ALLEN’S POINT - ALLEN’S CHAPEL
By Tom Hymer, Chairman, Fannin County Historical Commission
Honey Grove Signal-Citizen, March 4, 1983
Wilson Bruce Allen has the distinction of being the only person for whom two Fannin County communities are named, Allen’s Point and Allen’s Chapel. Allen came to Texas in 1834 at the age of 18 years and worked for Captain Shelton at Shelton’s Fort in Lamar County.
In 1836, Allen and others from Tennessee found land north of present day Honey Grove that “suited their fancy.’’ Allen staked a claim for 640 acres adjoining Honey Grove Creek and built a log cabin declaring, “Here is where I intend to live and die.’’ Nearby was a good place to cross the big creek and the crossing soon became known as Allen’s Point.
Later, in 1842, Allen married Martha Nicholson. They moved across the creek about three miles west and built a Chapel around which grew the Allen's Chapel Community.
Martha Nicholson was probably the daughter of John J. Nicholson and the sister of Andy J. Nicholson, early day settlers in the area. Andy was a representative to the Texas Legislature and was a veteran of the Mexican War and the Civil War.
In the late 1830s, there were about nine families living in the Allen’s Point community. When the Gwaultney house was raised, seventeen of the eighteen families living in the area of East Fannin County and West Lamar County were present and contributed their labor. While raising the house, five barrels of whiskey and three large cows were consumed.
The hills from which the logs for the house were taken, were soon producing 75 bushels of wheat per acre.
As time passed, a spring of water thought to be beneficial health-wise was found. A small hotel was built nearby and the location became known as a health resort. These springs later became known as Meade Springs.
The first school in the Allen’s Point vicinity was located in the home of Wilson Bruce Allen. After the Civil War a school house was built to serve the community. In 1947, Allen’s Point school was consolidated with the Honey Grove School.
Allen’s Point contributed heavily to the Confederate Cause in the Civil War. Lead from the Allen lead mine was used to make bullets. Nearby, coal was mined and used for black-smithing and shoeing calvary horses. Some of the men who served in the Civil War were Wilson Bruce Allen, William Smith, W. T. Gwaultney and David Y. Allen.
About one mile east of Allen’s Point crossing, a cemetery was started in the 1860s and was the beginning of present day Allen’s Point. Some of the pioneers buried in this cemetery were: J. W. Adkins; Mary Englehardt; J. H. Lohse and his daughter, Rosa; J. W. Meade; Rine Tolkmitt; William Smith; John B. Sherell; Charles Hammett; J. C. Hawkins and G. W. Brown.
In 1880, the federal census showed Allen’s Point, now named Yew, had a post office and a lodge, named Yew, for H. C. Yew, a bricklayer. The community returned to its original name, Allen’s Point when the post office was closed.
The Bonham News described Allen’s Point, in 1885, as “a town with plenty of water from Honey Grove Creek and Meade Springs, has a good school with 50 pupils, a steam grist mill, a brck manufactory, a gin and general store. Land sells from $10 - $25 per acre.”
At one time seven cotton gins were in operation in the present Allen’s Point community.
Allen’s Chapel was organized in 1842 by Wilson Bruce Allen as a Methodist Church. The community settled rapidly and by 1847, there was enough Baptists in the vicinity to organize the Vineyard Grove Baptist Church. Cemeteries were organized at both churches and are are still kept in good condition.
Reverend James Graham, of Paris, was the pastor of the Allen’s Chapel Methodist Church and Reverend John Gwaultney the pastor of the Vineyard Grove Baptist Church. In later years, these churches were instrumental in organizing churches in Honey Grove.
Early settlers in the area included Calvin Baker, a blacksmith from North Carolina and his wife and eight children, and Nathan Johnson, a miller from Indiana.
Adam S. Yoakum and his wife, Martha, were among the first settlers of the community, arriving in 1845. They were soon joined by his sister, Helen, and her husband, E. E. Black. Then came another brother, Christopher Columbus Yoakum and his wife, Mary Matilda Newhouse.
William Witcher and his wife, Elizabeth, nee Gilbert, settled in the area in 1858. All of the Witcher sons, John H., James C., W. C., A. M., and R. E., served in the Confederate Army.
Familiar names of other early settlers included Samuel H. Cain, a wagon- maker; J. F. Crawford, a Fannin County Sheriff; Philander Jones; Gercham Cravens; A. J. Nicholson; B. B. Parrish; Conrad Carpenter; Harris McClendon; Lewis Stevens; Joseph Spence; Andrew Daugherty; Dr. William Gamble; Jason Pettigrew, John Wheeler; and Newt Hamil.
In 1885, the Bonham News wrote that Allen’s Chapel, the dividing line between prairie and timber land in the county, was a prosperous community, with a good school of 55 pupils, a steam gin and mill and a general store.
“The citizenship is as good as can be found anywhere” wrote the News. ‘‘The people are comfortably situated with good homes and well improved. They are kind and hospitable and give visitors a ready and hearty welcome.”
“Sugar cane has been tried and does well. Mr. W. B. Allen has manufactured a most excellent article of brown sugar and the industry proves to be quite a remunerative one. Land sells from $10 to $25 an acre.”
In the 1880’s another religious group, the Lutherans, came to the area. Germans from Bavaria came to the county and settled in and around Honey Grove. Settlers from Michigan settled north of Honey Grove on a prairie area that became known as Michigan Prairie. These two groups, all being Lutherans, decided to have church services in their own language.
In 1884, under the leadership of Revered Kohn, the first church was built west of Honey Grove. By 1902, the majority of the members of the church had settled in and near Allen’s Chapel in what became known as the “German Settlement”. They sold their property near Honey Grove and built a new church and parsonage in the Allen’s Chapel community.
During the Civil War Bill Johnson operated a water mill. The wheat for bread was cut with scythe, gathered by hand, threshed at home and ground into flour at Bill Johnson’s mill.
The old log school house was torn down, another built, later torn down and replaced in 1916 by a two room frame building. In 1924, the building was moved to a new location and a room added. This building served the community until the 1950s when the school consolidated with Honey Grove.
Vineyard Grove Baptist got its name because of the abundance of grapes in the area.
(This article was compiled by Tom Hymer for the Fannin County Historica. Commission from material, found in ‘‘A History Of Fannin County” Floy Crandall Hodge, and “Fannin County Facts and Folks” published by the Bonham Public Library.)