New Hope Baptist Church and St. Elmo Cemetery

Streetman, Freestone Co. TX

rom Streetman, take FM 416 about 11 mi. northeast

Historical Marker

his locality was settled about 1849 by pioneers from Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Cotton and corn plantations thrived. A school was opened in the 1850s, but closed during the Civil War (1861-65). A site on the centrally-situated Manning land grant became a public burial ground. Earliest documented grave is that of J. W. Darden, who died in 1869. The Little Hope Baptist Church was organized in the community in Aug. 1872, by a Freestone County missionary, the Rev. J. M. Gambrell, who served as the first pastor, with R. B. Anderson as church clerk. In 1875 a schoolhouse was built near the burial ground on the Manning grant. The school was called "St. Elmo", probably for a popular 19th century novel. The Baptist held services in the schoolhouse until 1886; then they adopted "New Hope" as the church name, bought a 6-acre tract that included the cemetery and school grounds, and built a church. Present sanctuary, which replaced that original building, was remodeled in 1954. St. Elmo Cemetery Association administers the affairs of the cemetery, which now (1974) contains about 850 graves. -1974-