Big Valley

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Map of Mills County

Zachariah Martin Wells, Baptist missionary and minister, was born in 1829 in Maury County, Tennessee, the eldest son of John D. and Rebecca (Martin) Wells. In 1851 he married Elizabeth Moor in Obion County, Tennessee, and in 1857–58 he and his wife and small son moved to Burleson County, Texas, where he engaged in farming. Wells's wife and two of their three sons died in an epidemic in 1861. In 1864 he married Nancy Autry of Caldwell, with whom he had one daughter. In 1875 the family moved from Caldwell to San Saba County. Wells's first pastorate appears to have been with the Baptist church in Richland (now Richland Springs), San Saba County, in 1877. After a period of quiescence during the Civil War and Reconstruction, Texas Baptists began to build churches again during the mid-1870s, and Wells's career was part of this expansive movement. Throughout his evangelical work in Texas he was affiliated with the San Saba Baptist Association. In 1878 Wells was pastor of Baptist churches in Rock Springs (Edwards County) and Big Valley (Lampasas/Mills counties). The following year he was pastor of the Baptist church in Red Bluff, San Saba County. In 1880 Wells and his family moved to Menardville (now Menard) in Menard County. During 1880 and 1881 he was employed as a missionary, establishing churches in Menardville, Junction (Kimble County), and Paint Rock (Concho County). In 1884 he organized the Baptist church in San Angelo and carried on a circuit ministry in that area through 1885. In 1886 Wells became pastor of the Baptist church at Mont Vale (or Montavale; now Lometa) in Lampasas County. Two years later he was pastor of the Baptist church in Hopewell, near Lampasas. In 1889 Wells joined the Oklahoma land rush and settled on a 155-acre tract of land between the sites of present-day Moore and Norman, Oklahoma. He established Baptist churches in both towns and served as pastor at Moore from September 1893 to December 1895. By 1890 Wells had married a woman named Lizzie. He died in 1896 and was buried in Norman.

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Vetal Flores | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Big Valley is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Big Valley is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [Bigvalley]


Latitude: 31.38960950
Longitude: -98.65254380

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Population Count, 2009