First Methodist Church of Palestine. This church began with Methodist classes organized by John Wilson in 1840 and held in this area at the home of John Box. Louisiana Catherine “Aunt Bee” Small helped formally organize a Methodist church in Palestine soon after its selection as Anderson County Seat in 1846. By 1848 the Palestine community was included in the circuit of the Rev. Henderson D. Palmer. Palestine’s first church structure was built by area Methodists in 1850 at present day 812 N. Mallard Street. Named “Bascom Chapel” after Bishop Henry B. Bascom, it served numerous congregations in the community for many years as Palestine’s sole house of worship. In 1884 Palestine’s Methodists erected a new sanctuary at the corner of Avenue A and N. Mallard Street and named it “Centenary.” About 1900 a split in the congregation resulted in the formation of the First Methodist Church. Led by Dr. James Kilgore, First Methodist built a sanctuary here in 1910. The structure was remodeled in 1952 and in 1986 the adjoining “Carroll Building” was erected. Women’s local and foreign missionary efforts have been a part of church activities since at least 1910. The congregation continues to support numerous youth programs and activities. – Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1993. Located 422 S. Magnolia, Palestine.
Grace Methodist Church. Methodist missionary efforts in this area date to the late 1830s. Circuit-riding ministers served Methodists in Palestine from the time of its founding as the Anderson County seat in 1848. In 1850 church members built a frame sanctuary and in November of that year the East Texas Conference was held in the new building, named Bascom Chapel in honor of an early Methodist bishop. The arrival of the railroad in 1872 resulted in a population boom for Palestine, and in 1884 a new church, named Centenary for the 100th anniversary of Methodism in the United States, was built. Three years later, the congregation divided to form the present First United Methodist Church and Grace United Methodist Church. Initially called Methvin Chapel in honor of the Rev. Alex Methvin, this congregation built Howard Avenue Methodist Church in 1898. After it burned in 1913, a new sanctuary was constructed at this site and named Grace Methodist Church. Long a supporter of local and foreign missionary efforts, Grace United Methodist Church continues to serve the community with a variety of worship, educational, and outreach programs. – Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1995. Located at 209 W. Kolstad, Palestine.
Mount Vernon A.M.E. Church. Freedmen organized this African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1873. The first sanctuary, a frame building at Mulberry and Birch streets, was shared with a group of Missionary Baptists. In the late 1870s, the Methodists built their own chapel at this site and adopted the congregational name Mount Vernon. The present brick sanctuary, with influences of the Gothic Revival style, was completed in the 1920s. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark – 1986. Located at 913 E. Calhoun, Palestine.
Mount Vernon United Methodist Church. Early denominational records indicate that this congregation was in existence as a mission church as early as 1880. In 1896, A. L. and Susanna Herrington donated one acre to the county to be used for a free school. A one-room school building was erected on the site, on Walnut Creek twelve miles north of Palestine, and also served as a church meeting place. The community was known as Mount Vernon, and the Methodist church assumed that name, also. The one-room building was moved in 1907 two miles north of its original location, and two rooms were added to the structure for the growing school. The congregation continued to meet in the building until 1913, when this site, across the road from the school building, was deeded to the Mount Vernon Methodist Episcopal Church, South. A sanctuary was completed the same year. The church has maintained active programs over the years, and has served as a training ground for many young ministers and student pastors from nearby Lon Morris College. For over one hundred years, the Mount Vernon Methodist Church has served as a center for its rural community. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836 – 1986. Located about 12 mi. north of Palestine off SH 155 in Pert, west on 2267 1 mi. to CR 463, then south into church.
South Union Missionary Baptist Church. In 1893, the Rev. Richard Henry Boyd (1843-1927), a native of Mississippi, organized the South Union Baptist Church of Palestine with 31 charter members. Boyd, known as the “Cowboy Preacher,” had established churches around Texas, including Palestine’s West Union congregation. The South Union Church, named for its geographic location within the city, met in a two-room building on Royall Street until moving to Dorrance Street in 1911. In addition to uniting communities through the formation of congregations, Boyd aspired to create Christian literature for the nation’s African American churches. After working with the Southern Baptist Convention Sunday School board in Nashville, Boyd held a conference at South Union Church to discuss religious education with other Black leaders. He later moved to Nashville to publish religious materials. The South Union congregation, which built a larger sanctuary in 1948, has continued to offer its facilities to community groups for meeting and educational purposes. Its pastors have led parishioners in a variety of outreach and educational missions, including radio and television ministries, as well as a library. The congregation has reflected the trends in the community, with the membership roll including a large number of railroad employees in the early 20th century and numerous local and statewide leaders throughout the church’s history. The church became South Union Missionary Baptist Church in 1986. Today, it is a long-standing Palestine institution, recognized for its service to the community and for its important history. – Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 2004. Located at 807 S. Dorrance St., Palestine.
Westwood United Methodist Church (Holmes Chapel Methodist Church) In November 1883, Harriet Mcclanahan Holmes donated one acre of land to Anderson County and William M. Holmes donated funds for the Holmes Community School, where Minnie Lee Holmes served as the first teacher. In the schoolhouse that year, area residents organized the Holmes Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Rev. Daniel C. Neel served as the congregation’s pastor. The church outgrew the schoolhouse and built a sanctuary in 1899. At that time, church services were held once a month by the Rev. A. Methvin. The congregation used its second house of worship, located on Holmes Road, until 1948. The church, like the Palestine area, experienced growth due to new industry and a post-war population increase. After selling the Holmes Road property, the congregation worshiped in a large tent while waiting for a new, larger sanctuary, which was completed in 1950. The congregation again outgrew its facilities and added new buildings a decade later. In the 1960s, area school districts consolidated into the Westwood Independent School District. The church, which originally bore the name of the once rural Holmes Chapel School, later changed its name to reflect its place in the community, which had become known as Westwood following school consolidation. During its more than 100 years as a congregation, the Westwood United Methodist Church (Holmes Chapel Methodist Church) has continued to grow, serving its community through its many programs. To commemorate the contributions of families that nourished the growth of the congregation, members over the years have placed memorials around church grounds, continuing the commitment to community and worship made by the founding members in the 1880s. – Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 2003. Located at 110 Ridgewood Street at West Oak (US 79), Palestine.