We now know almost everything about that 1939 Austin baptism

Reader Joy Simmons shared the goods on Bluff Springs ritual


Remember a few weeks ago, when we ran the photo of a group baptism at Bluff Springs?

At the request of a reader — and with the help of our cadre of history advocates — we pinpointed the springs and the pictured pool to private land just west of Bluff Springs Road and just south of Onion Creek. One can easily pick out the old pool on satellite maps.

RELATED: Pinpointing a baptism at Bluff Springs.

The story, however, was not over. Another reader, Joy Simmons, contacted us with more information about this baptism, which we had dated to the 1940s.

“It actually took place Sept. 10, 1939,” says Simmons, a longtime member of Manchaca Baptist Church, which turns 100 in October. “There was a big revival and it was so successful, it was extended for more than a week.”

That would explain the mass baptism and the warm-weather clothing.

Simmons was raised in Manchaca, graduated from Buda High School, married and moved away for 26 years, then returned to Manchaca for 24 years to care for her parents. She moved to Hutto two years ago.

“The man in the front of the picture is Brother L.R. Cole,” she says. “I don’t know the man next to him, but the one on the right is my father, Roy Felps, who died in 1944.”

She went on to name 14 other participants seen in the background, including members of the Stone, Hector, Sanders, Holden, Polk, Tumlinson, Keesee, Puryear and Billingsley families. She shared some of their personal histories.

RELATED: Mystery of the Bargsley family plot.

“Walter Hector, the second boy from the right, died within the last month. He was 93,” Simmons says. “The boy in the dark shirt next to the lady, Arnold Holden, is still alive. He is 93 and just got back from an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. He is the last survivor from the Holden family, who were struck by that 1922 cyclone at St. Elmo, but that was before he was born.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

‘Whole lotta women’ changing the face of the Texas Democratic Party
‘Whole lotta women’ changing the face of the Texas Democratic Party

Kim Olson strode to the stage of the Democratic State Convention on Friday to Kelly Clarkson’s “Whole Lotta Woman.” “Let me just repeat those lyrics, a bad-ass woman with class and self-confidence,” Olson said. “I run for office because I’m confident I’m going to win.” “Whole lotta women&rdquo...
UPDATE: Texas 130 near U.S. 79 reopened after firefighters battle grass fire
UPDATE: Texas 130 near U.S. 79 reopened after firefighters battle grass fire

5:00 p.m. update: Williamson County officials say all lanes of Texas 130 near U.S. 79 have reopened after being closed previously for a grass fire. Authorities say there is still smoke over the road and have asked drivers to remain careful and to drive 20 mph under the speed limit as firefighters work in the area. Earlier: A fast-moving...
In Rio Grande Valley, a life-altering limbo as asylum process shifts
In Rio Grande Valley, a life-altering limbo as asylum process shifts

In shelters in Mexico, in detention facilities in the United States and in consultations with attorneys, they wait in uncertainty. Lorena, 31, left Honduras with her husband and four children in mid-April, when gangs started killing children attending local schools and skimming the money she earned as a laundress. “Every day you hear that they...
Vinnie Paul was co-founder, drummer of Texas metal band Pantera
Vinnie Paul was co-founder, drummer of Texas metal band Pantera

Vinnie Paul, co-founder and drummer of the Arlington-based metal band Pantera, has died at 54. Pantera’s official Facebook page posted a statement early Saturday announcing his death. The label of Hellyeah, his most recent group, confirmed the death but neither statement mentioned Paul’s cause of death. His real name was Vincent Paul Abbott...
BAD BREAD: H-E-B pulls some bread after finding ‘unfavorable aroma’
BAD BREAD: H-E-B pulls some bread after finding ‘unfavorable aroma’

H-E-B is voluntarily pulling some of its bread products off its shelves after discovering an unfavorable aroma, the company said in a statement. The store has pulled all H-E-B and Hill Country Fare bread products, including hamburger and hot dog buns, that have a best buy date between June 26 and July 2. The company said it was concerned about the...
More Stories