Church History The church celebrated it's 140th anniversary on September 18, 2011. A history of the church was prepared by David Herrington and Ruth Whitehead. Copies are available in the church office.
In 1869, Rev. J.M. Renick was ordained as a minister in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In 1871, he organized the Presbyterian Church at Live Oak (later known as Pea Ridge). The church was first chartered as a Cumberland Presbyterian Church on September 24, 1871. The charter members were as follows: T. P. Early, W. R. Smith, Tamps Smith, Mrs. Phoebe A. Nixon, Sara Morgan, Melissa Hancock, Mary Nixon and Pastor J. M. Renick.
The church met in the homes of members until the Masonic Temple was built in 1875. At this time they met on the ground floor of the Temple. The collection plates used today are made from wood from this building. In 1889, the church moved to Smithville and met in the schoolhouse. They later met at the Methodist church, along with the Baptists. Services were alternated each week between the three denominations. In 1895, the lot at 3rd and Burleson was given to the church. The frame building in the picture (above left) was erected at this site in 1896 and used until 1924. At that time it was torn down and our present church (above right) was built on the same site.
The church has had various active groups throughout its history. These include the Sunday school program, Women’s Association, Men’s Group and Mariners Group. The Women’s Group and Sunday school are still very active. The Women’s Group was organized on November 29th, 1894 at the home or Mrs. J. H. Jones. The group called themselves “Women’s Building Committee off the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.” The group of women have been known by various names – Ladies Aid Society, Missionary Society, The Women’s Auxiliary to the Presbyterian Church. The women have provided the church with financial, as well as spiritual support. The Sunday school has been an active force in the church. Earliest records show an established Sunday school before 1906. Various youth groups have also been established. Music has always been an integral part of First Presbyterian Church. The first organ was purchased in 1903. It was replaced by a reed organ that was dedicated on August 10, 1920. The current organ was dedicated on April 26, 1953.
Note: At a called meeting of Austin Presbytery held on January 31, 1950, a petition was presented to dissolve the Kovar Presbyterian Church and their membership transferred to First Presbyterian Church of Smithville. The Kovar church was organized in 1894, their building constructed in 1896.