Bridwell Library Exhibition: Early Texas Methodism, 1815-1860

DALLAS (SMU) – The earliest Protestant preaching in Texas is credited to the Rev. William Stevenson (1768-1857), a Methodist Episcopal Church circuit rider. In 1815, Stevenson crossed the Red River into Texas from the Territory of Arkansas (now part of Oklahoma) and formed a society near Pecan Point. From that beginning, pioneering ministers and lay persons evangelized a significant number of Texans during the antebellum era, organizing them into Methodist societies and Sunday Schools. Despite their success, early Texas Methodists left behind few records.

Fifteen items selected from the Special Collections at Bridwell Library give evidence of the Methodist movement during its formative years in Texas before the Civil War. These historic documents will be on display in Bridwell Library at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University beginning August 28 through December 11, 2015. The exhibition, which is in the foyer at the main entry of Bridwell Library, is free and open to the public during regular library hours.

Visit the exhibition online.
For more information contact the exhibition curator: Bridwell Archivist Tim Binkley, 214.768.1989.
For more information about Bridwell Library:, 214-768-3483,
Information about public parking at SMU (including maps of the SMU campus):


Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Church Ministries, and Doctor of Ministry, as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.