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Texas Forum Subject:
"Mile of Dollars" Church
will probably hear about the "Mile of Dollars" Church. It's the Methodist church
that burned to the ground in 1950. In fact, I may as well give you the story as
written up many years ago and is always used in the history of the church. ...
There are still quite a few people in the church who participated in the events.
Here it is - with some notations of my own:
"The church was established
in 1880 at Bailey Junction in northwest Bells. Rev. A.L. Miller, great grandfather
of Lois Everheart (who is still an active member), was the first pastor. In 1889,
the church moved to south Bells on land given by Mr. W.B. Dugan (g or gg? -grandfather
of another very active member).
Thanksgiving Day, 1950, Rev. Baxton Bryant (Rev. Bryant passed away in 1996 at
his home in NC) was burning trash when sparks caught in a high wind and ignited
the dry grass. In a matter of minutes the grass was a torch destroying the church
building. Only a pile of ashes was left. The church, insured for only $5,000,
needed twenty-five thousand dollars to rebuild. The congregation pledged $10,000,
yet an additional $10,000 was still needed.
Bryant and his friend, Rev. Ashley Jamison, Methodist minister of Whitewright,
had the idea of finding 10,000 people to donate one dollar each, which after much
figuring was determined to measure one mile. This "mile of dollars" idea received
nation-wide publicity, including an article in Life Magazine. Donations and best
wishes came from all over the United States and foreign countries.
May 6, 1951 a mile of dollars was strung out along U.S. Highway 69 south toward
Whitewright. The first service in the new brick "Mile of Dollars" church was held
January 6, 1952."
1980 the church celebrated its 100th anniversary by burying a time capsule containing,
among other things, a copy of the 1951 issue of Life Magazine with the article
in it. I've never seen it but figure that at least Fairy Ramsey (mother of the
tax collector) has one. Fairy recently celebrated her 90th birthday and kept the
nursery in the church for over 60 years until just a few months ago when she broke
her hip. I have seen a photo of the church in flames along with an article which
was published in the Sherman newspaper.
... I've always found it to be a fascinating story - especially since I know many
of the people who were part of it. - Margie Jackson, September 22, 2002