History of Saint Paul’s

Current church building on McAlpine

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church is the only one of three early Episcopal churches in this vicinity that has survived.  The first church began at Old Washington in 1848, when the Rev. Niles Pierce visited the Capitol of Texas.  Great interest was shown in having an Episcopal Church and $500 was pledged for a church building, which was completed in 1854.  This small cedar church was names, "Saint Paul’s" and was consecrated in 1862, twelve years after the church was organized.
The second church, The Redeemer Church at Anderson was organized July 27, 1851, and existed until 1887.
The third church was the group worshipping from 1860 to 1865 in the old school house at Navasota (this information was noted in the Council notes of 1864); the Rev. R. S. Seely, Rector of Saint Paul’s, Old Washington, conducted the monthly services.
Through the missionary zeal of the Rt. Rev. Alexander Gregg, a number of mission stations were established in 1865.  Among these stations were Navasota, Millican, Courtney, and Columbus.  Bishop Gregg made himself available to minister to as many people as possible.  Bishop Gregg hoped to follow the railroad with a succession of gothic churches extending like a line of forts from the Gulf of Mexico to the Rio Colorado.
In 1866, the H. & T.C. Railroad was building northward and donated a block of land to the church; this block was #58 and located on Cedar Creek, near the Schumacher Oil Mill.  In this same year, 1866, the church at Navasota came alive to the degree that upon Bishop Gregg’s visit on June 5, 1866, a parish was organized taking the name "The Church of the Holy Comforter".  To begin with, the Rev. R. S. Seeley conducted congregation services once a month in Navasota.  On June 14, 1866, at the annual Diocesan Convention, the Church of the Holy Comforter was admitted to the Diocese of Texas.
 
In 1869, the church in Navasota was added to the missionary circuit of congregations.  In 1870, just after the Civil War, the red cedar church was moved from old Washington to Navasota, which was a growing town.  The church was moved and rebuilt for $600.  In 1870 the Diocesan Council gave its consent to rename the church from Church of the Holy Comforter to St. Paul’s.  In 1890, Ernest Lord, an active church member of English background was hired as the contractor to rebuild the church on a new lot, and he modeled our building after an English village-gothic church.  It was completed in 1891, and was consecrated by Bishop George Herbert Kinsolving on Easter Day, April 5, 1896.  Some of the materials and furnishings came from the old original cedar church building moved from old Washington, including wainscotting, beams, joists, furniture, and benches.
Since 1891, some renovations and improvements have been made, but care has been taken not to disturb the original appearance and beauty of the church.  The new parish hall was completed in 1981 and is a memorial to Dr. Marius Hansen, devoted husband, father, physician, and churchman.