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Henry C. Renfro (1831-1885) entered Baylor University in 1853 to study for the ministry. At the university, he met Dr. Rufus C. Burleson, the president of Baylor. Dr. Burleson became both teacher and lifelong friend. Reverend Renfro moved to Johnson County in 1858 and established the Bethesda Baptist Church in 1860. He married Mary “Mollie” Ray on November 24, 1859, and he entered the Confederate Army with the 21st Texas Infantry Regiment (Griffin’s Battalion).

After receiving support from Dr. Burleson, the chaplain in Colonel J.W. Speight’s regiment, Reverend Renfro served as chaplain in Louisiana for the remainder of the conflict. In 1864, Renfro returned to Johnson County. He was the pastor of Bethesda Baptist Church, a rancher and a farmer. In 1880, Renfro offered property for use as a town site adjacent to the railroad with the stipulation that he be allowed to name the new community. The offer was accepted, and Renfro promptly named the town Burleson in honor of his old teacher and friend.

Source: William Clark Griggs, Southwest Museum Services

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