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  • MUMC 150 History Committee

Written History from 1953

It seems that there was a difference in the various records at MUMC. The first child baptized in the first MUMC church building was either Nancy Miller or Dovie Patterson, who was the daughter of two of our church’s founders. This was a blessing for the girls’ families, but an additional blessing to us.

Seventy-seven years later, Mrs. Dovie Patterson Thomas wrote a delightful "History of the Manchaca Methodist Church from 1874-1953." This wonderful article tells the story of our earliest pastors with wit and charm. 

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Dovie Thomas Manchaca History
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"History of the Manchaca Methodist Church from 1874 to 1953"

by Mrs. Dovie Patterson Thomas

When I was asked to read the history of this church, I went in quest of records, but found that the poor, little, hungry church mouse had beaten me to them.

I will be brief, try to give you a cross-section of the years. It takes the buildings, the members, and the pastors to make a complete history.

In August 1874, seven loyal persons met for the purpose of organizing a Methodist church. They were: James Turley and his wife Jane; Oliver Patterson and his wife Caroline; James Turner and his wife Mollie; and Mrs. Mary Pelham.

Mr. Patterson was named Secretary. As the stage-coach carried the mail, letters were long in transit. Before the necessary papers were completed, and a preacher found, it as early 1875.

The first pastor was Milton Hotchkiss, he was only twenty years old; the first Presiding Elder was the Rev. Josiah Whipple; and the Presiding Bishop was the famous Pierce.

By the time the Mission was ready to call the roll of members, five or six others had joined the little band. When the first meeting was held, a goodly crowd was present, men and women of no denomination came to worship with them, and helped to bear the expenses.

Milton Hotchkiss served through 1875 and ‘76; he was much liked and added new members.

His brother Oscar Hotchkiss was named the second pastor, he, too, was young. There men rode horse-back, came out from Austin, had to come out Saturday afternoon, so had to spend the night at the home of some member. Soon after Bro. Oscar came to the charge, he was stopping at a farm home. While the housewife was preparing supper, the young minister was playing with her four-year-old son, in their romp, they turned the cradle over, the baby let out a bloody-murder scream. The mother rushed in, said, “What are you trying to do - kill my baby?” He answered, “Non Mam,” he took the boy to the yard. Oscar Hotchkisss served in 1877.

Next was the Rev. Murry, he was with us in 1878 and ‘79. He was a fine man, added members. He, too, has an episode; on a very cold day, he arrived at a farm house suffering from a chill, the farmer put him to bed, and the good wife put a hot iron to his feet. Ere long she heard a cry for help. Hurrying in, she found the bed on fire. The story soon got around that Sister Patterson tried to burn up the preacher.

Oscar Hotchkiss was returned to the Mission, and served through 1880 and ‘81. He was followed by his brother Milton; this time Milton was married to a lovely lady named Betty, after whom many baby girls were named. He, also, had an embarrassing moment; he called on a member, after a short visit, said, “May we have prayers.” the lady’s big Bible was on the centertable he picked it up to read, and it came open at a deck of playing-cards. The lady was humiliated, the Rev. took them our and proceeded to read. She recalled that her husband and a friend had played poker in the parlor the evening before. She was too embarrassed to explain to the minister, but later demanded of her husband - Why? He said he had put them where the children would not find them. Times have changed - if Bro. Beery should find cards in the Bible, he would think the good sisters had read the Bible after they had finished there canasta game. This time Brother Milton was with us during 1882 and ‘83.

Next was Rev. Younger, he served in 1884, at the time when every thing was moved to Manchaca from Onion Creek. The Post Office, School, stores, every thing had gone ahead of the church. This change was because the railroad had come through and established a station and named it Manchaca.

This good Bro. Younger was the first pastor to hold services in Manchaca. He had a wife and a pretty daughter; some of the congregation said the ladies were too dressy, and would not pay the preacher. So, there was financial difficulty. In this times have NOT changed.

In 1885 came the beloved Henry Haynie, he was a great pastor, he visited those sick or in distress regardless of creed or color. He held a great revival, his stay at the church was truly a “Red Letter Day.” During his time the parsonage was build, and our Mission became a full-fledged church. He served through 1885-86-87. He was sent to a larger field as a reward for his good works.

The people were church minded in those days.

Then followed the Revs. G.S. Sandal, 1888; H.S. Brown, ‘89; S.S. Collins, 1890; then came John Russell and his lovely wife Mary. This was another high point. Bro. Russell was a busy, little man, he worked hard, had a great revival, he and his helpers raised all the money to build this church, raised it in one year. Col. C.R. Beaty was the largest contributor. Sim White gave a nice sum; the ladies gave icecream suppers; everyone helped. He served in 1891.

The Rev. Brazzleton came to this charge 1892, during his pastorate, the church was completed and dedicated. The Rev. Dr. Briggs of Tenth St. Methodist Church, Austin, preached the dedicatorial sermon. It was a fine sermon on the temple of the Lord. Rev. Hargrave was the presiding Bishop. The house was packed to capacity. People were still church minded.

This is a good place to speak of [the] buildings. From 1875 to 1884, we enjoyed the hospitality of the Cumberland Presbyterians, at Live Oak, the old rock church on Onion Creek. The second place used was the Manchaca Public School, bat and board building across the street. Third, this building.

All these ministers were God fearing men, preached hell-fire and damnation to the sinners, but held out peace, joy, and eternal life to the right-doers and the faithful. The church was strict in the early days, turned people out for dancing, whiskey drinking, gambling, etc. The books were clean for Manchaca, no record where any member was dismissed. However, if that ratty, little mouse had not eaten up the records, my story may have been different.

I never heard of but one case of this kind, to the west of here, a revival meeting was in progress, under a brush arbor, a back seat filled with young folk; a young man sneaked and kissed a young lady, he thought no one saw him, but one dear, old brother spied him.

In a few days the pretty Miss was called on the carpet. The Pastor and stewards rebuked her, saying they could not church the young man as he was not a member, but she was, and must answer charges. She wept – she was only sixteen.

Outcome and moral: One of so much charm and beauty should never sit on the back seat at church.

Another young lady was never churched, but she caused a great [commotion.] This happened in Manchaca, she fell out the church door, she missed the top step, plunged head-long, arms out – an old bachelor standing facing the door, she landed in his arms, and hers went around his neck. The boys in the yard let our a wild scream.

Up to this time we had been called the shouting Methodist – now we do our shouting at the ball-games. We were also know as chicken eating Methodist, that too is in the past. Now when I eat something all chopped up on a lettuce leaf, I don’t know whether it is chicken or jack-rabbit mixed with salad dressing.

A lot of things have changed: we had Presiding Elders, now Superintendents; parlors, now living rooms; supper at sundown, now six o’clock dinner; preachers wore Prince Alberts; ladies wore dress bonnets, carried fancy parasols with ruffles and lace.

The people: A few were rich, but most of them were poor. The congregation came to church on foot, horseback, in farm wagons, hacks, or buggies; later we came in the [Model] Ford, now in the slick sedan.

Music: At first very small hymnals were used just contained words of songs, had no notes. Some man would pitch the tune, but the sang to the glory of God. About 1888 the church bought an organ. Some one sang “Jesus Lover of My Soul” to a new tune; the people didn’t like it – called it sacrilegious. Some time thereafter a choir was formed. I don’t know when the piano came to the church, but it was after the turn of the century. During the first fifteen years the favorite songs were: “I’m Bound for the Promised Land,” “How Firm a Foundation,” “A Fountain Filled with Blood,” and “In the Sweet By and By.” After the advent of the organ many new songs were heard; now we have very fine music.

Weddings: The first was that of Miss Maggie Piper and William Lynch. A very pretty one was that of Miss Edna Turley and Tommy Carpenter; the church was beautifully decorated; Miss Edna looked lovely. Miss Cordie Labenske and Tom Dunnahoo, it was pretty too, an all white wedding, I was one of the bridesmaids. Miss Ethel Brown to Aubry Barr; Miss Lucy Mathews to Winter King; Miss Bernice Blackwell to William Green; all lived happily ever after.

People who held the fort were: Strickland, Labenske; Swank, Willie Chappel, Sunday School Supt. for years, Uncle Alf Mathews and dozens of others.

“For Old Lang Syne” we will name the remaining pastors: John Harmon, 1893; Hocutt, ‘94&’95; Bracewell ‘96; Kelly ‘97&98; Gaskin, 1899&1900; Horner 1901; Bro. Hocutt 1902; Calloway, 1903&4; Perrin 1905; Pierce, 1906&7; Holloway, ‘08&’09; John Retfro in 1910, this was his first charge, he gave the church a spendid year; Simmon, ‘11; Randel, ‘12; Old, ‘13; Hart, ‘14,’15,&’16; Owens 1917&18; Agee, 19-20; Hocutt again in 1920 for a short period; Franks, ‘21-22; Sloan, ‘23-24; Allen ‘24-25; Shaw 1925; Carter, ‘26; Patrick, short period, 1926; Hecock, ‘27; Weise; Atkison; Belcher; Hayberg; Monroe; and Rev. John K. Beery for the last three years. In 78 years this church has had 43 pastors, counting supplies and all. Present membership is 94.

The church has been the vehicle that has brought the knowledge of God down to through all the ages.

When we have seen this brace, little church survive through evil days and hard times, I’m sure you must feel as I do, just like singing, “I’ve seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord – Glory hallelujah – God’s Truth is marching on.”

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