From email@example.com Mon Apr 12 08:11:20 2004
After the Texas war for Independence from Mexico many Americans and others began to settle in Texas. Limestone County wasa favorite location as the land was good and water was plentiful. One of those early settlers in Tehuacana was my great, great grandfather, Rev. Reuben Sanders, originally from Missouri. He was an ordained minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and much that I have learned of him is from documents written by early church leaders. Major John Boyd, a Tennessee native, came to Texas in the fall of 1835 and immediately cast his lot with the Texas army and received a league of land for his services. He located his land on a range of hills called Tehuacana Hills (originally spelled Tywacana), named after a tribe of Indians, the first known inhabitants of this area of the state. At that time his land was in Robertson County, but later was cut off into a new county, Limestone. Major Boyd moved onto his land in 1845 and settled at the Boyd Spring, near what is now known as Barry Springs. At that time the nearest settlement was old Fort Parker. Major Boyd took an active part in state and county affairs and when the time came for Texas to select a state capital site, he named Tehuacana as a candidate and rode from settlement to settlement advocating the advantages of Tehuacana Hills. Tehuacana lost by a narrow margin to Austin.
In the winter of 1821-1822, Finis Ewing established a divinity school at his home at New Lebanon, Cooper County, Missouri, for the education of the candidates for the ministry in McGee Presbytery. This was the first movement toward a Theological School in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church west of the Mississippi River. While no proof has been found to date, it is reasonable to believe that Reuben Sanders received his early church education here.
Reuben E. Sanders, pioneer preacher in the Tehuacana region, was born in Cooper County, Missouri on March 17, 1822, and professed religion at age six and joined the church age seven. He was received under the care of Lexington Presbytery in 1844 and licensed in 1846. He came to Texas early in the year 1848 and joined the Colorado Presbytery, which ordained him.
Major Boyd was not a Christian, though he had the highest respect for Christianity and sought every opportunity to aid any minister of the gospel who passed that way. He induced Reuben Sanders to locate on his league of land. He also advocated and aided in building a log schoolhouse where, under the leadership of Reuben Sanders, residents from far and wide gathered for worship. They came on horseback and in ox wagons and on foot, bringing their guns with them and stacking them in the chimney corner with one man being appointed as a picket to watch for the Indians while services where held.
Rev. Reuben Sanders had met a young man by the name of Andy J. McGown, who had been a soldier under Andrew Jackson, and was ordained as a minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination. McGown's parents were living in Texas. When McGown heard that Texas had declared independence, he left school and hurried to Texas to cast his lot with his people. He was met by people of Texas fleeing from the Mexican Army in what is known in Texas history as the "Great Stampede. McGown joined the Texas armies and fought in many battles, including the great battle at San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.
When McGown arrived in Tehuacana to aid Rev. Reuben Sanders in the camp meeting, the whole community flocked to hear this famous preacher. Major John Boyd was drawn to McGown and soon after the meeting began, when McGown made one of his famous appeals for penitents to come to the mourners bench, Major Boyd responded. After this, Major Boyd joined the Cumberland Presbyterian Church under the pastoral care of Rev. Reuben Sanders. Rev. Sanders was described as a man of the one book kind, and that book was the Bible. He was a slow speaking and earnest talker. He endured the hardships of those pioneer days and raised a good size family.
On one occasion, Rev. Sanders and one of his elders were on a horseback journey from the hills to Southwest Texas to his presbytery. They stopped on the way to spend the night with a family, and on departing the next morning, asked to know the bill for the night's lodging. The man replied that the elder was a foreman and stock raiser and worked for a living and there was no charge for him, but the preacher did not work and made an easy living so charged him one dollar and a quarter. This was all the money Rev. Sanders had, but he pulled out his purse and paid him without a word of protest. This was an unusual case as most every family in that time was glad to entertain a minister.
In 1866, the three synods of Texas began negotiations to build
a college of high order. Prior to the Civil War, three schools were
sponsored by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Texas: La Grange
Collegiate Institute, Chappell Hill College and Larissa. All of these
schools were closed during the war. The movement to establish a school to
serve the three synods began. In 1867 committees were appointed by the
Texas, Brazos, and Colorado Synods for the establishment one central