Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 56 of 58
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56 TEXAS AND TEXANS FIFTY YEARS AGO.
attended school, taught first by an educated gentleman from Scotland,
and afterwards by a college graduate from New England.
The church of the village was one of the first houses erected.
While the Baptist denomination preponderated in the neighborhood,
at the time, the church was open to all denominations. Once
a month a good and truly pious old Baptist minister, by the name
of Coker, who lived in the upper end of the county, some twentyfive
miles from Centreville, mounted his horse and came down to
minister to the spiritual wants of the village and vicinity, without
fee or charge. He was a minister of the olden time whose only
ambition was to faithfully serve his Lord and Master and save sinners.
I can now hear, ringing in memory's chambers, his fervent
petitions, in which he invoked all of the blessings upon the little
town of Centreville, and the "invicinity thereof." In the honest
simplicity of his soul, he would often thank the Lord that "he was
sent all the way from Alabama to preach to the heathen here in
Texas." Such was the good old man Coker, long since gathered
to his fathers and gone up to receive the crown of an honest, faithful,
In this same little church in those early days, another good and
pious Baptist brother, used occasionally to hold forth. He, too,
was one of those old-fashioned sort, by the name of Jones (but
that was not his name), that delivered his sermons in a chant or
sing-song tone. In fact, the first sentence of this brother was
pitched on the sing-song key, which he kept up to the end of the
sermon. He, too, was an honest, conscientious man, who tried with
all of his might to serve the Lord and his fellows. His was an
impetuous nature, and he was liable to be carried off his feet by
the impulse of the moment. He fully realized that human nature
was weak and beset by many temptations. He candidly admitted
that of thee temptations to him the most alluring and those
against which he had fiercest battles all his life, to prevent their
diverting his feet from the straight and narrow path, were women,
wine and horses. While he worshipped the very ground on which
a lady walked, loved a race horse, and had a natural inclination for
the wine that was red, he fought the good fight and came out the
victor. He, too, has long since crossed the river and gone up to
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Wood, William D. Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago, book, 1902; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14387/m1/56/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .