Mount Hope was near Russell's Creek two miles north of the site of present Chester in northern Tyler County. At Mount Hope the route from Orcoquisac to Nacogdoches intersected the Old Beef Trail to the Trinity River. Settler James Barnes, who is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, moved to Texas in 1836. He was known as "a friend of the Indians" and is memorialized thus on a monument in the cemetery. Since the nearby community of Peach Tree Village was occupied by Alabama Indians until the coming of White settlers in about 1835, it seems likely that Barnes and others may have established Mount Hope not long after 1836, while Indians were still in the area. The first deed found on record for church purposes, dated October 21, 1853, is from trustees of Mount Hope Chapel to provide for a free Protestant church, schoolhouse, and Masonic lodge. There was already a two-story house on the lot at the time, and the Mount Hope Masons had used it since 1851, as had the school and the church. A Baptist church, Mount Zion, located near Mount Hope, had been completed in 1845. However, for some reason this church was not represented in the organization of the Bethlehem Baptist Association in 1852.
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