ADVENTIST CHURCHES. The Adventist movement, which developed from a schism in the religious following of William Miller and broke into several different groups, apparently reached Texas in the late 1880s. The town of Keene in Johnson County was established by a group of Seventh-day Adventists in 1893. In 1894 the church members organized Keene Industrial Academy, which became Southwestern Adventist College, and later Southwestern Adventist University. Tenets of the Adventist creed include biblical literalism, the personal and imminent second advent of Christ on earth, and the celebration of Saturday as the Sabbath. The church stresses promotion through education, evangelism, and publication.
The religious census of 1906 reported a total membership of 1,825 in all the Adventist bodies in Texas. In 1926 the Advent Christian Church had ten churches with 623 members, the Seventh-day Adventists had fifty-two churches with 3,011 members, the Church of God (Adventist) had two churches with 100 members, and the Church of God in Christ Jesus had four churches with 117 members. In 1936 the Advent Christian Church had four organizations with 370 members, the Seventh-day Adventists had sixty-seven churches with 4,102 members, the Church of God (Adventist) had two branches of three churches each and a total of 244 members. By 1936 the Church of God in Christ Jesus had separated from the Adventist groups and had 128 churches with a membership of 5,052. Seventh-day Adventist membership in Texas increased from 6,259 on January 1, 1950, to 9,495 on June 30, 1966. During the same period the number of churches increased from 79 to 118. Thirty-eight new churches were constructed between 1959 and 1966, in such key cities as Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Amarillo. In 1962 a camp-meeting pavilion with seating capacity for 5,000 was constructed in Keene.
In 1995 the Texas Conference employed 120 pastoral and church workers. In addition, the conference operated forty-five elementary schools, four secondary schools, and Southwestern Adventist College (see ADVENTIST SCHOOLS). The conference operated five medical institutions-Huguley Memorial Medical Center, Fort Worth; Willow Creek Psychiatric, Arlington; Metroplex Hospital, Killeen; Rollins Brook Community Hospital, Lampasas; and Central Texas Medical Center, San Marcos. It also operated an ambulance service in San Antonio. More than 100 physicians and dentists operated self-supporting clinics as officials of the Seventh-day Adventist Medical and Dental Association. In 2000 Texas Seventh-day Adventists belonged to four different conferences. Geographically, most of Texas lay within the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, with its headquarters in Alvarado, near Fort Worth; part of northwestern Texas lay within the Texaco Conference; Bowie County was part of the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference; and African-American Seventh-day Adventists belonged to the Southwestern Region Conference. In 2000 Texas Seventh-day Adventists had 303 churches and 46,128 members.
Dictionary of American History (New York: Scribner, 1940).