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The Bridgeport Historical Society applied for and was granted Five State Historical Markers. "Toll Bridge & Old Bridgeport" "Bridgeport Coal Mines" "Bridgeport Lodge No. 587" "Col. William H. Hunt" and "Republic of Texas' Santa Fe Expedition in Wise County". The "First United Methodist Church" "First Presbyterian Church" and the "First Baptist Church" were granted State Historical Markers.
Marker Text
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Click on Photo to Enlarge

IN 1883, THE ROCK ISLAND RAILROAD ESTABLISHED A LINE CLOSE TO BRIDGEPORT ON THE BANKS OF THE WEST FORK OF THE TRINITY RIVER, AND SOON THE TOWN BEGAN TO GROW. IN 1895, THE FAMILY OF J.A. WEAKLEY MOVED FROM DECATUR TO BRIDGEPORT, AND AS CHARTER MEMBERS OF OTHER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES IN THE AREA DECIDED TO START A PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN BRIDGEPORT. AFTER MEETING IN A SCHOOL FOR SEVERAL YEARS THE 12 CHARTER MEMBERS OFFICIALLY ORGANIZED ON APRIL 1, 1898. IN SEPTEMBER OF 1898, THE BRIDGEPORT TOWN COMPANY SOLD TWO LOTS TO THE CHURCH FOR $1. THE FIRST CHURCH BUILDING, A DIGNIFIED CARPENTER GOTHIC STRUCTURE, WAS COMPLETED AT THE CONCLUSION OF 1898. THE CHURCH WOULD RESIDE IN SEVERAL BUILDINGS OVER THE YEARS, THE ORIGINAL 1898 STRUCTURE, A SECOND STRUCTURE BUILT IN 1960, AND A REBUILD OF THE SECOND STRUCTURE AFTER A FIRE IN 1974.

OPPORTUNTIES FOR WOMEN BEGAN ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AND INCLUDED THE WOMEN'S AUXILARY IN 1899, AND THE WOMEN'S MISSIONARY UNION IN 1901 (LATER CALLED THE PRESBYTERIAL AUXILIARY OF FORT WORTH PRESYBTERY). MARTHA GREEN WEAKLEY, ONE OF THE FIRST LEADERS OF BOTH ORGANIZATIONS AND A CHARTER MEMBER OF THE CHURCH, TRAVELED THE AREA DELIVERING SPEECHES ON CHRISTIAN EDUCATION AND METHODS OF ORGANIZATION. DESCENDANTS OF THE CHARTER MEMBERS, WILLIAM MONTFORD AND JANE HOLDEN MONTFORD OF IRELAND, CONTINUE TO HOLD MEMBERSHIP IN THIS CHURCH TODAY. IN THE 1960S THE CHURCH BEGAN TO SHARE SERVICES AND PROGRAMS WITH OTHER DENOMINATIONS IN BRIDGEPORT, SUCH AS YOUTH, COMMUNITY AND EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES. FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY, THE CHURCH HAS BEEN A BEACON OF LIGHT IN THE COMMUNITY.

(2011)

Dedication Ceremony Courtesy of Bridgeport Index
First Presbyterian Church
View Photographs made at the dedication ceremony by clicking here.

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Marker Text

IN 1882, REV. ALPHUS HAWKINS, W. W. CANNON AND 23 CHARTER MEMBERS STARTED THIS CHURCH IN OLD TOWN BRIDGEPORT. AFTER MEETING IN THE SCHOOLHOUSE AND TWO OTHER SITES, THE CHURCH MOVED TO THEIR OWN ONE-ROOM BUILDING HERE IN 1895. COAL MINING,CATTLE RANCHING AND THE RAILROAD BROUGHT GROWTH. BY 1920 THE CHURCH HAD 300 MEMBERS AND THE WOMENS'S MISSIONARY UNION SPONSORED BLANCHE GROVES AS THE CHURCH'S FIRST MISSIONARY TO CHINA. CAMPUS ADDITIONS INCLUDED A NEW SANCTUARY (1925), EDUCATION BUILDING (1947), WORSHIP CENTER (1959), FAMILY LIFE CENTER (1980) AND NEW EDUCATION BUILDING (2000). FIRST BAPTIST HAS SPONSORED THREE MISSIONS (CATES ST. BAPTIST CHURCH,EL CALVARIO BAUTUSTA AND FIRST BAPTIST OF RUNAWAY BAY) AND HAS SUPPORTED MANY OTHER AREA ENDEAVORS.

(2012)

Dedication Program
The First Baptist Church
View Photographs made at the dedication ceremony by clicking here.

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Bridgeport Index Article
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Marker Text

   IN JUNE 1841, REPUBLIC OF TEXAS PRESIDENT MIRABEAU B. LAMAR COMMISSIONED AN EFFORT TO INCREASE TEXAS’ POLITICAL, MILITARY AND COMMERICAL INFLUENCE IN SANTA FE, THEN A PART OF MEXICO CLAIMED BY THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS. A PARTY OF 321 MEN SET OUT FROM NORTH OF AUSTIN ON BRUSY CREEK (PRESENT-DAY ROUND ROCK) ON JUNE 19. THIS GROUP INCLUDED MERCHANTS, ENGINEERS, INFANTRYMEN AND A NEWSMAN. THEY TOOK WITH THEM A LARGE QUANITY OF TRADE GOODS AND ONE CANNON.

   THE EXPEDITION HAD GREAT DIFFICULTY PENETRATING THE DENSE UNDERGROWTH OF THE WESTERN CROSS TIMBERS OF NORTH CENTRAL TEXAS. THREE MILES SOUTHWEST OF HERE, THE MEN BURNED MOST OF THEIR TENTS, POLES AND OTHER GEAR IN ORDER TO MOVE FASTER. THEY THEN FORDED THE WEST FORK OF THE TRINITY RIVER AND CROSSED NEAR THIS SITE MID-DAY ON JULY 26, 1841. THE MEN ENDURED HARDSHIPS AND DELAYS BEFORE REACHING SANTA FE, THEY WERE CAPTURED IN THE FALL BEFORE REACHING SANTA FE. THEY WERE MARCHED TO MEXICO CITY AND IMPRISONED. MOST WERE FINALLY RELEASED IN APRIL 1842.

   ONE OF THE GUIDES WHO SURVIVED THIS EXPEDITION WAS COLONEL WILLIAM HUDSON HUNT. ON RETURNING TO TEXAS, HE TOOK UP HIS SURVEYING PROFESSION. HE SETTLED IN WISE COUNTY, WHERE ON THE SANTA FE EXPEDITION HE HAD OBSERVED THE REGION’S RANCHING POTENTIAL. HIS RANCH, CALLED CACTUS HILL, NOW LIES UNDER THE WATERS OF LAKE BRIDGEPORT. COL. HUNT BECAME A RESPECTED COMMUNITY LEADER AND IN 1859, HE AND OTHERS REQUESTED A REROUTING OF THE BUTTERFIED OVERLAND MAIL STAGES TO THE SOUTH FROM COOKE COUNTY TO DECATUR AND THEN WEST TO JACKSBORO AND ON TO SAN FRANCISCO. THE REROUTING LED TO BRIDGING AND FERRYING ACTIVITIES FOR STAGECOACHES AND FREIGHT WAGONS AT THIS TRINITY RIVER CROSSING, RESULTING IN THE CREATION OF THE TOWN OF BRIDGEPORT IN 1860.

(2013)

To view a short slideshow of the Dedication click on the link below

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Santa Fe Expedition
Dedication Program
View Photographs made at the dedication ceremony by clicking here.

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Dedication Keynote

Speaker

Dr. Robert Marlett

Route Map

Thru

Bridgeport

Dr. Robert Marlett's

Keynote Address

Index Article