There are five churches in the Historic District of Jefferson, Texas that are still operating. All five churches have a Texas Historical Marker, either for the building or the congregation. Each is part of Jefferson's history; an article in a local newspaper on April 30, 1867, said "There is nothing of more benefit to our city abroad than the strong interest being manifested by our citizens in building churches." The churches of Jefferson's historic district are listed here, with their contact information, in alphabetical order by name.

Christ Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Parish was founded in 1860, with sixteen charter members meeting on a building on Main Street. Bishop Alex Gregg led the congregation during those founding years. Rev. E.G. Benners became the first actual resident clergyman in 1869, and he served for twenty-five years until 1894. The church is perhaps most famous in Jefferson’s history as being the site where, in June of 1861, Captain William M. Duke’s Company Volunteers – the “Jefferson Guards” – had mustered to march out of town and off to war. A ceremony presenting the unit its colors was conducted in front of Christ Episcopal Church. Speeches were made, a band played rousing tunes of the day, and the men were sent off with a regimental flag and banner. The original church was badly damaged by a storm, and Dr. D. Guinn, the minister at that time, rebuilt the church in brick on the original foundation.

703 S. Main * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-2593 *

Cumberland Presbyterian Church

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized somewhere between 1846 and 1850, and a wooden frame sanctuary was constructed on the corner of Jefferson and Line Streets. Its first minister was Rev. Soloman Awalt. The brick church was constructed in its present location by Mr. John Ligon in 1873. It was one of the finest Cumberland Presbyterian churches in Texas at the time. On each of the four sides of the steeple a clock dial had been painted denoting a different time for services: Sunday school, morning and evening worship. As the story goes, a real clock had been planed for the four sides, but the congregation ran out of building funds. In 1981 the clock faces were painted over when the church was remodeled, although many of the townspeople reportedly would like to see them restored. Today, many of the furnishings in the historic, old church are original, including the lectern, alter and Mason-Hamlin reed organ.

501 E. Jefferson * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-2883 *

First Baptist Church

Organized in 1855 by a local farmer named William Freeman, seven out of the eleven of its founding members were from his family. Services were originally held under the direction of Rev. George B. Tucker wherever the group could find a place – in the Union House at the city park, at Freeman Hall, in the local schoolhouse, or even at one of the other churches. Rev. D.B. Culberson served as its second pastor from 1857-1859. The deed to the property where the church now stands was recorded on October 11, 1860. A two-story brick church was built there in 1869, and the new church was the meeting place for the Southern Baptist Convention just five years later in May, 1874, with over 1000 people attending. Tragically, the church building burned in 1944, and the congregation constructed the new church as you see it today. One item of interest is that in front of the church is a huge tulip tree, which was brought to Jefferson from Kentucky by Rev. J.T. Jenkins in 1890.

523 N. Polk * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-2556 *

First United Methodist Church

The First United Methodist Church of Jefferson was one of the initial congregations organized in the city. Established in 1844, the East Texas Methodist Conference named Rev. James Baldridge as its pastor. Allen Urquhart, one of the founders of Jefferson, sold the congregation a lot for the church in 1848 for only $100. Two other lots were acquired in the same block at that time. A log church was first constructed, but it was replaced a little over a decade later by a brick structure. The congregation wanted a bell for the tower of the new church, so they began a drive to collect Mexican silver dollars to be used to cast it. When 1500 were collected, they were delivered to the Menneley Bell Foundry of Troy New York in 1858. The completed bell was shipped to Jefferson on a steamship and installed in the tower of the Methodist Church. The building soon began to deteriorate, and structural problems made it impossible to repair. In 1884, the current building was erected on the foundation of the original church.

305 W. Henderson * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-3268 *

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

The first Mass in the town’s history was said in 1863 in the home of a parishioner by Father Jean Marie Giraud, a native of France. In 1866, Father Giraud purchased the property at the corner of Polk and Lafayette Streets. By September 1867, the parish completed their church building, constructed with money sent from Lyon, France and named Immaculate Conception. Tragedy struck on Sunday evening, January 5, 1992, when a fire swept through the sanctuary and destroyed the church. As the steeple burned, the bell came crashing down onto the concrete foundation and cracked. While construction on a new church was underway, the parish met in the city’s playhouse that was once a Jewish Synagogue, and later they met in the Methodist Church. The Immaculate Conception parish mustered their energy and resources, and raised the new building to the beauty and grandeur of the original.

201 N. Vale * Jefferson, TX 75657 * 903-665-2869 *

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