Baptist General Association of Texas
Historical Marker
Barry, Navarro County, Texas




Photo by Dana Stubbs

Located at Chatfield, Texas




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.

The text of the historical markers have been posted here with the permission of the Texas Historical Commission

Navarro County TXGenWeb
© Copyright February, 2020
Edward L. Williams