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From The Garland Daily News, January 1960



There are 600 Roman Catholic families in Garland at this time—and that is a far cry from the three people of Catholic faith in Garland in 1923.  Those three people attended Mass at Rowlett or Wylie.

Garland’s rapid growth soon saw an influx of Roman Catholic families, and the need for a church for them.  Father John Lavin, in 1943, arranged to use a theater building for regular Mass.  In 1944 the approximately 50 persons secured a house and lot at Avenue B and South Garland Avenue and remolded it into a chapel.

Father John Morse was appointed pastor in July 1949.  The debt was paid on the church property within a few years and by 1953 the 200 Catholic families were making plans to build a church school and auditorium.

Father Charles W. Smid, the present pastor, came to the Church of the Good Shepherd in 1954.  In September of that year, the parochial school opened, offering six grades.  An auditorium was built.

Today the school includes a kindergarten and eight grades taught by five sisters of the Holy Ghost Order and four lay teachers.

Of invaluable help to the school has been the Good Shepherd Parents-Teachers organization.  The initial meeting was held on June 30, 1954, with 62 parents in attendance.  Today the organization has more than doubled in size.  The purpose of the organization is to promote the spiritual, educational and physical welfare of the children of the parish and to bring into closer relationship the church, the home and the school.

Purchased by PTO for the school has been playground equipment, a movie projector, athletic and physical education equipment, shades for the auditorium, a set of encyclopedia and they have just completely redecorated the nuns’ quarters.

Mrs. Billie Burkhard is president of the Good Shepherd PTO for 1959-60.

From the Garland Local History & Genealogical Society, Volume 6-Number 4, Summer 1995


Author:  Barbara Brixey Wylie

Early settlers of Garland first met for worship in various homes. Between 1846 and 1848, Campbellites (later known as Christian Church, Disciples of Christ) established churches in Van Alstyne, Lancaster and McKinney but records indicate that the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and the Campbellites were worshiping together at the Duck Creek School and served by lay preachers in 1858.

About 1875, a church was formally organized as Christian Church of Duck Creek and worship was held in the Duck Creek School. Charter members included: Mrs. Eliza Fletcher, Mr. and Mrs. Will Fletcher, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Fletcher, Mr. and Mrs. John T. Smith, Mrs. Belle Coats, Mrs Lucy Byrd, Mrs. John Dixon, Mr. and Mrs. Uriah Spong, Mrs. Polk Jones, Mrs. Lizzie Garrison, Mrs. Cathreen Embree, Miss Joe Murphy. The Duck Creek Masonic Lodge held a called meeting to consider proposal for erecting a shared-use building with the Christian Church. As presented by Mathew Erwin, the church would occupy the ground floor and the second floor would be used by the Lodge and Grange. Initially, the proposal was favorably received but did not come to fruition. Early newspapers indicate that the first church building was near what is now the intersection of Kingsley and Shiloh Road, near the adjoining farms of the Smith family and Erwin family.

The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway sold Lot 10, Block 6 of Embree to the Duck Creek Church in 1888. Trustees Isaac Akers, G.E. Wallace and J.T. Smith signed the purchase agreement which gave the selling price as $75.00, half of it paid in cash and the remainder carried in a note at eight percent interest. Mrs. A.P. Stevens, daughter of Charles Cole who was pastor at that time, described moving the wooden building from its old location to the church’s new property. “I will never forget the moving of the church. It was a very dry summer. The building was pulled by a team of four horses. It was also rolled on logs. The creek was dry, and I sat with a large crowd of people on the Garland side, watching the men maneuver the building across the creek. The moving was done in a day, and we did not miss a Sunday service.” With that move, Christian Church of Duck Creek became Christian Church of Embree.

Eleven years later, the building was renovated and enlarged. A new sanctuary was constructed in 1924 and the old structure was razed. There have been several structural changes since then but the church remains on this site at the corner of Glenbrook and Avenue A.

The first full-time pastor was Rev. Charles L. Cole. His father Rev. W.B. Cole also served as pastor. In 1975, Dr. Chester Crow was identified as pastor emeritus and Rev. Nelson Schuster, a former pastor, was speaker at the 100th anniversary dinner.


______, Untitled history of First Christian Church of Garland, apparently written for the church’s centennial celebration in 1975, found in the files of Mrs. G.W. James. p. 1

  1. James, Martha Catherine, Seventy Years in the Garland Dallas County, Texas, Area. Transcribed from her handwritten manuscript by Mrs. G.W. Range and Mrs. A.R. Davis, Jr. in 1965. p. 20

3.   Untitled history of First Christian Church of Garland. pp. 4-6

4.   “First Christians mark 100 years,” Garland Daily News, Sept. 21, 1975, edition, section II, p. 1

5.   Untitled history of First Christian Church of Garland. pp. 7, 8

6.   “First Christians mark 100 years”.

7.     Ibid.

From Garland Local History and Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 2-Number 1, March 1973


Author:  Kenneth Frank

The local congregation of the Church of Christ was established in Garland, Texas in 1925, meeting first in a theatre and then in school buildings.  In 1930, the first meeting place was erected at the corner of Eighth and Austin Streets at a cost of $2,300.00.  Membership at that time consisted of five families.  As the congregation grew, it became necessary for the congregation to build a larger auditorium.  Then, in the late 1940’s a classroom wing was added.

In 1954, at Eighth and Austin, two Sunday morning worship services were necessary to accommodate the large attendance.  Plans for a new building got underway.  The entire old structure was torn down, and part of the present building was erected on that site.  It consisted of an auditorium with a seating capacity of 550, 16 classrooms, literature and supply room, office, utility room, engine room, two nursery rooms, two dressing rooms for baptismal services, four restrooms, and central heating and cooling at an approximate cost of $70,000, with the large portion of labor being performed by members who were engaged in the building trades by occupation.  Construction was supervised by E. A. Owens, a local builder and member of the congregation.  Conservative estimates are that by utilizing membership labor and a member contractor, a savings in excess of $30,000 was realized.

In 1955, four elders and seven deacons were selected and appointed.  The elders were Jack Davis, John Ferguson, Coleman Fikes, and E. A. Owens.  Of these, Jack Davis is still serving.

Plans for a second congregation began to materialize, and in 1955, about three acres of land was purchased on Saturn Road at a cost of $7,000.  A building loan was secured, and besides purchasing the lot, Eighth and Austin made the down payment on the loan in the amount of $16,500, with the new congregation assuming the mortgage.  This congregation is today known as the Saturn Road congregation of the Church of Christ.

In 1956, Eighth and Austin contributed $8,000 and Saturn Road congregation contributed $2,000 toward building for the Negro congregation of the Church of Christ.  This building was erected at the corner of Helen Street and Avenue D.  For quite some time Eighth and Austin contributed $100 per month to support a regular evangelist for this congregation, and two of the Bible Class teachers and others helped have weekly classes for the children of the Negro congregation.

Also, in 1956, a $20,000 house was built at 522 West Ridgewood Drive for residence of preachers serving the Eighth and Austin Street congregation.  By 1958, Eighth and Austin was forced to resort to two Sunday morning worship services to accommodate the crowds.  Feeling that a spiritual family relationship could be better maintained by having a single worship service, plans were instituted for a third congregation in Garland.  The church officials, the elders, acting for and in behalf of the local congregation, purchased a lot on Broadway Boulevard for $7,000.00, rented a commercial building in which to begin services, and spend $2,053.93 for furniture, Bibles, song books, utilities, etc.  Members from Eighth and Austin, from Saturn Road, and from Mesquite formed the nucleus for the Broadway congregation.

In 1960 Bible class attendance at Eighth and Austin had again outgrown classroom facilities, and construction was begun on a new $40,000, 3950 square-foot educational wing.  In February of 1961, it was ready for use.  It consisted of five large classrooms, two rest rooms, heating and cooling units for the wing, a secretary’s office, a preacher’s study, and another supply room.  Again, E. A. Owens supervised the construction of this building.

By mutual consent of the officials of all three congregations (Eighth and Austin, Saturn Road, and Broadway) the Walnut Village Congregation was begun, and a building was erected on Shiloh road.  Membership there consisted of families from the original congregations who lived in that area, along with several families who had recently moved to Garland and lived in that vicinity.  Soon, however, it became necessary to begin a fifth congregation.  Eighth and Austin took a leading part in this endeavor by making contributions toward the purchase of lots where the Buckingham Road congregation is now located.

At Eighth and Austin in 1964, seven large additional classrooms were added to the existing structure at an approximate cost of $30,000.

In 1968 a new building was constructed with a 1,200-seat auditorium and 30 additional classrooms.  At that time, the name was changed to The Austin Street congregation, and in the meantime the Castle Drive congregation was begun in northeast Garland.

Thus, within a little over three decades, the Church of Christ in Garland has grown from a membership of twenty-five to seven congregations, with a membership more than keeping pace with the fantastic growth of Garland.

This article originally appeared in the Garland/Mesquite section of The Dallas Morning News on Friday, August 25, 1995.

By Michael R. Hayslip

Times were tough in 1918, wherever you were. Besides those dodging World War I battles in Europe, the whole world was dodging waves of the flu. Although records of the time are incomplete, E. O. Jordan’s book Epidemic Influenza (1927) carried estimates that within a few months as many as 20 million people perished, including 548,000 in America. Jordan speculated that as many as 50 times that number were sick, ranking the siege “with the plague of Justinian and the Black Death as one of the severest holocausts ever encountered.” The flu was far deadlier than the war, estimated to have cost only some eight-and-one-half million people between both sides.

Aside from a colder-than-usual winter in the Garland/Mesquite area, few seemed overly preoccupied with health until October, when people started coming down with a malady that felt like flu but killed like pneumonia. So says Mrs. Nell Jack, a 97-year-old Garland native who escaped the scourge, despite taking time off from classes at SMU to tend the sick. “Around here they called it everything from Spanish flu to pneumonia, but if you died, and a lot did, it didn’t make much difference what you called it,” she added.

Her friend, Fern Handley Thompson, who claimed she was always “sickly” back then, caught the disease, as did her parents and a cousin, but survived into her 99th year to tell about it.  In the 1986 Storer Cable series Garland Perspectives, Mrs. Thompson recalled that the cousin stayed with them in the dining room, but she herself was quarantined for the duration in the same bedroom with her mother and her father, Peter Handley, who owned a drugstore in town. That duration, according to Mrs. Jack, was at least two weeks of feverish prostration with hacking, aching misery, after which doctors sternly warned against overexertion and cold air. “Some may have taken aspirin, but we had no penicillin or other fancy medicines back then,” she said, “so all we could do was rest, drink all the liquid we could keep down and hope for the best”.

W. A. Holford, who had just purchased The Garland News for the second time, succeeded publisher Z. Starr Armstrong, son of Dr. J. C. Armstrong, one of the local physicians battling the flu outbreak. Amid the health crisis, Mrs. Holford’s paper carried an increasing amount of advertising for patent medicines, including Calomel, which Mrs. Thompson took for almost everything and Mrs. Jack believed to be poisonous. Calomel’s head-on competitor was Dodson‘s Liver Tonic, whose ads warned that “Calomel loses you a day’s work.”

Also popular was Penslar, “a dynamic tonic for headache, irritability, mental depression, sudden fits of temper, inability to think clearly, loss of memory and continued melancholy,” at $1.50 per bottle. “Weak or thin blood” could be treated with Grove’s Tasteless Chill Tonic for only 60 cents a bottle. Advertisers claimed that for 50 cents a bottle Herbine “cleanses the liver of bile, sweetens the breath, purifies the bowels, corrects dizziness [and] restores energy and cheerful spirits.” Alcohol content in these potions, if any, was not specified.

Whereas Armstrong had posted advertisements on the front page of the News, Holford began to use the prime space for local news items and obituaries (which were multiplying fast by November), anchored around a list of additions to his new $10 lifetime subscription plan.  Holford family members later contended that the plan was an optimistic effort to build capital for first-class equipment, but skeptics have wondered if it coincidentally enrolled subscribers in advance of fatal flu attacks. Although Garland’s incorporated area contained less than 1,000 souls, added demand from outlying areas had catapulted weekly News circulation to more than 1,600 copies during the fall of 1918. In November, when Garland’s first WW I casualty was reported, Holford ran eight obituary notices and extended the “deadline” for lifetime subscriptions.

Public officials were so concerned that in October, Garland Mayor George A. Alexander, who also sold life insurance, had convened a special Saturday afternoon council session for the purpose of prohibiting public gatherings. School classes were suspended and church attendance dwindled, save for prayers of deliverance. Because he had heard that it might prevent the flu, D. Cecil Williams, a local undertaker, was rumored to have begun chewing tobacco while working overtime with victims in the family’s mortuary.

News accounts suggest that even swine began to exhibit flu-like symptoms, much worse than their more common attacks of epizootic and occasional bouts with tuberculosis, so that authorities recommended isolating hog houses. Today, certain old-timers and their decedents sometimes still classify the human cold/flu syndrome as an attack of “the epizooty”.

Since there were no public reports or death certificates required here at the time, and authorities may have soft-peddled news to protect the war effort, the exact local cost of the 1918 fall flu epidemic is impossible to determine. But in December, mostly of its own accord, the epidemic subsided as quickly and quietly as it had begun, and by New Year’s Day young Williams had tapered off chewing tobacco.

Photo not available

Photo Caption: The Handley Drug Store, as photographed about 1926 on the west side of the Garland square, had a full stock but few remedies for the disastrous flu epidemic of 1918.

Photo courtesy Gary Engleman and the Garland Landmark Museum.

From the Garland History & Genealogical Society, Volume 6-Number 4, Summer 1995


BY :Church’s Worship Committee            

“This church was organized April 22, 1888, by the Rev. Benjamin Spencer, D.D. It was known as the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Garland, Texas. Sunday school and worship were held in the public school building.

J.T. Hays

S.A. Groves

N.P. Harris

Mrs. Joise Crossman

J.W. Salter

Mrs. R.V. Edwards

W.G. Groves

Mrs. W.S.Smallwood

J.S. Weaver

Mrs. M.E. Harris

Mrs. Emma Cherry

Mrs. N.E. Rogers

Mrs. Josie Rogers

S.J. Parker

S.A. Weaver


Mrs. Rachel Allen

Mrs. Chora Hays

J.C. Harris


A.P. Smallwood

Mrs. Willie Halsell

Mrs. G.N. Harris


S.U. Parker

J.N. Salter

Mrs. Bettie Hays


“The first elders elected and ordained were J.C. Harris, J.W. Salter and J.W. Weaver. The Rev. F.L. Rogers was first pastor.

“In 1896 the congregation purchased the land where the present sanctuary stands and built their first church building. Building committee members for this project were Brothers Halsell, Weaver, Naylor, Allen and Clark. The building stood until 1929 when the present brick structure was erected, replacing the wooden structure.

“The building committee—whose names are cut into the granite cornerstone were: C.A. Weaver,

Chairman; A.D. Jackson, Secretary and Treasurer; J.W. Rabb, Guy H. Bullock, Mrs. Ben Dyer, Mrs. Ray Campbell and Miss Ola Monroe.

“In 1901 the first manse was purchased. Twenty one years later, it was replaced by a manse which was located across the street from the sanctuary. In 1958, the present manse was purchased.

“In the spring of 1906, a union between the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church USA gave this congregation a new name—First Presbyterian Church of Garland.

“In 82 years, this congregation has been served by 28 pastors. One pastor, the Rev. John N. Russell, served two different stints. The following men served as pastor:

F.L. Rogers

A.S. Blackwood

S.E. Kinnon

C.C. Hines

H.N. Cooley

H.E. Bullock

W.G. Beard

P.H. Waddill

J.M. Brooks

Geo. W. Fender

G.T. Morris

I.O. Woodall

L.A. Dunlap

S.M. McPhail

J.D. Hester

O.E. Hannawalt

John Collier

W.D. Johns

G.W. Jones

C. Kilbourn

S.B. Waldrop

John T. Price

H.A. Lynch

W.P. Kirby

Benjamin Spencer

C.P. Karrick

John Russell