Good morning and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.
Now sometimes information is sent to me about history that does not appear in books.
One such story is the history of the League City Methodist Church. Its history is intertwined with the history of our town.
According to “A History of League City United Methodist Church, League City, Texas 1895-1995,” a long-forgotten circuit rider probably conducted the first Methodist services for settlers in what is now League City sometime during the second half of the 1800s.
He, and other circuit riders like him, would have visited the area a few times during the year, performing marriage ceremonies and baptisms.
At one point, the circuit riders conducted services in a building on Chigger Creek near where Friendswood would be established. The building also served as a school.
By the 1880s, the congregation had moved to a building near Magnolia Bayou. From time to time, the members also worshipped with the congregation of the Methodist Church in Dickinson.
Circuit riders still conducted the services, but they were now on a more regular schedule.
These ministers would preach in two or more churches every Sunday. Traveling by horseback or buggy, the men worked long hours and endured many hardships.
Camp meetings were a big part of Texas Methodism during the 1800s, and members of the Magnolia Bayou congregation participated in annual summer gatherings at the Dickinson picnic grounds.
The area camp meetings ended when the hurricane of Sept. 8, 1900 destroyed the Dickinson picnic grounds.
League City Methodist Church was established as a mission in 1895. The first minister assigned was the Rev. Maury, a circuit rider like so many others previously.
Located on the east side of the I&GN railroad tracks that stretched from Houston to Galveston, League City consisted of a handful of homes and several shops.
The dirt tracks that served as streets bore no names. On the west side of the railroad tracks was another small town called Clear Creek.
It’s not all together clear how long the Rev. Maury remained in League City, but records show that the Rev. L.P. Davis served as pastor in 1898 and a parsonage had been built.
He was followed by the Rev. J.L. Russell, an energetic Methodist minister who led the League City congregation from 1899 through 1901.
The Rev. Russell left an indelible mark on League City. He was on his way to preach Sunday services in Hitchcock and apparently was near Virginia.
Point when the 1900 hurricane struck, spreading its path of death and destruction across Galveston Island and inland. His life was miraculously spared.
Ava King Atkinson was a young girl when the storm struck, and she remembered her home in League City being blown off its foundation about 7 o’clock in the evening. Her father, O.V. King, played a key role in building the first Methodist Church in League City.
More historical information will be in next week’s column.