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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.

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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.

First Baptist has long had the reputation of being a mission-minded church, supporting state and home missions as well as foreign missions. While Rev. J. H. Thurmond was pastor of the Gonzales church, he decided it was his duty to go farther west and preach the Gospel. Thurmond established a mission in San Antonio, which later became the First Baptist Church. He was pastor of that church from 1861 - 1865. Our church gave $10 to help that mission, which equates to about $383 in today's value!

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Thomas J. Pilgrim, a deacon and charter member of Gonzales Baptist Church, organized the first Sunday School in Texas in 1846 or 1847, which lasted for about thirty years. Pilgrim was also involved in politics, serving as county treasurer and justice of the peace for three terms. He passed away on October 30, 1877 and was buried in Gonzales, leaving behind a rich history for the church.

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More Historical Mission Projects

  • 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.

Rev. Z. N. Morrell

Thomas J. Pilgrim

Rev. J. H. Thurmond

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