First United Methodist Church

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First United Methodist Church

First Methodist Church built 1893

Settlers from many states began to arrive in the Grapeland area and with them Methodism. In the spring of 1888, Pope Pledger, assisted by Brother Bolten from Crockett organized the Grapeland Methodist Church. Many of the settlers were actually Presbyterian, but since there was a Methodist Circuit Minister, they became very active Methodists. Some of the charter members were Brother Duran, Mrs. Hannah Johnson, John Foster and wife, B.F. Hill and Mrs. P.C. Yarbrough. The first services were held in a little boxed schoolhouse, which stood at the site of the present Baptist Church. There all the different denominations held their Sunday school and church services. A new school was built, and the Methodist continued to meet in the school until 1893. At that time the New York and Texas Land Company donated land where the parsonage now stands, and the church was erected on this site. Reverend D.L. Cain was pastor, and the building was dedicated by the presiding elder, L.M. Fowler.

In 1895, a Methodist parsonage was built on the corner of Maple and Olive Streets and Brother W.F. Hardy was the first itinerant Methodist preacher to live in a parsonage in Grapeland. The church grew and in 1901, it had approximately 100 members. 

The ladies of the church took active part in it’s growth and on November 14, 1899, they organized the Grapeland Auxillary Women’s Home Missionary Society which was the forerunner of the Women Christian Society. Some of the early members were Miss Maggie Campbell, Mrs. George E. Darsey Sr., Mrs. Frank Faris, Mrs. N.E. Spence, Mrs. James Owens, Mrs. S.N. Boykin Sr., Mrs. W.D. Taylor, Mrs. John A. Davis, Mrs. M.L. Clewis and Mrs. Fannie Woodell. 

Methodist WSCS

Ten pastors came and went and in 1918, a new parsonage was built during the pastorate of Brother G.E. Buttrell and the seeds sown which produced the present church building. 

Early one morning in the spring of 1923, Rev. B.C. Anderson, the building committee and members of the church gathered and began tearing the old building down. The good lumber was saved and used for the new building. The Methodist ladies served lunch on the ground for the workers. The parsonage was rebuilt in 1953, while Brother W.H. Dunlap was pastor. The parsonage was again updated in the 70s when Rev. Billy Bonner was pastor. A bedroom, bath and carport were added, the old section was redecorated, central heat and air was installed and the entire home was bricked. 

In 99 years, the Grapeland Methodist Church has progressed through 6 building programs and 50 pastors, including the incumbent, Brother Randy Fitzgerald. 

An interesting footnote to this history is that Miss Mable Boykin was the pianist and organist in this church for 56 years, having begun her service while still a youth in the M.Y.F. Mr. Wade L. Smith also served as a Sunday school teacher for more than 50 years.

Under the leadership of many fine pastors, church board members, and devoted Sunday school teachers, this church has made a great contribution to the spiritual and moral development of our community. 

First United Methodist Church 1923

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