Railroad bridge over Trinity River, Liberty. TX.
Trinity Valley Baptist District Association was duly organized in the year of 1874, on the banks of the Trinity River in Liberty, Texas.
According to minutes and interviews of persons still alive during the organization, the following information was gathered.
Ministers present for the organization were Reverends H.W. Bendy, A. Venerable, W.H. Harris, David James, Shotwell, Sip Baldwin, Clark Baldwin, S. Spiller, Alfred Crain and other devoted men and women from various churches.
Rev. H. W. Bendy was elected first Moderator of the Association. Much was accomplished under this great leader. During Rev. Bendy's tenure, a plot of land was purchased in Kountze, Texas; a farm was established; a school known as the Kountze Baptist College was built; and a special plot of ground was purchased and set aside for a cemetery where officers, members and other workers of the district would have a final resting place.
Rev. W.H. Jermany of Houston College was chosen as the first President of the school. Mrs. W.J. Jermany (President's wife) and a Professor E.B. Hansen worked as Instructors for a number of years. Following Rev. Jermany, Rev. A.L. Schley was elected as President, assisted by Mrs. Alvie Gardner and Mrs. Schley.
Early graduates of the college were Rev. Johnnie J. Jackson, Mrs.Sarah Bean, Mrs. Purdy Jones, Mrs. Pearl Sherman, Mrs. Mable Isles, Mrs. Oberlean Daniel and Mrs. Ruby McDonald.
Many hearts were saddened in July 1919 as the beloved moderator went home to be with the Lord. He was laid to rest in the district cemetery with the Rev. John Jones, officiating.
In August 1919, during the Annual Session held in Port Arthur, Texas at the First Sixth Street Baptist Church, Rev. Mark M. Harris became the district's leader. He served faithfully until 1931.
During the Annual Session held in Silsbee, Texas, 1931, Rev. Rank Kirkwood was elected as Moderator. His chief aim was to reach out-of-the-way places to create a deeper interest in the outreach program of the district.
Therefore, the first annual session of the Association during his administration was held in the small town of Cold Springs, Texas in 1932. Rev. Kirkwood served for thirteen years.
Many leaders and workers realized it was time for a change if the work was to continue to grow and not diminish. The meeting was held in Hardin, Texas in 1944. It was indeed a tumultuous session. Much debating and discussion took place. In spite of this, the Rev. J.J. Jackson was elected as Moderator by an overwhelming vote. During his tenure much was accomplished. The district took on new growth. It seemed as if a new beginning had just dawned. Many churches were re-claimed and many new ones added.
Bishop College was added as our Educational objective. Struggling churches were also given financial aid. Scholarship funds to aid worthy students desiring to attend Bishop College were given. The first students receiving scholarships were Joyce Meeks, daughter of Mrs. Vergie M. Meeks, and a member of Peaceful Rest Baptist Church, and Brenda Moran, daughter of Mrs. Minnie Moran, member of New Bethel Baptist Church of Silsbee, Texas.
These projects continue to this date. Other minor auxiliaries established during this administration are the choirs, the ushers and the Brotherhood. Also established was a fund to be earmarked for surviving widows of deceased ministers to receive a cash donation during or after the funeral service.
Other officers serving during this administration were Rev. S. Shepard, Vice Moderator; Rev. G.B. Holdman, Secretary; Rev. Andy Williams, Treasurer; Rev. O.A. Smith, Bible Instructor and Rev. C.B. Bailey, President of Sunday School and B.T.U. Convention. Rev. W.C.F. Jones, Rev. R.F. McCloud, Rev. M.D. Pinkney, E.L. Moye, J.H. Turner, J.C. Williams, C.W. Jones, W.W. Como. G.W. Tolbert and many others were very active at this time.
Due to ill health, Rev. Jackson resigned August, 1965 in Port Arthur, Texas at the Macedonia Baptist Church. The Rev. R. Newton was elected Moderator during this same session. The District continued to grow and flourish under the leadership of this dedicated leader. In August 1983, Rev. Rayburn Newton became the first Moderator Emeritus of the Association.
In 1983, at East Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 1197 Corley Street, Beaumont, Texas, Rev. H.T. Tatmon was elected Moderator. Rev. Tatmon did a wonderful job in leading the District.
Brief excerpts of other Auxiliaries
1. The Women's Auxiliary
According to information received from elders of the District. This auxiliary came into being in 1893. Mrs. Azamore Wilson as President; Mrs. Emmer Kirkwood, Vice President; Mrs. Ossie Grimes, Secretary; Mrs. E.L. Mack, Treasurer; Mrs. Shannon Brown, Pianist; and Mrs. M.V. Craig, Missionary. Others in the organization were: Mesdames, Hester Calhoun, Hillister, TX; Edith Kirkwood, Kountze, TX; W.E.F. Jones, Liberty, TX; H. Gaffey, Georgia A. Lewie, Della Bohannon, Ellen Booker, and Alice Hicks, all of Beaumont, TX, and many others whose names we were unable to secure.
As the work increased other workers were needed. Mrs. Lessie Wilson was elected as 2nd Vice President; Mrs. Lela Lacy, Zone Organizer; and Mrs. W.C.F. Jones and Mrs. M. Butler, Missionaries.
Mrs. Ossie Grimes passed in 1939 and was succeeded by Mrs. Eugenia Jackson, as Secretary. In 1954 Mrs. A. Wilson went to be with the Lord. In August 1954 in Dayton, Texas, Mrs. E.L. Mack was elected President, Mrs. E. Kirkwood, L. Wilson, and Alvia Gardner, Vice Presidents. Mrs. Leola Ewing, Youth Director. Mrs. Mack's health began to wane and Mrs. A.L. Sharp was added as Vice President, serving faithfully with Mrs. Gardner.
Sad to say, in 1967, both President Mack and Vice President Gardner were taken from us in death.
On Friday, August 11, 1967, in Hardin, Texas, Mrs. Eugenia Jackson was elected unanimously Emeritus and Mrs. Helen McCullough was chosen as President. We prayed that under God, Mrs. McCullough would lead the women to higher heights.
2. The Congress of Christian Education
Former leaders of the Congress were: Rev. Asa Wilson, G.B. Holdman, C.B. Bailey, C.W. Jones, G.W. Tolbert, Mrs. Lela Lacy, Miss Thressa Wilson, Rev. S. Booker, Mrs. A. Getwood and Rev. M.L. Williams.
The Congress moved forward in a great way, preparing men, women, boys and girls for leadership and workers in the great Kingdom building movement. The workers at that time were: Rev. H.H. High, President; Rev. J.H. Hardin, 1st Vice President; Re. Walter Allen, 2nd Vice President; Mrs. A.M. Saveat, Secretary; Mrs. L.B. Willis, Youth Director; Rev. A. Nonette, Treasurer; Rev. Clarence Williams, Dean, and many other loyal workers and members.
3. The Minister's Conference
This conference plays an important role in the life of preachers in the District. Being called of God and committed to the proclamation of he gospel, and carrying out of God's purposes in the world; a fellowship of others who have common experiences is vital to growth and development.
Former leaders of he Conference were: Rev. D.L. Penn, Rev. C.B. Bailey, Rev. M.D. Pinkney, Rev. H.T. Tatmon. Other leaders at that time were Rev. S.P. Wills, President; Rev. R. McCullough, ice President; Rev. R. Campbell, Secretary; and Rev. H. Alexander, Treasurer.
As we face the future, we do so with faith, hope, dedication and love, knowing with God's guidance the future can be better.
Let's resolve now to seek and find methods and ways to help all members of the District to live the Christian life in today's and tomorrow's world.
Unveiling and Dedication of
Kountze Negro Baptist College
In August of 1909, at the 35th annual session of the Trinity Valley Missionary Baptist Association, Moderator H.W. Bendy stated in his address to the association that the people had been told for the last eight years that the association would build some kind of institution in the district using monies that had been raised from time to time. The community had been located, which was Kountze, and land had been purchased.
The Kountze Baptist Negro College, also known as Jermany College, opened on November 24, 1910 in Kountze, Texas. The school was affiliated with Bishop College in Marshall, Texas. A two story wooden building served as the school.
Rev. W.H. Jermany was selected President and there were four other teachers one of whom was his wife. Rev. Jermany served in this capacity for 17 years, resigning in 1927.
Subjects taught were reading, writing, mathematics, home economics, and agriculture. Additional subjects included music, theology, courses for teachers and classes that prepared students for college. In connection with the latter subjects, part of the 81 acres was used as a truck farm to help support the project.
In 1915, additional land was purchased and a three story building was erected, consisting of a girls dormitory with 18 well-furnished bedrooms, a boys dormitory with nine bedrooms, four classrooms, an office, dining room, kitchen, store room and chapel.
In 1928, Professor Schylde took over as President of the college. According to the handbook of Texas Online, the initial enrollment was believed to be 15. According to an interview conducted in 1998 by Harold Willis of the Hardin County Historical Society with June Jermany, daughter of Professor Jermany, a total of 1000 students attended the school of which 10 graduated with two students receiving BA degrees.
Financial difficulties arose and compounded by the Great Depression, the school finally closed in 1930. The school was the subject of much pride in both the black and white communities.
According to Mrs. Lorene Hooks, mother of Dr. H.A. Hooks, who reached 104 in March of 2008, attended graduation exercises along with her family. The building was later demolished for its pine lumber and large doors, which were installed in the parsonage of the Starlight Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas.
Rev. W.H. Jermany - A.B. Wiley College, Marshall, Texas
D.D. Roger Williams - University, Nashville, Tenn.
E.B. Hanson - Academic, Arkansas Baptist College, Little Rock, Arkansas and A.B. from Bishop College, Marshall, Texas (Taught Grammar)
Mrs. W.H. Jermany - A.B. Kountze Baptist College (Taught Music and Academic)
Miss Cora Smith - Normal graduate of Bishop College (Taught Primary Department)
Miss Ruth Miles
Miss Odessa L. Ward
Board of Trustees
Rev. D. James, Liberty, Texas
Rev. E. Kirkwood
Rev. M.M. Harris, Beaumont, Texas
Rev. J.H. Rhone, Beaumont, Texas
Rev. F.K. Kirkwood, Silsbee, Texas
Rev. R.H. McCloud, Kountze, Texas
Rev. H.W. Bendy
Rev. A. Wilson, Beaumont, Texas
A.J. Edwards, Port Arthur, Texas
Mrs. Azmore Wilson, Beaumont, Texas
Ruby Arline Dean, Ruth M. Edwards, Pearl S. Dacus, Viola Jermany Roberts, Janis Jermany Williams, Odessa W. Henderson, Willie Carrier, M.C. Farnell, G.L. Henderson, Rutha Shorten, Dennis Taylor, Lillian Jermany Taylor, Alve Farnell, Margie Frazier Renfro, Mary Hawkins Farnell and Marie Jermany Duke.