“Making our History Sacred & Keeping our History Sacred”

Texas’ First Methodist and Oldest Protestant Church

 In 1831, Colonel Samuel Doak McMahan moved with his family from Doak's Crossing in Tennessee and settled in Deep East Texas where he built a log home a short distance west of the sacred ground upon which McMahan Chapel is located. McMahan Chapel was formed as a Methodist class or society in Colonel McMahan’s home in September 1833. Historians record that in 1832, while traveling on horseback through the forests along Palo Gaucho Creek between San Augustine and his home, McMahan stopped to pray and was soundly converted. He immediately began to seek a Methodist preacher who would come and preach to him, his family, and neighbors.

The Reverend James P. Stevenson came in July 1833, and preached in Colonel McMahan's home. Several people were converted and Stevenson returned in September to preach again. The new Methodist group had continued to conduct classes for study and continued to worship regularly. Seeing their zeal, Rev. Stevenson organized them as a Methodist Society and appointed Col. McMahan to serve as their class leader. The society continued to meet in McMahan's home regularly until Texas gained her independence from Mexican rule in 1836. The Methodists at McMahan’s were then free to openly organize a Protestant Church.

The Historical Museum, located in our Event Center, walks you through the history of the Chapel, with photos, relics and a timeline.