Old Rock School in “old Clifton” where worship services were held 1870-1893.
First Presbyterian Church of Clifton, the oldest continuous church congregation in Bosque County, observed its 150th anniversary in January 2011. Founded in 1861, before Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration, five English and Scottish families chartered the North Bosque Presbyterian Church about two miles from present-day Clifton on the east bank of the Bosque River. Charter member Allen Anderson was killed in a Comanche Indian raid shortly afterwards, and at least two places of worship were washed away during floods on the Bosque.
Our first church building, moved across the railroad to present-day Clifton in 1904.
For more than 40 years, Presbyterians worshipped with supplied ministers in schools and other locations, before having a church of their own in 1904, at our present location. The congregation had its first full-time minister in 1906. Church membership grew to 100 by the 50th anniversary in 1911. Times were tough in the early years, with the women of the church picking cotton to pay the pastor’s salary in the 1920s. For 25 years, from 1968 through 1983, the church held a joint ministry with the United Church of Christ at Womack. Since that time, the church has had three full-time ministers, with the Rev. Clint Schofield since 2004.
The first structure at our present location, constructed in 1906 and used until the current structure was built in 1961.
In 1998, the Rea House, next door to the church, was purchased by members Roland and Joyce Jones and donated for use as a Christian education center. Named “Presbyterian Place” by the congregation, the building today is home to the Clifton Head Start Program.
The Rea House has a long and rich association with both FPC and Clifton. It was built by newlyweds Oscar J. Rea (1867-1935) and Hilma (Bergman) Rea (1879-1968) in 1898. By some accounts, it is the third oldest house in Clifton. Mr. and Mrs. Rea, along with their children, were all members of FPC, located due north of the house since 1904.
The congregation has evolved from 12 charter members in 1861 to a group of some 130 today. The church has survived floods, droughts, the Civil War, Indian attacks, two World Wars, numerous locations, and as few as three members. Today our growing congregation gives thanks as we celebrate our rich and blessed history and look forward to an even brighter future of doing God’s work in Bosque County and beyond.
For a complete history of First Church, see our published history compiled in 2010-11 (PDF).