church congregation only
History in a Pecan Shell
The "community" dates from the 1850s and the Handbook of Texas
states that the first school was taught (by fifteen-year-old Emily
Smith) in 1857.
Little Hope never had a post office and the only population figures
date to the late thirties when the population was a mere 10 persons.
The name, according to legend, comes from the belief that the Missionary
Baptist Church organized here in 1881 had "little hope" of lasting
The history of the community is in fact, the history of the church.
The first meeting was near "The Murphy graveyard." The church later
shared a two-story building with a Woodmen of the World lodge
which disbanded in the early 1920s.
Little Hope was included in the Common Ridge school district,
Throughout the 1960s, many houses in the area were abandoned, while
the congregation of the church increased to over 100. The church inherited
the bell from the Common Ridge school, erecting a belfry to hold it.
The church was still active when it received a historical marker in
|Little Hope Baptist
Photo courtesy Dustin Martin, October 2016
| Historical marker:
Missionary Baptist Church
Led by Elder Jacob
Ziegler and Deacon P. M. Gunstream, the five charter members of this
congregation held their organizational meeting in 1881 under a nearby
arbor. Legend holds that the church was given its name because there
was little hope the church would survive more than a year. In spite
of the skepticism, the fellowship began to grow steadily. Early members
were received into the congregation following baptisms held in J.
A. Stinson's mill pond. A portion of the land on which the church
is located was donated in 1881 by J. D. Cox. Near the end of the nineteenth
century, Little Hope Missionary Baptist Church purchased three additional
acres. In later years other small tracts of land, including the site
of an old schoolyard, were added to the church property.
For more than one hundred years Little Hope Missionary Baptist Church
has provided service and leadership to this area of Wood
County. Soon after its own organization, the congregation helped
establish the nearby East Point Missionary Baptist congregation. The
growth of Little Hope Missionary Baptist Church reflects the ideals
and religious dedication of its founders, while the historic congregation
is a reminder of the area's rich heritage.
|A sign on a tree
next to the church
Photo courtesy Nick Samano, October 2016
Hope, Texas Forum
The "New Murphy" cemetery
Just a comment about your article on the Church and the Murphy Graveyard
there in Little Hope, Texas. The cemetery mentioned was actually
the "New Murphy" cemetery. This land was donated to the church for
a location to build the new community church, and cemetery. This
land was given by my G-Grandfather, William Patrick Murphy. The
"Old Murphy" cemetery was on land near the dam site of the old Stinson
Pond that was sold off to new comers to the area such as the Blundell's,
Daniels, Robbins and the Burnett's. The "Old Murphy" cemetery was
never used again for public use and was lost forever with the building
of the Quitman-Gilmer highway CR-154 in the early 1940's. I believe
that the plots were graded away in the area on the north side of
CR-154, just east of the dam for the state easement rights. I personally
know of about 6-8 Murphy family members that were buried there.
It is also thought to have other members of families living in the
area such as the Daniel family, one of the other early pioneers
to this area. The first of family to be buried in the Old Murphy
Cemetery was Mary Emily Murphy Bagby in 1876 and the last was William
Patrick's Mother, Charlotte nee Brown in December of 1913. She was
buried beside her husband, William Murphy, who was buried abt. August
of 1880. William, Charlotte and their first 3 children, James L.,
Mary Emily, and Nancy Elizabeth came to Wood Co. Texas from Fayette
Co. Tenn. in the early spring of 1851. William grew the usual crops
of the area, corn and peaches, but also went on to build one of
the first syrup mills in the area near the banks of Big Sandy. The
Murphy land has remained in the family for many generations from
1851 until 2005 when the last of the Wood Co. family succumbed.
- B. Murphy, March 16, 2008
More Texas Cemeteries
in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas,
asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic
photos, please contact