Historic Baptist church founded
On this day in 1839, Independence Baptist Church, in Independence, Washington County, was organized by Rev. Thomas Spraggins and a small group of fellow Baptists. The church had strong ties to Baylor University, Baylor Female Department, and Baylor College during the years these institutions were located in Independence (1846-86). The presidents of Baylor often served as pastors, and the church itself met in various Baylor buildings until the late 1850s. Some of the ministerial students, as well as Horace Clark, principal of Baylor Female Department, were ordained by Independence Church. Margaret Moffette Lea Houston was a member of Independence Church. Her husband, Sam Houston, joined Independence Church in 1854, and was baptized the same day by Rufus C. Burleson. In 1858 the church voted to construct a new building at its present location. This building was destroyed by fire in 1872. Some of the old walls remained, and the church was rebuilt in the same year. As of 2000, Independence Church remained a regularly constituted Baptist church in cooperation with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. It has also been designated a Texas Baptist Historical Center. Though the current building dates back only to 1872, the pew in which Sam Houston sat has been preserved and is marked so that visitors can see it.