Jeanette H. Flachmeier

STEVENSON, JAMES PORTER (1808–1885). James Porter Stevenson, Methodist minister, son of William Stevenson, was born in Smith County, Tennessee, in 1808. He lived with his family in Louisiana before he attended August College, Kentucky, during the presidency of Martin Ruter. In 1830 or 1831 Stevenson was licensed a Methodist minister in Louisiana under his father as presiding elder. He was stationed at Natchitoches in 1833, when he was invited to come to Texas to preach, despite the Mexican laws prohibiting Protestant services. He held unmolested camp meetings in present Sabine and Milam counties. Refusing to organize a church in violation of the law, he did organize a religious society, which was led by Samuel McMahan and became the nucleus of McMahan's Chapel, which was given permanent church organization by Henry Stephenson. James P. Stevenson continued his missionary activities from Monroe, Louisiana, in 1834 and moved to East Texas in 1835. After the Texas Revolution he became a local preacher and farmer. He and his wife Tabitha had twelve children, eight of whom lived to adulthood. In later years he moved to Stephens County and died near Breckenridge in 1885.

George L. Crocket, Two Centuries in East Texas (Dallas: Southwest, 1932; facsimile reprod. 1962). Macum Phelan, History of Early Methodism in Texas, 1817–1866 (Nashville: Cokesbury, 1924); A History of the Expansion of Methodism in Texas, 1867–1902 (Dallas: Mathis, Van Nort, 1937). Walter N. Vernon, "McMahan's Chapel: Landmark in Texas," Methodist History 9 (October 1970). Walter N. Vernon et al., The Methodist Excitement in Texas (Dallas: Texas United Methodist Historical Society, 1984).

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:

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, Jeanette H. Flachmeier, "STEVENSON, JAMES PORTER," accessed July 18, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox