MIMS CHAPEL, TX (MARION COUNTY)
MIMS CHAPEL, TEXAS (Marion County). Mims Chapel is on Farm Road 729 by a tributary of Alley's Creek a mile north of Lake O' the Pines, sixteen miles northwest of Jefferson in northwestern Marion County. It is believed to have been founded about 1843, when a log church was built on the site. The church was known as the rock church, because of a large nearby rock where outdoor services were held. Soon thereafter a new structure, called Mims Methodist Church, was erected there and named for John W. and Henry Mims, two brothers who helped pioneer the community and were instrumental in securing the lot for the church. The first iron furnace in Texas was built by Jefferson S. Nash (see NASH'S IRON FOUNDRY) near the Mims Chapel community in 1847. A post office called Alley's Mills, presumably for a mill operated on the nearby creek, was opened on the site in 1852, and in 1861 the name of the post office was changed to Nash's Foundry. Between 1847 and 1861 Nash and his associates experimented with methods of iron ore production, and by early 1858 the Clarksville Northern Standard claimed that Nash's Foundry had produced more than 10,000 pounds of iron and shipped it to Jefferson. Nash's Foundry was rechartered by the Confederate government during the Civil War, and both the foundry and the post office were renamed the Texas Iron Works. The company had limited success in producing war material for the Confederacy, and Nash sold the foundry to the Kelly Plow Company around 1863. The new owners closed the plant and removed what they could to Kellyville, a site near Jefferson. Although all that was left of the old iron works by Mims Chapel was a rusting furnace, the post office became Nash's Foundry once again in 1866 and was discontinued in 1868. A new post office was opened on the site in 1870 and called Mims Store. In 1880 the name of this post office was changed to Mims Chapel, and in 1885 the post office was renamed or moved to Amicus. The Amicus store and post office was run by the E. O. Taylor family and appears to have been either on the same site as Mims Chapel or quite close by. In the early 1890s Amicus had an estimated population of twenty-five and a general store, and J. W. Mims was justice of the peace. The Amicus post office, the last to operate in the community, was discontinued in 1906. In 1907 there were four schools in the Mims school district, two for fifty white pupils and two for ninety-three black pupils.
The Mims Chapel community was caught up in the iron-ore business once more in the early twentieth century. In an attempt to promote the iron industry in East Texas, the Port Bolivar Iron Ore Railway Company was formed about 1911. The railroad was planned to run from Longview to a point seventy miles north. The first stretch was built about 1912 from Longview to Ero, a station just north of Mims Chapel, but the building was interrupted by World War I, and plans for the railroad were abandoned by 1927. In the 1930s Mims Chapel had a school, two churches, two businesses, a sawmill, and a number of dwellings scattered along the road; in 1938 the school had forty-nine elementary students and two teachers. The school was consolidated with that of Lassater by 1955, and by 1961 Mims Chapel had the Mims Chapel Methodist Church, a cemetery, a rodeo grounds, and several widely scattered dwellings. In 1983 there were two churches in the community, and a Mims Chapel community center was located a short distance to the south.
Jack Reed Harvey, Survey and Proposed Reorganization of the Marion County Schools (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940). Jefferson Jimplecute, June 17, 1965, May 3, 1984. Robert L. Jones, "The First Iron Furnace in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 63 (October 1959). Bill Winsor, Texas in the Confederacy (Hillsboro, Texas: Hill Junior College Press, 1978).