First Presbyterian Church

Rev. James Anderson

May 14, 1850 - February 8, 1914

The early settlers of our community were hard working people. The life of these pioneers was not easy. The men and women had to be strong. Many pioneer settlers had little or no schooling. They helped to build the early towns of this area. The life of a pioneer settler was often a life of discipline and religion was an important part. Religion brought neighbors together in worship, given purpose of life, contributed to a sense of community, promoted sobriety, supported education, encouraged thoughtful discussion on a wide range of societal intrests, and helped establish order.Religion was practiced within each home with a Bible. The Family Bible was important to all pioneers as it helped them with their daily living and it was the record of family history. All birthdays and deaths were recorded in the Family Bible.

In 1872, Rev. James Anderson graduated from the Auburn Theological Seminary. In 1876, he graduated from Oakwood Seminary with the completion of Religion and Theological programs designed to foster the spiritual development of it's pastors. In the company of his classmates Rev. Warner B. Riggs, Rev. C.F. Godd and W.H. Niles, Rev. James Anderson of New York state arrived in Saint Jo in June of 1876 to become the first Presbyterian minister. He became widely known and came to be considered the Father of Presbyterianism in North-Western Texas.

He built the first church in 1878 and held the pastorate for some forty yearsbefore going to Bowie to help establish the Presbyterian church there. Rev. James Anderson opened the doors of his church to all denominations.

"March 27, 1878, a deed Lot 5, Block 15, sold by Irby Holt Boggess in his own handwriting, was presented to Rev. James Anderson for $1.00 and was to be used for the further consideration of having a worthy minister of the people in our community."

August 24, 1881, Rev. James Anderson married Sarah Elizabeth Foster Anderson (1845-1911). They had a daughter named Clary Elizabeth Anderson (Aug 1882 - Oct 1882), Edward L. (Nov 1883 - Dec 1955) and Hormoine Bowman Reddy (Nov 1886 - Jun 1979). His son Edward was educated at the College of Glasgow in Missouri, became a clerk of Montague and worked in the Montague Courthouse.

Rev. James Anderson is buried in Elmwood Cemetary, Bowie, Montague County Texas where he resides next to his wife Sarah.

The above was taken from an article in The Saint Jo Tribune, September 2017. The article was submitted by Sara Yetter.

Information for the article was from:

Pioneer Saint Jo Salad Days by Norma Thompson

100 years of Montague County

Find-A-Grave

Biography from Genealogical Magazine

Deed: H.D. Field Collection

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