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  • MUMC 150 History Committee

The Founding of MUMC

September 22, 2024

All stories are victims of people’s faulty memories and this is true of the story of Manchaca United Church. Even official records do not always correlate. That being said, the stories I am about to present to you are true no matter what detail shading may have unintentionally occurred.

An old, grainy, sepia photograph of an adult woman sitting with her hair tied back tightly and a shawl over her shoulders, labeled "Jane Soules Turley, 1880"
Jane Soules Turley, 1880

We have chosen to celebrate the founding of this church in 1874 with the official organization of this congregation. Just nine years before, the American Civil War had ended and the farmers and ranchers, many of whom were new to the area, were still trying to get their lives back in order. A small group of people living about 13 miles south of Austin, TX, decided to join together in fellowship with God and each other.

James Turley, his wife Jane; Oliver Patterson and his wife Carolyn; James Turner and his wife Mollie; and Mrs. Mary Pelham had been worshiping at the old brick church owned by the Presbyterians reportedly located near Live Oak as early as 1871 before they began the long process of starting a Methodist church by sending letters to the Methodist authorities by means of the stagecoach.

It was early 1875 before Milton Hotchkiss, only 20 years of age, was sent to the fledgling congregation as their new preacher. Fortunately, he was well loved and many new members were added to the church rolls. Both he and his brother, Oscar, who followed him in 1877 as the preacher of this fledgling church, rode horseback every Saturday from Austin, spent the night in the home of various church members, and rode back Sunday evening.

Earlier records show that the church was most likely served by Daniel Morgan, a deacon who was assigned to the Cedar Creek Circuit of the Austin District. It seems that the Manchaca ME Church was probably too small to support a preacher.

…To be continued…

~MUMC Sesquicentennial History Committee, MSHC

(To share your story, email Suzy Sanger at

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