While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


HUCKINS, JAMES (1807–1863). James Huckins, Baptist church organizer, pastor, and educator, was born in Dorchester, New Hampshire, on April 8, 1807. He was orphaned at the age of six and adopted by a farmer. He became a Baptist at the age of fourteen. After attending Brown University and completing theological courses at Andover, Massachusetts, he was sent by the American Baptist Home Missionary Society to Texas in 1840 to report on conditions. On the trip he organized one of the first Baptist churches in Texas with nine charter members, on February 3, 1840, in Galveston. He also helped to organize the Union Association in 1840 and the Texas Baptist Home Mission Society and Texas Baptist Educational Society in 1841. In January 1841 he returned to Galveston to preach and in May established the First Baptist Church in Houston. He also served as editor of the Texas column in the Baptist Banner and Western Pioneer. Because of the slavery issue and the fact that he owned slaves, Huckins resigned from the Home Missionary Society in 1845 and joined the Domestic Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

He and his wife, the former Rhoda Carver Barton, whom he married on September 18, 1832, taught school in Galveston before he began a nationwide tour for the Southern Baptist board to secure funds for Baylor University, founded in 1845. He was an agent for Baylor for five years and a charter trustee. Huckins also served as three-term president of the Texas Baptist Convention. He returned to Galveston in 1853, served the Baptist church there until 1859, and then transferred to the Wentworth Street Baptist Church, Charleston, South Carolina. In 1854 he helped to establish the Howard associations and served as chairman in the effort to collect and disperse funds in the Galveston yellow fever epidemic. He died on August 6, 1863, while ministering to the wounded at Charleston during the Civil War.

James Milton Carroll, A History of Texas Baptists (Dallas: Baptist Standard, 1923). Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists (4 vols., Nashville: Broadman, 1958–82). S. C. Griffin, History of Galveston, Texas (Galveston: Cawston, 1931). David G. McComb, Galveston: A History (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986). Texas Historical and Biographical Magazine, 1891.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "HUCKINS, JAMES," accessed August 13, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhu04.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...