a look back...


History of

first baptist church, stephenville


Chronological order of major church events:


1856- Stephenville First Baptist Church organized with three members by
Elder William Robinson, known as “Choctaw Bill.”

1866- Elder Rueben D. Ross was called to the care of the church, serving
twelve years. He lived on his farm in western Erath County 15 or 20
miles from town. White Settlements were sparse and the country still
suspect to Indian Raids so Elder Ross rode horseback to his appointments,
carrying his bible and six-shooter buckled around his waist. When he rose
to preach, his pistols were placed within easy reach of his hand.
With his bible before him, he preached.

1866-1875- First Baptist Church met in different homes and other places.
Part of the time, the congregation met in the court house, school house, or
Odd Fellows Building.

1875- The congregation bought one-half block of property on which to
erect a church building. This first church building took several years to complete.
In those days, money was hard to come by. However, the members gave faithfully!
The 32x48 foot building went up slowly but was completed. Elder Ross was pastor during this time.

1899- A new wooden church building was built at a cost of $75,000. The
old bell from the original church was moved and installed in the new one.
This second church was located on the corner of Tarleton and Paddock
streets. J. B. Fletcher was pastor at this time.

1923- By now the membership numbered 1,000. Under the leadership of
S. B. Culpepper, the church began the largest undertaking of its 70 years
of history. The cornerstone of the first brick church house was laid by the
deacons. At this ceremony the Tarleton College Band played “Higher
Ground.” The dedication of the completed $100,000, debt-free building
took place on Sunday, March 29, 1926.

1945- H. Marshall Smith was pastor. The church established a mission on
N. Race St. This donated property was valued at $6,000.The mission is
now Calvary Baptist Church. Later First Baptist established Riverside
Mission which is now Riverside Baptist Church. Also, in 1945 the church
helped in the establishment of the Baptist Student Center at Tarleton. This
was Located on Tarleton Avenue.

1952- Dr. Felix M. Gresham was pastor from 1951 to 1955. In 1952 the
present Education Building was completed at a cost of $130,000.

1955- Emil V. Becker was called as pastor. He preached his first sermon
on Mother's Day, 1955. Under his dedicated service of 31 years, the
church continued to grow and was known as a mission minded church,
strongly supportive of the cooperative program.

1977- Our present sanctuary was dedicated in August of 1977.

1986- In November of 1986 Dr. Dan K. Murray became pastor. Under
his visionary leadership for 23 years, our church continued to grow and move
forward in the work of the Lord.

2010 - Dr. James Semple was selected by the church to be the Interim Pastor, followed by a resolution declaring him Pastor of FBC Stephenville in 2011.

2011 - Dr. Ben Macklin was called by the church in November and became Sr. Pastor on January 1, 2012.

2015 - Pastor Ken May was called by FBC in August to assume the role of Sr. Pastor.  Under his leadership, new and exciting projects have begun.  Notably, the renovation of the Paradigm Building which began in October, 2015 and was completed in Spring, 2016.