Back Row: Bro. Willie M. Ross and Sis. Darlene Mason
Front Row: Sis Willie D. Vance and Sis. Emma L. Robinson
A History of Bradford Chapel AME Church
By L. E. McIntyre
Bonham Daily Favorite, December 13, 1985
Today, we are celebrating our 34th year of service in Bradford Chapel A.M. E. Church. Some may wonder why we are celebrating our 34th year, when onlly a few eyars ago, we celebrated our one hundredth year of service of the A.M.E. Church in Bonham.
The first name of this church was "Cain Chapel." We have renamed Cain Chapel to Bradford Chapel
The history of Bradford Chapel A.M.E. Church goes back 100 years and more. In 1887, a Mr. and Mrs. Fred Cook deeded two acres of ground to the (then trustees of the church, namely James Ragsdale, Anderson Rowlett, Isaac Johnson, Robert Jones and Henry Haskins, to build a church.
These men were ex-slaves. They saw to it that the church was built. They named it Cain Chapel A.M.E. Church after on of the A.M.E. bishops. This church was located at the west end of Johnson and West Third Streets.
Back Row: Bro. Sammie Bogar, Bro. Robert Yeager and Sis. Ruth Gray
Front Row: Sis. Sally M Shipley, Sis. Willie D. Vance, Sis. Emma L. Robinson and Sis. Darlene Mason
Bradford Chapel A.M.E. Church - Trustees in 1949, left to right, Mrs. Will Coleman, Richard McRuffin, Jesse Person; Pastor C. C. Johnson (who now is a presiding elder of the church and resides in Waco); M. B. Walton, Mrs. Virgie A. Bradford, Walter Lee and L. E. McIntyre.
Back Row: Bro. Robert Yeager, Bro. James Jenson, Bro. M. C. Favors, Sis. Jennie Parker and Bro. Willie M. Ross.
Front Row: Bro. L. E. McIntye, Sis. Hattie Nichols, Bro. W. C. McPhaul and Bro. L. Bogar.
See the booklet prepared for the 20th Anniversary of the Bradford Chapel A.M.E. Church on November 26, 1972 by clicking HERE. Some photos from the booklet are below.
Sis. Hattie Nichols, Sis. Florence Pearson, Sis. Jennie Parker, Sis. Laura J. Frazier.
In 1949, a small tornado or high wind came from the southwest and hit this building. The church had two entrances; one from the northwest and one from the southwest. The wind tore out the south side, which had a beautiful stained glass window that covered most of the south side. The old building was badly damaged, and was about 60 years old. So we decided that we should build a new church.
The trustees at this time were Mrs. V. A. Bradford, Lem Stephens, Walter Lee, Fred Beckham, Jesse Person, M. B. Walton, Mrs. Willie Ann Johnson and L. E. McIntyre. Our slogan was, "We get nice homes, we buy fine clothes, and we buy fine cars, so let's build a nice new church."
We had the old building torn down, members came down - men and women - and pulled nails and stacked lumber. We put up lights on the ground so we could work at night after we got off from work.
We bought three lots from the old Maddrey estate on Poplar and Third so we could face our church east on Poplar Street.
Pastor C. C. Johnson, along with McIntyre and Person, were to look after all buying materials. We went to East Texas Lumber Co. at Hawkins, Texas and bought lumber. We went to Ferris Brick Co., and bought bricks.
H. H. Stokes of Leonard, Texas was contractor and builder. After much trial and tribulation, we moved into our new church. Mrs. V. A. Bradford, who was the head of the Court of Calanthes fraternal organization of Texas, made it possible for us to borrow $27,000.
Some members pledged to pay each month and some donated on thousand bricks. Some paid for the plumbing and others pledged to do other things. We moved into our new church in 1951. Br. McIntyre, who was a steward, secretary of the board of trustees and class leader, had the pleasure in the first Sunday morning service in the new church, to move that our new church be named Bradford Chapel Memorial Church after Mrs. Bradford, who had made it possible for us to get the new building.
In conclusion, I say that upon this ground, and in this building, is our church, and all of its contents which been set apart and dedicated to the Glory of God and consecrated to His service for the purpose of bringing the Spirit of God to the many generations which shall rise in the future.
May this year of service in our church be a sacred and hallowed experience, and may we say this in our hearts as we present ourselves to and for the task of ministering to the needs of our church and its people, and to the community of which we are a part.
Ministers who have served our church are as follows:
J. B. Butler, A. Snowden, C. H. Bell, J. A. Swann; J. L. Lee, J. S. Slaughter, J. L. Johnson, J. T. Langham, J. L. Mosely; W. B. Baker, I. S. A. Cooper, L. G. Grady, H. T. Whitmire, J. H. Clark; J. R. Roberts, A. Henley, J. L. Grant, E. L. Burton, Wm.. Harris, E. L. Browning, J. E. Dickey, B. H. Lucas; L. B. McDonald, N. A. Burton, F. W. Wright, O. H. Benns, H. A. Davis, F. D. Holloway, C. C. Johnson; S. W. Whitehead, J. R. Thornton, E. C. Clark, H. H. Jones and O. W. Spears.
(This is a part of the church history as given by L. E. McIntyre on the occasion of the 34th anniversary of Bradford Chapel A.M.E. Church in November, 1985)