The Little River Baptist Church and Cemetery, near Jones Prairie, celebrated its 150th Anniversary in June 1999. A state historical marker stands at the edge of the entrance drive. Many family members of the area are buried here. The cemetery is well maintained by the Little River Cemetery Association and Little River Cemetery Foundation. (A replica of a light house erected on the church grounds to make note of the fact that the church has been called "THE LIGHT HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE" however the light house is no longer present.) There is a meeting of the Foundation and Association members each August at the Church on the Sunday before Labor Day.
A Brief History of Little River Church
The Little River Baptist Church was established when settlers gathered in the home of Josiah and Seleta Lester on the Saturday before the first Sunday of July 1849. Z. N. Morrell was named the first pastor. The church was to become the center of social, as well as, religious, life in the community.
In the late 1850's, Mrs. Z. N. Morrell gave several acres of land to the church. Following the Civil War, a building committee was formed. Church members constructed the building when they could find time from their farm work. The Masonic Lodge of the community participated in the building program and in 1873, twenty-fours years after its founding, the church occupied a new building. Later that year, the cemetery was established.
That building served the congregation and community for many years. In 1895, the church had the largest congregation in the county. It was evident that a larger building was needed so a building committee had been formed by the end of 1906.
In February 1907 the proposed building was described as "a frame building, 34 X 56 X 16 foot walls, nine windows, Gothic style, five on one side, four on the other. Three doors, two in end and one in the side. An elevated circular pulpit with arch above and windows in rear, one large and two small..." The new building was first used for services in December 1907.
Through several decades, various improvements include a cooling system, drinking facilities, concrete porch and steps, indoor restrooms and improved parking. In 1971, a historical marker for the church and cemetery was erected on the grounds.
(This history is based on information in a booklet printed for the 150th anniversary celebration of the Little River Baptist Church.)
The Little River Cemetery Association was founded in 1923. In 1983, the Church formally deeded the cemetery portion of the property to the Little River Association. The church has no involvement with the cemetery which is fully operated by the Cemetery Association who has full responsible for the care and maintenance. In 2008, the Association acquired a small piece of piece of property from the Church and erected a pavilion adjacent to the cemetery entrance to be used for services rather than at gravesides.
Contact: Little River Cemetery Association, 462 CR 267, Cameron, TX 76520.
Websites to visit:
Little River Cemetery section of Find A Grave
(over 800 inscriptions are recorded, often with a photograph and further details)
Little River Cemetery Records (partial) from Roots Web:
by Mrs. John T. Martin (nee: Evelyn Curtsinger)
Part 1 and Part 2
The Handbook of Texas: History of Jones Prairie
Milam County. A TXGenWeb Project