HISTORY OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IN HAMILTON
It is not known exactly when the “seed of the kingdom” was first planted in Hamilton County, Texas, or by whom, but one of the great pioneers for the cause of Christ in this part of Texas was William Stirman who was brought into the restoration movement by “Racoon” John Smith. William Stirman preached in many Texas towns and communities from 1846 – 1849. This, and the fact that some were New Testament Christians when they moved here, probably accounts for the few scattered Christians found in Hamilton when they first started to organize into a congregation about 1875. One historic document notes that there were representatives from the church in Hamilton at a Christian Conference held in Austin, Texas in 1854. This would indicate more than a century of New Testament Christianity in Hamilton.
T. E. (Ed) Stirman was called the “Moses Lard” of Texas. For a while he lived in Comanche and preached in surrounding communities. From a letter by C. M. Wilmeth, which appeared in the Texas Christian Monthly, June 1876, “I assisted Brother T. E. Stirman in a six day meeting in Hamilton, Sunday, June 21 - Saturday, June 27, 1876. Eight took membership and a congregation of about twenty was organized.
On June 24, 1884, the original incorporation Charter was applied for and signed by Hiram Hawley, Jef Boynton and W. M. Sparkman as trustees, with the name of Simpson Loyd affixed thereto as Justice of the Peace and Notary Public. The Charter was signed and made official by Joe W. Baines, Secretary of the state of Texas, on July 2, 1884 A.D. The church in Hamilton obtained this Charter of Incorporation in order to buy a lot and build a house of worship. The estimated value of goods, cattle, land rights and credits owned and to be owned by this incorporation was then fifteen hundred dollars.
The first meeting house was a wooden structure built on the corner of Reagan and Leslie Streets in 1884. It had a bell tower and a bell. When the church outgrew the building, it was torn down and a larger frame building was erected on the same lot. In 1928, a Sister Pace left some property to the church which enabled them to add the frame building. A commodious brick building was erected in 1936, known as the Reagan Street Church of Christ.
The present meeting house was constructed in 1964 on a five-acre site located on the corner of Nicholson and Boynton Streets. After years of absence, the bell was placed permanently in the church courtyard.
Some of the men who have preached and held gospel meetings were W. M. Speck, T. H. Bass, C. R. Nichols, J. D. Tant, Early Arceneaux, Thomas Milholland, W. L. Olapant, Lyle Price, Lanny Henniger, Price Billingsley, Claude McClung, Cled Wallace, Paul Southern, O. O. O. Newton, Leland Aiton, E. W. Stovall, John Burkhart, Luther Norman, R. V. Hamilton, Luke Shira, Joe Scarborough, Harry Johnson, Wilburn Dennis, Holland Boring, Sr., Dennis Kellog, Herman Beauchamp, John Lowry, Glen Gray, Chris Frizzell, Tom Haddox, Martin Suniga, Juan Moncada, Jim Sullenger, Don Morrison, and Richard L. (Dick) Stovall, Don Middleton, Troy Sandifer (Youth Minister), and Kerry Clark. Presently Tom Moore is the preacher.
Elders who have served were Warner Ferguson, E. B. Pruitt, Sr., Jessie Shipman, Will Smitherman, William Stanley, C. T. Lawson, W. M. Sparkman, J. T. Boynton, J. E. Smith, J. P. Gerald, P. M. Gerald, G. W. Glover, W. P. McPherson, Jr., Burton Wilson, M. A. Wilson, Lee Sullivan, George Tolbert, Jack Davidson, Jim Ervin, Jimmy C. Adams, and Jim Sullenger. Currently serving as Elders are J.W. (Pete) Jordan, John C. Jones, Barry Christian, and Boyce Edwards.
Deacons who have served were Tom Smith, J. F. Pruitt, Olney Glover, Syl Dyer, Glen Horner, Eldon Jones, W. O. Manning, W. P. Lawson, Don McCord, J. E. Pruitt, Ray Ragsdale, Gus Rost, Paul Gardner, E. H. Jones, Ellis Lee, James L. Adams, Jimmy C. Adams, Ray Horner, John C. Jones, Bill Lewis, Danny Hemphill, Barry Christian, Dennis Ensor, Danny Poe, Richard Beers, Will Hale, Dale Harrison, Monte Horne, Jason Horton, Mike Southerland, Mike Turner, Gene Payne, and Richard Beers. Currently serving as Deacons are Don Harrison, and Ronnie Gass.
With many prayers and much planning, groundwork for the Annex Building began September 15, 1993 and was completed April 1, 1994. It was built adjacent to the main building and was constructed to benefit the Lord’s Church of Park Heights with spiritual growth and educational needs. It provides a fellowship area, location for funeral dinners of friends and family members, weddings, showers and receptions, congregational activities, and community functions.
Bobby Horner, Architectural Draftsman, giving of his time and talent, designed the Annex Building plans. John C. Jones contracted and constructed the building. His expertise and personal touches have added to the usefulness of the facility. Bobby and John grew up worshipping with the Park Heights congregation. Bobby is a building inspector with the City of Waco. John is currently an Elder at Park Heights. He owns and operates J. C. Jones Co. in Hamilton.
The following worked as church secretaries over the years. They were Lisa Bailey, Beverly Phillips, Pete Jordan (filled in), Ruby Jones, Susan Hemphill, Joy Payne, and Libby Moser. Michele Jones is currently the church secretary.
Those who have been bookkeepers were Bill Manning, Doris Rost, Jimmy C. Adams, Richard Beers, and Pete Jordan. Currently the bookkeeper for the church is Susie Harrison.
Custodians working to keep the building clean have been Mr. and Mrs. Green in the early years, Beverly Phillips, Susan Hemphill, Robin and Debra Newton, Jerre and Libby Moser, James and Melanee Keleman, Teri Clark, Don and Susie Harrison, and Jason Stringer. Currently Jessie Newton takes care of the building.