Walston Family Papers
Manuscript Collection: MC079
Daniel Parker, an early Baptist leader in Texas, was born April 6, 1781, to Rev. John and Sarah (White) Parker. The family moved to Georgia and in 1802 Parker married Patsy Dickson. In 1803 he was licensed to preach in Dickerson County, Tennessee, in the Primitive Baptist church and became an advocate of Two Seedism. Parker published several pamphlets supporting the doctrine while living in Illinois. In 1833 he founded the Pilgrim Predestinarian Regular Baptist Church in Lamotte, Illinois, and in November the entire congregation immigrated to Texas, eventually settling near present-day Elkhart in Anderson County. An already established church did not break Mexican laws prohibiting the establishment of non-Catholic religious bodies. Parker led the second Baptist association organized in Texas, the Union Primitive Baptist Association, in 1840. He died at home in Anderson County in 1844.
Benjamin F. Parker, son of Daniel and Patsy Parker, was born February 10, 1819, in Crawford County, Illinois. In November 1833 he moved to Texas with his father and his congregation. In 1846 he married Irena Douthell and earned his living as a farmer, schoolteacher, and surveyor. He represented Anderson County for two terms in the Texas Legislature, 1855 and 1859. In 1863 Benjamin Parker and his wife Irena were baptized in the Pilgrim Predestinarian Regular Baptist Church. Called to preach, he became assistant pastor of the church in 1864 and pastor in 1869. He served in that capacity until his death December 28, 1896. Parker is probably best known for his appointment by the Texas legislature as one of the guardians of Cynthia Ann Parker and her daughter, Topsanna.
The Walston family immigrated from Troup County, Georgia, and settled in Anderson County, Texas. Elder Benjamin Walston was clerk of the Union Primitive Baptist Association in 1933. It is assumed in that capacity he came into possession of the Church Book of the Fort Houston Baptist Church, established October 22, 1840, which was later donated by his family to the San Jacinto Museum of History.
Genealogical records, a church book, an historical sketch, and photographs document the history of the Pilgrim Predestinarian Regular Baptist Church and the Walston and Parker families. The genealogical records concern the Walston family and include correspondence from Pearl D. Newton, a Walston family member, genealogical tables, and copies of legal documents. The church book, Church Book For the regular Baptist Constituted At Fort Houston On the 22nd day of October 1840, records the actions of the church from October 22, 1840, to October 29, 1890. Church business includes members received and disciplined, and lists current elders and preachers. A carbon typescript copy of "Chapter III," an historical sketch of the early history of the church (author unknown), opposes Missionary Baptists and documents the role of the Predestinarian Baptists as the earliest Baptists in Texas. The Pilgrim Church is portrayed as the mother church of the Regular Baptists. Included in the sketch are excerpts from a church book, October 11, 1833, to July 13, 1838, that record the congregation's journey from its establishment in Illinois to Louisiana and later Texas. Photographs of Elder Daniel Parker, Elder Benjamin Parker, and church members in front of the 1886 church built by Benjamin Parker document the history of the church.
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[Identification of Item], Walston Family Papers, MC079, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.
Gift of Lucy M. Doyle, 1989.
Processed by Sarah Canby Jackson, 2003.