Centennial Moments

Researched & Written by David Goeke


It is better, where possible, to allow an individual share his or her story rather than trying to summarize it. Read now a portion of the story of Rev. H. Ruhland, one of the early missionaries to North Texas:

"On my last trip to Archer County, the people missed me. I waited two days, but I could find no one to help me get out to them. I had too little money to wait longer at the hotel when a certain Marshall, hailing from Indian Territory and transacting business in the neighborhood, wanted to return by night to Wichita Falls and was looking for a companion. We traveled all night and after various delays reached the station towards morning. As I had just enough money to pay for my ticket, I smoked to satisfy an increasing hunger. The train, instead of coming early in the morning, did not arrive till afternoon.......

It was hot. Farmers were bringing watermelons, and the mail clerk, whose friendship I had won, shared a melon with me. By ten in the evening we were back at Ft. Worth, but too late to catch the Dallas train. Goodhearted Mr. Marshall, who was also bound for Dallas, took me along at his expense to a hotel where he was acquainted. The following day we discovered that the hotel was quarantined because of smallpox. However, we were fortunate enough to get away, and in the course of the afternoon, finally arrived in Dallas.

Since for two days I had partaken of nothing but some watermelon and tobacco, dry bread together with weak coffee tasted good. Nothing better could be afforded in the parsonage. Worst of all was the plight of my wife when I stayed away so long beyond the usual time. She sat up all night waiting for me....

On one occasion I visited a sick woman. On the way home a terrible thunderstorm overtook me. It was a wonder that I was not killed by lightning, as I galloped across the prairie on a foaming horse. The lightning often enough struck the barbed wire close to me. At last, rain soaked, I arrived at my quarters. The next day I had to continue my trip in clothes only half dry. On my return to Dallas a few days later, my voice was gone. I carried on several months longer under medical care till the doctors told me plainly that it was necessary for me to discontinue my work if I wanted to recover my voice". Ultimately, Pastor Ruhland was forced to resign because of his health. However, in portion of the final part of his story, he writes: "Texas remains my first love...."