|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Directions to Cemetery: From Spurger, Texas go west 3 miles on FM 1013. Turn south on CR 4540 at the Beech Creek Church sign and go 0.25 mile. The church and cemetery are on the left.
Location: south off Farm 1013, between Hillister & Spurger in Tyler County, Texas.
Mailing Address: Beech Creek Baptist Church; Rt. 1; Spurger, Texas 77660
Note: Oldest Baptist Church in Tyler County with complete records of existence.
The Beech Creek Baptist Church was organized on September 24, 1855. There were eight Charter Members that came to this settlement from Georgia. They were: James G. Collier and his wife Elizabeth, Mary Keith, Mary Caswell, Valumnia Freeman, Lucy Ratcliff, Thomas Collier and Margaret Baker.
The first meetings after organizing the church were November 24 and 25, 1855 in a log house on Spring Branch. This house was just west of the present location. At the Turner Branch school in Spurger, Mary Jordan, W. R. Ratcliff, and a servant, the property of Thomas Collier, were received into the church for baptism. These were the first additions to the church after organization.
On December 24, 1888 J.P. Jordan, R. J. Jordan, L.A. Jordan, M.J. Jordan, W.G. Collier, R.A. Collier, M.E. Collier, Bill Swearingen, Warren Hooks, Elizabeth Stewart and Joe Ratcliff called for their letters and organized Oak Grove Church in a log house two miles south of the present location. On April 26, 1891, the Beech Creek Baptist Church went to the Oak Grove Church and asked them to unite with the Beech Creek Baptist Church. The Oak Grove Church agreed and they appointed to locate a place for a church building.
The committee consisted of: J.G. Collier, J. P. Jordan, W.G. Collier, W. L. Collier, Allison Jeffcoat, J. G. Ratcliff and G. L. Rich. They chose the present location. J.G. Collier known as Captain Collier gave three acres of land for the church yard and cemetery. The house was built shortly afterwards. At that time the road went through the cemetery. That is why the building faces the cemetery instead of the present day road.
The first minister to be ordained in this church was Joseph D. Phelps on August 30, 1857.
Henry Gainer, the servant of Col. Gainer, was ordained in this church on November 3, 1867. He was the first Negro Preacher ordained in the State of Texas.
Our country is two hundred years old and our church has been active one hundred and twenty-one years of that time. It has had seven hundred and sixty-six white members and twenty-seven negro servant members.
In later years the building has been remodeled. The old building was typical of the time it was built. It was a one room building made of ruff lumber. It had a beam from the floor to the ceiling to help support the ceiling. It had cracks in the floor, a wood heater, an outdoor toilet and kerosene lamps for light
Rev. R. L. Pope was pastor longer than any other person. He was pastor from 1917 to 1953, which is a total of 46 years.
In it's beginning, the church was small and compared to modern churches it is still small, but we believe we have contributed in a large way to God's work over the years and hope and prey we can continue to do so for many more years.
(NOTE: above by Rev. E. C. Holland written in 1980 and submitted by James E. Holland )