State Historical Marker Placed At Site of Little Jordan Cemetery
Little Jordan cemetery at Savoy was marked by the Fannin County Survey Committee with a historical marker a hsort while ago and there is also a plain sign where Little Jordan church stood in 1850.
The Rev. Herbert M. Pierce of Wilburton, Okla., a descendant of the donors of the cemetery plot, Sid H. and Suzan Brown Pierce, was the speaker for the dedication and Mrs. Harry Swann, chairman of the Fannin County Historical survey committee, and County Judge Choice Moore and Brown Bibby of Savoy were on the dedication program.
S. H. and wife, Suzan Brown Pierce, settled in the Savoy area before 1850 and became extensive land owners. They gave the plat of land to Little Jordan Baptist church for a cemetery over 125 years ago. The cemetery, which was in the church yard, remained after the church disbanded and the membership moved to Ector to establish the Ector Baptist church in 1893.
The Pierces had five sons; Lee, Beryle, Art, C.C. and J.M. There were also four daughters, Bell Bombarger, Annie McHale, Josephine Bibby and Mattie Beckham. All are deceased except Mrs. J. M. (Mamie Pierce) who lives in Bonham. The Pierces left a portion of land to each of their children, and some of it is still owned and lived on today by grandchildren and great grandchildren.
A son, Lee Pierce, who became a member of the Little Jordan Church in 1878, became a Southern Baptist Mission to China, where he spent his life. A part of his land is still owned by Dr. Ethel Pierce, a medical missionary to China, now residing in the Savoy Nursing Home, and Rev. Herbert Pierce, a Missionary to the Indians in Oklahoma. Another son, Paul, now deceased, was a medical doctor in Denison many years before his death.
All of the Pierce descendents in the Savoy area have been and still are active in community life instilled in them by their parents and grandparents who descended from the Pioneer family. Brown Bibby, a great grandson, has been appointed Postmaster of Savoy. Lalah Bibby Baker, a granddaughter, has taught in the Savoy School for 42 years.
Little Jordan Cemetery has been used occasionally through the years by people of the community. In 1953 the Ector Baptist church deeded the cemetery plot to the Savoy Baptist Church. J. S. Chance, Sr., J. C. Moore, K. J. Bibby, all citizens of Savoy, are named church trustees in the deed.
The maintenance of the cemetery plot is now included in the budget of the Savoy Baptist church. They will receive donations from interested and concerned people for the purpose of maintaining the grounds in good condition.
Among the descendants of the original Pierces are the Dulaneys, Meade Pierces and Ed Ohmerts of Ector; the Bibbys, Bakers and Pierces of Savoy; and the Beckhams of Denison, Abilene, Grand Prairie and Houston.
LITTLE JORDAN CHURCH AND FANNIN COUNTY BAPTISTS
Message delivered by Herbert M. Pierce at the unveiling of a highway historical marker near the site of the Little Jordan Church House, May 13, 1972.
Rebecca Robinson Pierce, widow of Burrell Pierce, and her three sons, Sidney Hiram, Robert and George settled north of Ector in 1854.
Sidney Hiram Pierce was born April 22, 1833, in North Carolina. He was married to Susan Brown in about 1856. They built their log home about a mile NW of where the Little Jordan church was later built. My sister, Dr. Ethel Pierce, told me that Father pointed out the site to her in 1900 when she was seven yaers of ago.
He left $40,000 in his estate for Froeign missionary work. he was one of 1000 Texas Baptists who, in about 1910 gave $1000 for the establishment of baylor Hospital, Dallas. Many and generous were his gifts to our Lord's work. The money he invested in these things will live in the lives of multitudes until our Lord returns.
Sister Grove Association. Probably the first Baptist church in Fannin Co. was at Dodge City. It was formed in about 1836. The first general organized Baptist life in Fannin Co. was the Sister Grove Baptist Association, in 1853, with only three churches. The first annual session was held at New Hope Church (Bonham).
Of interest to me is the fact that his Association, in 1861, sent messengers to the Ramsey Baptist Association in Indian Territory, meeting at the Cedar Indian Church, north of Red Oak, I.T. That same year, 1861, Little Jordan Church joined the Sister Grove Association, making the twenty-seventh church. Some churches in Indian Territory became members of Sister Grove Association.
Honey Grove Association. Population and churches increased so that by 1880, the Honey Grove Association was formed at the Honey Grove Church, by 19 churches from Fannin, Grayson and Collin counties. Charter members from Little Jordan Church forming the Honey Grove Association were Elder E. M. Hunt, I. F. Joyrow and Sidney Hiram Pierce.
Fannin County Baptist Association. Baptists were multiplying so that on Aug. 5, 1887, thirty-five churches in Fannin Co. met with High Prairie Church and formed the Fannin County Baptist Association. My grandfather, Sidney Hiram Pierce, was a messenger from Little Jordan Church on this historic occasion.
Someone, probably Elder J.M. Hunt, held a meeting somewhere between Savoy and Ector. Twelve people were baptized and three others joined them in forming Little Jordan Church. This was probably in the summer of 1861. When Sister Grove Asso. met at Sandy Creek Baptist Church (Fannin Co.) Sept. 13, 1861, Little Jordan church eagerly jointed them. Their messengers were Elder J. M. Hunt, C. Stobaugh and W. Thornton. Membership grew rapidly from the original fifteen to 164. But Savoy Baptist Church, organized in 1872, and Ector Church, in 1889, seemed to have drawn off strength from Little Jordan Church, for it disbanded in 1893.
But saved in Little Jordan church was Leonidas William Pierce, one of Fannin County's most distinguished citizens. In 1900, after nine years in China, he returned home with a wife and two children, Ethel and Paul. Eagerly gazing through the railroad coach windows as the Cannonball chugged into Savoy, to their bewildered amazement, they saw a sea of faces, wagons, buggies. In those days, returning from China was almost comparable to an astronaut's return from the moon. People from all over the county had come to see "the missionary who had gone to China."
The little log house is gone. its memory has almost faded from our minds. But the labors of its founders continued to bear fruit. People had been saved there. Lives were changed. A more Christian community had grown up. On the other side of the world, Little Jordan's witness in L. W. Pierce had resulted in hundreds of people baptized, eleven day schools started, and twelve churches organized. There are Chinese in heaven because a life was surrendered to God.
Sid H. (1833-1914) and Suzan Brown Pierce (1845-1923) donated this burial ground, near the Little Jordan Baptist Church (active 1850-1893).
The Ector Baptist Church, organized by former Little Jordan members, deeded the cemetery to Savoy Baptist Church, 1953. Pioneers' heirs fenced the area in 1966.
Directions: From Savoy go 3 miles east on US 82.
Information on the Little Jordan Cemetery is on the Fannin County GenWeb site.