When the Rev. Lewis H. Carhart, a Methodist minister, founded Clarendon, he envisioned it as a religious and educational center. The town was established in 1878 near the junction of Carroll Creek and the Salt Fork of the Red River, six miles north of its present location. Local cowboys nicknamed the settlement "Saint's Roost" because it had no saloons. The first building erected was a combination church and school. Until the turn-of-the-century, there was a Northern Methodist Church in the community.
When the railroad arrived in 1887, Clarendon moved to its present site. The Rev. James T. Hosmer, a circuit rider, conducted Methodist services in private homes. In 1888 the Rev. Isaac L. Mills and 15 charter members organized the Methodist Episcopal Church South. In 1890 the fellowship erected a frame church building on the southeast corner of Kearney and 4th Street. Membership increased significantly after the founding in 1898 of Clarendon Methodist College, forerunner of Clarendon Junior College.
To accommodate the growing congregation, this large classical revival structure was built in 1910, during the pastorate of the Rev. O. P. Kiker. The original roof was replaced in 1950.