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Early Methodism in Runnels County, Texas

Published in Stalkin Kin Vol.VII No.2

See other Stalkin Kin' references to Runnels County

(Abstracted from a booklet published March 12, 1967 by the First Methodist Church of Winters, Texas on their 75th anniversary.)

The earliest recorded Methodist property in Runnels County was the sale of 320 acres of land a few miles southeast of the present city of Ballinger to the First Methodist Episcopal Church (Northern) of Austin, Texas. No building was erected on it and it passed into private ownership a few years later. In the same community, near the small town of Walthal, a Methodist congregation was organized in 1879 in the home of Mr. and Mrs. A. B. HUTCHINSON. They were grandparents of Mrs. T. V. JENNINGS who is living in Winters and a member of the Winters Church. Both the town of Walthal and the church disappeared a few years later.

A Methodist congregation was organized at Runnels about 1883. Minutes of Conference journals list a Runnels Mission as far back as 1880 in the Comanche District . The Ballinger Methodist Church came into being about 1886. The Valley Creek Methodist Church bought a building site in 1882, located a few miles west of the present community of Valley View on the Bronte and Ballinger highway. A German congregation of the Southern German Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (Northern) secured lots in Ballinger in 1893 and built a church of native stone. Numerous other Methodist churches  soon sprang up over the country.

The Winters Methodist Church began in 1891; many of the early records have been lost. it is generally understood that the church was organized during the pastorate of Rev. George D. WILSON. The following were Charter Members; there may have been others:

Mr. and Mrs. R. A. YEATS
Miss Viola YEATS
*Mr. Robert H. YEATS
Mr. and Mrs. C. E. BELL
Miss Mamie BELL
Mr. and Mrs. W. H. RODGERS
Ollie MEEK
Mr. L. N. PIKE
Mrs. O. M. PIKE
Mrs. A. F. ADAMS
Dr. and Mrs. RUBOTTOM
Miss Leola RUBOTTOM

*Mr. Yeats of Artesia, New Mexico, is the only charter member living today (1967).

In 1897 the Winters Mission was formed, which later was called the Winters Circuit. Churches that have been on the Winters pastoral charge include Ft. Chadbourne, Norwood, Marie, Barnett's Chapel, Bowman, Truitt, Spring Creek, Pumphrey, Valley Creek, Maverick, Center Point, Baldwin, Norton, Crews and Wingate. Only the last three of these have continued to be active until today.

Thanks to the San Angelo Genealogical & Historical Society for allowing me to publish this data on the web.

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