Worshipping On The Frontier

It’s difficult to study history on the Texas frontier without studying E.L. Deaton, early settler to this part of the world. I quote him here as he describes worshipping on the Texas frontier. I pull this passage out in my mind on those days that I am tempted to feel too busy, too tired, or too anything else to get myself to worship via a very nice automobile and into a climate controlled building with padded seats and all typed of other comforts!


from Google images

from Google images

“We had no church houses then as we have now, in which to worship.  To institute the comparison, let the reader imagine him or herself starting out from the little western home in a wagon drawn by two oxen.

“After traveling through tall prairie grass, over hills and across hollows, you come upon a log cabin, an old-fashioned chimney at one end, a dirt floor with seats made of split poles and pins driven through them for legs, a log cut from each side for light and ventilation, and you have the primitive Texas frontier church as it existed at the time we were fighting Indians.

“Behold the settlers coming from all directions in their wagons.  They drive up, some dressed in buckskin with one or two six-shooters strapped around them and their wives perhaps in possession of their guns.

[The preacher then] takes the stand, draws from the pouch a Bible and a hymn book, and with six-shooter belted around him and gun within easy reach, he proceeds to deliver a Gospel sermon…Often the Indians would swoop down on the settlements in great numbers and commit their outrageous atrocities during the revival seasons, and often their raids would protract the meetings, from the fact that the men would follow after them and it was deemed safer for the women and children to remain at church during their absence than at their homes, so the women would remain and protect the ministers, old men and boys.

“…May God help them all, and may the present generation not forget the sacrifices and deprivations endured by the hardy frontiersmen who paved the way to civilization in the Lone Star State…”

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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4 Responses to Worshipping On The Frontier

  1. missy jones says:

    My great great grandfather, Peter Cartwright Johnson, in a letter to his three oldest married sons back in Smith County, letter dated May 1856, stated that they attended church twice a month, one a methodist preacher and one a christian preacher. They lived near Fleming community, now called Pettit, and wanted the boys to come to see them and bring the “girls” and the children. Also, that they had went fishing in the Leon river, and that the young girls in the family had caught fish as fast as they could bait their hooks.

  2. missy jones says:

    One more note about Peter Cartwright Johnson, whose wife was Matilda Whatley Johnson. The first son back in Smith County, Texas in 1856 was Robert Whatley Johnson, my great grandfather. The second son was Jesse J. Johnson, who with his wife Adeline Ratliff Johnson later came to Comanche County, where he was a Methodist minister for many years. The third son, Vaschel D. Johnson, a twin to Jesse later came to Comanche County with his wife, Leacy Ratliff Johnson.

  3. Ronni says:

    Hello, I came across a few of your articles one on worshiping on the frontier and another on the tornado of Zephyr and your last name caught my interest as I am working on a family tree for my fiances family and seem to have hit a brickwall by way of Reverend Parmenas Peter Jones who moved to Zephyr with his wife, Emeline Elizabeth (nee) Newton in approximately 1880. He died and was buried in the Zephyr Cemetery in 1883. I believe Emeline remarried shortly there after to a J.G. Richardson but cannot seem to find anything further. I thought perhaps you may have some information or may even be related to this Jones.

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