Marker photo not
available at this time
New Hope Baptist Church and St. Elmo Cemetery
This locality was
settled about 1849 by pioneers from Alabama, Florida, and Georgia.
Cotton and corn plantations thrived. A school was opened in the 1850's
but closed during the Civil War (1861-64). A site on the
centrally-situated Manning Land Grant became a public burial ground.
Earliest documented grave is that of J. W. Darden, who died in 1869.
The Little Hope Baptist
Church was organized in the community in Aug. 1872, by a Freestone
County Missionary. The Rev. J. M. Gambrell, who served as the fist
pastor, with R. B. Anderson as church clerk.
In 1875 a schoolhouse
was built near the burial ground on the manning grant. The school was
called "St. Elmo" probably for a popular 19th century novel.
The Baptists held services in the schoolhouse until 1886; then they
adopted "New Hope" as the Church name, bought a 6-acre tract
that included the cemetery and school grounds, and built a church.
Present sanctuary which replaced that original building, was remodeled
in 1954. St. Elmo Cemetery Association administers the affairs of the
cemetery which now (1974) contains about 850 graves. (1974)
Location: 11 mi. East on FM 416,