Providence Cemetery, Lamar County, Texas
LOCATION: Providence Cemetery Providence Cemetery is located in the northeast quadrant of the county about 2.3 miles northeast from Loop 286 on Farm Market Road #195. It is in Block 33 of the Lamar County Road Map produced by American Drafting and Services revised December 1993. DIRECTIONS: From Loop 286, take the Farm Market 195 exit. Go northeast about 2.3 miles. the cemetery is on the right side of the road, north of the Providence Baptist Church. It is half way between the Givens and Amhearst cutoff roads. GPS COORDINATES: 33° 41' 55" N, -95° 29' 43" W
(33.698757 Latitude and -95.495435 Longitude)
OLDEST KNOWN BURIAL: The oldest inscribed grave in the cemetery being that of Minus F. Bullard, who died 25 Jul 1873. NUMBER OF GRAVES: There are 933 graves including the unknowns. (January 2016) SIGNS/MARKERS: There is a sign on FM 195 beside the church.
Historic Texas Cemetery: No Texas Historical Commission Marker: Yes, for the church
The following is the text of the Texas Historical Marker placed on the nearby church. Providence Baptist Church. This small rural church was organized in 1868 by John A. Fuller with about twelve members. Early worship services were held at the Methodist Church building and in the local school house. Joseph Givens, for whom the surrounding community was named, donated the land at this site for church use, and the first permanent sanctuary, consisting of one large room, was constructed in 1870. Summer revivals were held outdoors under a brush arbor. For nearly one hundred years, baptisms were held in local ponds and cotton gin pools. (1985) The following is the text used to obtain the Texas Historical Marker. PROVIDENCE BAPTIST CHURCH - Lamar County, Texas -
Providence Baptist Church, organized in 1868, is a small rural church with a 1983 resident membership of 151, ministering to the needs of the Givens and Adams communities. Surrounded by towering oak trees, the church is located on Farm-to-Market Road 195 northeast of Paris, Lamar County, Texas, two and one-half miles from the intersection of Loop 286 N.E. and Farm-to-Market Road 195.(FN:1)
This particular section of Farm-to-Market Road 195, previously designated Pine Bluff Road, was originally part of the Central National Road of the Republic of Texas. Central National Road, created in 1844, began at the Trinity River in Dallas, traveled down Pine Bluff Street in the City of Pars, and along Pine Bluff Road past the site of the Providence Baptist Church, finally ending at the Pine Bluffs on the Red River.(FN:2) This was an important road since cotton was hauled to Red River for shipment by boat to New Orleans, and most of the supplies arriving at the Pine Bluffs that were destined for Paris were hauled overland on this road.(FN:3)
Settlers arrived in the Givens and Adams area as early as 1835, bringing with them a desire for education and worship. Mention is made in 1844 Lamar County Deed Records that acreage was reserved for a school house in this particular vicinity.(FN:4) On December 11, 1847, thirteen acres, located in the same general area as the school, were deeded to the Trustees of the Methodist Church at Mount Pleasant.(FN:5) After construction of a church building, both the Methodist and Baptist believers in the area jointly used the Methodist building for worship services.
Adjacent to the Mount Pleasant church, a cemetery was established where many of the early settlers were laid to eternal rest. At present, the only remaining evidence of the abandoned cemetery consists of a small number of weathered grave markers.
Joseph R. Givens, for whom the Givens community was named, arrived in Lamar County in 1856. In 1913 he reminisced that upon his arrival, Mount Pleasant was one of the oldest preaching places and campgrounds in that area, and worshipers came from adjacent counties and even crossed Red River from Indian Territory to attend the meetings there. Visitors occupied log cabins located within the campground during their stay and were summoned to preaching services by the blowing of a horn.(FN:6)
In 1868, County Missionary Henry Stevenson wrote the Editor of THE TEXAS BAPTIST HERALD regarding work in the Red River Baptist Association, particularly the organization of Providence Baptist Church. He stated that Bro. John A. Fuller commenced preaching in the Methodist church house, organized the Baptist church with about a dozen members, protracted the meeting, and the Methodists with others commenced joining. This did not suit the remaining Methodists of that society and they soon routed the Baptists, causing them to leave the house, but the Baptists were not easily discouraged. They commenced at a school house near by, and held their ground until they were thirty-one in number.(FN:7)
At the annual Red River Baptist Association meeting held in Clarksville in September 1868, Providence Baptist Church was welcomed into that Association. When the Lamar Count Baptist Association was organized in 1887, Providence changed its membership to that association. The Lamar County Baptist Association annual meetings in 1890, 1929, 1935, and 1952 were held at Providence. In 1967 the name of the association was changed to Red River Valley Baptist Association and its 1983 annual meeting was held at Providence Baptist Church.(FN:8)
In 1870 the Providence congregation began construction of its first permanent sanctuary consisting of one large room. The land, donated by Joseph R. Givens but not legally deeded to the church at this time, was situated on the south side of Pine Bluff Road less than one mile west of the Mount Pleasant Methodist Church property. The 35'x50' building was still unfinished in early October 1870, however, Elders A. J. Brown and Daniel Buckner held a revival which resulted in twenty-three joining the fellowship.(FN:9)
Land adjacent to the Providence Baptist Church was also donated by Joseph R. Givens for a cemetery, the earliest grave marker reflecting an 1873 death date.
One of the first temperance groups in Lamar County was organized at Providence Baptist Church. Called 'Friends of Temperance,' the charter was granted on August 22, 1872, to Providence Council #244 located at the Providence Church. Other social and church groups joined Providence in the temperance movement to abolish drinking and were successful in making Lamar County dry the latter part of the Nineteenth Century. After 112 years, this original charter remains in the possession of Providence Baptist Church.(FN:10)
It was not until April 1908 that a deed was made by Joseph R. Givens conveying the property to the Deacons of Providence Baptist Church.(FN:11) Mr. Givens died in 1915 at the age of eighty-five and is buried in Providence Cemetery.
In 1908 the church building was recovered, painted, and papered. To the first couple to marry in the renovated church, the pastor proposed to perform a free marriage ceremony.(FN:12)
In 1946 the original building was extensively remodeled and enlarged, the first major repairs in about forty years. Two classrooms and choir space were added and the entrance changed from the west side to the north side of the building. Dedication services were held on December 29, 1946.(FN:13)
In July 1955, a building program was approved for the construction of a new building.(FN:14) The old frame building, originally constructed in 1870 of hand-hewn beams and square nails and remodeled in 1946, was completely torn down and the salvaged materials used in the construction of a home by J. E. Shoemate in the Novice community.
The new asbestos-siding building, consisting of an auditorium and eight classrooms, was dedicated on October 7, 1956. As a result of church growth, in 1972 an educational wing was added and presently stands on the actual site of the original 1870 structure. Complete renovation of the auditorium and a second addition consisting of a fellowship hall and kitchen facilities were simultaneously completed and dedicated on September 16, 1979.(FN:15) Providence Baptist Church has continuously remained in the same location since the first sanctuary was constructed in 1870.
Baptisms were conducted in local ponds and cotton gin pools until 1972, at which time a baptistery was installed. In earlier years and prior to cooling devices for buildings, summer revivals were conducted outside under a brush arbor/tabernacle.
Hundreds of people have entered through the doors of Providence Baptist Church to attend worship services, Sunday School, Training Union, funerals, weddings, protracted meetings, revivals, annual Association meetings, dinner on the ground, Christmas programs and trees, Vacation Bible Schools, Easter egg hunts, and children's programs. This Southern Baptist church has been consistent in contributing toward the Cooperative Program, annual offerings for home, state and foreign missions, children's home offerings, local Association needs, and ministry in the community. Through this participation, its Christian witness has been shown throughout the world.
A detailed history of Providence Baptist Church can be found in 'Providence Baptist Church 1868-1983,' published in 1984. A copy may be acquired by contacting Katy Allred, Route 6, Box 48, Paris, Texas 75460, or Ann Spencer, Route 6, Box 242, Paris, Texas 75460.
Written and submitted by: Katy Allred and Ann Spencer.
1. Lamar County, Texas, Map.
2. State of Texas Historical Site MArker, Highway 82 West and Loop 286.
3. 'Backward Glances,' THE PARIS NEWS, 10 Aug. 1875, and Lamar County (Texas) Commissioner's Court Minutes, Book 1, pp. 84 and 170.
4. Lamar County (Texas) Deed Records, Book ABC, p. 368.
5. Lamar County (Texas) Deed Records, Book D, pp. 127-28.
6. THE PARIS NEWS, 15 Nov. 1946.
7. THE TEXAS BAPTIST HERALD, 11 Nov. 1868, p. 1.
8. Red River Valley Baptist Association, MINUTES, 1983.
9. THE TEXAS BAPTIST HERALD, 26 Oct. 1870, p. 2.
10. Friends of Temperance Charter, Providence Council No. 244.
11. Lamar County (Texas) Deed Records, Book 129, pp. 79-80.
12. THE PARIS WEEKLY NEWS, 30 Jan. 1908, p. 2, from the files of Dan Hembree, Paris, Texas.
13. THE PARIS NEWS, 27 Dec. 1946.
14. Providence Baptist Church, MINUTES, July 1955, and THE PARIS NEWS, 3 Oct. 1956.
15. Providence Baptist Church, MINUTES, July 1955, and THE PARIS NEWS, 3 Oct. 1956.
Booth, Bedford, interview, Paris, Texas 1983.
Caldwell, Joe B., 'Mt. Pleasant/Providence Settlers . . .,' THE PARIS NEWS, 26 Nov. 1944.
Culbertson, June Rosson, interview, Paris, Texas, August, 1983.
Crain, John, interview, Paris, Texas, 17 Oct. 1983.
Holt, Byron, interview, Paris, Texas, 19 July 1983.
Ingram, Clara Saylors, interview, Paris, Texas, 1983.
'Lamar County Association,' ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SOUTHERN BAPTIST, I.
Lamar County Association, MINUTES, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1899, 1901-20, 1930, and 1950.
Lamar County (Texas) Commissioner's Court Minutes, Book 1, pp. 84 and 170.
Lamar County (Texas) Commissioner's Court Minutes, Book (number torn off), p. 507.
Lamar County (Texas) Deed Records, Book ABC, p. 368.
Lamar County (Texas) Deed Records, Book D, pp. 127-28.
Lamar County (Texas) Deed Records, Book 129, pp. 79-80.
Lasher, George W. D.D., ed., THE MINISTERIAL DIRECTORY OF THE BAPTIST CHURCHES, Oxford, Ohio: Press of the Oxford News Co., 1899.
Maxey, Rice, THE TEXAS BAPTIST HERALD, 26 Oct. 1870, p. 2.
Neville, A. W., 'Backward Glances,' THE PARIS NEWS, 15 Nov. 1946.
_____, 'Backward Glances,' THE PARIS NEWS, 10 Aug. 1975.
THE PARIS NEWS, 27 Dec. 1946.
THE PARIS NEWS, supplement, 25 July 1952.
THE PARIS NEWS, 3 Oct. 1956.
THE PARIS NEWS, 14 Sept. 1979.
THE PARIS WEEKLY NEWS, 30 Jan. 1908, p. 2.
THE PARIS WEEKLY NEWS, 5 Mar. 1908.
THE PARIS WEEKLY NEWS, 12 Mar. 1908.
THE PARIS WEEKLY NEWS, 16 Apr. 1908.
THE PARIS WEEKLY NEWS, 23 Apr. 1908.
THE PARIS WEEKLY NEWS, 9 July 1908.
THE PARIS WEEKLY NEWS, 6 Sept. 1908.
THE PARIS WEEKLY NEWS, 17 Sept. 1908.
THE PARIS WEEKLY NEWS, 5 Nov. 1908.
THE PARIS WEEKLY NEWS, 24 Dec. 1908.
Providence Baptist Church, MINUTES, 1922-1983.
Providence Council No. 244, Temperance Charter, 22 Aug. 1872.
Red River Association, MINUTES, 1869, 1871, 1872, 1879, 1880, 1882, 1883, 1884, and 1885.
Red River Valley Baptist Association, MINUTES, 1983.
Sims, James R., interview, Paris, Texas, 1983.
Stevenson, Henry, 'Red River Association,' THE TEXAS BAPTIST HERALD, 11 Nov. 1868, p. 1.
THE TEXAS BAPTIST, 13 July 1875.
THE TEXAS BAPTIST, 14 Sept. 1876.
Texas State Historical Site Marker, Highway 82 West and Loop 286, Paris, Texas.
LAST ENUMERATION: Providence Cemetery maintains a current listing of burials. ADD'L INFORMATION: THE PARIS NEWS, Sunday, Nov. 26, 1944: 'Mount Pleasant-Providence Settlers Formed One of First Temperance Groups in Lamar Co.- by Joe B. Caldwell. (Information given by J. P. Ford, Mrs. J. O. Sisson, Mrs. F. O. Reed and Mrs. Roy F. Thompson gratefully acknowledged) On a cool, windswept hill, about five miles northeast of Paris, stand three stately cedars, lofty sentinels that were planted by loving hands a century ago to mark the burying place of pioneer dead. In early days the hillside was covered with great old oaks but a woodchopper, apparently unmindful of the vigil these sturdy oaks were keeping over that sacred ground, chopped them down, and in the process of falling the trees or from age and erosion many of the tombstones are flattened out. This is the old Crane burying ground, and nearby once stood a church called Mount Pleasant. This first church community was established and the Mount Pleasant Church was built by Matthew Reed-- who came to Texas in 1844-- John Gaines, Bill Stephens, and Jasper Crane, Elby Crane, who was buried there in 1853 and John Crane Sr. buried there in 1867 at the age of 89, no doubt supervised the building of this pioneer church, as both were becoming aged when the church was built. Others of this early community were the Baileys, Guthries, Garrets, Russells and Wilsons and doubtless a few more early families whose names are lost in the passing of time. Although the early Mount Pleasant Church was a Baptist, many other denominations worshiped there, James 'Daddy' Graham, who established a school in Paris that still bears his name, preached at Old Mount Pleasant, although he was a Methodist. The old church was of logs and like others of its time, could not accommodate the large crowds that attended the services, as here came frontier folk for miles around for spiritual comfort and social contacts denied them except at rare intervals, and a large brush arbor was constructed beside the church from time to time where great revivals were held, revivals that built foundation of Christian fellowship that exists to this day- 100 years later.
New Church Built-- In the early 1870's this first log church was replaced by a new church building constructed about half a mile west of the original site and this second church was renamed Providence. This church founded on the faith of its forefathers, and of such sound material construction, stands today and accommodates many progeny of the original settlers of the community; truly a fitting monument to those old pathfinders. Active in the building of the new church were the Gains, Landers, Givens and Mullins families and the later church was built on land contributed by Uncle Joe Givens as also was the cemetery alongside. Others who settle round about the Providence-Mount Pleasant community as the years went by, but prior to 1900, were the following: Ingram, Meeks, Rhodes, Rose, Coldwell, Barnett, Goode, Bartee, Grubbs, Rosson, Parchman, Whitten, Hoffman, Franklin, Sisson, Taylor, Crane, Pike, Herron, Nowell, Freeman, Upton, Barber, Bullard, Hice, Moore, Madding, Stuart, Nance, Saffold, Francis, Fletcher, Dulaney, Tibbs, Tyler, Morris, Nixon, Coker, Neel, DeWitt, Smith, Hickman, Walton, Saylors, Messenger, Adams, Stone, Goff, Strickland, Burke, Yeats, Holland, Perrin, Bybee, Patterson, Scarborough, Carroll, Baker, Woolsey, Peace, Keith, Long, Casey, Harris, Holmes, Burnett, Luck, Walters, Hightowers, Mathews, Brandon, Jumper, and Morgan. Early pastors were the Reverends John, Jerry and Sam Crane, J. O. Sisson, Harden, Hunter and Buckner. The Reverend Sisson preached for 15 years and during one of his revivals held in a brush arbor alongside the church there were 54 conversions. The Reverend Buckner often walked from Paris out to the church to preach; he later established Buckner's Orphan Home at Dallas, a world famous institution. He is also mentioned in connection with other early churches in Lamar County. There were seven of the Crane boys, son of Jasper Crane, and five of them were preachers. They too preached in many of the other early churches of Lamar County. Here was established in the early days one of the first temperance groups in Lamar county.
The society was called 'Friends of Temperance' and the following charter was granted them under date of Aug. 27, 1872: 'Friends of Temperance, State Council of the State of Texas. Know ye, that the State Council of the Friends of Temperance have granted and do grant unto J. M. Gaines, W. H. Nowell, T. Mullins, J. Schencke, J. Cromwell, Jos. Proctor, Henry Clark, Robert Givens, Frank [Francis O.] Reed, Miles Wilson, W. A. Rice and James Irvin, a charter to Providence Council No. 244, located in the Providence Church.' This charter, a well printed and dignified appearing document, is signed by Wm. Carey Crane, president, and J.E. Porter, secretary.
Help Make County Dry- Other church and social groups joined with Providence in the temperance movement and succeeded in making Lamar County dry the latter part of the 19th century, and the sentiment of the county remained preponderantly in favor of prohibiting the legalized sale of liquor ever since. The good wife of one of the early preachers, Mrs. J. O. Sisson, still pert and chipper despite her 81 years, lives in Paris. Mrs. Sisson vividly recalls the early history surrounding the church community at Providence. And all though some 60 years have elapsed since her wedding to the Rev. Sisson, she recalls with a chuckle that on her wedding day, three other suitors beside her bridegroom took dinner at her home. Yes, some of those early-day belles cut quite a swath. All of the real old-timers who settles the early church community of old Mount Pleasant have long since passed on, and most of the earliest settlers who established the church at Providence are likewise at rest in the peaceful cemetery nearby, but many of their offspring still live in the vicinity and there is hardly a family in Lamar County who does not bear blood or marriage relationship to some of them. Yes, they founded well, spiritually and physically, and the results of that firm foundation are exemplified in the lives of their people in Lamar County and throughout the Nation.'
The following is the text of the Texas Historical Marker placed on the nearby church.
Providence Baptist Church.
This small rural church was organized in 1868 by John A. Fuller with about twelve members. Early worship services were held at the Methodist Church building and in the local school house. Joseph Givens, for whom the surrounding community was named, donated the land at this site for church use, and the first permanent sanctuary, consisting of one large room, was constructed in 1870. Summer revivals were held outdoors under a brush arbor. For nearly one hundred years, baptisms were held in local ponds and cotton gin pools. (1985)
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