English, James (1788–1857)

By: Sarah Jane English

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Updated: September 10, 2020

James English, early settler and minister, son of James and Elizabeth (Denton) English, was born in North Carolina or Tennessee in 1788. He was one of the earliest circuit-riding Methodist ministers in Texas. He settled in the future Shelby County in 1825 and was assistant judge for the municipality of Shelby in 1836. He was also a farmer and owned a blacksmith shop at Shelbyville. He preached at the McMahon Church, a few miles east of San Augustine in 1834, when it was established. It is one of the oldest Protestant churches in Texas in continuous operation. English was a trustee of the church in Shelbyville in 1843. He received a land grant from the Mexican government on October 17, 1835, located in what is now Newton County. Stephen F. Austin arrived in San Augustine on August 12, 1821, and spent the first night in the home of James English and his wife, Susan. The Englishes had eight children. English died in 1857.

Joe V. Clouse, The History of First Methodist Church, Established 1825, Shelbyville, Texas (Shelbyville: First Methodist Church, 1964). Macum Phelan, History of Early Methodism in Texas, 1817–1866 (Nashville: Cokesbury, 1924); A History of the Expansion of Methodism in Texas, 1867–1902 (Dallas: Mathis, Van Nort, 1937). W. W. Sweet, Religion on the American Frontier, 1783–1840 (Vol. 4, University of Chicago Press, 1946). Dudley Goodall Wooten, ed., A Comprehensive History of Texas (2 vols., Dallas: Scarff, 1898; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1986).

  • Religion
  • Methodist
Time Periods:
  • Mexican Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Sarah Jane English, “English, James,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 06, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/english-james-2.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995
September 10, 2020

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