The History of the Oldest Church in Tarrant County, Texas

On July 18, 1926, Norris shot and killed a Fort Worth lumberjack, Dexter Elliot Chipps, in the church office. In 1935, Norris accepted a second pastorate in addition to his Fort Worth church, Temple Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, thus expanding his influence. After his mediating leadership, the First Baptist Church applied for membership of the Tarrant Baptist Association on October 8, 1990, and was received under the Watchcare program for one year. The oldest church in Tarrant County, it was originally founded on the third Saturday of February 1846. In 1882, a portion of this congregation separated to form the Southside Baptist Church (now Broadway Baptist Church).

In 1974, this facility was sold to Calvary Temple, and the First Baptist Church met in the Tandy School building. Under the leadership of Morgan Wells, 1886-1896, the church grew to 541 members, built a new building with 1,100 seats on Taylor and Third Streets and hosted the organizational meeting of the Tarrant County Baptist Association on October 14, 1886 and the Southern Baptist National Convention in May 1890. During Gough's administration, the church held services at the Tarrant County Courthouse until it burned down in the spring of 1876. After nearly seventy years, on October 14, 1991, the First Baptist Church of Fort Worth was fully readmitted to the Tarrant Baptist Association as an accredited member of the Texas Baptist General Convention. In July 1931, the First Baptist Church established the Premillenium Baptist Missionary Fraternity, which in the following years was divided into the World, Bible, Southwide and Independent Baptist Fellowship groups, each of which acts as an independent organization.

According to records investigated by two members of the Lonesome Dove Baptist Church, Betty Tanner and Frances Hogue, two of the men traveling in the first caravan were so impressed with the new land that they returned to Missouri in 1945 and persuaded other family members to travel to Texas. Because of Norris' continued open criticism of the Southern Baptist Convention, his decision to discard the SBC literature, his attacks on SBC schools (particularly Baylor University, which he accused of teaching evolution and infidelity), and his spirit of lack of cooperation, the Tarrant County Baptist Association withdrew the scholarship from the church in 1922. The Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Wandering Girls was one of more than two hundred rescue homes in the United States during the Third Great Awakening - a period of religious activism led by churches and organizations such as the Christian Women's Union for Temperance and the Christian Association of Young Women. A long new chapter in the history of this oldest church began when he called Pastor John Franklyn Norris, owner and publisher of the Baptist Standard from 1907 to 1909. The Upchurches, being marginalized in Waco, closed their rescue home there and moved to Dallas where they opened a rescue home in Oak Cliff in 1899. The church lost at least 600 members in 1911 after a split and then lost its building and pastor's house to a fire in 1912. After nearly seventy years on October 14th 1991 it was fully readmitted to Tarrant Baptist Association as an accredited member of Texas Baptist General Convention.

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