Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1996 Page: 129
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
some help from the first Methodist minister assigned to Columbus, Robert Guthrie. That
April, DeVilbiss, bound for Egypt from Gonzales, stopped in Columbus and gave a sermon
to what he describes as "a good congregation," which was collected especially for the
Meanwhile, another man who fancied himself a Methodist minister, John D.
Thomas, was trying to establish himself independently among the Germans in the north part
of the county. In February 1844, his wife, Malinda, purchased three tracts of land totalling
108 acres on Andrews Creek (now called Boggy Creek), very near the county line. The
Thomases moved onto the land and did not leave until 1853, by which time they had
allocated four of their 108 acres to the Methodist church. In 1849, the area's Protestants
constructed a church, presumably on the land the Thomases provided. That church was
most likely used by whatever few Methodists Thomas could muster, and by the remnants
of the small congregation that had been started by Louis Cachand Ervendberg and that, after
his departure, was attended to by another non-demoninational Protestant minister, a man
Before the end of the decade, the Methodists had built another church in the
county. That church was the first in Columbus. In March 1847, the Columbus Methodist
25 Graves, Reminiscences and Events in the Ministerial Life of Rev. John Wesley DeVilbiss, p. 34-
36, 46-48; Jesse Guy Smith, Heroes of the Saddle Bags (San Antonio: The Naylor Co., 1951), pp. 37, 42, 44.
One of William Menefee's sons, Quin Morton Menefee, eventually became a Methodist minister, and one of
his daughers, Talitha Ann, became DeVilbiss's wife.
26 Colorado County Deed Records, Book E, pp. 114-118, Book I, p. 129, Book J, pp. 652-654; Gilbert
J. Jordan, trans. and ed., "W. Steinert's View of Texas in 1849," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, vol. 80,
no. 3, January 1977, p. 297; Records of Trinity Lutheran Church, Baptismal Book, Archives of the Nesbitt
Memorial Library, Columbus, Texas. Fibiger, incidently, usually signed his name "ffibiger." Sometimes,
however, the name is signed "fr fibiger," suggesting that his first name might have been Friedrich (see for
instance, Colorado County Marriage Records, Book C, pp. 1-3 for the shorter signature, pp. 9-11 for the other).
Probably he was Charles Frederick Fibiger, who, in the course of applying for citizenship in the United States
on August 2, 1851, declared that he had arrived in Texas on December 26, 1846 (see Colorado County District
Court Records, Final Record Book B, p. 414).
The case might be made that the four acres the Thomases allotted to the Methodist church were never
located, and that therefore no church was ever built on the Thomas tract. When, on March 25, 1852, the
Thomases sold their holdings to Nathan Thomas, the deed specified that four acres had been "deeded to
'Methodist E Church' " and was "reserved for that purpose" (see Colorado County Deed Records, Book I, p.
129). On January 2, 1857, Thomas sold the property to John Samuel Hancock, and on June 11, 1868, Hancock
sold it to Martha C. Tobin. Both deeds also state that four of the 108 acres had been "reserved" for the Methodists
(see Colorado County Deed Records, Book J, pp. 652-654, Book M, p. 790). All three deeds reproduce the
meticulous descriptions of the three adjoining tracts which Malinda Thomas pieced into her 108-acre farm. None
specifies where within the three tracts the four acres that were to devolve to the Methodists were located. When
Tobin sold the property to John William Schoellmann on April 15, 1875, it was described as 108 acres, and there
was no mention of any Methodist land (see Colorado County Deed Records, Book 2, p. 214). However, federal
census takers noted three churches-a Catholic church and two Methodist churches-in the county in 1850 (see
Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Schedule 6, Colorado County, Texas). The Catholic church was
in Frelsburg. As we will see, one of the two Methodist churches was in Columbus. The other Methodist church
must have been that on the Thomas tract.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 3, September, 1996, periodical, September 1996; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151398/m1/17/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed March 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.