Part 8, Note 72

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Records of St. John's Episcopal Church, Columbus, Register Number 1, 1874-1892, p. 7; Colorado Citizen, October 19, 1871, November 16, 1871, February 22, 1872, February 29, 1872, August 3, 1876, November 9, 1876, February 24, 1881; Colorado County Bond & Mortgage Records, Book I, p. 56; Colorado County Deed Records, Book O, p. 384, Book S, p. 287, Book T, p. 15. The Colorado Citizen of February 27, 1873 (which is the only known surviving copy from that year) reported that there were services conducted by Urbane C. Spencer in the Methodist Church on both the morning and the evening of the second, third, and fourth Sundays of each month. On June 25, 1874, the Citizen reported that "Rev. Mr. Archer officiates in the Methodist Church at this place." Beginning on October 15, 1874, the Citizen began running a regular column listing religious services in town. Naturally, only white services were considered. The first column notes that, besides two Sunday schools, (the Methodist Sunday School and the Columbus Union Sabbath School), there were regular services only in the Episcopal church. On November 26, 1874, the newspaper noted, "Two of our Churches have regular service, though the attendance upon it is somewhat meagre, one of them is occupied only on occasions." The regular column noted a once-a-month Lutheran service from February 25, 1875 through April 6, 1876, and weekly Baptist services from March 2, 1876 through November 9, 1876. At no time in the years between 1874 and 1876 were Methodist services (other than the Sunday school) noted, though the official church history reports that the church had pastors named A. L. P. Green from 1872 through 1876 and F. A. McShan from 1876 through 1878 (it does not mention Spencer). Green had certainly left by March 1876, when he opened a hotel in Schulenburg. The records of the church itself are little help. The earliest recorded event at the church (again except for Sunday school classes) is a wedding performed on December 21, 1895. The oldest record book also contains a membership list, which begins with an alphabetical listing of the 192 members of the church at the time the book was started. For some of these members, the date they joined the church is recorded. Of the dates which are recorded, none is before 1890. However, for most of the 192 persons, the date they joined the church is not recorded, suggesting that they had been members for some time. The Columbus Baptist church records are even less useful. The earliest record discovered in a thorough search of the church office with thirteen-year employee Fay Elliott were the minutes of the church council from 1964 (see Katherine Evans Wooten, A History of First Methodist Church Columbus, Texas 1822-1957 (n. p., 1957), p. 16; Colorado Citizen, March 16, 1876; Records of First United Methodist Church, Columbus, Texas; Records of First Baptist Church, Columbus, Texas).
    More evidence of the limited religious activity in the county is provided by the admittedly inadequate 1870 census. The census takers counted only three congregations (two Lutheran and one Catholic) and two churches (one Lutheran and one Catholic) in the county. Though there were surely more congregations and church buildings in existence at the time, this low count cannot be taken as an indication that there were several flourishing denominations present (see Eighth Census of the United States (1870) Schedule 5, Colorado County, Texas).