Early Baptist History The history of the Baptist denomination in Texas should begin about 1822, when Freeman Smally, a Baptist Missionary preacher from Ohio, made his appearance at the settlement on Red River, now included within Red River County, which was the first American settlement in Texas. Mr. Smally preached at the house of Wm. Newman, in that settlement, the first sermon by a Baptist minister in Texas, but made no effort to organize a church. The second preacher of this denomination to appear within our territory was Joseph Bayes, who entered Texas on the eastern border in 1825, and on his way to San Antonio preached at the house of Moses Shipman, near San Felipe, the capital of Austin's Colony. When Bays reached San Antonio and began to preach, he was forbidden by the authorities, because none but Catholics were allowed by the laws to preach the gospel, and he was ordered to leave the country. He returned east to San Augustine and attempted to preach, but was arrested. In 1829, Rev. Thomas Hanks came to Texas and preached, also at Moses Shipman's, when Mrs. Lidia Allcorn was converted, which is the first known Christian conversion in Texas. Z. N. Morrell was the most active and widely known, as well as the most original and unique character, of the pioneer Baptist preachers of Texas. He came to the country in 1835, and whenever he found an open door he preached, and at the same time he was ready with his gun as with a sermon, and a gallant soldier. Notwithstanding all the concessions to colonists, the Mexican government allowed none but Catholics to be introduced into the country, still a number of Baptists found their way in before the Declaration of Independence. T. J. Pilgrim, a Baptist deacon from New York, organized, at San Felipe, in 1829, the first Sunday School in Texas. The great impetus given to immigration by the Declaration of Independence in 1836 brought many Baptists to the Republic, who became eminent in our history, both in civil affairs and church enterprises. Only a few, however, can be named here. Among these, perhaps, the most distinguished was Judge R. E. Baylor, who came from Alabama in 1839. He was an eminent lawyer, and had been a Congressman from that State, and was a preacher of great power. He was also a great patron of education and Baylor University was named for him. W. M. Tryon and James Huckins were the first missionaries, and they were a tower of strength to the cause of religion. Dr. R. C. Burleson, the great educator of Texas, gave a great impetus to Christian education. The first Baptist Church organized in Texas was in 1837, at Washington. The first association was organized in 1840 in Washington county by the cooperation of three churches. In 1843 the Baptist Education Society was organized, which became a most efficient factor in ministerial education. Baylor University was founded in 1845, and located at Independence. In 1848 the Baptist State Convention was organized at Anderson by the cooperation of twenty-one churches. At this time there were four district associations, and thirty-five churches, with a total membership of about 1,500. In 1854 the membership had increased to probably 10,000. During the war, but little advancement was made, but in 1867 there were 350 Baptist Churches, with a membership of 20,000. The first denominational newspaper was The Texas Baptist, published at Anderson, in 1855. In 1868, the Baptist General Association was organized, which was co-extensive with the State Convention.