The history of the church of Christ in Lampasas goes back to 1858. A Brother Carroll Kendrick baptized 20 people at a camp meeting at Sulphur Springs, according to Stephen Daniel Eckstein, Jr. in his book, History of the Churches of Christ in Texas, 1824 – 1950. A congregation was organized. In 1860, Kendrick held a meeting at the Lampasas Springs during an all night heavy rain and an Indian raiding party nearby. The church never flourished in the town. In the late 1870’s there was a church established in the town of Senterfitt. When the railroad bypassed the town, the people moved homes and businesses to the newly named town of Lometa.
It is believed that the members in the Lampasas church just disbanded with some, perhaps, going to surrounding congregations or some went to the Christian Church in town. – That would change.
FRED AND PEARL PEELER – Fred Peeler was born on April 12, 1886 in Fayette County Texas and grew up in Llano County. Somewhere along the way, Fred met Pearl Lytton of Burnet County, born July 18, 1889, and they were married on December 21, 1911 by Brother Howell. Pearl became a Christian in 1901 and Fred was baptized in 1904.
For Several years they lived in San Antonio where he was employed by the U.S. Government Agricultural Experiment Station. They became interested in gardening and farm irrigation.
They heard stories of how beautiful a place Lampasas was with its springs, creeks and rivers. In 1917 they moved to Lampasas on a few acres of land across from Hancock Park and probably established one of the first irrigated farms and gardens in the county.
Long hours of farm work convinced Fred and Pearl there had to be a better way to make a living. They both got their real estate license and became promoters of the building and growth of Lampasas and Lampasas County.
The problem Fred and Pearl found was that there was not a church of Christ in the town of 2,100 people. An ad was placed in the local paper stating that there would be a public meeting in the home of Carl Skaggs on April 17, a Tuesday.
This was the beginning of what would become First Street Church of Christ. Fred and Pearl were faithful workers in the church, even with the church meeting in their home when necessary since there was not yet a permanent building.
On June 17, 1921, their only child, Katherine Dyer Peeler, was born. For the next 50 years the Peeler family continued to work in the church and support their adopted home of Lampasas. The Peelers lived on the corner of 5th and Key and their home was welcome to many travelers.
When the U.S. entered WW II, Ft. Hood took on a new growth. Many young soldiers were stationed there and some of them over the span of time found their way to church services in Lampasas where they found a friendly welcome. Like other members, the Peelers frequently had several in their home for Sunday lunch and there were also lunches in the park.
Katherine married Karah Hutton on November 11, 1945 in the church in Lampasas. Katherine and Karah lived in Ft. Worth. Three children were born to this union: Fred, Carolyn and Kathy. The grandchildren would spend summers with their grandparents in Lampasas and attended worship service with them.
On December 21, 1961, Fred and Pearl were honored on their 50th wedding anniversary with an “Open House” celebration hosted by their daughter Katherine, son-in-law Karah and grandchildren.
For health reasons, Fred and Pearl moved to Ft. Worth in June 1973 to be near their daughter.
Fred died on February 27, 1975 and Pearl died on February 5, 1977. They were buried on the high hill in Oak Hill Cemetery overlooking their beloved Lampasas.
On their grave marker is the inscription:
STARTED CHURCH OF CHRIST IN 1971 LAMPASAS
ASLEEP IN JESUS
MEETING PLACES, PROPERTIES AND BUILDINGS
The early meetings of the newly formed congregation were held in member’s homes, the old Hanna Opera House, the Chapel schoolhouse (located in Depot Junction) and finally the Lampasas Courthouse. Some of the men who preached at the courthouse were Billy White, Walter Everett and Brother Peacock.
The following properties were bought in the following order which began the acquisition of the entire Block 16 of Lampasas Springs Company’s First Addition to the Town of Lampasas:
- In 1923, the first property was purchased in Block 16 and consisted of the East-half of Lots 1 and 2. The cost was $800.
- In 1950, West one-half of Lots 1 and 2 were purchased for $6,250.
- On March 31, 1953, Lots 3 and 4 of Block 16 were purchased for $5,000.
- In 1960, Lots 5 and 6 and the North 46 feet of Lot 7 were purchased for $7,000.
- On February 5, 1971, Lot 8 and the North 23 feet of Lot 7 was purchased for $4,000.
This completed the acquisition of the entirety of Block 16, which is the location of the First Street Church of Christ.
On August 10, 2000, the church bought Lot 1, Block 35 at the corner of West First and South Broad for $16,000. It is now used for additional parking.
The first church building was a wood frame structure that sat on the corner of First and Walnut Streets facing First Street on the two half lots purchased in 1923. The dedication of the building was held on June 21, 1932. Brother Walter Everett preached the first sermon in the new building.
An interesting feature in the building was the baptistery. It was located under the pulpit and a door had to be opened up so it could be used.
The building was remodeled in 1949 and two-story educational building north of the auditorium was added. The cost for the improvements was $17,345.56. In February 1953, the auditorium was enlarged to seat 525 people. The wooden floors were removed and replaced with a loping concrete floor. A nursery and 3 more classrooms were added.
In 1954, refrigerated air was installed in the auditorium, making it the first public building in Lampasas to have refrigerated air. In 1961, a 10-room classroom wing was added to the west and a foyer was added to the front of the auditorium. During the 1960’s the congregation had an enrollment of about 420.
In 1977, the present Fellowship Hall was added on to the existing building. The congregation numbered about 370.
Unexpected changes were wrought on Sunday afternoon, December 24, 1978, when a fire, caused by a faulty furnace, destroyed the main auditorium and many of the classrooms. Over $200,000 in damage was done to the structure. The new Fellowship Hall was not damaged, so worship assemblies were held there for the next 16 months until the present auditorium was completed.
Architect DeWayne Manning of Tyler, a former member of First Street, designed the new auditorium. Keele and Associates (namely brothers Max and Rex Keele, members of First Street) constructed the auditorium, which seats about 630 worshippers. The additional classrooms and offices were constructed under the supervision of Houston Jackson (deceased). The dedication for the new structure was held on April 13, 1980.
At various times, the church furnished a house for the preachers. The first house was at 206 S Broad (1936 – 1937), just diagonal from the block that would be owned by the church. It was a rock house and is still in use today as a private residence.
The second house, a wood frame structure, still stands today at the corner of First and Walnut, just east from the church building.
In 1960 it was decided to build a brick house in the middle of the church property. J.R. Collins and his family were the first to live in it. In 1994, then preacher Kevin Haynes wanted to buy his own house. The previous preacher, Lon Jones, continued to live in the house for about 2 years as he served as associate minister until he resigned. Steve Middleton was the last associate minister to live in the house. In 2006 the house was stripped of the brick and moved to a location out of town. In 2007, most of the parking lot was concreted.
PREACHERS AT FIRST STREET
It was several years before the church in Lampasas had a full-time preacher. In the early years many men delivered sermons to the congregation. Some may have only preached a few sermons, others served part-time and others may have held a gospel meeting. Three men from Lometa, A.C. Nance, Terrell Jackson and Robert Le Croix preached. There was Raymond L. D’Spain, S.T. Strickland, Warden McClish (1935, Homer McClish, Clinton Storm (ACC student in the 1940’s) and Dow Wilson. Other men who preached were Raymond Gentle, B.U. Baldwin, H.W. Very, Linnie V. Nobles, Robert Jones, Walter McMillan and Brother Starnes.
The following men served as ministers of the First Street Church of Christ including the dates as best they can be determined:
- 1936 – 1942
- 1943 – 1945
- 1946 – 1948
- 1948 – 1954
- 1954 – 1956
- 1956 – 1960
- 1960 – 1962
- 1962 – 1964
- 1964 – 1968
- 1968 – 1970
- 1970 – 1972
- 1972 – 1975
- 1975 – 1994
- 1994 – 2007
- 2008 –
- Slas Howell
- Leroy Jones
- Clem Hoover
- W.H. Hill
- Alvie Waggoner
- John Shamblin
- Ben West
- Paul Wallace
- Louie White
- Charles Goodnight
- James (J.R.) Collins
- Bert Mercer
- Clay Mims
- Guy Southern
- Eddie Swinney
- Dwayne Simon
- Lon Jones
- Kevin Haynes
- Rocky Moncus
ASSOCIATE AND YOUTH MINISTERS
Through the years there have been men who have filled various capacities and in combination with other duties.
Damon Smith was Associate Minister, Song Leader and Custodian from October 26, 1960 to May 5, 1952.
Fred F. Gibson was Associate Minister, Song Leader and Custodian in 1952.
Ken Wilson was Associate Minister for the 10 week period from June 8, 1969 to August 16, 1969.
- 1987: Ron Greiner, Associate Minister
- 1988 – 1990: Robert McCarther, Youth Minister
- 1991 – 1992: Les Johnson, Associate & Youth Minister
- 1993: Brian Lancaster, Youth Minister
- 1994: Lon Jones, Associate Minister
- 1997 – 1998: J.R. Collins Evangelism Minister
- 2000 – 2003: Steve Middleton, Youth Minister
- 2003 – 2004: Steve Middleton, Associate & Evangelism Minister
- 2005 – 2009: Cody Chumbley, Youth & Family Minister
- 2009: Keith Owens & Mark Patterson, Summer Youth Interns
- 2010 – 2011: Jason Hale, Youth & Family Minister
- 2012 – 2015: Andrew Brewer, Youth & Family Minister
- 2015 – 2019: Dakota Thornton, Youth & Family Minister