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

Cold front to bring rain, cooler temperatures to Austin
Cold front to bring rain, cooler temperatures to Austin

Any rain is good rain in Austin, as long as it doesn’t fall too fast, forecasters say — and it likely won't on Wednesday as a weak cold front comes into Central Texas near the end of a particularly wet month.   The cold front moving from the west into the area could produce showers and thunderstorms through Thursday, National...
Hiking cost of entry fees attempts to address city’s ailing pool system
Hiking cost of entry fees attempts to address city’s ailing pool system

Starting next week, the price to take a dip in a city of Austin pool will rise. On Monday, adult residents will start paying $5 — or $2 more — to enter Barton Springs Pool and all other city pools. Juniors aged 12 to 17 will pay $3, and children from 1 to 11 will pay $2. Both figures represent a $1 increase. Senior residents will pay $2...
UT investigating Sen. Charles Schwertner after sexual misconduct claim
UT investigating Sen. Charles Schwertner after sexual misconduct claim

The University of Texas is investigating an allegation that state Sen. Charles Schwertner sent a sexually explicit image and text message to a graduate student he met at an on-campus event this summer, three senior UT officials with knowledge of the investigation told the American-Statesman. If the allegation is deemed true, the university would consider...
Driver hits, critically injures pedestrian near Guadalupe, 29th streets
Driver hits, critically injures pedestrian near Guadalupe, 29th streets

A driver hit and injured a pedestrian near Guadalupe and 29th streets Tuesday afternoon, Austin police said. The man, estimated to be in his 30s, was hospitalized with critical, life-threatening injuries, Austin-Travis County EMS officials said.  The driver stayed at the scene after hitting the man, police said.  Police responded at 3:53...
Report: Church that opposes gay marriage can still use AISD center
Report: Church that opposes gay marriage can still use AISD center

Amid pressure from conservatives, the Austin school district will continue allowing Georgetown-based Celebration Church to rent the district’s Performing Arts Center for Sunday service, according to church officials. “We are proud to support the excellent work of the AISD and are thankful that all community organizations like Celebration...
More Stories