James L. Hailey

MARTHA'S CHAPEL, TEXAS. Martha's Chapel, a church community also known as Johnson's Chapel, Trinity Church, and Robinson's Settlement, was seven miles southwest of Huntsville in south central Walker County. The site is on an unimproved road midway between Farm roads 1374 and 1791. The Methodist church, probably the first church in the county, was initially built in the 1830s on land provided by William Robinson and his wife Elizabeth. It became a part of the neighborhood locally known as Robinson's Settlement.

The church shared its building with other denominations. In 1843 the fourth Texas Methodist Conference held its annual meeting there. Sometime after the conference the local congregation adopted the name Trinity Church. In 1855 John C. Black added twenty acres to the original Robinson grant, and a new building was erected near the old church. The original log structure was then moved and turned into a barn. The designation Martha's Chapel was possibly derived from the name of the first person interred in the new church's cemetery, Martha Palmer, wife of church trustee Anthony C. Palmer. During the Civil War attendance at Trinity Church declined, and Rev. James G. Johnson, only recently returned to Martha's Chapel in 1863, constructed a smaller building that was known for a while as Johnson's Chapel.

The surrounding rural neighborhood also maintained a school, though the bell rang only sporadically in the early years. In 1896 the Martha's Chapel school employed two teachers, Miss Ona Randolph and Miss Mary Sterne. The schoolhouse remained as late as 1936 but was closed soon thereafter. In 1990 only the cemetery remained at the site.

D'Anne McAdams Crews, ed., Huntsville and Walker County, Texas: A Bicentennial History (Huntsville, Texas: Sam Houston State University, 1976). 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). Walker County Genealogical Society and Walker County Historical Commission, Walker County (Dallas, 1986).

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

Handbook of Texas Online, James L. Hailey, "MARTHA'S CHAPEL, TX," accessed April 25, 2019,

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