Fannin County, Texas

The following is from a publication for the 135th church homecoming and anniversary, held April 28, 2013.

St. Paul Christian Methodist Episcopal Church has been continuously ministering to Black Methodists in Fannin County for 135 years.  The St. Paul Church is located on East Sixth in Bonham.  The oldest of its kind in the county, the congregation was organized about 1865 after the end of the Civil war on the west side of town at what was known as Tank Town.

Tank Town was the name given to that part of Bonham where many railroad tanks were located.  Prior to 1865, all Bonham Methodists met together at the Baptist Church's log building.  The former slaves at St. Paul had difficulty erecting their first building.  Men and women, like the Yoakums (brought to Texas from North Carolina) and the Perry's, worked together to make a humble log structure with a dirt floor.  The two Methodist churches continued to share the same ministers for several years, until Black preachers were ordained.

In the 1870's members moved to the east side of town.  Tank Town began to be served by Bradford Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church while St. Paul made plans to build their second chapel.  In 1876 Carson Moore donated the land on East Sixth. The building was erected April 1878 while Rev. F. M. McPherson served as circuit preacher.

The church grew and prospered such that by 1897 it was apparent that another church building would need to be erected.  The second chapel was moved to the rear of the lot and used as a recreation center.  Rev. C. Gibson and the brethren of the church went out to the woods, cut down trees, and hewed the church foundation.  Arched, floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows on the church's sides and rose windows in front added to the church's loveliness.  A high steeple could be seen from several points in Bonham.

Between 1897 and the late 1920's, St. Paul was at its pinnacle.  Music was especially important.  A church band, consisting of about 20 members, played at the Bonham square, in yards, church services, and funeral processions.  The band had trumpets, clarinets, trombones, a tube and drums.  Solemn hymns, such as "Free As A Bird", were played after funerals as the band marched slowly behind the casket and in front of mourners.  Everyone walked from East Sixth down Main Street for several miles to the gravesite.  After the burial, the band embellished the hymns for a joyous procession home.  The thirty member church choir was also important and gave beauty and inspiration to Sunday services.  Women in the church carried their music home.  Occasionally, as a church woman swept her yard, she would be heard singing such hymns, as Amazing Grace or I'll Soon Be Done with the Troubles of this World and I'm Bound to Carry My Soul to the Lord.

When the great depression covered the nation with economic despair, St. Paul was forced to sell its stained glass windows and the wood from the recreation hall, the steeple, and the vestibule.  Plain square windows and a wooden cross were set in place.  Women sang Father I Stretch My Hands to Thee.  Many members whose jobs had been in carpentry, domestic service or common labor moved away from Bonham with the hope of finding work in larger cities.

Today St. Paul has a small but dedicated congregation, with the proud pastor being Rev. Joe Pease of Desoto, Texas.

Known Leaders of Saint Paul Christian Methodist Episcopal Church:

Rev. F. M. McPherson, 1878-
Rev. C. Gibson, 1897
Rev. G. A. Jones
Rev. E. E. Dykes, 1970-1971
Rev. N. R. Robinson, 1971-1982
Rev. W. T. Wilkins, 1982-1983
Rev. P. H. Warren, 1983-1987
Rev. U. J. Byrd, 1987-1993
Rev. W. T. Wilkins, 1993-1997
Rev. L. C. Bell, 1997-2000
Rev. M. Liner, 2000-2002
Rev. E. L. Washington, 2002-2011
Rev. L. Hardiman, 2011-2012
Rev. Joe Pease 2012-​

Presiding Bishops and Elders

Bishop R. A. Carter

Bishop E. Cottrell

Bishop H. Porter

Bishop B. W. Doyle

Bishop N. S. Curry

Bishop C. D. Coleman

Bishop Marshall Gilmore

Bishop Ronald Cunningham

Bishop Henry Williamson

Presiding Elders

Bishop I. E. Robinson

Elder J. H. Austin

Elder L. E. Craig

Elder H. M. Jones

Elder A. L. Arnold

Elder J. C. Darden

Elder S. Callard

Elder W. A. Jones

Elder D. Thomas Sr.

Elder N. B. Stewart

Elder R. A. Leewis

Elder P. H. Warren

Elder A. J. Jones

Elder Byron Jackson

Elder Herbert Scott

C. M. Patterson

Marion Patterson

Dudley Perry

Jack Phea

Freddie Mae Phea

M. J. Phea

Theodore Phea

Ida Phillips

Bridgett Ransom

Debbie Ransom

Douglas Ransom

Allie Mae Reed

Alvin Reeves

Juanita Reeves

Authur Stevenson

Arvellia Stevenson

Melvin Stevenson

Maude Stone

Lorenzo Walters

Beulah Mae Wilson

Callie Mae Glangan

Fannie Ganther

Lillian Gother

Gussie Graham

Willie Graham

Bertina Hall

Katheleen Hall

Iantha Garrett

Bernice Henson

Eddie Hunter

Lois Johnson

Mary Johnson

Rena Jones

Loren King

Arvella Lankford

Tommie Maddrey

Charlie Joe Mason

Manella Mae McKee

Nettie Ree McKinney

Barry Dean Wilson

​J. W. Wyatt

Deceased Roll:

Amos Alexander

Ida Alexander

Rebecca Alexander

Flora Bailey

Elizabeth Ballard

Rosie Mae Bennett

Amelia Briggs

Willie B. Carter

Lucinda Cumons

E. L. Curlee

Charlie Dale

Virgie Danner

Miller Doss

Ruth Doss

Henry Everidge

Michael Everidge

Louise Fitzpatrick

Lucille Fields

Cornelius Williams

John Charles Wilson

Saint Paul Christian Methodist

Episcopal Church,


801 E. 6th Street