The following document was prepared in 1981 and submitted with the application for the historical marker.
INDIAN CREEK BAPTIST CHURCH AND CEMETERY
by Anna M. Reagan
Box 30 A-4, Trenton, Texas
Indian Creek Baptist Church is a small one-room building located approximately 6 miles west of Leonard, Texas on State Highway 78. It is in Fannin County about 23 miles southwest of Bonham, Texas in the community of Nobility and has served the surrounding area since its founding in 1874.
The church organized and held its first services in the local school building about 1/4 mile south of the present building until the building that stands today could be erected. There is no school building on the site today. The new building was completed in 1882 on land donated by Dock Holcomb. This land was out of a survey of 160 acres surveyed in the name of John Felton. According to available records, John Felton had donated land from this survey as a burial ground for people of this area. The church building was erected on land adjoining the burial ground on the east. The building faces east. The oldest part of the cemetery lies to the west and back of the church. With additions of land added to the cemetery it has increased in size and surrounds the church on the west, south and east, and contains approximately 4 acres. The area to the north adjoining the highway is open for parking space as well as the area directly in front of the building.
There are on the average three or four burials per year, but the cemetery now has a substantial endowment fund and is in a well- kept condition. It is expected that there will be an increase in burials.
Some of the land slopes gently to the west and slightly more than half slopes to the south. It is well-drained and the soil dries quickly after a rain. The large pecan trees and walnut trees as well as cedars help to make the entire surroundings attractive. It is against this picturesque background that one may view the little white church as it stands on the gentle rolling slope a few yards from the highway.
The lumber used in erecting the chureh building in 1882 was hauled by horse-drawn wagons from Jefferson, Texas. In later years as the building was repaired from time to time, it was noted that the heavy timbers were fitted together by the fitting of notches. It was also found that square-headed nails were used in other parts of the building.
The first services were held in the new building in the latter part of 1882. Rev. Martin Gentry, a Baptist minister who lived in an adjoining community, accepted the call by the church to be the pastor. There were 11 members in the fellowship. One of whom was Sam Gentry, the pastor's son. The membership grew slowly but steadily with the church serving the community well for many years. But as time went on the church passed through intervals of time when the membership would be inactive, but usually it would not be long until the doors would be opened for church services again. During these times the church building was always available for funerals and other church-related events.
Indian Creek Church has enjoyed the ministry of many dedicated men serving as pastors during these many years. Most of them served from two to five years. The present pastor is Rev. Ward Dodson of Bonham, Texas. He has been serving the church since October 1976. A report from the church records for August 16, 1981 shows a present membership of 51.
Some events seem to stand out in the life of the church. One such event was the meeting in March 1900 to make plans for the observance of "Decoration Day." A day set aside to honor the memory of those who are burled nearby. This event has been observed in May of each year since its beginning.
Another highlight in the history of the church was the organization of a Sunday School in August of 1905 under the ministry of Rev. J.W. Summer.
Some of the names of the earliest burials of the area are found on the monuments not far from the church. The date of 1870 is the earliest date that could be determined from the deteriorated stone. No information is available on that grave. It is possible that the first burial site was marked with a wooden stake driven into the ground for a headstone. There have been many graves marked with stakes with no means of identification. Many of the graves sf children bear the date of 1892 indicating a difficult year for children.
Many monuments reveal the names of outstanding pioneers of the area. Some of these are: Holcomb, Wheat, Golden, Koata, Fuller, Reagan, Holmes, Muse , Carpenter and many others. Two of these were Civil War veterans, Josiah Reagan, who was a soldier for the Confederacy from the state of Georgia, and Thomas J. Wheat, who aldo served for the Confederacy from Georgia. Charles Emery Patton served with the 59th Infantry of the U.S. Army in World War I, and James W. Watson, a private in the U.S. Army of World War II. Another soldier who served his country well in World War II was Tammy Trusty. All of these veterans have appropriate monuments that give information concerning their military serviee.
The care of the cemetery was under the direction of the Indian Creek church from its founding in 1874 until June 6, 1976 when the Indian Creek Cemetery Association was organized under the presidency af Ed Reagan. Other officers and board members were elected and soon contributions began to came in until the endowment has came to be a substantial amount. The Cemetery Association is looking forward to the time when other plans for improvements can be carried out.
1. This information was furnished through an interview with Mrs. Nannie McLarry May, a pioneer resident of the community. Her statement gives every evidence as being authoritative. October 15,1977.
2. Book Two, Indian Creek Baptist Church Records, p. 12.
3. From Abstract Records in the hands of Mrs. Emma Nolan, granddaughter of Dick Holcomb, donor of land for the church and cemetery.
4. Indian Creek Church has enjoyed the ministry of many dedicated men serving
This information was gained through a personal interview with H.M. Gentry, the grandson of Rev. Martin Gentry. His statement gives every evidence of accuracy on personal knowledge. H.M. Gentry is a retired teacher residing in Whitewright, Texas.
6. Minutes of Indian Creek Baptist Church, August 16,1981.
7. Bulletin of Centennial Celebration, 1974.
9. Floy Crandall Hodge, A of Fannin County. Pioneer Publishers, p 90.
10. Information taken from Minutes of meetings as given in early church records in the years between 1925-1976.
11. Minutes, Indian Creek Cemetery Association, June 6, 1976.
The oldest readable gravestone in this burial ground bears the date 1870, for years before the founding of the Indian Creek Baptist Church. Worship services were first held in a schoolhouse 1/4 mile south of this site. Dock Holcomb donated this property adjacent to the cemetery, and a church building was completed in 1882 using lumber hauled by wagon from Jefferson. For over a century the burial ground was under the direct care of the congregation. An annual cemetery decoration day was begun in 1900.
Location: 6.4 miles west of Leonard on SH 78.
The church building shown below is no longer an operating church. More information on the Indian Creek Cemetery is on the Fannin County GenWeb site.