West Texas Web: Handbook of Texas Online

West Texas Web: Handbook of Texas Online

Bloys Camp Meeting

[Recommend a West Texas web resource by emailing the editor at andrewsuber@hotmail.com or commenting on this post.]

The Handbook of Texas Online is an excellent resource for the budding historian. Here is a well-written introduction into a Fort Davis, Texas event going on right now, the Bloys Camp Meeting:

“The camp meetings were begun in 1890 by William Benjamin Bloys, a Presbyterian home missionary serving in Fort Davis. Because the ranches of the region were widely separated by vast, uninhabited areas, it was virtually impossible for frontier families to worship with their neighbors and friends. Bloys rode to many of the outlying ranches from Fort Davis, but he was rarely able to minister to the whole community at one time. In October 1890, while visiting the family of John Z. Means, Bloys devised a plan to bring local families together annually for religious services. An old-style camp meeting was organized, and on October 10, 1890, forty-three people gathered in Skillman’s Grove for the first time. The two-day meeting included Bible instruction and sermons as well as a great deal of socializing. The meetings were first held under a brush arbor and then for many years in a canvas tent. A permanent tabernacle was built in 1912 and expanded as attendance grew. It still serves as the central meeting place. As more people attended the camp meetings, the camp was divided into six areas where families gathered and ate. These evolved into the six eating sheds that now feed the entire camp. Cooking is still done ranch-style on open fires. The average number attending was more than 3,000 by 1988.”

Elsewhere on the same site, I especially like:

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