POTOSI—A total of 135 members of Potosi Southern Baptist Church—enough for every flag obtained from the Baptist Building—blessed their community June 18 by marching downtown in the Moses Austin Festival Parade.
According to the Texas State Historical Association, Austin is founder of the American lead industry and the first man to obtain permission to bring Anglo-American settlers into Spanish Texas. Born in 1761, he weathered Spanish, French, and American rule before dying in 1821, the year that Missouri became a state.
Potosi is the first permanent white community in Texas. Austin renamed the existing community of Mine au Breton after Potosi, Bolivia—a silver ore center settled in 1545 and the eventual location of the Spanish colonial mint. The festival tells how the current jurisdiction of Texas comes from Potosi, Missouri.
Nearly every flag of the world was unfurled for “The Movies,” the current parade theme chosen for the town of some 2,600 citizens. Potosi Southern members had a float called “The Ten Commandments,” complete with member George Berry as Moses. The main flag float was pulled down Main Street by the owner of a 1942 International Harvester Farmall tractor, Bud Missey. That was followed by dozens of church members marching three abreast.
“It’s about trying to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Alva Gilliam, a Potosi Southern member who marched with the American flag. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Austin’s tomb is near the parade route. Though a posse of sorts from Texas previously tried to claim the bones, to this day they rest not far from the Washington County Courthouse. A plaque by the remains of Durham Hall, the Austin mansion, cites 1798 for its significance, identifying “The Cradle of Texas.”
Pastor Wayne Isgriggs, a Potosi native, described the church that runs about 230 in Sunday worship as “a good citizen” to the community. Potosi Southern is being intentional by means of evangelism and an excellent 40-member choir led by Beverly McColloch. The slogan on the side of the church’s Ten Commandments float reflected all of this with the words “Presenting Christ to family, community, the world.”
During the parade the Christian flag and the American flag traveled side by side with the Nigerian flag directly behind them in a supporting role. At the end of the procession was Isgriggs, 77, bearing the Union Flag of the United Kingdom.
ALLEN PALMERI/associate editor