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The Historical Story
of Bee County Texas By Camp Ezell
The early‑day churches of Beeville are linked with the history of Bee County, since the pioneer ministers. by preaching the Word of God, helped in the spiritual development of the people of the community.
Considerable space is being given nine pioneer churches, all but one of which were organized before the turn of the century. Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church came info existence in 1908, but because this church, and its ''offspring,'' Saint James, administer to the spiritual needs of so many Spanish‑speaking members, both are given more space in this book than the other denominations that were organized after the turn of the century.
THE PIONEER CHURCHES
Saint Joseph's catholic
Since the earliest settlers in the territory now known as Bee County were Irish Catholics, the first clergymen to administer spiritual guidance to the people were Catholic priests. The earliest records of Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in Beeville are dated 1876, signed by the Rev. A. M. Chozelle who made his headquarters at the Aransas settlement. The actual parish history, however, goes back a number of years beyond that date.
As early as 1848, Father Pecle visited the Corrigan Ranch home, which was ''one of several homes in the neighborhood used by priests as a hospitable refuge.''
Residents of Papalote, Medio Hill, Maryville (name changed to Beeville in 1860). and the old Ryan and Clare settlements assembled at the Corrigan Ranch home for services held there about once every three months.
Bishop Odin visited the Burke and Carroll families in 1853. The Rev. Father Boris in 1860 and Rev. Father Querat in 1864 performed marriage ceremonies in this vicinity. Rev. Daniel Toomey and Rev. J. Robert served this mission in 1876 in homes. and the Rev. Charles Doherty started a project in 1882 that culminated in the building of a church in 1891 at the present location of Saint Joseph's Church.
Succeeding Father Pecle was the Rev. J. M. Buergler. Other missionaries who served this district were Father Saint John, Father Murray, Father Gonard. Father O'Reilly, and Father Goebbels. Father Charles Doherty was the first resident pastor. After his death, his home was purchased by Bishop Manucy as a permanent rectory for future pastors of the parish. The Rev. Father Smith, who was stationed at San Patricio, also served the parishioners of this area during the early days of Bee County.
Rev. A. E. Antoine, O.M.I., arrived in May 1892 and remained until March 1893. He was followed by Rev. Raymond Monclus. Succeeding pastors were the Rev. Fathers E. Ylla, J. Oliva, A. P. Fletcher, C. Jaillet, V. A. Auffray, Charles Serodes, P. Tonson, H. M. Janvier, Isiclor Tresch, J. Magnan, John Coma, F. Monill, R. Serrano, Joseph Roure, Isidore Cavazos, Tomas cle Leon, Michael Menes, and Benito Gonzales.
Rev. John Richard Purtill arrived in May 1916 and the following August a storm struck Beeville and demolished the church. A new building was erected which was to serve as a parish hall, but it was used as a church until 1927, when the present Saint Joseph's Church was constructed.
Because of illness, Father Burfill had to relinquish his parish, and Rev. Timothy Fitzpatrick came for a short t[me. The Most Rev. Paul J. Nussbaum. Bishop of Corpus Christi, then assumed charge of the parish until the arrival of Rev. Peter Hanley in February 1918. The following month he was joined by Rev. Dominic Fournier. Father Hanley began collecting funds for a new church. He was succeeded by Rev. Father Kramer, and following the latter was Rev. Felix Marsinko, O.F.M.
Rev. John A. Walsh assumed charge of the parish in 1924 and continued the work of raising funds for the erection of a new church. He was succeeded in 1925 by the Rt. Rev. Monsignor John J. Lannon, who immediately began plans for the erection of the long‑looked‑for new church. The house of worship was dedicated on December 20, 1927.
In April of the following year, Monsignor Lannon was named Vicar General of the Corpus Christi Diocese and pastor of the Corpus Christi Cathedral. He was succeeded by the Rev. Daniel A. Laning, who later was elevated to the rank of Monsignor. He was succeeded in July 1936 by the Rev. Raymond G. Stocker. The Rev. John B. McKeon served as assistant pastor for several years. He was affectionately known among Catholics and Protestants as ''Father Mac.'' Later he was sent to Harlingen to serve as pastor of a church there.
The Very Rev. Harold F. Palmer took over the duties of pastor of Saint Joseph's Church on January 15, 1950, and also served as superintendent of parochial schools in the diocese. During his ministry here he was given the title of Monsignor. In 1971, Monsignor Palmer, desiring a smaller parish, was assigned the pastorship of the Catholic Church in Rockport. He was succeeded by the Rev. Charles McNaboe, who came to Beeville from Corpus Christi. The assistant pastor is Rev. Henry Heese.
Saint Joseph's Church was remodeled in 1955, and the James R. Dougherty Jr. Recreation Center was built in 1956 with funds donated by the James R. Dougherty Jr. Foundation. It stands between Saint Joseph's Church and Saint Joseph's School, and serves the parishioners as a parish hall. If was named in memory of the late Lieutenant James R. Dougherty Jr., who was killed in action while serving with the United States Army in Europe during World War II. Bishop Garriga dedicated this building on January 30, 1957. Monsignor Palmer was pastor of the parish at that time.
Saint Joseph's School is conducted by the Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Providence and has an enrollment of 202 students. The original schoolhouse, which was first called Saint Mary's Academy, a two‑story frame structure, was destroyed by fire on December 20, 1930. The material salvaged from the debris of the fire was used in the erection of a home for the Sisters on East Gramman Street. Under the direction of the Rev. Father Stocker, a modern new school, built of brick, was erected and was named Saint Joseph's School in honor of the patron saint of the parish.
Teachers in the school are: Sister Dorothy Louise Hoog, principal, Sister Mary Florence Volz, Sister Sienna Collins, Sister Henrietta Marie Kutra, Sister Marcella, and Sister Meclard Ahr.
Sister Gertrude and two other Sisters of Divine Providence opened the first parochial school in Beeville during the fall of 1896. The non‑cloistered orders of Sisters of Divine Providence was founded in 1762 by Father John Martin Moye of the village of Cuffing, France.
The first request for Sisters to teach in this missionary territory was made by Rev. Father Monclus to Rev. Mother M. Florence of the Sisters of Divine Providence in San Antonio in 1894. with the sanction of Right Rev. Peter Verclaguer, Vicar Apostolic of Brownsville. Father Monclus fried to get the schoolhouse ready for the school year, but the people could not supply the necessary means. and the arrival of the Catholic Sisters was postponed.
The August 21, 1896, issue of the Beeville Bee stated: ''The parochial school building, having been finished and ready for occupancy, the services of Benediction will be held there next Sunday by Bishop Verclaguer."
In September 1896 three Sisters were sent to Beeville to open Saint Mary's Academy. The old rectory served as the home for the Sisters and was also used as the first school until other arrangements were made 'in 1897. Sister M. Gertrude, superior, Sister M. Pancratius, and Sister M. Paula were the first Nuns stationed in Beeville.
With the addition of a music teacher in 1897 and the beginning of music classes, it was imperative that a new residence for the Sisters and a school be constructed. The first convent and private school was built in 1897 (Saint Mary's Academy) at a cost of $3000. This was a two‑story building of frame construction. and consisted of living quarters for the Nuns, a music room, and two classrooms, one for boys and one for girls. Classes at that time were divided according to sex rather than grade level.
The first year, fifty‑four grammar grade students were enrolled. Included were Mrs. John J. Burke, the former Cora McMurray, and her sister, Mrs. Stafford Rees, the former Zita McMurray‑, Misses Mary and Marqaret Murphy; and Mrs. Lock Adkins, the former Madie Teal.
From the fifty‑four students in 1896, the enrollment of the school reached one hundred by 1900. Saint Mary's began its first high school classes in 1914. From 1919 to 1930 this was operated as a boarding school. But in 1933, during the depression, the high school classes were discontinued, as was the boarding school.
The convent was materially damaged by fire 'in 1930 to the extent of $8000. Under the management of the Rev. Dan Laning, pastor, the school and the Sisters' home were rebuilt, and Saint Joseph's School became a parochial school in March 193 1.
In 1937, with a gift of $12,000 from Mr. and Mrs. James R. Dougherty Sr., Bishop Ledvina gave Rev. Raymond Stocker permission to construct a new school. This building has classrooms, a library, and a principal's office. The school was dedicated in September 1938.
The Golden Jubilee of the Sisters of Divine Providence in Beeville was observed in 1946.
The enrollment of the school increased, making an addition imperative. This new structure was dedicated in January 1960. It has four large classrooms, with large closets and book shelves. In April 1966 Mr. and Mrs. Dudley Dougherty paid for constructing a Music‑Listening Center for Saint Joseph's School.
The Sisters of Divine Providence celebrated the seventy‑fifth anniversary of the Beeville Catholic Schools in October 1971. The program was postponed from September because of the pressing duties of getting the school started for the year.
Times have changed in the seventy‑five years since the Sisters of Divine Providence first came to Beeville. The Sisters teaching in Saint Joseph's School no longer wear the full‑length religious habit, but now wear a modified habit or secular clothing. Since Saint Joseph's School is not air‑conditioned, the new style of dress for the Sisters is much more comfortable. Sisters of the Congregation now engage in all types of work, including teaching, nursing, social services, and even secretarial work. In Beeville, however, the Sisters concentrate on teaching.
The First Methodist Church of Beeville was organized in 1861, and the Rev. Berry Merchant was the supply pastor. At that time Goliad was the headquarters of the district. The Rev. Eli Y. Seale followed Mr. Merchant as pastor. He was the grandfather of the Rev. Everett Y. Seale who served the church as pastor from 1951‑1957. The Rev. James T. Gillett, one of several Gillett preachers who served this area of Texas during pioneer days, succeeded Mr. Seale. He had a brother, Rev. John Gillett, who was presiding elder of the Beeville District during the latter part of the nineteenth century‑
Before his death, Turner L. Wilson, a well‑known ranchman, fold this writer that the money for the purchase of lumber and other materials used in building the first Methodist Church in Beeville was donated by John W. Cook. J. E. Little, Andy Scott, and Joseph Wilson (the latter was Turner Wilson's father). The lumber was hauled overland In wagons from Saint Marys, and the house of worship was erected at the corner of Bowie and Madison Streets, where the Grun Hotel later was built.
Records are not clear as regards the years that several ministers had charge of the church following the Rev. Eli Y. Seale, but it appears that Frank Denton, William Rice, and James P. Rogers were pastors prior to the year 1888. Other pastors and the years in which they served were:
W. J. Joyce, 1888‑1890; J. C. Russell, 1890‑1894; Theophilus Lee, 18941898; J. D. Scott, 1898‑1900; W. H. Renfro, 1900‑1902; J. T. H. Miller, 1902‑1905; Joe F. Webb, 1905‑1906; 1. T. Morris, 1906‑1910; George M. Boyd, 1910‑1912; A. W. Wilson, 1912‑1914; Sam B. Beall, 1914‑1918; J. M. Smith, 1918; William M. Rader, 1918‑1919; J. H. Harrison, 1919‑1920; Nat B. Read, 1920‑1922; Ed A. Hunter, 1922‑1923; J. W. Albritton, 19231925; H. M. Ratliff, 1925‑1926; M. K. Fred, 1926‑1927; H. S. Goodenough, 1927‑1928; Sam B. Beall, 1928‑1933; John B. Horton, 1933‑1936; Sterling Fisher, 1936‑1937; John McKay, 1937‑1940; Frank Meador, 1940‑1942; John Deschner, 1942‑1944; Walter W. Lipps, 1944‑1949; William Birkner, 1949‑1951; Everett Y. Seale, 1951‑1957; Milton Bohmfalk, 1957‑1961 ; Allen G. Roe, 1961‑1963; Doyle W. Morton, 1963‑1971 ; Seaborn M. Kiker, 1971 to the present time.
The first house of worship on Madison Street was replaced with a large frame structure at the corner of St. Mary's and Cleveland Streets in 1904. Although This building was believed to have been too large at that time, after several years it was deemed necessary to build an addition on the east side for Sunday School rooms.
In 191 1, under the pastorate of the Rev. G. M. Boyd, Beeville's first ''Youth Center'' was built on church property. It was called The Bungalow, and young people met there under supervision and played games, sang songs, and indulged in other pleasant social activities. Also civic and study club meetings were held there.
This building was replaced with the Ray Annex, costing $7000, a gift of Mrs. Maggie Ray. If also served as an educational building. This structure was razed in February 1973, and for the present if will not be replaced. The Beall Annex was built during the second pastorate of the Rev. Sam Beall, but it was removed when the new sanctuary and educational buildings were erected in 1955 while the Rev. Everett Y. Seale was pastor. Also there was the Allen Annex consisting of three large classrooms and named in honor of the Rev. S. N. Allen, teacher of the Men's Adult Class. This was built during the Rev. Walter L*ipps???' administration. If was removed to make room for the stately brick structures that were erected in 1955.
The name of the church was officially changed to United Methodist throughout the nation in 1968, after the Methodists merged with the Evangelical United Brethren.
Officers of the church are: Edwin McKay, Chairman of the Board; Mrs. C. O. Chesnutt, Vice Chairman, and Mrs. Ross Parflow, Secretary‑Treasurer.
The trustees are: Mrs. J. W. Edmondson, Vernon Burton, Judge Joe Wade. Miss Sue May Reagan, Paul Schulz, G. S. Wofford, W. H. Palmer, Sam Pieper, and Dr. E. C. Spellmann.
The Board of Stewards: Mrs. Vern Amthor, Joe Blackmon, Kenneth Finley, Thomas Hamilton, E. A. Lehmberg, W. D. McCarty, Lee Meyer, Mrs. R. T. Powell. Mrs. Paul Schulz, Pat Cude, Terrence Glick, Martin Johnson, Elton Lieke, Cleon Pittman, Jack Seals, E. C. Steffens, S. A. Wilhite, Joe Wroten, Mrs. Ruth Anderson, C. A. DeFries, Mrs. E. R. Edmiston, R. C. (John) Harris, Fred Latcham, Ross Partlow, Stanley Tegge, and S. R. Wofford.
Mrs. Paul Avery is president of the Women's Society of Christian Service, Mrs. C. 0. Chesnutt is president of the Women's Service Guild, John Griffing is president of Methodist Men, and Miss Patty Riggle is president of the Methodist Youth Fellowship.
The Beeville Baptist Church was organized February 13, 1869, when the Rev. G. W. May was sent to the little community of Beeville by the Baptist State Convention. The charter members were: The Rev. Mr. and Mrs. G. W. May, G. B. and Polly Mccollom, Mrs. E. J. Wright Mr. and Mrs. C. K. Ham, and Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Madray. Mr. May served as pastor until 1871, when Rev. L. S. Cox, a missionary for the San Marcos Association, was called as half‑time pastor of the church.
A small house of worship was erected ''down by the creek.'' Mr. Cox served the church for about five years. Early in 1877 the Rev. L. D. Young, pastor at Rockport, was called by the Beeville congregation. He was pastor two years, and lived seven miles south of Beeville, riding to his appointments by horseback.
A. H. Barber, a ranchman living about twelve miles from Beeville, was a member of the Beeville Baptist Church, and was ordained a minister. During the latter part of 1878 he was called to serve the church. He made his livelihood in the livestock business while pastoring the church.
Rev. R. B. Thames came to serve the church in 1880. After several years the Blanco Baptist Association named him as Their missionary. He was the father of Mrs. 1. C. Madray, who wrote A History of Bee County.
In about 1883, the Rev. S. B. Kimball of Mineral was chosen as pastor here. He was an accomplished musician and singer, and used his musical talents in his ministerial work.
Rev. G. H. M. Wilson became pastor in 1886. He sponsored the building of a house of worship on the property now owned by the church. if was dedicated August 18, 1889. It was said that Mr. Wilson baptized approximately one thousand persons, and during the fifty years he served as a Baptist minister he preached on an average of once a day for the half century period. He remained pastor here until 1894.
The foregoing seven ministers were the pioneer pastors of the Beeville Baptist Church. Other pastors who served the church were:
Rev. Thomas W. White, 1894‑1896. Church officers were: J. W. Bell, clerk; W. S. Howard, treasurer; Dr. R. A. Markham, Sunday School superintendent, and Mrs. Mollie Lancaster, organist. The deacons were J. B. Madray, W. S. Howard, G. W. Parker, W. S. Brown, J. W. Bell, and Dr. R. A. Markham.
Rev. W. H. Gaddy was called as pastor in the latter part of 1896 and served until 1899.
Rev. J. M. Sallie, who later received the honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Baylor University in recognition of his work as a minister of the gospel, became pastor of the Beeville Baptist Church in August 1899 and served for fifteen years, when he retired from the ministry. He died a year later. One of his daughters, Mrs. Austin Brown, resides on a ranch near Beeville. One son, Eugene, and two daughters, Miss Hannah Fair Sallie and Mrs. R. T. (Mamie) Bryan, served as missionaries in China.
During Dr. Sallee's ministry (in 1902) a Mexican Sunday School was organized, but in July 1903 the flood destroyed the Mexican church. The following September a building and parsonage were bought for the communicative of this church. In September 1903 Eugene Sallie was ordained d minister in a service conducted by Dr. George W. Truett of Dallas.
Rev. A. H. Clark succeeded Dr. Sallie in October 19 14 and served until February 1916, when Rev. W. L. Evans accepted the call from the church. Rev. J. E. Garcia was the Mexican missionary at this time. In August 1916, Ernest L. Kelley, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Kelley, was licensed to preach. (He later became a missionary for the Blanco Baptist Association, preaching in both English and Spanish languages, and still later pastored churches throughout the area. He retired a few years ago and now resides in Leesville.)
Mr. Clark returned to pastor the church in February 1918 and remained until July 1919. Rev. J. W. Bates headed the church until he resigned in November 1921. In January 1922, Rev. George W. Springfield became pastor. During this year Ruby Jones expressed her desire to become a missionary to China. The church voted to enlarge the main auditorium. In 1924 an Educational Building was erected, equipped with classrooms, a kitchen and two restrooms. The following served on the Board of Deacons: B. P. Stephenson, J. H. Hearn. A. W. Orman, F. J. Hart, G. W. Parker, D. A. Stockbridge, J. W. Penick, J. 0. East, and S. E. Washburn.
In June 1925 the membership voted to change the name to First Baptist Church of Beeville, Texas.
Mr. Springfield resigned in July 1927. He was succeeded by Rev. David Hill. A Mexican church was organized on August 25, 1929. Mr. Hill resigned in January 1930, and was succeeded in June 1930 by Rev. W. C. Binford. In 1932 Mr. Binford took a sick leave and Rev. T. M. Blacklock served as supply pastor four and one‑half months. On November IS. 1935. Mr. Binford tendered his resignation because of ill health, and the following December Rev. E. W. Goss was named pastor. He led the members in a building program and they razed the old sanctuary and erected a brick structure, which is now called the Goss Building. It is being used for educational purposes.
In May 1940, Mr. Goss resigned and Rev. W. B. Billingsley served as pastor from June 1940 to March 1943. He was succeeded by Rev. Aubria A. Sanders, who was instrumental in starting a new Baptist College in Beeville‑the South Texas Arts and Technological College‑which later was moved to Corpus Christi and became the University of Corpus Christi. After World War 11 the government deeded the Chase Field property to the City of Beeville, and the city in turn gave it to the Baptist Convention of Texas for the purpose of establishing a college there. However, as time passed, the government decided to reactivate Chase Field, and the city could not give title to the Baptists. Since there was no other property available, the college was moved to the coastal city.
In May 1947 Mr. Sanders was killed in an automobile accident. Rev. Raymond Blount served as supply pastor until January 11. 1948, when Rev. Jess Lunsford assumed charge of the church. During his pastorate the Lunsford Educational Building was erected and the Tuleta Baptist Mission was established in 1948. In 1952 it became an ‑independent church.
In April 1952, Mrs. Laura Boothe (now Mrs. S. W. Overby) donated a section of land near the Mineral community for the purpose of establishing a home for children who needed a home. Mr. Lunsford resigned as pastor of First Baptist Church to become administrator of the project, and the church voted to build the first cottage for the home, which now has twenty‑two cottages, with fen children and a "mother" for each cottage. If has earned the reputation of being one of the outstanding homes for children in Texas.
Rev. B. C. Brown became pastor of the church on August 1, 1952, and is now in his fwenty‑first year as head of the congregation. During his pastorate the Calvary Baptist Mission building was erected. and the mission became an independent church on October 25. 1955. The present sanctuary, as well as the Brown Educational Building, were erected in 1957.
In 1959. Howard Payne College of Brownwood conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity upon Rev. Mr. Brown for outstanding work among the Baptists of the South Texas area, as well as for community endeavors. In 1973 Rev. Lunsford was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree at the May commencement exercises of Mary Hardin Baylor College in Belton.
The church started in 1869 with nine charter members and a small house of worship. The membership now numbers in excess of one thousand, and the property on the block of land includes the sanctuary, Goss Building, Lunsford Building and Brown Building.
Edwin Diebel is chairman of the Board of Deacons, and the other members are: Eric Archer, Kirk Bennett, Ray Bissett, Edwin Brown, Bob Butts, Oren Culpepper, S. R. Davis, W. C. Davis Jr., T. E. Dunn, X. A. Dunn, George Elam, Dana English, Albert Frels, R. L. Gordon, J. P. Groves, Woodrow Ham, John Hudman, Dan Humble, H. A. Kennedy, Dr. Howard E. Lancaster, L. M. Mayo, Jack Megason, Harold Mulkey, John Nowlin, R. W. Rhea, Wayne Simpkins, N. B. Tanner Jr., H. T. Torgerson, Edwin Turnipseede, Guy Warnica, Austin Whiteside, and Bill Young.
The church officers are: Dr. B. C. Brown, pastor; Dave Blanton, minister of music and youth; Edward Frankenfeld. minister of education’ Mrs. Blaine Luthringer, church secretary’ Wayne Simpkins, Sunday school director‑, Mrs. W. C. Davis Jr., Women's Missionary Union director‑, Bill Golmon, president of Baptist Men; Edwin Diebel, chairman of the Board of Deacons; N. B. Tanner Jr., treasurer; Mrs. B. C. Brown, organist, and Dave Blanton, choir director.
The First Presbyterian Church was organized in Beeville in October 189 1, but there was activity on the part of the denomination here as early as 1885, when the Rev. J. R. Houserfon was pastor of the Corpus Christi Presbyterian Church and formed a nucleus of Presbyterians here. In this early group were MdIor and Mrs. W. S. Dugat, John W. Flournoy, Mrs. G. M. Irwin, and J. C. Beasley. Services were conducted by visiting ministers two Sundays each month in the old Methodist Church and also in the old Opera House.
The first house of worship was erected under the pastorate of the Rev. H. R. Laird, and Major Dugat was chairman of the building committee. Mr. Laird served as architect and superintendent of construction and did much of the carpenter work. The building served the congregation from 1891 until 1928, when it was torn down and rebuilt.
Mrs. Max Brauer was the church's first historian, and she was succeeded by her daughter, Mrs. W. H. (Cecelia) Miller. The first organist was Miss Estelle Dugat.
Charter members were: Major and Mrs. W. S. Dugat, Mrs. M. G. Irwin, John W. Flournoy, J. C. Beasley, Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Bardwell, Miss Nannie Bardwell, G. M. Macguill, Mrs. G. Garrson, Mrs. A. P. Rachal, Mr. And Mrs. Max Brauer, Miss Annie Meinrafh, Mrs. Harry Manning, Mr. and Mrs. R. Garrett, Mr. and Mrs. P. W. McFadden, Miss Estelle Dugat, J. C. Crisp, Miss Lottie Bickford, Mr. and Mrs. William Haltz, R. C. Skaggs, and Dr. Findley.
Frank Newcomb was the first church treasurer.
The present church was erected in 1928 when Rev. Horace Cunningham was minister at a cost of $50,000. Mrs. John W. Flournoy contributed $20,000 of this amount and the J. S. Hall family presented the pipe organ to the church. A Sunday School building was annexed to the sanctuary on the west side. A grand piano was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Sid 1. Malone in memory of Mr. Malone's grandmother, Mrs. J. C. Burrows, one of the active members for many years.
Those who have served as ministers of the church are: H. R. Laird, S. M. Luckeft, L. E. Selfridge, Leonard Gill, E. H. Hudson, Horace N. Cunningham, Sam B. Hill, Marshall Doggett Jr., Perry Paden Dawson, W. J. Coleman, Joseph A. McGehee, Charles Galbraith, and Don Cureton, the incumbent.
Members of the Session are: Rocky Reagan Sr., G. C. Impson, J. R. Sugarek, Dr. Tom B. Reagan, Monroe Fairly, I C. Sugarek, Robert Beasley, A. S. Contreras, Pablo Garcia, Jack Forgason, Marion W. Young, Sid 1. Malone, George Morrill, Judge John M. Turner, Norris W. Rider, E. L. Sugarek, W. K. Pagel, Alex F. Cox, and James R. Millikin.
Bruce Sugarek is Sunday School superintendent, Sid 1. Malone is choir director, Everett McAulay is organist, and Buster Collins is sexton.
The First Christian Church of Beeville was organized in 188S at a meeting held in the Courthouse, where services were held for several years.
The church roll dated August 9, 1891, stated: ''We, the undersigned, desire our names enrolled as members of the local Christian Church.'' Then followed the following names: Grady Brumfield, W. J. Walfermire, E. A. Walfermire, G. Whitney, Sarah Ann Wofford, Nannie Barfield, Collie King, H. M. Eads, G. W. Belt, S. M. B. Jones, J. W. Ramey, Mr. and Mrs. W. Y. Taylor, Fannie Reaves, Lela Reaves, Mrs. H. S. Baxter, Mrs. R. C. Werfs, Mrs. Paul Baxter, Mrs. Mattie Eads, Emma Slavitchek, Ella Lawson, Matfie Myers, Ruth Best, Mrs. Amanda Hooker, Martin Hooker, Paul Baxter, David Myers, Mrs. M. Ward, Mrs. J. S. Hodges, Mrs. Beftle Fore, M. E. Messenger, W. B. Lewis, Alice Lewis, and Mrs. Annie L. Whitney.
Other early church members were the F. Owings, Mrs. Julia Dugat, the Sfurdivanfs, W. R., John and Jesse Stout, Mrs. J. P. Hermes, S. D. Hanna, Annie Rumek, Mrs. Hattie Nance, and Lula Gandey.
In 1893 a house of worship was erected several blocks southeast of where the present church now stands. The building measured 36x50 feet. The Rev. T. D. Secrest was pastor at that time. The cost of the building was $887. The church was moved to the present location, 715 North St. Mary's Street, in 1901. In 1941 additions were made to the building, and in 1958 a remodeling and expansion program was effected. The sanctuary was completely refinished, and Sunday School rooms and kitchen facilities were added.
Pastors who have served the church are: T. D. Secresf, D. R. Hardison, Lee Courtney, W. E. Williams, Mr. Baftenfield, Mr. Brown, J. F. Cagel, H. G. Twyman, H. L. Harboard, Mr. Kimberly, Dr. Jenkins, Mr. Webb, Mr. Calmes, J. C. Horton, Gilbert Eastman, Dr. A. C. Hakum, H. J. Sheets, Claude Wingo, Harold P. Lockwood, Mr. Eisenhuth. W. T. Walker, Aaron Barker, Melburn Fitts, Harold J. Sheets, Clarence Fuqua, Charles Reese, Gary Dudder and Tony Salisbury.
The Rev. Walter Ritchey of Beaumont called recently to succeed the Rev. Tony Salisbury who resigned, assumed his duties as pastor of the church on June 10. Until he came, the Rev. Icenogle served as interim pastor.
Mrs. Lois Bowers is Sunday School superintendent, Mrs. Byron Dugat is choir director, and Mrs. Richard DeBolf is organist.
The Bethlehem Baptist Church for Negro people was organized with five charter members in October 1887, only twenty‑nine years after Bee County was organized. The charter members were Nathan Broaclas, Mrs. L. Broaclas, Mrs. Martha Bess, Miss Edna Canada, and M. Pettus. The first pastor was the Rev. Mr. Curry.
Captain A. C. Jones had given a site for a Negro public school, and members of the congregation asked for permission to meet in the schoolhouse, which was granted. Later, Captain Jones donated lard for a church. The house of worship was erected and was occupied by the five charter members with the aid of seven ''borrowed'' members, who were: Annie Nancy, Annie McCampbell, Nancy Loft, Caroline McKnight, Rozena Randall, Galenda Randall, and E. M. Smith. Galenda Randall served as church clerk and Nathan Broaclas and Peter Fagens as deacons.
Mr. Curry was pastor only a short time, and was succeeded by Rev. Jim Roland. There was a dedication service held in July 1926 under the leadership of Rev. H. Bacon, and a similar service on May 6. 1951, while the Rev. E. W. Meador was minister.
The church is located at 1 12 Burke Street. It is a two‑story masonry structure, the Sunday School occupying the ground floor. If was built 'in 1951. The facilities include a piano and a Wurlitzer electric organ, a choir loft, and a baptistry, over which is a 4x8‑foot oil painting of the River Jordan, painted and given to the church by Helen Y. Ezell, a local artist.
Former pastors of the church were: Mr. Curry, Jim Roland, B. W. Whitefield, John Jordan, A. D. Norwood, R. B. Shiner, Lockeff, Washington, Hill, C. A. Singletary. H. Bacon, N. E. Henderson, and E. W. Meador.
The church is a member of the Mount Zion Association, which is a branch of the Mount Zion District Congress. It is also affiliated with the state and national congress and conventions.
Present officers of the church are: Rev. J. D. White, Pastor; B. W. Coates, Treasurer; Mrs. Carrie Lee Roy, Clerk‑, Mrs. Ann Langley, Assistant Clerk‑, B. W. Coates, Sunday School Superintendent‑, Wilburt Tippens, Assistant Sunday School Superintendent; and Mrs. Bera Allen, Choir Director.
The deacons are: B. W. Coates, W. F. Allen, Rieba Tucker, and Joe Lindsay.
Jones Chapel Methodist
The land on which the Jones Chapel Methodist Church for Negro people was build was donated by Captain A. C. Jones. Before the house of worship was erected, the congregation, which was organized in 1888, met in a schoolhouse. At that time the congregation was on a three‑point circuit, including Beeville, Goliad and Corpus Christi.
The first church was built in 1889, with the Rev. M. C. Caviness as pastor. It was made a charge in 1907. The building was damaged by the 1916 storm. The parsonage was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1917. The present sanctuary was erected in 1926. New seats were installed in 1945 and a room was added to the parsonage in 1947.
Charter members of the church were: Mrs. Elvira Newton, B. Lott, Sam Ware, J. J. McCloud, Mrs. Ellen Jones, George Steward, Mrs. Classie Douglas, M. J. Lott, Wesley Simms, Mrs. Rebecca Simms, Mrs. Kimmie Nancy, Mrs. Harriet Williams, 1. E. Starnes, Lawson Green, Mrs. Carrie McCampbell, Mrs. Ann Felix, Mrs. P. M. McCarty, Mrs. Serene Hodge, Mrs. Katy Ware, Mrs. Mary Williams, Felix Garner, and Mrs. Leanna Lott.
The church celebrated its eighty‑third anniversary with a program in 1971, when Bishop 0. Eugene Slater of San Antonio was the principal speaker. The inferior of the sanctuary was remodeled in 1972.
The Rev. Freddie Dixon is pastor of the church. Trustees and stewards are Mrs. Neely Martin, Washington Blackwell. David Godley, Easterling Davis, Preston Richardson, and Mrs. Allene Tucker.
Other church officers are: Mrs. Allene Tucker, financial secretary; Mrs. Easterling Davis, recording secretary and Sunday School superintendent and Mrs. Neely Martin, choir director and organist.
Saint Philip's Episcopal
Saint Philip's Episcopal Church was built in 1893, but priests of this denomination came to Beeville and held services in the Courthouse and in other church buildings as far back as 1888.
At that time the Beeville parish was included in the missionary district of Bishop J. G. Johnson. This district later became the Diocese of West Texas.
The first priests who came to Beeville were the Rev. William Moore in 1888 and the Rev. William Jones in 1889. These ministers also served the Goliad parish.
Among the early communicants of this church were Henry W. Wilson, B. W. Klipstein. and Mr. and Mrs. Robert Law. A few years later Mrs. F. G. Chambliss and Mr. and Mrs. Sam Corby were workers in the church.
An addition to the house of worship was built in 1912. In 1956 when the Rev. John D. Worrell was rector, Saint Philip's School was started. If began with kindergarten and first grade, but later the second and third grades were added. At present there are two kindergarten classes and a first grade.
In 1968 the building was enlarged again. This was made possible through sizeable donations by Mrs. Frank Lewis and Mrs. Donald Alexander of San Antonio. A large room with kitchen facilities was built, connecting with the west side of the church. This was named Chambliss Hall, after Mrs. F. G. Chambliss and her daughters, Mrs. J. T. (Dorothy) Hall and Miss Sara Chambliss. Dr. Joe Barnhart Jr. of Houston gave the doors. Both the church and Chambliss Hall were brick‑veneered.
The Rf. Rev. Harold Gosnell, D.D., of San Antonio is Bishop of the Diocese. The rector of Saint Philip's is the Rev. John Dunham, who came in January 1973. He succeeded Rev. Rollin Polk who went to San Antonio. John West is church treasurer. Members of the Vestry are: Cdr. W. B. Calhoun, Senior Warden; William B. Moser, Secretary, and L. D. Hunter, Dr. Dudley Braly, Tracy Ray, Dr. Scoff McNeill Jr., Jack Chesnut, Burke Ellwood, and Dan Conoly, Jr.
Our Lady of Victory and Saint James
The first house of worship for Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Beeville was built as a mission under the auspices of Saint Joseph's Catholic Church in 1908 when the Rev. John Coma was pastor of Saint Joseph's. The frame building, 24x40 feet, was located at the corner of Ireland Street and Avenue D, on the block directly south of the present facilities of the church. Services were conducted for Spanish‑speaking Catholics.
The congregation grew, and in 1924 the mission became a parish with the Franciscan Fathers in charge. The block on which the present facilities are located was purchased and a building program began, which eventually included a new church, a schoolhouse, a rectory for the priests, and a convent for the sisters. Our Lady of Victory School was opened in 1924, when four Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament were the teachers.
In 1927 the church was moved to the new property, and in 1930 the missionaries of the Holy Family assumed sponsorship of the parish. The first pastor was the Rev. Anthony Easing. In 1946 a new school plant was built, with five classrooms. an office and a library. Sister Beatrice Cruz has been principal of the school for the last several years.
In 1947 Saint James Church was built to better serve the people residing in the Alta Vista Addition. If started as a mission under the sponsorship of Our Lady of Victory Church. The mission became a parish in 1966, and Rev. Arthur Oakwood was the first pastor. He served until 1970, when the present pastor, Rev. Stephen Devine, became head of the parish.
Since Our Lady of Victory Church became a parish In 1924, the following priests have served as pastors: The Reverend Fathers Toribius Christmas, March 14, 1924, to July 1926; Edgar Casey, July 1926 to January 1928; Jose Casilles. January 1928 to June 1928, Anthony Rabago, June 1928 to April 1930; Anthony Easing, April 1930 to September 1930; John Parr, September 1930 to January 1933; Joseph Pelley, January 1933 to September 1937, William Janning, September 1937 to December 1943; George Kreutler, December 1943 to April 1945; Herman H. Berg, April 1945 to September 1958.
Then came the Reverend Fathers William Janning, 1958 to 1964; A. M. Hepp, 1964 to 1966; Wenzel Lieb, 1966 to 1969; John Fickinger, two months in 1969, succeeded by Father Anthony Easing who served until 1972, when the Rev. Father Robert O'Hara assumed charge. He is the present pastor of the parish.
Our Lady of Victory School will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary between September 1973 and May 1974, and plans are being formulated for the event.
The Holy Name Society of Our Lady of Victory Church and San Jose Men's Society of Saint James Church are organizations composed of men who work in various ways to help the parishes. Another objective is for each member to fry to develop his own spiritual growth.
The officers for Holy Name Society are: Joe Henry Alaniz, President‑, Mike Munoz, Vice President; Robert Aguilar, Secretary; Raymundo Martinez, Treasurer; and Jesse DeRusse and Alex Orfiz, Marshals. On the first Sunday of each month the members participate in the celebration of the Holy Communion and have a breakfast afterward.
Officers of San Jose Men's Society are: Isidro Tapia, President; Isabel Garza, Vice President; Cipriano Gonzales, Secretary, and Vicente Chapa, Treasurer. The men serve as ushers at Saint James Church and also sponsor fiestas to raise money for the church.
CHURCHES ORGANIZED AFTER 1900
Assembly of God:
Rev. C. W. Spencer is pastor of the Assembly of God Church, located at Buchanan and Milam Streets. Sunday services include: Sunday School, 9:45 a.m.; worship service, 11 a.m.; Christ's Ambassadors, ages 13 to 35 years, 6 p.m.; evangelistic services, 7 p.m. Bible study and prayer meeting, Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Frank Gifford, pastor: 814 North Polk. Sabbath School, Saturday 9:30 a.m.; worship service, Saturday 11 a.m.; missionary volunteer meeting, Saturday afternoon.
Realizing the need for another Baptist congregation, members of First Baptist Church sponsored a mission which was organized on September 25, 1955, with 130 charter members. Soon the mission became a church and Rev. W. S. Gibbs was the first pastor. Other pastors included R. H. Scott, Joe Smith, Charles Henry, Wyndell Lyons, C. C. Piland, J. M11fon Dunn, Gene Shomake, Calvin Namken, Judson Mills, J. D. Barnes, and Jerry Jones, the incumbent. M. 0. Ford is Sunday School superintendent. Sunday School is held at 9:45 a.m. and worship services at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Community Baptist: 607 North Adams, Billy Hughes, minister. Sunday services: Sunday School, 10 a.m.; morning worship, 11 o'clock; Baptist Youth, 6:45 p.m.; evening services, 7:30 o'clock. Prayer meeting is held Wednesday night. ''We are fundamental independent Baptists, and fellowship with Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo., '' a statement of the church says.
,First Mexican Baptist: Joe Castenada, pastor. Sunday: Sunday School, 9:30 a.m. sermon, 11 a.m.; Training Union, 7 p.m.; preaching services, 8 p.m. Tuesday: Women's Missionary Union and Brotherhood meetings, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday: Prayer meeting 6:30 p.m.
Christian Science Society: FM‑351, 299 Athey Street, Blueberry Hills. Services are held Sunday morning at 11. Sunday School at 11 a.m. Wednesday evening meetings are held at 8 o'clock.
Iglesia Cristiana Pentecost’s: Jose Ramos, minister. Sabado y Domingo cle Preclicacion a last 7:30 p.m.; Serviclos cle Sccieclad Femenil los Marfes a las 7:30 p.m.; Serviclos de Oracion en los Jueves a las 7:30 p.m.‑, Servicios cle Socleclad cle Jovenes en los Viernes a las 7:30 p.m.
Church of Christ: Bill Carney, minister. Sunday morning Bible classes, 9:30; preaching and communion, 10:20 a.m.; preaching and communion, Sunday 6 p.m. Ladies' Bible Classes, Wednesday morning, 9:30 Bible Classes Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
Latin‑American Church of Christ: A. H. Lujan, minister. Meets Sunday, 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Prayer meeting, Thursday 7:30 p.m. Corner of Crockett and Quinn Streets.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latfer‑Day Saints (Mormon): 814 North Polk Street. Sunday: Priesthood meeting, 8 a.m.; Sunday School, 10 a.m.; sacrament meeting, 11 a.m. Relief Society meets Wednesday, 10 a.m., and Primary, Thursday, 4:30 p.m.
Jehovah's Witnesses: 303 South Tyler, Vernon E. Smith, English presiding minister,‑ Felix Martinez, Spanish presiding minister. Sunday: Public English lecture, 9:30 a.m.; English Watchtower study, 10:45 a.m. Spanish
204 HISTORY OF BEE COUNTY
lecture, 4 p.m.; Spanish Watchtower study, 5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday: English Bible study class, 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, Spanish Bible study class, 7:30 p.m. Friday: Ministry school. 7:30 p.m.; service meeting, 8:30 p.m.
Full Gospel: Rev. Frances B. Pickeff, pastor. Sunday: Sunday School, 10 a.m.‑, worship services, 11 a.m. and 7:45 p.m. Evening services will be held Tuesday and Thursday at 7:45.
Church of the Nazarene: Larry L. Parsons, minister; 608 East Milam. Sunday: Sunday School, 10 a.m.; morning worship, 11 o'clock evangelistic service, 7 p.m. Wednesday prayer meeting, 7:30 o'clock.
Trinity Chapel: I 110 East Houston Street, C. C. Hurst Jr., pastor. Interdenominafional. Sunday: Sunday School, 9:45 a.m.; worship services, 1 1 a.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday: Ladies' Mission Service, 9:30 a.m.; Youth Service, 7:30 p.m. Moments of Inspiration (over Radio Station KIBL), 8:05 to 8:15 a.m., Monday through Friday.
Peace Lutheran (ALC): H. L. Anderson. pastor: East Clare and North Jefferson Streets. Sunday School, 9:15 a.m.; worship services, 10:30 a.m.; Faith Circle, second Thursday, 9:30 a.m.; Mary Circle, second Thursday, 7:30 p.m.: American Lutheran Church Men, second Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; High School Youth, every other Sunday night, 6:30; choir rehearsals, Wednesday: Primary Choir, 6 p.m.; Junior Choir, 6:30 p.m.; Senior Choir, 7:30 p.m.
Trinity Lutheran (Missouri Synod): Henry R. Rische, pastor; Bowie and Filmore Streets. Sunday: Sunday School, 10 a.m.‑, morning worship, 11 o'clock. Voters' Assembly, each second Monday, 7:30 p.m. Holy Communion, each first Sunday. Ladies' Aid Society, third Sunday of the month.
Chase Field Chapel: Cafholic‑Lt. Cdr. Joseph McCloskey, chaplain‑, masses Sunday, 8:30 and 1 1:30 a.m., and weekdays, 11:30 a.m.; confessions, 30 minutes before masses. Profestanf‑Cdr. William J. Clardy, chaplain‑, Sunday School, 9 a.m., Building 1034; Study Group Tuesday, 7 p.m.; Sunday worship, 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The Historical Story
of Bee County Texas By Camp Ezell
Updated Thursday, December 21, 2006 21:02
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