Gospel Tracks through Texas

The Mission of Chapel Car Good Will

978-1-58544-434-2 Cloth
6 x 9. 240 pp. 26 b&w photos., 4 line art., Map.
Pub Date: 07/19/2005
Available

BUY NOW

  • Cloth $29.95
2007 Publicaton Award, presented by the San Antonio Conservation Society
In 1895 a different kind of railroad car rolled into Texas, bringing the “good news” of the evangelical Gospel to transient railroad workers and far-flung communities alike. A ministry to railroad men and their families lay at the heart of chapel car work, which over a period of fifty years saw thirteen rail chapel cars minister to thousands of towns, mainly west of the Mississippi. Railroads that carried the Texas chapel car included the Texas & Pacific; the Missouri, Kansas & Topeka; the Southern Pacific; the International & Great Northern; and the Mexican International

Author Wilma Rugh Taylor’s portrayal of this ministry for the car named Good Will, which served Texas, provides a view of life in towns such as Denison, Texline, Marshall, San Antonio, Laredo, Abilene, and Dalhart. Railroads that carried the Texas chapel car included the Texas & Pacific; the Missouri, Kansas & Topeka; the Southern Pacific; the International & Great Northern; and the Mexican International. She describes the car itself (its living area was just nine by eighteen feet with a decorative rococo stencil on the ceiling), missionary couples who traveled in it, and services that were held inside. She considers the philanthropists who supported the mobile chapel and the guilt and motives that moved them. She looks at the issues the chapel car faced as it rolled into town: temperance, turbulent religious rivalries, racism and immigration, the role of Masons and other lodges in rural society, and even the devastating Great Storm of 1900 in Galveston.

 

Sam Rayburn Series on Rural Life, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Commerce

Published by Texas A&M University Press