In 1921 local businessman, John O’Byrne and his wife .,were instrumental in bringing the Catholic Church to Upshur County. St. Anthony’s in Longview was the closest Catholic Church. As the O”Byrne and Falwell families grew, John O’Byrne donated a parcel of land in Union Grove to build a church. He donated the lumber from his mill and most of the labor to Build St. Bridget’s Catholic Church. Which was dedicated in 1921.
During the oil boom of 1931 many families moved to the area and a larger church was needed. In 1936 St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus church was built in Gladewater at the corner of Melba and Cotton streets.
The Church continued to grow and in 1986 a new Church building was constructed in Union Grove to accommodate future growth. Currently, St. Theresa’s is located just a short distance from where the original church stood. Many descents of the O’Byrne and Falwell families are parishioners of the Church.
St. Theresa Centennial Celebration will be on Sunday October 3rd. Beginning with a Mass at 8:30 a.m.by Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler. This is to be followed by BBQ, games, fellowship and planting a tree with Bishop Strickland. Some of the ladies of the Church are planning to wear 1920’s attire to add to the historic element of the occasion. All are invited to this celebration.