Organized in 1855
The earliest records of the Acton Church have been lost or destroyed. Tradition and a few meager records indicate that once each month in 1855 Baptist services were conducted in a building known as the Long House on Walnut Creek. Three other denominations used the building, one Sunday each, the other three Sundays. The building was also used as a school house on week days. Joseph (Fighting Joe) Robinson was the Baptist preacher. On August 25, 1855 he led in organizing a Missionary Baptist Church with about 20 charter members. (Some historians doubt that Joseph Robinson was the organizer as he was not ordained at that time.) James M. Halford, son-in-law of David Crockett, was the pastor for a few years, but left to fight for his country during the Civil War and died before the war was over.
The church was known as the Harmony Baptist Church. Minutes of the Brazos River Association show that the church was represented in 1858 by J.M. Halford, G. McCoy, and I. McCoy. Minutes of the Alvarado Association in 1866 show that Harmony was represented by J. Robinson, Pastor, W.N. Tandy, and J.P. Tolbert. From this it is evident that the church did not die during the Civil War. Also the minutes of the Alvarado Association for 1880 show that the church was still cooperating with the association and that J.N. Chandler was pastor. There may have been a time when services were suspended for a few months. However, there is evidence of the continuity of the church in the family record of James H. Stribling, who was born in South Carolina May 19, 1840, and came to Texas in early life and lived many years in the Acton community. He and his wife, Zena (Taylor) Stribling, great-niece of President Zachary Taylor, were the parents of five sons and five daughters who grew up in the community. Some of their descendants have lived in the community and participated in church activities in every generation since Mr. Stribling came into the community. He died on January 30, 1910. Two granddaughters are members of the Tolar Baptist Church. One of them, Mrs. Maurine Miller, believes there was never a complete cessation of Baptist services at Acton. Evidently there was a reason for the reorganization led by S.L. Tarrant in 1888. The Acton Baptist Church was represented in the meeting of Paluxy Baptist Association for the first time that year.
It was not until 1894 that the church had her own building. That building has been remodeled, but is still in use. In 1920 M.M. Robinett led in installing a Delco plant which furnished lights for the school and two churches. An organ was loaned each Sunday by a family of the church until 1895 when one was purchased for the church. The first piano was purchased in 1935. The first educational space was added in 1940, and butane heating was installed in 1950. A new auditorium was built in 1969, with the old building converted into educational space, kitchen and fellowship hall, and central heating and air conditioning was installed. The latest addition is a new two-story educational building. Twenty-five pastors have served the church since 1897, with M.M. Robinett serving longer than any other. Rev. Glenn L. Ward has been the faithful pastor since 1974.
Paluxy Baptist Association Centennial Story
1880 – 1980