Strickland, Isaac Lemuel Gillespie (1809–1839)

By: Nell R. Tucker

Type: Biography

Published: February 1, 1996

Updated: April 27, 2019

Isaac Lemuel Gillespie Strickland, pioneer Methodist missionary, was born in Livingston County, Kentucky, in 1809, the son of James and Ann (Gillespie) Strickland. The family moved to Lawrence County, Tennessee, in 1817, where James Strickland and David Crockett helped build roads on the Natchez Trace. In 1820 the Stricklands moved to Franklin County, Alabama. On November 6, 1833, Isaac Strickland and Jesse Hord were admitted to the Methodist ministry at the Tennessee Conference held at Pulaski. The two men served churches in central Tennessee until 1837, when Hord went to Memphis and Strickland went to LaGrange, Tennessee. On October 3, 1838, they were both appointed to the Texas Mission at the Tennessee Conference held in Huntsville, Alabama. They left for the Republic of Texas on October 21. Littleton Fowler, presiding elder of the Texas Mission, assigned Strickland to the region between the Trinity and Brazos rivers. Strickland organized a Methodist church at the home of William Sanders in Montgomery on December 30, 1838. On January 19, 1839, Strickland went with Fowler to accept William Robinson's gift of the Robinson's Settlement campground, located eight miles south of Huntsville. Strickland joined Hord in Brazoria County on March 1, and from then until July, the two shared pulpits that included Houston, Richmond, Brazoria, Columbia, Egypt, Quintana, Velasco, and Matagorda. Worn down by their arduous labors, both men fell ill, and Strickland died on July 2, 1839, at the home of Mary Bell, the widow of Josiah Hughes Bell, in West Columbia. In 1847 he was reburied at the church in Chance's Prairie on the San Bernard River. Tradition says that Strickland had been their first preacher, and the church was known as Strickland's Chapel for years. In October 1959 a distant Strickland relative had the tombstone moved to the Bell Cemetery in West Columbia, and in 1982 a bronze marker added to the gravesite.

Homer S. Thrall, History of Methodism in Texas (Houston: Cushing, 1872; rpt., n.p.: Walsworth, 1976). Walter N. Vernon et al., The Methodist Excitement in Texas (Dallas: Texas United Methodist Historical Society, 1984). Laura Fowler Woolworth, comp., Littleton Fowler (Shreveport, Louisiana, 1936).


  • Religion
  • Methodist

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

Nell R. Tucker, “Strickland, Isaac Lemuel Gillespie,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1996
April 27, 2019