Pipkin Family Association

First United Methodist Church in Beaumont

Official Texas Historical Marker, Jefferson County, 7/6/73
Location: Calder at Willow
A continuation of 111-10 West becomes "Willow" in Downtown Beaumont
(one block North of Main Post Office)
State Historical Survey Committee, Texas

First United Methodist Church in Beaumont

In 1839, Methodist Missionary Samuel A. Williams conducted first religious service in Beaumont. Followed in 1840 by another Methodist Minister Henry Stephenson, organizer of First Protestant Church in Texas (McMahan's Chapel near San Augustine in 1834). Early congregations met under bush arbors, in homes, and in a frame schoolhouse and listened to sermons of itinerant riders of the "Alligator Circuit" as the Ministry called this river and bayou region.

John Fletcher Pipkin, a lay preacher from just across the Neches River, began holding regular worship services in Beaumont in 1852, and took up permanent residence here in 1859. During the long intervals between visits of the Circuit Riders, he performed marriage and funeral services for all faiths.

The schoolhouse-church building, destroyed in an 1865 hurricane, was not replaced. Due to lack of money in the post-Civil War period, until 1877, when Methodists and Baptists pooled resources to erect a common church in 1885. The Baptists relocated and sold their interest in the structure to the Methodists in 1890. A steepled church was constructed which was replaced by a domed building in 1907. The present spired edifice was consecrated in 1968.

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