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Watts Chapel Methodist Church
and Cemetery

Johnson County, North Central Texas


by Sam Fenstermacher


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Watts Chapel Methodist Church, Texas


The Watts Chapel
Methodist Church


Photo Courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, March 2004
Directions:

From Cleburne take FM 4 towards Grandview for about 5 miles. There's a Texas Historical Commission marker on the main road and after that the church and cemetery are on the left side of the road.


The Watts Chapel Methodist Church

This isn't a historical church preserved for future generations to see and appreciate. The Watts Chapel Methodist Church is still very much a part of the local community, and it's a very busy place. During a recent visit to a Sunday service I had to sit in a pew way in the back because the entire church was full
Church historical marker The church and marker

Photo Courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, March 2004
Historical Marker:

Watts Chapel Methodist Church and Cemetery

The rural Watts Chapel community is named for the family of Nathaniel Franklin Watts (1851-1919), who settled in this area of Johnson County in 1872. Watts married Rachel Ann Bennett in 1875, and they bought a small farm near this site. They acquired additional acreage over the years and operated a cotton gin for farmers in the region. Mr. Watts later served as a Johnson County commissioner. Nathaniel and Rachel Watts were the parents of twelve children, five of whom died at an early age.

The Watts Chapel Cemetery began as a family burial ground in 1879, when their infant daughter, Sallie, died and was buried on the family farm. Over the years other family members also were interred here, as were friends and neighbors in the community. In 1892 the Watts family deeded three acres of land to the Methodist church. The Rev. B. F. Badget served as first pastor of the new congregation, which was named Watts Chapel in honor of its benefactors.

The congregation continues to be an active part of the community and hosts an annual homecoming celebration. Both the church and the cemetery reflect the pioneer heritage of rural Johnson County.



The Watts Chapel Cemetery

Watts Chapel Cemetery, Texas The four little grave markers in foreground are all Watts family children who died early in life with the nearest stone being Sallie.

Photo Courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, March 2004
Sallie Watts tombstone The marker stone for Sallie Watts, the first of the five Watts family infants to die and the oldest grave in the cemetery.

Photo Courtesy Sam Fenstermacher, March 2004

Sam Fenstermacher
May 22, 2004

Anyone wishing to share stories or historic photos of Watts Chapel and Cemetery, please contact us.


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