In 1840, pioneer missionary pastor Isaac Reed started Bethel Church at Reed Settlement, about two miles west of the city of Clayton. Reed’s Settlement was one of the earliest Anglo communities to be established in Panola County, and at the time, Mexico only permitted residents to practice Catholicism. Reed was one of the first Baptist ministers in the state, and his Panola County church was the second Baptist church to be founded in Texas. “On Saturday before the fourth Lord’s Day in September 1843,” Reed officially organized the Old Bethel Church in his home.
Bethel Church continued in the area until Reconstruction, and in the 1870’s, a new church building was erected in Clayton. The church was moved in 1874 to its present location, and a new building was dedicated on Sunday, April 10, 2018.