Our History

Allen Chapel is named for its founder, Richard Allen, who was born a slave, February 14, 1760 in Philadelphia, PA.

 

The first part of this History is developed from oral traditions.  About 1873, religious services were held under a “Brush Arbor,” on the Cramer Estate in “Freedman Town.”  The Methodists and Baptists worshiped on alternate Sundays.  A member of Allen Chapel, Fannie Diggs’ maternal grandfather and uncle were Cramers.  Later the Methodists moved to a building in block 56, between Preston and East 20th Street.

 

The documentary history is from the Jake McIntosh and the Charlie Shelton families, safety deposit box, and offices of the Brazos County Clerk, and Tax Assessor.  Charlie Shelton joined Allen Chapel in 1880, and remained until his death, 1934.  Rev. J. R. Bryant was the Pastor.

 

On the 13th of June 1878, lots one (1) through four (4); block 54, in Bryan, were purchased from G. W. Green.  The lots are located on North Houston and East 22nd Street.  Each church was built on this site.

 

The first church was a small frame building.  The corner stone shows “African M.  E. Church, AD 1878.”  The parsonage was built beside the church.

 

Allen Chapel instilled Christian principles, church doctrines and church decorum, in its members.  The motto:  “Do Your Duty and Don’t Grumble.”

 

Some organizations were Sunday School, Steward and Stewardess Boards, Missionary and Allen Christian Endeavor (A.C.E) League.  Worship services inspired the small membership.        

 

In 1885, the City of Bryan purchased lots three (3), through ten (10), from the Church.  Lot five (5); block 56; became the site of the first school for Black children in Brazos County.  The school opened March 30, 1885.  The A.M.E. Trustees sold lots one (1) and two (2); to the city of Bryan, in 1886.

 

When the first school burned in 1914, school was held at Allen Chapel A.M.E., Shiloh Baptist, and Lee Chapel M. E. Churches until the school was rebuilt.

 

Prior to 1890, lot one (1) block 66, was willed to the A. M. E. Church by a former member, Charlotte Ballard.  This lot was sold to James Jefferson, January 1890.

 

Trustees:                     Jake McIntosh, James Hall, A. West, E. H. Knox, Arthur Lightfoot, S. W. Righton, H. Horton, and D. J. Lyons.

 

Pastors:                       Rev. S. J. Conner, George Anderson, a. Deal, J. H. Rhone, A. Stovall, S. Snowden, J. V. Goins, E. D. Dixon, J. R. Bryant, J. W. Hardie, L. A. Lynch, G. W. Hamilton, and H. McKinney.

 

            Presiding Elders:        Rev. Pipkins Trap, W. F. Warren, and Brisby.

           

Bishops:                      Bishop Moses Salter, C. S. Smith, Evans Tyrce,

J. H. Jones and Wm. D. Johnson.

 

When the first church was demolished in 1919, services were held on the first floor of the Masonic Hall, College Avenue and 18th Street.

 

The second church was completed in 1920.  This was a frame building with a sanctuary, pastor study and choir room on the first floor.  A balcony and two classrooms were upstairs.  The windows in the front of the church were stained glass.

 

            Contractors:    Fields & Lions

 

Bishops:                      Rt. Rev. Wm. D. Johnson – Tenth Episcopal District of                                the A. M. E. Church.

           

Pastor:                        Rev. A. J. Smith

            Trustees:                     L. A. Sandle, Joe Northington, J. B. Wilhite, L. A. Nash,                                                     Charlie Shelton, Will Moore, Robert Ellis Sr., Mack                                                  King and later Finis Williams.

 

The Corner Stone

 

An announcement reading:  “Something New Under the Sun, Fifth Sunday in February, and a Baptist Minister Preaching a Corner Stone Sermon for a Methodist Congregation.  The Corner Stone will be laid February 29, 1920, 3:00 p.m.  Sermon – Rev. D. H. Shivers, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, Bryan.  Procession from Shiloh to Allen Chapel.”  The Masonic Lodge laid the Stone.

 

Dedicatorial Service, May 26, 1920, 3:00 p.m.:  The Dedicatory Sermon by the Rt. Rev. Wm. D. Johnson; Bishop of the Tenth Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church.  He baptized six infants and small children.  This was an outstanding event to be remembered.  The building was fashioned by man but wholly devoted and dedicated to the LORD.    

 

In 1921, Evelyn Thompson, wife of Dr. A. E. Thompson, was elected pianist and chorister of the choir.  She was a graduate of Boston Conservatory of Music.  Several choir members had studied voice at Paul Quinn College and were gifted with good voices.  Allen Chapel Choir was the first to sing Anthems and present Cantatas in the Black community.  The worship services and revivals were foremost.  There was a social side also.  Each summer a Church Bazaar was held on the church lawn.  Education was stressed with emphasis on Paul Quinn College. 

 

In November 1921, Allen Chapel was host to the 55th Session of the Texas Annual Conference.  This conference had the same administrators as previously stated.

 

A new parsonage was built on lot two (2); block 56, in the early 30’s – Rev. O. H. Benns, Pastor.  During the years that followed many dynamic pastors served Allen chapel and conducted revivals that reached out to the community.

 

When services were discontinued at Sharon Chapel A.M.E. Church, Wheelock, Texas, July 7, 1947, the Hickman, Walker and Gooden families united with Allen Chapel.  Sharon Chapel was sold for $300.  Two hundred and seventy dollars ($270) were donated to Allen Chapel to purchase carpet runners and chairs.  Thirty dollars ($30) was donated to Bethel A. M. E., Hearne, Texas.  Rev. J. T. Baker was Pastor of Allen Chapel.

 

On March 26, 1953, a former member of Allen Chapel, Alma Deere Venteres, who lived in Dallas, Texas, willed Allen Chapel, $1,700 to purchase an organ.  Rev. I. C. Oliphant was Pastor of Allen Chapel.

 

The following administrators served Allen Chapel during this Era:

 

                 Bishops:                             Rt. Rev. Wm. D. Johnson, George B. Young, Joseph Gomez, W. Thomas Primmand and W. F. Ball.

    

     Presiding Elders:               Rev. B. T. Reese, P. C. Hunt, Gene Anderson, E. D. Cooper, J. M. Bennett, W. A. Carr, E. M. Bracy, L. J. Clement and H. L. Boyd.

    

     Pastors:                              Rev. A. J. Smith, F. d. McDonald, F. a. White, J. H. Hardeman, J. G. Gifford, S. H. Alexander, A. R. Nelson, T. L. Sanders, J. F. Baker, J. S. Curry, J. L. Singleton, I. C. Oliphant, A. I. Henley and S. L. Berry. 

 

Rev. S. L. Berry was assigned to Allen Chapel in 1957.  During a church conference it was decided that a new church was needed, and plans were made.  The members pledged and paid them until the indebtedness was liquidated.  Dinners were sold, a pageant “the Battle of Flowers,” the first in Texas, was presented April 24, 1959.  The building fund and membership increased at a rapid rate.

 

The second church was demolished September 24, 1960.  Sunday morning worship services were held at Jones Funeral Home, 508 East 19th Street without enumeration.   Gus Jones was the owner and manager. 

 

The new structure consisted of a sanctuary, fellowship hall, pastor’s study, choir and communion rooms, four classrooms and two restrooms.  An organ was purchased for the new church. 

 

The Corner Stone

 

Services were held at Shiloh Baptist Church, May 19, 1961, at 2:30 p.m., Rev. O. R. Short, Pastor, delivered the Corner Stone Sermon.  The processional was from Shiloh to Allen Chapel.

 

     Trustees:     Ples Turner, Joseph Banks, Fannie Diggs, Monroe Perry, Ross Sandle, Samuel Pollard, J. H. Jackson, Johnnie Spencer, J. A. Oliphant, Katie Eddington, H. R. Hickman and Arremus Adams.

    

     Trustees:     (Added to replace deceased ones) Maggie Sheppard, W. D. Dunn, Irene Lane, Tommy Ellis, Ruby Toliver, J. W. Bell, Linda Asberry, Mildred Thomas and Beverly Nutall.

 

Dedicatorial Services, April 9, 1961, 3:00 p.m.:   Processional – Bishop, Ministerial and Lay cortege.  The sermon was delivered by Bishop W. F. Ball, Tenth Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church.

 

“The dedication of Allen Chapel set apart for the worship of GOD and the service of man.”

 

Gifts for Allen Chapel

 

The Baptismal Font was given by Leila Latson in memory of her father, Rev. Alvin Latson, and a communion table runner, the pulpit and antependice and book marker in memory of her paternal grandmother, Ella Rivers.

 

J. W. Bell gave the communion table in memory of his mother, Johnnie Bell.

 

The illuminated cross was given in memory of Shelton Wallace, son of Lawrence and Bethenia Wallace, brother of Lawrence Wallace, Jr. and grandson of Elma Dorsey.

 

The East Side Missionary Group donated silver communion service-ware.

 

Alice Hank gifted the church with a pulpit bible in memory of her nephew, Finis Williams.

 

The West Side Missionary Group furnished the lounge.

 

The John A. McIntrye family, members of the all White Presbyterian Church attended Allen Chapel regularly, contributed liberally and helped to improve race relations.  On November 22, 1970, an article written by Madeline Forsman McIntrye, was published, in the Houston Post Magazine entitled, “Experience in Black and White,” a Tribute to Allen Chapel.

 

Allen Chapel’s Junior Church, Young People Department (Y.P.D), Usher boards, Young Adult Choir and the Missionary Choir, which changed its name to Gospel Choir were active.

 

Bishops:                      Rt. Rev. W. F. Ball, O. L. Shenman, John H. Adams, Henry M. Murph, Rembert Stokes, J. H. Mayo and Robert L. Pruitt.

 

Presiding Elders:        Rev. H. L. Boyd, T. L. Sanders, L. W. Jenkins, X. L. Williams, and O. L. Dawson.

 

During the 101st Texas Annual Conference, November 1967, Allen Chapel requested the return of Rev. S. L. Berry because he was ill.  He passed on February 26, 1968.  Rev. Roy L. Ellis, the Assistant Pastor served until the 102nd Session of the Texas Annual Conference.  The Presiding Elder also died before the conference.

 

Rev. Dubyuer Harris was appointed Pastor of Allen Chapel during this conference.  He worked hard to make the program succeed.

 

Head Stone Dedication in Memory of Rev. S. L. Berry, March 9, 1969, 2:30 p.m.:   Sermon by Rev. O. R. Short; Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, Bryan, Texas.  Lasting memories will always remain in the hearts of Allen Chapel for Rev. Berry.  Rev. Harris worked hard to make this dedication possible.

 

Under Rev. Harris’s successful administration, the indebtedness of Allen Chapel was liquidated, April 30, 1971, after the eleventh “Battle of Flowers.”  As soon as this goal was accomplished extensive repairs were made to the church.  Rev. Harris remained at Allen Chapel until the Texas Annual Conference in 1971.

 

Rev. E. D. Johnson succeeded Rev. Harris.  He was an excellent administrator.

 

Rev. W. D. Turner became Pastor in 1972.  Under his pastorate the parsonage was repaired.

 

The Centennial Anniversary

1873-1973

December 9, 1973, 2:30 p.m.

The Centennial Sermon – Rev. Roy L. Ellis, Pastor Bethel A.M.E. Church.

Hearne, Texas – This was indeed a beautiful service.

 

The 110th Session of Texas Annual Conference

September 21-24, 1976, Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, Bryan, Texas

Bishop John H. Adams – Tenth Episcopal District of the A.M.E. Church

Presiding Elder – Rev. X. L. Williams, of North Houston District

Host Pastor – Rev. W. D. Turner

 

After the 110th Session of the Texas Annual Conference the membership decreased due to the deaths of senior members; younger members attending colleges and universities in other cities and remaining there after completing secondary education.  Some of the former members married; or moved to urban areas of the state and nation.

 

Rev. S. L. Brazil was assigned to Allen Chapel, November 2, 1977.  He had glass doors placed in foyer of the church.

 

Allen Chapel Homecoming, July 23, 1984, 3:00 p.m.:  Sermon – Rev. James W. Ford, Jr., Pastor St. Paul A.M.E. Church, Houston, Texas.  Rev. Ford is one of the six ministers brought up in Allen Chapel.  The others were Rev. Charles W. Jackson; the late Dr. Joe W. Toliver; Dr. McCoy Raison, who was General Officer in the A.M.E. Church; Rev. Ralph Campbell and Rev. Leon DeWayne Tates.  At the time of the Homecoming celebration of 1997, Rev. Alvin Larks and family, former members of Allen Chapel, was the pastor in the A.M.E. Church in Brenham, Texas.

 

Rev. J. L. Woodfaulk was the next pastor to be assigned to Allen Chapel.  He served as Pastor until 1989.  He sponsored “Mrs. Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Day,” each year.

 

Rev. Claude Lewis, Jr., also came to Allen Chapel in 1989.  He organized the Hospitality Committee.

 

Rev. Willard L. Smith succeeded Rev. Lewis at Allen Chapel from 1990 to 1992.  During his tenure additional bibles were purchased and a barbecue pit and building were constructed for various church activities.

 

Rev. Roy L. Ellis returned to Allen Chapel in 1992.  He ministered for an additional year before his health began to fail.  He was very faithful in visiting the sick and shut-in.

 

Rev. C. L. Boyd followed Rev. Ellis in 1993 and remained until his retirement in 1995.  He brought Allen Chapel a wealth of experience and was instrumental in revising the finance reporting system.

 

In 1996, Rev. Barry H. Spencer succeeded Rev. Boyd.  Allen Chapel was the first church that Rev. Spencer was assigned.  His vision, enthusiasm, and ministry were exceptional.  Under his leadership, stained glass windows were installed, the committee was chaired by the late Sister Betty Caldwell.  Rev. Spencer was also instrumental in the replacement of a new front door and added décor to the  entrance to the vestibule. Brother Doctor Garland McIlveen donated landscape plants to the church lawn.   Rev. Spencer continued to revise the finance reporting system of the church; and demonstrated passion and support for the educational and spiritual growth of our youth.    

            

In October 1997, Rev. Robert Louis Jeffries succeeded Rev. Barry Spencer as pastor of Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church.  He was appointed to Allen Chapel following 18 years of ministry at Reedy Chapel A.M.E Church, Galveston, Texas.  He demonstrated leadership skills, years of experience and vision has proved a valuable resource to Allen Chapel A. M. E. and the Brazos Valley Community.  During Pastor Jeffries’ administration there was a “Shoes for the Needy” project that was successful during his initial year.  Under his leadership there has been a continuation of the beautification of the church grounds.  He was also instrumental in cleaning the lot across the street.  In 2001, the wooden ceiling tiles in the sanctuary were removed and replaced with off-white tiles that has greatly enhanced the lighting. 
 
History Compiled by the late Sister Irene E. Lane.

 

Comments