Thursday, January 02, 2020

Coleman Grigsby "C. G." Witherspoon (1856-1916) and Early Deaf Smith County Texas

Born on Christmas Eve 1856 in Waxahachie, Texas, C. G. Witherspoon would go on during the 1880s and 90s to become an early settler in Deaf Smith County and a founding father of the town of Hereford.

His early years must have been difficult. His mother, Ann Elizabeth Garvin Witherspoon, died in 1862. Coleman was only five, and his little sister, Anna Elizabeth Rachel, was not yet four months old. Their father, William Anderson "W. A." Witherspoon, married again in 1871. Less than a year later, his new bride, the former Milinda "Linnie" Garvin, gave birth to the first of her nine children, five boys and four girls. The youngest, Mary Leona, was born in 1887, the year her mother turned forty.[1]

In 1888, the year he turned thirty-two, C. G., his wife, Fannie Armstrong Jackson Witherspoon, and their young son Claude moved to Amarillo. C. G. taught the first full term of school in Amarillo. Sometime later that year, the family moved to Deaf Smith County where C. G. "filed on land near the center section of the county"[2] It must have looked very promising. In 1889, C. G.'s half brother, Anderson, visited the county. The next year, Anderson, his brother Remmie, and their father, W. A., set out driving a herd of cattle and horses from somewhere around Waxahachie toward Deaf Smith County. By the Fourth of July 1890, the three men had made it to a campsite in Randall County, near present-day Canyon, Texas, just thirty miles from their destination.[3]

The Witherspoon men, C. G., his half-brothers, their father, W. A., and their families were some of the first residents of an early settlement in Deaf Smith County called La Plata. In fact, Alvie William Wilson, a grandson of W. A. Witherspoon, was the first child born in La Plata in 1892.[4] The town is no longer there. Around 1898, it moved, courthouse and all, to be close to the railroad that was coming through the county. The first attempt to rename the town had to be given up. The residents of what they called Blue Water, named for the Tierra Blanca Creek just south of town, soon learned that another community in Texas had already taken that name. So they changed it to Hereford, the name of the sturdy breed of beef cattle that men like L. R. Bradley and G. R. "Rat" Jowell had brought to the area.[5] In time, residents of Hereford came to call old W. A. Witherspoon "Uncle Billy."

According to the U.S. Census of 1910, Coleman G. Witherspoon was 54 years old and was engaged in the real estate business.[6] By then, he had established himself as a businessman and civic leader in Hereford. He was one of nine co-founders of Hereford College and Industrial School in 1902.

C. G. Witherspoon died in the summer of 1916 in Corpus Christi, Texas. He was only 59 years old. His widow, Fannie Armstrong Jackson Witherspoon, survived until 1947, when she died in Dallas at the age of 84. The two lie buried next to each other in the Waxahachie City Cemetery in Ellis County.[7]

Notes

[1] Information via ancestry.com, accessed January 2, 2020.

[2] Bessie Patterson, A History of Deaf Smith County (Hereford, TX: Pioneer Publishers, 1964), 60.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Handbook of Texas Online, H. Allen Anderson, "HEREFORD, TX," accessed January 2, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/heh02.

[6] Information via ancestry.com, accessed January 2, 2020.

[7] See the Find A Grave memorial for Fannie Jackson Witherspoon, with links to members of her family, at the following URL, accessed January 2, 2020: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/30091413/fannie-armstrong-witherspoon

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Judge L(ysius) Gough (1862-1940)

When he died in November 1940, "Judge L. Gough" was described by his hometown newspaper, the Hereford Brand, as "a great leader, a true pioneer, and friend to all."[1] To this day one of the thoroughfares in the old section of Hereford, Texas, is Gough Street.

Lysius Gough was born in 1862 in Lamar County, Texas, his parents having moved there from Kentucky. As a teenager, he moved on his own to West Texas where he got a job working as a cowboy on the T-Anchor Ranch. Several times he worked a cattle drive, guiding a herd of thousands all the way through present-day Oklahoma to the rail head in Kansas. Having grown up in a strict Disciples home, he refused to drink, smoke, or swear. Noticing this, his fellow cowboys named him "Parson."

In the years that followed, Gough established himself as a community leader, serving as a lawyer and judge, and working in the cattle, farm, and real estate businesses in Castro and Deaf Smith Counties.[2]

Gough and his wife, Ida Etta Russell Gough, who died in 1904 at the age of 35, helped to establish the Christian Church in Hereford in 1899.[3] He was one of the founders of Hereford College and Industrial School in 1902.

Notes

[1] "Final Tribute Paid to Judge L. Gough in Services at First Christian Church Here Tuesday," Hereford Brand, November 7, 1940.

[2] Ibid.

[3] The Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Christian Church, Hereford, Texas (Hereford, TX: First Christian Church, 1949), 5.

Additional Source

Article on Lysius Gough in the Handbook of Texas Online:
https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgo20

Monday, December 23, 2019

Reuben Harrison (R. H. or "Rube") Norton (1860-1944)

This brief biography is part of a project designed to acquaint myself with the people who founded Hereford College and Industrial School in Hereford, Texas, in 1902.

Reuben Harrison Norton--who went by R. H. or Rube--was born in Johnson County, Texas, in February 1860. He was married to the former Lou Alice Corbett, who was seven years his junior. The couple made their first home in Stephens County, where she had grown up. In 1891, the Nortons began moving west. Rube was setting out to establish himself in the cattle business. The couple's first stop was Quanah, Texas, where they lived until 1896. Another move took them to Amarillo, where Rube owned and operated a grocery store. In 1898, the Nortons moved to Hereford even before the town was established. There in Deaf Smith County, Rube became a successful stockman. He built a reputation for raising some of the best cattle in Deaf Smith County. At its peak, the Norton Ranch covered more than 5,000 acres.[1] R. H. and Lou Alice Norton were charter members of the Christian Church in Hereford, established in 1899.[2] Having lost his wife in 1915, R. H. was a widower for nearly thirty years. He died at his daughter's home in Amarillo in 1944. The couple lie buried next to one another in West Park Cemetery in Hereford.[3]

Notes

[1] Bessie Patterson, A History of Deaf Smith County (Hereford, TX: Pioneer Publishers, 1964), 55-56.

[2] The Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Christian Church, Hereford, Texas (Hereford, TX: First Christian Church, 1949), 5.

[3] Patterson, A History of Deaf Smith County, 55-56. See the photo of the couple's gravestone at the following URL: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/143191489/reuben-h_-norton#view-photo=117535885

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Samuel Shipman Evants (1846-1921)

S. S. (Samuel Shipman) Evants was born in Pope County, Arkansas, on July 31, 1846. At the U.S. Census of 1900, Evants was nearly 54 years old, had been married to Haskie McElroy Evants for 30 years, and lived in Hereford, Texas. A "stock raiser," he owned property outright in Deaf Smith County.[1] Evants had come to Hereford just a year before, in 1899, having previously lived in Marietta, Indian Territory, and Gainesville, Texas.[2] He was one of nine founders of Hereford College in 1902. Although he is not listed as one of the founding members of the Christian Church in Hereford, his daughter-in-law, a Mrs. W. R. Evants, was part of the Women's Missionary Society affiliated with the church.[3] Later in life, Evants moved further west. He died in 1921 at the age of 74 at his home eight miles west of Casa Grande, Arizona. He lies buried there in the Mountain View Cemetery.[4]

Notes

[1] Brandy Miller, ed.. Dawson, Deaf Smith, Denton and Martin, Texas Census, 1900 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.

[2] Deaf Smith County: The Land and Its People (Hereford, TX: Deaf Smith County Historical Society, 1982), 119.

[3] Ibid., 538.

[4] Find A Grave memorial for "Samuel Shipman Evants."
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/21982074/samuel-shipman-evants

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Growth of Public Education in Deaf Smith County and the Demise of Panhandle Christian College

As early as 1891, 22 citizens of Deaf Smith County, Texas, petitioned for a referendum that might create a new tax. Revenues would support and maintain free public schools.[1] Voters approved the measure with only one no vote. The new ordinance generated a tax of only 0.06% (six cents per $100). But it was a start. Public education began in 1893, when a one-teacher school was established in the Womble community northeast of Hereford.[2]

The years around the turn of the century witnessed some important steps toward greater support for schools in the growing county. In 1898, the year Hereford was established, four leagues of Lamb County land set aside by the state for the benefit of Deaf Smith County public schools were sold for a dollar an acre. The windfall of $17,756 generated the county's permanent school fund. The next year, a local referendum doubled the rate of tax that went to support schools, from 0.06 to 0.12%. In 1902, yet another referendum increased the tax to 0.20%.[3]

Growth in tax revenues for county schools closely matched the growth in student population. In the spring of 1901, the public school in Hereford had 208 students. In 1906, the school in Hereford held its first graduation ceremonies. By 1910, the total number of students had grown to 548. That same year, the town began building a three-story school house toward, which local citizens contributed $2000.[4]

The growth of the public school system in the town of Hereford and in Deaf Smith County was no doubt one reason why Panhandle Christian College, which always taught the primary grades, rapidly declined during its short life.

Notes

[1] Deaf Smith County: The Land and Its People (Hereford, TX: Deaf Smith County Historical Society, 1982), 65.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 65-66.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

First Christian Church and the College at Hereford, Texas

This post relates to my previous entries about Panhandle Christian College (1902-1911) in Hereford, Texas. It helps to explain why this college, affiliated with the Christian Churches in Texas, and the emerging Disciples of Christ denomination, was forced to close its doors so soon after it began.

By 1907, just eight years after it began, the Christian Church in Hereford had outgrown its building at the corner of 3rd and Main Streets. That spring, several members of the congregation made pledges of $500 and $1000--impressive sums at the time--toward the construction of a new house of worship.[1]

The next year, builders broke ground at another prime downtown location, the northwest corner of 6th and Main Streets, just three blocks north of the first building. At that juncture, in 1908, the final cost of the new facility was projected to be $13,770. By then, the church had already arranged the sale of their first building. While they waited for the new one, they met in the auditorium of Panhandle Christian College, less than a mile away.[2]

The completion of the building's exterior in 1909 created mixed feelings. The new structure was the largest, most impressive church in Hereford. In size and beauty, it would be second only to the Deaf Smith County Courthouse, completed in 1910. But the congregation could yet not pay to finish the interior. At Christmastime, members gathered in the barely finished basement. Around that same time, they learned that the projected total cost for their new building had been far too low. The new estimate was $20,000.[3]

For several years, the congregation struggled to pay their current bills while raising the money to complete and furnish their new building. In 1910, the church borrowed $10,500 from the California State Life Insurance Company. Seven years later, they received a $5000 loan from the American Christian Missionary Society, an arm of their Disciples of Christ denomination. Finally, after nearly a decade of struggle, First Christian hosted their "first regular Bible school and church services" in a newly-completed building. It was May of 1917.[4]

In those early years, when the Christian Church at Hereford was struggling to complete its building, Panhandle Christian College just a few blocks away existed on the verge of financial collapse. One reason that the school closed in 1911 was that the same group of people was trying to pay for the largest church facility in Hereford while they supported their local college.

Notes

[1] The Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Christian Church, Hereford, Texas (Hereford, TX: First Christian Church, 1949), 6. According to this source, the original members of the financial committee were L. Gough, W. L. Vaughn, Ed Connell, and T. J. Graves.

[2] Ibid., 7. The splendid building, whose exterior was completed in 1909 with tall Corinthian columns facing both Main and 6th Streets, no longer exists. In 2019, 110 years later, a relatively-simple structure stands at this location: the Parkside Chapel Funeral Home.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Frazer Cemetery and Bitter Creek, SW Oklahoma

On Friday, October 18, I submitted final grades for the first 8-week Fall semester at Amarillo College and headed east to Oklahoma. My mother was in the hospital at Altus. Over the weekend, my dad and I took turns staying with her. She's doing better now and has been discharged from the hospital.

Before leaving Altus on Sunday, going back west toward Amarillo, I stopped by a few places of interest to me.

One of the earliest white settlements in the area was a place called Frazer (alternately spelled Frazier), a forerunner of present-day Altus. A post office was established at Frazer in February 1886. That was ten years before the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the U.S., not Texas, owned the territory south and west of the North Fork of the Red River. So, from the time people began living at Frazer, until the settlement was destroyed by a flood in June 1891, it was always a part of Greer County, Texas. Today, the same region (which comprises Jackson, Greer, and Harmon Counties, and part of Beckham County, Oklahoma) is known as "Old Greer County."  

Residents of Frazer buried their dead in a cemetery that lay perhaps to the north and east of the settlement (and to the west of present-day Altus). I visited the Frazer Cemetery and took a few photos:

According to online sources I found, there are approximately 63 graves in Frazer Cemetery. The cemetery is located west of Altus, on County Road 202, about a half mile south of U.S. Route 62. 
On Sunday afternoon, October 20, the big sky was quite a scene looking to the north and east.
If gravestones like these ones date to 1891, they must have been crafted somewhere else in Texas and brought to Frazer by wagon.



Frazer was located near the confluence of Bitter Creek and the Salt Fork of the Red River. These two streams flow south-southeast towards the Red River, and are located west of Altus. When heavy rains flooded both streams in June 1891, flowing water covered all of the land in and around Frazer. Residents made their way north and east to a place that came to be called Altus, a Latin term that when used as an adjective means "high."

This sign greets travelers on U.S. Route 62 heading east.
Under the bridge, I was surprised to find a good bit of water. The creek was flowing and frogs were jumping. After a minute or two, I smelled a skunk and got out of there. My shoes and jeans were covered with stickers.

Friday, September 20, 2019

From North Carolina to Indian Territory

The train traveling west from Greenville, North Carolina, left the station three hours late. But Meta Chestnutt didn't mind. The only thing that mattered to her was that she was going to Indian Territory and the challenges awaiting her there. The conductor eventually made his way to her row.

"What city, Miss?"

"Silver City, Indian Territory."

"I beg your pardon."

"Silver City," she repeated.

"You must be mistaken. There is no such place."

"Oh, but there is and I am going there."

"I will have to let you off at the next stop and you can talk with the station agent."

After looking at his map, the agent repeated what the conductor had said: there was no Silver City, Indian Territory. The best the agent could do was to send Meta some forty miles further west, to Goldsboro, North Carolina. Perhaps the people in the station office there could help her.

The agent at Goldsboro gave her no more help. He suggested that she take the next train to Richmond, Virginia. By that point, Meta was exasperated. She had letters with her, sent by Annie Erwin and postmarked "Silver City, I.T."  She insisted that there was such a place, and that she had to get there. But her only choice was to go to Richmond. Maybe someone there could help her.[1]

Thanks to the nineteenth-century's transportation revolution, by 1889 the United States had been knit together by an ever-expanding network of railroads. From 1850 to 1870, massive investment in railroad construction created a web of tracks totaling 53,000 miles. The first transcontinental railroad was completed in May 1869. By the end of the 1880s, the decade when construction reached a fever pitch, there were 164,000 miles miles of track in operation.[2]

Still, for all of that, no railroad ever reached Silver City, Indian Territory. Meta Chestnutt knew the place was there. But judging from a map of the nation's railroads, it wasn't. She must have felt anxious as she rode the train 165 miles from Goldsboro, North Carolina, to Richmond, Virginia, following the path of today's Interstate-95. If she was ever going to make it to Silver City, she would need to travel south and west. At this point, she was going north and east!

At Richmond, the agent encountered the same problem, but had the presence of mind to ask, "Do you know of any town that might be near where you want to go?" Looking at the map, the only place Meta could suggest was Oklahoma City. So the agent sold her a ticket to Oklahoma City and suggested that she send word to her friends in Indian Territory to pick her up there. She was starting her trip to the west all over again. This time, she was further away.

It would be difficult to trace the exact route that Chestnutt followed from Virginia to Indian Territory. It appears, however, that she eventually traveled west through Missouri and into Kansas before heading south into I.T.

At some point in Kansas, she had a brief encounter she would remember for the rest of her life. A black man boarded the crowded train and looked for an empty seat. He noticed the spot next to Meta and sat down. Immediately, the white woman from North Carolina, born during the Civil War, the grand-daughter of slave owners, reacted. Not once in her life had she been that close to a black man. In fact, the only time she could remember seeing an African-American beside a white person, it was a servant girl sitting next to her white mistress.

Meta concealed her anxiety and disgust as best she could, but her emotions must have shown. Soon, a white man spoke up and asked the black man sitting next to Miss Chestnutt to move and sit next to him instead. With no apparent surprise or indignation, the black man stood up, walked to the seat next to the white man, and sat down.

Telling this story years later, Meta insisted that the black man who sat next to her that day was someone whose photo sometimes appeared in the newspapers: George Washington Carver. When recalling the episode, she would add, "I would be proud to have him sit beside me today."[3]

The available facts support Meta's story. For example, the train that brought her to Oklahoma City in 1889 ran on the Southern Kansas Railway, a subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, traveling south out of Kansas.[4] As a young man, George Washington Carver left his home in Diamond, Missouri, and moved to Kansas. For several years until 1890, Carver spent much of his time in Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa "seeking an education while supporting himself doing laundry, cooking, and homesteading."[5]

Notes

[1] Eva Heiliger, "Born to Meet Adversity (and Rise Above It)," 31-32. The unpublished book typescript is located in box 1, folders 6 and 7, Meta Chestnutt Sager Collection, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. The spoken words here do not come from a transcript. Instead, they represent what appears to be Heiliger's imaginative recreation of what could have been said--and might likely have been said--at a certain point in Meta Chestnutt's story. Heiliger was Sager's great niece as well as biographer. As the Meta Chestnutt Sager Collection reveals, the two women corresponded with one another for many years.

In one of his books that contains reported dialogue, William F. Buckley Jr. wrote, "The reader is entitled to ask if the material here is factually reliable. Reliable is the perfect word in this context. The book is not strictly factual, in that conversations are reported which cannot be documented as having taken place word for word. Yet it is reliable in that these words might well have been spoken. There are zero distortions here--no thought is engrafted in anyone that alters the subject's character or inclinations, or even habits of speech." William F. Buckley Jr., Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater (Philadelphia: Basic Books, 2008), xi-xii. In the spirit of Buckley's apology I occasionally report dialogue taken from Eva Heiliger's manuscript.

[2] Paul Johnson, A History of the American People (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), 532.

[3] Heiliger, Born to Meet Adversity, 32-34. Chestnutt's emotional reaction in this instance might be compared to a story Melton A. McLaurin tells in his memoir, Separate Pasts: Growing Up White in the Segregated South, 2nd ed. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998), 27-41. McLaurin's chapter titled "Bobo" is named for a black childhood acquaintance of the McLaurin's. The two boys had gone to a store where they used an air compressor to inflate a leaky basketball. Bobo put the air needle in his mouth first. The first attempt at airing up the basketball didn't work. So McLaurin, without thinking, put the needle in his own mouth. Instantly, he recognized what he had done. For a moment, he imagined that Bobo's blackness was somehow already infecting him. Still, he managed to conceal his distress. Part of his assumed white superiority meant that he could not visibly react. Later, though, he went by himself to an outdoor spigot where he repeatedly rinsed out his mouth.

[4] See Augustus J. Veenendaal, Jr., "Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=AT001, and Linda D. Wilson, "Oklahoma City," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=OK025.

[5] Linda O. McMurry, "Carver, George Washington," in American National Biography, ed. John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 4:513.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

R. W. Officer Reports on Stone-Campbell Churches in I.T., 1890

During the second half of 1890, only a year after Meta Chestnutt first arrived in Silver City, R. W. Officer reported on the state of Stone-Campbell churches in Indian Territory. There were, he said, about 2,200 disciples in 54 congregations (an average of approximately 41 members per church). Fourteen of those congregations met in homes. Thirty of the churches met in community school houses. Only ten worshiped in a building owned by the congregation. There were a total of nineteen preachers in I.T. Virtually all of them, "by the work of their own hands," supported themselves and their families.[1]

Officer seems to have had mixed feelings about an entire region made up of congregations whose preachers were bi-vocational. On the positive side, those preachers followed in the footsteps of Paul, the apostolic missionary who worked to support himself. Officer noted that to the church at ancient Thessalonica the Apostle wrote, "Ye ought to follow, [imitate] us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you; . . . "

Still, Officer knew from experience that strong financial support for missionaries and their ministries led to success:
The different religious communities (denominations) sent missionaries to this country with the Indians when they came years ago, sustained them by their missionary societies through their boards, sent men to assist them when the interest demanded, sent teachers, and helped to sustain them. They sent money to aid in building institutions of learning, and had the assistance of the Church extension funds to aid in building church houses.[2]
What might the Stone-Campbell churches in I.T. have been if they had received the same kind of support? What was more, Officer said, when he first came to I.T. ten years earlier, he could not build on the work done by others who had come before him. J. J. Trott had worked among the Cherokees some twenty years before. But after his death, the mission outpost Trott had established "went down," so much so that his own children "took membership with the denominations in their communities."[3]

In the mid-1880s, the Disciples' American Christian Missionary Society had sent Isaac Mode to evangelize the Creek Indians living in and around Wetumpka, I.T. Various hardships, especially Mode's difficulties with the Creek language, "were of such a nature that he did but little, and from some cause resigned."[4]

Besides those failures, Officer had always known a variety of "religious neighbors" in I.T. who collaborated in "a kind of a union of action to spoil our efforts." Sabotage by outsiders was compounded by "men claiming to be Christian preachers who seemed not to care for the cause." The progress that Officer and his colleagues witnessed had not come easily. He and other Stone-Campbell missionaries had overcome difficulties that were, said the Civil War veteran, "hard to imagine."[5]

Notes

[1] R. W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 33 (December 18, 1890), 6. The date of Officer's report is uncertain. The article appears after an editorial preface: "The following document had the misfortune of being delayed in Bro. Officer's hands before it was sent to us, and of being delayed in our hands after reading this office. Publisher."

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid. For a brief account of Mode's failed mission, see Stephen J. England, Oklahoma Christians (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1975), 42.

[5] Ibid.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

R. W. Officer Writes from Minco about Meta Chestnutt

Part of R. W. Officer's report from Indian Territory in the fall of 1890 includes the following, written at Minco, I.T.:

Miss Meta Chestnutt of Nashville, Tenn., formerly from N. C. is teaching. I said once that she was a whole state convention by herself. I am not going to take it back. With brother and sister Erwin to co-operate with her I would not take a national convention for them, with the Y. M. C. A. thrown in, for the work needed in this country.

R. W. Officer, "Indian Territory," Octographic Review 33 (November 20, 1890), 2.

Clearly, Officer mixes his admiration for Miss Chestnutt and her educational mission with his objection to para-church organizations and religious societies, none of which are the church described in the New Testament.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Protestant Dominance in 19th-Century America and Stone-Campbell Churches

During the nineteenth century, Americans could hardly fail to notice that although Protestant Christianity was officially non-established, it was the unofficially-established religion of the United States. Most American Jews and Roman Catholics simply tolerated its dominance.[1] The supremacy of Protestantism showed up at every turn. Buildings that belonged to Baptists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and Methodists could be seen on street corners in virtually every town in America. Members of these and other sizable Protestant groups, like Lutherans and Episcopalians, participated in countless inter-denominational and non-denominational voluntary associations. These included the American Bible Society (established in 1816), the American Sunday School Union (1824), and the Evangelical Alliance (formed in the U.S. in 1867). In addition, a wide variety of educational and journalistic institutions served to reinforce the cultural influence of Protestantism. For example, from the 1636 founding of Harvard, America's first college, until the late nineteenth century Protestant higher education was nearly synonymous with American higher education. Even state universities operated much like Protestant schools. Finally, extended networks of business owners, ministers, educators, government officials, and benefactors created a sort of Protestant fabric that covered the entire country.[2]

Nineteenth-century Christian Churches and Churches of Christ--congregations affiliated with of the Stone-Campbell Movement--were part of that tapestry. It is true that some of these churches were prone to a sectarian spirit, and that the strict independence of all those churches created a situation in which congregations were so autonomous the movement was nearly anonymous. Yet they still made up a part of American Protestantism.

Notes

[1] William R. Hutchison, Religious Pluralism in America: The Contentious History of a Founding Ideal (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), 59-60.

[2] Ibid., 61. See also W. C. Ringenberg, “Higher Education, Protestant,” in Dictionary of Christianity in America, ed. Daniel G. Reid (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1990), 530-32.