First Christian Church, Palestine
In 1921 Rev. Joseph Keene came to the church as pastor. He was a man of action. Discovering that the church had a debt of several thousand dollars hanging over it, he "rolled up his sleeves" figuratively, put on his big "elephant drive" and eliminated the debt! It is tragic to recall that this able useful man went to his reward by the automobile accident route. His death occurred in 1931.
Rev. J. Wm. Stephens was the next pastor and the church enjoyed six years of growth and usefulness under his able guidance. His wife, as many other good wives of the Christian ministers, was a skilled musician who helped in any and every way with the advancement of the church program. Rev. Mr. Stephens resigned to go to the pastorate at San Angelo. Rev. J. C. Welch came to the church in September 1930, proving an indefatigable worker and a great organizer. In spite of the great unrest caused by the world depression, the church continued to grow amazingly under Rev., Mr. Welch, and all its departments functioned satisfactorily. A unique situation occured when a budget was made for the dark years of 1931 to find that funds turned in to the treasury from all the various departments overreached requirements; Rev. Mr. Welch resigned in 1934, to be followed by Rev. Ewart H. Wyle, present pastor.
A Centennial History of Anderson County, Texas, 1936 by Pauline Buck Hohes.
First Christian Church. Organized in 1847 under leadership of lawyer Joseph A. Clark (founder and administrator of college now T.C.U.) and John F. Taylor, a farmer. Both Clark and Taylor were followers of Campbell - Scott movement for Christian unity. Though 16 charter members were of different faiths, they successfully united through "Articles of Faith" which expressed their basic beliefs. From its very beginning, the church has been of evangelistic nature. A Rev. Mr. Jordan (relinquishing affiliation with the Baptist church) became the first pastor, ministering not only to the newly-formed congregation but to other settlements near and far. In the early 1850s, Rev. Carroll Kendrick became pastor. He too believed in the need for evangelism and pressed Joseph Clark to work with him. Clark set forth strengthening congregations already formed, establishing new churches and expounding the gospel. Interrupted only by the Civil War, evangelistic work by the church continues to this day. The first church building, erected in 1859, was located on Poplar and Fannin streets; the second on Houston and Crawford in 1884; the third, built in 1905, is now used for an educational building. The present church was constructed in 1955. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1967. Located at 113 E. Crawford, Palestine.