Fannin County, Texas

Brief Sketch

The First Christian Church


This congregation had its beginning in the labors of Charles Carlton, who, with his devoted wife as his co-worker, came to Bonham in 1867 and founded a seminary, which is now Carlton College. On his arrival he found no Disciples meeting for worship.  His first work was the superintendency of a union Sunday School.  Later when the Sunday School was meeting in his seminary he began preaching once a month.  Soon a few Disciples were found and on May 31, 1868 they came together as a Church of Christ.  There were twenty-five charter members, five of whom are living today, viz., Jesse Y. McQuigg, Mrs. Belle Shortridge, Mrs. Sallie A. Corzine, Mrs. Drury Grogan and Mrs. Anne Oldam.


C. T. Carlton was the first addition by confession and baptism.  Two protracted meetings were held in July and December of this year in which sixty-seven new members were added to the congregation.  The following year, 1969, Dr. and Mrs. S. J. Saunders, Adison and Randolph Clark came to Bonham and their earnest, devoted and Godly lives added strength to the Church.


The first elders of the congregation were Charles Carlton, Dr. S. J. Saunders, Robt. Henderson, and later serving with them, Jas. Arledge.  The first deacons were Stephen Oldham, J. P. Ingram, J. B. Shortridge, and J. W. Howard.  For thirty-five years "Uncle Billy" Howard served as treasurer.  These were noble men and their names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.


The first meeting place of this band of Disciples was for ten years at the Seminary conducted by Bro. Carlton.  Then the present site was purchased and the house erected which was vacated last Easter for the erection of the one now occupied, the total cost of which for building and equipment will reach approximately $30,000.


Chas. Carlton was by nature a leader and, thank God, his leading was in the right directon.  It was through his untiring and unselfish labors that this congregation had its beginning and earlysuccess.  Yet much honor must be given to the loyal men and women who so earnestly and faithfully supported him and fought side by side with him in God's warfare against sin.


​Without considering What he was to receive or what he did receive, Bro. Carlton served the congregation as minister from its beginning to the time of his death, February 13, 1902.


For the next five years the congregation was ministered to by A. E. Ewell.  He undertook the work when it was difficult and was remarkably successful.


The present minister, Chas. M. Schoonover, came to his labors on October 12, 19007.  The congregation has had large fellowship in the benevolent educational, and missionary enterprises of the Church.  The past has been a noble one.  Our eyes should now be turned to the future.


We have about 25 members.  These are well organized in prayer meeting, Sunday School, Christian Endeavor, ladies Aid and C. W. B. M., work with a live and excellent leader at the head of each organization.  We have a speldid building adequately equipped for service.  Let us  make it a veritable workshop for Christ.  We have before us a great opportunity.  Let us accept this opportunity as call of God.

Building Dedication Program - 1912

First Christian Church of Bonham

Marker Text:


Congregation organized in 1868 by Charles Carlton (1821-1902).  Born in England, he was educated in West Virginia under Alexander Campbell, founder of Disciples of Christ movement.


Carlton moved to Bonham in 1867 and here organized Carlton College.  First Christian Church was established on May 31, 1868, with 27 charter members.


This lot was bought from Col. Jack R. Russell in 1877, and a frame building was erected in 1878.  Present classical revival structure was built in 1912.  The Rev. Charles M. Schoonover was minister at its dedication.


Location:  7th and North Main, Bonham