Kaufman Church History

The city of Kaufman is the oldest continually inhabited community in the “Three Forks” of the Trinity River area. Long know as a rich, fertile area, it served as the hunting grounds for many native American Indians long into the mid-1800s.

In an 1830 Federal Government report, the “Three Forks” area was reported to have the largest Indian village east of the Brazos River in Texas territory. The Cherokee Tribe dominated the population at that time, mainly because they had been pushed to the area by both the Mexican government and the U.S. government through a series of treaties.

Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas, honored these treaties until he was replaced as the young nation’s second president by Mirabeau B. Lamar. Lamar felt the Cherokee needed to be moved north across the Red River so that the “Three Forks” area could be opened up to settlement.

In 1840, William P. King, an entrepreneur from Mississippi, came to the “Three Forks” area and began a large survey for the Southern Land Company which entered into an agreement with the Republic of Texas to purchase 400,000 acres of land and additionally act as developers for other property. For his fee, King was allowed to purchase at “reasonable rates” a tract of land overlooking a creek that seemed to provide natural protection from the Indians who were still living in the area and continued to resort to theft and random attacks against early settlers.

The location King selected to construct a stockade overlooking the creek is now the residence of Dr. and Mrs. Ben Brashear and their family in Kaufman. In time, new settlers moved into the stockade and then began making their homes around the fort after they decided to stay in the area.

Growth was slow in the early years of the development. King and his family, after living in the stockade for several years, packed up and moved to Nacgadoces. But when Mrs. King became ill in the first winter after they had left the “Three Forks” area she told her husband that if she died, she wanted to be buried back on the bluff overlooking the creek that they had named, “Kings Creek.” Her final resting place is in the location now known as Pyle Hill, but her grave is unmarked.

In 1861 the R.A. Hindman family moved to what by that time was known as Kingsboro. The community was still unincorporated, but counted nearly 200 residents in the local area surrounding the stockade William P. King had constructed some two decades earlier.

Mrs. Hindman was deeply involved in the “Congregationalist” movement in Tennessee before moving to Texas. As soon as she and her husband located in Kingsboro, they began looking for other “like minded” people who they could worship with and fellowship with on a regular basis. For many years their regular fellowship was in the homes of the young congregation’s families, but they continued to grow as a group and followed the writing and journals of Alexander Campbell who encouraged groups to worship together as “Christians” and call themselves the Christian Church.

Early members of the church in Kingsboro included: Polly Balen, Susan Nicholls, Frances Shannon, Capt. And Mrs. H.W. Kaiser, Mr. and Mrs. Ephriam Goss, Judge William Clark, Dr. J.A. Bennett, Mr. and Mrs. H.W. McCormich, Mr. and Mrs. D.B. Mizell and Mrs. and Mrs. J.D. Cummingham. Capt. Kaiser and Judge Clark were the original Elders of the small congregation. Kaiser would continue in that capacity until his death in 1903.

The Kingsboro community would eventually incorporate as Kaufman, Texas in 1881. As growth continued, the small town elected its first mayor, the young community mail carrier named V.I. Stirman who would later become the first full-time preacher of the Christian Church congregation in 1902.

1902 also marked the Christian Church’s purchase of a building located at 1201 S. Washington Street. They began meeting in that building which housed 50 to 60 people but soon a division rocked the congregation over the use of instrumental music and other issues that were dividing many congregations across the south.

D. B. Mizell who at the time was serving as part of the congregation’s eldership, became the full time minister of the fellowship that continued to worship under the name of Christian Church. They met in member’s homes for several years, then purchased property and a building on north Houston Street near the Kaufman Clinic location from the Presbyterian congregation. They would meet in those facilities until 1961 when they moved south a few blocks to their current location.

Those remaining in the fellowship that met on Washington Street changed their congregation’s name to The Kaufman Church of Christ. V.I. Stirman continued to serve as the congregation’s minister for many years as the church body grew and the community changed in the early part of the 1900s.

Over two decades later in 1925 the congregation purchased property on South Jackson Street in Kaufman and constructed a larger building. That same year the congregation also named four men as Elders of the church after worshiping for many years without any organized leadership. Those men included: Frank Fox, Joe Dabney, John LaRoe and John Pankey.

In 1955 the congregation enlarged and refurbished their facilities on Jackson Street, adding classroom space and expanding the size of the auditorium.

By the mid-1960s the congregation again found itself without designated Elders as leaders. In 1966 Floyd Shumpert, L.H. Linker and Emmett Long were appointed as Elders and served together until 1968 when Linker’s family moved from the Kaufman area. In 1970 Edwin Ayers and Bill Hall were added to the Eldership, joining Shumpert and Long. Since 1966 at least two men, and often more, have served as Elders of the Kaufman congregation, providing over a half-century of leadership for the Kaufman church.

Other men who have served as Elders of the congregation during that half-century include: Waymon Sloan, Eddie Garrison, Mid McKnight, Richard Scholl, Jim Medlin, Carter Compton, Johnny Adams, Terry Thomas, Floyd Garrison, Bill Jordan, Joe Darragh, Mike Holder, Garry McGregor and Tom Moore.

In 1971 the congregation constructed the first phase of facilities located on the access road of Highway 175. That building had an auditorium and 10 classrooms.