| Original Site of St. Mary's Episcopal Church Anglicans in Bellville began gathering for informal worship services in the 1850s at the home of Bellville attorney Nehemiah Holland. In 1861, Bishop Alexander Gregg held the first official service in the Masonic lodge building. Under the leadership of the Rev. Daniel Shaver, St. Mary's was admitted to the Diocese of Texas as a new congregation the following year. Charter members included Nehemiah Holland, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin T. Harris, Charles H. Harris, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Reese Blake, William and Sarah Paine Thompson, and Robert and Rebecca Chambers Paine. A period of marked growth during the 1870s under the leadership of the Rev. Lindsey P. Rucker and dedicated lay members led to the purchase of property at this site, and the congregation constructed Bellville's first church building. Described as a wooden structure with Gothic Revival features and stained glass windows from Munich, Germany, the building was consecrated in 1881. The first funeral in the new church building was for Nehemiah Holland, considered to be St. Mary's founder. After 80 years of service to the congregation, the original building was replaced with a new structure on the adjacent lot in 1961. Additional facilities, including a parish hall and education wing, were built to accommodate the ministries of the parish. St. Mary's Episcopal Church remains a significant part of the religious and cultural history of Bellville as it continues a strong tradition of worship, education and outreach activities. |
This page last updated: 7/15/2008
Original Site of St. Mary's Episcopal Church Historical Marker Location Map, Bellville, Texas
Related Themes: Texas Freemasons, Masonic Lodges, Freemasonry
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