Methodist Church, Elkhart
For an account of the present activities in the Methodist Church of Elkhart, the writer is indebted to Mrs. Arrilla Mitchell and Mr. L. O. Weston. As to its activities thirty-five years ago, they are no less clear to her mind than those of her own church. It was the day when all denominations worshipped together. One Sunday we were all Methodists, the next the Baptists took charge. The only difference one could see was in the place we worshipped. For the Baptists had their own house where it stands today and the M. E. Church, a one room frame structure, stood (as she remembers) on the spot the parsonage occupies today. Prominent amongst the Methodist workers were the Horn family. Mr. Steve Horn, then postmaster, and his good wife were always in their places at every service, while the daughters, Misses Christine and Una, were leaders in the choir for all services, Methodist or Baptist. Miss Christine was organist. The Wahlers were active in every phase of the church work. Brother Wahlers was, beyond doubt, steward, church treasurer, Sunday School Superintendent, even preacher, if an emergency arose. Miss Bertha was always in the Methodist choir as she was in the Baptist, as were the pastor’s young people, Misses Margaret and Mattie and their brother, Jim Houston; and the Wahlers brothers were to be found in their places as well. Mrs. Wahlers while most self-effacing was the kind who always got the children off to Sunday School, rain or shine. Others active in the church were: Misses Nora Driscoll and Pheriba and Anne Stubblefield, while Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Bridges and Mr. and Mrs. John E. Reagan and family were as regular in attendance as the preacher.
Brother Houston, father of our Mr. Jim Houston, was pastor. The writer well recalls the first sermon she heard him preach. She was thrilled by eloquence worthy a great city church. She glanced about at the humble building, then at the small congregation, and she thought: How fortunate Elkhart is to be supplied with a preacher of his ability! Later a young preacher, Brother Fuller, came to her own church who was similar in talents to Brother Houston. How much the Elkhart of today owes her early gifted, consecrated preachers, who can estimate?
Other preachers to follow were: Brothers Gibbon, Huddleston, Smith, McCrary, Weatherby, Conner, “White. Brother Conner preached for Elkhart when twenty-one years of age, and was sent back in 1933.
The church today has a modern brick church of which Brother J. L. “Webb is pastor. Its efficient working organization consists of: Stewards, D. S. Lively, Chairman; W. H. Lassiter, W. H. Langham, Miss Fay Lewis, H. G. Lewis, W. C. Wahlers, Recording Steward; L. O. Weston, Walter P. Gibbs, Roy G. Wherry and Mrs. Roy G. Wherry Harvey P. Cox, A. Hanks, C. B. Lester, J. D. Houston; H. L. Mathews, Sunday School superintendent; Miss Glennell Cox, Secretary; L. O. Weston, Treasurer. Mrs. H. G. Lewis, Pianist; Mrs. A. Hanks, President Woman’s Missionary Society. Mmes. W. H. Langham, W. D. Young and Harry Lassiter, and Misses Knott and Lassiter are prominent teachers in the Sunday School.
A Centennial History of Anderson County, Texas, 1936 by Pauline Buck Hohes.
First United Methodist Church of Elkhart. The First Methodist service held in this area was in 1840, when a group of citizens formed a small congregation that met in private homes. In 1878 a Methodist mission was established in Elkhart. The Rev. J. F. Henderson, a circuit riding minister, was in charge of this as well as seven other missions in his district. In its first fifteen years, the church was served by nine different clergymen. By November 1892, the congregation had grown such that plans were made to build a sanctuary. A white frame structure was erected, with a high steeple and bell tower on one corner. A Sunday School program began, and in 1907 the church created a youth ministry which continued over the years to form the Methodist Youth Fellowship. A missionary society was formed in 1915 by the women of the church. In late 1930, under the leadership of the Rev. J. L. Webb, a new church building program was begun. A one-story structure was completed in 1933, and a second story was added in 1939. A brick parsonage was built near the church in the 1950s, and by 1971 the need for a new sanctuary had arisen. The addition was made onto the northeast side of the old church, and was consecrated on September 14, 1974. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 – 1986. – Historical Marker Text. Located at the corner of Parker & Church St., Elkhart.