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TEXAS PRESBYTERIAN

TEXAS PRESBYTERIAN. After Texas attained statehood, the first sustained publishing effort of a religious press was begun for the Cumberland Presbyterian Church at Victoria in November 1846. The Texas Presbyterian, published and edited by Andrew Jackson McGown, helped fulfill a nine-year-old church resolve to publish in Texas. McGown, a Mississippi native who had not intended to be a journalist, originally came to Texas as a member of the Texas Army and participated in the battle of San Jacinto. He later resumed seminary studies in the United States and, after 1838, was appointed a missionary to Texas. The first issue of the Texas Presbyterian indicated that it would publish weekly a "family newspaper devoted to religion, morality, education, agriculture, and the news of the day." For almost ten years the paper remained true to each promise, with the possible exception of that about agriculture. Like many frontier Protestant papers of the time, the Texas Presbyterian gave page one of its four pages to general articles, light fiction, and poems. Page two was devoted to editorial comment and current church or secular news, and pages three and four contained ads, letters to the editor, and minutes of church meetings. The subscription price was three dollars a year. By May 1847 the paper had been moved to Houston, and McGown allowed the printer to manage it while he traveled on preaching missions and sent back irregular reports. In 1849 the paper made its final move, along with Texas synod offices, to Huntsville. Although the synod offered years of "cordial approval" to the paper, it never assumed financial responsibilities. McGown first obtained money to buy his own printing plant in Huntsville. Circulation figures are unclear, but references to postage bills suggest a circulation of about 1,200 at most. In 1855 McGown noted ever-increasing bills, as well as new competition from the Galveston expansion of the Methodists' Texas Christian Advocate and the foundation of the Texas Baptist in Anderson. He tried to give his paper to the synod, but it was refused. Discouraged and financially pressed, he sold the printing plant and resumed full-time preaching for the first time since 1846. No further Presbyterian publication effort was seen until 1873, when the Texas Cumberland Presbyterian was introduced at Tehuacana.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

William Jesse Stone, Jr., A Historical Survey of Leading Texas Denominational Newspapers, 1846–1861 (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas at Austin, 1974).

William J. Stone, Jr.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

William J. Stone, Jr., "TEXAS PRESBYTERIAN," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eet14), accessed July 29, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.