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The Soda Lake Baptist Association (TX)
By J. B Link, 1896

The Eastern Missionary Baptist Association, afterwards called the Soda Lake, was organized in December, 1847, at Border. Church (since located near Jonesville), in Harrison county, Texas. Elder Samuel Herrin was its first Moderator, and John B. Webster its first Clerk. It was composed of four churches, viz: Border and Eight Mile, in Harrison county, Macedonia, in Panola county, and Henderson, in Rusk county, Texas. Elders Samuel Herrin and David Lewis, it is thought, were the only ministers in it at the organization. The second meeting of the Association was held with Macedonia church, Panola county, with Eld. Sam'l Herrin Moderator again, and William Davenport Clerk. At this meeting of the Association the name was changed to that of Soda Lake Association, at the suggestion of Bro. Gideon Smith, as better indicating the locality of the body. The third annual meeting was with Border church again, and again Eld. Sam'l Herrin was Moderator and John B. Webster Clerk. The fourth annual meeting was held with a church in Rusk county, at which meeting Eld. Jesse Witt was Moderator, and Casey Askew Clerk. The other Moderators, as far as we can learn, were Elders J. M. Griffin, David Culberson, father of Senator Culberson, A. E. Clemmons, W. H. McClelland, D. B. Hale, E. B. Blalock, E. B. Eaken, and for the last two sessions, S. M. Russell. The Association soon after its organization embraced a large territory, viz: Harrison, Marion, Cass, portions of Titus and Wood, all of Upshur, Gregg, Rusk and Panola counties. Up to 1861 it numbered about forty churches, and kept a missionary in the field the most of the time. Just before the war, the New Salem on the north, and Harmony on the south, and about ten years ago the Liberty Association on the west, were formed chiefly from the churches of Soda Lake Association, thus making it the mother of the Associations in East Texas, and greatly reducing its territory, which now embraces Harrison and Gregg counties, with a small portion of Upshur and one church in Rusk and one in Panola county. It numbers now about 20 churches, with about 12 ordained ministers. E. B. Blalock was Clerk for some time, and for the last twenty years J. M. Collaway has filled the office, as he still does, most satisfactorily.
[J. B. Link, Texas Historical and Biographical Magazine, Volume 2, 1892, p. 6. -- jrd]

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