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History of Cedar Branch Missionary Baptist Church

I would like for each of you to go with me as I unveil the history of our church by turning back the pages of time to the year of 1862.  We shall interview our church from its beginning up to the present date, observing the stages of its progress.   


In the year of 1862 there were a few true faithful believers of Christ, who saw the need of having a place or building where all believers of Christ could come together to worship Christ.  In order that other men could share their good works and come to Christ, these faithful believers erected a Brush Arbor about a mile west of here near a little branch.  Along this branch were many cedar trees.  


There was no shepherd nor pastor, but there were some among the group who were far sighted enough to know that in order for the church to survive during the rainy and winter seasons a better building was needed.

In the year of 1864 the first little church was built by the following people: Charles Leonard, Alonza Campbell, Henry Pouncy, Harry Rufflin, Levy Leonard, Levin Leonard, Monna Price, Comfort Campbell and Addie Pouncy.  This little group put two object together, cedar trees and branches and named their little church CEDAR BRANCH.

They did not know anything about Sunday school literature; however, they knew some teaching was needed in order that they may know how to read God’s word.  For Sunday school literature they used a speller book, which was a step toward preparation of an unknown real teaching of Christ.


The above teaching continued until Professor Franklin Carr, a teacher of the public school was employed in this community. He ordered literature for this faithful group.


In 1895, the second little church was built by a white carpenter named Jim Moore.  Another white gentleman, Smithy Woodards advanced the money for the construction of the building.  He was to be paid back at a later date.  The contributors pledged to pay $20.00 each to pay for the building.  Contributors were: Joe Bell, Tom Leonard, Jim Burns, Levy Leonard, Doc Campbell, Charles Leonard, Alf McLean,  and Earnest Burns, who died before he had a chance to pay his pledge; however, Snap Warfield paid it for him. The pastor at this time was the late Rev. E. L. Brown.


The third or present house was erected in 1924 with the late Rev. R. H. Harvey as pastor.  Deacons at this period were: Brothers Charles Leonard, Alf McLean, Josh McDaniel, B. W. Burns and French Harper.  The church began without auxiliaries, however; all auxiliaries were added later.


Other deacons were John McLean, Robert Leonard, James McCoy, Odie Gilford, Joe Mitchell, Osborn McGill, John Campbell, Edgar Pouncy, Jim Tryon, Alton Harvey, and Jim Burns.  THE PRESENT DEACONS ARE: Herman Tryon, Hubert Burns, George Pierson and Roy Harvey.  Our senior deacon, Deacon Larry Leonard passed away November 28, 2009.


Various Shepherds were: Rev. Charles Leonard, Rev. George Mann, Rev. Jim Brown, Rev. L. J. Brown, Rev. E. L. Brown, Rev. H. W. Webb, Rev. L. S. Dirtin, Rev. Humphrey, Rev. R. S. Cole, Rev. I. W. Waters, Rev. L. B. Lakie, Rev. J. H. Holmes,  Rev. Evans,Rev. Perrie, Rev. R. S. Sherman, Rev. Gray, Rev. R. H. Harvey,  Rev. J. H. Simpson, Rev. J. C. Nichols,   Rev. O. J. Groves,   Rev. J. H. Wilson,   Rev. T. W. Berry, Rev. E. C. Lyons, Rev. J. Rodgers, Rev. C. C. Taylor, Rev. Thomas,  Rev. Lane,  Rev. J. Rodgers,  Rev. J. E. Johnson,  and Rev. F. M. Dews and Pastor Frankie L. Jackson.  THE PRESENT PASTOR IS Rev. Clyde Mathews, Jr. 

Submitted by: Larry Leonard, President

Updated by Sis. Charlie Mae Burns, September 5, 2021

Our church history continues:  August 31, 1994, under the leadership of Pastor F. M. Dews, the deacons purchased a small building in Latexo for $2000, which was used as our first indoor kitchen/cafeteria.  The building was moved to the church grounds by Floyd Salmon of Grapeland, TX for $875.  The deacons were Jim H. Burns, Larry Leonard, Hubert E. Burns and Herman Tryon.


Also, during the tenure of Pastor F.M. Dews, the Church Cornerstone was erected June 30, 1996.  It is located at the northeast corner of the church building.  The foundation for the cornerstone was built by Rev. Jesse Clark from Crockett, TX.  It was dedicated by Dewitt Lodge #29 out of Tyler, TX. The deacons at this time were Jim H. Burns, Larry Leonard, Hubert E. Burns, and Herman Tryon.


In 2003, under the leadership of  Pastor Frankie L. Jackson, and deacons, Larry Leonard, George Pierson, Hubert E. Burns, and Herman Tryon, a computer was donated to the church by Gregory Burns.  This allowed the church to have access to the internet.  Also, in 2008, Gregory Burns setup a world wide website for the church. Sis. Charlie Mae Burns keeps the website updated.


A new Fellowship Hall was built and completed in April 2005 by Billy Sherman; a contractor from Crockett, TX.

In April 2006 a generous monetary donation was donated to our church from the XASA Limited Partnership, Austin, Texas.


January 28, 2008, ceiling fans was donated to the church by our past First Lady, Sis. Bonita Jackson. 


A supply building was purchased May 6, 2009 from Crockett Sales and Rentals Company, Crockett, TX.  Central heat and air conditioning (HVAC) was purchased in July 2009 from Platt Heating and Air, Grapeland, TX.


A new microphone system was installed in the church and Fellowship Hall August 2010 by The Music Business Company, Palestine, TX.


June 11, 2011, the Feed the Children/Adrian Peterson Foundation and the members of Cedar Branch Baptist Church distributed boxes of food and home necessities to needed families and individuals in the Grapeland area. These families were from neighboring communities and nearby towns.  The First Methodist Church in Grapeland, Texas was used as the distribution center.

June 2012, Adrian  Peterson donated a generous monetary donation to our church.  

The dedication for Cedar Branch Missionary Baptist Church Fellowship Hall was January 11, 2015.  The Pastor was Pastor Frankie Lee Jackson.  The deacons were Deacon Roy Harvey, Deacon George Pierson, Deacon Herman Tryon and Deacon Hubert Burns.

 March and May 2017, Adrian Peterson donated another generous monetary donations to our church.

Submitted by:  Hubert E. Burns, Secretary/Clerk

Pastor Frankie Lee Jackson passed away on December 23, 2017 in Tarrant County, Texas.  He served as the pastor of Cedar Branch Missionary Baptist Church for fifteen (15) years.

January 28, 2018 through  November 25, 2018,  Pastor Michael Thompson of St. James Missionary Baptist Church served as the interim pastor at Cedar Branch Missionary Baptist Church for 11 months.

December 4, 2018, Pastor Clyde Mathews, Jr. was nominated to be the new pastor of Cedar Branch Missionary Baptist Church, Grapeland, Texas.

Submitted by:  Deacon Hubert E. Burns

Wendell Von Wilmore was ordained as a deacon at Cedar Branch Missionary Baptist Church, Sunday, January 24, 2021.

Submitted by:  Sis. Charlie Mae Burns, September 5, 2021





To view our Historical Marker click here.

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