Fannin County, Texas

The following is from A History of Ladonia, Texas 1836-1997

First United Methodist Church
By Eunice Hill

As early as 1837, missionaries were sent out from the Mississippi Conference to the Republic of Texas, but Methodism in Texas did not take organized form until 1840 when Texas Conference was organized at Ruthersville in Washington County. After going through three conference changes throughout the years, the Ladonia Methodist Church became a charge in the Kaufman Conference some time before 1863. However, since most records were destroyed in the big fire of 1911, we depend upon three stories, or histories, written by Mrs Harve Miller, Mrs Hazel Wilson, and Elizabeth Neilson Mason. The church, parsonage, and four other houses were burned in this fire.

For many years previous to 1880 there existed in Ladonia a church building which was used by all denominations in town.

In 1880 a small white frame church with a steeple containing a bell was built. The bell was rung before every service. Through the years the members of the little white church worshopped, worked, and played together. The young people of all ages attended Epworth League, later becoming known as MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship).

One of the most important events of the year in the early church life was the two week revival meetings, held each summer. it was at one of these meetings a man known as Happy Jack Conklin was converted and answered the call to the ministry. He became an evangelist.

The present church building was constructed in 1912 at a cost of $10,000.00. In the cornerstone of the church were placed the following articles: copies of the Bible, Ladonia News, Texas Christian Advocate, and coins of each denomination one cent to one dollar. Being used currently are two pulpit chairs and a pulpit stand that were saved from the fire of 1911. The building originally had a large dome in the center of the sanctuary. It added to the beauty of the ceiling, but in years became a problem; and in the 1930's it was removed when a new roof was put on the church. The stained glass windows were given as memorials by family members.

From a lost 1882 roll, the following names of early families were found: C.T. Weldon, W.G. Nunn, J.R. Eaton, L.W. Little ( transferred from Olive Branch), M.A. (Heck) Abernathy, John Bramlett, Harve Miller, Samantha Bramlett Holland, R.M. (Bob) Rattan, Wade Rattan, Dave Myrick, Mrs Hines, Dr. S.B. Neilson (transferred from Olive Branch), W.B. Merrill, Z.T. Carr, Docia Reeves, and Gilbert Baker.

In June 1956, a Hammond electric organ was given to the church by the S.B. Neilson family.

On August 13, 1963, with the Rev. Don Shaw as pastor, the church celebrated its one hundreth birthday. Since that time, in 1968, the General Conference meeting in Dallas, brought about the union of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren creating the United Methodist Church.

In November of 1964, the first Lord's Acre plan began with a dinner and auction sale. This has become an annual festival of harvest and thanksgivingthat is enjoyed by all who attend. The funds raised have helped make possible the continuance of the Lords work at all levels.

At annual conference in 1965, the Ladonia and Pecan Gap congregations were brought together in a single charge whereby they share the same pastor and often meet together for worship and fellowship.Each church has maintained its own organization and met its own obligations.

Pastors since 1945 are: L. E. Vandiver, V. V. Voss, A. O. Ackenbam, C. M. Hunt, J. M. Webb, Raymond Trompler, Arthur L. Lusby, Thomas Bellar, Norman Carter, Earl Ball, Don Shaw, Walter Zimmerman, Joe Saylor, Jr., McClain Smith, Leonard Tomlinson, Harold Staats, Frank Yates, Larry Tinsley, David Noblin, Sr., Clay Yeager, John White, Louise Welch, and Cheryl Jordan, who is currently serving as pastor.

First United Methodist Church - Ladonia

In the spring of 2016 during heavy rains the building flooded.  Facing financial limitations, the congregation made a bold decision to build a new, smaller church next door.

As of February 2017, nineteen of the stained glass windows from the old church have been incorporated into the new building, and it will be full of light.  Pews from the old church will be used, as will a portion of the tin ceiling, light fixtures, the pulpit and other furniture and fixtures.  There will be a new building, but it will retain the legacy of the church which has served the community for so long.