Archive for February, 2009


Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church was the third church organized near Langford Cove/Evant. Rev. Noah Turner Byars organized this church on 12 April, 1877, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Washington Griggs  who lived in Hamilton County about six miles northeast of the present town of Evant. In addition to Bro. Noah Turner Byars and Mr. and Mrs. Griggs, other adults present were Mr. and Mrs. Dave W. White and Mr. and Mrs. Donahue.  In 1848 Byars was the first missionary appointed by the Texas Baptist Convention.

The Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church participated in the organization of the Hamilton County Baptist Association on 4 July, 1877, at the Cottonwood Springs SchoolNoah Turner Byars was an itinerant preacher who traveled from one settlement to another holding “protracted meetings” and organizing churches. As the congregation outgrew the Griggs’ log cabin home and a brush arbor, and then a church building were erected about three or four miles west of the Griggs’ home. The first pastor was likely Presley O’Keefe, who also taught school in Langford Cove.

In 1885 Sweet Home Baptist Church built the first church building in the town of Evant. Being paid for by subscription, the church was dedicated by Dr. R. C. Buckner on the second Sunday in May, 1892. Since services were held only once a month, the Baptist congregation shared their building with the Methodist congregation.

In 1913 the name of Sweet Home Baptist Church was changed to Evant Baptist Church.

llen Boone DeHart pastored this church from September 20, 1931, through August, 1935. Some of those who became members during his ministry were: Mrs. Josh Massingill, Mr. Charlie Massingill, Mrs. Monroe Smith, Miss Vollie Perkins, Mr. William McDonald, Miss Bernice Kinsey, Miss Jessie Massingill, Mildred DeHart, Doris Jean Sawyer, Iona Frasure, Van Dean Winters, Charles Curtis Longmire, Lawrence Lane, Mr. Putman Sawyer, Robert Norman Hamilton, Troy Massingill, Mrs. Mary Penson, Miss Fay Massingill, Mr. Charlie Huell, Mr. Happy Stewart, Mrs. Joe Griffis, and Mrs. John Henry.

P. W. Springfield was the first full-time pastor in 1943. His salary was ninety dollars a month plus rent and utilities. During his ministry an educational annex and baptistry were added. A second annex was added in 1948.

fbc_1In 1955 a new brick building was built with 7760 square feet. The first service in the new sanctuary which seated 300, was held on 2 October, 1955, when Billy Butts was pastor.


Early pastors of Sweet Home Baptist Church were:

  • Presley O’Keefe–1878-1879
  • D. I. Haralson–1881-1886, 1886
  • D. W. White–1887, 1890–1897
  • G. W. Herrington–1888
  • J. C. Combs–1889
  • W. N. White, 1898
  • Pinkney Hawkins, 1899

Early church clerks were:

  • W. B. Wright–1881
  • J. W. Brooks–1882–1883
  • S. C. Smith–1884, 1886
  • S. E. Smith–1885
  • J. R. Carter–1887–1891
  • P. H. Young, 1892–1894
  • James White, 1895
  • J. R. White, 1896–1897
  • R. S. Griggs, 1898
  • A. T. Stamp, 1899

Early messengers to the association were:

  • 1878–D. W. White, J. W. Howard, and W. N. White
  • 1879–D. W. White, J. W. Howard, and J. P. Murphree
  • 1881–D. W. White, and J. P. Murphy; Elder D. W. White and W. B. Wright
  • 1883–W. B. Wright and D. E. Eliott
  • 1884–D. W. White, W. B. Wright, and George Griggs
  • 1885–D. N. White and W. B. Wright
  • 1886–D. W. White
  • 1887–Elder D. W. White, A. J. Culpepper, and J. W. Maness
  • 1888 and 1889–D. W. White
  • 1890– D. W. White, S. E. Smith, A. J. Culpepper
  • 1891–D. W. White, T. W. Kirkland, J. R. Carter
  • 1892–D. W. White, P. H. Young
  • 1893–D. W. White, W. N. White, P. H. Young, J. R. White
  • 1895–D. W. White, W. N. White, Dr. R. L. Howell, P. H. Young
  • 1896–D. W. White, W. N. White, J. T. White, P. H. Young
  • 1897–Rev.’s D. W. White, W. N. White, W. M. Howell, Brethren G. H. Singleton, P. H. Howell
  • 1898–Rev. W. N. White, Brethren P. H. Young, J. A. Sheffield, R. S. Griggs, G. H. Singleton
  • 1899–A. T. Stamp, P. H. Young, E. B. White, and Rev. W. N. White.

More About Evant:

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About 1924/1925 With Nurses/Student Nurses on the Balconies. From a Postcard shared by Burt and Charlene (Livingston) Rose.

The first hospital in Hamilton was opened in 1921 in the East Main Street former home of Dr. C. C. McMordie by Dr. C. E. Chandler and Dr. D. B. Beach after they moved their medical practice from Shive.  Drs. Beach and Chandler were soon joined by Dr. C. C. Cleveland, who had been practicing at Pottsville.  The three young doctors decided to build a 4-story hospital across the street of Dr. McMordie’s home.  The new 50-bed hospital opened in 1924.  (I was born in this hospital.-ECW.]  The three lower floors were constructed with brick, and the fourth floor (dormitory for nurses) was of frame construction.  Internal ramps, as well as stairs, connected the floors.  An accredited school of nursing provided training for many young ladies.

Following the death of Dr. Beach in 1936 and Dr. Chandler in 1940, the hospital was closed for a few years.  The building was used as a barracks during World War II for student pilots who were training at the Hamilton Airfield.  Following World War II the building was again used as a hospital for a few years.

A group of Hamilton citizens met 23 January, 1957, to formulate plans to construct a new hospital.  A stock company was formed with a capitol stock of $150,000.  Officials of the stock company were: George B. Golightly, Chairman; W. P. Lawson, Vice President; and W. G. Barkley, Secretary-Treasurer.    Dr. C. C. Cleveland, C. M. Hatch, Haskell Harelik, Floyd Campbell, and W. O. Manning were also on the Board of Directors.  Haskell Harelik had  purchased the East Ward School Campus following the closure of that school and the opening of Ann Whitney Elementary School in 1949.  This property was chosen to be the location of the new hospital.  Mr. Harelik accepted stock in the Hospital Stock Company equivalent to his cost in purchasing the property from Hamilton ISD.  Hamilton General Hospital opened 31 August, 1958.

In July, 1966, Medicare was available to the residents of Hamilton County. Congressman Omar Burleson estimated that 1,700 Hamilton County residents who were 65 or older were eligible for Medicare. Medicare was part of Lyndon Baines Johnsons’s “The Great Society” The first person to be admitted to the Hamilton County General Hospital as a Medicare patient was eighty-one-year-old Mrs. Charlie Etta (Riley) Henderson, daughter of Lorenzo D. Riley and Nancy Perkins Riley.


In 1987 Hamilton General Hospital was closed by Harris Methodist Affiliated Hospital System.  Residents of Hamilton and Hamilton County raised in excess of $320,000 to re-open the hospital in September, 1988.


New Hamilton General Hospital.

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Water tower by the Kwianis Park.

Water tower by the Kwianis Park.

I know the sky has a red tint to it but  it does looks like a sandstorm is blowing in. Actually it was a nice day. I’ve been having trouble with the network today so this is going to be a short post.

Check out The Sky Watch Blog.

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Dry Fork  School
Dry Fork School

Dry Fork Community was about a mile northeast  of Olin Baptist Church between Turkey Branch and Dry Fork Creek.   Dry Fork of Honey Creek was a small branch of Honey Creek northeast of Olin.  Dry Fork Creek begins east of Olin and is parallel to US281 until it reaches Honey Creek north of CR 207.  It is near what is now County Road 239 and between CR206 and CR207. It is about thirteen miles north of Hamilton.

Dry Fork was one of the earliest schools in Hamilton County being organized in 1880 by the people of the community who built a log building to house the school and donated money to employ a teacher. Dry Fork was northeast of Olin on the Dry Fork of Honey Creek. near what is now County Road 239 and between CR206 and CR207.. It is about thirteen miles north of Hamilton.

Citizens of the Dry Fork School Community have included: Garland and Minnie Ables, Murrell and Daphna Ables, T. J. and Minnie Box, Elmer and Myrtle Bullard, D. C. and Alice Bullard, James P. Columbus, Lewis and Sarah Columbus, Jesse J. and Mattie Douglas, Giles and Emma Driver, Henry Giles and Mary Driver, B. W. Greer, M. R. Hedgpeth, Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Hicks, G. W. and Ila Hicks, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Johns, John and Susan Latham, Ed and Maybell Lively, O. D. and Emma Montgomery, W. E. and Virgie Needham, Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Seago, John and Mattie A. Smith, W. C. and Vienna Stark, Reuben Anthony and Sophia Jean Bullard Trantham, Robert Erwin and Rosa Ann Gallagher Gordon, Sr., and M. A. Vann. Jim Columbus, with his parents, came to the Dry Fork Community in 1880.

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Today’s My World Tuesday features photos from Hamilton most taken prior to 1950.

Rice Street, West side of Courthouse Square, Hamilton

Rice Street, West side of Courthouse Square, Hamilton. The picture is from a postcard supplied by H. L. Griffith, Griffith is a descendant of Jesse Jones Griffith, First Treasurer of Hamilton County, TX.

Southside of Hamilton Square prior to 1930.

South side of Hamilton Square prior to 1930. The Wm. Connolly & Co. Groceries & Dry Goods store can be seen on the left. Notice that the street has both cars and horse drawn wagons. Contributed by H.L. Griffith.

Hope you enjoyed this little jaunt back in time.

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