Presbyterian Church , Ladonia
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The Ladonia Historical Preservation Society
Presbyterian Church inLadonia
Photographs by Debby Crofford

The Presbyterian Church Building was given to the community and
is currently used for meals on wheels for seniors, and rented out for reunions. 
View the Church Building Through the Years

Article about the Musicians

View the Memorial Windows

Presbyterian Church Building Historical Marker

"The Ladonia Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., originally organized in the mid-19th century, erected this structure between 1910 and 1912. The buidling contract was awarded to W.H. Markley of commerce for $6,400. An excellent example of 20th century mission revival style adapted to an ecclesiastical mode, the structure exhibits fine detailing and proportions with a simplicity of form. The congregation was dissolved by 1976. The character defining central parapet was reconstructed in 1997."

View Newspaper Article about the Marker Dedication

Articles From Debby Crofford
Taken from The Ladonia News  March 29, 1935

In the early days recalled by Mrs. A.D. Long, the oldest living member of the Ladonia Southern Presbyterian Church, the southern denomination worshipped in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church with that denomination. Mrs. Long says she came to Ladonia in 1873, and the first pastor she remembers is the Rev. Mr. Shepardson. In the year 1874 the Rev. W. N. Dickey united the membership at Gileswith the Ladonia membership, making what is known as the Ladonia Southern Presbyterian Church .
On Jan. 3, 1884, Rev. George E. Eagleton, father of Mrs. J.W. Wiley, and Mrs. P. Bruce Fry, of the Quachita Presbytery in Arkansas became "stated supply" for the Ladonia churches. At his own request, he was never designated as the regular pastor, preferring to retain the title of supply. On Dec. 26, 1890, the church building on East Main St. was completed and the congregation moved into a home of their own. Rev. Eagleton continued to supply the pulpit until he was called to his eternal home on Apr. 12, 1899. Since that time, the pulpit has been filled by the following ministers in the order named: Rev. D. Taylor, Rev. W.C. Tenney, Rev. Creighton, Rev. Green, Rev. R.L. Owens, Rev. Luther Reece, Rev. H.B. White, Rev. J.W. Lehmann, and Rev. J.W. Gregg.
Since 1924 there have been no regular services by the Southern Presbyterians, but the Spanish congregations used the church for three years and the Church of Christ congregation is worshipping in the building at the present time.

From the Ladonia News  1935 -- 
written by: Miss Mollie Stafford

The editor has asked me to write a brief history of the U.S.A. Presbyterian church of Ladonia, so I am giving the principal events that occured in connection with this church as I recall them. I cannot give a complete history as the church book was burned  when there was a fire on the west side of the square in 1896.
Mr. Neal Scott was clerk of the session and had charge of the book, so when his furniture store was destroyed in the fire, all records of the organization and membership of this church was lost.
Mr Scott had been a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church for more than 40 years at the time of his death in 1924.
The land for a Cumberland  Presbyterian church and a cemetery was deeded to the congregation by Mr John Nail and his wife, pioneers. Since going into the union with the mother church in 1906, this church is known as the Presbyterian church U.S.A.
A two story building was erected on this spot just west of where the cemetery is now located. The upper story was used for church services, the lower for school. The Cumberland Presbyterian church was organized sometime in the late 1850's.
The obituary of Mr J.D. Maloney who died Oct. 1885, states that he was made a ruling elder in 1859. Some of the older residents of Ladonia will remember him as " Uncle Jed".
The first Cumerland Presbyterian ministers to preach in this church were Rev. Bob Jones, Dr. Sam McKee, Rev. Givens, and Rev. Pilant.
Pastors of the Methodist denomination preached in this church regularly one Sunday in each month.The first I remember were Rev. A. M. McDougal and Rev. Neeley.
Later, The U.S.A. Presbyterians preached there one Sunday in  each month. The arrangement continued until these denominations built churches of their own.
The Baptist denomination worshipped in their church, located a short distance east of the J.A. Bishop residence. It was a two story building and erected before the Civil War.
Rev. Robert Dunlap became the regular pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian church in the early 60's. He came to Ladonia from McKinney where he had settled in 1852, having come from Tennessee. He continued pastor of this church for almost  twenty five years.
There never was a year passed without a revival of religion in his church. He always held every quarter what he termed a "two day's meeting". There were two services on Saturday and two services on Sunday.
At the Sunday morning service the administration of the Lord's Supper was observed. The services were well attended.
There was never a jar between his congregation and himself ; what he suggested, they approved.
No member was ever dropped from the church role while he was pastor
Sometime before his death he told his session he felt impressed to call a younger man to assist him with his ministerial duties fearing there might be a falling off of attendance on public worship by the younger members of his congregation as he grew older, so they complied  with his request and called Rev. B.F. Moody, a young theological who ably assisted him for sometime after  Rev. Dunlaps death. Bro. Dunlap preached his last sermon on Sunday, Nov. 22, conducted Thanksgiving services on Thursday, the first Thanksgiving services ever held in Ladonia, and passed away on the following Saturday, Nov. 28, 1885, at the age of sixty-seven years.
Some of the charter members of this church had been charter members of the Dial church, formerly "Lane's Academy", which was organized on March 28, 1846.
Mr William Cummens and wife, Elizabeth, grandparents of Mrs. Gatlin, Mrs. Light, Mrs. Wolfe, Mrs. Walter Fuller, and Edgar Cummens, moved their membership to Ladonia when the church was organized. Col. Elbert Early was another person to move his membership from that church to the Ladonia church. Other charter members of the Ladonia church were Mrs. Sallie Fry, grandmother of the Fry brothers, Mrs. George Fry, mother of Will Fry, Mrs. John Nail, Mr. I.D. Maloney and wife.
Pioneer members of this church were the Redners, Staffords, Cummens, Coles, Mrs. Elliot Jackson, niece of Mr. I.D. Maloney and mother of Mrs. Rose Burroughs, the Hawkins, the great-grandparents of the Bramlett brothers, Kennedys, Dr. M.B. Drake and wife.
Prof. S.D. Lowry was the first to teach in this building. He came to Ladonia from Cane Hill, Arkansas, about the beginning of the Civil War. After having taught in this school for a nember of years, he moved to Tehuacana, in 1867, and taught in Trinity University, a Presbyterian school now located in Waxahachie. Rev. Givens was his assistant while teaching here and Miss Mollie Reed, of Farmersville was music teacher.
The next person to teach in this building was Rev. Hawkins, a Methodist minister.
Prof Lowry's little daughter was the first person buried in the cemetery, in 1865, and the next was Mrs. Pilant, an Aunt of Mrs. Lowry.
The bell which now hangs in the U.S.A. Church was bought in 1871. The women of the town and surrounding community gave musical entertainments, suppers, and bazaars to help raise money to purchase a bell, the balance was raised by public donation. The bell was hauled from Jefferson on a wagon, as it was several years before Ladonia had a railroad. It always tolled on funeral occaisons.
Tallow candles were used to furnish lights for the evening services. These were molded in old-fashioned candle molds and donated by members of the congregation.' Uncle' Steve, an old colored man who belonged to Mr. Redner, was the 'candle lighter' [janitor].
At the close of the morning service, the minister would make the announcement, that '
there'll be preaching here tonight at early candlelighting'.
The first picnic Ladonia ever had was a Sunday school celebration, May 1, 1869. Dinner was served on tables in a grove where the cemetery is now located.In the afternoon, there was a program in the church, songs by the Sunday school pupils and addresses by ministers of different denominations: Rev. Dunlap, Presbyterian; Rev. Neely, Methodist; and Rev. Brown, Baptist.
Mention was made in this paper some time ago of Ladonia's first Christmas tree; that was 1871, in this old church.
When the soldiers came home from the war, in May , 1865 a bountiful dinner was served them just east of the church. They came marching in with guns on their shoulders, stacked arms, and then Captain Roderick, uncle of the Fuller brothers and Mrs. Cadman, made an address. Next, they drilled, stacked arms, and then marched to the tables. That was a memorable day.
That building was torn down in the winter of 1875 or 1876, the congregation worshipping in the school building, east of the Bishop home. At that time, this was the home of "Grandma"Fooshee's parents, Mr. Samuel Johnson and wife.
Another church was built on this spot in 1876. Mr Cal Scott recalls that it was dedicated in August of that year by Dr. Modrall, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Jefferson.
The congregation continued to worship in that church til 1909, when it was razed and the present brick edifice erected in 1910, near the northeast corner of the square. This church was built during the pastorate of Rev. S.M. Bennett. He was the minister to serve the congregation in that churchand the first in the present church. He now lives in Arlington, having retired from active church work.
Mrs Cal Scott and the writer are the only members of the present Sunday school who were members when that old first church was standing. Mrs. Alice Stafford Bogan, now of Dallas, was a charter member of that Sunday school. Rev. Pilant, a Presbyterian minister, was our teacher.


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