Early Texas Methodism, 1815–1860

Originally exhibited August 28–December 11, 2015
Entry Hall


The earliest Protestant preaching in Texas is credited to Methodist Episcopal Church circuit rider Rev. William Stevenson (1768–1857). In 1815 he crossed the Red River into Texas from the Territory of Arkansas (now part of Oklahoma) and formed a society near Pecan Point. During the antebellum era, ministers and lay persons evangelized a significant number of Texans, organizing them into Methodist societies and Sunday Schools. Despite their success, early Texas Methodists left behind few records. This exhibition presents fifteen items from the Special Collections at Bridwell Library that document the Methodist movement during its formative years in Texas.

To accompany this exhibition honoring the bicentennial of Methodism in Texas, Bridwell Library has reprinted The Autobiography of the Rev. William Stevenson, recently edited by Dr. Ted A. Campbell, Professor of Church History at Perkins School of Theology. Free copies are available at Bridwell Library. A PDF of the book is available here


Bridwell Library Special Collections