Pelham Churches
Pelham, Navarro County Texas


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1/25/2004 STEPHEN R. FARRIS: Pelham churches have stood many tests of time

PELHAM -- Like most small communities, Pelham has seen its share of good times and bad times throughout its nearly 140-year existence. Unlike most communities with populations less than 100 people, Pelham has kept, and maintained, not one, but three churches.

Wesley United Methodist Church, established in 1877, has the distinction of being the first church in the community. The Methodist church also housed the first school in Pelham. The church met in two different locations before finally planting its roots at the present location in 1911. The present day church building is located on NWCR 3280, just to the left of FM 744, if traveling west, across from the community center. The church holds services on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.

From 1894 to 1930, the oil boom hit Navarro County, and the community found the need to build a couple of more churches during this period.

The first of these two is Brown's Chapel A.M.E. This church was organized in 1905, and the Brown name was given in honor of one of its oldest members. The church building is located north of the Methodist church, on FM 744. The congregation meets on the first and third Sundays of each month.

The last church established in Pelham is Union Baptist Church. It was organized in 1916, and is located just behind the old school/museum, north of Brown's Chapel on FM 744. Church services are held on the second and fourth Sundays.

While most communities facing tough times would have just thrown their arms up and moved on, the Pelham community came together, and dealt with adversity on more than one occasion.

All three churches were destroyed at one time or another, and all three were rebuilt through community effort. The Methodist church was destroyed by fire in 1931, Brown's Chapel was destroyed by fire in 1937, and Union Baptist was destroyed by a storm in 1937. You can see them today, rebuilt, by faith and hard work.

As you travel back to Corsicana, there are three white wooden crosses sitting on a hill at the junction of FM 744, and the cut-off going to Irene. Though I still have not heard to whole story, rumor has it that a gentleman traveling throughout the United States, was in search of communities with religious significance. He was given permission to set up the three crosses on the hill. Pelham is one of a rare few to have this distinction added to its beautiful and historic surroundings.

Notes: Information about this article can be further researched by visiting the following Web sites: www.rootsweb.com/~txnavarr/, www.portersofpelham.homestead.com, www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online -- look for the search box at this Web site, and type in the name "Pelham."

The first Web site is about Navarro County history, and can be accessed from the Corsicana Daily Sun website. The other two links, I believe, can be accessed from the Navarro County Web site.

 

Reprinted with permission of the Corsicana Daily Sun
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Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox