Blanton Chapel. Founded 1872 by Benjamin R. Blanton
Directions: From Leonard, take SH 78 west 3 miles to FM 981; then north on FM 981 1.5 miles.
Built 1872; rebuilt after storm destruction in 1910. Oldest family chapel in continuous use in County. Benjamin F. Blanton organized it and preached there until his death in 1917.
Article from the Bonham Daily Favorite
Blanton's Chapel Founded in 1872
Blanton's Chapel Methodist church, one of three Fannin county buildings to be honored as historical buildings Sunday, was founded in 1872 by Benjamin Blanton. The building was erected the same year.
It was damaged by a storm in 1916 but was restored with much of the original lumber being used.
The Blanton family had come to Texas from North Carolina in the 1850s and had settled in the area west of Leonard.
In the mid-1850s, Josiah Blanton, born in North Carolina in 1808, migrated to Fannin county following the advice of pioneeer Joseph Boone, who had settled in 1842 near present day Randolph.
Josiah had a wife, Sarah Westbrook Blanton, who was born in 1814 in South Carolina, and a family of 11 - seven sons and four daughters. He bought land west of later day Leonard and built his large log cabin on this property. He spent the rest of his life there and died in 1876. He is buried in Porter cemetery along with his wife who died in 1903.
The fourth son, Benjamin F., born in 1837, in North Carolina, was a well-known member of the Blanton family. Benjamin married Sarah L. Boone, daughter of pioneer Joseph Boone, and reared a family of 10 - seven sons and three daughters.
In 1872 Benjamin was licensed to preach and with the help of neighbors, organized Blanton's Chapel church where he preached for the next 18 years. Organizing mmebers included the Rev. Benjamin Blanton amd his wife, Sarah, John A. Bullock and wife, Betty, Sarah Key, wife of Any J. Key (who joined later), and Zantippe McCallister.
The church register for 1889 lists the Rev. W. S. C. Elliott as pastor, the Rev. J. C. Fowler in 1891, the Rev. W. J. Bloodover in 1896, and the Rev. J. M. Binkely as early presiding elder.
In 1911 the late Rev. Bert B. Hall was pastor with 188 members enrolled.
The property of the church was accepted in 1895 by the North Texas conference of the Methodist church with the signatures of W. B. Bawn, J. A. Allen, W. T. Clark, B. C. Clark, F. M. Boutwell, M. G. Maguire, Ian Seth, and the Rev. and Mrs. Benjamin Blanton.
Among the families active in the church during the last 50 years are J. R. Dodson, McLarry, Key, Hall, Karr, Spangler, Golden, Henry, Latimer and Kent. The Rev. Mr. Blanton raised his 10 children as faithful members and even though he died in 1917, his children and their children still return to Blanton's Chapel for weddings, homecomings and worship services.
Blanton's Chapel was remodeled in 1916 by Herman Tilger, R. W. Simpson, John Ellis, and Oscar Kuykendall after a storm had damaged the original structure. The same lumber was used in the remodelling. The structure is situated on the paved farm to market road a few miles from Highways 69 and 78. Roy Dodsonof Bonham was present when the chapel was remodeled and still travels there each Sunday for services. Among current members are Mr. and Mrs. Odis McBroom, Sunday School superintendent, Mr. and Mrs. Marion Carpenter, and Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Williams.
Mrs. Cecil Carter of Bonham, a teacher in the public schools, is a granddaughter of the Rev. and Mrs. Benjamin Blanton. She will give the history at 3 p.m., Sunday during the Historical Survey committee medallion presentation.