The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982 Page: 236
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
well as parish churches continued to serve the needs of the residents.
During this period political conflict, economic hardships, and develop-
ing unrest were reflected by a lack of either the ability or the desire to
The Protestant Anglo-Americans who immigrated to Texas during
the Mexican era certainly arrived with religious faith, but with less
motivation toward the glorification of settings for the religious ex-
perience than had the Catholic Hispanics. One observer, Frederic
Gaillardet, epitomized the different point of view when he noted that
the Spaniard came armed with the "sword of El Cid and the madonna
of his convent," the Anglo colonist with "plow and Bible."4
Originating from the southern United States, most Anglo-American
Christian immigrants were Baptists, Methodists, or Presbyterians, and
few colonists converted to the Catholic religion as required by law.5
During the 182os Baptists, Methodists, and Cumberland Presbyterians
were already preaching in Mexican Texas, and efforts were made to
establish Protestant churches. While the region was still under Mexi-
can domination, a Baptist church was organized in Austin's colony, a
Methodist church was established near San Augustine, and a Cumber-
land Presbyterian church was founded in present-day Red River
County. Recognizing the difficulty of converting the colonists, the
state of Coahuila y Texas finally passed a law in 1834 stating that "no
person shall be molested for political and religious opinions, provided,
he shall not disturb the public order."6
Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Texas, the
siting of ecclesiastical buildings expressed the role of Christianity in
nization Law), Article 36, Laws and Decrees of the State of Coahuila and Texas, in Span-
ish and English, to Which Is Added the Constitution of Said State; Also, the Colonization
Law of the State of Tamaulipas, and Naturalization Law of the General Congress, trans.
J. P. Kimball (Houston, 1839), 21; Webb, Carroll, and Branda (eds.), Handbook of Texas,
3For a discussion of the Mexican period (1821-1836), see Vigness, The Revolutionary
Decades, particularly 93-128.
4Fr6ddric Gaillardet, Sketches of Early Texas and Louisiana, trans. James L. Shepherd
(Austin, 1966), 18.
SAccording to Henderson King Yoakum, History of Texas, from Its First Settlement in
1685 to Its Annexation to the United States in x846 (2 vols.; 1855; reprint ed., Austin,
1935), 1, 233, "nineteen twentieths of the colonists of Texas neither observed nor believed
in the religion prescribed in the Mexican constitution...." Immigration patterns are
discussed in Ernest Allen Connally, "Architecture at the End of the South: Central Tex-
as," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, XI (Dec., 1952), 8.
6Yoakum, History of Texas, II, 220-22 ; Decree No. 272, Section 1, Article lo, Laws and
Decrees of the State of Coahuila and Texas, 248 (quotation).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982, periodical, 1981/1982; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101208/m1/282/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.