A mere 23 years after Texas joined the United States of America, something was planted in the heart of its Hill Country. A new hope was planted. A new hope that survived pioneer violence, civil war, economic crisis during Reconstruction, world wars, the Great Depression and hostile social reform, and has been a strong force for good in the Cedar Park, Texas area for 147 years (and still counting).
New Hope's story begins with a handful of determined and courageous pioneers. At a time when the Governor of Texas, Sam Houston, advised settlers to pull back from the frontier, and many farmers left their homes, this group of men and women put their trust in God, and stayed.
Hard Knock Life
These men and women faced harsh life. Williamson County at that time was primarily an agriculture community, which required favorable weather conditions for crops and livestock to survive. As Reconstruction from the U.S. Civil War continued, the value of farms dropped, and there was a rise in crime (horse and cattle thieves), long-term family feuds, and drunken brawls which sometimes led to homicides.
In the middle of difficult life conditions, a small group of men and women had hope. They believed there was a purpose and life greater than the value of life they witnessed. They believed God had plans for not only them and their families, but for their community.
Some evidence suggests worship services may have been conducted as early as 1847, but it was not until this small group of men and women met in the home of James M. & Elizabeth Trammel on October 22, 1868, that the New Hope Baptist Church of Christ was recognized as an official church.
The men and women who constituted the first New Hope in 1868 included:
- James M. Trammel
- Elizabeth Trammel
- Jesse R. Hicks
- W. S. Hicks
- S.I Taylor
- Isaac D. Barefoot
- Thomas H. Bacon
- William Steel
- J. Enochs
The hearts and attitudes of these founders can be seen in their original church covenant, penned by Isaac D. Barefoot at that 1868 meeting.
"We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in Christian love; to strive for the advancement of this church, in knowledge, holiness, and comfort; to promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances, discipline, and doctrines; to contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the gospel through all nations...
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love; to remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech; to be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of the rules of our Saviour to secure it without delay."