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McCary's Chapel United Methodist Church
Kilgore, Texas

The Early Days

The earliest Anglo settlers came following Texas' annexation to the US from Tennessee where Methodism was vigorously winning people and organizing congregations. This zeal was brought to our section by Rev. 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 which was named Mt. Moriah since the location was a prominent hill. A cemetery was begun beside the church with sections for both whites and Negro slaves.

"Parson" Martin, as he was called, was a community and church leader. He operated a small store and a sawmill. During the years of the Civil War, he was generous in assisting families of men away in the Confederate service.

Following the war, a new frame church was built in 1869. At the same time, a plank fence was put up to separate the portion of the property occupied by the church and the cemetery.

When "Parson" Martin died in 1895, the church was deprived of its strongest leader. In 1908 the church was abandoned as a preaching place. The following names appear on a membership roll at that time: 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, Mary Ella Culver, Maud M. Culver, Rice W. Barnett, Frank F. and Elvira Smallwood, Alice Wilkins, George H. Goforth, James W. Goforth, Julian L. Goforth, Mack Goforth, Richard Coke Wilkins, Mattie T. Palmer, and Jessie C. Culver.

The George W. Goforth family and William R. and Ann Causey moved their membership to Hopewell Methodist Church in Smith County.

The community was without a Methodist church from 1908 until July, 1914, when the Rev. Augustus Jefferson McCary held a successful brush arbor revival in the Sabine neighborhood a few miles northwest of Mt. Moriah. He was appointed pastor of the Kilgore circuit on Dec. 1, 1913, with churches at Kilgore, Danville, Pirtle, and Hopewell. Finding the Sabine community without a church and Methodist families eager for one, the pastor developed plans for the revival. It was truly a revival in which people were brought to Christ.

The obituary written by Rev. McCary for Hall Wilkins, following this layman's death in 1918, in the "Texas Christian Advocate," states: "In 1914, when this writer began preaching a Sunday afternoon appointment in the school house near his home, he attended these services and became much concerned about his eternal interests, and when the brush arbor revival came on in July, he was gloriously saved. He was a charter member of the church we organized. He helped to build and pay for the church that soon went up in his community. And no man was prouder of it than he. He served it as Sunday School superintendent and as steward for two years, and was exceedingly zealous for the cause of the Lord who saved him from a life of ruin.

The old frame chruch at Mt. Moriah was torn down and usable materials salvaged for use in building the new church which was called McCary's Chapel in honor of the beloved founder. The church continued as a part of the Kilgore Circuit until 1936. Pastors were: A.J. McCary, 1914-1917; E.G. Downs, 1917-1919; P.S. Wilson, 1919-1921; A.B. Chapman, 1921-1922; E.S. Brawner, 1922-1924; George Avery, 1924-1925; A.A. Rider, 1925-1927; S.N. Allen, 1927-1928; J.N. Vincent, 1928-1929; I.O. Dent, 1929-1931; M.A. Farr, 1931-1932; G.D. Loden, 1932-1933; Gordon Alexander, 1933-April, 1936.

Rev. Robert B. Langham was appointed as the first full time pastor of McCary's Chapel in April 1936. His first sermon was preached in Sabine School auditorium on Easter Sunday. He served as the pastor for 43 years, retired in 1979 to his home near Henderson, Texas. He married Helen Hicklin of Alvin, Texas.

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