St. Philip's Episcopal Church, Palestine
St. Philip's Episcopal Church
In 1859, a number of families residing in Palestine gathered together, under the guidance of Rev. John Owens of Nacogdoches, and organized themselves into a religious body under the name, St. Philip's Episcopal Church. The first church records show that this original group was composed of the following: T. J. Word and family, Mrs. Jettie Word Hunter, Capt. N. W. Hunter and family, Mrs. M. M. Carr, Capt. Robert Hayes and family, Dr. G. S. West and family, Mr. Dexter, Mrs. Harriet Williams Dexter, and the Sandifer family.
For several years thereafter, meetings were held in private homes or in the house of some other religious denomination, as lots for a building were not procured until 1874. These were the three lots on which the Bratton Oak Street drug store today stands. The committee appointed to raise money for lots, buildings, etc. were : N. W. Hunter, Dr. G. S. West, and R. Hayes. On December 11, 1874, the corner stone for the new church was laid by Bishop Gregg. Rev. James O. Adams was the first pastor of St. Philip's Episcopal Church. Other pastors to follow were: In 1863, Rev. Caleb Dour; 1874-5, Rev. E. Wickens; 1877, Rev. V. Hamvasey ; 1879, Rev. G. W. Dumbell ; 1882, Rev. G. W. Patterson; 1883, Rev. E. Wickens; 1888, Rev. Thomas Stafford; 1889-90, Rev. Oliver Wilson; 1892, Rev. Mathew Brewster; 1894, Rev. A. W. Pierce; 1895, Rev. Robert Stuart; 1897, Rev. Horatio Howard; 1900, Rev. I. M. Marlin joins ; 1902-7, Rev. E. H. J. Andrews; Rev. Mr. Sykes; 1919, Rev. Mr. Kraft; 1920, Rev. Mr. Trim; 1925, to present, Rev. Tom J. Sloan.
This church steadily, if slowly, grew under these devout men and, in 1903, a temporal good to the organization came in the sale of the church lots, an offer of $6,400 being made for same. Some of the shrewd business men at head of organization found that lots, "just as good" for their purpose, might be obtained across the street for $2,800. The double deal was quickly consummated; the church moved to the Russ lots—its present location, and the surplus money made on the two transactions applied on furnishings and for a "nest egg" with which the church was remodeled later. In 1906, the church coffers were again enriched by the sale of the lots where the rectory stood. "Uncle Sam" needed these for the splendid new Federal post-office building; so St. Philip's sold, moving the rectory to the location ad joining the church on Crawford Street, where it stands today.
In 1909, the church was remodeled. The congregation had grown and the progressive rector who was serving at that time, Rev. Dr. Sykes, pushed the plan to completion, with the result that the modern, commodious church more nearly commensurate to the needs of its worshippers, was completed as it stands today, corner Sycamore and Crawford Streets.