||Goldthwaite Methodists trace their history to the mid-1850s, when circuit-riding preachers began traveling to the area to minister to early permanent settlers. The pioneers gathered for services in private homes, out of doors, or in a one-room schoolhouse. For a time they were led by The Rev. H. Childress, who was known as the "bear-hunting preacher" because of the firearms he carried for protection while traveling. In 1885, the Santa Fe Railway founded the town of Goldthwaite. The town's railroad crew and passengers formed a ready market for goods and services, attracting new residents, who formed a local congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, that year. The Rev. C. V. Oswalt was the first pastor, and within two years the congregation completed its first church structure, a wood frame building. Since that time, the congregation has built several progressively larger church structures to accommodate its growth. Due to denominational mergers, the congregation changed its name to the First Methodist Church in 1939, and to the First United Methodist Church in 1968. Active in missionary and social service since its beginning, the First Methodist Church remains an important part of the religious life of this community.