Forreston Presbyterian Church History

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Brief History of
Forreston Presbyterian Church, U. S. A.


(Copied by A. L. Feltenberger, June 5, 1963, from a booklet published in 1922, now in possession of Mrs. W. H. Lumpkins. - Recorded in Vol. XVII, pp. 168-173 of Ellis County History, compiled by Mrs. Feltenberger and Members of DAR)

The Forreston Presbyterian Church had its origin April 26th 1865, along (with) Italy, and Avalon churches. These three grew out of the Chambers Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The first minutes of the said church recorded the following:

Minutes of Session of the C. P. Church at Chambers Creek, Ellis Co., Texas. Organized April the 26th 1865. We the embers of the C. P. Church whose names are written below, for the purpose of worshiping God and for mutual strength and comfort, and for bringing up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, and the spreading of the Gospel, do associate ourselves together that we may carry out said object, Covenant with our God and each other to serve Him in proportion to the ability given us, devoting such part of our time to His service as we think the Bible directs. Keeping up as far as possible the public worship and ordinances of the House of God, and giving such part of our income for the support of the Gospel and institutions of the church as we in conscience believe to be right and our duty according to the Holy Scriptures, and that we may more effectually carry out said object in obedience to an order of the Red Oak Presbytery relative to the organization of a church of that part of the members of Waxahachie Church living in the communities of Onion Creek, and Chambers Creek and any others in said communities.


Appleton Lane Matilda A. Henderson

Mary A. Cobb Eliza Cobb

Susan Forrest Amanda J. Henderson

Elanor Cobb Mary Moore

Elizabeth Couch Amelia Young

Desirie Malone Elizabeth Young

Matilda P. Lane Samuel Frion

Georgia Ann Couch John Moore

Louisa Lily Lucy J. Henderson

Jefferson M. Cobb Daniel B. Henderson

Rev. R. M. White organized the Church and became its pastor and served until October 1858. He was followed by Rev. N. Givens, Rev. R. B. Groves, Rev. A. J. Haynes, and Rev. L. C. Collier. The latter became pastor in August 1881, the church having a membership of about seventy. Brother Collier continued to pastor until December 12th 1886, when the Chambers Creek Church was dissolved. The Church had grown until the membership had reached near 240.

Immediately following the dissolution of the Onion Creek C. P. Church was organized and in April 1887, was received under the care of Red Oak Presbytery, then in session at Waxahachie.

Rev. L. C. Collier became supply for the Church and preached until the fall of 1867, when Rev. S. E. Kennon became pastor. Services were held for some time in Prairie Home School House, on Onion Creek. Through the courtesy of the Glennwood Methodist church we were allowed to worship in this house one Sabbath in each month. This continued until 1895.

At a called meeting of the session held at Forreston Texas a committee was named to raise funds for a house of worship and on the Second Sabbath in May, 1896, the house was dedicated and the name of the Congregation became Forreston Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The church continued under this name until the union of the C. P. Church and the U.S.A. Presbyterian Church was consummated at which time the church in Forreston by a unanimous vote became the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

The following ministers have served as pastors: Rev. L. C Collier, Rev. S. E. Kennon, Rev. J. H. White, Rev. W. W. Alverson, Rev. N. P. Petterson, Rev. C Kilbourn, Rev. W. B. Logan, Rev. A. T. Whitefield, Rev. W. C. Helt. Or pastor at this time has been with us almost six years.

Former Elders were:

W. C. Nerren C. P. Reed

J. C. Calvert W. S. Parks

J. M. Grigsby J. L. Meharg

K. M. Godfrey J. E. Ferguson

J. E. Smith Nestor B. Newton

Former Deacons were:

N. C. Pharriss E. L. Meharg

S. H. Hamilton G. W. Capps

Ruling Elders at present are as follows:

J. W. Lumpkins W. R. Pinkston

D. E. Calvert J. B. Stuart

B. F. Dorsey K. S. Johnston

V. E. Atkins J. M. Lumpkins

Deacons at present::

R. H. Atkins C. A. Hilderbrand

J. E. Cooper

The following are our Trustees:

E. S. Johnston J. B. Stuart

J. E. Cooper

Special Day Committees:

Mrs. Oscar Atkins Mrs. Robert Cherry

Mrs. V. E. Atkins Mrs. R. E. Hampton

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


R. H. Atkins, Mrs. R. H. Atkins, Mrs. L. L. Atkins, Edith Atkins, Ruth Atkins, V. E. Atkins, Mrs. V. E. Atkins, C. D. Atkins, Oscar Atkins, Mrs. Oscar Atkins, Mrs. C. S. Ball, Miss Mary Hulet Ball, Mrs. W. L.Burton, D. E. Calvert, Miss Ina May Calvert, Morris Calvert, Ruth Carter, Mrs. Ada Cherry, Mrs. Ole Cox, P. G. Cox, J. E. Cooper, Mrs. J. E. Cooper, Mrs. Ilga Carroll, Mrs. A. M. Dorsey, B. F. Dorsey, Mrs. B. F. Dorsey, Esta Dorsey, J. S. Dorsey, J. M. Dugger, Mrs. J. M. Dugger, J. H. Godfrey, Mrs. J. H. Godfrey, Lewis Godfrey, Mrs. J. B. Higgins, Mrs. Mary Hampton, Robert L. Hamlin, Mrs. Robert L. Hamlin, Miss Elsie Belle Hamlin, Sadie Hamlin, Euna May Hamlin Eubanks, O. A. Hilderbrand, Mrs. O. A. Hilderbrand, Mary Hilderbrand, Mrs. Maurine Hilderbrand Smith, Carl Hilderbrand, A. S. Johnston, Mrs. A. S. Johnston, E. S. Johnston, Mrs. K. S. Johnston, C. N. Johnston, Isabelle Johnston, Lois Johnston, Leon Johnston, J. W. Lumpkins, Mrs. J. W. Lumpkins, J. M. Lumpkins, R. E. Lumpkins, W. H. Lumpkins, Mrs. W. H. Lumpkins, S. P. Leatherman, Miss Lissie Leatherman, A. Mull, Miss Nora Mull, Miss Della Mull, Miss Minnie Mull, Alvah Mull, G. W. Martin, Mrs. Edgar Martin, J. F. Owens, Mrs. J. F. Owens, W. R. Pinkston, Mrs. W. R. Pinkston, Miss Pauline Pinkston, Edward Pinkston, Mrs. Freda Pinkston, Raimond Pinkston, Hays Pinkston, Mrs. J. H. Pinkston, H. M. Parker, Mrs. H. M. Parker, Margeret Parker, Mrs. Effie Padgett, Mrs. Kate Roebuck, J. H. Reed, Juanita Reed, J. E. Rogers, Mrs. J. E. Rogers, J. B. Stuart, Mrs. J. B. Stuart, Miss Mollie V. Smith, E. C. Strange (non-Res), Mrs. E. C. Strange (non-Res.), Mrs. Rose Taylor, Mary Taylor, Owen Taylor, Mrs. Marie Tapp, J. W. Ward, J. H. Ward, E. D. Ward, E. C. Wann, Mrs. Ada Wann, Miss Noble Wann, Morris T. Wilson, Mrs. Morris T. Wilson, Jeff Wilson.


The question of Mission work has been carried forward by the ladies, and in order to quicken the interest and broaden the view of the work they organized the Women's Missionary Society.

This society was formed May the 4th 1919 , with a charter membership of 15. Interest among our ladies has grown and from time to time new members have been added until we now have twenty-eight earnest workers. The regular plan of mission study as outlined by the Home and Foreign booklets have been followed out.

In connection with this we have a Mission Study Class in which we do special work. Among the books that have had special study are these: "The Near East Crossroads of the World," "Christian Americanization," "A Crusade of Compassion for the Healing of the Nations," "The Church and the Community," "The Unfinished Business of the Presbyterian Church."

One of the outstanding results of our Society is the regular contributions to mission work. The quota as outlined by the Board has some times seemed like a Mountain, but by much prayer and heroic work coupled with self denial the goal has always been reached. Our Society is indeed glad to hold a life membership certificate. This certificate was given as a result of a special gift to the Woman's Board of Missions, and as aa token of esteem and honor from the local society the membership was given to Mrs. J. W. Lumpkins.

Charter Members are as follows:

Mrs. V. E. Atkins, Mrs. C. S. Ball, Mrs. P. G. Cox, Miss Hulette Ball, Mrs. J. H. Godfrey, Mrs. A. S. Johnston, Mrs. Keith Johnston, Mrs. J. W. Lumpkins, Mrs. W. H. Lumpkins, Mrs. N. B. Newton, Mrs. J. F. Owen, Mrs. W. R. Pinkston, Mrs. H. M. Parker, Mrs. E. C. Strange, Mrs. J. B. Stuart.

Since the organization the following ladies have united with us:

Mrs. Oscar Atkins, Mrs. Tom Bilbrey, Mrs. R. H. Atkins, Mrs. Robert Cherry, Mrs. B. F. Dorsey, Mrs. O. A. Hilderbrand, Mrs. Rush Lumpkins, Mrs. Robert Hamlin, Mrs. E. O. Martin, Miss Nora Null, Mrs. H. D. Miller, Mrs. E. Rogers, Mrs. John Taylor.

[The following appears to have been taken from the same source and is believed to be another part of the same article. However, there appears to be a large gap in the middle. This file was corrupt, with a lot of added on to the end that did not belong. I remember another file that was so corrupt that nothing could be saved. That may have been the middle section. -- Rob Yoder]




It was a real demonstration of the productivity of the virgin Texas soil.

shame, a scandal, and the talk of the whole community.

Another charge that Mr. Pullback made against the former teacher was that he did not open the school until the sun was an hour high and always dismissed the school at four o'clock. He said that the next teacher must cut out "courtin'" and put in full time teaching,

After Mary, his daughter, had come to the field for the potatoes, the conversation drifted to the neglected condition of the one-room school house where cattle habitually congregated for shelter from the July sun; and where the long horns from without, and the yearlings from within the building, had broken out many of the window lights.

The infestation of flies and mosquitoes was probably one hundred per cent about this school, but the microscope had not come into general use forty years ago, and the words bacteria and protozoa had not been added to our vocabulary at that time. Many of the doctors denied the "bug" theory of disease.

These pests were formerly dreaded because of their bites, and not on account of their disease-carrying traits.

One hour's conversation with Mr. Pullback had changed the "spirit of my dream" and brought me again to the realization of the fact that: "Life is not all one grant sweet song."

After declining an invitation to stay for dinner, I mounted my faithful steed and started for home, a sadder and wiser applicant for a school.




There were no improved roads leading to this community at that time and the school was practically inaccessible during the rainy seasons. In fact, the Smoky Hollow School was a very uninviting field for an inexperienced teacher. However I was elected and the school was opened for a six months session about the first of October, with all classes from the first to eighth grade represented.

The organization and classification was on of the most difficult problems of a life time. The furniture consisted of long benches made without adjustments to pupils from seven to twenty years of age. Twelve inch boards were attached to the long benches by means of strap hinges. During the writing periods the boards were raised on the hinges and a prop-stick extending from the floor was used to hold the board in position for writing.

The equipment consisted of a very limited supply of blackboard which was constructed of three pieces of one by twelve framed and painted black. When the school opened on that October morning, the children, their dogs, and about half of the patrons were present. The children brought in every variety of readers, spellers, and arithmetic; a dinner bucket filled with large biscuits, smokehouse cured ham, and a wide-mouthed quinine bottle filled with home-made molasses, and a bottle of milk.

Figuratively speaking, I had my first real spell of headache, earache, and toothache when we began the classification. The patrons were sold on the "Three R" course of study, and protested vigorously the organization of classes in grammar, geography, and physiology. They wanted all of the time given to reading, writing, arithmetic, and spelling. Moreover, they claimed that the exhibits of skeletons, vital organs, etc., as seen on the pages of the texts on physiology were shameful and not suitable for mixed classes. So after limiting the content of our course of study to writing, reading, arithmetic, spelling and English grammar, I found that I had thirty-five classes.

That was not as bad as you might think for the teacher heard a class or two before school hours and one after school. Then, too, it was common for the teacher to hear three classes at a time – two arithmetic classes at the board, while a spelling or reading class was in progress.

When the noon hour finally came, the procedure and technique were not materially different from what I had been used to in my school days. The children and the dogs belonging to the family gathered around the dinner bucket. Each child took on of those large biscuits, bored a hold in the middle of the top crust with his forefinger, and filled the hold with home-made molasses from the aforementioned quinine bottle. (Quinine content from these bottles was used in treatment for chills.)

The dog rendered good service in the settlement of Texas as a faithful protection of domestic animals against thieves, and predatory animals. Then, too, he was useful in catching wild life for food. The faithful dog was usually provided for at home and at school.

It was a very eventful day, to say the least of it. During the course of the day one boy pushed another off the end of the long bench into the aisle. Anther boy "gypped" his friend's half plug of tobacco and would not return it. Sometimes fights took place immediately after school.

In going a mile and a half to my boarding place, I was forced to go through a large pasture in which a hundred four and five year old steers were kept, or go a long way around. I was warned that these steers were equipped with long horns of the old type and were really dangerous. However, I had had quite a bit to do with cattle and didn't fear them at first.

About the second week of school as I was making my way through the pasture one morning, I saw several of these long-horned bovines, bowing their necks, and starting slowly but surely for me. I never knew until that day how fast I could run, or how quickly I could scale a stave and ridered fence. Sometimes the long way around is better than the short way through.

At the close of this, my first year, I resigned to accept the job of principal of my home-town schools (the school had no superintendent at that time.)





Neither relatives nor friends attracted us to Arlington in 1908, for we had no such connections here.

I had passed through the town on the T. & P. Railroad many times on my way to and from my home in Ferris, Texas. On these trips from Hamilton and Vernon to Ferris, I became favorably impressed with the physiography and topography of the location. Here in the feather edge of the Cross Timbers, fourteen miles from Fort Worth and twenty miles from Dallas, set among majestic oak trees with the nucleus of the town that was to be – Arlington. To the south and east lie the rich black lands suitable for all standard Texas crops. The Trinity slope to the North is made up of the sandy loam adaptable to another variety of crops. Then, too, the Carlisle Military Academy was located here. The Northern Texas Traction Company offered hourly service between Dallas, Fort Worth, and intermediate points.

Moreover, we found a hospitable, industrious, and homogeneous citizenship which was able to make its contribution in the utilization of the natural resources of the Great Arlington Country.

In 1908 there were no hard surfaced streets and few of the roads in this trade territory were graded.

Seventy-five feet of concrete side-walk in front of the Walter B. Taylor residence on North Center Street was the sum total of the sidewalks in Arlington thirty-three years ago.

This situation made some of the roads impassable in the rainy season for all vehicles.

The community had two automobiles of the oldest model type owned by Doctors Davis and Cravens in 1908, and according to information given by Mr. J. M. Houston, 2600 licenses for automobiles and trucks have been sold during the first four months of 1941.

I must desist lest I become too meticulous in this introduction.

A few days after arriving in Arlington, Mr. Frank McKnight, President of the Board of Education, called a meeting of the board for a conference. The board at this time was composed as follows: Frank McKnight, President; J. I. Carter, Secretary; Webb Ditto, Assessor-Collector; D. C. Sibley, C. A. Hargertt (C. B. Berry was appointed to take the place when Hargett resigned), A. H. Smith, F. R. Wallace, Superintendent H. Tarpley made a report on the condition and needs of the schools.

In addition to the superintendent and principal, ten teachers were employed for the system. (The faculty is composed in 1941 of forty-two members.)

The children were housed in two buildings: one for white children and one for colored children.

None of the buildings were equipped with modern conveniences. The schools were characterized by poor housing, organization; poor equipment, poor moral and financial support.

The 1908-1909 session was partially supported by private subscription and partially by public funds.

The public school situation in Texas during the latter part of the last century and the first part of the present century was such as to produce great irregularity in attendance and consequently many pupils were greatly retarded. Many of them withdrew from the schools before they completed the course prescribed for the elementary schools.

Under these adverse conditions the matter of discipline was a daily, if not an hourly problem, and the paddle and the strap were very much in evidence every day.

The same method of government was employed in the homes, and in some cases, the new teacher became very popular with patrons because he "knocked out" two of the bullies on the first day of the school.

Sometimes that was the best way to begin the school.

The collusion of large boys against the school executives resulted sometimes in physical combats and truancy. This lack of cooperation of pupils began to disappear with the awakening of the general public in Texas about twenty-five years ago with reference to the values of education and was the beginning of a new era in the history of education in our state.

A new era in the history of the Arlington Public Schools began in September, 1922, when the high school moved into the new building on Cooper Street. The high school course of study was enriched and extended. Vocational Home Economics, Commercial Arts, Public School Music and four standard science courses became a part of our approved course of study.

The old South Side School building which had served for both the elementary and high school purposes, burned to the ground on June 10, 1933, and on the same sit a new two story building was dedicated in 1936.

It is complete in architecture, equipment, and landscaping. The profusion of trees, shrubs and flowers make this campus one of the beauty spots in Arlington.

The building program was climaxed during Superintendent Everitt's administration by improvements on the high school building, the erection of a modernly equipped gymnasium, cafeteria, a well equipped department for agriculture and shops.

The new Home Economics building was erected as a model of architecture and equipment for all schools which contemplate the erection of a Home Economics building.

The new North Side School, rechristened as the John A. Kooken Elementary School, is a model of the one story type school. It has a combination auditorium gymnasium and is completely equipped for cafeteria, library, etc.

The course of study has been enriched under the administration of the present Superintendent of Schools, Ben Everitt. Vocational Agriculture, Commercial Law, Solid Geometry, etc. have been added to our courses.

Superintendent Everitt has built up both a band and a drum-and-bugle corps that have successfully competed with the best schools in Texas.

Our Board of Education is composed of some of our best citizens. It is composed at present as follows: D. S. Hood, president; W. Fred Cox, secretary,; Hooker Vandergriff, Alfred Brown, Gilford Perkins, Frank A. Waltersdorf, and A. C. Cunningham.

The faculty of the Arlington schools for many years has been in the aggregate composed of teachers of exemplary character, special ability, and successful experience.

We wish to make acknowledgements of the long efficient services of the following: Mrs. R. P. Putman, nee Miss Mabel Duckett, Mrs. M. H. Cravens, Miss Betty Harbison, Mrs. Bucher nee Miss Kate Moore, Mrs. Bessie Bell McClanahan, Miss Bess Rankin and Mrs. Upsher Vincent, nee Miss Ella V. Day.

The first Parent-Teacher Association was organized in May, 1909, with Mrs. C. S. Taylor as President and Mrs. J. A. Kooken as Secretary.

These organizations are now functioning in a very efficient manner and are following closely the objectives of the national organization. At the present time Mrs. F. H. Wadley is President of the High School Parent-Teacher Association, Mrs. W. L. Hughes is President of the South Side School and Mrs. R. H. Alexander is President of the John A. Kooken Elementary School.

Last year the John A. Kooken School organized the first Dad's Club in the history of our schools with Tom Owens as President and Fletcher Robbins as Secretary.



I am dedicating these seven chapters of my memoirs to you because of our close friendly association through the years.

The chapters on the objectives of education as I see them and some of the high lights of the history of education in Texas, personal contributions made by teachers, trustees and citizens are not offered for publication, because they are too technical or too personal to interest the general public.

I want to express my appreciation of cards, letters and words of good wishes for a happy period of retirement and this reaction to my service has been a great source of satisfaction to me.

You are facing an uncertain economic situation in a dynamic social order which calls for courage, industry, sobriety, trust worthiness and all those traits of character which counts for strong manhood and pure noble womanhood. As I have seen it, the righteous life brings happiness and prosperity and the unrighteous life brings remorse, sorrow and failure. And now, finally I would urge you, "Whatsoever things are true; whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."



Arlington, Texas


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