A History of the Flower Mound Presbyterian Church
In 1854, Flower Mound Presbyterian Church was founded by the Reverend Matthew B. Donald. The church was the first entity to officially use the name “Flower Mound.” The original name of the immediate area of the church was “Long Prairie”.
1856 - The first documented meetings of Masons took place in 1856 in a barn that was also used as a public school and church, built on the M. B. Donald Farm where the current Presbyterian Church and Cemetery are located on F.M. 3040 in Flower Mound.
1857-1858 - After having met previously at people’s homes, the congregation constructed a log building at what is now 1501 Flower Mound Road.
1859 – Church Minutes first recorded, constitution written.
1879 – Deed for church property given to church by Reverend Matthew Donald
1886 – Rev. Matthew Donald dies on January 24th.
1895 – First Sunday School started
1901 – Original log building was replaced by the building we have today and is the oldest wood-framed building in Denton County.
1961 - Flower Mound was incorporated, with a vote of 105 to 1, on February 25, 1961 at the FM Presbyterian Church on Flower Mound Road. (The Denton County Commissioners Court officially approved the incorporation two days later on 2/27/1961.)
2004 - The 150th Anniversary of Flower Mound Presbyterian Church (Extensions of Remarks June 09, 2004) Speech of Hon. Michael C. Burgess of Texas In the House of Representatives Wednesday, June 9, 2004) Mr. Burgess: “Mr. Speaker, heralded as the first Presbyterian church in Denton County, Flower Mound Presbyterian Church is celebrating its 150th Anniversary. I am proud to congratulate Flower Mound Presbyterian on this great accomplishment. Flower Mound Presbyterian Church's main priority is to foster a sense of family within its membership and, at the same time, open its doors wide to welcome the community. They continue the church's rich legacy of religious service to Flower Mound residents. The church has lovingly preserved its original furnishings and all of the cherished memories that go with them. Each Sunday, the sanctuary is flooded with music from an old-style piano donated years ago. The original pews still sit in their initial circular arrangement around the lectern which also dates back to the church's beginnings in 1854. The church remembers its past with numerous photo albums depicting the congregation as it has grown in number and traditions through the years. Images of the church's steeple being constructed provide a visual representation of the changes the church has undergone over time. The church's white clapboard building, located in the area formerly known as the Long Prairie, witnessed Flower Mound's growth from a sleepy rural hamlet to a vibrant suburban community. Flower Mound Presbyterian Church will commemorate its 150 years by erecting a historical marker in its cemetery. Congratulations to the congregation at Flower Mound Presbyterian Church on their anniversary. One hundred and fifty years of worship is a milestone to be celebrated.”
The original name of the immediate area of the present Flower Mound Presbyterian Church was Long Prairie. Geographically it included a rather narrow, but lengthy (approximately four miles), stretch of east-west open country immediately south of Hallford Prairie. Apparently it was called Long Prairie before anyone had settled on it. Even as late as 1879, in the deed given by Matthew Donald to Flower Mound Presbyterian Church, the location is described as "on Long Prairie." The church and the activity it generated seem to have caused "Long Prairie" to fall into disuse in favor of "Flower Mound” in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Flower Mound is named for a small, smooth cretaceous mound on the southern line of the John R. Wizwell survey, which rises to an elevation of some 650 feet - about fifty feet above the surrounding prairie. The name was given in the 1840's because of one particularly abundant growth year, wildflowers frequently being more abundant in one year than another. There is a legend that nothing may be built on the mound. One aspect of this legend involves Flower Mound Presbyterian Church. Materials were said to have been stacked on the mound in preparation for the erection of a church building when a tornado swept across the mound, flinging the materials before it. The elders of the church immediately changed site plans. (This does not correspond to known history of the Flower Mound church site.)
In the early 1900s, Samuel Lusk deeded to the church a five acre tract across the road from the church for use as a parsonage. So long as it is used by the church, the land remains in its possession, but if used for other purposes, it reverts to Lusk heirs. The parsonage was used during the period when the church had a full-time pastor.
Story from the Rheudasil family: A friend wanted me to help get the old-timers together at the Flower Mound Presbyterian Church last year to discuss the early history of Flower Mound, as part of the 50th Anniversary. I asked Bob if he would attend and what old-timers he could think of to invite. Bob told me the old-timers he knew are already at the Presbyterian Church, in the cemetery next door. Now Bob is there too.
Flower Mound Presbyterian Church
Marker # 1927
Location: 1501 Flower Mound Road (FM 3040)
Marker Erected: 1967
First Presbyterian Church in county. Organized 1854 by the Rev. Matthew B. Donald, who is buried in church cemetery. Worship was in homes before a log church was built, 1857-58. A frame building erected later; present one built 1901. (1967)
The dedication service was held in conjunction with the annual Homecoming observance June 2, 1968.
Key People in the Church
Reverend Matthew Donald and family
He was originally from Tennessee, and was a good farmer, as well as a preacher. In 1860, he was among the richest men in the county. By age 50, he had a family of 11: his illiterate wife, Isabella, 48; ten children ranging in age from six to twenty-three plus three hired hands. In 1854, he set aside 10 acres for a church, camp-meeting ground and cemetery. He did not deed the land to the church until 1879 after a series of family tragedies.
Church minutes were not recorded until 1859. Rev. Donald seems to have fallen out of favor with the other church leaders around the time that the congregation was designated an official mission of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. For many years, Rev. Donald’s name is not mentioned in the minutes, yet it is known that he attended session meetings and occasionally preached.
On Nov. 26, 1859, less than a dozen men met at the church to adopt a constitution.in which they promised to submit to the jurisdiction of the White Rock Presbyteria of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. If Matthew Donald was present, it was not recorded.
In 1879, Rev. Donald’s. daughter, Dialtha, was suspended from the church for unchristian behavior. In May, his oldest daughter, Mary, died at age 40 leaving a husband and several children. Three days before her death, Rev. Donald and his wife deeded the 10 acres to the church. In November, His brother, Robert, Henderson Donald, was dropped from the rolls at his own request, after elders questioned him about unchristian conduct. Robert’ s youngest son, Robert L., born in 1869, became the most faithful member in the history of the church.
On Jan. 24, 1886, Rev. Matthew Donald died at age 76 after mistakenly swallowing acid instead of medicine. His brother Robert died four years later at age 70.
In 1904, Robert L. Donald took over the job as clerk of the church session meetings. For the next 50 years, he kept detailed accounts in his fine, flowing cursive. He was a deacon and an elder and is responsible for much of the recorded church history.
In 1954, at age 85, R. L. could no longer hold a pen and the minutes stopped. They were resumed in 1972 when his son, R. L. Donald Jr., took over the task. R. L. Sr. died in 1962 at age 93, grumbling because his family had taken his car keys away in an attempt to keep him off the freeways.
Other Historic Church Figures:
W. J. Gregory – was clerk of session in 1863. On May 24, 1868, the members made him Reverend “and set him apart to the pastoral care of Flower Mound and Grapevine congregations for an indefinite term,” The term lasted nine years. He retired on Fe. 5, 1877 after completing 21 years as member, clerk, moderator and pastor. After him, the congregation went through 29 preachers. He baptized 87 adults, 82 infants and married 47 couples. He was a true Cumberland Presbyterian minister – he learned his theology on the job.
Samuel V. Lusk – He enlisted in the 14th Texas Calvary at age 21, Legend says that “Uncle” Sam returned from the Civil war to find God and redemption. He also found his voice. The county historian described him as “the greatest singer Denton County ever had, singing the gospel and attending the conversion of scores of souls led to the Savior by his ministrations.” His voice could be heard for half a mile, singing as he drove the Flower Mound roads”. “When They Ring Those Golden Bells” was his greatest and most remembered gospel song. He was quite a figure – tall and thickset, balding with a silver fringe, white beard and moustache. He drove a surrey behind two well-fed mules (this was before he bought and drove the first car in Denton County). Sam’s voice drew hundreds of people to the church services and camp meetings. He directed the choir for many years and left a rich tradition.
Flower Mound Cemetery
1854 - Flower Mound Presbyterian Cemetery, established adjacent to the Flower Mound Presbyterian Church on Flower Mound Road/FM 3040, is the first known cemetery in Flower Mound
1860 - The Flower Mound, Shiloh, McCombs and Rivers Family cemeteries weathered the progress of agricultural development and urbanization. Characterized by hand carved native headstones, the cemeteries contain markers from the Civil, First World, Second World, Korean and Vietnam Wars and those of the town pioneers. Flower Mound and Shiloh are still operational today.
R. L. Donald Jr., clerk of session stated that the cemetery may contain as many as 2000 bodies, although only 450 markers can be counted. Church records show that Fannie Dora Donald, 1775 – 1861 was the earliest burial, which may not have a marker.
List of graves:
http://www.cemeteries-of-tx.com/etx/denton/cemetery/Flower%20Mound%20A-F.htm or http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txdenton/cemeteries/flowermound/fmcem.htm
Find a grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=1331327
Pictures of various graves: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=flower+mound+cemetery+texas
Marker Number: 13125
Flower Mound Cemetery
Matthew and Isabella Doyle (Douglass) Donald arrived in Denton County, Texas in 1854. That year, Matthew, a successful farmer, set aside 10 acres for a cemetery, campground and the Flower Mound Presbyterian Church. He served as the first Pastor of the church, to which he formally deeded the land in 1879.
The cemetery was used soon after it was established. The first burial was reportedly that of a girl who died at a church camp meeting, but no formal records exist. The earliest marked burial is that of Ola Hall (d. 1873). The earliest birth date on a marker is that of Anderson Spinks (b. 1808). Early Flower Mound families initially had plots. The Donald plot includes burials of the cemetery's founder and his brother, Robert Henderson Donald, who served as church deacon and state legislator. Other families include the Simmons, Bakers and Crawfords. In 1950, the Dyer Family Cemetery was relocated to Flower Mound, due to the building of Lake Grapevine. The Flower Mound Cemetery Association, along with the church, holds an annual Decoration Day and worship service. The burial ground remains a link to the generations of residents who contributed to Flower Mound's rich history.
1877 - Donald Elementary School was named for the Donald family which was among the first families to settle in the Flower Mound area and helped to develop the community. The history of Donald School began on September 1, 1877, when three members of the Donald community in southern Denton County ventured to the county courthouse with $192.50 and the desire to organize a school. The new school, named Donald Academy, opened with 49 students and served students in grades one through ten for sixty-five years. It was located just west of the present town hall. Trustees were George Beavers, Robert Donald and Howard Crawford. Donald Academy was the largest Denton County rural school during its operational period.
According to an interview with Ann Garrison, “the school was a white two-story wooden building. Each classroom had a big wooden stove for heating.” Elementary classes were on the lower floor and the upper grades were on the second floor. A well with a windmill supplied the water, coal oil lamps furnished light when needed, and if the trustees had enough wood chopped, the wood stoves provided heat. Students walked or rode horseback to school and brought lunches wrapped in newspaper. Classes started at 8 AM and ended at 4 PM. The only organized athletics were basketball and softball. A nearby building, the “teacherage”, housed the principal on one side and teachers on the other.
1914 - a new school was formed (New Donald School) on the west side of F.M. 2499 – approximately ¾ mile north of the “mound”. It was a consolidation of the Old Donald, Flower Mound and Stringtown schools.
1930s – School buses started delivering children to the various schools in the area.
1947 - The Donald Academy was consolidated with the Lewisville Independent School District.
1989 - Built near the original site, Donald Elementary School was dedicated on September 19, 1989. It stands as a reminder of the spirit, determination, and pride of the early Flower Mound settlers. New generations provide a link to the history of the community by attending Donald and learning about its past as they build its future.
Former students and teachers of the school were still in the area as of 1995 and included Willie Wilkes Simmons, Ray Morriss Martin, Alice Savage, Bradley Moore, James Crawford, T. Stockard, Ray Stockard, Grace Bolin, Joyce Stewart, Sue Boenker Durham, and Henry Boenker.
PHOTOS OF OLD DONALD SCHOOL