Organized on July 31, 1847 with nine charter members, First Baptist Church of Gonzales has the distinction of being one of the oldest churches in Texas. In 1851, a 99-year lease was secured from the corporation of Gonzales on the south half of the Church Square, and in August of 1854, the first building was erected. At the time of the church building's dedication in 1854, the church was given the name Baptist Church of Christ.
Rev. Z.N. Morrell was the first pastor of our church. An article in the July 27, 1972, edition of the Gonzales Inquirer commemorated the history of the Baptist movement in Gonzales. The article stated that Z.N. Morrell was an interesting combination of missionary, frontiersman, and preacher. The Inquirer article included the following about Morrell: "...he will stand in the history of Gonzales as the first Baptist to preach in this area, and one of the organizers of the first church here." Z.N. Morrell's book, Flowers and Fruits in Wilderness, gives an eyewitness account of the problems faced by frontier missionaries during the early days of the Republic of Texas. On December 19, 1883, after an historic 50-year ministry, Z.N. Morrell died in Kyle, Texas. He is buried in the Texas State Cemetery at Austin.
Another highlight of our history was Thomas J. Pilgrim, who organized the first Sunday School in Texas. Mr. Pilgrim was one of the charter members of our church.
First Baptist has long had the reputation of being a mission-minded church, supporting state and home missions as well as foreign missions.
* In 1877 our church voted to take up a contribution for the starting of First Baptist of San Antonio.
* In 1902, the church voted to begin a mission work on the west end of town and one north of the cotton mill (now Eastside Baptist Church).
* Another mission of First Baptist in Gonzales is now Memorial Heights Baptist Church.
* For more information about current Mission endeavors, please see the Missions Ministry page.