Ruins of old plantation house near Marshall, Texas.


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Historical Markers


Marker Text:

Bethesda Baptist Church - Marshall

In 1867 the Rev. William Massey organized the "Colored Baptist Church" in his home. Soon the name "Bethesda" was chosen for the biblical pool where the sick and troubled went for healing. Members of this congregation included prominent business, educational, and political leaders. They helped organize Bishop College in 1881. The first frame church house was razed in 1932 and a brick building was erected under the Rev. W. H. Dudley. After a fire destroyed the structure in 1953, this building was constructed during the pastorate of the Rev. James R. C. Pinn.

Central School - Marshall

Early schools for Marshall's African Americans consisted of loosely organized classes held in homes, churches, and lodge halls. In 1894 Professor H. b. Pemberton, Sr., convinced city officials of the need for a school building and a fixed curriculum for African Americans. Pemberton arranged a loan, which the african American community repaid, to establish Marshall's first public school, "Central School," at this site in 1894. Central expanded in 1906 to include a high school. Central High School moved in 1925 and the school here was renamed "Hillside." Hillside School closed in 1941.

Farmer, James Leonard, Sr. - Marshall

(June 12, 1886 - May 14, 1961) James Leonard Farmer, Sr., was the son of Carolina and Lorena Wilson Farmer. James Farmer studied at Cookman Institute in Florida before attending Boston University, where he received a bachelors degree in 1913, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree in 1916, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1918. He also attended graduate school at Harvard University in 1917. An elder in the Methodist Episcopal Church, Farmer served as pastor of churches in Marshall, Texarkana, and Galveston. He also taught philosophy and religion here at Wiley College, at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, at Samuel Huston (now Huston-Tillotson) College in Austin, at Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, at Gulfside Ministerial Training School in Waveland, Mississippi, and at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C. A popular speaker, Farmer also was the author of several books, as well as biblical commentary and articles for secular magazines. Farmer married Pearl Houston; they were the parents of three children. Their son, James Leonard Farmer, Jr., became a prominent civil rights leader in the 1960s and founder of the Congress of Racial Equality. Farmer, Sr., retired in 1956, died in 1961, and was buried in Washington, D.C. (1997)

Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church - Marshall

After the Civil War many African Americans in Texas struggled to gather the resources necessary to establish churches in their communities. In 1874 a group of African American residents of this section of Marshall (then known as Hubbard's Hill), led by the Rev. William Davis, overcame a lack of resources and organized Jerusalem Baptist Church. Prince Monroe and Jacob Martin were selected as church trustees. During the pastorage of the Rev. Mr. davis (1874-1888) the congregation constructed its first church building at a nearby site and organized a Sunday School. About 1890 a Baptist Training Union was established. The sanctuary was expanded to include a pastor's study, choir room, and a bell tower in the early 1920s. A parsonage was added in 1930. The congregation built a new sanctuary at this site in 1948. The congregation initiated several youth programs in the early 1950s including a kindergarten, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and a youth center. During this time the church expanded its women's missionary activities. The church completed renovations to its facilities in 1993. Jerusalem Baptist Church plays an important role in community affairs and continues to provide spiritual guidance for the community

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church - Hallsville

Within a few months of the 1865 notification of the Emancipation Proclamation, former slave families began to settle in the area later known as the Pleasant Hill community. Led by Brother Ned Jacobs, several community members held prayer meetings in private homes. In 1871 the Pleasant Hill baptist Church was established under a brush arbor with the Rev. George Pritchett as pastor. In the absence of other public gathering places, the church became a focal point for community pursuits such as reading and writing lessons and economic and political meetings, as well as the church's own gatherings. (1997)

Powder Mill Cemetery - Marshall

Located on part of a site once occupied by a Confederate gun powder factory, this cemetery originated with the burial of slaves on the Powder Mill acreage. After the factory was destroyed in 1865 with the collapse of the Confederacy, the acreage fell into private ownership. One of the landowners, mortician M. M. Rains, began recording the burial here in 1880; however, the earliest known marked grave, that of Millie Abner, is dated 1878. Her husband, David Abner, a former Harrison County Treasurer and member of the 14th Texas Legislature, is also buried here. Old Powder Mill Cemetery is important to the history of Harrison County as the burial ground of many of the leaders of Marshall's black community who played important roles in local religious, social, business, and political affairs. among those interred here are educators H. b. Pemberton, J. r. E. Lee, and Frederick William Gross; war veterans; businessmen and women; and professionals. Also located in Old Powder Mill Cemetery are the graves of many former members and founders of the colored (now Bethesda Baptist Church, including William Massey, a Confederate soldier who served as first pastor. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836-1986

Wiley College - Marshall

Established March 17, 1873; chartered 1882) Founded by Freedmen's Aid Society of the Methodist Church (North) as a co-educational institution dedicated to the education of black men and women freed by the Civil war. Named for Bishop Isaac W. Wiley (1825-84), black religious leader. Original campus was 2 miles south, relocated here in 1878. In early years offered courses only in academic preparation and vocational fields; first college-level course offered, 1885; first graduate, Henry b. Pemberton, 1888. In 1893 Wiley College received its first black president, the Rev. Isaiah Scott, former slave preacher. During the first half of the 20th century, under the administration of Dr. Matthew W. Dogan, the school experienced an era of growth and maturity; rated "A" by the Association of Negro Colleges in 1924. In his 46 years as president, dr. dogan initiated a combined technical and academic program, offering the students scholastic experience and practical training. Known as the "Wiley method," it was widely copied among black colleges. Wiley College Presidents: F. C. Moore (1873-76); W. J. Davis (1876-85); N. D. Clifford (1885-87); George Whitaker (1887-91); P. a. Pool (1891-93); Isaiah Scott (1893-96); M. w. Dogan (1896-1942); E. C. McLeod (1942-47); J. S. ...


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