First Baptist Church of Mathis

Organized in 1905, the First Baptist Church of Mathis has served this community for more than 100 years. Thomas H. Mathis, for whom the community is named, offered two lots each to any church that would erect a building of worship. A Methodist congregation in nearby Lagarto accepted the offer and moved to the new town of Mathis. The same year, the Rev. Isaac Willingham, together with seven charter members, organized First Baptist Church. Members met in the Methodist church building once a month before later holding meetings in a hall above a local store. In 1906, members completed construction of a one-room church building. The church grew steadily in its early years; membership increased particularly during periodic revival services. In 1939, First Baptist Church began a relationship with a Hispanic mission. In 1944, the First Baptist Church purchased the mission, and members voted to pay for a fulltime pastor for the Mexican Baptist Mission. By 1955, members erected a new mission building, and in 1980, it was constituted as Primera Iglesia Bautista. Members have had a long history of service regionally and nationally. They have given gifts to orphanages in San Antonio and Alaska and to children's homes in Round Rock and in South Texas; made donations to the local African American Baptist church; opened a kindergarten; and helped in nursing homes. The Woman's Missionary Union also aided victims of a 1988 hurricane in Mexico. Additionally, the church was involved in the creation of Zephyr Encampment on Lake Corpus Christi. Today, First Baptist Church continues to act as a spiritual leader in the community of Mathis. (2007)

Historical Marker Location: 404 S Bee St, Mathis

Source: Texas Historical Commission