Church minutes can be valuable sources of genealogical information. The minutes of the United Missionary Baptist Church of Jesus Christ at Bear Creek (1853-1875) provide over 400 names of members and other people who were mentioned in the record. This record may provide aid to genealogists hampered by the loss of the Tarrant County 1860 census. Letters of dismission recorded in the minutes yield information about where these people came from before coming to Texas. A most unexpected find was the volume of local, as well as church history, revealed in the record.
The Bear Creek Baptist Church was an arm of the Lonesome Dove Church. It was the third church of its kind in Tarrant County: Lonesome Dove (1846), Mt. Gilead (1850), and Bear Creek (spring of 1853). Each of these Missionary Baptist Churches were at times under the pastoral care of Rev. John A. Freeman.
The original church was located in Northeast Tarrant County near the Bear Creek Cemetery in what is now Euless. Later, when the church moved to Dallas County, it was renamed Western Heights Missionary Baptist Church.
The minutes have been transcribed as written. The transcription of these minutes from microfilm were beset with the usual problems associated with reading old script. The handwriting of the three clerks differed widely. B. F. Crowley's handwriting was unrefined, his spelling phonetic. In contrast, Joseph F. Jones’ script was consistently legible and at times highly stylized; additionally, his spelling was excellent. Wat L. Jones’ penmanship was less elaborate and his spelling was generally good.
All the clerks shared a common difficulty in spelling proper names. If there was a question as to a clerk’s spelling of a word or name, the correct spelling was given. Because punctuation marks on the microfilm were often very faint or nonexistent, they have been added to long sentences and phrases for reading clarity.
Parts of the text that were unreadable are indicated by an underline. Areas difficult to read are bracketed and supplied with my best guess as to the word, phrase, or initial. The numbering of the paragraphs in the minutes has been standardized.
I want to thank, Naomi Harmon, Barrett Border, Dr.Alan Lefever and Dr. Robert Phillips of the A. Webb Roberts Library at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for their assistance in obtaining copies of the Bear Creek Baptist Church microfilm. I am indebted to Tom and Diana Williams for the generous gift of a microfilm reader.
The inspiration for attempting this project came from reading Pearl Foster O'Donnell’s book Lonesome Dove Baptist Church. Encouragement came from our genealogical mentor and Crowley historian, Jack C. Grantham, Jr.
This project might not have been completed without the assistance of my wife Pat Crowley. Her editing and computer skills are invaluable. Her patience working with me is admirable.
George T. Crowley, Jr.
© 1996 to May 19, 2014 by George T. Crowley, Jr.
© May 19, 2014 to present by Pat Crowley