Fannin County, Texas

The photo and the text below is from The History of Fannin County Texas Churches, compiled by the Fannin County Genealogical Society.

In the years prior to 1911 before the Church of the Lord was established in Ivanhoe, Texas, Clella Jackson left some records telling of how things were back in 1890. In those days, there were Baptist, Methodist, and Disciples of Christ churches, and a sprinkling of others that met together in an old school house called Liberty near the community of Duplex. They met for Sunday School and other services when a preacher was available. They used what was called "Union" reading material and study books.

In the summer of 1911, a group of people moved into the community who had a different form of worship. This group of people came from various places of the country; most seemed to be natives of Tennessee. From this group of people, who taught sound doctrine, the Church of Christ began its work in the community. Theirs was a humble beginning in the early 1900's. Their first meeting place was in a very primitive brush arbor, which was known as the "Hanks Farm." Benches were made of rough lumber from a sawmill and set on a dirt floor. The cold and bad weather would at times prevent the people from meeting together. Across the road, west of the arbor, a stock pond was used to baptize the new converts. The arbor was located just west of the William Kirkpatrick home and south of what is known as the "Bill Todd Place."

A year later, in the summer of 1912, a family by the name of Harwood moved into the community. When new members were added to make a larger congregation, the Harwood’s donated an acre of land for a new Church building suitable for year-round services.

At first the building consisted of a foundation and a roof. The floor was dirt and the roof was made of boards or planks, shingles at this time were not used. The benches were made of rough lumber and covered with cotton sacks to sit on to prevent injuries from splinters. The benches were made by Matthew Haynes and James Todd. James Todd was the father of Lucille Todd Eubanks. Windows and doors were added the following year. The windows had no glass or screens. Shutters were constructed instead and, when opened, mosquitoes and flies would literally "eat you up" according to Myrtle Fogle who was one of the early members.

A pulpit made from a tree stump was used as a lectern to place the Bible on. Worship services continued like this until the next year when the floor was added. Improvements were slowly made as finances became available. In 1920 the Church building was completed, except for the carbide lights which were added in 1922. It became known as "Harwood's Chapel."

During this time, no definite time was set for Sunday services. Everyone waited for one another to arrive before services began. There was no news media, such as radio and television, and not every home had a newspaper. The first car did not appear until about 1912 or 1913. The members came to worship services on horseback, in buggies or wagons, or on foot. They used the scripture, "Tarry ye one for another" as many had great distances to travel.

The bread for the communion was made by Ruthie Haynes and Julia Todd. The offerings were given by members who came to the front of the building to drop in a dime or whatever they purposed to give as times were hard in those days. New converts were baptized in stock ponds around the area.

During those early years, there were about 15 or 20 members. The names of some of these members were: William and Jane Todd and son, James Floyd and wife Julia and children. The third generation of this family, who continued the work of the Church, were Raymond Todd and family, Lois Kirkpatrick and Lucille Todd Eubanks, William and Florence Herd, Mrs. Lue Parker, Mrs. Sammy Haynes (Myrtle Fogle), Ed Burrells and family, Turner and Mary Harwood and their daughter Tola, Joe and Georgia Herd; Mr. and Mrs. George Green and daughters Bonnie, Katie Lou, and Ruth; Carl and Susie Curry, Clella Parker Jackson, John Sanders, the Tankersley's, and Enoch and Jennie (Chambers) Lewis. In the 1930's Glen and Katie Lou Green moved back to Ivanhoe. Glen led the singing and occasionally led the preaching. In the later years, before the building was moved, William and Elizabeth Lafon attended the Church at Harwood's Chapel. It is believed that Phillip Herd was the first preacher at this place. A man by the name of Francis Dale was preaching for the congregation in or about the year of 1920.

The Church building was located about three-fourths mile north of Ivanhoe, and the land was formerly owned by Lucille Todd Eubanks. This plot is now the homesite of Leon and Kathy Nolen, next to "Kathy's Kountry Store."

In the mid 1930's a revival, or what we now call a gospel meeting, was held on the school ground in Ivanhoe. (The school later became known as "North Fannin.") As a result of this meeting several people were added to the Church. Among those who were baptized were Tom and Minnie Riddings Pigg and Ruby Parker. A decision was then made to move the Church building to a plot of land that Mrs. Lue Parker donated to the Church. Brother George Green moved the building, and this site is the present location of our building.

In 1957 the Church decided to build a new building. The old building was moved over several yards beyond the present site to make room for the new one. After the new building was completed, the old one was sold to the Gene Haney family, who wanted it for a home. It was then moved about one-half mile east of Ivanhoe. Several years later it was destroyed by fire.

The Church has continued to prosper through the years with the assistance of part-time preachers, working and helping with the congregation. There were many of them who helped build and strengthen the Church with little or no pay. The John and Lorrine Hawk family stayed for 16 years.

In 1977 another plot of land next to the present Church building was bought and plans for a parsonage were drawn up. In February of 1987, after many years, the reality of a full-time preacher was realized. Eldon and Margaret Rogers moved into the parsonage to begin full-time work. They stayed until 1989, at which time the Church could no longer support a full-time preacher. In August of 1989, Phil and Janet Smith and family from Savoy, Texas, started their work with the Church.

During the infancy years of the Ivanhoe Church, there were times that the Church would slow and almost cease to exist. This was due mostly to deaths and migration. However, a few good people kept the candle lighted, and the Church has continued.

The Church has seen many accomplishments in the past 91 years— from a brush arbor that our ancestors began in lean and difficult times to what exists today. The faithful Christians throughout the years set the course of sound doctrine, which is rooted in each of us today. We are all proud and thankful for such an unbelievable and humble beginning.

From Elwanda Tarpley's History on the Church of Christ.

Ivanhoe Church of Christ