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Wilma L. Griffith


The small Pleasant Grove Baptist Church there was just across the road from my Taylor Grandmotherís home which we have always called the "Big House".

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Picture provided through the courtesy of Wilma Appleby Griffith

There I found a center for my growing up years, lived there during the time I was in high school in Hamilton and married from that home. I have never gone into the house since the first owner outside the family remodeled it. I think I just want to remember it as it was.

Pleasant Grove Baptist was the first church I ever remember! I suppose I did not know other churches existed. The old "tabernacle" sides would raise up, braced by wood braces. There were always kerosene lanterns (some gasoline, I suppose) that lighted the building at night. There were always June bugs, etc., which flew around catching our child-like attention. According to your records there were several pastors but as small as I was during those early years I do not remember them other than the times when sweet old John Dempsey West preached. I guess I just grew up loving him. When I was first taken there I was really small but grew up loving what I found there. At those early years I was only a visitor to my grandmothers home. My Grandfather Taylor died when I was only about 3, my Uncle Roy Clifton Taylor died in 1940 and my grandmother in 1945. I do not remember where services were held for my grandfather, but probably the church across the road. I know my Uncle Roy's funeral was held there.  I had forgotten until just recently that the building (tabernacle) had been moved into Littleville and was placed there.  By the time I was that old my family lived in Ft. Worth. Soon, though, my Mother, sister, Bobbie Helen and I moved back to Hamilton and to the Big House farm with my dear Uncle Ed, Motherís brother.

I remember so many of the people in the neighborhood there whom you mentioned within that article. The Berkleys especially were a part of my memory. That is where I first knew them. Of course, later I shared school years with the older ones. I had just overlooked the younger ones a bit. My husband, Edward Eugene graduated high from school with Wanda Berkley and I graduated two years later.  I can close my eyes and listen and see Hubert directing music at the church and at Littleville. My membership was there after I moved back to Hamilton.

One other thought keeps creeping into my mind and that is of the Sunday dinners which Grandmother Taylor cooked in order to have people and the pastor across the road to share. Usually she got up early, went outside and killed enough chickens to feed the group who would need food. Feeding her family alone was worth several chickens. I especially remember a lunch in the spring of the year and remember Bro and Mrs. Westís being there, and of course, listening as a child will to the conversations of the afternoon, before time for church that evening. What happened to those days of quiet peace? Probably all was not peaceful but I was so young I did not realize there was unrest in the world even then.

I really did not have a lot to contribute except the knowledge of the church about which I wrote, however many of the families mentioned in the list of church folk, involved in their positions, were families whom I knew. Many were community neighbors and friends. I remember the Youngs, Neals, Cosbys, Morans, Garners, Holloways, Wagoners. Berkleys, Jones (Mrs. Ace), Blansits., and, of course, the Parsons. For the most part I remember their names and some faces, so to speak, but some of them I remember more completely.

Several of the Ashmore children and some of my uncles and aunt were friends who were in and out of the family homes. The Holloways were long time friends of my family. One of the older Holloway men, Will, married one of Grandmother Taylorís nieces, Era Havens. Eleanor Holloway married Walton Wagoner, Lucy Holloway married Roy Parsons, who was the brother of my Uncle Tom Taylor's wife, Inez. So, as often happens with close neighbors and friends of that time, they were tied together in many ways. Owen Taylor was a nephew of Granddad. Owen was a son of Granddadís brother, Dudley Taylor.

My grandparents had been married before they married each other. Granddad Taylor (Thomas Lafayette) first married Annie Donahoo. They had five children, losing one at a young age. Grandmother Taylor was Mary Lillie Havens who first married Matthew C. Houghton and they had one child, Maude Elizabeth. After their first spouses died, they married each other and had John Edward, Bob, Thomas Dalton, Leta Pearl, Sandy Cecil, Roy Clifton, Charles Andrew, Lynn Wilson, and Kitty Faye. They raised quite a large family. Leta Pearl was my mother. In her later years she met and married the kindly Tom Griffis, a retired school teacher.

One more thought about the church building after it had been moved--I remember one time when I was at my grandmothers home. I went walking across the road, saw what appeared to be the old song books we had used, climbed through the fence and found the old song books scattered all over the place. I remember feeling so sad that whoever moved the building chose to leave the books behind. I gathered several up in my arms and took them to the big house where they stayed for a number of years. I salvaged one of them when the family moved out of the house the final time. I still have it though the paper back cover has long since disappeared. I keep thinking it was a Broadman version but am not sure I remember that completely.

In listening to younger aunt and uncles in the family about school, they made the trek across the pasture land to what is highway 281 to Edison school for part of their education. Long walk, we would be insulted to have to do it now wouldn't we?




People and Places: Gazetteer of Hamilton County, TX
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Copyright © March, 1998
by Elreeta Crain Weathers, B.A., M.Ed.,  
(also Mrs.,  Mom, and Ph. T.)

A Work In Progress