First Baptist Church of Victoria
Victoria County, Texas
28 48.135' N 97 00.470' W
Directions: Start at the intersection of Commercial Street and US-59TB. The church is on the southeast corner of the intersection.
Text: On May 15, 1852, eight men and women, including a slave, joined together to organize the First Baptist Church of Victoria. That evening they elected the Rev. D.B. Morrall as pastor, and he performed the first baptismal service the following morning. After six months, a Northern Baptist missionary, the Rev. J.A. Kimball, came to serve Victoria and the surrounding area. At that time, the Baptist congregation met in the local Methodist Church building, sharing maintenance expenses with their neighbor congregation. Five years after the first church meeting, the Victoria Baptists met in a new structure, with a Baptist sanctuary on the ground floor and an Odd Fellows Lodge hall on the second floor of the frame building. The congregation continued meeting at their building, on Diamond Hill, until the Civil War; records indicate there was only one formal meeting between 1861 and 1877. That year, church trustees sold the Diamond Hill property and purchased a new site. In 1878, the congregation bought a steeple bell that had blown into the Gulf of Mexico when a storm hit Indianola. The bell was placed outside the church building and rung before worship services, and has since moved with the congregation to its subsequent sanctuaries, including a 1936 structure and later a 1960s sanctuary at this site. Throughout its years as a congregation, Victoria's First Baptist Church has offered worship and education programs to its community. Its Sunday School program began in 1897. The congregation has supported the organization of local mission churches. In recent years, the church property has served as relief shelter for victims of natural disasters and the congregation has supported other community programs, demonstrating commitment to service.