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History of Lone Pilgrim Church PDF Print E-mail
Written by D.T. Loyd   


Pritchett, Upshur County, Texas

This church was founded in 1914 by our ancestor, Daniel Wilson Stanley. The land was donated by Tom Atkinson, his daughter-in-law’s uncle, and Alvin Robertson, his brother-in-law. D.W. had been preaching in Upshur County for thirty years by the time he established this church. He supported his family by farming, but his passion was for preaching. As there was no salary for this job, his family often went without so that he could continue preaching.

The basis of the Primitive Baptist religion is that of predestination. Their service includes traditional washing of the feet. In this church they also included Sacred Harp singing which is a movement started in the early 1800’s. Sacred Harp singing is based on songs or hymns written in a basic four beat meter (also called Fasola). Participants sit in a hollow square facing the center to sing. There are no solos, no instruments and is completely participatory. I researched this custom because one of our ancestors, John Jordan Stanley (D.W.’s brother), died after singing a Sacred Harp song. He was 22 years old in 1875 and stepped out onto the church porch and fell dead. It is believed he had a stroke as high blood pressure runs in this family. Upon investigating Sacred Harp singing, I also stumbled upon (what I believe is) how D.W. chose the name of his church. D.W. came to Upshur County when he was five years old with his father, George Washington Stanley, mother, Sarah McLaughlin Stanley and his sister Priscilla from Arkansas. They arrived here around 1850 and carved their life out in East Texas. When he established this church, many of his pioneering family and other brave souls lay in the New Hope Cemetery. I believe that may have been the significance of the title of this Sacred Harp hymn, which is what he named his new church.

By: B.F. White, 1850

I came to the place where the lone pilgrim lay,
And pensively stood by his tomb.
When in a low whisper I heard something say,
"How sweetly he sleeps here alone."

The tempest may howl, and the loud thunder roar,
And gathering storms may arise.
Yet calm are his feelings, at rest is his soul,
The tears are all wiped from his eyes.

The cause of his Master propelled him from home,
He bade his companions farewell;
He blessed his dear children, who for him now mourn,
In far distant regions they dwell.

He wandered an exile and stranger from home,
No kindred or relative nigh;
He met contagion and sank to his tomb,
His soul flew to mansions on high.

Oh tell his companions and children most dear;
To weep not for him, now he’s gone.
The same God that led Him through scenes most severe
Has kindly assisted him home.

Daniel Wilson Stanley died in what would have been his 50th year of service to the community. The church is still active today and holds services the second Sunday of each month.


By: D.T. Loyd

Published in the Gilmer Mirror c. 1970

Reprinted with permission of Sarah Greene, Publisher

The Lone Pilgrim Primitive Baptist Church is located about two miles west of Pritchett, just north of Hwy. 155. There is no record of when it was organized at old Paint Rock, but it is probably one of the oldest churches in this county. At one time there was a large church and community at paint Rock, just south of Sahdy Grove, but eventually the School moved from Paint Rock to Shady Grove and many of the people moved away. Most of the members of this church lived in the vicinity just west of Pritchett, so they decided to build a new church there.

Two brothers agreed to give the land and with everybody helping on the building it was soon finished, so in April 1914, the church was organized and named Lone Pilgrim. Why is was so named, no one seems to know but since 1914 until today the people still worship there with only minor repairs in 1944, then again in 1953.

On the first Sunday in May and October the Lone Pilgrim Church holds communion and it is during this service that they observe the ordinance of foot washing.

This fine old church is located on one of the most beautiful spots in Upshur County, on a perfectly level place, surrounded by beautiful oaks, in many sized, under whose shade is a dinner table from which many, many bountiful meals have been served. It looked so quiet and restful recently when this writer was there taking pictures of this picturesque old structure before it is torn down. Below is a list of their pastors: D.W. Stanley, Rob Stegall, Clarence Marsette, Bob Wilson, Willie Blackman and the present pastor Harley Stipland. Church clerks have been: Rob Stegall, Alvin Robertson, Walter Mason, Jack Stanley, Tom Atkinson, Arthur Davidson and now Myrtle Simmons.

Charter members were Brothers and Sisters: D.W. Stanley, W.A. White, M.J. Stanley, Charlie Brogden, Rob Stegall, W.A. Bryant, George Jones, Jim Burcham, Mack Howell, A.B. Robertson, Marion Satterwhite, J.H. Johnson, Henry Steelman, John Robertson, Jim Robertson, Millie Robertson, Bert Atkinson, Luna Stanley, Fince Meeler and Carrie Bullard.

Other family names found on the old rolls were: Pepper, Guthrie, Mason Pope, Wyatt, Adair, Simmons, Willis, Bullard, Quinton, Davidson, Price, Adams, Elder, Cooper, May, McKnight, Craddock, Lee, Wheeler, Barrett, Phillips, Smith, Gage, Green and probably others.

They still have the old original minute book, but most of this information was furnished by Mrs. Russell Starks, Mrs. Roy Pitman and Mrs. Sam Robertson.

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.