Sweet Canaan's 2nd Annual Soles For Souls 3K/5K Walk-Run - Saturday, April 7, 2018 at 8:00 AM
Church History
Sweet Canaan Baptist Church was established in Guadalupe County, Texas before the second Lord’s Day, October 1867.  It first pastor was Reverend C. T. “Nelson” Wright and followed by George Washington Harris, the son of Mary Owens and Littleton Harris, who came to Texas as a slave.  Rev. Wight was born to James Wright and Francis Wright on April 5, 1855. He was married to Mrs. Mary (Dibrell) Wright whose residence is listed in Seguin, Texas. He died of heart failure on April 7, 1927 at the age of 72 in Kingsbury, Texas. George Washington Harris was born in 1847 and his nickname was “Wash.” He died at the age of 72 in Kingsbury, Texas in 1919, and he and Littleton Harris are buried in the Sweet Canaan Cemetery in Guadalupe County, Texas.  He was married to Sallie Ann Johnson (1854-1922) at the age of 23 on December 22, 1870, who was the daughter of Henry (Pap) Johnson, who came to Texas as a slave from the state of Alabama.  “Wash” and Sallie Ann had nine children in 19 years. The slave owner, Addison Asbery Johnson (1823-1877), brought Henry (Pap) Johnson, his wife, and Sarah Johnson (the wife of George Washington Harris) to Texas from Alabama. 
Addison Johnson was born in Virginia and he established a number of Baptist churches settling in San Augustine, County upon arrival to Texas.  San Augustine is a city seated in San Augustine County, Texas in East Texas.  It is west of Nacogdoches, Texas and east of the Sabine National Forest. It is seat between Lufkin, Texas and the Louisiana border.  San Augustine is approximately 315 miles from Kingsbury, Texas about a four and a half hour trip by vehicle. Addison Johnson was married to Frances M. Wright in about 1838.  He took up residence in San Augustine around 1846 at the age of 23.  He came to Guadalupe County as a tanner in 1850.  It is noted in the 1850 US Federal Census that he came with a family of 48 members.  In 1870 Addison Johnson changed occupation to a farmer at the age of 47. On June 17, 1877 Mr. Johnson departed the world to go to the next as the age of 54 in Guadalupe County, Texas.  Mr. Addison Johnson and his wife Frances M. Wright are buried in the Johnson Family Cemetery on land formerly owned by Addison, but now by Brother Herman Harris and Tony Harris. He was a charter member and deacon of Prairie Lea Baptist Church in Prairie Lea, Texas.
In about October 1867, 2 years after the Civil War had ended (May 9, 1865), the members with African ancestors organized their "Sweet Canaan Baptist Church" more affectionately known as "Brushy Creek" or "Brusha." These African American members founded and established their church from the Shiloh Baptist Church a traveling church from San Augustine County Texas which later would become Prairie Lea Baptist Church. The Shiloh Baptist Church was made up of some slave owners, along with their slaves. According to Chuck and Pat Parsons in A History of the Prairie Lea Baptist Church quoting from the Prairie Lea Baptist Church Archives, “Page 54 of the second volume of the church record, dated October 1867. The ‘Colored Brethern’ were ‘all dismissed from this church’, then forming Sweet Canaan” (51). This forefathers and foremothers had a mind to work. While working in the dark soil, some calcareous clay combined with fine, sandy loam all day, some picking cotton other picking corn, they would steal away down by Brushy Creek to pray and singing Negro spirituals seeking God’s healing and deliverance until the break of dawn. Albert J. Raboteau in Slave Religion voices, “In secrecy of the quarters or the seclusion of brush arbors (‘hush harbors’) the slaves made Christianity truly their own” (12). The religious life of the African American community is rich in religious heritage and theology. They sought the freedom promised in the Scriptures that would set their souls free, even though they felt that their bodies where in a hellish prison of racism and prejudice match by none the world has ever experienced.
Reverend Nelson Wright served as the first pastor and is buried in the Sweet Canaan Cemetery in Guadalupe County, Texas. He was ordained by the Prairie Lea Baptist Church officers in October 1867. It is chronicled that he was “a man of dark complexion about thirty” when Asa Wright transfer ownership to his sons” (Parsons, 3). He noted among the community as a charismatic preacher and proficient teacher of the Scriptures. The original Sweet Canaan Baptist Church was on Brushy Creek, a half mile S.E., the second church was about 25 feet from the original location which is located about one mile south of its present location. It was also this 2nd location that served as a school. Its present location was built in 1906.
Some of the pastors after Rev. C.T “Nelson” Wright (d. 1927) were Rev. George Washington Harris (d. 1919), Rev. C.H. Johnson, Rev. A.L. Roach, Rev. George Merriweather (d.1928), he is also buried in the Sweet Canaan Cemetery. Others include Rev. E.L. Walker, Rev. W.I. Rector, Rev. D.H. Williams, Rev. J.A. Kimble, Rev. H. Johnson (d. 1955), he is also buried in the Sweet Canaan Cemetery. The following pastors include Rev. Blain Smith, Rev. J.N. Wallace, Rev. Albert Woodson, Rev. I. Inman Reese, Rev. P.V. Richardson. After P.V. Richardson was Rev. Emmanuel Carpenter, Sr., Rev. George Washington, Rev. Phillip Harderman, Sr. and the current Pastor is Dr. Johnny Freemont III.  Some of the deacons were Will Edwards, Sam Harris, Tom McClinton, Henry Thomas, and Kit Sanders. Some of the long time family names were; Forceys, Gaines, Grays, Merriweathers, McClintons, Edwards, Sanders, Tolivers, Jones, Gordons, Jacksons, Farmers, Salones, Richardson, and Harris, McVea's, Miles, Roberts, Wells, Woods and many others.
Sweet Canaan Baptist Church is affiliated with the Guadalupe Landmark District Association. Next to the present location of the Sweet Canaan Baptist Church or "Brushy" is the Sweet Canaan Cemetery. At this time, the earliest grave recorded shows to be 1844.
George Washington Harris founded and established the New Birth Baptist Church in Nash's creek in 1870 at the age of 23, serving as the first pastor. He was a farmer, Baptist minister, and provider for his family.
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Sweet Canaan Baptist Church
Sweet Canaan Baptist Church
Sweet Canaan Baptist Church, established by former slaves.
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