Fourth Missionary Baptist Church
2708 Webster St. at Nagle St.
Houston , 77004
Not in HCHC database, added per THC Locations list # 89816 sent by Will Howard, entry on 1-6-2008; marker pending dedication; marker address changed from 2701 Webster to 2708 Nagle per inventory on 8-17-2013, 2708 address posted on front of the church
Directions: From I-45 south on Dowling two blocks to Webster, right/east on Webster three blocks to corner of 2200 block of Nagle, marker near the right front corner (facing) of the church near the Fourth Missionary Baptist Church sign
Key Time Period: 1877 - 1892 Post-Reconstruction
Marker Text: Organized as Watts Chapel in 1877, Fourth Missionary Baptist Church was established by the Rev. Henry Watts, a native of South Carolina. Watts arrived in Houston that same year, and with the help of fellow Houston ministers and deacons, secured a place of worship on Commerce Street. In 1883, he and church trustees purchased land and moved the church to West Broadway, and the congregation changed its name to Fourth Missionary Baptist Church in 1884. The church moved again to a location at the corner of Dowling and Lamar, rebuilding after a storm destroyed their building in 1900, and again after a fire in 1910.
Under the leadership of the Rev. Alex H. Branch, the church moved in 1927. When the Rev. Branch passed away in 1932, members elected his son, Elridge Stanley Branch, as pastor. During the Rev. Dr. E. S. Branch’s pastorate, Fourth Missionary Baptist Church moved here (1946) and attained its status as a leading Christian institution. Members have helped Houston residents in a variety of ways, including a kindergarten (1941), well baby clinic, food clinics, programs to help the needy during Christmas and a low-income housing complex. The church has also focused on missions, working closely with a Baptist church in Panama, organizing Bella Vista Church on East 36th Street in Houston and ministering in Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and the Philippines.
The church has hosted the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas several times and in 1968 became the first black church to join the Union Baptist Association, an important step in the integration of churches in the state. Today, Fourth Missionary Baptist Church continues as a vital spiritual and social leader in Houston. (2007)
Marker is property of the State of Texas
Marker Type: Marker with Post
Historical Org: Texas Historical Commission (THC)
Key Map Information: 493 V
GPS Coordinates: 29 44.342, 95 21.444
Precinct No: 1
Marker No: 14002