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First Presbyterian Church

The Rev. W.W. Brimm began conducting worship services in this area in 1873, soon after the town of Troup had been platted along a line of the Houston and Great Southern Railroad. Under his direction, this church was organized that same year with eight charter members.

The first ruling elder was Col. Thomas W. Bell (1802-1876), who moved to Texas from Tennessee in 1849. After settling in Canton (now Omen), where he owned a hotel, he moved to Troup. A charter member of the First Presbyterian Church, he was instrumental in the development of the congregation.

In 1876, services were moved from a temporary sanctuary to this site at the corner of E. Calvert and S. Carolina, when trustees acquired the land from the railroad company. A building at this location served the congregation until 1908-1909, when the current structure was completed. This building was constructed by Jim Duke and Reuben Mawilsky, two very fine cabinet men in the area at that time. Their style is recognizable throughout the Troup area in some of the houses constructed during that period. During construction of this facility, services were held in the local Masonic Lodge Hall. This building was completed in early summer of 1909.

Until the late 1950's the church had a full time pastor. There was a manse in place just to the south of the church. At that time it became financially unfeasible to maintain a full time minister with family, and the church began to use part time ministers.

The manse was sold in the early 1970's and the money was used to re-roof the building. This was the first maintenance attention the structure had received in many years and had fallen into a sad state of disrepair. Gradually, thanks to the abilities and dedication of some of the members, the building was renovated and restored to the current condition. Along about this same time, the church bell was literally stumbled upon in the attic. Two of the members lowered it to the ground, cleaned it and built a frame for it where it is currently displayed outside at the north of the church. Up to the present time, most of the maintenance work on the church has been done by members. This congregation has been blessed with talented people in all areas of knowledge and expertise who have been, and continue to be, willing and anxious to contribute their talents for the betterment of this church and to glorify God.

On entering the church the most noticeable feature is the stained glass windows. Most of the windows were donated by or in memory of prominent leaders of the church. One small window on the west was donated by a minister and song leader who was conducting a revival in the church along about that time and desired to help the church in its construction. The other small window was given by the Ladies Aid Society. Money was raised by various bake sales, dinners, and individual donations. The windows on the north side were donated by family members of Annie May Wilson, lifetime member of the church. The small windows, she remembers, were installed at a cost of $17.50 each for the two donors.

Most all of the furnishings are the originals, including the light fixtures in the sanctuary. The church has always been electric--no gas lights. The bulbs are changed by entering the attic and lowering the fixtures to a reasonable height for replacement. The ornate organ was also part of the original furniture and has had an interesting life. During some renovation of the church, it was stored in the now non-existent basement and for some reason was deemed not suitable to use in the sanctuary again. It was sold for $10.00 and the money donated to the Houston Red Cross. The prominent Troup family that purchased it had it refinished and restored and used it for many years until a newer, electric one replaced it. At that time, a church member was approached by the owner who desired to return it to the church. It was accepted with much gratitude. Though no longer used, it is dear to the hearts of the members.

The church once had a choir and a brass rail separated them from the rest of the congregation. During renovation and restoration the rail was removed and stored and there is no longer a choir.

The Fellowship Hall was originally used as a Sunday School room and some of the windows in it were donated by the classes. What is now the kitchen was once the Primary Sunday School Class or the Nursery. Sunday School classes were ultimately moved upstairs and the present three rooms now being used for them have been restored and decorated by members. Of special interest is the little pulpit desk. It was handmade especially for the church by a young man who had been in trouble. The nature of his "trouble" is not known. The other two tables in the Hall were part of the original furnishings and were lovingly refinished by a church member. The Paul H. Allen Fellowship Hall was so named for and dedicated in honor of a previous Minister.

With the exception of a paid yard man, the "chores" around and inside the church are done by volunteers.

For over a century, the First Presbyterian Church of Troup has been active in the development of the community. Formerly "Southern Presbyterian" (or Presbyterian Church in the United States), it is now Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, a compromise name change in the merger of the UPUSA and the PCUS denominations.

Many pioneer settlers and early civic leaders were members here. Temporary and part-time pastors have included several seminary students who later became prominent Presbyterian leaders.

One of the current members is a direct descendant of charter members. Today, there is a growing congregation at the First Presbyterian Church. All facilities have been refurbished and restored, with care exercised to retain the original charm and beauty of this grand old Church. The magnificent stained glass windows contribute to the atmosphere of worship. The joy of Christmas is shared with the town as the lights are timed to illuminate the sanctuary windows during Advent.

Worship of God and Christian Fellowship are hallmarks of this congregation. Meeting human need and evangelism mark the service of this church. And communicants are led to a deeper understanding of what we are to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of us. Worship services are conducted each Sunday at 10:00 a.m. The Rev. Doug Blanton is the minister.

Invitation for you: "We have a coffee hour following the worship service every Sunday. Everyone is welcome to attend our services and to have fellowship with us afterward. Come and see us!"