Allphin Cemetery In 1829, Ransom Allphin (1812-1854) and his parents migrated from Illinois to Montgomery (present Madison) County. Allphin acquired this property in an 1835 Mexican Land Grant. He and his wife , Elizabeth Johnston, had seven children. Allphin farmed, and operated a gristmill. In 1854, while digging a well he discovered clay and soapstone in the soil. He abandoned the well and donated this five acre plot for a community burial ground. Allphin died the same year and his was the first grave. The 1918 influenza epidemic accounted for many of the burials. (1979)
Antioch Church of Christ Believed to be among the oldest independent African American churches in Texas, this congregation was established on the Hayes plantation and named Antioch after a Biblical passage. The church moved from the plantation in 1865 and relocated in Midway, where trustees acquired property. The church building also sereved as a school until a bungalow schoolhouse was erected in 1915. In 1917 a second Church of Christ was formed in the area. The two congregations merged in 1924 and the school was replaced as a Rosenwald school the next year. New church structures were erected in 1937 and again in 1990. The active congregation continues to serve the community with a variety of outreach and worship programs. (1999)
Bucareli 1774-1779 In this vicinity at Paso Tomas on the Trinity, was the Spanish town Nuestra Senora Del Pilar de Bucareli. Indian troubles had caused Spain to move Louisiana colonist to Bexar (San Antonio). These people, however, pled to return to East Texas, and secured the consent of Viceroy Antonio Maria Bucareli. Led by Gil Ybarbo (1729-1809), they built at the Trinity crossing a church, plaza and wooden houses and grew to a town of 345 people. But ill luck with crops, a few Comanche raids and river floods sent the settlers farther east. Again led by Ybarbo, they rebuilt the old of Nacogdoches, 1779. (1972)
Bullard Community Alabama native Calvin Cullee Bullard (1824-1882) brought his family to this area from Hunt County, Texas, in 1867 and settled on 160 acres of land between Bedias Creek and Caney Creek. In their new home, he and his second wife, Zillah (Woodbury), reared three of Bullard's children from his first marriage and six of their own.
Calvin Bullard had a blacksmith shop in the community that bears his name, and several of his descendants followed in his footsteps. The Bullards were also farmers, as were other families in the area, raising cotton as their primary cash crop. Active beyond their community, Calvin E. Bullard served a term as County Tax Assessor-Collector and Rube Bullard was a Justice of the Peace and five-term Madison County Commissioner.
A one-room schoolhouse was built in the Bullard community to address the educational needs of the neighboring children. It operated from 1890 until 1923. Worship services were held in the schoolhouse, as well as in an outdoor brush arbor when the weather permitted.
Calvin and Zillah Bullard and many of their descendants are buried in the Bethel Cemetery in nearby Grimes County. Their contributions to Madison County history as early settlers and the founders of a community reflect the settlement patterns in this part of Texas and remain an important part of the area's history. (2001)
CCC Camp Site A part of the national Civilian Conservation Corps program of the New Deal era, Camp Sam Houston in Madisonville was a soil conservation camp. Begun in July 1935 and occupied by workers one month later, the camp provided jobs for 196 men. Members of the camp worked with area farmers and ranchers, demonstrating techniques of soil erosion control and pasture management, covering a radius of 21 miles, CCC improvement projects included all of Madison County, as well as portions of Grimes, Leon, and Walker Counties. The camp was closed in 1941. (1988)
Cobbs Creek Missionary Baptist Church In 1883 a small group of people gathered together to organize a Missionary Baptist Church. Named for its location near Cobbs Creek, the congregation called the Rev. E.W. Mitchell as its first pastor. Land at this site was acquired in 1901, and church members worked together to raise funds for a new sanctuary. The name of the church was changed to Elwood Baptist Church in 1962. Additional facilities were built over the years to accommodate the growing congregation, which continues to serve the community with worship and educational programs. (1991)
Confederate Veterans Monument The Confederate Veterans Monument was erected by the people of Madison County to honor the memory of Capt. John G. Walker and the men who fought in the Confederacy.
El Camino Real-Old San Antonio Road According to many, the El Camino or OSR, is believed to be the oldest regularly traveled roadway or trail in Texas. It began as a buffalo trail which was used by the Indians. It was first traced by Domingo Teran de los Rios in 1691. French trader, Louis Juchereau de St. Denis traversed the trail in 1714. Moses Austin used it in 1820 followed by may early settlers who traveled it to the interior of Texas. Its path was reconstructed by V. N. Zively in 1915 from the 1778 dairy of Juan Agustin Morfi. Today it is a modern highway on the northern boundary of Madison County. In 1918, granite markers were placed along the OSR by the State of Texas and Daughters of the American Revolution.
Elwood Cemetery Elwood was a thriving town by the mid-1850s. The family of prominent early settler and Civil War veteran James Blair Durham donated 4 acres here to Elwood Methodist Church for cemetery, church, and school purposes in 1874. The first recorded burial was that of Amzie Durham, son of James and Keziah (Welch) Durham, in 1875. Though a post office named French was established here in 1899 the town retained its original name. The Methodist Church relocated in 1901 but continues to maintain the cemetery. Many of the area's early settlers and their descendants are buried here. (1995)
Elwood Methodist Church Begun in the 1840s, when the community of Elwood was known as French, this church first met in a log cabin built by James Blair Durham. Services were later held in a frame building near the cemetery before the present sanctuary was completed at the turn of the century. The cemetery and the nearby lone grave of a young girl are reminders of the areas early settlers, many of whom were members here. Through its leadership, the Elwood Methodist Church developed as a focal point for the surrounding rural area. (1983)
First Baptist Church of Madisonville In 1856, two years after the formation of Madisonville, J. W. D. Creath, a missionary to the fledgling State of Texas for the Southern Baptist Convention, deeded two town lots south of this site to the trustees of Madisonville Baptist Church. In 1877 the Liberty Baptist Church was born from a revival meeting held about four miles from town. Four years later the Liberty Church accepted an invitation from Madisonville residents, probably including members of the adjourned Madisonville Baptist Church, to move into town.
Despite lean years, the congregation erected its first permanent home in 1889-1890. Church women led fund raising efforts to provide a bell and organ for the new building. In 1902, as part of a statewide Baptist division, six members left the church to form the Madisonville Missionary Baptist Church and the original congregation became the First Baptist Church in 1903. The two congregations were reunited in 1913 with a combined membership of 217. The following year, weekly services began. A new building was erected and a church complex began to take shape.
The congregation became active in mission work in the 1950s, supporting a total of eighteen missions. In 1983, the First Baptist Hispanic Mission of Madisonville was established. This work continued through the 20th century.
The founders of the First Baptist Church of Madisonville built a tradition of community service, worship, and mission work. Many descendants of the early members continue to uphold that tradition, serving the community with a variety of programs. (1998)
First United Methodist Church First United Methodist Church traces its origins back to 1842, before Madison County organized, when circuit riding preacher Henderson Palmer from the Galveston District of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South served the area. Circuit riders from the Washington, Rutersville and Huntsville Districts ministered to the congregation in subsequent years. In 1856, the church became a separate charge under the pastorate of the Rev. Joseph H.D. Moore. Members built a one-room church building in 1892. It was located diagonally across from the present educational building on Trinity Street. In 1904, members constructed a larger church building to accomodate the growing congregation. Additions were made to the structure through the years before it was razed in 1951, when members erected the present sanctuary. In 1968, the congregation changed its name from First Methodist Church to First United Methodist Church.
The congregation has a rich history of community involvement, including providing necessities and assistance to the needy, and serving neglected and mistreated women and children. The church has become a hub for regional Methodist congregations and for interchurch ministry. Members have also supported local and foreign missions. A number of young men from the church have entered full-time ministry. Today, First United Methodist Church continues to be a benevolent and generous leader in the Madisonville community. (2009)
Greenbrier Cemetery Lillis Jane and James C. Colwell deeded one acre of land at this site for a community school in 1884. When their four-year-old daughter, Callie Lorena, died in 1888, part of the school property was set aside for a cemetery. A two-room schoolhouse stood beside the cemetery from about 1890 until the 1940s, when Greenbrier began to decline. The cemetery contains the graves of over 200 pioneer settlers and their descendants, as well as veterans of the Civil War, World Wars I and II and the Korean War. It has been cared for by the Greenbrier Cemetery Association since 1939. (1991)
Kimbro, Truman Madison County native Truman Kimbro was born in Cottonwood (6 mi. w) and attended school in nearby Center. Drafted into the Army in December 1941, he arrived in Europe in October 1943 with the 2nd Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. He was among the Allied forces that landed on Omaha Beach during the Normandy invasion on June 6, 1944. Killed in December 1944 while placing anti-tank mines before advancing German troops, Kimbro was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He is buried in the U.S. Military cemetery near Henri-Chapelle, Belgium. (1995) This marker is located in front of the Truman Kimbro Convention Center on Trinity Street behind the Madison County courthouse in downtown Madisonville.
La Bahia Trail LaBahia Trail was originally an Indian trail through southern Texas and Louisiana, known to Spanish explorers as early as 1690, when the DeLeon expedition passed this site on the way form Mexico to East Texas. With 115 men, 721 horses, 82 loads of flour, and other supplies, Alonso De Leon, Governor of Coahuila, and Father Massanet, a Franciscan Priest, entered the wilds of Texas. The purpose of the expedition was to discourage French encroachment from the north, as well as to explore, colonize, and Christianize the Indians. They followed the rugged trail from the present town of Refugio to Goliad and continued northeast to Navasota, probably following Cedar Creek through this town. Then they journeyed north until reaching the Neches River, where (near present Weches) they founded the Mission of San Francisco De Los Tejas. The church was called after the Tejas, or "friendly" Indians, whose name was eventually given to the entire state. De Leon's party went no farther on the western section of the trail, known as Atascosito Road, the eastern section extended into Louisiana. In the nineteenth century, the route gained importance as a cattle trail, the Opelousas Road, that moved Texas herds to market in the North and East.
Madison County Madison County Formed from Grimes, Walker and Leon Counties Created January 21, 1853 Organized April 4, 1853 Named in honor of James Madison 1751-1836 "Father of the Constitution" Fourth President of the United States County Seat, Madisonville (1936)
Madisonville Church of Christ This congregation was organized in November 1858 by Brother Benton Sweeney and nineteen charter members. Served by traveling ministers for many years, the members worshiped in a number of buildings erected at various sites in town. Known as the Christian Church until the early 1900s, the congregation moved to this site in 1931. A new sancturary was built here in 1988. Throughout its history the congregation has counted among its membership many prominent Madisonville citizens and community leaders. (1995)
Marian Anderson High School In 1880, Madisonville's first school for African American students was established on the northeast side of town in a one-room schoolhouse. Spencer Davis served as the first teacher. In 1885, the school was moved to this site, on land donated by the Rev. Neal McCloud, who taught the schools's 40 students. Other early teachers included ministers.
Despite the difficulties students and educators faced, the school continued to grow. By the 1920s, a new facility was needed. Funded by the Julius Rosenwald Foundation, a new schoolhouse opened in 1926. It had a cafeteria and eight classrooms, some of which could be opened together to form an auditorium. The school was the site of interscholastic events, proms, parent-teacher association meetings, and special programs. Citizens also gathered at the school for the community Juneteenth celebration. In addition to its regular curriculum, the school offered woodwork, painting and general repair training, as well as facilities for canning and for a farmers' shop during the Great Depression.
In the 1940s and 1950s, several rural schools consolidated with Madisonville Colored High School. During the 1950s, the school district constructed new facilities at this site, and the students voted to change the school's name to Marian Anderson High School, in honor of the world renowned contralto.
Madisonville was one of the last school districts in the state to integrate, and Marian Anderson High School closed in December 1970, serving later as an intermediate campus. An alumni group continues to meet, raising funds for scholarships to benefit Madisonville's youth and working to preserve the history of the city's African American community. (2004)
Midway Church of Christ Although records to establish the exact founding date of this church are scarce, it is believed the Midway Church of Christ was organized about 1854. Traveling preachers served the congregation until Joseph Addison Clark (1815-1901) arrived as first minister in 1855. Many of the Church's early members were influential in the development of Midway and Madison County. The church has worshiped at this site throughout its history, although the building has been enlarged and remodeled over the years to accommodate the congregation's needs. Originating before the Civil War, the Midway Church of Christ has long played a role in the cultural history of Madison County. (2002)
Mitchell, James and Calpernia James (1795-1870) and Calpernia (Franklin) (1805-1865) Mitchell came to Texas from Virginia in 1833 and received a Mexican land grant. In 1837 James served as a member of the commission to locate the seat of the newly formed Montgomery County; in 1846, when Walker County was formed, he became one of the first county commissioners. The Mitchell House and Inn of the Old San Antonio Road provided rest for weary travelers and served as an area post office from about 1840 to 1850. The parents of Edwin, Thomas, James, Nathan, and Anthony Wayne, Calpernia and James were interred in the family cemetery near this site. (1998)
North Zulch Veterans Monument Erected to honor the memory of those who lost their lives in the service of their country during World War II and the Korean Conflict.
Park Cemetery John and Elizabeth Kellett Park buried her brother, Thomas Jefferson Kellett, on their land at this site in 1852. Thomas Kellett was born in South Carolina and served in the Army of the Republic of Texas. John Park's brother Andrew, also a native of South Carolina, was buried on the family land in 1855. When John Park died in 1860, Elizabeth buried him near their brothers. She later deeded 207 acres including the burial ground to Saxton Tarpley. Tarpley deeded three acres to his son, the Rev. B. Tarpley, and four other trustees for a community cemetery and school in 1870. The Park Cemetery Association was formed in 1920. Included among the more than 600 graves here are those of veterans of the Civil War, World War I and World War II. (2000)
Robbins Ferry First known as Paso Tomas (Thomas' Ford) at the crossing of the San Antonio Road and LaBahia Road over the Trinity River, established about 1821 by Joel Leakey. Named in honor of Nathaniel Robbins, who operated it for many years. Acquired about 1852 by Elisha Clapp, whose descendants operated it until 1930 when Clapp's Ferry Bridge was constructed. When Nathaniel Robbins operated the ferry, he built a cedar log two-story tavern-inn on the north side of the highway a short distance from Bucareli. It was located near where the feed barns are on the Hayes land today. Wayfarers who crossed the river coming toward the west could spend the night. Further up the road and same side, was the the Robbins Ferry. (1936)
Rock Prairie Cemetery Pioneers William D. and Delina Walker Hollis arrived in Texas in 1837 and purchased land in what became the Hollis community in 1855. Joshua and Martha Terrell Ford bought adjoining land in 1860. Oral history relates that a baby born to slaves was buried on the Hollis farm prior to the Civil War. The first marked burial on the Hollis land was that of William B. Best in 1861. The marked grave on the Ford's adjoining property was that of Martha Ford's mother, Isabella Terrell, in 1868. Each family set aside acreage out of their property for a community cemetery. Later owners of the land included J. W. Eaves and J. Milton Jackson, whose heirs later deeded the cemetery land to the Rock Priaire Cemetery Association. (1999)
Rogers Prairie Located on the Old San Antonio Road, this area was settled in 1835 by Robert Rogers (1799-1870), who had received a land grant from the Mexican Government. A settlement grew up around his property as he was joined by his brother Stephen Rogers and others. The community later included a church, school, post office, Masonic Lodge, and several stores. Bypassed by the Trinity and Brazos Valley Rail line in 1906, the town was moved 1.6 miles west and renamed Normangee. Only a community cemetery (.1 mile north) remains at the original site. (This marker is located in Leon County.)
Shapira Hotel Russian-born Jewish immigrants Jake Shapira (died 1903) and his wife Sarah owned a boarding house at this site which burned in 1903. The following year Sarah had this Victorian hotel built. The structure reflects Eastlake styling and features fishscale and diamond shingling. One of the most lavish buildings in the region, the Shapira Hotel was an early center of business and social activity. It was later operated by Clara Wills as the Wills Hotel. (1982) Recorded by the Texas Historic Landmarks in 1982, and entered in The National Register of Historic Places in 1980. It is now operating as the Woodbine Hotel, a bed and breakfast.
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church The Rev. N.C. McCloud organized this church in 1885 and served as its first pastor. Many of the congregation's initial members were former slaves. Early services were held in the area's school for African Americans until 1902 when the congregation built its first church building at this site. Educational facilities were added about 1940. In 1950 a new sanctuary was built and the first full-time minister was called. Additional land and a parsonage were acquired in 1952. The church continues to serve the area's African American community with a variety of outreach programs. (1995)
Site of Trinidad Later known as Spanish Bluff, a fort and town as early as 1805. Captured by the Magee-Gutierrez Expedition in October 1812, near here the survivors of the Battle of Medina were executed in 1813. Inhabitants of the town were butchered by order of the Spanish commander and the town desolated. (1936) The site is fifteen miles northeast of Madisonville near Midway on the Trinity River.
Willowhole Cemetery This community was settled in the 1850s and named for a nearby spring fed hollow. The cemetery served as a community graveyard for the town, which until the early 1900s contained businesses, schools, and churches. The first recorded burial here was that of Mary J. Burts in 1866. A cemetery association was founded in 1917 about the time annual July 4th picnics began. In 1977 a fund for perpetual maintenance was established. Among the more than 2600 people buried here are pioneers of the area and their descendants and veterans of conflicts from the Civil War to Vietnam. (1994)
Wilson Chapel Methodist Church Organized in 1873 by the Rev. W.A. Parks and ten charter members, the Methodist Episcopal Church was the second African American church in Madisonville. Early worship services were held in members' homes and a brush arbor. In the absence of a minister, sermons were given by a member called an exhorter. Land was donated by Ed and Mary Burrell in 1888, and the first sanctuary was erected here in 1891. A white frame building replaced it in 1923. A brick structure was built in the 1960s. The church has served the area for more than 120 years. (1996) This congregation disbanded and the building is now a funeral home.