In writing this little sketch of the Friendship Methodist Church, my reason is that given by J. Frank Dobie when asked about his writings of the Southwest --"I write about it because I love it, because it interests me, talks to me, appeals to me and warms my emotions."--- to this I can add also because it has nurtured my Christian belief and spiritual life since I can remember, as well as the spiritual life of my parents and many kinpeople and friends.
I am not a writer and I know I will not do justice to the influence it has had on the character and lives of many, many people who have lived there and passed through its doors.
To me it is like "the shot at Concord that was heard around the world". The influence of this little Church has left an impression for good in many parts of the world and in a good number of the states of our Union. Long may it live!
Prebble Walker McQuary
I am a little Church and was organized almost a century ago in a log schoolhouse, in a community east of Davilla, on just a dirt road that was not much more than a cow trail at that time. The community was thinly settled, and yet the settlers were God fearing pioneers and desired a place to worship, so the first few years they met in the schoolhouse.
Just why the community was named Friendship no one seems to know, but if the one who named it had looked over a long, long list of names, the could not have found a name that more accurately described the sentiment of the people than Friendship. For that has always been the spirit of the people.
When I first organized as a church, Methodism was not too well established in Texas. Texas was a comparatively new state and a large one and great distances separated some settlements from others. But there was a Texas Conference and an East Texas Conference. I was in the Texas Conference then and still am, even if it has been divided several times to better serve the church in different areas. I am not sure there were even districts at that time.
I was served by circuit riders or itinerant preachers at first, when they could come. They rode many weary miles in cold and that, rain and dust to bring spiritual food for the pioneers. People were eager to hear the word and the good news, and came many miles to hear. They came on foot, by horseback or wagon, sometimes diving oxen, just to hear the word. Today I am afraid not too many would come if they had to come under the same conditions.
Our services were held in the log schoolhouse for a time, then when more members were added and the settlers more secure in their faming, they decided to build a church.
The first one was a building about 30 x 40 feet with a double door in the east. A middle aisle led to the pulpit from it, with a big wood heater placed in the aisle for warmth. Near the pulpit on the north and south side a door was placed with window on the side and west end. The choir used the southwest corner, then the pulpit in the center and the northwest corner was the "Amen" corner, where the older men sat and said amen when the preacher said anything unusually good.
The framework was put up and siding put on with ceiling over head, it was used this way for some years. We had seats or long benches made to fit the interior, and just in real cold weather was it too uncomfortable, but then not too many could come on those days. But around 70 odd years ago they had a church meeting to decide if to tear it down and rebuild or to put up ceiling on the walls. Of course, there were two sides, as usual in discussions.
The pros and cons were heard, a vote was taken, and it was decided to finish the building and not rebuild. So I was ceiled and painted inside and out. I looked much better and the members were proud of me, and I stood this way until 1922.
Before this time I had a regular pastor. I was on a circuit with Davilla, Tracy and Lebanon. There were several miles between the churches and only on very special occasion, did members of one church attend service at the other churches. Not from lack of interest but because of the distance and mode of travel. It would take longer to go from one church to the other and back in a wagon than going ten times the distance now.
The pastor lived at Davilla, where the parsonage was and gave each church a Sunday and Sunday night service. He usually spent Sunday night in the community where he preached. He traveled by horse and buggy and in real bad weather he was likely to have to go by horseback.
My Sunday was the first Sunday in each month. Tracy had the second Sunday. Davilla the third Sunday and Lebanon had the fourth Sunday.
When we had quarterly conference, each church had it held there once each year. Delegates from each church attended too. The church that was host always furnished the noon meal on Saturday. Conference began Friday night when the presiding Elder preached, then the preached Saturday morning, lunch was eaten, then the conference in the afternoon. Quite often the Elder preached again Saturday night, then Sunday morning and we partook of the Lord’s Supper after the sermon.
I've wondered in the last number of years about this. Then the presiding Elder came in to Buckholts on the train, someone met him in a buggy and he spent two nights there and preached three or four sermons, took time to talk to the people along with the conference. There were more little churches then and it took much longer to travel than now. But since there are fewer churches, the Elder holds only two conferences a year and he comes at 11 a.m., preaches, has the conference, and is gone in two to three hours. I've wondered what he does with his time, since there are less conferences to hold. We scarcely get to know him in a friendly way. But I am sure there are things for him to do, and it is not for me to "reason why".
But to get back to my early memories. I was more or less always the center of the community life. It was there that family met family and worshipped together and then visited with each other after the service. There was always Sunday School in the morning and most of the time prayer meeting on Sunday night. On Sundays that we did not have preaching. Most people attended these services and enjoyed them.
My early pastors were spiritual men, most had not more than finished what is now grammar School. Now that the Church demands a preacher have so much education and would like for them to have a college one, I sometime wonder how the pastor could preach so well. But they were called by God to serve in the ministry. They read and studied the Bible daily and read books on theology, and meditated on what they read. Also they were guided by God in the work and they felt very dependent upon his strength. The faith was strong and most felt like Paul “with God's help I can do all things God ask me to do.” Seldom did the conference send me a pastor that the members were not pleased with and could not work with in harmony.
There were a number of families settled n the community. I suppose you might call them the first or important families of the community. There were the Grahams, Looneys, Walkers, McQuays, Masseys, Gregorys, Fowlers, Neils, Hardys, Robetsons, Rhodes, Sticklands, Baldridges, and Doggets. The members of these families were always ready to do what was needed to be done for the Church.
The land for the Church to be built on was given by the Elder Graham, known by all a Uncle Ned Graham. The had a son and a daughter and a step-son and a step-daughter. The land was deeded to the Church for a building site and an adjoining cemetery. The building was set in a tree studded lot. The post oak tree provided shade for the horses ridden or driven to the wagons by members. I have been proud of the stately oaks. During the years some have died form disease but the one left grace the grounds making a lovely picture with me in the center.
I had some good pastors during the early years. Brother Hart was there at two different times. Brother Crutchfield was there for three years. He was well liked as a man and pastor too. He had a wife and a son named Earl. I remember of him telling the little boys if they ate 100 fried chicken drumsticks they would make a Methodist preacher.
Then in 1901, I believe, Brother C. E. Simpson was sent here as pastor. He was some younger than some of the other pastors and soon had won the hearts of all the members. He had a wife and little girl, Bessie Jo. He stayed there four years and they had a son born while they were there. At that time four years was as long as a pastor could stay in one church. It was with heavy hearts that the membership said “good-bye" to the Simpson family. They felt they would never have a pastor as well liked again. He later, by many years, came back and held the revival for the pastor at that time. All the older members were so glad to see and hear him again. He was a forceful evangelist and held his own revival meeting and was successful in bringing many to Christ. In the one revival he had prepared a sermon he thought was extra good, but when the call was made for penitents to come to the altar, no one came. He said afterward he just "bumped thunder and spit cotton" with no effect at all. But when the new pastor came, it was not long before they loved him too.
I had some real good preachers as presiding Elders. There was Rev. C. W. Lokey, Dr. L. B. Elrod who was there at two different times, Rev. I. F. Beth, Rev. C. ]. Tally, Rev. E. L. Shettles, and Rev. Ingrum. There all took an interest In the county churches and the people who came to worship.
Along about 1910, the conference sent a young unmarried pastor, Rev. Thomas I. Beck. For two years there was quite an air of expectancy among the young girls of the different churches. As there were a number of marriageable age ladies, people wondered if he would marry one. As the months passed by, he did single one young lady school teacher out and paid his ardent attention to her. Everyone expected them to marry but for some reason they didn't. He was sent to Buckholts the next year and he married a girl there. A Bro. Gaston followed him. He was also unmarried and he too paid his attentions to a young lady, but nothing came of it.
Then we had a Bro. S. A. Weimer who had a wife and a son. He was well liked. There was a Bro. Belcher with a wife and little son. This was his first church and he was very self-conscious, but he improved a lot while there and late made a rather good pastor.
We had a Rev. G. G. Cecil. He had a wife and three sons. He was a good preacher and a good mixer with the members. Later he was sent to a church in South Texas. He was tying to get the members there to come to church more regularly. So the told of being a pastor at the church where people came to most services. He said Bro. McQuary even came with his overalls on, not having time to change. It happened a relative of Bro. McQuay was a member of this church and she told it. What Bro. Cecil did not know was Bro. Ross McQuay changed into his Sunday overalls to go to the night service.
Then there was Rev. H. B. Daily. He was a widower with a daughter. He married a young lady who was a member here.
Also there was Rev. D. S. Burk who was an older man. He was well liked and Rev. J. V. McCrary who was an interesting preacher and many more which I cannot recall.
I was also served by some local preacher. Bro. George Caney, who lived in the Lebanon community, preached usually once a month for several years. He was a very good preacher and well liked by the people. The latter was a supply pastor and given work in other churches.
Then there was old Bro. Simms. He was a local preacher and usually peddled books for a living. Ever so often he came through the community for several days or a week or longer and if the was there on Sunday, the usually preached. The word that best described his sermon was "lengthy". He was a good old man and said many good things and meant well. I am sure he did no harm and I'm sure he did what he felt the Lord wanted him to do in trying to preach. I remember about the last time he preached here his sermon was so long he made the remark, "His sermon was long he knew, but he might not have a chance to preach to us again" so he kept on and on and finally brought it to a close.
Then there was Bro. Gregory, who lived there and preached a time. His health was not too good so he didn't preach too regularly. He was well liked by the people.
Then during World War II, I was served by a good number of students studying for the ministry at Southwestern University at Georgetown. So many young men were in the service and so many ministers were taken into the service as chaplains, that there were not enough pastors to go around. As I was situated some 45 mile from Georgetown, the students could drive out for service on Sunday. Otherwise I would not have had a pastor. Most of them were first or second year students and trying to stay in school. They were sincere in their word and made an effort to be of use as a pastor and help the community. They had too heavy a load to carry serving as pastor and doing school work. But most of them were well liked by the people and some of them later made good ministers. We were so glad to have them or else we would have had no service at all. I believe one year we had three different ones and there were three months we had none. But the faith of my members was strong and they met for Sunday school each Sunday and had the young people's service at night. So the work of the church went on.
Then after the war I still had some students to be my pastor. In fact one was studying for the ministry at SMU and drove from Dallas each week. We were glad to have them all.
A few years later we had Bro. Berry, who was a good man. He and his wife lived at the parsonage in Buckholts. I forgot to say a number of years before this, I was put on a circuit with Buckholts, Salem, and Minerva. Later Salem and Minerva were transferred to another circuit and only Buckholts, Davilla, and Friendship made the circuit. Bro. Berry might not have preached like a Bishop, but he was a very good master for the church and people. Everyone liked him and his wife and were sorry when he retired form the ministry.
We now have a Bro. George Doss. He lives in Rockdale and works at Alcoa Aluminum Company. He has two churches, Friendship and Liberty. Buckholts disbanded as a church and a few years ago the church and parsonage were sold.
Up until the later 1890 or early 1900, the four churches held a camp meeting as a revival. It was held at the "Shed" in Fred Grave's pasture, just about where Nelson Davis' house now stands. This pasture was and is still called the Camp Ground Pasture.
The members donated money and labor to build the “Shed”. It was about 30 x 40 feet square and had a shingle roof. The sides were open. A rostrum was built about the center of the east side. Members of the four churches came and camped for ten day or sometime two week. The meeting was held during the moonlight night in July each yea.
There was a good well of waster and plenty of shade trees to put the tent under. Not everyone camped, but all that could did so. It was looked forward to in eager anticipation by all as everyone received a great spiritual blessing and they could also visit with frienda. The tents were placed around the Shed as near the well a possible. A tent for the preacher was placed some distance form the others. Several ministers, the best in Central Texas, were asked to come and help with the preaching. No matter when you attended, you knew you would hear a good sermon.
There was a tent used for a butcher tent. “Maje” Cummings killed beef and peddled it to the people as a livelihood and during the camp meeting had beef to sell each morning, which was a great help to the camper. There was no refrigeration at all then, so all meat was cooked the day it was bought.
A tent was also used for a lemonade stand. Ice was hauled form Bartlett 22 miles away in a wagon and kept wrapped to keep from melting. Cold lemonade was a luxury for everyone. Soda waste o oft dink had not been thought of then.
A few day before the meeting began, several loads of oat straw were placed the ground under the Shed and around the edge. It kept the dust down and was a good place to make pallet for the younger children to lie on when they went to sleep at night.The seats from Davilla church were hauled out and placed near the front. Then the other space was filled with boxing plank being placed on nail keg for the other seats. There was always a large number of people at the service. A few people came out form Cameron about 25 miles away. It took all day to come to the 11 o'clock service, eat lunch, and visit a while, then drive back to town. If they wanted to hear the night service, and most did, they spent the night with friends.
The older men at in the "Amen" corner to the north of the pulpit, and they said "Amen" to anything that struck them as unusually good. One old man, Bro. Knight, was hard of hearing. He used a horn to help him hear. It was shaped like this. He put the little end in his ear and the opening caught the sound. Shouting was common when they got too happy. This old brother shouted at most service. He could pray the longest prayer I ever heard. As all kneeled at prayer, you were sure to get rather cramped before Bro. Knight finished his prayer.
There were grove meetings late each afternoon. One for the women and girls and one for the men and boys. A leader was elected and scripture was read, hymn sung and prayer made by several. Sometime there were testimonials given. The prayers were asking God to guide the minister in his sermon so sinners would be convicted of their sin and come to repent of them and give their hearts and lives to God. I am sure the emotions probably were aroused too much, but what are emotions if not the spirit of man? I think almost anyone who attended a camp meeting had a feeling of spiritual uplift that could not have been gotten anywhere else.
Why they were discontinued I am not sure. It is probably they had served their purpose well as a means of spiritual uplift in the live of rural America. But I feel my members felt something was lacking in their spiritual lives after this, even in we did have revival each year at our own churches.
A brush arbor was built by the men. A framework of posts and poles was placed under some of my large oaks and covered with brush cut from willow trees on the little creek nearby.
Sometimes the pastor did the preaching and other times he got another pastor to help him. In a way it took the place of the camp meeting, but only for our church. Sometimes members from the other churches came. Also people who belonged to another denomination came. Usually there was a spiritual uplift and blessing for everyone and always some were bought to Christ. People attended both morning and night services and never thought it was hard to do, but were eager for the opportunity to come together and worship and try to bring the Good New to others.
I remember one summer when the men met to fix the arbor, the framework needed replacing. It usually stood for several years and only the brush needed replacing. They thought it was too big a task, so someone suggested they take all the windows out of the house so wind could blow though. Under the arbor, gasoline torches were used for light, but some thought it might be dangerous to use them in the house. It happened to be a very windy week, and a coal oil lamps were the only means of a light, they blew out quite often, and it proved it wasn't practical to do that again. But we had a rather forceful pastor from Silsbee to do the preaching and all enjoyed the services, even under these conditions.
But as the years went by we had some very successful revivals. Bro. Tally, the pastor at Cameron, held the revival two summers. He was a very good preacher, and later was our presiding Elder for two years.
Then later as the members grew few in number, they met and moved the seats out in the church yard and we had services only at night. We did this several years. For the past number of years we just meet in the house at night, if we have a revival and it is for just a week or less. I guess the summer revival, like the Camp Meetings, has served its place in rural American churches. The older members feel its absence and there are very few young left there. But we do have a few services, each year, at night.
I remember the first ice cream supper held there, though many were held in later years ice cream was a luxury to everyone at that time. Ice was hauled many miles in a wagon to freeze the cream that was furnished by the members. It was sold at 5 cents per bowl with a slice of cake to go with it. Later it went up to 10 cents for cream and cake. But back to the first one. Word got around it was to be held a certain Saturday night. Almost everyone that heard of it came, many a number of miles. So many were disappointed as we had only 100 pounds of ice and just one one-gallon freezer to try to serve the crowd. That taught us a lesson and the one held late, we were more able to serve each one. They were like a church social as each visited with friends, enjoyed the cream and cake, and everyone felt better afterward. The small amount of money collected was used for little things needed for the church, such a song books, to help pay for the piano or whatever was needed.
There was a certain Negro Mammy that lived near at one ice cream supper. She was asked to help wash dishes. When Bro. Walker took a dasher out of one big freezer, there was quite a bit of cream stuck to t. He said "Here, Aunt Lilah, you want to lick the dasher?" She said, "Thanky, Bro. Walker, I wasn't raised on lickins."
I remember also the Children's Day services. The church printed a program with poems, songs, and things that little chidden could do in public. Usually Aunt Hattie Walker and Mrs. Dora Looney helped with getting the program up. They both lived near the church and could walk to practice the children. Almost every one and sometimes people form Devilla came to see the children do their part. I think it made the little folks realize there were some things they could do for God and the church and was good training for them. The services were usually held in June. Then after many years they were not used any more. Like the camp meeting, they had served well the rural people and were needed no more.
I remember the first real church wedding held in the church. It was for Miss Lena Gregory and her groom. The church was decorated and with the bridesmaids and flower girl made a lovely picture. Almost everyone came for the occasion.
A few years later the good friend, Fanny Lee Walker, was married also. The church was decorated differently. The seats were pushed to the center aisle leaving just room to pass between. This left an aisle on either wall. The wedding party came up the north side, went to the center for the ceremony and walked out the south aisle. Above the aisle on the north side, Walker was suspended above the aisle in large letters covered with flowers, while above the south aisle Server was hanging made the same way. That was over sixty years ago.
Then in later years I remember two other weddings. Edith Satterwhite and her groom were married in August. The church was decorated but not as profusely as for the other two, as they happened in the springtime and flowers were in abundance. But the church looked nice and it was a very pretty wedding. Then a few years later Margie Lynn Walker and her groom were married. It was in August too and extremely hot. It was a pretty wedding and the decorations were pretty with the candles (they wilted) and flowers. Now there are no young people left to get married here.
World War I came along and a number of young men went into the service. Most were sent overseas and the spiritual training they received here was witnessed in other parts of the world for good. Only one young man failed to return and he was not a member of our church but of the community. The hearts of the members went out in sympathy to the family who lost a son.
After this, the church moved along about a usual, Sunday School each Sunday, page meeting most Sunday nights, and church on first Sunday. Each member doing what he could do to help people around him. Like visiting the sick, sitting up with sick ones, and trying to help each other in any way possible.
In 1922, my members decided we needed a new church. So money was raised. The old church was torn down and all material good enough o be used was put in the new one. The men donated days of work and with a good carpenter and a helper hired, it was built very substantial and there was no debt when it was finished. They were all very proud of me and still are. I have had two new roofs put on since and painted several times.
About 1900, the members began having a Memorial service in memory of the ones who had lived there and passed on and who had helped build the community and church. At first they got speakers from Cameron, Rockdale, and Rogers and wherever a good preacher could be gotten to come and make a Memorial address.
Since Memorial Day does not come on Saturday each year, the date was set as Saturday before the first Sunday in June. Since that time once each year we meet and have this service in honor and memory of the ones that really founded the community.
Members who have gone out from here to live elsewhere try to come back for the occasion. Also their children and grandchildren come o help honor them and feel the atmosphere of friendliness and love that exists here. I feel that they get a spiritual blessing from the service.
The last few years we have asked the ones who have gone out in the world from here to make the address and we are very proud of all who have responded to the invitation and the older members have enjoyed their talks and felt a spiritual blessing in their hearts.
Then a few years later the members began to have a yearly Thanksgiving service. At first an all day affair, but lately just 11 o'clock service and a lunch, some visiting and then all go home. It is enjoyed by all and many former people who live elsewhere come for the occasion. But it is a good thing for all the community to meet and thank God for their many blessings. Even though most try to live a life of gratitude to God each day. So many things in these days of stress and strife are taken for granted. It is good to stop one day and try to enumerate all the good things God has bestowed upon us all and be grateful in our hearts to our Maker.
During World War II almost every young man here went in the service and also one young woman. They were sent to different parts of the world to serve and they had the opportunity of witnessing for Christ the spiritual faith they had acquired here. My influence was felt in many places. We were all proud of the young folks for we knew wherever they were or whatever the task they had to do, the spiritual training they had acquired here helped them to do well and willingly whatever was expected of them, and helped them to be good servicemen for this county and God. Only one young man was lost and we felt the sorrow his family felt.
So the good influence that flows from me is like dropping a pebble into the center of a quiet pool of water, the waves caused keep extending until they reach the edge of the pool and all have been touched. Perhaps the spiritual faith of these young servicemen had more influence in many places of the globe than they realized at the time.
People who have gone out from here into the world to make their careers know that a quiet Christian country community is a good place to build strong characters. As the history of our own nation attests. So many of our great leaders and statesmen have come from such communities. Besides these men and women in other walks of life as doctors, lawyers, teachers, preachers, and businessmen who have combined their talent to make America the great nation it is today.
The past number of years so many of the older ones have passed on to their reward and my members are now few in number, but they are faithful in keeping the services going and of being helpful to their friends.
I remember that my members have never had too much money, but they have never felt poor. They were so rich in the love of friends, love within the family, love of the church and faith, love and trust of God that material things did not loom up as being too important. I think this has been an influence for good in the growing character of the young people.
The young people have always been a part of my services. Once most of the work of the church was carried on by the young people. I remember Huling Walker, a young man that became superintendent of the Sunday School, a steward in the church and leader of the singing. I never hear the song, "I Love to Tell the Story" without thinking of him. He was one of many at the time. Many more served as choir members, Sunday School teachers and helped in other ways.
I remember Mr. Looney. He was one of the best educated men here and had read law. He also was a surveyor. He was a faithful member, rarely missing a service and always took part in the services. His hearing was not too good, but wasn't a hindrance to his faith. He remarked once, that not hearing too well had its advantages. That when told to do something he did not want to do, he could walk on, and they would say, “Oh, he didn't hear." Mrs. Looney was also a faithful member. She was a large woman and a person all liked. She helped in the Church work in many ways and was ready to help with people in sickness or sorrow. She always sat on the end of the third seat from the front, next to the aisle. If a younger person than she was sitting there, she had them move, but if an older person got the place, she sat some other place.
Then there was Grandma Walker, as all called her. She was a faithful member. She had six sons and two daughters. They were among the first settlers. She was a small, plump person and was loved by all. Her sons and daughters and their families were the nucleus that formed the Church, with the help of others. Her husband, William Turner Walker, was the first person laid to rest in the Cemetery.
I remember Mr. J. M. Strickland. He came into the Community from Louisiana to teach school. He was a good teacher and taught many public schools in different places in the county. He was a member of the Baptist Church, but that did not keep him from attending Church services and worshipping with us. He was a faithful attendant to all services and took part in them. He taught the Bible Class in Sunday School for many years and was an excellent teacher. He married a young widow here with two Children, and they reared a family of their own they could be very proud of.
Then there was Mr. Doggett. He was a regular attendant and a very forceful prayer. His wife was regular in coming to church. Their daughter was useful in many ways in church.
Mr. and Mrs. Fowler were faithful to the church. She didn’t hear too well, but could pray as if she was talking to the Lord. All of their children were members of the church.
Then I remember the McQuary sisters. They took turns riding a horse to the church. Their parents were semi-invalids. They rode side saddle with a long black riding skirt over their dress.
Mr. W. H. Walker was a very devout man. He came to most services day and night. When asked to lead the prayer meeting services, he almost always selected a chapter in I John.
Monroe Walker was also an active member, and also a school teacher. He served in many ways in church. He was superintendent of the Sunday School for many, many years. He was a good influence on the youth of the community and his influence has borne fruit in many places of the nation.
G. M. Walker, his wife and family, lived near the church and were in regular attendance. He came to church services, but she and the children were very active in the Sunday School and young people's services. Aunt Hattie (as she was known) helped with the Children's Day program, taught a Sunday School class, and even after an accident in which she had a broken hip, she continued to come on her crutch. They had a large family but she always invited anyone out of the community home for dinner. The more company she had the happier the was. She was indeed an inspiration to her children and many people in need of help in any way. Her children were a credit to them. When he dressed up, he wore what we called a "swallow tail coat". It made him look distinguished.
J. C. Walker and family were among my regular attendants. They lived some distance away but his wife was devoted to church work and quite often walked to her Sunday School class. Their children were a credit to them and to the church. She died rather young.
The Sam Graham family were faithful members. He served as Steward and Recording Steward most of his life as a member. He also taught the Bible Class for some time. His family were a great help in church work.
Miss Wvie La Grone came into the community as a school teacher. She was a member of the Baptist Church, but met and worshipped with us for many years. She was an excellent teacher and leader of the young people and she had much influence on the lives of her students. She taught the Bible Class for some time and was an inspiration to all in her class. She married a local young man and lived here for some time after she married.
Mrs. Pearl Satterwhite has been faithful in her duties as a secretary of the Sunday School. She has held this office for over 55 years and has for a number of years also been superintendent of the Sunday School.
Miss McKimm Massey was a born leader and was helpful in many ways. She led the singing, led the young people in their work, taught a Sunday School class, and no home had sickness or sorrow that the was not there to help. She was a school teacher too and many men and Women owe so much to her. It was with heavy hearts they laid her to rest this year. Her sister, Miss Lorena Massey, was as well liked as Miss McKimm. She too was a school teacher and many of her students owe their success in life to the training she gave. Their father, L. M. Massey, was a devout Christian. He was a good singer, and two or three times taught a singing school to help the choir do better in their music. He led the singing for many services and was interested in the church affairs. His other children were helpful in many ways too.
There are many more that have helped keep the church a force for good. Too many to mention them all. The Ross McQuary family have helped in many ways. He was Steward and Church Trustee for many years. His wife was organist when she was young and a teacher in the Sunday School for a good part of her life. The Children sang in the choir and helped with the young people's work. They are now serving their churches in their hometowns and teaching their children to work in the Church.
My members have always stressed education, and many teachers have gone from here to teach in many parts of the state and elsewhere. They have used their influence for good wherever they happened to be. Not only teachers, but members of other professions and people in the business world have been instrumental in spreading the faith and trust that was taught in this little church to many parts of the world. So my influence keeps spreading and no one knows where it will all end. Not until the end of time will my influence for good cease.
As an example, this year when it was known the church needed a new piano, the children and grandchildren of members who were in other parts of the nation were made aware of the fact. In just a few days enough money was sent in to buy a new one. All was given willingly .
About 20 years ago my members met and formed a Cemetery association. Almost everyone who had loved ones buried here have been faithful in sending a small amount yearly to hire someone to keep the cemetery well. So now our cemetery is a show place in comparison to the cemeteries in other communities. It is well kept and we feel pride in it.
In the last few years my members are all over middle age and most are even old people. The active members are few in numbers, but strong in their faith and trust in God. In another ten years or so, most of them will have passed on to their reward.
I am wondering if anyone will come to fill their places, or if like so many rural churches I will be abandoned as a place of worship. I .can't think this will be true, but if it is, I am rich in the remembrance that I have served willing and well this section of rural America for the Glory of God.
I remember the grand old hymns the congregation would sing. Almost as if it reached heaven and the throne of God, as they sang "Amazing Grace", "Jesus, Lover of My Soul", "Rock of Ages", "My Faith Looks Up to Thee", "Close to Thee", "The Old Time Religion", "Nearer My God to Thee", "Revive Us Again" and many, many more were sung from deep within the heart and I know God heard and was happy.
I remember Edward Dogget, a converted young man, who played the piano for services for many years. Most of the time he worked outside the community, but would come each weekend and helped the service out with his music which everyone enjoyed. We were so thankful to him for his faithfulness.
So this brings my memories about up-to-date, and whatever changes may take place in the future, I feel it is God's will for me. This little poem by James J. Metcalf does describe me well.
We must say a special thank you to Larry Wilson of Hurst, Texas, for re-typing the above church history for use on the Milam County TXGenWeb site.
Created on 23 May 2004 and last revised on _____________