Fannin County, Texas

Original records from the Pecan Grove Church of Christ are at the Fannin County Museum of History.

Pecan Grove Church of Christ

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

​What I remember About the Church of Christ in My Part of the County

By Oline Ramey Caraway

“In a letter dated November 1911, my father wrote my mother Nora Stone, who was visiting In Paris, Texas, that the Sunday before that he and Willis Porter met for Bible class at Long Branch (School). He stated, . . we had no church meeting, because the Sacraments were not brought’ So this was a place of meeting.

“On my parents’ marriage certificate, December 24, 1911, A. R. Reaves signed as the preacher who married them. Along with this material, I found a picture of U. G. Wilkinson, who might have been a preacher there at Pecan Grove. I also recall them speaking of a Brother Ellmore.

“My memories of the Church Center around Pecan Grove are as follows. It was a white wood frame building with a porch, and it was situated on a small hill. Tall pecan trees were growing on the lot, and a ladies’ restroom was built at the back of the lot. The building had a platform for the speaker. There was a table covered in white linen and lace for the Lord's Supper, and the building was heated in winter by a large wood stove with a drum on the pipes in the middle of the building. I remember some mischievous boys put red pepper in the drum once and, when the stove got hot, we all went outside coughing and teary-eyed!

“I remember attending Pecan Grove from about 1920 to 1929. My mother taught our Card class on the left side of the back of the church. When I got older, Mr. Holt taught us in the front on the right side of the building. The adults held class on the left front, and teenagers were at the right back.

“As a term of respect, we called older Christians "Uncle and Aunt." Uncle Mance Belcher had a vineyard and made wine for the communion. We had no refrigeration to keep grape juice. Aunt Nannie Belcher prepared the unleavened bread. A glass of wine and a plate of bread were passed for Communion on each side of the building. We went up row by row to place our offerings on the front table. There were a lot of beautiful voices in the congregation, singing "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder," with all parts being sung,

“We all looked forward to our summer revivals. The men carried the pews out under the pecan trees, and lanterns lighted the gathering place. I especially remember Brother C. D. Record preaching at these meetings. Usually, believers were baptized into Christ in a pool near the building. But the pool nearly dried up and was muddy in the summer of 1926 when I and three of my friends obeyed the Gospel. We had to be taken to the Savoy Church of Christ where there was a baptistry.

“My cousin, Vera Cooksey Burchfield, reminded me of a preacher named O’Neall who held revivals at Pecan Grove. Like any congregation, people come and go, but the families I remember are: Mack and Minnie Cooksey and their children Claude, Mary Bell, Vera, and James; Bert and Dolley Barnett and their children Fern, Jim, and Bud; Manse and Nannie Belcher; the Bellows family (Robert married Mary Bell Cooksey); Mrs. Ada Barnett and Maxine Barnett; the Biggerstaff family; Mr. and Mrs. Ed Duckworth and their nephew Jay and niece Jewel; Mr. and Mrs. Will Holt and son Orvall; Gale and Daisy Jenkins and their children Mary Sue, Myron, Willis, Flora, Thelma, Lavern, and Ruth; Mr. and Mrs. Emmitt Patillo and their children Mary, David, Ruth, Elizabeth, and another son; Mr. Porter and his wife Lou; Mrs. Price and her children Dowel and Nannie Mary; Walter Fulp and his mother; Elijah and Nora Ramey and their daughter Oline; his father F.N. Ramey; Jim Ramey and daughters Bina and Oleta; Ulyse (Coon) Nelson, who often led singing, as did Jack Bellows; the Bill Whitehead family with children Homer, Turner, Minnie, Jim, and Gladys; Mr. George Wright and his wife Tinney and their children Lorene, Paul, and Rodney. It seems like there was a Durrett family, and a lot of young men attended church because of the pretty Jenkins girls. Homer Lee was one of the young men.

“Elijah and Nora Ramey often brought the Lane children to church with them. Ma Bell married Walter Fulp. It has been 73 years, so I have forgotten a lot. But I remember all the wonderful food when we had "Dinner on the Ground" during summer revivals.

“In the 1911 letter my dad wrote to my mother, he mentioned visiting Bud and Delia Stephenson, who farmed near Pecan Grove. Miss Delia might have taught my dad, for I remember us going to visit her Champ's family near Lubbock, Texas, after we moved to Hereford, Texas. They were members.

“The Bible was read every Sunday and we felt close to God. Everyone tried to obey His commandments. In 1914 C. C. Stephenson and his wife donated the land where the Pecan Grove Church met. The location was northeast of Savoy and north of Ector in a rural setting. The picture of the building that stood there for many years was the only building that I think was ever there. It was very well maintained and had classrooms built in later years.

“This congregation ceased to meet in the mid 1980’s. The older people passed away or had moved away. The young people moved away to find jobs. When there were very few members left, they gave the building to Ravenna for a Community Center building, where it is still in good condition and being used as of March 27, 2002.”

“Young people who were taught at Pecan Grove Church of Christ years ago have made a “Great Influence” in many congregations in many other states, and are very active servants of God at this time. When the congregation felt they needed to make changes, the few members who were left went to other Churches of Christ nearby.

“The deed to Pecan Grove Church of Christ reads: ‘The State of Texas, County of Fannin—Know all men by these presents that we C. C. Stephens and Mary E. Stephens, husband and wife of the county of Fannin in the State of Texas, for and in consideration of the sum of Seven (dollars) and 50/100 (cents) to us paid by D. V. Porter, F. N. Ramey, and J. R. Poison, trustees of the Church of Christ, worshiping at Pecan Grove, Fannin County, Texas, receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, and the further stipulations, t reservations, and agreements hereinafter expresses and stated    '

“Another piece of the deed states: ‘ .. certain tract or parcel of lands situated in Fannin County, Texas, about eleven miles N. W. from Bonham and being 1-% acres of the Charles Carson survey beginning at the S.E. comer of field fence, as same now stands, near the S.E. comer of land conveyed to C. C. Stephenson by J. P. Morton and wife on October 30, 1912, by deed recorded in Deed records of Fannin County, Texas, in Book 128, page 236....’ The deed to Pecan Grove was made out December 7,1914, at 11:00 a.m. Book 127, page 536.”

Note: The Family History Center of Bonham has received a copy of a Session Book kept by the Church of Christ ministers who seem to record both this church, as well as the one at Fairview. The dates start in 1879. The portion starting September 27, 1914, records for the first time the name Pecan Grove Church of Christ, listing Elders D.V. Porter, J. R. Polston, F. M. Ramey, D. Porter, A. M. Belcher, and C. E. Patillo. The rest of the book does not speak directly to the church congregation of Pecan Grove.