were making contacts
across the Red and Sabine rivers on a limited basis by 1820, and visits
from Methodist itinerants continued during the next decade. It was not
until after the Texas Revolution, however, that the General Conference of
the church created the Texas Mission District and in 1837 began assign-
ing missionaries on a regular basis. Texas was elevated to the status of
conference in 1840, and in 1844 was divided into two conferences, Texas
and East Texas, with the Trinity River as boundary. In 1845 the Methodist
church split over the issue of slavery and both Texas conferences came
under the jurisdiction of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.'o
When the Reverend Robert B. Wells began to publish the dual purpose
Texas Christian Advocate and Brenham General Advertiser in I847, there
was a Methodist constituency of roughly 6,ooo members (including some
i,ooo blacks) which was much larger than that for any other Protestant
group in Texas at the time. Wells was encouraged and materially assisted
in publishing the Advocate and Advertiser by other ministers, his wife, and
some laymen including especially Colonel J. D. Giddings. Wells's enter-
prise reflected a typical beginning for local or regional Methodist journal-
ism. The polity of the Methodist church placed jurisdiction over publishing
activities in the hands of the General Conference, the ultimate authority
in the church. The geographical expansion of the church had been so
rapid, however, that individuals in the various state conferences took the
initiative in establishing unauthorized regional or local newspapers, after
which the General Conference would usually oblige by adopting them as
official organs. The General Conference henceforth elected their editors
'Richard B. Hughes, "Old School Presbyterians: Eastern Invaders of Texas, 1830-
1865," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, LXXIV (January, 1971), 330; Ernest Trice
Thompson, Presbyterians in the South, Volume I: x607-1861 (Richmond, 1963), ,
186, 428, 431, 432; William Stuart Red, A History of the Presbyterian Church in Texas
([Austin], 1936), 13, Ioo, 127; Minutes of the Synod of Texas, 1856 (Houston, 1856),
6; Minutes of the Synod of Texas, 1851-1871 (microfilm of manuscript volume held by
Historical Foundation, Montreat, North Carolina), 13, 23, 25-26, 29 (quotation); Texas
Presbyterian (Huntsville), April 14, August 18, 1855.
10Macum Phelan, A History of Early Methodism in Texas, 1817-1866 (Nashville,
1924), 12-21, 70-71, 1o3, 147, 230-231, 236-237.
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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/m1/181/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.