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Our Trip to Texas PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tolbert S. Dalton   

On July 1st 1895, at 3 o’clock a.m., we left our home in Stanleyton, Va., and family, and boarded the South-bound train on the N.&W. R.R., and after a few hours run we were in Roanoke. After a few minutes for refreshments, the train pulled out for Bristol, where we changed engines and hands, and was soon on our way for Chattanooga, via Greenville, Knoxville, and Cleveland. We landed safely in Chattanooga about 9 o’clock p.m. After a few minutes for refreshments, and change of engines and hands, we were soon on our way for Memphis, via Decatur and Huntsville, Ala., and Corinth, Miss. We landed safely in Memphis next morning about 8 o’clock, where we boarded the train for the Cotton Belt Line, which pulled us into Texarkana, about 9 o’clock p.m. Here we were conducted to a hotel and enjoyed a good nights rest, and next morning at eight o’clock we boarded a train on the T.& P., for Bonham, Texas, where we met our dear brother and true yoke-fellow in the gospel, Eld. J.G. Webb, and others, awaiting our arrival. Bro. Webb is editor of the Baptist Trumpet, a good sound Old School Baptist paper, and is not afraid to voice his sentiments, though the heavens fall, and you never find him astride the fence on any questions of vital importance among the Baptist, and we hope to see the paper supported, and hope our people will assist in doing this. We rested with our precious Bro. Webb, and kind family, and Bro. J.E. Carter and family, and others whose names we cannot give for lack of space. We preached in Bonham, for several days and nights, which preaching seemed to have the desired effect, and we trust that the seed sown will produce a copious harvest to the glory of God and the comfort of his saints. We baptized two while here. From here we will give a clipping from the Baptist Trumpet, which will cover all the ground for several days."

"On July 9 Eld. T.S. Dalton and I, left Bonham, to visit the Old Harmony association. Arrived at Ft. Worth at 6:30 p.m. Spent the evening and night with Mr. Ridgeway and family. Bro. Dalton preached to a good audience at the Primitive Baptist church there, at night. We boarded the train for Stephenville at 1 p.m. and at 4 p.m. same evening found us at the above place. Was met there by brethren Keith and Kendrick, with conveyance out to Damascus church, where the writer tried to preach to a good audience. Spent the night with Bro. Keith. Thursday morning, in company with Eld. W.B. Sikes, brethren Kendrick, and Petty, we started to the association, a distance of 35 miles, and after travelling over hills and valleys about 20 miles, we spent the night with Bro. Clayton. Friday morning it was raining and continued to rain for some time, which caused us to be late; but we arrived at Pottsville, where the association was in session, about 12m. Here we spent three days very pleasantly indeed. The preaching was all of one piece, and the dear saints were made to rejoice in a Savior’s love. On Saturday after preaching, an opportunity was given for members, when four sisters came forward and gave a reason for their hope, and on Sunday morning, we all met at the water to witness the baptism of the sisters; and when I looked over the congregation as they were seated on the banks of the creek, my mind was carried back to the days of John the Baptist, where the people gathered around him for baptism. They met then where there was much water, and here were hundreds of people gathered for the same purpose. My soul was filled with praise to God, and for the evidence of his presence. The ordinance was administered by our beloved brother, A.P. Koen. Bro. Koen is one of the most humble and unassuming men I have ever met, and while this is true he is an able defender of the faith, and the Lord is blessing his labors. The association closed on Sunday, and at the close of meeting another sister came forward and gave a reason of her hope, and was received, this made five during the meeting; thus closed one of the best meetings that I have ever attended. It does seem to me that if those who oppose associations could have been there, their opposition to such meetings would have ceased. After bidding farewell to the saints there, we started for Alexander, to attend the Dalton-Oliver debate; but when we got to the Leon River we found the water all over the bottom, and being informed that it was 7 to 10 feet deep, we did not try to cross there, but spent the night with Bro. Clayton, there being about 20 of us in the crowd, we had preaching at night by brethren Hardin and Biggs. Monday morning we started for another crossing, about 10 miles above this, but when we got there we found it impossible to get across. While we were consulting about what to do, we heard some person calling for help, some of the brethren on horses went across to see if they could render assistance, they found a man holding to a bush with one hand and holding to his horse with the other to keep from drowning, both man and horse were about exhausted, but they succeeded in getting both out alive, after the excitement was over we all started, 17 in number, to another crossing, 8 miles above this, but when we got in a few miles of the place, we learned that the bridge was gone, it was now late in the evening, but we started for a crossing still above, being determined to get to Alexander in time for the debate, we all spent the night with Bro. Kelly, learning that we could perhaps cross the river next morning. Tuesday morning we all started for the river, and when we got to the bridge, we found several men there fixing the bridge for people to cross; but the water was still high, all over the bottom, but the men thought we could cross, so we put those on horseback in front, and the sisters got in the wagons, and we started into the water, and after travelling perhaps a half mile in water, part of the time the water running into the wagons, and almost swimming the teams, we all landed safe on dry land, when we got about half way across, I looked back to see how all were getting along, and I was amused, notwithstanding it was a solemn time, to see G.W. Dalton on top of his horse, with pants rolled up and his shoes off, and his buggy following, I was so mean that I almost wished that the horse would fall down with him just before we got across, but he made it through all right, and his idea was a good one, for had he remained in the buggy, he would have gotten wet, so we now started for Alexander, being about as far from that place as when we left the association two days before, but we made it through before night the 16th and found the forces gathering to witness the battle. The discussion opened the 17th as announced, and at this writing July 18th, we are in the heat of the battle, and the Old Baptists have their heads up, and we feel safe in saying, the field is ours."

The debate lasted seven days, Mr. Oliver doing the very best he could to sustain his unscriptural theory, which can never stand the test when the vollies of God’s truth are poured in upon it. So the result was that Campbellism melted away, and was sent up as mist before the sun, and the field was left clear for the Old School Baptist. We got along with Mr. Oliver very nicely, but, he was, we thought, very much irritated several times during the discussion, which he denied vehemently, but the majority of the people present were of the opinion that his feelings were ruffled very much, but we put up with all this, and went through smoothly to the last, and can truly say that the Old School Baptist heads were high when we left them. The general remark with them was, that, "we had worn him to a fraz and then wore the fraz out in the end." But while we never boast of what we do, yet we can be allowed to say, that we were well satisfied with the work we done in the discussion, and we feel sure that if Eld. Oliver should ever challenge any of our brethren any more, it will only be with a view to trying to cover up his defeat.

From the debate we went to our brother G.W. Dalton’s place, and spent several days with his family very pleasantly, thence to the Basque river Association, where we spent three days very pleasantly with the brethren. Here we had brother J.H. Fisher for our companion, who remained with us several days, and a dear good brother and companion he is. We shall hope to meet this good brother again on earth, and hear him tell of the glories of our heavenly King. After the Association had closed, with one precious sister baptized, we went to the neighborhood of Oglesby, where brother Fisher and I preached for two days. Bro. Fisher then left us, and we continued there another day, and one day at McGregor. Here we had the company of Brethren Stewart and J.W. Norton. Four were added to the church at this place, and a general good feeling manifest. We then returned to Bonham and assisted in the constitution of a church in that place with 18 charter members, and two were added on Sunday, which gave them twenty for a start. The church called our dear brother, J.G. Webb to serve them, and we feel that God will bless the new church and its pastor. From here we started for home, having been out over a month. We landed home at midnight, on Tuesday, Aug. 6th, and found all well, for which we felt to thank God and take courage. And, we now desire to extend our thanks to the brethren and friends, who met all expenses of the trip, and showed us much kindness. May God bless you all.

Yours to serve,

T.S.D.

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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.