First Christian Church
|The predecessor of this church, the First Disciples of Christ Congregation in Texas, was founded during the winter
of 1841-42 at McKinney's Landing in Bowie County near the Texas-Arkansas border.|
Collin McKinney, pioneer settler and signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was the leader of the Bowie County congregation, which had worshipped informally since 1831.Between 1844 and 1846 the group moved to Liberty (later called Mantua) three miles southwest of here. In 1846 under McKinney and J. B. Wilmeth, the congregation was reorganized as the "Liberty Church" with eighteen members.
In 1854, the First Mantua Christian Church was built. In this early structure a rail in the center aisle separated men from women. No offering plate was passed: donations were placed on the communion table. Members constructed their own "hymn books", which doubled as souvenir and recipe books. Founders of churches in many cities, including Galveston, Sherman, and Glen Rose, were members of the Mantua Church. In 1887 the Mantua group organized the church on this site in the infant town of Van Alstyne, located on the Houston and Texas Central Railroad.
In 1891 the Mantua and Van Alstyne Churches joined memberships.