San Saba First United Methodist Church
History in a Snapshot
The first organization of a Methodist Church in San Saba County came into being in 1856, after the Mission Board of Texas had established a mission here one year earlier. The Rev. Wesley Smith has been given the recognition as the founder of this early frontier mission. It is also worthy to note that the Sans Saba Woman's Missionary Society was the second organized in the Conference.
In 1871, the San Saba Mission was changed to a Circuit. Ministers were not always available to pastor the church, but the prayers of the women and men did much to hold the congregation together during its formative days.
In 1880, this congregation constructed their first building after having met in the court house and other buildings. Dr. J.C. Rogan and wife gave the land of the new building and is the site for the present church building.
In 1914, the foundation was laid for the all-marble church structure that now stands as the only all marble church in the United States. Work was completed in the year of 1917, whereby services could be held in the basement. In 1921, the work was completed and the building was dedicated.
The United Methodist Church in San Saba has been designated a "Recorded Historic Landmark" significant to the history of Texas.
The Story Goes......
The man examined the horse carefully. After all, it wasn't his money which would pay for it. It was God's and he trusted that God would help him make his choice well. In some ways the frontier made men equal, even preachers. Every man needed transportation and protection, a horse and a gun. So, in 1855 when the Texas Methodist Mission Board appropriated $500 for Wesley Smith's support to establish the San Saba Methodist Mission on the western side of the Colorado River northwest of Austin, he invested $125 in a horse and $50 in a revolver. He packed his Bible and hymnbook and come to the San Saba River Valley. That fall, he conducted the first camp meeting held in the county at Hamrick Creek. He also performed the first marriage recorded in San Saba County.
Rev. Smith held a Camp Meeting in 1856 in Burnet Springs in Burnet county and as Simpson Creek in San Saba County. The same year saw the organization of the San Saba Methodist Mission with J.W. Whipple as the first Presiding Elder. Dr. J.C. Rogan and wife, Mary A. Rogan, were the first members of the Methodist Church here. They were donors of the land where the present church stands. The members met in homes and various public buildings including the frame courthouse, which was the predecessor to the present San Saba County courthouse and was located on the same site. Services were conducted in the courthouse until it was blown down. The congregation then moved to the rock school, better known as the old Masonic College, which stood several blocks south of the courthouse. Then for reasons unknown, the church began assembling in an old adobe building on the site of the present Rylander Memorial Library. The congregation moved into their own building located on the present church property in 1881. It was white clapboard with a high steeple and a bell tower. Groundbreaking for the present building took place on Christmas Eve, 1913. The marble for the building came from San Saba County's own quarries. The marble itself was donated, with the church paying for quarrying and transportation on wagons. In March, 1914, the cornerstone was laid; in 1916, the congregation moved into the basement and worshiped there until the sanctuary was completed. The church building was formally dedicated on January 16, 1921. Contract price for the building was $38,000. Stained glass windows, furnishings for the sanctuary, and marble columns were all gifts or memorials. This building is believed to be the only United Methodist church structure in the United States wholly constructed of white marble. The church has grown with mergers with Pickett's Chapel, the Spring Valley Church, and the Richland Springs United Methodist Church.