From the Annals of the Methodists – In 1838, Rev. Jesse Hord entered Texas at Gaines Ferry on the Sabine River. Hord had volunteered for service in Texas and was assigned to the Texas Mission District by the Methodist Church in October of 1838. In October he traveled by horseback with his fellow missionary Isaac Strickland to Texas. The day after entering Texas he preached his first sermon at San Augustine. Hord had converted to Methodism at age 17. Four years later he was admitted on trial into the Tennessee Conference where he was ordained him a deacon in 1836 and an elder in 1837. He was charged with forming a circuit in the Houston area and he established the first Methodist congregations at Richmond, Matagorda, Brazoria, Bay Prairie, DeMoss, Texana, Velasco, East Columbia, and Houston. His 500-mile circuit included twenty congregations. He is considered the founder of Methodism in Texas.
From the Annals of the Religious Right – In 1860, abolitionist Methodist minister Anthony Bewley was lynched. In 1858, Bewley – an outspoken opponent of slavery – established a mission south of Fort Worth. He ran afoul of the so-called vigilance committees who were claiming that abolitionists were plotting to burn Texas towns and murder white citizens.
Bewley was targeted primarily on the basis of a letter he allegedly received from another abolitionist earlier in July. The letter implored Bewley to continue with his work in helping to free Texas from slavery. Many were convinced it was a forgery set up to incriminate Bewley. But the letter was widely published and used as supposed evidence that Bewley was fomenting trouble along with other John Brownites in Texas.
Bewley knew trouble was coming and took his family to Kansas. A Texas posse caught up with him in Missouri. He was returned to Fort Worth on September 13. Later that evening, vigilantes seized and lynched Bewley. His body was allowed to hang until the next day. He was buried in a shallow grave, but quickly disinterred. His bones were stripped of their flesh and placed on top of Ephraim Daggett’s storehouse and children were allowed to play with them.
One cannot know how many in the lynch mob went on to serve in the Confederate military. But stories such as this illustrate clearly why the Confederate “heroes” should continue to be removed from the place of honor that hold in many Texas areas and relegated to the dustbin of history.
From the Annals of the Methodists – In 1837, Robert Alexander crossed the Sabine River and began preaching his way westward – the start of a ministry of forty-five years in Texas. Alexander quickly formed the San Augustine circuit and by mid-October formed the first Methodist missionary society in Texas during a camp meeting held at Caney Creek. The mission was later organized into the Texas Conference. Alexander served as first presiding elder of the several districts including Galveston, Huntsville, and Chappell Hill. His pastoral appointments included Belton, Chappell Hill, Galveston, and Waco. When the Methodists split over slavery in 1844, Alexander’s colleagues elected him delegate to the Louisville Convention that organized the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in 1845. They subsequently elected him to nine succeeding General Conferences.