McCary's Chapel UMC History

History of McCary’s Chapel UMC

(Information on the history of McCary’s Chapel was provided by John W. Wilkins.)

The earliest Anglo settlers came to the East Texas area following Texas’ annexation to the United States in 1845.  A large percent of the population was from Tennessee where Methodism was vigorously winning people and organizing congregations.  This zeal was brought to our section by the Reverend William P. Martin, a local elder in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.  He was the leader in constructing a building of logs and split pine boards.  It was called Mt. Moriah and was located on a hill about a mile south of McCary’s Chapel’s present church.  A cemetery was begun beside the church.

In 1867 or 1869, a new frame church was built.  At the same time, a plank fence was erected to separate the church property from the cemetery property.

When “Parson” Martin died in 1895, the church was deprived of its strongest leader.  At the closing of Mt. Moriah in 1908, the following names appeared on the membership rolls:

Richard and Fannie Baxter

David H. Baxter

Katherine Turner

Caroline Palmer

Stella Barnett

William R. and Ann Causey

George W. and Mary O. Goforth

Frank Campbell

Harry E. Palmer

Jennie Palmer

Mary Lenore Lawrence

Nancy Hughey

James W. Goforth

Julian L. Goforth

Mack Goforth

Richard Coke Wilkins

Mattie T. Palmer

Jessie G. Culver

Mary Ella Cluver

Maud M. Culver

Rice W. Barnett

Frank F. and Elvira   Smallwood

Alice Wilkins

George H. Goforth


On December 1, 1913, the Reverend Augustus Jefferson McCary was appointed the pastor of the Kilgore Circuit, with churches at Kilgore, Danville, Pirtle, and Hopewell.  He found the Sabine community without a church and the Methodist families eager for the word of God.  Reverend McCary had a successful “brush arbor” revival in the Sabine neighborhood a few miles northwest of Mt. Moriah and many people were led to Jesus Christ.

The old frame church at Mt. Moriah was torn down and the usable material was used to construct a new church in the Sabine community.  The church was renamed McCary’s Chapel in honor of Reverend McCary.  The church continued as a part of the Kilgore Circuit until 1936.  Pastors serving the church until that time were:

1914-17                A. J. McCary

1917-19                E. G. Downs

1919-21                P. S. Wilson

1921-22                A. B. Chapman

1922-24                E. S. Brawner

1924-25                George Avery

1925-27                A. A. Rider

1927-28                S. N. Allen

1928-29                J. N. Vincent

1929-31                I. O. Dent

1931-32                M. A. Farr

1932-33                G. D. Loden

1933-April 1936

                Gordon Alexander


In 1936, the oil industry brought  many people into this area and created a need for a full-time pastor for McCary’s Chapel.  Reverend Robert B. Langham was appointed as the first full-time pastor of the church in April of that year.  His first sermon was preached on Easter Sunday in the Sabine School auditorium.

                In 1937, the present sanctuary building was erected, and a house was bought intact to be used as a parsonage.  The need for additional classrooms and a Fellowship Hall saw the addition of a separate south wing in the 1950s.  McCary’s Chapel Church received a facelift in 1979.  In 1995 the 1937 parsonage was moved out and a new brick parsonage was constructed in its place. In 2003, McCary’s Chapel UMC purchased approximately 7 acres adjacent to the present property to be used for new buildings as needed.  In 2012, an endowment from Mrs. Louise Goforth McAbee was used to enlarge and update the existing Fellowship Hall.

Pastors serving McCary’s Chapel UMC from April, 1936 until the present:             

April, 1936-37     Robert Langham

1937-39                A. N. Tiller

1939-40                E. L. Edgar

1940-41                L. C. Upton

1941-44                Denman Easterling

1944-46                J. L. McAdams

1946-47                W. A. Winkels

1947-51                W. E. Hull

1951-53                Mousan Lee

1953-56                A. L. Conner

1956-61                W. C. Jones

1961-64                C. H. Stutes

1964-66                U. S. Goad

1966-69                H. O. Bonner

6/69-10/69          D. L. Danheim

1969-71                Jerry Matthews

1971-72                Dee Johnson

1972-73                Noy Pruitt

1973-74                Vernon Fincher

1974-77                George Capps

1977-79                Joe Mason

1979-81                Billy Strayhorn

1981-83                Robert Taylor

1983-84                E. D. Powell

1984 (6 mos.)     Tom Morris

1984-86                David Russell

1986-88                Dave Avis

1988-90                Lynn Bristow

1990-96                Jerry Turner

1996-2001            Ron Patterson

2001-2003            Bob Cearley

1/2004 – 5/2004 

                 Gene Steger (interim)

2004-2005            Susan Stringer

2005-Oct. 2013  Charlotte Austin

10/2013-5/2015  Debby Brown

6/2015-2016        Jim Bowie

2016-2017            Jerry Turner

2017 - present    Sonya Meador

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