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Tyree Chapel
African Methodist Episcopal Church

Founded 1894





History of Tyree African Methodist Episcopal Church

Mosella & Augustus Hardeman

In the year 1894, Mrs. Jane Lewis, a community spiritual leader, saw the need for an African Methodist Episcopal Church in our then small community. And as a result of her keen vision, this conscientious woman made known her desire throughout the community. She found that there were two other persons, the Rev. Booker McQuirter and Augustus Hardeman, Sr,, who also had seen the need and wanted to work toward its fulfillment. These three set about soliciting funds from their generous and well wishing white friends. The Reverend McQuirter and Augustus Hardeman both were carpenters, and as funds sufficient to purchase land and lumber were received, the community project was begun. In the year 1901 a building for worship though humble was completed. Mrs. Jane Lewis named the church Tyree Chapel A. M. E. Church in honor of the Bishop Evan Tyree, the 26th Bishop of the A. M. E. church. The Reverend Tyree had been elected in 1900 and served as an active Bishop for 21 years. Until the establishment of the church in 1901, Rev. McQuirter gave spiritual guidance to the Black community.

In the year 1901, the Reverend Mitchell was sent as the first pastor of Tyree Chapel and labored in the vineyard until 1905 when the Reverend Motley took the reins and lead until the Reverend Hickey came in 1907. From 1906 to 1908, the church grew, and many of those who joined and worked diligently during these times have descendents who are yet holding high the bloodstained banner. Some of these old warriors were John and Luella Duncan, Thomas and Amanda Allen, Georgen and Mary Robinson, Augustus and Mosella Hardelam, Henry and Fannie Cooper, Georgia Edison, Alonia Bouldin, Mary Johnson, Mamie Richardson, William and Pearl Robison, Lillie Green and Annie Austin. It may be noted that at this time Mrs. Parris Smith, wife of one of Bay City's first pharmacists gave of her time to come and teach the missionary lessons. The two missionaries who made up the class were Jane Lewis and Mosella Hardeman who has a descendent in the church today.

A storm demolish the church in 1909. It was rebuilt in 1910 under the pastorage of the Rev. I. D. Coffee. The Reverend C. W. McCowan following the Reverend in the fall of 1913.


1913 - Presiding Elder Bryant
1913 - 1915 The Reverend C. W. McCowan
1915 - 1917 The Reverend L. L. Reece
1917 - 1918 The Reverend J. W. McDade
 1918- 1919 The Reverend O. B. Marshall
1919 Presiding Elder Pendergraff
 1919 - 1922 The Reverend Whitmire - Under whose leadership the church that housed the congregation for many years was built.
1922 - 1924 The Reverend E. D. Cooper
1924 Presiding Elder J. W. McDade
1924 - 1927 The Reverend C. J. Alexander
1927 Presiding Elder Boyd
1927 - 1928 The Reverend S. W. Whitehead
1931 After the death of Mrs. Jane Lewis, Augustus Hardeman, Sr. bought, planted and dedicated to this great lady the Pecan Tree that grows in the front yard of our church.
1932 The Reverend L. Beasley - Because of illness, the Reverend Beasley was unable to complete a year's work.
The  Reverend L. C. Wase was sent to replace the Reverend Beasley.
1933 - 1937 The Reverend S. J. Matthews
1937 - 1943 The Reverend W. E. Thomas - Under whose pastorage the first parsonage was built.
1943 Presiding Elder E. D. Cooper
1943 - 1945 The Reverend J. J. Hardeman - Who initiated our building fund program.
1945 Presiding Elder Alexander
1945 - 1949 The Reverend J. E. Valentine - Who with the cooperation of the membership, remodeled and bricked the church.
1949 Presiding Elder Johnson
 1949- 1950 The Reverend L. S. Godley
1950 Presiding Elder L. C. Graves
1950 - 1952 The Reverend L. Cornelius
1952 Presiding Elder W. E. Thomas
1952 - 1953 The Reverend A. A. Coates
1953  - 1954 The Reverend T. S. Singleton
1954 Presiding Elder A. A. Coates
1954 Augustus Hardeman, Sr. Died
1954  - 1960 The Reverend T. R. Hartwell - Under whose leadership the church cafeteria was remodeled and sidewalks were laid.
1960 Presiding Elder T. A. Steadham
1960  - 1963 The Reverend B. T. Langham - Under whose leadership the Gospel Choir was organized.
1963 - 1965 Presiding Elder T. A. Steadham and T. R. Hartwell
1963 - 1965 The Reverend V. L. Bell
1965 Presiding Elder H. L. Boyd
1965  - 1977 The Reverend G. Turner - under whose leadership the new brick church and parsonage was built and furnished.
1973 Presiding Elder Dawson
1977  - 1979 The Reverend I. B. Wells - Under his leadership the church mortgage was burned. He also organize the M. A. Hardeman Society in honor of the Mother of our church.
1977 Presiding Elder J. H. Phillips, Jr.
1979 - 1980 The Reverend D. Edwards - Under whose leadership the double glass doors at the sanctuary entrance were installed. Returning from the Northwest Texas Annual Conference Reverend Edwards was killed as the result of an automobile accident.
1980 - 1982 The Reverend L. K. Williams, Sr. - Under whose leadership the sanctuary was roofed and the outside bulletin board restored.
1982 - The Reverend R. W. Brown
1985 The oldest member of Tyree Chapel and the only living charter member was Mrs. Mosella W. Hardeman who died June 16, 1985.
1986 Presiding Elder J. H. Phillips, Jr. died. Presiding Elder F. D. McDonald was appointed. Residing Elder of the Bay City District on December 11, 1986
.1988 Stewardess Board No. 1 under the presidency of Juanita Hardeman Allen, compiled the Tyree Chapel Cookbook, the first for our community.
1990 Residing Elder F. D. McDonald died in September. Also The Reverend J. H. Phillips, III was appointed Associate Presiding Elder of the Bay City District and subsequently became the Presiding Elder of the Bay City District.

Rev. Theodore Roosevelt Hartwell Inside 1947 Building

Reverend Roy W. & Raydell Brown

The Church is now 98 years old approaching its 100 Anniversary, a century of service to this community. With all praise to God for seeing us through we can say, what troubles we have seen, what conflict we have passed, and what losses we have incurred since the little congregation first met in this place on such an occasion as we meet today. We have had the blessings of welcoming 31 pastors through our doors including the present one. We have worshiped and conducted business with 18 Residing Elders, including our present Reverend J. H. Phillips, III. our Bishops have been fewer in number, 17, including the president reassigned Bishop The Rt. Reverend John R. Bryant.

Photos courtesy of Roxie O'Neal