1809 - 1864
||08 Apr 1809
||Sumner County, Tennessee
||28 Sep 1864
||Washington County, Texas
||Masonic Cemetery, Washington County, Texas
- A marker for William Keesee has not been located in Chappell Hill Masonic Cemetery, but due to information received it is believed this to be the Cemetery where he was buried.
Hubert Lodge No. 67, Sept. 29th, 1864
"Called Communication of Hubert Lodge No. 67, Sept. 29th, 1864.....The W. [Worshipful] M. [Master] announced to the Lodge the Lodge [sic]. The Death of our Brother Wm. Keesee and stated that the meeting had been called for the Purpose of Performing the Funeral ceremonies of our decd. Brother.... At 3 P. M. Lodge was called......for the purpose of Burying the Body of Bro. Wm. Keesee. The Brethern Returned to the Late Residence of our Deceased brother where appropriate ceremonies were performed after which a Procession was formed and the Brethren Proceeded to the Masonic Burial Ground and Performed the last tribute of Respect to the Memory of our Deceased Brother."
From the Will of William Keesee, Washington County, Texas
W. February 1863
"And my last wish and request is and I hereby direct my Executors that the last resting place of my body shall be in a vault, above the ground. And I furthermore wish and enjoine it upon my Executors, to have the remains of my first wife, Mary C. Keesee, removed and reentered by my side in a vault in like manner as myself said vault to be connected with my own."
Information furnished by Teddie Sue Carter
||20 Feb 2013 |
||Keesee Thomas, Sr., b. 1778, Pittsylvania County, Virginia , d. 01 Dec 1861, Ashley County, Arkansas |
||McKnight Mary (Agnes) ? |
||Chappell Mary J., b. 02 Dec 1810, Maury or Wilson County, Tennessee , d. 14 Mar 1852, Chappell Hill, Washington County, Texas |
||14 Aug 1828
||Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
|>||1. Keesee George Marion, b. 11 Oct 1830, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama , d. 04 Dec 1892, Wilson County, Texas |
|>||2. Keesee Robert Wooding, b. 08 Nov 1831, d. 22 Nov 1858|
|>||3. Keesee William M, b. 05 Apr 1833, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama , d. Aft 1880|
|>||4. Keesee Mary Jane, b. 05 Nov 1834, Alabama , d. 16 Jun 1916, San Marcos, Hays County, Texas |
|>||5. Keesee Thomas Milton, b. 02 Mar 1836, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama |
|>||6. Keesee Gideon, b. 12 Nov 1837, Washington County, Texas , d. 08 May 1881, Washington County, Texas |
| ||7. Keesee Charlotte, b. 04 Nov 1839, Washington County, Texas , d. 1852|
|>||8. Keesee Andora Dollie, b. 25 Oct 1841, Washington County, Texas , d. 12 Dec 1920, Jonesboro, Coryell County, Texas |
|>||9. Keesee Walstein H., b. 11 Oct 1843, Washington County, Texas , d. 05 Sep 1925|
| ||10. Keesee Emmaline, b. 02 Jun 1845, Washington County, Texas , d. 05 Dec 1870|
| ||11. Keesee James C., b. 12 Oct 1846, Washington County, Texas , d. 5 Sept 1915, Memphis, Hall County, Texas |
|>||12. Keesee Elias Jenkins, b. 23 Mar 1848, Washington County, Texas , d. 12 Jun 1927, San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas |
||Information taken from "History of Methodism in Alabama" by Anson West 1899. |
Dudley Hargrove mentioned is the father of William Dudley Hargrove who moved to Washington County Texas. William Dudley married Charlotte Chappell the sister of Mary Chappell Keesee. Martha Wooding Hargrove, daughter of William Dudley and Charlotte Chappell Hargrove married Gideon Keesee, brother of William Keesee, Washington County, Texas. Mentioned later in the text is Chappell. This reference is to Robert Wooding Chappell, father of Mary Chappell Keesee and Charlotte Chappell Hargrove; also namesake of Chappell Hill, Texas.
With the early guidance of Rev. Hargrove and members of the family, William Keesee and his father in-law, Robert Wooding Chappell were able to establish a Methodist Society immediately upon their move to Washington County, Texas.
William Keesee first purchased property in Washington County, Texas in the fall of 1837 and at the same time Dr. Martin Ruter, was appointed first Methodist Missionary Superintendent to Texas and records show they were quickly connected in Texas working to establish Methodist Societies and a Church in Washington County, Texas.
||16 Jun 2011 |
||Waggoner Howth Emeline, d. 1874, Austin County, Texas |
||15 Mar 1854
||Austin County, Texas
||1860 Washington County, Texas Census, P O Chappell Hill, page 162, taken Aug. 5, 1860|
William Keesee, Emiline Keesee and children that also lists a child named Emma, 5 years old.
||1860 Washington County Texas Census page 2 The remainder of William Keesee's family|
||13 Oct 2011 |
||Brenham Weekly Banner. (Brenham, Tex.), Vol. 15, No. 2, Ed. 1, Friday, January 9, 1880
William Keesee Estate
|| ||Telegraph and Texas Register (Houston, Tex.), Vol. 4, No. 52, Ed. 1, Wednesday, June 12, 1839|
Centenary of Methodism
| ||The Texas Ranger (Washington, Tex.), Vol. 6, No. 1, Ed. 1, Thursday, August 10, 1854
Lancaster, J., editor. The Texas Ranger (Washington, Tex.), Vol. 6, No. 1, Ed. 1, Thursday, August 10, 1854, Newspaper, August 10, 1854; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth48789 : accessed March 12, 2010), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, Austin, Texas.
This article is about Rev. Joshua Shapard, uncle of Rebecca Elizabeth Brooks, who married William A. Dorroh, step grandson of the author, William Keesee, Sr.
||Chappell Hill Female College Board of Trustees
Washington County, Texas|
||Chappell Hill, Washington County, Texas|
| ||Daniel Gilliland to William Keesee, Washington County, Texas, Dec. 25, 1837|
Land on the waters of Cedar Creek and part of league granted to David Lawrence.
| ||Deed Thomas Stevens to William Keesee , Nov.1, 1839, Washington County, Texas|
300 acres NW corner of E. Roberts survey
| ||Deed Jackson J. Hall to Commissioners of Methodist Episcopal Church: R. W. Chappell, F. W. Hubert, Daniel Gilliland, Wm. Keesee, Nathaniel Chambliss, Apr 12, 1843|
Land (2 1/8 acres) donated by Jackson J. Hall to the Methodist Episcopal Church, Cedar Creek
| ||Deed Jane Beauchamp to Trustees of Cedar Creek Methodist Episcopal Church and Campgrounds: R. W.Chappell, F. W. Hubert, M. Chamliss, Wm. Keesee, Daniel Gilliland, Washington County, Texas Oct 1842|
| ||Deed John B. Banks to James H. Cock, Henry Martin, James W. McDade, William D. Hargrove, John B. Wilkins, Jacob Haller, Asa M. Lewis, Richard J. Swearingin, William Keesee, Lucien Bartlet. A group of developers that started the Warren Town Company.|
Lt 2, Warren Town, Washington County, Texas, On the Brazos River below the mouth of New Years Creek, Feb 14, 1850.
| ||Deed for the purchase of Warren Town, Washington County, Texas 2-28-1850|
Grantors: MC FADDIN NATHAN A; MC FADDIN ELIZA; CRAWFORD JOSEPH W; CRAWFORD NANCY; BARTLETT JESSE N; BARTLETT JOSEPH C; WINKLER LOUISA; PORTER FRANCIS E; WINKLER CLINTON M; BARTLETT JESSE DECD;
Grantees: COCK JAMES H; MARTIN HENRY B; MC DADE JAMES W; BANKS JOHN B; HARGRAVE WILLIAM D; WILKINS JOHN B; HALLER JACOB; LEWIS ASA M; SWEARINGIN RICHARD J; KEESEE WILLIAM; BARTLETT LUCIEN L;
| ||Deed: John B. Banks and William A. Browning to William Keesee, Sanford Woodward League, 12-10-1850, Washington County, Texas|
| ||Letter written by Edwin S. Buck, stepsister of Emeline Wagner Howth Keesee, to his sister Jane in Pontiac Michigan. Feb. 4, 1855, Chappell Hill, Washington County, Texas|
Edwin S. Buck and his wife, were living with William Keesee and his second wife Emiline. Emiline was first married to Walstein Howth and second married to William Keesee after the loss of his first wife, Mary Chappell Keesee.
| ||William Keesee to Board of Trustees of Soule University, Washington County Texas|
March 24, 1856 one third league located in Bexar County, Texas
| ||Jacob Haller and wife to Chappell Hill Institute, Washington County, Texas Nov 13, 1850|
| ||Jacob Haller and wife Mary E. Haller to Chappell Hill Methodist Church. Jan 14, 1852
Jesse W. Glass, Wm. Keesee, R. J. Swearingen, Jacob Haller, Alex. Hargrove, L. D. Bragg and J. L. Hammond
| ||Will of William Keesee Sr., Washington County , Texas Written Feb., 1863, Died Sept. 29, 1864|
| ||James Stephens to William Keesee, December 25, 1837|
300 acres, partly in Austin Co., Texas and on the water of Caney Creek and part of league granted by Coahuila and Texas to Stephens, beginning at a corner of Elisha Roberts.
| ||Republic of Texas Washington County Keesee Survey, 1280 acres
Henderson, 419, Houston 2nd, 000055|
Republic of Texas Washington County, land survey for William Keesee 1280 acres for being in the Republic of Texas, subsequent to the Declaration Independence and previous to the 1st October, 1837. Signed at Washington 5th day of July, 1838
| ||Texas Methodist Historical Quarterly|
Excerpt from the diary of Reverend Littleton Fowler taken from the Texas Methodist Historical Quarterly. Written March 1, 1839 regarding Brother Keesee
| ||Sneed Methodist Memorial Church, Calvert, Texas|
Maudene Keesee Gilbreath great great granddaughter of William Keesee of Chappell Hill Washington County, Texas taken April 2018. Reverend Joseph Sneed, namesake of church received his first appointment to preach in Texas while at the quarterly meeting held 1839 at the home/farm of William Keesee.
- FORGOTTEN TOWNS ALONG THE BRAZOS
PART ONE: WARREN
Almost immediately after receiving their inheritance, all of the heirs except Lucian sold their interests to a group of developers composed of James H. Cocke, Henry B. Martin, James W. McDade, John B. Banks, William D. Hargrove, John B. Wilkins, Jacob Haller, Asa M. Lewis, Richard J. Swearingen, William Keesee and the aforementioned Lucian Bartlett.20 They styled themselves the Warren Town Company and proceeded to sell lots in their "new" town.21
The complete article may be found at:
- From the book "The Methodist Excitement in Texas" by Walter N. Vernon, Robert W. Sledge, Robert C. Monk, and Norman W. Spellman
"Far too little has been said in this chapter about the role of lay persons in the Methodist Church, not because they were unimportant, but because their papers were not preserved. Yet these were the witnesses who lived their faith daily and kept the churches and Sunday schools alive and growing between the visits of the circuit riders. Representative of their areas, as well as for their commitment, were the families of David Ayres, S. D. McMahon, WILLIAM KEESEE, William Robinson, James P. Caldwell, George Wright, Isaac Webb and William Zuber. Even though these individuals--together with numerous unheralded men and women spent their adult years in a variety of occupations, their Christian faith was their strength and stay.
- NOTICE OF PROBATE JAN 9, 1880 BRENHAM BANNER NEWSPAPER
The State of Texas
To the Sheriff or any Constable of Washington County, Greeting:
You are hereby commanded to cause to be published for at least twenty days in the Brenham Banner, a newspaper printed in the County of Washington, the following notice:
The State of Texas
To all persons interested in the estate of Wm. Keesee deceased, has filed in the county court of Washington County, an application for discharge from the administration of the estate of William Keesee deceased, together with his final account with the said estate, which will be heard at the next term of the county court of said county, commencing on the Third Monday in January, 1880 at the courthouse thereof, in the city of Brenham, at which time all persons interested in said estate may appear and contest said application and acct. if they see proper.
Herein fail not, under penalty of the law, and of this writ make due return. Issued the 22nd day of December, 1879. Witness H. M Lewis, clerk of said court and the seal thereof, at office, in the city of Brenham, the 22nd day of Dec. 1879.
H. M. Lewis, C.C.C. W.C.
I hereby certify that the above and foregoing is a true and correct copy of the original citation now in my hands.
J. H. Hutchison, Sheriff
By Will F. Garrett, Deputy
- _________________________ Found on Portal of Texas
Letter from William Chappell to J. D. Giddings Nov. 2, 1872
Letter from William Chappell to J. D. Giddings. Chappell begins by stating that he has seen a copy of the order that the Soule University Board of Trustees gave the Building Committee to hypothecate all the estate real and personal in order to secure a loan to build a stone edifice. HOwever, the committee failed to inculd the Rock Building and donated lands in the hypothecation, and this failure is not the fault of the Board of Trustees because it was explicit in its instruction to include all estate real and personal. Discussing a different matter, he explains how WILLIAM KEESEE with a black man purchased d. Ayr' land, which had been given to him by his father in
Alabama in 1837 or 1838. The deed to Mr. Ayr's land was not made until after Keesee's death. Ayrs knew that the land had been donated, but Chappell does not know whether he deeded it to the university or his heirs.
- Articles found on the Texas Methodist History website mentioning William Keesee, Chappell Hill, Washington County, Texas
Texas Methodist History
It is the mission of the Commission on Archives and History
1. to preserve the official records of the Texas Annual Conference
2. to assist local churches preserve their own historical records
3. to provide a ministry of education and interpretation about the history of the Texas Annual Conference
Saturday, February 05, 2011
This Week in Texas Methodist History February 6
Joseph P. Sneed Enters Texas February 8, 1839
On February 8, 1839 Joseph P. Sneed crossed the Sabine River at Gaines Crossing on his way to Brazoria Circuit. The previous December Bishop Thomas Morris had appointed him to the Brazoria Circuit of the Texas District of the Mississippi Annual Conference. February 8 was a Friday, but Methodists in the Republic of Texas had preaching any day they could get it, not just on Sundays, so Sneed preached that night. He spent the night with the Stovall family, and then pushed on to meet Littleton Fowler. The next few weeks were full of more travel, preaching, and meeting his new colleagues, and, by the way, he didn't made it to Brazoria.
Joseph Sneed was born near Nashville, Tennessee, in 1804. In 1829 he joined the Mississippi Annual Conference and served several appointments. In 1834 he assisted Henry Stevenson at McMahan?s Chapel just west of the Sabine in Mexican Texas. Several years later he volunteered for Texas.
On Feb. 9 he rode the four miles from Stovall?s to McMahan?s where Fowler was holding a quarterly meeting. Moses Speer and Samuel Williams were also there. Sneed reported for duty with a letter of recommendation from Bishop Morris to Fowler, ?I am sending you a man who is not afraid to die or sleep in the woods.? Bishop Morris also entrusted Sneed with $800 of missionary money to be distributed as salary for the preachers in Texas. After a love feast on Sunday the 10th, Sneed, Fowler, and Missouri Fowler headed for ?West Texas.?
It took them until February 27 to reach the Brazos River. On the way they picked up Ike Strickland, the Montgomery Circuit preacher. The party visited Martin Ruter?s grave and spent the night with the Gates family.
Fowler had previously instructed the preachers in West Texas to meet him at William Kessee?s, near present-day Chappell Hill. I suppose the prospect of being paid ensured good attendance because most of them showed up and stayed five days. There was, of course, a quarterly meeting and love feast, but Fowler used the meeting to override the appointments Bishop Morris had made at annual conference and reassign Strickland to Brazoria and Sneed to the now vacant Montgomery Circuit. He also reassigned Abel Stevens from Houston to Washington to take the place of Robert Alexander who had moved to Rutersville the previous fall.
Stevens rode the Washington Circuit for only 3 months and then returned to the United States. Fowler instructed Sneed to take over the Washington Circuit in addition to his Montgomery Circuit. He was thus responsible for Texas Methodists west of the Trinity River all the way to the settlements on the Colorado River from Spring Creek in the south to Waco in the north.
Sneed was up to the challenge of riding long circuits. Except for a ten year location in which he farmed near Gay Hill in Washington County, he served honorably in appointments until his superannuation in 1867. He died in 1881 at his son?s home in Milam County.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
This Week in Texas Methodist History July 4
Methodists Mourn Ike Strickland?s Death July, 1839
In 1839 Texas Methodists tempered their celebration of Independence Day with the knowledge that one of their brothers, Isaac L. G. Strickland, had died in West Columbia at the age of thirty.
Strickland had itinerated in Tennessee for six years before transferring to the Texas Mission of the Mississippi Conference in October 1838. Littleton Fowler assigned him to the Montgomery Circuit, and he began his rounds.
Unfortunately he became discouraged. On January 14, 1839 he wrote Fowler asking for a transfer to the Washington Circuit which had recently been left without a preacher because Robert Alexander had moved to Rutersville. Strickland had no way of knowing that Abel Stevens, the preacher stationed at Houston/Galveston, on January 16 had also written Fowler asking for a transfer to Washington.
The arrival of Joseph Sneed from Mississippi allowed Fowler to grant both men?s requests for transfers. He decided to handle it in person. While at the Mississippi Annual Conference in December, 1838, Bishop Andrew entrusted Sneed with $800 of mission money to distribute in salaries to men of the Texas Mission. Fowler announced that he would go to Washington County in February, 1839, and act as pay master. The expectation of finally being paid insured that all the preachers in ?West Texas? assembled at William Kesee?s where Fowler held a quarterly meeting during the first week of March.
Having all the western preachers at one place for several days allowed Fowler to size up the situation. He moved Stevens to Washington and Strickland to Brazoria. Sneed, the newcomer, took Strickland?s place in Montgomery.
Strickland started the Brazoria Circuit in March. He died at the Bell Plantation at West Columbia on July 2 and was buried in a private cemetery on the plantation. There was an outpouring of grief such as that from Jesse Hord, writing from Velasco on July 8.
I scarcely know how, or what to wright[sic], I am so overwhelmed with feeling by the death of our dear and beloved Bro. Strickland. I know of no death in all my life to which I found it so extremely difficult to be resigned, which indeed is my duty but I am constrained to say, the fleash[sic] is week[sic], very week. But my brother in the Lord is gone, gone to that rest that remains for the people of God. Doubtless while his body and manly [presence?] moulders within the rayless tomb and earthly friends heave their bosoms with agonizing sorrow, disbelieving tears of sympathy from every eye, his blood-washed, his sainted spirit, unconscious of earthly and heart-rending commotions, calmly rests beneath the peaceful umbrage of the tree of life, touching a chord of his golden harp, and making melody, surpassing in softness and sweetness that made by the Angelic choir of Paradise.
(Original in Fowler Collection, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, SMU)
From the Book "A History of Early Methodism in Texas"
By Macum Phelan
Taken from the Journal of Dr. Ruter, first Methodist Missionary that came to Texas
Mentions William Keesee and Robert Chappell
The impetus which Dr. Enter gave to the establish-
ment of an educational institntion in Texas will be con-
sidered in another connection ; also a more exact report
as to the condition of the Church at the time of his death.
"We turn now to the sad records which lead to the close
of his career. The last entries in his journal record the
onset and progress of his fatal illness:
April 1, 1838, Sunday. Preached in the morning and eve-
ning to the white people; in the afternoon to the blacks. This
was a day of comfort. Monday, 2. Eode to Brother Kesee's.
Tuesday, 3. To Mr. Cochran's. This day makes me fifty three
86 A HISTORY OF EARLY METHODISM IN TEXAS
years of age, and I this day set out to devote myself more than
ever to God; first, by more prayer; second, by more attention
to the Scriptures; third, by general reading and meditation.
Wednesday, 4. Bode to Mr. Ayers'. Thursday, 5. Rode to Mr.
Cochran's and attended a marriage. Friday, 6. Rode to Mr.
Bracey's. Saturday, 7. Being afflicted with fever, rode to Mr.
Ayers and then to Brother Kenney's. Sunday, 8. Too ill to
preach, and Brother Kenney went to my appointment and
preached in my stead. Sunday evening. Find myself better,
and my mind stayed on God, to whose service I hope to be de-
voted forever. Monday, 9. Eode to Mr. Ayers' ; still unwell and
under temptation. Tuesday evening to Mr. Rabb's. "Wednes-
day, 11. To Mr. Kesee's. Feel somewhat improved in health.
Thursday, to Mr. Hall's, trying to recruit my strength. Feel
myself relieved in trusting in God, my only helper. Saturday,
14. Rode to Washington, and found at the post office letters
from home, which gave me comfort. Consulted a physician con-
cerning my health. Sunday, Rode to James Hall's, and preached
to an attentive audience ; received one awakened sinner on trial ;
then rode to Brother Kesee's. Monday. Amidst afflictions
rode to Mr. Ayers'. Wednesday, 18. Rode to Brother Kesee's.
Thursday, 19. Set off in company with Brother Chapel for the
Red River, on my way home. Found at night my illness increas-.
ing. Found Brother Chapel urgent to travel. Friday, 20. We
reached a Mr. Rivers' where we stayed through the night. Sat-
urday, 21. So ill I thought it prudent to take an emetic, and
advised Brother Chapel (as he was uneasy) to go on alone. He
delayed till 2 o'clock, and finding me no better, went on. Now
here I am with a threatening fever, among strangers. But my
trust is in the Most High; his mercies are abundant, and live
or die, let me do and suffer his blessed will. I commit to him
myself and dear family, wife and children, now and forever.
Amen. Sunday, 22. Found myself somewhat relieved, but per-
ceived that my disease was settling upon my lungs, and thought
there was danger of serious injury. Being entirely without medi-
cal aid or advice, and too ill to venture on my journey, it seems
judicious to return, if able, to Washington. Rode with more
ease than I expected to Mr. Kennard's, twenty miles. After rest-
ing there I proceeded to Mr. Fanthorpe's, eight miles; then to
Washington, arriving there on Monday, being seventeen miles.
FIRST REGULAR MISSIONARIES 87
Feel much fatigued, but comforted with the goodness of God.
0, how unsearchable his wisdom, and his ways past finding out.
Here Dr. Ruter 's journal closes. He wrote letters to
his family, explaining his inability to proceed home, but
expressing hope of ultimate recovery ; also letters to Dr.
Bangs, of the Missionary Society in New York, apprising
him of his sickness, and giving a complete report of the
work which had been accomplished. At Washington he
was among his friends, including two physicans, Drs.
W. P. Smith and A. P. Manly, and his faithful co-laborer,
Robert Alexander. Alexander, not anticipating the end,
was away to fill an appointment, when at 2 A.M., on May
16, 1838, Dr. Euter died. At 5 P.M. on the same day his
remains were buried at Washington, after a funeral
service conducted by Dr. Manly.
THE YEAR 1838
exact report of what had been accomplished in
Texas at the time of Dr. Enter's death is contained in
his last letter to the Mission Board in New York, dated
Washington, Texas, April 26, 1838, and forwarded to the
Board after the Doctor's death. "Our present numbers,"
he says, "are twenty societies, three hundred and twenty-
five members, twelve local preachers, six of whom are
elders, and three exhorters. In San Augustine, Nacog-
doches, this town, Cedar Creek and Caney Creek we have
churches in progress or soon to be commenced. In San
Augustine, Washington and Nacogdoches we have regu-
lar Sabbath schools. We have taken some steps toward
founding a college." In a foot-note he adds: "Our
church in Washington is completed, the Sunday school
large and prosperous, with a library consisting of 150
volumes, obtained in New Orleans. The churches in San
Augustine and Nacogdoches will be finished by Septem-
ber, worth $4,000 in San Augustine and the other worth
$2,500. Several small country meeting houses will be
THE YEAH 1840
AT the Mississippi Conference in 1839 the Eepublic
of Texas was divided into two vast districts, with a list
of appointments reaching to quite respectable propor-
tions. Surely we are growing, and Texas cannot much
longer continue as a remote corner of missionary terri-
tory attached to another conference.
The appointments made in 1839 were as follows :
Bast Texas District
Littleton Fowler, Presiding Elder.
San Augustine, S. A. Williams.
Jasper, Daniel Carl.
Nacogdoches, Francis Wilson.
Crockett, Henderson D. Palmer.
Montgomery, Moses Spear, Eobert Crawford.
Harrison Circuit, to be supplied.
Eobert Alexander, Presiding Elder.
Rutersville, C. Eichardson, and President of Rutersville
Austin, John Haynie.
Matagorda, Robert Hill.
Brazoria, Abel Stevens.
Victoria, to be supplied.
Houston, Edward Fontaine.
Galveston, Thos. 0. Summers.
Washington, Jesse Hord, J. Lewis.
| Nashville, Joseph P. Sneed.
Texas, it is well to note, had already become a pro-
ductive field, as five of the preachers in the above list had
126 A HISTORY OF EARLY METHODISM IN TEXAS
gone up for admission from this territory ; namely, Carl,
Palmer, Crawford, Haynie and Hill. Henderson D.
Palmer, after spending some time at Lagrange College,
Tuscumbia, Ala., came to Texas and engaged in teaching
at Nacogdoches. Under the ministry of Littleton Fowler
he first became a class-leader in the church, and later was
granted license to preach. He is said to have been the
first man licensed to preach in Texas. 1 Daniel Carl was a
native of New York, where he was born in 1808. He
removed with his parents in childhood to Tennessee. In
1837 he came to Texas, and engaged in teaching in Wash-
ington County. He was a tutor in the family of William
Kesee at Cedar Creek, when under the influence of
Fowler he yielded to- a call to preach and was granted
license. Eobert Crawford, the best known of these first
Texas recruits, is to enjoy with Alexander, Sneed and
Hord, a ministry extending into the modern period of
our history. He was a native of South Carolina, where
he was born May 31, 1815. He was reared, like Alex-
ander, in a staunch Calvinistic faith, but at the age of
nineteen he was soundly converted and united with the
Methodists. He was making preparations to enter
Lagrange College, under a call to the ministry, when the
Texas revolution attracted him, and in company with
many other young men from Tennessee, where he was
then living, Crawford came to Texas and joined the army
of Sam Houston. He was present and took part in the
battle of San Jacinto. After the war he again turned
his thoughts toward the ministry. He was licensed to
exhort by Dr. Martin Euter at Washington in March,
1838, and was licensed to preach by J. P. Sneed in Sep-
tember, 1839. For the rest, both as to Crawford and the
others, their history will be found interwoven with others
in this book.
216 A HISTORY OF EARLY METHODISM IN TEXAS
The camp-meeting referred to above, held near where
Chappell Hill came to be, marked the beginning of the
rise of the church there, which was destined soon to be-
come one of the most important appointments in Texas.
Among the first settlers of that community were the
families of Stevenson, Hubert, Chappell, Hargrove,
Kesee, Eeavill, King, and others, all Methodists. The
great camp-meeting of 1843 commenced at Cedar Creek,
the then name of the place, on October 19. There were
eleven preachers present, among whom were Clark, pre-
siding elder, Kenney, Richardson, Alexander, Haynie,
Fisher, Whipple, DeVilbiss and Thrall. Nearly all the
giants of that day were there, and of the preaching "we
have never heard it excelled," says Thrall.
Mr. Fowler was described as of striking personal ap-
pearance, above the ordinary height, of natural and easy
manner, free from austerity and frigidness, and one who
was at home in all social circles. His early education
was very limited, but he possessed unusual intellectual
powers, and being a great reader and student all his life,
his manner and his preaching created the impression of
culture and education. He reasoned accurately and
logically, and addressed much of his sermon to the judg-
ment. In the pulpit he would begin in the mildest man-
258 A HISTORY OF EARLY METHODISM IN TEXAS
ner, and continue as if in conversation, or as if demon-
strating a problem in mathematics; then warming with
his subject his eye would kindle, his voice would be lifted,
and his closing appeals were always earnest and winning.
The impression which Fowler left upon our early history
was out of all proportion to the brief span of his life in
Texas. He wielded a great personal influence especially
upon young men in drawing them into the ministry.
Henderson D. Palmer and Daniel Carl were two con-
spicuous examples of Fowler's influence. The latter sur-
rendered to a call to the ministry while in a private
prayer-meeting which Fowler held with him in William
Kesee's corn crib in Washington County, on a rainy day
in the winter of 1837-38. Fowler's untimely end
brought great sorrow to his brethren in the ministry, and
cast a gloom over Texas, for he was known in circles
beyond the bounds of his own Church.
This circuit embraced the section of country in which Mr.
Kinney settled and organized his first societies, and that in
which Mr. Alexander married and settled. Messrs. Alexander,
Kinney, Fisher, Sneed, and Wells, travelling preachers, lived
on this circuit; local preachers, Thomas Wooldridge, Thomas
E. Nunn, and A. C. Delaplaine; exporters, B. L. Peel, A. T.
Kerr, H. O. Campbell, Cyrus Campbell, and J. C. Harrison.
The following were class-leaders: N. Chambliss, E. D. Tarver,
Adolphus Hope, James Gray, John Atkinson, and Thomas Bell;
stewards, Fletcher W. Hubert, "William Dever, "William Kesee,
J. D. biddings, William P. Kerr, William Chappell, B. F. Eea-
vill, John M. Brown, Amos Gates, and Eufus E. Campbell. The
plan contained 14 appointments, and 254 white and 55 colored
members. At the close of Mr. Thrall's second year the circuit
was divided and subdivided into several pastoral charges, and
Washington Circuit as such disappeared from the Minutes. Be-
fore Mr. Thrall took charge of the circuit it had been travelled
successively by J. W. Kinney, E. Alexander, Abel Stevens, Jesse
Hord, Mr. Kinney again with E. B. Wells, Joseph P. Sneed, and
William C. Lewis. At that early period the necessity for houses
of worship was as great as at the present time, and in many
places cheap structures were built, so that we could have our
own denominational Sunday schools. A plain church was erected
at a neighborhood called Cedar Creek, in Washington County,
in 1847. Soon afterward the village of Chappell Hill was laid
302 A HISTOEY OF EARLY METHODISM IN TEXAS
out and a church erected there
Mention of Father Chappell which would be Robert Wooding Chappell, father in-law of William Keesee
The eighth session of the Texas Conference was held
at Cedar Creek 1 a rising young Methodist center in
Washington County, convening on December 29, 1847, and
closing on January 3, 1848 thus scarcely ten months
elapsing since the last conference. Bishop William
Capers presided, and Chauncey Richardson was secre-
tary. At this conference Harvey H. Allen, Isaac G. John,
Henry Bauer, Charles Goldberg, Thomas M. Williams,
and Bryant L. Peel were admitted on trial two of these,
as their names indicate, Tbeing the fruitage of our mission
to the Germans. Leonard S. Friend, Wm, S. Hamilton
and Wiley W. Whitby located. John Haynie and Jesse
Hord took the superannuate relation. Oscar M. Addison,
who had been admitted on trial into the East Texas Con-
ference the year before, was received by transfer, as was
also Lewis S. Marshal from the same conference.
William C. Lewis and Isaac M. Wliliams were trans-
ferred to the East Texas Conference.
i Thrall and others after him say that this Conference was held at
Chappell Hill; but Thrall in his ' ' Eeminiscences " does not agree with
Thrall the historian. There was no Chappell Hill in 1848, this point
taking its rise the following year, if we are to believe the following ac-
count in the ' ' Eeminiseences " : "During my second year on the Wash-
ington circuit [which was 1849] there was a camp meeting held at Cedar
Creek. . . . During the year Chappell Hill was laid out, and Jacob
Haller opened a store. There were many accessions by immigration this
year, including Dr. Swearingen, Major Browning and Judge Felder." Con-
cerning the above Conference he says in these papers: "The sessions
were held in the second story of Father Chappell 's new house, three miles
distant from Cedar Creek." Contemporary references to this Conference
and to this settlement in 1848 use simply the name "Cedar Creek."
360 A HISTORY OF EARLY METHODISM IN TEXAS
As the Chappell Hill community and church became
one of the famous centers of Methodism during this
period, it might be of interest to transcribe here a part
of the contents of the " Church Book" for 1853, which
has been preserved and has fallen into our hands. In
common with all church records of that day, this book
is prefaced by a " charge to the membership," this one
containing the following :
Brethren be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind,
live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
Remember the Friday preceding each Quarterly Meeting as a
day of fasting and prayer, for the general prosperity of Zion.
Also pray for us your Ministers, that the words of the Lord
may have free course, and be glorified.
November 9th 1853.
A. M. Box P. C.
JAMES M. WESSON, P. E.
The membership is listed under the following heads,
the male members appearing first :
No. Male Members Life Soul Remarks
and under the headings "Life" and "Soul" initials are
set down to indicate the state of life married, single,
widowed and the state of soul.
The membership roll is as follows :
No. Male Members Life Soul
1. William Keesee, CL & St W B
2. B. L. Peel, LE CL & St M B
3. James S. Hanna, St M B
4. Joseph W. Routt, St M B
5. J. A. Hargrove, St S B
6. Lod Robinson, CL M B
7. Jesse W. Glass, CL M B
8. Hiram M. Glass, LP M B
9. D. A. Bland, Ex S B
10. Dr. R. J. Swearingen, St M B
11. Frederick Ray S B
12. Kedar Ballard W B
13. James Glass M B
14. James Chappell M B
15. Andrew H. Glass M B
16. George W. Keesee M B
17. Robert W. Keesee M B
18. C. Witteburg S B
19. Joel J. Wilburn M B
20. A. J. Robinson M B
21. S. W. Punchard. . . M B
22. James Levi M B
23. W. W. Woodward, St M B
24. Robert P. Ashford M B
25. Joshua Fielding S B
26. Joseph Davis S B
27. John May S S
28. John Cochran S B
29. Wm. E. Ballard S B
30. Wesley Glass, Pro S S
31. Thos. Keesee, Pro S B
32. Gideon Keesee, Pro S S
33. William D. Hargrove, Pro S S
34. James S. Turner, Pro S B
35. William Keesee, Jr., Pro S B
36. A. J. Jackson, Pro S B
37. Thos. W. Glass, Pro S B
38. H. S. Hedrick, Pro S B
39. Charles B. Harris, Pro S S
40. M. P. Wilson, Pro S B
41. Robert D. Glass S B
42. John M. Glaze S B
43. Caleb Wyman S B
44. Richard Crawford M B
45. James B. Degges M B
46. Robert F. Degges M B
47. Thos. McCown, Pro S B
48. Fletcher Glass, Pro S B
49. W. M. Baker S B
50. Zeno. Carpenter S B
51. J. W. Dodley M B
52. Henry Feelen S B
HOUSTON TRI WEEKLY TELEGRAPH (HOUSTON TEX.) VOL. 30, NO. 185, ED. 1 WED. DEC 21ST, 1864
Will be sold on the 23rd inst. at the late residence of Wm. Keesee, deceased, in the town of Chappell Hill, the premises, consisting of a fine dwelling, necessary out buildings, cistern, well and 2 or 3 good springs about 219 acres of land on a credit of one, two, or three years. No doubt the most desirable location in the county.
Executors: J. Matthews, W. W. Browning
DEMOCRATIC TELEGRAPH AND TEXAS REGISTER (HOUSTON, TEX), VOL 13, NO. 52, ED 1, THURSDAY, DEC. 28, 1848
We a part of the citizens of Washington County, Texas, representing a large and densely populated neighborhood in behalf of a Male and Female Academy. We shall expect applicants to come well recommended, as well as to undergo a classical examination. To such we obligate ourselves to furnish forty or fifter scholars at the rate of Two Dollars per month for each scholar. Editors and publishers of newspapers, friendly to the cause of Education will please give this an insertion in their paper, and oblige their obedient servants.
SERRELL J. JACKSON
J. P. SHEPPARD
O. H. P. GRANT
WM. D. HARGROVE
From "Historic Homes of Washington County, 1821-1860" by Betty Plummer
The John Smith House (now referred to as the William M. Sledge House)
One of the loveliest ante-bellum home in Washington County one graced a hilltop near Chappell Hill.The years, however, were not kind to the one beautiful Louisiana-French style plantation home............................
While the house was obviously not built as an ostentatious showplace, it was undoubtedly the finest ante-bellum house of its design in Washington County. It is unfortunate that the builder of a house so tastefully planned and constructed cannot receive due credit for his artistry, as conclusive information regarding the builder of the house has not been discovered. Local historians and family descendants unanimously credit William M. Sledge with having built the house; yet, the dates given for the construction of the house do not completely coincide with the period of time during which William M. Sledge was the owner of the property. Other information revealed during research on the John Smith house gives rise to the possibility that owners prior to William Sledge began construction of the house and that it was completed after Sledge purchased the property.
The history of the John Smith house began on February 22, 1831, when the Mexican government granted one league of land to DAVID LAWRENCE. Five years later David Lawrence deeded one-half of his league and one labor to Daniel GILLELAND, one of Stephen F. Austin's orginial "Three Hundred" settlers. According to the 1840 census of the Republic of Texas, DANIEL GILLELAND owned 600 acres in Washington County, six slaves, one horse and ten cattle.
On CHRISTMAS DAY 1837, the property on which the John Smith house was later to be built was sold by Daniel Gilleland to WILLIAM KEESEE. The sale included 1,034 acres "and appurtenances" for a price of $2,058.00.
Nine years prior to the death of WILLIAM KEESEE, "apart of the headright of DAVID LAWRENCE" was deeded by KEESEE to his father-in-law, ROBERT WOODING CHAPPELL, SR; the price was $1,000. A deed transaction occurred between the members of the CHAPPELL FAMILY--R. W. CHAPPELL TO GEORGE CHAPPELL--in 1852, which appeared to be a part of the CHAPPELL-SLEDGE-SMITH Property.
In 1857, the first land transaction between the CHAPPELLS AND WILLIAM SLEDGE ocurred when SLEDGE was sold 400 acres by GEORGE T. CHAPPELL for $6,000. Another deed was recorded in October, 1857, between R. W. CHAPPELL, et al., and WILLIAM SLEDGE, for 400 acres, less fourteen acres. The price was $12,120. This deed was signed by R. W. CHAPPELL, ELIZABETH CHAPPELL, CHARLOTTE HARGROVE, WILLIAM KEESEE, WILLIAM, ROBERT, JAMES, N. T., G. T., AND R. W.,M JR., CHAPPELL on November 20, 1860; this was by GEORGE T. CHAPPELL, et al., for 400 acres at a price of $6,000.
TWO and ONE-HALF MILES west of the town named for the first TEXAS CHAPPELLS, the century-old SMITH house still stands on its original site. The house, as it was originally constructed, gave a true picture of the Louisiana-French style plantation home of the mid nineteenthcentury ..........................................................
The exact date of construction of the John Smith house is debatable. Onwe of the former owners was told by an earlier owner that the house was begun in 1847 and completed in 1852. This date would make WILLIAM KEESEE the builder. Another date given is the year 1855. This date would fall during the CHAPPELL ownership. The Historic American Building Survey listed the date of erection as in the 1850's. Miss LOIS JACKSON recalled her mother mentioning a date which had been painted in gold "over the front porch" of the house. The date was 1858, one year after William Sledge bought the property.
The floor plan for the lower floor included a wide hall, running..................................................................................................................
When the house was built, the road leading from Chappell Hill to Brenham ran approximately 200 yards south of the house. For this reason the part of the house which as been called the front for many years was originally the back of the house. The wide-galleried facade facing south was the front of the house. The new road between Chappell HIll and Brenham was built approximately on-half mile north fo the house. So, in order to face the highway, as before, the back of the old house became the fron and vice versa. .............................................................. The driveway was lined on both sides with trees.
Although the tragedy of an Indian massacre befell the GILLELAND FAMILY, the first owners of the JOhn Smith progerty, the second owner, WILLIAM KEESEE, enjoyed a long and fruitful life in the vicinity of Chappell Hill. He was among the earliest settlers of the southeast Washington County area, and he also married a member of the FOUNDING FAMILY OF CHAPPELL HILL. The marriage of MARY JANE CHAPPELL KEESEE, daughter of ROBERT WOODING CHAPPELL, for whom the town of CHAPPELL HILL was named, and WILLIAM KEESEE ended on March 18, 1852. MARY KEESEE died and according to her granddaughter, was buried "back of the old church at Chappell Hill." When the community property of WILLIAM AND MARY KEESEE was divided, the homestead, which was located in the DAVID LAwRENCE LEAGUE, was awarded to her husband. An interesting item which was included in the list of evaluated community property was $800 worth of masonry. The KEESEE'S were also large landowners, holding land in other counties, as well as 2,222 acres of land in the Samuel Woodward league of Washington County.
WILIAM KEESEE was, according to DR. JOHN LOCKHART, a physician and resident of Chappell Hill, "one of the old TEXANS.....a man of strong prejudices; when he loved he loved, as the saying goes, and when he disliked an object--whether man or best, [it] was sure to know it." Dr. LOCKHART further characterized the man whom resident of Chappel HIll called "UNCLE BILLY" as "a strong Methodist, and [one who] attended church regularly every Sabbath, both morning and night. He would pray with as much unction for the conversion of the heathen, and was as liberal in his donations for that purpose as any of the brethern [sic].). WILLIAM KEESEE'S granddaughter recalls that "the first Methodist conference was held in Grandfather's house upstairs."
The complete article may be found in the book titled "Historic Homes of Washington County, 1821-1860" by Betty Plummer. Book may be purchased from Washington County Genealogical Society.