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Early Baptist Church Associations in Texas
By O. H. Griffith
      The first association of Baptist churches was formed October 9, 1840, as Union Association. It was composed of Independence, LaGrange, and Travis churches. They were located in what are today Washington, Fayette, and Falls counties.

      1843. The first Baptist association organized in East Texas was the Sabine Association. Lemuel Herrin led in the organization. The Sabine Association dissolved after six years due to a strong anti-missionary element. The missionary party then organized the Soda Lake Association. Out of this association were subsequently formed the Mt. Zion and the Shelby County associations, loyal to the Missionary Baptist Association and the American Baptist Association.

      By 1853 there were eleven local associations and 150 churches in Texas.

      1857. Mt. Zion Association was organized October 30, 1857, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, located at what is now Camp Ground Cemetery, County Road 3185, Mt. Enterprise. Mt. Zion Church no longer exists, but the Mt. Zion Association History and Archives Committee has erected a Historical Plaque at the site in commemoration of the organization of the association.

      1881. Most of the Shelby County churches had fellowshipped in the Mt. Zion Association, but in 1881, with the blessing of the Mt. Zion Association churches, the Shelby County Association was organized. When the split came in the Baptist Missionary Association, 1949, several churches left the Mt. Zion and Shelby County associations and organized the Mt. Olive Association, in the fellowship of the BMA. The Mt. Zion and Shelby County associations have been loyal supporters of the Missionary Baptist cause in Texas and the American Baptist Association.

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[From Robert Ashcraft, Contending for the Faith, 2006, p. 534; used with permission; title modified. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]



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