Following the Texas Revolution in 1836, the Constitution of the new Republic of Texas guaranteed every person the right “to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience.” As a result of this broad declaration of religious liberty,…

Rufus William Bailey, a minister and educator from New England, played a critical role in preserving the first college established in Huntsville and also was responsible for building the house where Sam Houston died. Bailey was born in North…

In 1855, Dr. Rufus W. Bailey, a Dartmouth educated minister and attorney, moved to Huntsville, Texas, to serve as a language professor at Austin College. After acquiring an eight acre tract of land in Huntsville, he commissioned a large home to be…

In 1983, construction completed on a new 14,000 square foot chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS)--it cost over $1,000,000 to build and boasted a membership of over 300. It stands in stark contrast to the early days of the…

A casual observer today might never know that a now-empty field near the Huntsville ("Walls") Unit once hosted "The Wildest Show Behind Bars"--the Texas Prison Rodeo. The rodeo was launched in 1931 during the Great Depression, and was originally held…

Hillary Mercer Crabb (1804-1876) served as one of the first judges in Walker County. He was born in Columbia County, Georgia. At 18, he was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Georgia militia, and in 1830 he moved his family to Mexico, where…

Best known as the author of the first "History of Texas," Henderson Yoakum was an accomplished soldier, attorney, and politician. Born in 1810 in Claiborne County, Tennessee, Yoakum graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He resigned…

Gibbs Brothers and Company is reputedly the oldest continuously operating family business in Texas that still resides on its original site. The business was established by Thomas Gibbs and Gardner Coffin in 1841 on the Huntsville town square. The…

On September 16, 1844, the First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Texas was organized in the Brick Academy building by Rev. Z.N. Morrell, Thomas Horsely, and Rev. Benjamin Fry. In 1851, the church's early congregation met at the Dean School House, while…

Following the Civil War, African Americans in Huntsville established their own "Union Church" for worship services and community events. Local black leaders Joshua Houston Sr., William Baines, and Strother Green purchased a desirable downtown site…

Folklorist John Avery Lomax toured prisons in the South to record the voices and music of those who were incarcerated there, particularly African American inmates or as his records indicate, "Negro convicts." Lomax and his son Alan, a student at the…

In 1843, a local merchant and postmaster, Alexander McDonald, constructed Huntsville’s first brick building, which had a "simple rectangle[r] shape with three dormer windows at the attic level." Located at what is now the southeast corner of…

During the summer months of 2001, representatives from Huntsville’s Main Street Program worked with faculty members and students from Sam Houston State University to move the historic Roberts-Farris cabin from its location in West Sandy to a…

Huntsville's First United Methodist Church, located at 1016 Sam Houston Avenue, has served as a key institution in Walker County for over 150 years. Throughout its long history, First United Methodist has provided its parishioners with spiritual…