Many visitors to the historic Frankford site are fascinated by the little Prairie Gothic church that has stood there since the late 1890s. Upon entering the church one is struck by its simple grace. The walls, ceiling and floors are lined with dark stained long leaf yellow pine hauled to Frankford from Jefferson, Texas by horse-drawn wagon.
Philip Bethea Hamer, from the neighboring town of Renner, designed and was in charge of the construction of Frankford church. A recognized local builder in his day, Phil Hamer also constructed the Renner cotton gin and the fine Victorian home of Henry Coit. Of these buildings, Frankford Church is the only one that remains standing today.
Phil Hamer married Henrietta Coit, the daughter of John and Catharine Malloy Bunting Coit and the sister of Henry Coit. In 1896 Henrietta Coit Hamer died in childbirth and was laid to rest near her parents in Frankford Cemetery. Around the time of his beloved wife’s death, Phil Hamer began the Frankford Church building project. He eventually remarried, had more children and moved to Oklahoma with his son Robert by Henrietta and his new family. Near Henrietta Coit Hamer’s grave in Frankford Cemetery stands a small monument with the initials P. B. H.
Today Frankford Church stands as a testament to the skill and artistry of a man named Phil Hamer who in his grief created a sanctuary that continues to warm hearts and comfort souls.
~ Kathy Power, President Frankford Preservation Foundation, former president of Frankford Cemetery Association.