That Ol’ Time Preachin’ Man

Since you knew your grandmother Nancy, what stories did she tell or make sure you knew regarding your grandfather, Texas Hulan Stevens?

 

My granny’s stories about my grandfather were basically the same ones I had heard from my father, his brothers, and his sisters.

He had the pioneer man’s work ethic to provide for his family, whom he loved deeply.  He referred to his wife as Nan, and he was known for his hard work as a farmer to provide for Nan and the kids. They had five kids: Hugh, Laura, Roy, Paul, and Myrtle.  Granddad’s father was named Sam Stevens.  Sam also was a farmer/preacher who was known for his booming voice. Through him, we also trace our ancestry to those early pioneers who came to Texas and that part of the new state (namely DeWitt and Lavaca Counties).

Many of them were Baptists, but they began to embrace the pleas of Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone, who were pleading with the pioneers that, rather than being divided into all different denominations, the cause of Christ would be better served if they adopted their plea to just call themselves disciples or Christians and to drop all (what they called) sectarian names. 

Eventually, toward the close of the 1800s, the ‘issues’ of instrumental music and whether churches could support the missionary society produced a division in the Stone / Campbell movement that resulted in some calling themselves The Christian Church and others Churches of Christ.

Grandad was so persuaded over those issues that, in 1916, he sent his 17 year-old son Roy to a college called Thorpe Springs Christian College.  It was founded by a man named Joseph Clark (ancestor of Madisonviile’s Clarks) to train young men to preach.

When home from school, Roy would travel via train (the old Rock Island Line) with his dad to lead singing for his preaching appointments up and down that line, and it was at Beasley, Texas that a beautiful young 14 year-old girl named Hallie Benton caught his eye. Within a year they were married. He was 20, and she was 15.

An interesting side-note:  Joseph Clark’s sons, Addison & Randolph Clark, brought a harpsichord into one of the worship services (against their father’s wishes). Joseph Clark got up and walked out. The brothers continued the school known as Add/Ran college, which eventually became TCU, identified with what we know as the Christian Church (which, back in the 1960s, added this to their name: Christian Church – Disciples of Christ).

Enough of that–added just so you’d know what drove my dad and his dad to be so committed to what they viewed as  ‘non-denominational’ preaching. Grandad was known for his love for God’s Word, his booming voice, and his conservative preaching.

When I traveled with the Sounds of Glory quartet, I can’t tell you how many people came up to me saying, “You know, Brother Tex baptized me,” or “Brother Roy baptized me.”. That was pretty cool!

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