Located at Chatfield,
Historical Marker Dedicated Saturday at Chatfield
• From Staff Reports
• Feb 28, 2019
Just as they had 150 years ago, Baptists from throughout Texas came to
Chatfield on Saturday. This time, they came to dedicate a Texas
Historical Marker to the work of pioneers of that faith.
Rank and file members of the denomination joined the leadership of Texas
Baptists at the historic Navarro County community in remembering a
statewide meeting of the church’s members in 1868. That meeting
organized the Baptist General Association of Texas, a forerunner to the
present umbrella organization in the state, the Baptist General
Convention of Texas.
Among the dignitaries was Dr. David Hardage, Executive Director of the
BGCT. In delivering the keynote address, he reminded the assembled crowd
of the importance of that meeting.
“The time was a critical one for Texas Baptists,” he said, “and
Chatfield became a critical place for Texas Baptists.”
He noted the importance of the General Association to the denomination’s
growth in Texas and how it gained strength as a rival organization, the
“Baptist State Convention” declined in the 1870’s and 1880’s.
“Combining the names of the two organizations,” Hardage said, “Texas
Baptists in 1886 created one statewide organization, the Baptist General
Convention of Texas.”
The importance of the General Association to the future of Baylor
University was underscored by the remarks of Dr. Dennis Norton,
representing University President Linda Livingstone. Norton described
“the instrumental role that the Baptist General Association of Texas
played in our history — due to the move from Independence to our current
home of Waco.”
Concurring with Dr. Hardage’s assessment, Norton explained, “Chatfield
also played a critical role (by) hosting the representatives who founded
the Baptist General Association of Texas.”
Other participants in the dedication ceremonies included Navarro County
Judge H. M. Davenport, Navarro County Historical Commission Chair
MaryJane McReynolds, Texas Baptist Missions Foundation Executive
Director Bill Arnold, and immediate Past President of the Baptist
General Convention of Texas, Dr. Danny Reeves.
Rob Jones of the Hodge-Martin-Chatfield Museum that sponsored the
marker, recognized as special guests numerous descendants of the
Chatfield Baptist Church pastor who had hosted the historic meeting a
century and a half before. According to Jones, Rev. Josiah Leake served
as Chatfield’s pastor from 1866 to 1871.
“It was probably because of his dynamic leadership that Chatfield was
the site of the organization’s founding,” Jones said.
Dedication ceremonies were concluded with prayer offered by Rev. Robert
Lee, current pastor of the Chatfield Baptist Church.
Following the dedication which was moved indoors because of wet
conditions at the marker site, refreshments and fellowship were enjoyed
by those in attendance.