Burke Baptist Church


Burke Baptist Church in 2005

The Baptist Church is located on the School Road not far from Burke School. It was founded in 1905. However, its rots may actually go deeper. One of the founders of Bradley Prairie School in 1885 was S. J. Havard, who was probably the same man listed in the 1880 census as S. James Havard, a "Baptist preacher," in the Renfro Prairie area. He lived very near Stephen and Sarah Treadwell, who moved to Bradley Prairie shortly after the railroad arrived. Presumably Havard lived at Burke, or at least played a major role in civic affairs, at Bradley Prairie, which suggests that Baptist services were held in Bradley Prairie (Burke) as early as 1885.

The records of Pine Grove Baptist Church, which lies between Diboll and Beulah, shows that S. J. Havard was pastor of the church from November, 1893 to October, 1894. It is also known that he preached occasional sermons between 1872 and July, 1899. Then in July, 1899 the Church ordained T. O. Davidson and sent him to Burke with salary of a horse and 1 dollar per day. It is believed that he remained in the area until1905.

The church now has a brick exterior, but in the 1950's it was a wooden structure painted in the traditional white.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s the pastors included Rev. Mobley and Rev. Jones. Rev. Jones was the father of Burke resident J. T. Jones.

Sources:
  1. M. Lee Murrah, Personal Recollections
  2. Chris Price, Pastor, Pine Grove Baptist Church, citing Church records
  3. 1880 Census, Angelina County, Texas, Precinct 3, Page 13, Dwelling 218 (S. James Havard)