The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 44
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
a dynamic personality who acted as a magnet that drew to-
gether these scattered Baptist settlers. Z. N. Morrell had been
preaching fourteen years in Tennessee when his doctor warned
him that he would have to seek another climate because of
threatened lung trouble. In company with others, he set out
for Texas, preaching en route. They passed through Alabama
and Mississippi and went as far west as the falls on the Brazcs
River. Morrell started back to Tennessee for his family and
reached Nacogdoches on Sunday, January 10, 1836. It was elec-
tion day, and the town was crowded with Mexicans, Indians, and
Anglo-American settlers. Ever eager to proclaim the gospel
message, Morrell mounted the foundation of a building that was
under construction, had his audience use the sills and sleepers
as seats, and announced in the manner of an auctioneer: "Oh
yes, Oh yes, Oh yes, everybody who wants to buy without money
and without price come this way." He stated that never did the
"cane brake" preacher do better. Later, in returning to Texas
he met in this same vicinity people plunged eastward in head-
long flight in what was known as the "Runaway Scrape." Ignor-
ing all warnings, this man pressed on. Ultimately he reached
Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he and seven other Baptists
formed the First Missionary Baptist Church in the new Repub-
lic. As pastor, he served only a short time, and the committee
appointed to obtain a new minister succeeded in obtaining the
services of Rev. William Melton Tryon.
Tryon was a native of New York, who went to Augusta,
Georgia, for his health and was recommended to Texas as a mis-
sionary from the American Baptist Home Missionary Society.
At the same time the Texas Baptists interested Jessie Mercer
of Mercer University in their enterprise and obtained his check
for $2,500, with a promise that more would be sent when this
Tryon, having married a woman of means, was relieved of
the necessity of supplementing his earnings and soon brought
into play his talent for organization. In addition to his pastoral
duties, he served briefly at Washington-on-the-Brazos as chap-
lain of Congress, but he was soon called to organize a church
at Independence. From this work, he next undertook the task
of reviving the church at Galveston and organizing a new one
in Houston. In addition, he did the foundation work of the Texas
Baptist Convention and was one of the organizers of the Union
Association at Clear Creek in LaGrange County, which later
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946, periodical, 1946; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/m1/53/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.