University of Texas Arlington

Rest Cottage Records:

A Guide

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Rest Cottage, Pilot Point (Tex.).
Title: Rest Cottage Records
Dates: 1901-1986
Dates (Bulk): 1903-1975
Abstract: Rest Cottage was founded in 1903 by Rev. and Mrs. J. P. Roberts in Pilot Point, Texas. As a compassion ministry associated with the Holiness movement and later the Church of the Nazarene, Rest Cottage was established as a home for unmarried mothers and child placement agency. Rest Cottage served thousands of "erring" girls through 1975, at which time it was closed and much of its land was deeded to Bethany Nazarene College (now Southern Nazarene University) in Bethany, Oklahoma. The collection includes institutional records relating to the property owned by Rest Cottage; articles of incorporation and dissolution; constitutions and by-laws; meeting minutes and documentation describing the closure of Rest Cottage and disposal of property; samples of Rest Cottage stationery, forms, and procedural materials; photographs; copies of the Full Gospel & Rescue Journal (1906-1908), Rescue Messenger (1919-1922), and Rest Cottage Messenger (1945-1968); and other published materials.
Identification: AR530
Extent: 1 box (.40 linear feet)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Historical Note

Rest Cottage was founded in Pilot Point, Texas, in 1903 by Rev. J. P. Roberts and his wife as a "maternity home and child placement agency" to provide "rehabilitation and shelter to the unmarried mother," offering her a safe environment in which to have her child.1 Members of the Holiness Church (today known as the International Pentecostal Holiness Church) formed the organization to address what was viewed as a chronic problem in America, the issue of pregnancy outside of wedlock. In 1908, the Holiness Church and the Pentecostal Nazarene Church merged, and from that point on Rest Cottage was associated with the Nazarene Church.

Rest Cottage was established on six acres of land at Pilot Point, Texas, and grew to incorporate 31 acres by 1953, with an additional 40 acres of pastureland for grazing dairy cows. Facilities included a laundry, fruit house, chapel, barns, and vegetable garden. Residents had private rooms within the main house. While most of the medical needs of the residents were addressed at nearby Flow Memorial Hospital, the facilities included an on-site medical unit with delivery room, nursery, and convalescent ward.2 Rest Cottage was licensed as an adoption agency through the Texas Department of Public Welfare, and all prospective parents were screened by Rev. and Mrs. Roberts according to guidelines that emphasized the evangelical Christian perspective of the home.

Residents were expected to participate in the spiritual life of the campus; church services, times of prayer, and Bible study were mandatory. Women were not required to pay, but payment was accepted from those with the financial means to contribute "a small fee."3 Because Rest Cottage was incorporated as a charitable organization holding tax exempt status, donations were solicited: '[i]t is financed by offerings, donations, gifts, per diem expense, and adoption fees.... The Home has a foundation to which, it hopes, gifts, properties and wills will be forthcoming. Like any similar agency Rest Cottage needs a sponsor, buildings, new staff members, equipment, etc.'4

J. P. Roberts served as the superintendent of Rest Cottage until his death in 1937. His brother and sister-in-law, John F. and Grace Roberts, succeeded him and served until their retirement in 1955. Their son, Geren C. Roberts, was elected to the superintendency, and by 1958, Rest Cottage had served more than 6,000 women from every state in the union.5 Rest Cottage remained in operation until 1975, at which time the last staff members were released from their duties, and the property was deeded to Bethany Nazarene College (now Southern Nazarene University) in Bethany, Oklahoma. Adoption records were sealed and deposited with the state of Texas.


  • 1 Rest Cottage Messenger, Spring 1965, 2. (AR530, Box 1, Folder 24)
  • 2 Ibid.
  • 3 Barbara Lewis, "Pilot Point Rest Cottage is Half Century Old Today,"The Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, TX: February 3, 1953): 3. (AR530, Box 1, Folder 18)
  • 4 Rest Cottage Messenger, Spring 1965, 2. (AR530, Box 1, Folder 24)
  • 5" Nazarenes to Mark Golden Anniversary,"Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX: October 5, 1958): sec. 2, p. 16. (AR530, Box 1, Folder 18)

Scope and Contents

The Rest Cottage Records are arranged in three series: Institutional Records, Photographs, and Published Materials.

The first series, Institutional Records, 1907-1975, undated, consists of documents establishing Rest Cottage as a legal non-profit entity in Texas: articles of incorporation, property records, constitutions and by-laws, as well as materials relating to the closure of Rest Cottage in 1975. Additionally, the series includes copies of official materials produced by Rest Cottage: stationery, applications, lists of practices and procedures, and descriptions of Rest Cottage and its services. Additional documents include an appraised inventory of Rest Cottage property, a poem, and a hand-drawn floor plan of the ground floor of the main building.

The second series consists of photographs dated 1901-1983, and includes images of the facilities, grounds, staff, and guests of Rest Cottage.

The Published Materials, 1906-1986, series consists of copies of periodicals published by Rest Cottage and affiliated organizations. The earliest issues date from 1906 and 1908, and were published by Seth C. Rees, founder of a Rest Cottage in Chicago. Issues of Rescue Messenger and Rest Cottage Messenger range in date from December 12, 1919, to Spring 1968, and were published by the Rest Cottage.

Rest Cottage is important to the history of Denton County and the town of Pilot Point. The collection will be of particular interest to those researchers interested in the history of the American church (particularly the Nazarene Church, and the Pentecostal movement), missionary work, and social work in the early 20th century. Many of the publications included in the collection reveal much about the ways in which contemporaries thought about unmarried mothers, adoption, and the role of the church in addressing these issues.


The records are arranged in three series:
Series I: Institutional Records, 1907-1975, undated (11 folders (0.16 linear ft.))
Series II: Photographs, 1901-1983 (5 folders (0.04 linear ft.))
Series III: Published Materials, 1906-1986 (8 folders (0.2 linear ft.))



Open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.

Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Roberts, Geren C.--1907-2001.
Roberts, Grace Seal--1881-1963.
Roberts, J. P.-- (James Pinkley),--1867-1937.
Roberts, John F.--1874-1964.
Roberts, Minnie Lindberg--1883-1929.
Rest Cottage--(Pilot Point, Tex.)-- Records and correspondence.
Church of the Nazarene.
International Apostolic Holiness Union.
Children--Institutional care--Texas--Pilot Point.
Church work with women--Texas--Pilot Point.
Social work with women--Texas--Pilot Point.
Pilot Point (Tex.)--History.
Alternate Titles
Historical Manuscripts Collection

Related Material

00199 AR531: Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene. Abilene District Assembly Minutes, 1912-1913.

00112 AR280: Berachah Home Collection, 1901-1985.

Purity Crusader (microfilm). (89-923)

Pivar, David J. Purity Crusade: Sexual Morality and Social Control, 1868-1900 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1973) for background information on the purity movement. (HQ125 .U6 P57)

Rest Cottage, Pilot Point, Texas, Collection, International Church of the Nazarene Archives, Lenexa, KS.

Separated Material

Materials deaccessioned from the collection include duplicate records (publications, institutional constitutions and by-laws, and articles); and a February 3, 1957 issue of the Denton Record-Chronicle. Original newspaper clippings were photocopied and deaccessioned.

Administrative Information


Gift of Geren J. Roberts, July 26, 2008.


Rest Cottage Records, 1901-1986, AR530, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library.


Gift, 2008.

Accessioned as number 2008-45.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Sarah M. M. Evans, May 2009, and revised by Brenda S. McClurkin, April 2010.

Container List

Institutional Records, 1907-1975, undated
11 folders (0.16 linear ft.)

Institutional records are arranged alphabetically by type of record. They include articles of incorporation and dissolution; constitution and by-laws; disposal of property; inventories and financial reports; a memorial; procedural materials, and property documents.
Box Folder
1 1 Articles of incorporation and dissolution, 1907-1975
Legal documents filed with the Texas Department of State establishing and dissolving Rest Cottage as a charitable corporation.
2 Constitutions and by-laws, 1937-1959
Constitution and by-laws noted “used up to 1937;” revisions proposed in 1938 were deemed unnecessary by Secretary of State; new constitution and by-laws adopted April 21, 1959.
3 Disposal of assets, 1974-1975
Correspondence, legal documents, and meeting minutes relating to the dispersal of Rest Cottage property and adoption records.
4 Inventories and financial report, 1937-1964
Inventories and appraisals of Rest Cottage property, dated May 12, 1937, and list of significant documents pertaining to Rest Cottage. Chart of income and disbursements compares donations, patient fees, and local income with expenditures for fiscal years 1959-1960 through 1963-1964.
5 Memorial to the Nazarene Church General Assembly, 1952
Request by Rest Cottage board of directors to be "accepted and listed as an Institution" of the Nazarene Church. Includes handwritten notes by Grace Roberts explaining this in greater detail.
6 Procedural materials, undated
Copy of application for admission and list of Specific Criteria for Adoptive Home Study.
7 Property documents: Deed and abstracts of title, 1914-1943
Property deed dated 1914, conveying title to the local congregation of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene. Also includes two abstracts of title and correspondence from legal counsel.
8 Property documents: General, 1908-1972
Minutes of a 1908 meeting of the Apostolic Holiness Union, wherein Rest Cottage property was deeded to a board of directors. Also includes notes from Grace Roberts dated July 30, 1960 explaining the 1908 minutes and clarifying the role of the International Apostolic Holiness Union; hand-drawn floor plan of the ground floor of the Rest Cottage home; Rest Cottage property survey.
9 Property documents: Homestead certificates and warranty deed, 1929-1943
Affidavits filed with Denton County verifying the homestead of J. P. Roberts, filed 1929; warranty deed filed 1943 guaranteeing repayment of lien to Pilot Point National Bank.
10 Public relations materials, undated
Sample of stationery, description of Rest Cottage services, untitled descriptions of Rest Cottage, and a poem.
11 Termination of services, 1974-1975
Minutes of meetings of Rest Cottage Association Steering Committee and Board of Directors recommending final closure of Rest Cottage.

Photographs, 1901-1983
5 folders (0.4 linear ft.)

Photographs are arranged alphabetically by subject and include Franklin College, Rest Cottage grounds and ancillary buildings, exterior and interior views of the Main House, Rest Cottage staff and children , and portrait of J. P. Roberts.
Box Folder
1 12 Franklin College, 1901
Rest Cottage was built on the former campus of Franklin College.
13 Rest Cottage – Grounds and ancillary buildings, Approximately 1920s, undated
Aerial of Rest Cottage property; canning building; church building; exterior and interior views of the fruit house; home of John F. and Grace Roberts; gate, yard, and garden.
OS374 Rest Cottage – Grounds and ancillary buildings, Undated
Old elm tree
Box Folder
1 14 Rest Cottage – Main house, 1903-1983, undated
Exterior views of the main house; interior view of the dining room.
15 Rest Cottage – Staff and children, Approximately 1937-1940s
Miss Motley and babies prior to 1937; [Miss Motley?] and baby in the delivery room and nursery.
16 Roberts, J. P., Undated
Rest Cottage was built on the former campus of Franklin College.

Printed Materials 1901-1983
8 folders (0.2 linear ft.)

Printed materials are arranged alphabetically by title or type of material and include an annual report, newspaper articles, Rest Cottage newsletters, and an inventory of the Nazarene Archives.
Box Folder
1 17 Annual report, 1928
Single annual report from 1928 commemorating the Silver Anniversary of Rest Cottage. Includes a description of services and the development of facilities and mentions staff and supporters. The last page offers a numerical report of financial information and resident statistics.
18 Articles, 1941-1953
Newspaper articles published in the Pilot Point Post-Signal, the Dallas Morning News and the Denton Record-Chronicle.
19 Full Gospel & Rescue Journal, 1906-1908
2 issues. Published in Chicago by Seth Rees, a leader in the rescue mission work of the Holiness Movement and the Church of the Nazarene. Rest Cottage is mentioned in the August 1906 issue on pages 1-2.
20 Rescue Messenger, 1919-1922
17 issues. The official publication of the Rest Cottage Association, Pilot Point, TX. Journal contains articles, sermons, letters, and poems about morality, Christianity, and issues related to rescue missions.
21 Rescue Messenger, 1922-1925
34 issues.
22 Rescue Messenger, 1926-1928
24 issues. The September 1927 issue contains a notice of the death of Mrs. Roberts, mother of Rest Cottage founder J. P. Roberts and his brother, John F. Roberts.
23 Rescue Messenger, 1928-1929
17 issues.
24 Rest Cottage Messenger, 1945- 1968
26 issues. Contains articles, sermons, letters, and poems about morality, Christianity, and daily life at Rest Cottage.
25 To Rescue the Perishing, to Care for the Dying: Historical Sources and Documents on Compassionate Ministries Drawn from the Inventories of the Nazarene Archives, 1986
Publication of the archives of the Church of the Nazarene describing holdings of social compassion ministries with select documents reproduced at the end. Includes list of acquisitions by the Nazarene Archives in 1985.