Merger Ends 113-Year-Old Whiterock Church History

Paris News Service--1965
Roxton, Texas—Recent action at the quarterly conference of Roxton and Whiterock Methodist Churches, effecting a merger of the two congregations, brought to a close the 113-year history of Whiterock as a separate church unit.

The 35 members comprising its active congregation will transfer all activities to Roxton, the pastor, the Rev. Thomas Price, announced at Sunday service here.

On Sunday, Aug. 8, 1952, Whiterock, three miles south of Petty, celebrated its centennial withan all-day homecoming at the building erected in 1945 on the site donated in 1881 by Robert Ragsdale.

Prior to the earlier date, the church had held its services in the log building in use since 1852, where now is Hickory Grove Cemetery, a mile southeast of the present church. Five years after the new site first was occupied, a wind storm demolished the building and the one erected to replace it. It served until the present structure was decided upon.

Here, the church’s 95th anniversary was celebrated a year after, and its centennial in 1852.  Honored at the 100-year program of the congregation and Mrs. H.G. Rutherford, a 53 year member, besides our generation descendants of the Ragsdale who gave the ground—the late Mr. and Mrs. W.T. Irion, their son, Robert Irion and his daughter from Paris.

The 150 or more persons attending came from all parts of Texas, and others from Oklahoma and Kansas points, and included several former pastors, and many former lay officials, County Judge, Joe Hammack of Paris welcoming the visitors.

The Rev. B.H. Terrell was then pastor, the Rev. H.A. Hanke having served the church at the time of re-building and assisting in raising the $2000.00 needed for the undertaking.

What disposition will be made of the 21-year-old church structure had not been officially announced.

Men's S. S. Class - White Rock Methodist Church - 1924

Back Row, l. to r.: George Kilpatrick, George Denson, Bob Perkins, J. E. Cunningham, Earl Bryant, Dalton Duvall, Henry Crofford, Lonnie Brimmage, Harold Reeder, Tom Nelson.

Second row: Drew Searengen, Jack Hobbs, Gordon Hopkins, W. H. Wiggs (Pastor), Will Owens, Walter McClure, Sam Cunningham, W. L. Lair, Lee Dawson, Jessie Lynn, F. L. Harris (Teacher)

Front row, seated: Henry Rutherford, John Allen, C. F. Hopkins, Realy Sandefur, D. M. Cunningham, Ben Budd.

Young People's S. S. Class - White Rock Methodist Church - 1924

Back row, l. to r.: Dalton Duvall, Raymond Budd, Elbert Caffee, Dillard Caffee, David Sandefur, herman Hopkins, Oradell Huhn, Cora Owens, Hoy Hopkins, May Ham; Bertha Brown, Una Mae Lankford, Reed Lovell.

Second row: David Cunningham, Hubert Lovell, Paul Cunningham, Sam Kilpatrick, Jim Cafffee, Ruby Allen, Rex Hopkins, Ruth Budd, Hugh Gray, Clyde Parham, Dee Cunningham, Homer Hopkins, Nettie Parchman, Verlma Parham, Edith Parham, Ruth Cunningham, Dorothy Mae Harris.

Those seated were: Verda Nelson, Ruby Owens, Fay Lovell, Mrs. Ben Budd (Teacher), Nina Reed, Cora Reed Ora Parchman.

Another photo of the church built in 1887.

The church built in 1887, with the tabernacle in the background.

Per the article, the Whiterock Methodist Church, located 3 miles southeast of Petty, was organized in 1852.  The first building was of logs on the site of Hickory Grove cemetery.  In 1881 a second building was erected on the present site and it was destroyed by a windstorm in 1886, but was rebuilt in 1887.  that building was used until a new building was completed in 1945.

Another article says that the land for the church built in 1881 was donated by Robert Ragsdale.  In 1952, at the centennial celebration, descendants of the Ragsdale familly and Mrs. H. G. Rutherford, a 53-year member, were honored.  Over 150 person attended.

Like other farming communities, more and more people moved away and the congregation became too small to maintain the church.  In 1965 the Whiterock Church was merged with the Roxton Methodist Church.  Some of the members united with the First United Methodist Church in Roxton while others united with the McKenzie Church in Honey Grove.

​Thanks to Claude Caffee for providing these materials.

The church which was built in 1946.

Whiterock Methodist Church, southeast of Petty

Honey Grove Preservation League

Saving and Documenting the History of Honey Grove, Texas