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Pioneer Methodist missionary enters Texas


On this day in 1837, Robert Alexander, Methodist minister, crossed the Sabine River into the Republic of Texas. The Tennessee native had been appointed missionary to Texas with Martin Ruter and Littleton Fowler. Alexander arrived first and preached his way westward. During a camp meeting at the McMahan settlement, he held a "quarterly conference" and formed the San Augustine circuit on September 16, 1837. In mid-October he formed the first Methodist missionary society in Texas during a camp meeting held at Caney Creek, southwest of Washington-on-the-Brazos. Alexander later played a leading role in the establishment of Rutersville College and its successor, Southwestern University. He was instrumental in establishing the Texas Wesleyan Banner (now the United Methodist Reporter), and he held pastoral positions in a number of Texas districts. His ministry in Texas lasted forty-five years.

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