Monday, February 17, 2014

I Was Saved

When I went to church with Grandpa and Grandma Baker in West Virginia, I was usually a good little girl, but not always. I knew what being naughty would earn me. They would take me outside and whip me with a little, keen switch if I misbehaved. Although I didn't always understand everything as a small child, I loved singing. Someone once laughed a little and said I was the loudest singer in church. I was so proud, I thought it was a compliment. Once, after we got home, Grandma told me I had misunderstood what some of the words were to one of the songs we were singing. She told me the words were "It's a grand and glorious feeling," not a 'Granddaddy glorious feeling." I was embarrassed. I don't think I sang quite as loudly anymore. At a lot of our services, we would sing a song, while we walked through the church shaking everyone's hand. I liked that. I knew just about everyone there. Before we had prayer, we were always ask if we had any prayer requests. Grandma almost always stood up and talked about her children and grandchildren who were lost. She would often cry. I knew that being lost was a terrible thing, and that lost people would go to hell and burn forever. When we prayed at our church, many of the members would kneel down in front of their pews and pray. I liked that. Some would go up and pray at the alter. Everyone prayed their own prayer to the Lord in their own words. Most prayed out loud, some quietly, some loudly. Some prayed joyfully, while some cried as the prayed. Prayer was a rather noisy time, but everyone there prayed with their whole heart. At some meetings, people would be ask if they would like to give testimonies. Sometimes people laughed, cried, or rejoiced. I remember one older lady, Aunt Pearl, would start rejoicing. She had a stiff back, and had trouble getting around. When Aunt Pearl got into the spirit, she would shout, and sometimes jump around a little. Once she was telling how she was ready to just fly up to Heaven. She was jumping and flapping her arms and shouting. I was still rather little, and couldn't help but think it was a bit funny. I would never have thought about making fun of her or hurting her feelings, not on purpose. I got up behind her and started doing what she was doing. I was little, and she was big. I didn't think anyone would see me. Boy, was I wrong! My Grandpa Baker saw me, and we took a little trip outside.
I remember when we were there on Easter. Grandma Baker made Easter bonnets for my sister, Sharon, and me. She would take plastic jugs, cut off the tops, and help us make Easter baskets. She kept the plastic grass from year to year, and lined our baskets. Grandma boiled and colored a lot of eggs. Some she didn't have to color. The chickens laid some that looked blue, some green or aqua, some looked sort of pink, and some were in different shades of orange. She also boiled and colored a few goose eggs. They would just about fill up her big picnic basket. We got up on Easter Sunday, ate breakfast, and went to church. There was no talk of Easter bunnies. We all knew why we celebrated Easter. We all knew that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and rose again after three days. After church, Grandpa and the other men, hid the eggs outside, then turned us all loose to hunt. We got to take home whatever eggs we found. Anyone that found a goose egg received a small money prize, probably less than a dollar. Money went a lot farther those days, and kids didn't expect as much. Daddy built us a little house just down the road from Grandpa and Grandma Baker. He hired a local carpenter to help build the frame. Grandpa helped him build the rest of the house. Neighbors would stop by from time to time, grab a hammer, and help. Sharon and I helped some, too. After the house was built, we moved in. Daddy still worked in Ohio, but he came home on weekends and holidays. Mom started going to church. She was baptized by my too favorite preachers, Brother Carl Adkins and Brother Argie Davis. They were Grandpa Baker's cousins. I loved going to church on Sundays, Wednesday night prayer meetings, and to revivals. I liked when we visited other churches. My favorite services were homecomings. We would have church and Sunday School first. When we broke for lunch, there were a lot of tables pushed together outside, covered with almost any kind of food a kid could want. I always ate a lot of fried chicken, dressed eggs, green beans, tomatoes, and corn on the cob. I then would over stuff myself on cakes, puddings, fruits, and pies. After lunch we went back inside for a few more hours of preaching and singing. Once, when I was nine years old, my sister and I were once more living with Grandpa and Grandma Baker. They were having a homecoming at the log church over on Beech Fork of Four Mile Creek. At sometime that afternoon, something they were preaching touched my heart in a way I had never felt before. I thought about it until we got home. I wish I could remember what it was, but my memories are fading. I talked to Grandma about it. We talked a long time. I told her I had been saved and wanted to be baptized. I wanted Brother Carl and Brother Argie to baptize me like they had Mom. We went one day, soon after that, and talked to Brother Argie. He ask me a lot of questions, but once we were done talking, he agreed to baptize me, and we set the date for it. Brother Carl lived in Ohio and couldn't be there. On the appointed day a large group of us met by a big hole of water in the creek, over on Ten Mile Creek. I had on a pretty dress. We went in someone's house and Grandma pinned my dress between my legs, so it wouldn't float up. Brother Argie baptized me while they sang "Shall We Gather at the River." I can't say I have always been a faithful follower of Christ, since the age of nine, but I have always been a true believer. I have always prayed, and have had my prayers answered. No matter how far I have strayed I have always found my way back.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Introduction to the Lord

I lived with my Grandpa and Grandma Baker off and on throughout my childhood. They were the ones who taught me the most about Jesus, and our Heavenly Father. While staying there my Great Grandpa Shuff taught me the song "I'll Fly Away." Someone, probably Grandma Baker taught me to say 'The Lord's Prayer'. I can remember saying it when I was about three years old, alone at night in my bed. I can't remember when I didn't know it. My daddy, although he is not saved, taught me never to call him father, because I only have one, and that is my Heavenly Father. As far back as I can remember, Grandpa and Grandma took me to the little McClarity Baptist Church, down on the McClarity Fork of Four Mile, in Lincoln County, West Virginia. I can remember sitting, or lying, on the hard wooden pews. There was an old coal stove in the center of the room, for heat in the winter. We used hand-held paper fans during the summer. Almost all of the men sat on the right side of the church. They all hung their hats on nails in the walls for that reason. The women and young children sat on the left. There was no running water. Aunt Alma Sanders carried a bucket of fresh water from the well at her house all the way down to the church house. It had a dipper in it to drink from. (Grandpa and Grandma brought our own, in a bleach jug, with empty tin cans for each of us to have our own.) Out back, on the left side of the church yard, stood an outhouse for the women. On the right was one for the men. Our church only had one room. On Sunday mornings we all went to our assigned pews for Sunday school, so we could have our own little groups. There were a couple of adult classes that sat in their own assigned pews. They all had Sunday School books. All of the children, irregardless of age, sat together. Our teacher was Aunt Alma Saunders. She gave us each a little card, with a lesson on one side, and a picture on the other side. We loved our cards. There was a chart on the wall with our names, and we each got a shiny gold star by our name every time we attended. I think Uncle Ligie Adkins may have been the one to start the church service. Some of the details are a little fuzzy. I know he kept the church books and usually led the songs. Now Aunt Alma and Uncle Ligie were not even related to me, but we were taught to call our elders, Aunt and Uncle, as a term of respect. Our church had song books, but most of the members did not believe in musical instruments in the church, not even an organ. We didn't have a choir. Anyone could go up from and sing on the podium, or take song books back and sing in the pews. Uncle Ligie often chose the songs, but anyone could request a song, or they could volunteer to sing one of their own. Not all of the singing was good, but all of it was always full of the spirit. Our preachers started out quietly, reading a few verses that held the message they wanted us to hear. Before they were through, they were usually so caught up in the spirit, that they were shouting. It would have been hard to sleep during their sermons. They preached 'hell fire and brimstone', but it came straight out of the Bible. They would never have even have thought of suggesting that God was different than what the Bible taught. It would never have occurred to them to question whether the stories in the Bible were true. They told it like it is. The churches were always full of 'Amens' and 'hallelujahs'. Now and then, someone would start rejoicing. That didn't disrupt service, it just added to the spirit. I'm blessed to have had such a wonderful introduction to the Lord.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Thomas Moore - WikiTree Profile

Thomas Moore - WikiTree Profile


Thomas Moore's Plantation House


Thomas Moore Homestead

Thomas Moore Homestead


 Original Moore Homestead, a log cabin covered in siding. Rd.#659, Scott Co., Va. map
In June 1990, my sister, Sharon Gillespie, and I decided to go on an adventure to find where Celia Moore Smith lived and died, so long ago. We loaded up her two children, Jamie and Sissy, and drove to Scott County, Virginia. We took food, cooking utensils, and a tent. We camped at the Lover's Leap Campground, in the Natural Tunnel State Park, for two weeks.
After breakfast every morning, we went exploring. We spent a lot of time at the Scott County Library in Gate City. We found more information than we ever dreamed.
Sometimes we just drove around. We explored Dungannon, Virginia. Sharon spent time in the Scott County courthouse in Gate City and the Russell County courthouse in Lebanon looking up records.
One day while driving down a little gravel road, we found Moore's Greenhouse. We stopped and talked to the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Moore.
I still can hardly believe what we found out. We had accidentally tripped into the Moore Plantation where Celia Moore Smith was born and raised.
They very graciously allowed us to go inside and see part of the house. Thomas Moore told us some stories about the Moores. We got some pictures. It was amazing.
Mr. Moore told us how his ancestor, Thomas Moore moved there when it was just a wilderness. He had some slaves with him. First they built a small log cabin to live in. Across from the log cabin, they dug up clay from the yard, shaped it into bricks, then baked them. Those bricks were used to build the the plantation house.
The little log house was turned into a store. They sold Molasses and peach brandy in the store, legally. They made the brandy from the peaches grown in their own peach orchard on the plantation.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Henry Smith Shuff - WikiTree Profile

Henry Smith Shuff - WikiTree Profile

My Aunt, Palmaneda Baker Smith, told me that she loved staying the night with Grandpa and Grandma Shuff. She said he was a wonderful grandpa.
He loved to tell jokes. They would sit in front of the fireplace and Grandpa Shuff would get his popcorn popper with the long handle and pop corn in the fireplace while he entertained them.
Maybe later, he would take a big bowl and go out to the cellar, and bring it back full of apples. He'd sit down and peel them all apples. He always peeled the pealing off in one big piece. They were amazed by that.
Grandma Shuff was real quiet. Sometimes she'd say, "Smith, doesn't your tongue ever get tired?"
One joke Aunt Palmaneda remembered him telling went something like this: An Irishman had a big rope. One day, someone weaved the ends of his rope together. When the Irishman wanted to use his rope, he couldn't find the end. He said 'Faith and me jamber, sone cut off both ends of me rope.'

Sarah A. Victoria Eveline (McClellan) Shuff - WikiTree Profile

Sarah A. Victoria Eveline (McClellan) Shuff - WikiTree Profile

My Aunt Palmaneda Baker Smith described Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa Shuff's house when she was a little girl.
There wasn't enough room in the livingroom or dining room for the Christmas tree. They put it in the little bedroom.
Grandma Shuff had a lot of German hand-blown glass ornaments, strings, (one with paper angels), and small candles all over the tree. The candles were never lit due to the danger of fire. Over all that, was shiny ice cycles. Aunt Palmaneda said it was so beautiful, that it felt like you were in fairyland.
The dining room was decorated with a large paper bell hanging in the center of the room. Paper streamers were attached at the large bell and strung across the room to each corner. At each corner hung another smaller bell.
The table centerpiece was a glass dish full of chocolates.
A lot of the time Grandpa Baker would hand out the presents. Each person recited a poem. Grandma Baker knew so many poems, she could always think of one. The children recited poems from their lessons at school.
Grandpa Baker only knew one and he recited it every year. "Once I was a little boy, playing in the sand. Now I am a great big boy, I think I am a man."
When they each opened their gifts, they held it up for all to see. It was usually some small gift like a little handkerchief. Then they all sang Christmas carols.

Sarah A. Victoria Eveline (McClellan) Shuff - WikiTree Profile

Sarah A. Victoria Eveline (McClellan) Shuff - WikiTree Profile

There is a Christmas tradition that was probably passed down from my Great-Great Grandma Martha Smith McClellan. Everyone tries to be the first one to greet everyone by saying, "Christmas gift!" If you say it first, the person you say it to is supposed to give you a present.
Grandma McClellan was born and raised on a plantation in Scott County, Virginia. The tradition is supposed to have been started by the slaves.
The slave would greet the master or mistress on Christmas morning with the greeting, "Christmas gift!" They would then receive an extra gift.
The whites soon adopted the tradition. They made it into a game. The gifts were usually a small treat of some kind.
My aunt, Palmaneda Baker Smith, said that her Aunt Beulah would spend the night with Grandpa and Grandma Shuff, on Christmas Eve, to decorate the house.
On Christmas Day, when Grandma and Grandpa Baker would arrive with their children on the sled, Aunt Beulah would be waiting. She would run outside, yelling, "Christmas gift" before they got to the house. She won every year. Nobody won a gift anymore. They just enjoyed the tradition.
Although it has almost died out in the present generation, the older family members still call each other on Christmas day with the greeting, "Christmas gift!"