GOD & TEXAS: Plymouth Rock Texas?
Is there a Plymouth Rock in Texas? Were there any early settlers in Texas comparable to the “Mayflower Pilgrims” who came to the New World in 1620? This interesting possibility was suggested by Clarence Ray Wharton in his book “The Republic of Texas: A Brief History of Texas" (1922).
In the year 1821, two groups of adventurous settlers were moving into a part of New Spain known as Texas. One group set sail from New Orleans on the schooner “Lively” intending to rendezvous with colony planner Stephen F. Austin at the mouth of the Colorado River. In the confusion of a storm, the “Lively” mistook the Brazos River for the Colorado, leading to the founding of Fort Bend.
But another group of settlers that were traveling over land, entered the eastern edge of Texas, and headed southwest toward the Brazos River. Late in December 1821, they crossed the Brazos at what is now considered the La Bahia crossing (Washington County), but was then a major east-west Indian trail.
After crossing the Brazos, they made camp on a stream they named New Year’s Creek. Soon, this area became the epicenter of the founding of Texas, as Austin established headquarters on the lower Brazos that came to be known San Felipe de Austin. Could New Year's Creek be a Texas symbol of Plymouth Rock?
Not often taught in Texas history classes is the fact that when these early Texas settlers unloaded their gear on New Year’s Creek, they gave thanks to God, much like the Mayflower Pilgrims. In her book “Texas,” historian Mary Austin Holley, quotes her cousin Stephen F. Austin who reported that some of these new immigrants became “deeply absorbed in religious emotions, and giving vent to their feelings in the wildest expressions of enthusiasm, or remaining prostrate for hours in fervent devotion and grateful joys.”
Who can blame these weary settlers for wanting to take some time to thank God for protecting them as they traveled for weeks through desolate territory that was known for Indian raids, financial hardship, grave diseases, and attacks by wild animals?
Their future was uncertain, and their guarantees were few, but they knew that they served a God that had promised to never leave them or forsake them (Hebrews 13:5). Some of those brave souls included hunter Randolph Foster and surveyor Horatio Chriesman.
Chriesman later became a trustee of Rutersville Methodist College in Fayette County. And Randolph Foster, who was instrumental in settling Fort Bend County, offered his own home to be used for church services and a school.
These Texas heroes never claimed to stand on Plymouth Rock. But they did stand on the Rock, Christ Jesus. As the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:4 (AMP), “Come to Him [the risen Lord] as to a living Stone which men rejected and threw away, but which is choice and precious in the sight of God.”