Leander United Methodist Church Historical Marker, Leander, Texas

Marker text

This church was organized about 1860 in the nearby community of Bagdad (1 mi. W). Early worship services were conducted by local preachers and missionaries in a log schoolhouse and a Masonic lodge hall before a sanctuary was constructed there in 1879. The church moved to Leander in 1901, following development of the railroad town. The Bagdad sanctuary was relocated at this site on land deeded by Sarah J. Walker. Many prominent area leaders have been members here, including several who later became ministers.

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GPS Coordinates
Latitude: 30.5779 Longitude: -97.856

Address: 101 N West Dr

The History of The Leander United Methodist Church Historical Narrative by Eva Schulze

How United Methodism Came to Leander

In 1854 the town of Bagdad was surveyed. It was located one mile west of present-day Leander. Bagdad was built as a halfway station between Fort Croghan and Austin. The road was an Indian trail, then a cattle drovers trail, and at the time Bagdad was settled in 1854, it was a military road [1]. About 1860, the Methodist Episcopal Church/ South was organized in Bagdad and served largely by missionaries and local preachers for the first few years. Services were first held in a log schoolhouse that stood near the old well just west of Bagdad Cemetery. Later, when the new stone Masonic Lodge (also used for a school) was erected, services were held there until the Church was built. [2]

On June 21, 1877, "twenty-six and one-half acres near Bagdad on the waters of Brushy Creek out of the M. S. Hornsby Hd. right League" was sold to Messrs. H. D. Edwards, Jas. W. Branch, J. F. Heinatz, J. R. Faubion, John Ward, L. L. Whittenburg, A. G. Gaunaway, John Bryson, and WM. Vaught, Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Bagdad. It was sold by J. F. Cloud for $350. [3] Two years later, on April 25, 1879, another twelve acres of land adjoining the Church lot was given to the Church by John F. Heinatz, [4] at the cost of $1,284.29, the Church building was completed, [5] and on July 8, 1879, it was dedicated by Dr. F. A. Mood, President of Southwestern University. [6]

The Austin and Northwestern Railroad Company offered the merchants of Bagdad $1,000 to build their railroad through Bagdad, but the thriving businessmen refused, so the townsite of Leander was surveyed in 1882.

In 1884 the track was finished, and at the celebration and barbecue, the railroad company requested that the town be called Leander for Leander "Catfish" Brown, who worked for the railroad company. Bagdad then packed up homes, businesses, and Post Office and set up its new mailing address in Leander. [7] On April 15, 1901, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was moved from Bagdad to Leander on big log beams pulled by teams of mules [8]. It was moved onto the following property, which the Church bought from Sara J. Walker for a sum of $25 on May 18, 1901: ". . . a part of the E. D. Harmon League beginning at the Southwest corner of the lot now owned by the Leander High School Association; Thence South 71° West 100 feet a stake; Thence North 19° West 120 feet a stake; Thence North 71° East 100 feet a stake on East line of said Sara J. Walker's tract; Thence South 19° East with said Fast line to the place of beginning containing 12,000 square feet." [9] The building was remodeled at the cost of $1,105.65 and was rededica­ted by Dr. Hill in June 1905. [10]

1939 saw the reunification of the three major branches of American Methodism--the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the [11] Methodist Protestant Church.

At this time, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Leander became the Leander Methodist Church.

The Leander Methodist Church then became the Leander United Methodist Church in 1968 with the nation-wide union of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church. [12]

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J.F Heinatz, Emilie Heinatz J F. Heinatz Biography -

J F. Heinatz, deceased, was a well and favorably known character. in. Williamson County, and especially in the region. Known as Bagdad prairie, where he had been the leading business factor for nearly forty years. As the name indicates, he was of German birth and parentage, having been born in Prussia on December 6, 1822. He early learned the blacksmith's trade, and fol­lowed that occupation in the fatherland until 1848, when he determined to try his fortunes in the New World. Arriving at Galveston on November 27 of that year, Mr. Heinatz spent the first few years traveling throughout the North and West. In the early '50s, he returned to Texas, and, after a sojourn in Shelby county, located at Austin, where he soon afterward married Miss Bertha Raven. She died one year later without issue. In the fall of 1853, our subject located on the strip of prairie afterward known as Bagdad prairie, having been among the earliest settlers in that part of the county. He followed his trade in a stone blacksmith shop for a number of years, after which, on account of failing health, he embarked in the mercantile business. By honesty, fair dealing, and good business judgment Mr. Heinatz gradually built up a large trade, mount­ing from the condition of obscurity and poverty to a position of influence and wealth.

December 10, 1863, at Austin, he married Emilie Krohn, who still survives, and whose many good qualities of mind and heart made his success possible.

Mrs. Heinatz was born in Princelan, near Berlin, Germany, on Septem­ber 3, 1842, a daughter of Carl and Emilie Krohn. In 1854 the family came to Austin, Texas, where the father has ever. since re­sided. The mother died in Austin, Texas, on January 25, 1878. Mr. and Mrs. Heinatz had eight children, viz.: Charles F., Marv, John, William, Dora, Shelton, Marvin, and Sarah. The last suffered death on January 13, 1891, by a most distressing accident. Her clothing caught fire while she was standing in front of a fire-place, and death ensued in a few hours. J. F. Heinatz died May 4, 1891, after a long illness; his demise occurred at his home in Bagdad. The business world remembers him as a successful and leading merchant, but the community in which he lived will always feel his loss as a promoter of every good work, as he was liberal of his means, and untiring in his ef­forts to promote the general welfare of the community.

He was an active worker in the Methodist Episcopal, South, and in his church papers, we End that "he was a Steward for many years, and looked after the interests of the church with a jealous care." As a Sunday school Superintendent, he was a success. On his death bed, as the minister entered the room, he turned to his wife and said: "Mamma, get that purse and make that settlement at once." That being done, he expressed his satisfaction and said he was now ready to depart. His last words were: I am happier to-day than 1 has been for a long time."

Charles F. Heinatz, eldest son of the above, and who now successfully carries on the business left by his father, was born at Bagdad, October 12, 1866.

Be began mercantile life at the age of sixteen years, as a clerk for his father, but after two years left the counter for the free life on the plains. In June 1888, the firm of J. F. Heinatz & Son was formed, since which time lie has carried on the busi­ness. It is now entirely his own enterprise and is the largest business in the new town of Leander, a town built from the ruins of old Bagdad. Mr. Heinatz was married in Burnet county, Texas, on October 1, 1890, to 'Ida M. Yett. They have had two children, Robert H., and Roy John F., twins. The latter is now deceased.

John T. Bryson Biography

John T. Bryson, Cotton Weigher of Georgetown, Texas, and one of tile most prominent citizens of Williamson County were born in Henderson County, North Carolina, September 28, 1857, a son of Martha and H. B. Bryson, natives also of North Carolina. The parents were married in their native state and came to William­son county, Texas, in 1865. The father was born in 1819 and died in this county on November 24, 1872, having been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for about twenty-five years. He was a quiet, unassuming fanner, extensively known, and highly re­spected. . Mr. Bryson was also an old Con­federate soldier, having enlisted in April 1861, and served until the close of the strug­gle: He was appointed Inspector of horses, which was a public trust of great respon­sibility, but his services were rendered in an efficient manner. He was in Ransom's Division but sent back with Captain Lane to look after home matters. His farm of 900 acres is still in possession of the family. Mrs. Bryson, born in 1818, died October 2, 1892, has also been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. and Mrs. Bryson was good old people, substantial citizens, devout Christians, and of signal use­fulness. They traveled life's pathway to­gether for many years and were not long separated. Having passed from earth's ac­tivities, their memory is a precious inheri­tance. They were the parents of four children, as follows: J. C., who resides on a farm near Leander, this county, married Miss Nancy Wells, and they have five children—Emma, Robert, Ella, Henry, Myrtle. 

Mary, the second child, is the wife of Edd Girvin, and they reside on the old home farm. They have five children - Julia, Walter, Fitzhugh, May, and Guy. Rachel, the wife of T. W. McGill, resides in Georgetown and has three children—Wayne, 011ie, and one unnamed.

John T. Bryson, the youngest child and the subject of this sketch, was educated in the county schools and reared to farm life.

He was successfully engaged in farming until 1892, when he was elected County Weigher. Ile was married in 1878 to Miss Ella Magill, a daughter of Captain J. P. Magill, of Leander. To this union have been born three children - Grace, Jeff, and Ger­trude. Mrs. Bryson is a member of the Methodist Church. Politically, our subject affiliates with the Democratic party, and socially, is a member of the I.0.0.F. Mr. Bryson's success in life is due to his fine business ability and unflagging industry. He is honored by his fellow citizens for his high character, and his pleasing, social qualities have won for him a coterie of friends almost as numerous as his acquaintances.

John Faubion Biography

John Faubion, of Williamson County, is a son of William and Rosanna (Ayers) Faubion. This is one of the oldest families in the State and of German descent. Grandfather Jacob Faubion emigrated to America, about the middle of the eighteenth century, married an English lady, and lived for a time in Pennsylvania. In1760, they moved to the eastern part of what is now Tennessee, settling in what afterward became Cocke county, where he raised a large family. Several of his sons participated in the war of 1812. William Faubion, the father of our sub­ject, passed his entire life in that county. He was married at the age of eighteen years, and they had eight children, four now living: John, our subject; Frethias, of Cocks county, Tennessee; William, of Milam county, Texas; and Tillman A., of Burnet, this State. The Faubion family have been -farmers and black­smiths by occupation and are Baptists in their religious views. The mother of our subject came from South Carolina to Tennessee. While making the journey, the wagon needed repairing, and they camped at the blacksmith of Mr. Faubion, where they became ac­quainted, and were married the following morning. Her parents continued the journey to middle Tennessee. Mrs. Faubion died a few years after marriage, and her husband departed this life in 1839.

John Faubion, the subject of this sketch, was born in Cocke County, Tennessee, on February 6, 1812.

In the fall of 1853, he brought his family and a number of negro slaves to Texas, landing in. this vicinity in the follow­ing December. Mr. Faubion has since lived in the neighborhood, has done much toward the development of this beautiful and natur­ally favored section, and is now ready to re­tire from life's duties. In 1861 he built the beautiful and commodious stone residence lie now occupies. Mr. Faubion has in his pos­session many deeds and land warrants, and the following is taken from an old deed given his grandfather in Cocke County, Tennessee. It is described as "a certain tract of land con­taining forty-two acres, lying in the county of Cocke, on the end of a ridge called Widow's Ridge, beginning at three black oaks, and running thence west forty-two poles to a black oak' and white oak, south forty-five, west eighty-three poles to a black oak sapling, south again sixty poles to a stake, east forty-five to a stake on his deeded land," etc.

In 1833, in Cocke county, our subject was married, and in the course of life they had seven children, viz.: William, of Leander, Texas; Jeremiah, of Lampasas county; James It., also of Leander; John, of Bell county; Luther, of Leander; Mary, widow of a Mr. Wilson, and resides three miles from her father's home; Isabella, deceased, was the wife of Andrew Pickle, of Leander. The wife and mother died in 1849, and on October 3, 1851, Mr. Faubion married Elizabeth Stephen. Their child died in infancy. Mr. Faubion has been an active worker in the Methodist Church for many years.

William Faubion, the eldest son, was born in Cocke County, Tennessee, on February 28, 1835, and was nineteen years of age when his parents came to Texas.

After marriage, he spent two years in Burnet county, but at the opening of the late war, on account of Indian troubles, he returned to Williamson county. _He enlisted as a private in Company D Six­teenth Texas Infantry, served in the Trans-Mississippi Department until the surrender, and took part in the battles of Milliken's Bend, Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, and in Bank's expedition on Red river.

Mr. Faubion now owns 515 acres of find land, 150 acres of which is cultivated. The place was pur­chased in 1878, is located two miles north­west of Leander, and contains over $7,000 worth of improvements. He erected a wind­mill at a spring a quarter of a mile from his house, and forced the water to a 500-gallon wooden tank, raised ten feet. But, not satis­fied with this, he built a cemented circular reservoir of stone, five feet deep, and about twenty feet in diameter, on a point higher than his stables, and thus has a constant sup­ply of water. He also has several fine varie­ties of fish in the reservoir.

Mr. Faubion was married in this neigh­borhood, December 22, 1858, to Marinda Black, a daughter of W. M. Black, who emi­grated from this State to Arkansas in 1848.

To this union have been born ten children: John, of Jones County, Texas; Mollie, at home; W. C., of Hill county, this State; James, at home; E. H., of Williamson county; Maggie, wife of Travis Harrel, a medical student; Frank, Louis, Gilbert and Abbie, at home. Mr. Faubion is affiliated with the Democratic party.

James R. Faubion, the third son of John Faubion, was born in Cocke County, Tennes­see, July 15, 1839, but was reared to man­hood in Texas.

In 1802 he enlisted for service in the late war, entering Company A, Morgan's battalion, and took part in the bat­tles of Arkansas Post, Mansfield, Pleasant Hill, in Batik's expedition, and Marina‑duke's raid to Cape Girardeau. He now owns one of the finest farms in Williamson County, consisting of 200 acres, 100 acres of cultivated. He also has 200 acres of pasture land in Burnet county. In his political relations, Mr. Faubion is a Demo­crat; socially, he is a Master Mason, has served as Worshipful Master of his lodge several times, and is now Senior Deacon; and in his religious views, is a member and Steward of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Ho has served as Sunday-school Superintendent for many years.

Mr. Faubion was married in Williamson county, in 1858, to Cilinda Babcock, who was born in Illinois but came with her par­ents to Williamson county, Texas, at an early age.

Mr. and Mrs. Faubion have three children: Charles, a clerk in the Assessor's office at Georgetown; John, telegraph operator at Buda, Texas; and James, engaged in the same occupation Fairland, this State. The wife and mother died in .1881. At Liberty Hill, Texas, in 1885, the father mar­ried Mary Potts, a native of Arkansas, who also came to this State when a child. They have five children: Eulah, Bessie, Walter, Lilburne, and Arthur.

James W. Branch Biography

James W. Branch, a successful I farmer of Williamson County, Texas, was born in Williamson County, Tennessee, December 24, 1816, a son of Nicholas and Elizabeth (Hurst) Branch. The father was raised and married in North Carolina, where he also raised his family, consisting of six children. Two daughters are still living: Eliza, aged ninety years, is now Mrs. Sledge and a resident of Florence; and Elizabeth, now Mrs. Culp, of Obion County, Tennessee. The Branch family were prominent in North Carolina in the early days, and John Branch, one of the first Governors of the State, was a near relative of the father of our subject.

James W. Branch, the subject -of this sketch, was deprived of a mother's care, When only one year old, after which he lived with relatives for a time, and finally made his home with a married sister until reaching manhood.

In 1840, in company with his brother, Nicholas, he came to Texas, locating, first in Shelby county. Five years later, in the early part of 1846, he arrived in William­son county, where he first purchased 525 acres of land, but now owns only about 300 acres, 175 acres cultivated.

In Shelby county, in 1842, Mr. Branch was united in marriage with Nancy Matthews, born in Mississippi.

She has early left an orphan and came to Texas with her brother-in-law, Rev. M. H. Jones. To this union were born nine children, namely: John Wesley, engaged in the sheep business, near Sherwood, Texas; Elizabeth, deceased, was the wife of J. L. Rucker, of Georgetown, Texas; Eliza J., wife of A. H. Arnold, of Columbia, Missouri; Virginia A., wife of Crockett Colyer, of Georgetown, Texas; Sarah F., deceased; Martha ii.; deceased; James A., of Gabriel Mills, this State; Nich­olas, of Sherwood; and Joseph, at home. The wife and mother died on April 16, 1816, and two years afterward, Mr. Branch married Minerva Spears. Politically, he affiliates with the Democratic party; socially, he is a Master Mason; and religiously member of the Methodist Church.