While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Michael M. Miller

REEDY, HOUSTON (ca. 1832–1869). Houston Reedy served as the second pastor of Texas’s first organized African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). Initially built on land set aside for slave services by local whites in 1848, the church at Twentieth and Broadway in Galveston was known as the Negro Methodist Episcopal Church South until it was reorganized by the AME in 1866.

Reedy was most likely born into slavery in DeKalb County, Tennessee, about 1832. He was the son of Louisa White. He became the pastor at the Galveston church in 1867 and served until 1868, when he moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Reedy registered with the Freedman’s Bank in December 1867 and listed Galveston as his residence and provided his own signature. His occupation was listed as minister/missionary, and the registration identified his wife, Harriet Wilhelmina Reedy, and three children—Harriet Louisa, Cassana, and A. J. During his tenure in Galveston, Reedy hosted the first two annual conferences of the AME Church. These conferences represented the first meetings of black Methodists that were conducted by African Americans themselves.

Sometime after Reedy left the church, it was renamed Reedy Chapel to commemorate his service to the congregation. The original building burned in 1885 but was rebuilt and survived the Galveston hurricane of 1900. In 2013 the church still stood at its original location, buffeted and scarred, preserved by care and several remodeling projects.

Reedy died of consumption in Baton Rouge in October 1869. According to census records, his wife was teaching school in Baton Rouge in 1870 and was living with two young children and another young teacher. The youngest child, Cordelia, was listed as a one year-old and born in Louisiana. Her sister Rosanna, age three, and born in Texas, was probably the Cassana listed in the Freedman’s Bank record. No other information explains what happened to A. J. or Harriet Louisa. Reverend Reedy’s twenty-six-year-old, New York-born wife, Harriet, was not left destitute by her husband’s death. In Baton Rouge, she owned the best house in her immediate neighborhood and claimed a personal estate of $100. Reedy’s mother, Louisa, still lived in Warren County, Tennessee, and maintained a household that included two teenage sons, one adult daughter, and another woman and child, perhaps another daughter and a grandchild.

No other information about Reedy’s life is currently known, but the parishioners at Reedy’s Galveston AME church recognized his qualities and contributions when they named their church for him.


Historical Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission Library, Austin (Reedy Chapel). Reedy Chapel: The Mother Church of Texas (http://www.reedychapel.com/), accessed May 29, 2013.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Michael M. Miller, "REEDY, HOUSTON ," accessed July 08, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fre79.

Uploaded on June 4, 2013. Modified on June 17, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...