George Washington, Howard Hughes, A.C.U., Christian Care Center, and the Southside Church

“After the close of the Civil War I laid down my sword of steel and took up the word of God as the weapon of my warfare,” said Dr. Richard Montgomery Gano.

Dr. Gano, a former brigadier general in the Confederate Army moved to North Texas in 1858 from Kentucky. He preached for what is now the First Christian Church of Fort Worth which 20 years later in 1892 would plant the Southside church. In 1860 he was elected as the Tarrant County representative to the State Legislature.

R.M. Gano had been baptized by his father, John Allen Gano in Kentucky, who himself had been taught by Barton W. Stone. John Gano was an eloquent and powerful evangelist nicknamed “The Apollos of the West.” He baptized more than 10,000 in his 60-year ministry. His grandfather was Revolutionary War chaplain, John Gano, who reportedly baptized George Washington in the Potomac.

R.M. Gano moved to Dallas the last 40 years of his life and helped launch the first congregation of the Church of Christ in Dallas, the Pearl and Bryan congregation (later to become Garland Road then Highland Oaks). He served as an elder of this congregation for 30 years until his death in 1913. Bruce Kile, son of Gene and Janet, and Gary Barlett, brother of Joan Smith, are two of its present elders.

Interestingly, Dr. Gano and his wife Mattie had 12 children. Three of his sons became lawyers in Dallas. His oldest son, William, wrote the legal charters for Gunter Bible College and Childers Classical Institute. When the Gunter Bible College closed it was purchased by brethren in Sherman in 1947 and became the “Home for the Aged”. This was the original campus of Christian Care Center where Teresa Scott serves as Senior Vice President. Childers Classical Institute would later become Abilene Christian University. William Gano’s daughter would marry Howard Hughes Sr. and was mother to the eccentric aviator billionaire Howard Hughes Jr.

R.M. Gano wrote at the end of his life that he had baptized 6,800. Has there ever been a family that taught and influenced more for Christ than the Gano family?

There is no need for monuments of granite –- the word of the Lord endures forever (I Peter 1:25). The people that Word has instructed, and the Holy Spirit empowered still wield that same weapon of warfare that has stirred men and women to Christlikeness in generations past and those yet to be born.

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