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GOD & TEXAS: Martha Poole - Galveston

As newlyweds in 1861, Valentine and Martha Poole moved to Galveston. Though their roots were in New York, they had heard the thrilling stories of the Karankawa Indians and the pirate Jean Lafitte. The East Coast newspapers had presented Galveston as a modern city with ornate iron fronts on their buildings, sidewalks with gaslights, and primary streets that were paved with exotic seashells.

When they arrived in the “Oleander City,” Galveston was experiencing the Romantic Period, featuring themes in architecture that were found in England. The young couple may have walked the streets of the Strand shopping district or marveled at the incredible architecture of the Menard House and the famous Tremont Hotel.

Indeed, Galveston was quite a paradise. But Martha wanted to attend church. To her, finding a congregation of faithful Believers was tantamount to shopping or consuming fine cuisine. In a short time, the Pooles visited the struggling First Baptist Church. The women of the church provided Martha with the friendship that she needed, and when asked, she readily agreed to start a choir.

At that time, the church secretary was Gail Borden, inventor of condensed milk. In February 1840, he and wife Penelope had been the first persons to be baptized in what was then a thriving church. But now, there were only 30 members left, and the church could no longer pay the pastor.

To make matters worse, many of the men were called to duty in the Civil War. The First Baptist church had to close, so Martha attended the Methodist church and sang in their choir. When the war finally ended, Martha was the driving force in reviving the Baptist church.

Martha held ice cream socials and bake sales in order to raise funds for the church. When asked again to lead the choir and to sing, Martha gladly agreed. But it was also in her heart to start a children’s Sunday School class. For over 47 years, Martha faithfully taught dynamic Bible lessons to generations of impressionable young hearts. Even the hurricane of 1900 couldn’t stop her.

On her 91st birthday, Martha was still teaching. The whole church gathered to celebrate her birthday as well as the amazing ministry of Martha Poole. She died in 1927 but will always be revered as a faithful woman of God.

Perhaps you recall the chorus of this song by Steve Green, “O may all who come behind us, find us faithful. May the fire of our devotion light their way. May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe. And the lives we live inspire them to obey. O may all who come behind us find us faithful.”

Question: Will Christ say of you, “Well done, good and faithful servant"? (Matthew 25:23)

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