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Faith Runs Deep at Dalby Springs

Dalby Springs United Methodist Church
Dalby Springs United Methodist Church was built in 1888. (Photo by Jathan Fink, Townsquare Media)

As I’ve traveled across the Ark-La-Tex, it is increasingly evident how important religion and God are in the lives of local residents. This is also true in a little community called Dalby Springs, just 11 miles south of Dekalb on the western side of Bowie County.

Although you may fly past the remnants of this community if you aren’t looking for it, a little white church remains there as a testament to the faith that once brought a community together every Sunday.

In 1839, Methodist missionaries preached throughout Texas. The Dalby Springs congregation formed that same year, long before a church was ever erected. Services were held at homes and beneath trees, where the God fearing citizens of the community came together to worship.

After the Civil War started in 1861, a schoolhouse was built in Dalby Springs and the congregation then began meeting there, using the school until 1887 when Jack Whitecotton donated the land where the frame church now stands.

Built in 1888, the church is constructed of knotless pine lumber and has tall arcing windows and gorgeous wooden pews. But as technology changed, so did the church. Electricity and air conditioning were added over the years, yet despite those changes the building still looks relatively untouched by time.

Dedication of Dalby Springs United Methodist Church in 1966.
Dedication of Dalby Springs United Methodist Church in 1966.

In 1966, the Texas State Historical Survey Committee erected an official historical medallion outside the church.

The congregation continued to use the church until sometime during the last few years, according to area residents. Yet even now, as the grass grows taller around the little church and dust settles over the wooden pews that curve around the sanctuary, it is evident that this church has been well loved.

And even now, as I stand beneath the hot August sun and the outstretched branches of ancient trees, I can almost hear generations of Dalby Springs’ residents inside, gathering together to listen to sermons and sing hymns of praise, their faith running as deep as the nearby well.

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