Baptists and the American Civil War: December 19, 1865

Texas Civil War MapToday in Texas — the lone Confederate state whose governor, Sam Houston, had resisted secession — a new Baptist congregation is birthed.

The new church is the Mount Calvary Baptist Church, later known as the First Baptist Church of Richardson. The congregation is established before that of First Baptist Dallas.

Church records note that members this day declared:

“We pledge ourselves to labor for God’s Glory, to love and kindly treat each other; to be governed by the word of God alone in our faith and practice as best we understand its holy teachings in all our transactions as a church”

Joseph Jennings Butler serves as the church’s first pastor. The congregation grows to 95 members within three years, moving their meeting place to Richardson in 1885.

The church exists as a thriving congregation to the present day.

Sam Houston, a Baptist, did not live to see the end of the war or Baptist growth afterward. Forced out of office in March 1861 for his anti-secession stance, he died in 1863, a poor man. One of Texas’ largest cities, however, bears his name.

Sources: “History,” First Baptist Church Richardson (link); Lanabird, “First Baptist Church Richardson Will Be 150 Years Old” (link);