The date of an organized assembly of members of the church of Christ in the Frio Canyon area was about 1890. Individual families were in the area as early as 1880. Primitive roads and means of transportation hampered the gathering of Christians at regular intervals for a time. The first baptism recorded in the church at Leakey was in 1889.
The revolt of the American Colonies against the tyranny of the English king was as much for religious freedom as for political. The Church of England was the established church in the colonies and attendance was mandatory. The church also commanded much authority over the everyday life of the colonist.
Many other religious faiths were brought from England and/or Europe or were begun in the 1600’s and 1700’s. They were called “Protestants” because they had broken away from the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
In the very early 1800’s there sprang up groups in separate parts of the new nation in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, calling for a return to New Testament Christianity. Some of the groups were not aware of the others, however, as was later found they were all in agreement as to their search for pure doctrine and restoration of the church using only the Bible as their source of authority in religion.
They were called Disciples of Christ originally, but later became as the church of Christ according to: (Rom. 16:16) Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
Early leaders in the restoration movement in the United States were, Cox, Fanning, Sewell, Smith, O’Kelly, Scott, McGarvey, Pendleton, Haldans, Campbell, Smith, Stone, Lard, and Haggard, among others.
Each congregation of the church is autonomous or self-governing, having elders who preside and deacons who serve. Individual congregations cooperate with those in other areas to support homes for children and battered mothers, colleges, and missionaries. Individual Christians also support these causes. The taking of the Lord’s Supper is observed on each first day of the week. (Acts 20:7)
In the early 1900’s, brash arbors were built in various areas of the canyon and meetings were held there during good weather. Services were also held in Edwards County Courthouse in Leakey and later Real County Courthouse. Baptizing was done in the Frio River or one of its tributaries which always presented a near available water deep enough to accomplish immersion: (Acts 2:38) (Acts 8:38) (Gal. 3:27). Some meetings were held in area schoolhouses.
In early 1913, lots 32 and 33 in the Town of Leakey were acquired “for the use and benefit of the church of Christ”. Trustees accepting the deed and its strict provisions were S.T. Cooper, J. W. Dulaney, and T. L. Brooks. Shortly thereafter, a great lumber building was erected on the property. A distinguished lectern was made by brother John Shackelford and stood on the rostrum. Lamps with reflectors hung along each sidewall. Later after about 1928, the building was wired with two drops for bulbs, and a cast iron heater stood at the front of the building for warmth. Great pews filled the building. In the 1950’s a new building of tile was placed there on the property. At that time, the elders were R. L. Gibson, E .T. Briee and Samuel M. Clark. A few years later, a brick addition in the form of a foyer to house classrooms and a kitchen was added to the front of the building. A baptistery was placed behind the pulpit. A Preacher’s residence was built in the 1950’s.
In the 1950’s, there were about forty families and more than one hundred members meeting in the building. Families moved away and faithful members passed on and the membership has since decreased somewhat, but there remains a group dedicated to the teachings of the New Testament Christianity.
Early Preachers of the church of Christ in the Frio Canyon were Brooks, Kelley, Wood, Massey, Lawrence, Bybee, Fry, Stevens, Hale, Vaughn, Howell, Shakelford, and Cooper.
By: Marjorie Kellner