Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in GREAT PLAINS QUARTERLY 25:4 (Fall 2005). Copyright © 2005 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


On the southern apron of the Great Plains, in McLennan and surrounding counties in Central Texas, a handful of country churches stand as relics of a long-ago time of family farms, tiny crossroads towns, and dynamic ethnic and racial diversity. Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Cumberland Presbyterian, Church of Christ, Evangelical, and Catholic congregations provided spiritual and worldly comfort for white, old-stock settlers who arrived before the Civil War, African Americans who came as slaves and remained as free people, Germans, Czechs, and Norwegians who followed, and Hispanics who, in many cases, sought refuge from the Mexican Revolution. They all looked to cotton for subsistence and built churches to anchor their communities.