CHAPTER VI. The El Paso Baptist Church.
The El Paso Baptist church was organized January 22nd, 1858, the organization being effected at a meeting held in the old Crawford hall, which at that time stood on the corner just west of where John Engel's residence now stands. For several years services were held at the homes of the various members and in halls and rooms down town. The charter members of the El Paso church were: Rev. and Mrs. Branch, Anthony Daffam, Mrs. Sarah Daffam, Lewis McOmber and wife, James Crawford and wife, James T. Hewitt, Mrs. H. M. McOmher, H. H. Hewitt, Miss A. Whittaker, Miss Deborah Whittaker and Irene McOmber.
Rev. Branch served as pastor until 1860, and was followed by Elder S. F. Stimson, who remained until December 1865. It was during his pastorate that the first house of worship was erected. It was torn down during the summer of 1911 to make room for a new church. It was dedicated in December 1864, and it was built during the closing scenes of the war and many difficulties were encountered in its erection as were also in the erection of the M. E. church the same year.
Following Elder S. F. Stimson came A. H. Stowell, who served the church one year, being succeeded by Rev. R. C. Palmer, who served the church one year and improved the farm now owned by W. Strickland. A. B. White came next and served one year, after which J. E. Ingham was in charge two years. J. F. Minian came the next year and in 1873 Rev- S. B. Gilbert became pastor and remained three years. Rev. J. B. Hutton served from November 1878 to January 1882. During the summer of 1882 Rev. L. C. Morehouse was chosen pastor an j served for the next two years, when Rev. E. C. Cady came to the charge. During the pastorate of Rev. Cady the old William Jenkins' residence was purchased for a parsonage. Rev. E. C. Cady served as pastor until 1890. After a brief period without a pastor the church called Rev. J. F. Howard, who was chosen in November 1890, serving the church over ten years. On July 1st, 1901, Rev. W. A. Fuller commenced his pastorate and remained until October 1910. For almost two years the church was without a pastor. During the latter part of Rev. Fuller's pastorate he advocated a new church building. In this connection we are able to chronicle the peculiar fact that a magnificent church building has been erected without a pastor. The building committee consisted of A C. Jones, W. H. North, I. B. Hammers, Harvey Leonard and Omer North, with L. K. Evans as treasurer, who had full control of all the work. The building contract was let to James A. Reichel. The church and its equipment cost approximately $18,250, all of which was raised before the dedication, except $3,300. This latter sum was easily raised with enough additional to make the sum $4,060. All this sum was raised approximately among the members of the Baptist congregation, except about $1,000. About two-thirds of the entire sum was subscribed by twelve members of the church as follows: Mrs. Eunice Evans, $5,500; A. C. Jones, $1,500; J. W. Ostler, $1,000; F. L. Jones, $750; Miss Anna Tipler, $750; W. H. North, $600; Charles North, $600; Omer North, $600; James North, $600; Lewis L. North, S600; Mrs. Will Gibbs, $500; I. B. Hammers, $500. Other members gave liberally but we have mentioned only those who gave $500 or more. Mrs. Eunice Evans, besides her magnificent gift toward the church building, has furnished the ladies' parlor at an estimated cost of $200 On April 14th, 1912, all the churches in the city united in the dedication services, the following program being given, beginning at 10:45 a. m.:
Evening hymn, Miss Barbara Toussing, Miss Bertha Barlow, L. K. Evans and Eddy McOmber. Vocal solo, Miss Hastings. Anthem, chorus. Scripture reading and prayer. Anthem and chorus. Sermon, Dr. Brand. Closing hymn. Postlude.
Revs. Klopp, McNemar, Woolley and Cressy, pastors of the other churches of El Paso, were given an opportunity to speak a few words during the evening, and each personally expressed a message of congratulation on behalf of their congregations. Rev. Morehouse also spoke a few words of congratulation to the congregation over which he presided over a generation ago.
On September 1st, 1912, Rev. Frank M. Spooner, of Toledo, Ohio, began his pastorate.
The present officers are as follows: Deacons, W. H. North, J. W. Ostler, A. C. Jones; trustees, James R. North, L. L. North, Frank L. Jones, Charles North, John W. North, L. K. Evans; clerk, J. W, Ostler; treasurer, L. K. Evans.