Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 56
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
on Milam Street on which they planned to construct a church. However, a year later, con-
struction had not yet begun; and thereafter it proceeded very slowly, if at all. When Episco-
pal Bishop Alexander Gregg visited town from February 24 through February 27, 1872, he
conducted services in the courthouse. The new church was apparently not completed until
1874, when a minister named Thomas J. Morris was assigned to it and began keeping its
records. Morris listed 68 members of the congregation when he arrived. The Columbus
Methodist Episcopal South congregation, which had constructed a church near the river in
1850, also built a new church in the early 1870s. Their new church was spearheaded by a
new group of trustees, all of whom were appointed on February 19, 1872. Less than two
months later, on April 11, 1872, they purchased a lot a few blocks west of the courthouse for
the new church. Having built it, however, they apparently could not fill it, for on November
25, 1875, they conveyed one half of it to the Lutherans, stipulating that "equal religious
purposes [were] to be enjoyed by both churches." The Baptists were also having difficul-
ties. By late 1876, the local Baptist congregation had become so small, and, according to the
Colorado Citizen, "citizens seem to manifest so little interest in religious matters," that the
minister, Powatan E. Collins, resigned, and regular services apparently ceased. The same
year, Scherer visited town, taking the opportunity to observe "the reason that so large a
proportion of the citizens of your city are out of the church is not because they are more
depraved, or harder in heart, but because there are so few who, by consistent example and
continued precept, prove that religion's 'ways are pleasantness and all her paths are peace."'"72
72 Records of St. John's Episcopal Church, Columbus, Register Number 1, 1874-1892, p. 7;
Colorado Citizen, October 19, 1871, November 16, 1871, February 22, 1872, February 29, 1872, August
3, 1876, November 9, 1876, February 24, 1881; Colorado County Bond & Mortgage Records, Book I, p.
56; Colorado County Deed Records, Book O, p. 384, Book S, p. 287, Book T, p. 15. The Colorado
Citizen of February 27, 1873 (which is the only known surviving copy from that year) reported that
there were services conducted by U. C. Spencer in the Methodist Church on both the morning and the
evening of the second, third, and fourth Sundays of each month. On June 25, 1874, the Citizen
reported that "Rev. Mr. Archer officiates in the Methodist Church at this place." Beginning on Octo-
ber 15, 1874, the Citizen began running a regular column listing religious services in town. Naturally,
only white services were considered. The first column notes that, besides two Sunday schools, (the
Methodist Sunday School and the Columbus Union Sabbath School), there were regular services
only in the Episcopal church. On November 26, 1874, the newspaper noted, "Two of our Churches
have regular service, though the attendance upon it is somewhat meagre, one of them is occupied
only on occasions." The regular column noted a once-a-month Lutheran service from February 25,
1875 through April 6, 1876, and weekly Baptist services from March 2, 1876 through November 9, 1876.
At no time in the years between 1874 and 1876 were Methodist services (other than the Sunday
school) noted, though the official church history reports that the church had pastors named A. L. P.
Green from 1872 through 1876 and EF A. McShan from 1876 through 1878 (it does not mention Spen-
cer). Green had certainly left by March 1876, when he opened a hotel in Schulenburg. The records of
the church itself are little help. The earliest recorded event at the church (again except for Sunday
school classes) is a wedding performed on December 21, 1895. The oldest record book also contains
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000, periodical, January 2000; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151408/m1/56/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.