Earle’s Chapel Historical Marker

Settlement of the Earle’s Chapel community began several years before the organization of Cherokee County. W. J. Ragsdale (1811-1884), a veteran of the Texas War for Independence, and his wife Patsy McAdams (1816-1898) had settled on Prairie Branch (Mill Creek) in 1838. Elijah Earle (1804-1880), his wife Nancy Blanchett (1811-1852) and their children migrated here from Alabama in early 1846. They cleared a farm and Elijah built a mill on Prairie Branch. As the community grew, Elijah Earle and his second wife, Mary Elizabeth Jarratt Tatum (1824-1904), saw the need for a school and church. They donated four acres of land, and in 1859 a log building was erected at this site. It burned in 1875 and was immediately rebuilt. That same year, the Earle’s Chapel Society, with twenty-five charter members, was officially organized by the Rev. E. P. Rogers of the East Texas Conference of the Methodist Church. A new church building was constructed in 1889 by church members T. J. Skeleton and Robert Tatum. Although damaged in a 1987 tornado, the building was restored, and after more than a century of service continues to serve the community, including descendants of pioneer families.