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Merriman, Texas

History

The first Eastland County Courthouse was located in Merriman.

Merriman Baptist Church. Local Baptists met in private homes for many years between the nomination of Merriman as the county seat in 1874 and the organization of the Merriman Baptist Church in 1892. The charter members were Edmond Duncan, Fannie Duncan, Josie Duncan, Ozella Duncan, T. W. Duncan, Cles Hollaway, H. A. Inman, George Moss, C. J. Pugh, B. R. Williams, I. B. Williams, Virginia Williams and S. Williams. They called J. L Mays as their first pastor. The congregation erected a small church house in 1893 and a wood frame meeting house in 1903. An oil boom hit the area in 1917. Trustees of the 29-member Merriman Baptist Church leased drilling rights on the property. When the derrick struck oil, the well began to earn $300 to $400 per day. The congregation kept a small amount for operating expenses and gave the rest to various Baptist organizations and charities. For some time, the church was able to give about $100,000 a year to domestic and foreign missions, the Buckner Orphans Home, Dallas and Houston sanitariums, Simmons College, Old Ministers Relief, Baptist Standard Publishing Company, Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary, Christian education and other causes. The noise of oil drilling operations in the area became disruptive to church services in 1918. The congregation built a tabernacle in the area in which services were held until 1922 when they erected a new brick edifice. The Merriman Baptist Church boasted two hundred and twenty-five members in 1999, seven of whom were descended from the 1918 membership, and continued to meet in the structure erected 75 years before. The church continues to serve the area. Historical marker, erected 1999. Marker located 4 miles south of Ranger on FM 2461 (1 mile south of IH-20).

Merriman Cemetery.  According to local tradition this site was established as a community graveyard about 1873, the year Eastland County was organized and one year prior to the community of Merriman's selection as county seat. Although there are many unmarked gravestones in the cemetery, the earliest recorded burial is that of Orthosias Scarborough (d. 1879). The first legal record of the Merriman Cemetery occurred in a deed executed by the Taylor Charcoal Company conveying two acres for use as a public burial ground to trustee M.V. Brewer in 1891. Oil discovered in 1917 on land owned by John H. McCleskey (buried here in 1918) started an oil boom that ultimately threatened the sanctity of the Merriman Cemetery. Oil spectulators reportedly offered members of the Merriman Baptist Church a large sum of money to lease the cemetery grounds for drilling. The congregation, although its association with the cemetery is uncertain, turned the offer down. Josie Fox Duncan (d. 1940) deeded 75 acres to trustees of the cemetery in 1938 to provide an income for its perpetual care. The cemetery contains graves of early settlers, veterans of conflicts from the Civil War to Korea, and victims of a 1916-17 influenza epidemic. Historical marker, erected 1993.  Marker located on FM 2461, 1 mile south of I-20.

Location

32° 25' 23.484" N, 98° 41' 53.196" W