Lawrence Presbyterians organized in 1873

The First Presbyterian Church of Longview was organized in 1873, the year Gregg County was organized and a plot of land at the corner of Center and Methvin streets was donated by the Texas and Pacific Railroad on Nov. 17, 1873.

Dr. W.K. Marshall is given credit for the organization of the church. It had 17 members and two elders at its organization. The charter members were R.B,”Levy, his wife and children, late from Virginia; the Davis family; E.H. Carter and wife; Mrs. T.A. Flewellen; Dr. and Mrs. Trent; Judge and Mrs. Witherspoon. Others to join soon were Mrs. T.M. Campell, mother of Gov. T.M. Campbell, Mrs. Henry Smith; Mr. and Mrs. A.A.Womack; Dr. and Mrs. C.W. Lawrence, Doctor DeLoach and Mr. and Mrs. Briley.

Doctor Kirkpatrick, a highly educated minister born in 1808 in Virginia served the church as its first pastor, part time. Next came the Rev. J.H. Wiggins, 1874-1880. He was succeeded by the Rev. J.C. Buchanan, who was in turn succeeded the Rev. Charles J. Heiskell, 1881-1883.

During Rev. Haskell’s pastorate the Ladies Aid Society was organized with Mrs. E.H. Carter, Mrs. R.B. Levy, Mrs. Hattie Oney and Mrs. J.M. Duncan as members. These women raised on an average of $200, which made up deficits in the church finance and helped the pastor’s salary.

Doctor Burkhead was succeeded by the Rev. James W. Sexton, 1885-1890. Next came the Rev. R.M. Tuttle, who served from 1890-1894 and organized the Elderville Church. The Rev. S.M. Tenny served from 1894 to 1899. He was succeeded by the Rev. George H. Steen, the Rev. Thomas F. Gallager from 1902to 1906; the Rev. J.S. Baird from 1907 to 1911; and the Rev. J.F. Caughly from 1913-1918.

During Caughly’s pastorate the church organized a choir. A Mrs. Melton was director and Verta Echman the pianist. A pipe organ was installed through the efforts of the ladies organizations.