T. J. McCLAIN Helps Found Christian Church

18 April 2018 16:21 น. Churches, Wylie

Thomas Jackson McClain, Civil War veteran, was born in Granada, Pennsylvania, on January 29, 1835, and died on the same day of January in 1888. He was an early pioneer of the Pleasant Valley area, having arrived there sometime prior to 1862.  He would later be instrumental in the organization of a Church of Christ and then a Christian Church.

Wylie Christian Church, 1908-1952

Wylie Christian Church, 1908-1952

Mr. McClain married Sarah Jane Compton on May 10, 1863. Sarah Jane and her parents traveled to the Rowlett- Pleasant Valley area as members of the 1854 wagon train from Monroe County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Samuel and Keziah Kirby Compton.

Mr. McClain and other members of the Church of Christ met near Wells’ Bridge on the East Fork of the Trinity River in September of 1868. T.J. McClain, Samuel King and Elisha Sims were then selected to serve as elders of the congregation. The membership constructed a meetinghouse later that year.  it was known as the Cottonwood Church of Christ.  it was constructed without the help of modern tools.  The building, located on a sloping hillside, was on Vinson Road near Cottonwood Creek.  Members also dug a well nearby that served both the congregation and their horses.

Ben Faulkner served as minister from 1883 until 1887. It was sometime around 1887 when Elder Brown and Deacon Brooks brought a piano into the worship service after a “singing school”. This caused the congregation to split and the minister, along with T. J. McClain and several other members and leaders moved to meeting at the home of James “Jimmy” Russell where they then formed the Wylie Christian Church.

Members of the new Christian Church continued meeting at the home of Uncle Jimmy Russell until the fall of 1887 when they constructed a church building.  Their first church house was located at the corner of Brown and North First Streets.  J. Ben Faulkner served as pastor of the new group from the fall of 1888 until 1894.

First elders to serve were W. T. Brown, Henry Allen Prigeon and F. M. Brooks.  The first deacons were listed as W. T. Sims, F. L. McCarty and J. Y. Russell.  A newer church building was constructed which served the congregation from 1908 until 1952.

In 1962, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Kirby gave three and ¼ acres of land to build their new meeting house at 701 East Stone Street.  A modern, brick building on Stone now serves this historic congregation.

Courtesy Wylie area Heritage by Beb Fulkerson.  Information of historic Cottonwood Cemetery can be found here.