Near Avoca in Jones County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Bethel Lutheran Church
(Site Acquired, Cemetery Located, 1906; This Sanctuary Built, 1932-41)
Situated on ranch land of family of S.M. Swenson, banker who in 1850s underwrote Swedish migration to Texas. Church forms center for Ericksdahl community, founded 1905 by Swedes formerly living near Austin. Visiting pastors L.J. Sundquist and J.A. Stamline held first church service in the N.M. Segerstrom home in Feb. 1905; congregation organized Jan. 25, 1906. Charter members: Elias Bjorn, the J.P. Hokanson family, Algot Johnson, John Lunn family, Oscar Magnuson, Theodore Pearson, John Peterson, the Segerstrom family, C.G. Seth family, Eric Seth, A.J. Swenson family, Mr. And Mrs. Bud Swenson. The first sanctuary was built in 1907.
First resident pastors: the Rev. Theodore Seashore (1908-12), the Rev. Eric Swanson (1912-13), the Rev. Carl Henderson (1914-19). Dr. Hugo B. Haterius (pastor 1919-68) served 27 years as president of the Texas Conference of the Augustana Lutheran Church of America.
As focus for community, church has recorded such lay events as opening of first school and formation of brass band, 1908; organization of local telephone company, 1917; construction of “Swede” dam, 1922-24; the first cotton
Pastor since 1968: the Rev. Stanley D. Jurgenson.
Erected 1971 by State Historical Survey Committee. (Marker Number 390.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 32° 53.691′ N, 99° 39.138′ W. Marker is near Avoca, Texas, in Jones County. Marker can be reached from Farm to Market Road 600 0.3 miles south of County Road 214, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Avoca TX 79503, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Arledge Field (approx. 5.1 miles away); Spring Creek Cemetery (approx. 5.9 miles away); Big Country Baptist Assembly (approx. 7.2 miles away); New Hope Cemetery (approx. 8.8 miles away); Lueders Cemetery (approx. 8.8 miles away); St. John's Methodist (approx. 9.2 miles away); Swenson Land and Cattle Company Headquarters (approx. 9.3 miles away); First Baptist Church (approx. 9˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Avoca.
Also see . . . Bethel Lutheran Church of Ericksdahl, Texas. Includes photographs of the church interior. (Submitted on November 26, 2014.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 26, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 413 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 26, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.