Comanche, Texas: We are not sure where the original Comanche County Church of Christ building was located or even when its congregation was established. However, we do know that there were members of the Church if Christ in the county by 1855, including the county’s first Church of Christ minister, Doctor George William Montgomery.
Dr. Montgomery moved to this county in 1855, settling in what was then called South Leon (Newburg), and we do know that the doctor offered some type of worship service for those who wished to attend. While Montgomery was indeed a doctor, he was also the first Chief Justice in the county, and it was he who signed the first civil docket in the newly formed county.
In 1864, the Montgomery family moved into the town of Comanche, purchasing lots 32 and 33, where he continued to practice medicine in his office located on the south side of the square.
In 1869, Dr. Montgomery purchased 480 acres from Jesse Mercer who, with F.M. Collier and wife, arrived in what would become Comanche County in December of 1854. This purchase moved the Montgomery family back to the South Leon area. Today, the land is owned by Sue Vines of Comanche.
On the west end of his property, Dr. Montgomery built a log home and slightly less than a mile to the southeast of it he built a log church building which also doubled as a school house.
Some of the early members of the Church of Christ were from the families of Holmsley, Shoemaker, and Campbell. Dr. George William Montgomery died March 12, 1877.
According to Mrs. Tom Shoemaker, daughter-in-law of W.R. William Shoemaker, in 1900 she attended the last gospel meeting ever held in the old log church. She also verified that the congregation did not use musical instruments and that people who were not members of the congregation referred to them as Campbellites.
Mrs. Shoemaker also stated that she could remember W.H. Montgomery, known as Billy. Billy was the brother of J.A. Montgomery, known as Bud. Billy often put as much money in the collection plate as the rest of the congregation combined. Billy and Bud were the sons of Dr. Montgomery.
Lawrence Lanford was born in Comanche County in 1889, and according to him, the Church in Comanche split in 1902 over the issue of instrumental music. The Church was at that time located on the lot just west of the old jail on West Central Street.
At this time the elders of the congregation were W.T. “Billy” Lee, Bill Ellis, Charlie Baxter, and W.C. Bradshaw. Baxter and Bradshaw led the faction that left the congregation because they wanted instrumental music to be used in the worship service. The building that was located on West Central burned in 1906 or 1907, and the congregation worshipped in the courthouse for about the next three years.
The building at 500 North Pearl Street was built about 1910. At this time the elders were W.C. Lanford, Tom Dabney, and Claude Cox. Mr. Lanford’s son, Lawrence, was the first to be married in the building, the ceremony being December 24, 1911.
At some point in time, the former elder, W.C. Bradshaw, came back at some point and worshipped with the congregation in the Pearl Street Church of Christ for years.
In 1952, the Church of Christ building burned and was replaced with the present building.