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 »


Betty Fugatt Nitske

HURLEY, HENRY (1796–1869). Henry Hurley, pioneer preacher and farmer, was born in North Carolina or Tennessee on December 24, 1796. He married Deborah Bowen, with whom he had eleven children, about 1818 in Tennessee, and by 1825, after a few years in Alabama, the couple lived in Dyer County, Tennessee. Late in 1837 or 1838 they family moved to Barry County, Missouri. There Hurley became a preacher of the Primitive Baptist Church.

He and his family traveled by oxcart to Texas in 1844 and camped at Black Jack Grove, west of the site of Cumby. He was granted land in the Mercer colony and chose 640 acres on Turkey Creek, fourteen miles southeast of Greenville, in Hunt County. Although he had much work to do to clear land, cut trees, hew timbers, plant crops, and build cabins, Hurley found time to organize a church in Hunt County and traveled long distances by horseback to meet with families. He organized the Honey Grove Church in Fannin County on May 3, 1846, and became its first pastor; he also started the Pecan Point Church and the Little Flock Church in Collin County. In order to protect himself against Indians during his long horseback journeys, he carried a double-barreled shotgun and a six-shooter. At the yearly Pilot Grove Association meetings of 1853 and 1858 Hurley preached the introductory sermons.

In 1858 or 1859 he and his family moved to 160 acres of land 8½ miles southeast of Stephenville in Erath County. On July 16, 1859, the Bosque church of the Primitive Baptists was founded; Hurley was called to be its minister and served in that capacity until his death. At funerals and services he came armed, and some church members were always on guard against Indian raids. Hurley later helped in organizing Erath County. Asked by James McCarty, Jr., a friend's son, to baptize him, Hurley rode from home on the head of Duffau Creek on September 14, 1869. That night McCarty, "in a fit of insanity," shot and killed Hurley and his own father, and with a rock killed his child. Hurley is buried in Duffau Cemetery. On May 27, 1984, his grave was marked with a state historical marker.

Galveston Daily News, September 26, 30, 1869. History of Texas (2 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1896; rpt., St. Louis: Ingmire, 1983). J. S. Newman, History of the Primitive Baptists of Oklahoma, Texas, and Indian Territory (Tioga, Texas: Baptist Trumpet, 1906).

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, Betty Fugatt Nitske, "HURLEY, HENRY," accessed June 03, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhu64.

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...