Newton County, Texas
Historical Homes, Churches, Schools
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Historic Homes of Newton Driving Tour [offsite]
- Addie L. & A.T. Odom Homestead Located in Burkeville; built in 1922 by A. T. Odom
- Autrey-Williams House Located in Newton; built in 1912
- Blum Male and Female College Located in Burkeville; chartered in 1880.
Historical Marker: Chartered February 26, 1880, by 36 incorporators; named for Leon Blum, Galveston merchant, largest holder in $20,000 capital stock -- $5 per share. First directors were: R. J. Brailsford, H. J. Casey, W. W. Downs, W. A. Droddy, T. W. Ford, M. D. Hines;
First president was Joseph Syler. Pupils ranged in age from 5 to 50 years; those under 12 met in downstairs of 2-story building; older pupils and adults met upstairs. Average enrollment per term was 100 resident and boarding pupils. School "took up" at 8 a.m.; closed at
4:30 p.m. Students entered and left school by lining up -- boys on one side and girls on the other -- a division which continued inside the school room. Lessons were recited on a recitation bench; all tests were oral, often an occasion
for community gathering. Subjects offered besides the 3 R's were: philosophy, Latin, grammar, algebra, history, geometry, rhetoric, and geography. Friday afternoons were devoted to spelling matches, recitations. A well in school yard
furnished water; most students brought lunch from home in a tin bucket which was covered with a lid ventilated by nail holes. Soon was called Burkeville School, and after expiration of College Charter on February 20, 1905, the building
served that purpose until torn down in 1912.
- Burkeville Church of God
Historical Marker: The Church of God reformation began in Indiana in 1881 as a Christian unity movement opposed to undue organization. This congregation,
founded in 1901, is the oldest known Church of God fellowship in the state. Alice McAlfin, a teacher in the Pine Knot School (4 mi. NE), brought information about the Church of God from Leesville, Louisiana. Several area residents, including John Cousins,
Jim Smith, and Will Smith, began attending the services. With their leadership the Burkeville congregation was established. Services were first conducted in the Pine Knot Schoolhouse. Annual summer camp meetings, often lasting several weeks, were held in
a tent on the banks of McGraw Creek (3.5 mi. NE). Since services were held three times each day, family camps were set up on the banks of the creek. A wooden house was constructed for use by the preachers. A nearby water mill regulated the level of the creek,
allowing it to be used for baptisms year-round. Members built a wooden tabernacle on the creek site that was used until 1927 when the congregation moved to a new tabernacle in south Burkeville. A wooden sanctuary, constructed at the present site in 1944, was
replaced by the current edifice in 1973.
- Burkeville Methodist Church - Original Site
Historical Marker: In 1850 John R. and Mary W. Burke sold for one dollar to the local Methodist Episcopal Church, South, a tract of land at this site for a church building and cemetery. The oldest known grave here is that of
Burke (d.1855), a Roman Catholic who founded Burkeville. In that era, circuit riders served the congregation, which included both black and white worshipers. A simple frame church with bell tower and steeple erected here
doubled as a schoolhouse in the 1870s and served all faiths as a funeral chapel. The structure was removed from this site in 1948.
- Burr's Ferry Bridge
- Cade Building Burkeville; completed 1941
Historical Marker: To create jobs and bring county services nearer to residents of this area, Newton County officials provided materials and the U.S. Work Projects Administration (WPA) the funds to pay laborers to construct this building in 1940-41.
Named for Harriet Trotti Cade who donated land for the project, it served as a sub-courthouse and Town Hall. The Cade building and rock wall were built with hand-shaped native sandstone and lumber milled in nearby Wiergate. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1993
- Call Church of God in Christ Established in 1915.
Historical Marker: The Call Church of God in Christ was established in 1915 under the leadership of Elder W. G. Law. Land for a church building was deeded by A. C. and Coella Armstrong in 1935. The name of the church was changed to Call
Community Center Church of God in Christ in 1948. Over time improvements have up-dated the sanctuary. In 1955-56 the congregation hosted a district meeting for its parent church organization. The congregation supports domestic and
foreign missionary work, provides traditional spiritual programs for its members, and continues to serve the area. (1997) Incise on base: A group of dedicated women were the early workers.
- Deweyville Swing Bridge Completed in 1938
- First Baptist Church of Newton 1861
Historical Marker: The earliest record of this congregation dates to 1861, when the Newton Baptist Church with a membership of about 35 was accepted into the Bethlehem Association. The first known pastor was the Rev. R. F. Fancher.
Baptisms were held in Caney Creek. The fellowship built its first sanctuary about 1882 near the corner of Court and Rusk streets, but has worshiped at the present site since 1949. The name First Baptist Church was adopted in 1915.
The congregation is a significant part of the religious heritage of Newton County. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836-1986
- Ford Chapel, Cemetery, and School
Historical Marker: The family of John H. and Margaret Ford came to Texas prior to 1880. Establishing farms and homes, the family helped settle this area of Newton County. A community cemetery was begun on the land of J. D. and
Ida J. Ford. Although the cemetery contains some unmarked graves, the earliest documented burial is that of Promontory Inez Ford (1877-1880), daughter of J. D. and Ida Ford. Originally kept as a scraped earth cemetery, the graveyard
was later planted with grass. Northwest of the cemetery is the site of the Ford Community School. Organized in 1893, the school was housed in a one-room log building. It became a part of the Newton Independent School District in
1929-30, and area students traveled to Newton for classes. A wooden frame structure was erected northeast of the cemetery in 1910 to serve as a place of worship for the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Although regular worship
services were discontinued in the 1930s, the chapel remained on its original site. The Ford Chapel and Cemetery Association, organized in 1961, maintains the cemetery as well as the Chapel and School Site.
- Old Union Church and Cemetery
Historical Marker: This Baptist Church was organized formally in 1855 with 54 charter members, although records indicate a congregation was in existence as early as 1851. An early 1900s fire burned their log sanctuary, which was
replaced by the present structure. Monthly services and summer camp meetings were held here until 1928, when the church moved to Cline's Ferry Road. The congregation's first pastor, Enoch S. S. Phelps, is buried in this cemetery,
as are descendants of John Newton, for whom the county is named. Land for the "scraped style" cemetery was given in 1876 by W. A. Droddy.
- Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church
Historical Marker: This rural area of northwest Newton County has been known as "Scrappin' Valley" since the early 1900s. In 1907, one year after the Gilmer Lumber Company came to the region, community members founded the
Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Early church leaders were Tom and Emma Frisby Lowe, Man Lowe, and Levi and Ethel Williams Hopson, with J.C. Brooks as the first preacher on record. Pine Grove was admitted to the Bethlehem
Baptist Association in 1911. In 1950, after the closing of the Hickory Hill School District, the church was given this land and the former schoolhouse as a place of worship. Here they continue their traditions of worship,
Bible classes, community reunions and revivals. (2001)
- Round Table Inn
Historical Marker: On this site stood Harrell House, built in 1865 by Confederate veteran David F. Harrell to serve stagecoaches and others traveling military road. Renamed for its food-laden, hand-made lazy Susan table,
seating 12 to 15 quests. Burned, 1927. Rebuilt and still run by granddaughter Helen Duncan. (1965)
- Stringtown Schoolhouse
Historical Marker: Built in 1908, this one-room wood-frame schoolhouse served the students of Stringtown for nearly 40 years. Joe S. Griggs, a community resident and later a school trustee, used his own money to hire
John Pepper to construct the building. A later addition, used to house the teacher overnight when necessary, was removed after it burned. Until 1940, the schoolhouse also served as a meeting place for the Primitive Baptist Church.
After the Stringtown School consolidated with Newton schools after the 1942-43 school year, the Stringtown schoolhouse became a gathering place for community activities and reunions. The building stands as a reminder of 20th-century
rural education in Texas. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2000
- Tatum House Located in Newton. Historical Marker # 15149
- The Spears Chapel Methodist Church
Historical Marker: Organized 1839 by the Rev. Moses Spear, for whom it was named. First church, a log building, was erected on a 1.7-acre site owned by William McMahon. The leading charter member was the man who had founded first
permanent Methodist church in Texas (McMahan Chapel,Sabine County, 1834), the Rev. Henry Stephenson. Charter membership came mostly from his family: Including his wife, Ruth Cox Stephenson; His son John and wife, Luvicy Beard
Stephenson; son Felix and wife, Sarah Hyler Stephenson; and son Ira and wife, Harriet Goode Stephenson; also his daughter Mary and husband, William McMahon; his daughter Betty Ann and husband, A. F. Allbright; granddaughter
Lunetta and her husband, John C. Hall; and granddaughter Margaret and husband, Thomas Booker. The other charter members were John Byerly, Amos and Tobitha Dubose, and Sarah Rutledge. Original church (About 25 feet North)
burned in 1883. It was replaced by a rough "box" structure. Cemetery was started when James H. Kerr died on Nov. 2, 1890. The present church building was erected in 1905. Site, then owned by J. P. McMahon, Senior, and Thomas Booker,
was deeded to the chuch in 1906. Except for a few years just prior to 1920, services were held here continuously until 1939.
- Trout Creek Missionary Baptist Church
Historical Marker: Trout Creek Missionary Baptist Church Local oral tradition holds that the Trout Creek Missionary Baptist Church was organized in 1876. An early church building had that year inscribed on it, and the congregation
celebrated its centennial in 1976. The earliest church files date to 1899, with no record of the organization date or charter members. The congregation worshiped for several years in a community building, used as a school, community
center and worship place for area Baptists, Congregational Methodists and Pentecostals. The Baptist congregation later bought the building and site, and constructed a new sanctuary in 1956. In 1958, the church held its first full-time
services with its first full-time pastor. Until that time, early church pastors had been missionaries with the Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Association and Missionary Baptist Association of Texas, or part-time preachers employed by the
congregation. During its first several decades, the church was served by several preachers and lay leaders. One important figure was elder Johnny Bean (d. 1957), a deacon and licensed minister. "Uncle Johnny" led Sunday School classes
and held singing classes for the children, acting as Sunday School superintendent, teacher, song director. He also served as treasurer and assisted with baptisms, which took place in the spring-fed waters of nearby Trout Creek until a
baptistery was built in the late 1960s. The Trout Creek congregation has shown dedication to missionary work. The Ladies Auxiliary group has ministered to those in need of food, care and aid, and youth programs have included Bible
studies, camps, field trips and service activities. The church today donates heavily to the service programs of its affiliate associations and continues to grow in membership and in strength. (2003)
- W. H. Ford Male and Female College
Historical Marker: Formerly W. H. Ford Male & Female College (1889-1906). Named for secretary of the Southwest College Company. President Joseph Syler and his wife were the teachers. High-school level, as were many early
Texas "colleges"; founded for the public good, by private donors. After the college closed, this heart pine building was for 2 years part of the Newton schools, then was moved to Courthouse Square. Recorded Texas Historic
- Watson Chapel Methodist Church
Historical Marker: On 5-acre site given by George Adams (1842-1906), this church has been in continuous use since its construction in 1883 by men of community. According to tradition, a man named Watson financed the project.
Square nails were used. Heart pine lumber for structure was shipped by steamboat on the Sabine River from Orange to town of Salem, then hauled by ox-teams to this site. Belfry and Sunday School rooms were added later. Recorded
Texas Historic Landmark - 1972
- West Log House NE of Salem
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3 July 2022