Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 10, Number 1, January, 2000 Page: 57
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
Outside of Columbus, things apparently went better for the religious minded.
The recently-established Baptist and Methodist congregations at Osage continued to thrive.
Both denominations soon had established presences in Eagle Lake. Methodist minister
Orceneth Fisher arrived in Eagle Lake in May 1872 to begin gathering a congregation. His
Baptist counterpart, John Burke Armstrong, reportedly arrived in town some five years
later. Methodists and Baptists, as well as Presbyterians, had also cropped up in Weimar. In
1877, the Methodists took giant steps toward building that city's first church. That year, a
number of local women organized themselves into the Ladies Methodist Aid Society of
Weimar and began raising money for the construction of a church. Their efforts were greatly
bolstered when, on November 2, 1877, Daniel Washington Jackson and Thomas Wentworth
Peirce, "in consideration of a desire to promote the cause of morality & religion and to
advance the interests of Weimar," donated a lot for the project. The same year, the Method-
ists declared Alleyton a mission, and assigned a minister to attempt to build a congregation.73
Despite some setbacks, including the destruction of a church between Weimar
and Columbus by fire in August 1875, black congregations around the county also pros-
pered. In the summer of 1876, perhaps 2000 blacks gathered north of Columbus for a camp
a membership list, which begins with an alphabetical listing of the 192 members of the church at the
time the book was started. For some of these members, the dates they joined the church are recorded.
Of the dates which are recorded, none is before 1890. However, for most of the 192 persons, the dates
they joined the church are not recorded, suggesting that they had been members for some time. The
Columbus Baptist church records are even less useful. The earliest record discovered in a thorough
search of the church office with thirteen-year employee Fay Elliott were the minutes of the church
council from 1964 (see Katherine Evans Wooten, A History of First Methodist Church Columbus,
Texas 1822-1957 (n. p., 1957), p. 16; Colorado Citizen, March 16, 1876; Records of First United
Methodist Church, Columbus, Texas; Records of First Baptist Church, Columbus, Texas).
More evidence of the limited religious activity in the county is provided by the admittedly
inadequate 1870 census. The census takers counted only three congregations (two Lutheran and one
Catholic) and two churches (one Lutheran and one Catholic) in the county. Though there were surely
more congregations and church buildings in existence at the time, this low count cannot be taken as
an indication that there were several flourishing denominations present (see Eighth Census of the
United States (1870) Schedule 5, Colorado County, Texas).
73 Colorado Citizen, February 1, 1877, March 8, 1877, March 22, 1877, October 18, 1877;
Records of First United Methodist Church, Eagle Lake, Texas; Eagle Lake Headlight, January 26,
1929; Colorado County Deed Records, Book T, p. 359. What is apparently the earliest record book of
the Methodist church in Eagle Lake states that the congregation was organized in May 1872. Though
the earliest record in the book is of an 1878 wedding, the books apparently were acquired around 1890.
Earlier events were recorded later, but not necessarily in the order they occurred. The congregation,
though, certainly dates from before 1873, for one of the listed members is William L. Wynn, who, as we
have seen, was murdered in May 1873. The Baptist church in Eagle Lake has no early records. The
obituary of John B. Armstrong, in the above cited issue of the Eagle Lake Headlight, reports that he
arrived in town in 1877.
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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/m1/57/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.