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Historical Sites

Shelbyville, Texas

Shelbyville, Shelby County, Texas

Our History

Anglo-Americans first came into the Shelbyville Area around 1823-24 when Stephen F. Austin brought settlers to Texas. The new Texans were from Tennessee and named the settlement Pulaski, then later it was renamed to Nashville. These brave adventurers were a vital part of Texas becoming an independent republic. In 1837, after independence from Mexico was gained, counties were set up. In honor of Isaac Shelby, a revolutionary war soldier, the county and town were named Shelby and Shelbyville, respectively.


Historical Markers

Elder Brittain & Rosanna Wright

North Carolina native William Brittain (1774-1850) became a preacher in his home state at the age of 25. In 1802 he married Rosanna (Wright) (1784-1856), the daughter of Revolutionary War veteran John Wright, III. Inspired by missionary possibilities in the frontier regions to the west, William and Rosanna left North Carolina in 1824. After living in Alabama and Arkansas, they migrated to the Republic of Texas in 1837 and constructed a log cabin at this site. One room of the structure served as a classroom and church sanctuary for the pioneer settlers of the Sabine River steamboat port of Hamilton, later known as East Hamilton.

A pioneer leader of the Baptist faith in East Texas, Elder Brittain was instrumental in the formation of several Shelby County congregations, including the Hamilton Church in 1846. Originally aligned with the Predestinarian movement of Daniel Parker, he later joined Missionary Baptists of the Sabine Association and served as moderator of the organization in 1847.

Located in Brittain Cemetery in East Hamilton. 7 miles East of Patroon on FM 2261, then left on County Road 126, then right on County Road 106.

Old Methodist/Episcopal Church - McClelland Community Church

The McClelland Community Church had its beginning in 1892 with a donation of land by William and Jennie McClelland. The original building was built by hand planed lumber and square nails and is still in use today. In later years a choir room and one Sunday school class was added. Families donated beautiful stained glass windows in memory of their loved ones. The windows are located throughout the church.

When the church was first built, it was shared by both Methodist and Baptist congregations and was in the Methodist Episcopal South Circuit with the Shelbyville Methodist Church. Brother Frank Johnson preached for forty years, Mr. B.L. Gann was Sunday School Superintendent for forty-two years and Mrs. Lima Runnells taught Sunday school for forty years. All still have relatives living in the McClelland Community. Over the 100 plus years there have been 26 pastors, 7 Sunday school Superintendents, 2 stewards, and a number of deacons and 2 deaconesses.

In 1982 the church became a community church for all denominations under the pastoral leadership of Pastor Chris Collins.

First County Seat of Shelby County

Shelbyville, once known as Nashville, was the first county seat of government for the District of Tenaha, or Shelby County. The first courthouse stood on this site. The settlement began before 1825. It became headquarters for the "Regulator-Moderator War." Troops were raised here to fight the Indians for the Texas Army, and Confederate forces were organized here.

Marker is located at the intersection of FM 417 and Hwy 87 in Shelbyville.

Moses Fisk Roberts

Moses Fisk Roberts was a highly regarded public servant and farmer of Shelby County. His ever-present pack of fox hounds earned him the nickname "Dog" Roberts. Born in Tennessee, he moved to Texas in 1836 and lost his right eye while serving as a soldier in the Texas Militia. He served in the Congress of the Republic (1839-42) and Texas State Legislature (1853-54, 1857-58). He was also Justice of the Peace and County Judge.

His first wife was Amanda Grant, and his second wife was Nancy Murray.

Marker is located in the Shelbyville Cemetery.

Sidney O. Pennington

Born in 1809 in Kentucky, Pennington came to Texas in 1834 and participated in the capture of San Antonio if 1835. In 1836 he fought at San Jacinto and signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. He died in Shelby County in 1838.

Marker is located in Shelbyville Cemetery.

First Methodist Church of Shelbyville

The First Methodist Church of Shelbyville with its New England style steeple claims that its organization as a congregation took place in the year 1825. Tradition holds that the first church service held by Brother James English, a local Methodist preacher who settled in Shelby County that same year.

The church building was destroyed by a storm but was rebuilt in 1897. The men of the church cut cypress trees in the Sabine River bottoms and hauled them to the present church yard in mule drawn wagons. The roof and steeple were braced with enough timber, it was said, to build a house. The floor was laid of hand hewn planks from ash, hickory, maple, oak, persimmon, sassafras, and walnut timbers. The finial on the steeple was made from the end of a large timber which extends downward into the steeple some eight to ten feet. The pews are hand made by architect, Mr. J.M. Pigg. The colorful Victorian glass windows are in vibrant shades of green and amber.

Entering the church there is a room dedicated to the history of the church. There are photographs of former pastors who served the church and the community, many interesting artifacts and objects of the church’s history.

Shelby County Regulator-Moderator War

In Shelby County, an unorganized feud known as the Regulator-Moderator War was initially started because a slave was purchased with a fraudulent land certificate.

Located 1/2 mile northwest of Shelbyville on Highway 87.

First Battle

The Regulators, whose leaders were Charles W. Jackson, Charles W. Moorman, and Wyatt Norman, claimed their purpose was to suppress crime. The Moderators were led by Edward Merchant and John M. Bradley.

Located 2 miles northwest of Shelbyville on Highway 87.

Last Battle

The last battle of the Regulator-Moderator War was held on August 14, 1844. There was heavy sacrifice of life and property before General James Smith and Texas troops restored order.

1 mile south of Shelbyville on Highway 87.

Roberts’ Hill

Roberts’ Hill is a home-site of Col. Oran Milo Roberts, “Old Alcalde.” He rose from district attorney to chief Justice Texas Supreme Court; President Texas Secession Convention; Col. Confederate Infantry Regiment; U.S. Senator; Governor of Texas; author, First President Texas Historical Association; law professor University of Texas.

Located 6 miles south on Hwy 147 from intersection of Hwy 87 and Hwy 147.

The Bickham House

The Bickham house is located where originally, the J.M. Crawford Home was built. Finished in 1850, the J.M Crawford Home was razed by fire in 1885. The Bickham House was built by Crawford's stepson, Frederick Lee Bickham (1866-1907), who was a prominent landowner and rancher from 1885 to 1888. He and his wife, Nevada Levonia Moon, brought up their children and Bickham's stepsisters and stepbrothers at their residence. Timber (cedar, cypress and heart pine) for the house was cut on the property.

In 1972, N.O. Thomas, Jr. bought, restored and renamed the house "Welcome Hall." In 1973, Welcome Hall was recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark.

Located 2 miles East on FM 2694 from Shelbyville, visible from roadway only.

Myrick's Ferry Log Home

Located 14 miles East of Shelbyville. Take FM 2694 then right on FM 3172, then left on Forest Road 100 to Stillwater Marina. Visible from roadway.