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Texas Unamended Christadelphian Bible School History

In about 1870 or 1871 Christadelphians began to meet on a regular basis on the bible school grounds we meet on today. I cannot find any record before this time. This property was given to the Christadelphians of Texas by the John Colbath Family. Many things have transpired since that time. The information I have, came from my grandfather Jesse Wood, My Father Walker Wood, the Christadelphian Advocate, and the Gillespie Country Court House.

To my knowledge there were meetings of the local Ecclesia’s before a gathering was established. This came by word of Bro. Jesse Wood, when we would talk about the older Brethren of the Past. As far as the records show the property was deeded to the Christadelphians in or about 1881 or 1882. So evidently there were meetings on these grounds before they were deeded to the Christadelphians.

The following information came from the historical records of the old Junction School District in the library of Fredericksburg. Sister Jo Ann Tanner looked thses records up for us and provided us with this record. Quoting from this historical record.

“School district #15 better known as the Junction School District, was constituted by the county court of Gillespie County in 1881. The first term was held in a tent, and the next year school was held in a small frame building erected on the Christadelphian camp ground for use as both a school and church. In May 1884, the county court of Gillespie County ordered that the school district to be organized and be designated District #15 the Junction School. G.W. Banta, F Saver and John Colbath were named trustees. Bro. G.W. Banta & Bro. John Colbath were instrumental in keeping the truth going in this area.

The first Junction School on the Christadelphian camp ground served as a church & school. It was of a gabled roof, and was much smaller than its successor, school was first held in the Building during the 1882-83 term. The structure continued to server the community as a school through 1909-10 term.

The building which had housed the Junction School from 1882 until May 1910 was now used exclusively by the Christadelphian church. It served as a church until 1922, when it was torn down to make way for a new Christadelphian Church.”

It is believed that Bro. Shepard Oatman was responsible for bringing the truth to this area. Bro. Oatman traveled around this area talking to any one who would listen. In some of the old Advocates that we have dating back to 1893 it shows that Bro. G.W. Banta, and Bro. John Colbath were teaching and keeping the truth alive in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Bro. G.W. Banta was from Camp Verde, Texas near Kerville. Bro. John Colbath was from the local area and gave the present grounds & cemetery grounds to the Christadelphians. We find also Bro. John Banta at work in the Lords Vineyard as far back as the 1893 Advocates. These 3 Brethren seem to have defended the truth in this area for some time. They traveled sometimes long distances to lecture. There was also Bro. J.O. Tanner, and Bro. William White. In the Oct. 1910 Advocate these Brethren seem to have held the Bible school on the grounds using the Junction School, Christadelphian Church. At this gathering, President Lyndon Johnson’s grandparents were baptized. Their names were Brothers & Sisters Sam Johnson. There are 12 Bro’s & Sis. Burried in the Johnson Cemetary on the L.B.J. Ranch of which Bro. Shepherd Oatman is one.

Through the years many faithful Brethren kept the gathering and the truth alive on these Bible School grounds. Some of these are not mentioned in the old Advocates. We do not remember all of them, but we know their efforts. In 1922 the existing chapel was started and was completed in 1923. Bro. Jesse Wood, Bro. D.C. Oatman, Bro. R.J. Sankey, Bro. Harry Gledenning, Bro. John Martin, Bro. John Holden, Bro. Jim Gibson were names I remember from about 1949 or 1950 until the time of their death. There was also some of the ancestors of the Walkers. Bro. Jim Walker, & Bro. Lee Walker.

Written By: Bro. Paul Wood, Hye Ecclesia 3/24/2008

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Updated last on 2023-02-07.