About the middle of the Nineteenth Century, settlers from the Eastern States began homesteading the land in the community about halfway between Honey Grove and what was then known as McCowanville (now Ladonia). This wooded area provided not only materials to build their homes but fertile land to raise food for their families.
These pioneers were not only interested in a livelihood but were interested in worshiping God, as was evidenced when a group of them gathered at the home of E. P. Warren in 1859 to organize what is now known as McCraw’s Chapel Methodist Church. For many years the church met in this home.
On February 23, 1877, two acres of land was donated by W. B. McCaw, F. N. Yeager, J. L. Clower and S. C. A. McClanahan to the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Those men were M. L. Wolfe, J. W. W. Thurmond, Wm. H. Cobb, W. B. Allen and David Wagner, trustees of the Dodd City Circuit, North Texas Conference.
On January 18, 1887, for the sum of $10.00, J. L. Clowers and wife sold to the Methodist Church a plot of land south of the church. This was about one acre of land and was a part of a track deeded to them by G. T. Tyler, guardian of the heirs of Wm. B. McCraw.
On April 25, 1887, for the sum of $60.00, G. L. Clowers and wife, Lenona, sold to the Methodist Church, South, 3.14 acres of land adjoining and west of the church. This land was paid for and deeded to the church by W. D. Yeager, C. M. Yeager, S. M. Blair and others. Trustees for the church at that time were J. S. Burnett, J. H. Kincaid, W. H. Cobb, W. B. Allen, J. W. W. Thurmond, M. L. Wolfe and W. N. Wright, trustees for the Dodd City Circuit, Bonham, North Texas Conference.
For many years a ten-day camp meeting was held beginning on Friday night before the second Sunday in August. At that time, many families brought their children, their chickens, their cows and necessary supplies to camp for the duration of the meeting.
In the latter part of the Nineteenth Century, Mr. John M. Raiden (father of Mrs. J. P. Dawson and a pioneer settler of the community) taught school in the church. Among his students were Mary and Martha Cox, whose father owned and operated a general store just north of the church.
Prior to 1922, the McCraw’s Chapel Church was in the White Rock Circuit.
In 1918, the church building was destroyed by a tornado. Before the building could be rebuilt, a young preacher, Ollie Apples, was sent by the White Rock Circuit. Upon his arrival in the community, he was directed to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Reece, where the Dawson family had gathered for a Sunday dinner. The men of the group went with the preacher to the Bralley Pool School House where he delivered his first sermon. Mr. J. P. Dawson was among those present at that service. That day plans were made to hold their monthly meetings in the Nubbin Ridge School House (later known as McCraw’s Chapel School). The school was used as a meeting house until the early part of 1919 when the new church at its present site was completed. Rev. Apples served as the minister until 1922 when the church went into the Windom Circuit where it remained until 1962 when it became a member of the Honey Grove Circuit.
Since 1918, twenty-five ministers have served the church, namely: Ollie Apples, 1918-1922; C. P. Combs, 1923-1927; J. F. Blackburn, 1927-1930; E. Roy Fort( 1931; Charles Hill. 1932; T. Lee Miller, 1933-1934; W. R. Rosser, 1935; T. Jensen, 1936-1938; C. N. Smith 1939; J. F. Lockerd, 1940; M. Stout, 1941; Luther A. H 1942-1943; H. A. Hanke, 1944; Charles A. McEwin, 1945-1946; H. Roy Barker, 1946-1947; T. Murray, 1948; R. S. Kerr 1949-1953; Paul Schlapbock, 1954-1955; Larry Eaton, 1956; John Deer, 1957: Pat Hutson 1958; Milford Thompson, 1959-1960; Frank Jackson, 1961, Walter Sullen, 1962; Allie Devenport, 1963-1964; James Dean, 1965-1966.
The membership has decreased from 170 in 1933 to 138 in 1963. The average attendance ranged from 38 in 1941 to 14 in 1963.
The building valued at $2,500.00 in 1931 is now valued at $4.000.00.
In 1955, a group of interested people met and organized McCraw's Chapel Cemetery Association for the purpose of establishing a means of maintaining the cemetery, The following officers were elected: President - William Rogers; Secretary-Treasurer - Pauline Rogers, Program Chairman - Jewel Parsons, Directors — Albert Carter; A. P. Williams and Earl Bankston. After Mr. Williams moved away Walbert Houston was elected as a director.
On May 8, 1955, the first home-coming was held at the church. Lunch was spread at the noon hour and a business session was conducted i the afternoon. Sufficient money was collected to clean the cemetery, buy a mower and to keep the grass owed for a year.
Home-coming is an annual event held on the first Sunday in May, at which time a business meeting is condcuted and donations are received for the maintenance of the cemetery.
The first person buried in the cemetery was Mr. Wm. B. McCraw, who died April 21, 1878, at the age of 36.
The following is from the Honey Grove Signal-Citizen
August 5, 1966
By Jewel Parsons
[More information on the McCraw's Chapel Methodist Church, including photographs of original records, are HERE.]