First Christian Church of Granbury
"This church was organized in the 1870s with the aid of Addison and Randolph Clark. In 1873 they helped their father Joseph A. Clark establish the Add-Ran Male and Female College at Thorp Spring (3.E mi. NW) which later became Texas Christian University of Fort Worth. The Clark brothers shared responsibilities as the first pastors. In 1889 the men of the Fellowship erected a frame sanctuary on property purchased from D. C. Cogdell. This congregation has grown rapidly since the completion of Lake Granbury in 1969 (1977)"
Thus reads the historical marker approved by the Texas Historical Commission on August 11, 1977, and which stands in front of the church building. Since the marker refers to the congregation and not to the church building it was moved to the new building last March, 1986.
The beginnings of the First Christian Church in Granbury are closely intertwined with those of Texas Christian University, which began as a college at Thorp Spring, three and one-half miles NW of Granbury. In a letter from Randolph Clark, one of the founders of TCU, to James H. Thornton dated March 11, 1922, Clark wrote, "When I came to Thorp Spring in 1879, there was a small church at Granbury. J. H. Harbison was living there running a livery stable and preaching for the church. I think he organized the little band. They held their meeting in the court house. At different times, Addison and I supplied for them. And through the years, several preachers living at the Spring would hold meetings and preach occasionally. S. W. Smith moved to the Springs end soon began to set things in order at Granbury. He was the leader in building the present church house."
On February 1, 1889, D. C. Cogdell sold land for the site of the original building to "Elders of Church of Christ Worshipping in Granbury." The men of the church built the original frame sanctuary that year at 201 S. Houston.
The survival of the congregation for its first 100 years was a long, hard struggle, quite often of only a few people. When Add-Ran College moved to Waco in 1895, it lost the ministerial services of the Clarks and others on the school's faculty. In 1905, the congregation split over the use of the organ as an aid to worship. The more conservative group left to form the Church of Christ. Those who remained became known as the First Christian Church.
From old minutes, the following: "On November 27, 1921, Bro. G. I. Shelton of Cresson, Texas, held services for church 11 A.M. He asked for business meeting of the church to convene at 3:00 o'clock P.M.
"In pursuance of announcement of Bro. G. I. Shelton most of the members of First Christian Church of Granbury, Texas, assembled in church at 3 o'clock P.M. for the purpose of reorganizing the church for more efficient work for the Master's Kingdom. "Members present: Sid Powell, D. O. Baker, C.H. Ward, J. W.
Thornton, Mrs. E. A. Hannaford, Mrs. H.L. Ford, Mrs. H.L. Warlick, Mrs. J. R. Jayroe, Mrs. A.W. Crockett, Mrs. E. H. Morgan, and Mrs. John Martin.
"Sid Powell was elected Chairman, J. W. Thornton, Secretary.
The following officers were duly elected:
Elders: Sid Powell, D.O. Baker, C.H. Ward
Deacon:- J.W.. Thornton
Deaconesses:- Mrs. H. L. Ford, Mrs. E.A. Hannaford, Mrs. H. L. Warlick, Mrs. J. R. Jayroe, Mrs. A.W. Crockett, Mrs. E. A. Morgan
Trustees:- Sid Powell, D.O. Baker, C. H. Ward
Treasurer:- Mrs. E. A. Hannaford
Church Clerk:- J. W. Thornton
Motion and second that Bro. G. I. Sheltan be employed as pastor for half time (Two Sundays for month) until January 1, 1922. After full discussion motion carried unanimously."
Minutes far Dec. 71, 1921, state: "Bro. G.I.. Shelton finding it impossible to secure work for half time with other churches near enough and salary enough to make his support, reluctantly gave up the work with First Christian Church Granbury." On the following January 8, 1922, the Board employed J. W. Archer as a half time preacher, the 2nd and 4th Sundays each month, for six months at a salary of $40.00 per month.
About 1939-40, the Fairview Christian Church consolidated with the First Christian Church bringing eighteen members. These were members of the Scott, Hamilton and Parkinson families. H.B. Brous (1930-39), a Fort Worth school teacher, and S. W. Hutton (1940-46), early Registrar and teacher at Texas Christian University, maintained weekend ministries. For the next thirty years, student ministers and professors from Brite Divinity School, T.C.U., served the congregation coming from Fort Worth to Granbury only on Sundays.
In 1960, a small Fellowship Hall, Kitchen, baptistery, classroom, and nursery were added to the back of the building by the men of the church. Another expansion came in 1980 when the size of the Sunday School and Fellowship Hall area was tripled.
The completion of Lake Granbury in 1969 began to increase the population of the county significantly. Along with the population growth of what was a sleepy Little town in the 1960's, came a steady increase in the church membership. Rev. Theodore Cord was called in 1976, as a full-time minister. Currently, during Rev. Jimmy Walker's ministry, the congregation grew to the extent that it needed to relocate to expand its facilities. The original building was sold. A beautiful limestone building was built on four acres on Highway 377 West. It was first used on Easter Sunday, March 30,1986.
Written from research done by:
Robert L. Hoyt and Reverend Jimmy Walker.