Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, January, 1999 Page: 21
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
ist congregation acquired a substantial tract in Osage on which they were charged to con-
struct a two-story building, with the lower story to be used for church services and the
upper for a meeting hall for the local masonic lodge. The same year, the persistent Episco-
pal congregation in Columbus purchased the lot on Milam Street on which they would
build their first church. Meanwhile, in Frelsburg, the trustees of the well-established Trinity
Lutheran Church engineered a deal which expanded both the size of their land holdings and
the size of their bank account. On July 8, 1869, they bought seven acres adjacent to their
existing 3.9 acre tract from William Frels for $300, then laid out four lots on their two
easternmost acres along the road to Brenham and, on November 22, 1869, sold all four to
different individuals for a total of $569.50.32
Though it can be stated with certainty that blacks were welcome in at least one
of the churches built by whites before the war, religious congregations quickly became
racially segregated. The Union Baptist Church in Osage had admitted black slaves to its
congregation before and during the war, going so far as to consider a special section for its
black members, behind the pulpit, when plans were drawn up for a church building in
September 1859, and, in October 1864, declaring the back pews of the church as "reserved
on Sundays, for the collord people, when they are not required for accommodation of the
congration." However, in October 1865, the church appointed a committee to consider
whether or not to hold seperate services for the black and white members of the church,
apparently deciding, in May 1866, that they should. In June 1867, the church declared that
the blacks could continue to meet in the church on Sunday afternoons only if the building
was not needed for "Sabbath School purposes." Finally, in December 1868, they took the
final step, refusing to allow the local blacks to use the building any longer. The first known
independently-organized, exclusively-black religious congregations in the county, Method-
ist Episcopal groups in Columbus and Alleyton, were already more than two years old.
Both were apparently organized at a meeting in Columbus on April 3, 1866. On that day,
five trustees for each congregation were elected. Six days later, the Columbus congregation
purchased a lot for their church on the northwest side of town. Four years later, on March 2,
1870, another Columbus congregation of freedmen, this one of members of the African
Methodist Episcopal Church, acquired a small lot on the west side of town for a church.33
33 Minutes of the Congregation of the Union Baptist Church, partial xerographic copy in Colorado
County Archives Collection (Ms. 10), Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library, Columbus; Colorado County
Bond and Mortgage Records, Book E, pp. 785, 786; Colorado County Deed Records, Book M, p. 2, Book O, p.
1. The trustees of the Columbus Methodist Episcopal church were Benjamin Franklin Williams, Edwin Eason,
Willis Hunter, Colin Mays, and William Norman; those in Alleyton were Romeo Hill, Robert Holters, Robert
Matthews, Samuel Wells, and Samuel Burney. The lot the Methodist Episcopal congregation purchased was
subdivided lot 8 in block 62; that that the Columbus African Methodist Episcopal congregation purchased was
subdivided lot number 7 in block 48.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 9, Number 1, January, 1999, periodical, January 1999; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151405/m1/21/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.