Stephen F. Austin State University

History of the Methodist Church at Wallisville (July 2013)

History of the Methodist Church at Wallisville (July 2013)

History of the Methodist Church at Wallisville
- By Kevin Ladd

Dating back at least to 1840, there was an active Methodist Church in Wallisville. At that time, Wallisville was on a circuit with Liberty, Dayton, Devers and Hardin. Beginning about 1860, Wallisville and Liberty comprised the charge. For a three year period, from 1875 to 1877, the charge name was given to Wallisville. Among the early pastors were J.T. Hooks, S.D. Horger, B.C. Rausch, T. W. Ryals, H.A. Abney, P.S. Wilson, J.W. Cummings, L.P. Davis, E.T. Bridges, J.F. Wallace, J.W. Cullen, W.H. Dean, J.J. Rape, H.L. Hare, D.S. Burke, D.W. Townes and L.H. Humphries. During this period, services were held in the one-room 1869 school building in Wallisville. A parsonage was built in 1884. A Ladies Aid Society was organized in 1890 for the purpose of "mutual friendship and improvement, Christian love and work." The women soon thereafter set out to raise funds sufficient to build a church. This was accomplished through entertainments, festivals, dues and subscriptions. By 1895, the women had collected $1,000, and construction of the church was begun. The lovely church was dedicated on Sunday evening, September 15, 1895. Not content to rest on their laurels, the women raised more funds and built a new parsonage in 1903. Although the church building survived the 1915 hurricane with only minor damage, the structure was demolished by a cyclone in 1919, and the parsonage was later sold.

Brother J. F. Wallace was the last pastor in this particular line to serve the Wallisville church as an organized congregation. After the church building was destroyed, services were held again in the 1869 Wallisville School building which served the congregation for several decades. Although the Wallisville church was not officially organized as a pastoral charge for many years, pastors from the Anahuac Methodist Church held occasional services in the community. In the fall of 1924, Rev. Hal T. Cunningham, Jr. formally reorganized the church.

On October 24, 1954, the present sanctuary was consecrated to the glory of God and the service of men and in memory of Archie D. and Effie Mayes Middleton by Mr. and Mrs. R. Mayes Middleton and sons, David Mayes Middleton and John Gregg Middleton. Bishop A. Frank Smith presided at the dedication services and was assisted by W.E. Hassler, Grady Earls, Chester Steele and Dr. Monroe Vivian. At that service, the church was reestablished in Wallisville and was given life as a charge within the Texas Methodist Conference. This was the rebirth of this church in that it once again became an active member of the Wallisville community. Since 1954, there has been a regular minister to serve this church. The church was extensively renovated in 2004 and was rededicated to the memory of Triphene S. Middleton, who passed away earlier that year. Rev. Kelly Krone is now pastor. John G. Middleton, the longtime lay leader for the church, died on May 14, 2013 at the age of 71.

The church has survived hurricanes and storms, good times and bad, and it exists today as testimony to both the faith and endurance of the people of Wallisville.