Charles Harvey Hatfield - Autobiography
C.H.Hatfield and first wife, Martha Gennette Burge,
and Addie May Hatfield, first child
In this little book which I have written is a brief sketch of my life. I make no claim of being a writer. I never tried to write very much about anything and as a Methodist preacher I have never written as many as a half dozen sermons in full. I have written a number of brief outlines of sermons. I have had a good memory and have depended on my memory. I have more than one thousand books in my library that I have had these many years and I have been a great reader of many books on different subjects. I have memorized much Scripture and many of the things I have read in other books beside the Bible. Many things that I have written in this book I do not know just where I got them. I have made them my own thoughts because I have studied them so long and so much of my life until it seems that they are mine. But I will say there is very little originality about me. I owe much to my reading books and literature and to other leaders. I am not or have not written this book for the public or for profit but I have written it at the request of the family and friends. I hope some good may come from this little book. Who ever reads this book and gets some good out of it give God the praise. May the blessings of Almighty God be on all of my children and friends who read the pages of this book. Amen.
REV. C. H. HATFIELD.
My father's name was Andrew Hatfield, born in Illinois near Rushville and Beards Town. Born January 22, 1839. My mother's name was Sarah Margaret Chapman. Born in Indiana, March 13, 1849. My father was in the Civil War, in Company A and the Fourteenth Illinois Infantry.; He was a cooper by trade.
Father and mother were married on the following date: Andrew Hatfield and Sarah Margaret Chapman were married July 14, 1867, in the bride's home in Rushville, Schuyler County, Illinois, by James B. Dodds, J. P.
Seven children were born to this union, Hattie, James, Charles, Effie, Jessie, Mary and Marvin~ Four girls and three boys. I,C. H. Hatfield was born in Hico, a little place which is now inside Siloam Springs, Arkansas, on May 8, 1872.
The following pages are a brief history of my life.
My father came from Illinois to Columbus, Kansas and from there to Silo am Springs, Arkansas. He leased, cleared and farmed the land where Siloam Springs now stands.
In the year of 1875 there was a drought and the drought and the chinch bugs destroyed the crops and my father left and went to a little place called Spadra Bluff. He got a job boarding twenty Irishmen who were building a railroad with picks and wheel barrows. He made arrangements with a man to move us children and mother two months after he left.
Some things I remember while we lived at Siloam Springs.
One day my father took me with him through the clearing, it was a strip of land between a quarter and a half mile in length and about two hundred yards wide. I remember so well the stumps because they were cut so close to the ground and were so thick. There was a rail pen at the end of the clearing about ten feet square and I started to go in there and my father said, "don't go in there." I said why? He said, "because there are Grey Backs in that pen." I said what are Grey Backs, and he said, "they are bugs that bite little boys like you." That was in the winter of '75 and I would be three years old in the month of May.
The rail pen was a place where a man slept who was helping to clear the ground and there were some old quilts and bedding in the rail pen. This was a case of child's curiosity and a desire to know.
One evening when we were going home from the clearing which was only a short distance, my father kept telling me to walk faster and I was too little to walk very fast. He stepped behind a large stump and when I looked up my father had disappeared and it scared me. He jumped out from behind the stump and I was all right again.
Another time my father had Negro Buford helping him saw up some logs with a cross cut saw. My father was setting the saw teeth and Negro Buford looked at me with the whites of his eyes showing and said, "Give me that boy." I stepped up close to my father and said "no." Father and Negro both laughed.
We moved from Siloam Springs to Spadra Bluff between Ozark and Clarksville in the month of September 1875. The man my father had hired to move mother and us children got impatient and kept urging my mother to get ready to go. My mother said we owe a few bills here and we cannot go until these bills are paid. She was paying the bills as fast as my father could earn the money and send it to her. The man said, "Let the bills and debts go to hell," mother said we payout debts and we will not go until all bills are paid in full." The bills were all paid and some time in the month of September we moved to Spadra Bluff.
I don't remember very much about the move,' but I do remember tb1! day we arrived. My mother pointed to the long building and said yonder is the place where we will see your father again. I can see till this day, in my mind, the steps that led inside the boarding house. And I can see my father there with his white apron on getting the meals ready for those twenty big Irishmen. How they did eat.
One of the men took pneumonia and died and my father waited on him through that spell of pneumonia until he died. The men made up money among themselves to bury the man and there was some left after all expenses were paid and they took it and all got on a big drunk.
As I remember, father finished his contract late in the spring of 1876 and we moved from there to Ozark. He got a job from a man at Ozark named Raulston, who had a dry gods store in Ozark and he also had a farm joining the town. My father worked part time on the farm and part time in the store.
We lived at the edge of Ozark in a hued-log house with a room on the side for a kitchen. There were a lot of big logs across the pathway leading to town. The trees had been cut down and the tops used for firewood and the body of the trees left to step over or go around. I have learned later in life there are many things lying across our path- way, but we can use them for stepping stones.
All adults have come through the period we call childhood, the first eleven years but it is so strange that we know so little about the winding way we have trod. When we go back and try to trace our footsteps we can find only a few of them and they are so far apart that we lose track.
Childhood is a hidden way, a mysterious way. The many things that happened when we were in that period but only a few of the facts are re- corded. It seems like the recorder was stingy. The facts that are recorded we wonder why they were; and so many other things of so great importance are left out. The facts that our memory recorded are so far apart that we do not have an adequate understanding of them.
One day a neighbor came to our house and they had a big black dog with a white ring around his neck. He was a real large dog. We went out in the yard to catch a chicken and of course we had to run it down and around the house. All of us were running and the big dog ran by me and put his front feet on my sister's left shoulder and bit her and it was a bad bite. The owner said the dog didn't understand. That is the way we are about the period of childhood, we just don't understand.
My father came home from work one evening and mother and some of the children were ill and a big Irishman asked my father if he could stay all night with us and get his supper and breakfast and my father said, "My wife is sick and we cannot keep you." The man said, "I will stay anyhow." Father picked up a chair and said, "you get out of this house or I will break this chair over your head."The man walked out muttering and stepping over the big logs. I thought as I watched him as he left so quickly, -"poor fellow." My father was a peaceable man but he would not be run out of his own home.
There was a slaughter pen near our house and one day I went down there and watched them kill a cow. This was the year of 1877 and I was five years old.
Most all the men at the slaughter house were Negroes. They had a narrow chute running from the lot where they had the cattle, into the place where they were killed.
The killer stood up in a loft like place with a big hammer and when the cow stuck her head out she met that big hammer between the eyes and a big strong Negro man had hold of the hammer and the animal dropped so quickly and then another big Negro was down where the animal fell and he had a big butcher knife and stuck it in the blood vein and the blood gushed out and the Negro man fell down and put his mouth over the blood stream and drank no less than a pint of that animal's life blood. I was shocked, for that was the first thing I had ever seen die.
That pen was a nasty place and I was very much impressed with what I saw that day. I have great sympathy for every living thing that suffers and it seems to me that my sympathy dates from that picture of that animal dying.
I learned later in life that all living things are now or will be on the altar. We are living in a world today where thousands and millions of animals are being slaughtered in order to maintain human life. We gather the idea of these things in childhood days and at that time we do not under- stand that sacrifice is a universal and a fundamental principal upon which all the life of the world is maintained.
Children see many ugly things in their world and they cannot avoid seeing them but they will have to wait until later to understand why such things are here.
We lived so close to this pen that at other times I watched the Negroes eat their dinner as it was brought to them. The eats were spread out on a table and they would gather around the table and they had what they called sweet bread, it was a kind of sweet cake. Then they had what they called blood pudding and how they would smack their mouths and brag on the sweet bread and blood pudding. It was a sight to me to watch them eat. I stood off a short distance and these things were interesting to me at that age, five years old.
Just a little east of our house there was a draw and at the head of the, draw there was a spring. A rock projected out eight or ten feet and it was in the shape of a half circle and about the center of the half circle the spring came 'out.
Mother went down there to do her washing. So one wash' day mother was there by the spring doing her washing. We had a neighbor by the same name as ours, Hatfield, and they had two boys larger and older than my brother and I. Their names were Boud and Bleve. My brother and I had a little spotted dog named Fido and we thought Fido was one of us. The half circle rock was about four feet high and lots of room under the rock. Fido treed something under the rock and he was barking loud and fast. Boud and Bleve knew what was under that rock but my brother and I did not. Boud and Bleve said to my brother, "take this pole and push it back under the rock where Fido is barking and it will come out and we will have some fun. My brother took the pole and did as he was told and out came the things and they were many. The things were "bumblebees." My brother and Fido got the worst of it because they were closer than I was. When I saw what was going on up there by the rock I ran away but some of the bees followed me and I got several' stings. Boud and Bleve were standing at a safe distance laughing. Mother quit her washing and took us to the house and doctored our stings for they were many. Father and mother were very much peeved at Boud and Bleve.
We had been playing together and we were about to claim kin with these Hatfield boys but after the battle with the bumblebees we were no kin to Boud and Bleve nor their parents. As I remember we did not play together any more.
We learned that under that rock was the home of the bumblebees and we were the trespassers. We also learned that we could not trust some people, also that we must forgive people when they do us wrong. The battle with the bumblebees happened eighty 'one years ago but I remember it as though it happened a few days ago. There is some- thing immortal about the things that happen in our lives, but are not subject to death, they live forever.
We lived only a short distance from the Arkansas River when we lived in Ozark. The Arkansas heads near Pitkins in the mountains in Colorado about one hundred and fifty miles from Pueblo, and empties its water into the father of waters near Rosedale. The Arkansas River is two thousand and one hundred miles in length.
One Saturday afternoon father took us across the river in a little boat called a skiff, a boat for rowing. The river was about one half mile wide where we crossed in the skiff. Father was fond of papaws, a banana shaped fruit, when ripe they were delicious. There on the opposite side of the river from where we lived, a thicket or grove of papaws. Father paid seventy-five cents for the use of the skiff to take brother and me across the river to get some papaws. When we landed on the other side just a few steps and we were in the papaw thicket. The ground was covered with ripe papaws. .We could not put our foot down without putting it on a papaw. The papaw tree is a very small tree about two or three inches in diameter and about ten feet in height. But they are thick, only two or three feet apart. Papaws were free for everyone that wanted them. In a papaw thicket is the place to catch the American Opossum, for they love the papaws.
Now this was a wonderful Saturday evening, the river was deep but its waters were calm and still. This was a real thrill; the little skiff did run so smooth. The skiff had oars, one on each side, one for each hand, we called them paddles. I was very much afraid of the deep waters but I had the utmost confidence in father because I knew he could swim like a fish. I knew if anything happened to the little skiff that he would save brother and me. I don't think I ever in my life on any Saturday afternoon had a greater thrill than on that Saturday afternoon.
Crossing a river like the Arkansas is indeed a great experience for five and seven year old boys. I have crossed the Arkansas several times since on a steamship, on the train and other ways but none gave the thrill that this one did.
We will one day cross the river of death into the land of everlasting life, we hope.
One day in the month of July in the year of 1877, mother and we children Hattie, James, Charles, and Effie were in Ozark. I think we had been to the circus. Mother had bought James and I a ten cent straw hat. We heard the coarse whistle of the steamboat and we went down to the landing place of the steamboat to see it land.
We were all sitting close to the water's edge and there were some loose rocks under my mother's feet. While we were gazing at the boat, there came a little puff of wind and blew my brother's hat into the great river about three feet from the edge of the water and mother reached out her hand to get the ten cent straw hat. She reached so far I thought she was going head first into the deep water but she got the brim of the hat between two of her fingers and brought it to the bank. It scared me so bad that it made a lasting impression on my mind.
I think the things that scare us make the most lasting impression on us. That day stands out as one of the things that happened in my childhood days. Later in life I have learned many lessons about water. The Bible calls it the water of life. I have learned that in some cases it is the water of death. If we drink it into our stomach it is the water of life but if it gets into our lungs or blood it is the water of death.
I once would have drowned but a strong man reached out his long arm and saved me from the water of death.
Mother, two sisters, brother and father have crossed the river of death and have landed in that land of everlasting life. This life indeed is a school and there is an important lesson in everything we see, hear, or do. I think that God's loving hand kept mother from falling into the river.
We all do some foolish things as mother did that day when she risked her life for a ten cent straw hat. Mother was an intelligent person and loved her children. I am a strong believer in the kind providence of a good God. We all came up the river bank and went home safe.
The steamboat plowing through the deep water was a great sight. There were three steamboats each day but I have forgotten the names of them.
Now we come into the year of 1878. My sister, Jessie, was born February 25, 1878. And there now were seven in the family. Father, mother, and five of us children, Hattie, James, Charles, Effie and Jessie.
Father was having a hard time to feed and clothe all of us when he received only seventy-five cents per day as wages. He worked every day but could not make ends meet. Father was a cooper by trade. He made a neat barrel that had a ready sale at one dollar and twenty-five cents for a wooden-hooped barrel and one dollar and a half for the ones that had iron hoops on it.
There were a lot of white oaks and bur oak up in Newton County. So we began to get ready to move from Ozark to Jasper, the county seat of Newton County, Arkansas. A lot of things happened in Ozark before we moved in September.
One day my brother James was playing with some boys in Ozark and he fell out of a peach tree and broke his right arm. He was a little over seven years old. He went to the doctor and had it set and splinted and came home before any of the family knew anything about it. We were all surprised when we saw him coming home with his arm all splinted up. But it soon got well and the doctor bill was small but it had to be paid for by wages at seventy five cents per day.
Father was a hard working man and he paid his bills regardless of hard times or low wages.
Ozark was not a healthy place to live at this time and we needed to get to a more healthy place and where father could make two dollars a day in- stead of seventy five cents. I compare the times then with the times now, think of a man getting seventy five cents a day with seven in the family and now a man gets as high as twenty dollars a day and not many families have as many as seven in the family. But with all the hard times and low wages we did not starve and all the children lived to be grown men and women and 'were healthy.
We would soon be leaving Ozark and the great Arkansas River that I loved so much. And we would not hear the coarse whistle of the mighty steamboat for many years. That was eighty years ago and what a change in all of our country in that length of time. It would take a large book to tell it all.
So father and James left in the month of August for Jasper. But before they left Ozark father made arrangements with a Mr. Smith to move mother and we children in September or as soon as he could get a house for us to live in when we arrived. It was not more than one month after father and brother left that mother and we children started. But this was a long and anxious wait for when. The family was separated and we were not happy.
So the day arrived when Mr. Smith came to our house in Ozark with his little pony team and old wagon to move us to Jasper which was about sixty miles by road. And the road was bad all the way. We were to go almost the full length of the Boston Mountain which was one of the mountains in the Ozark range of mountains which lay between the Arkansas and Missouri rivers and even reached down into northeast Oklahoma. We loaded Mr. Smith's wagon with our household goods which I suppose in weight would have been about eight hundred pounds. Then mother and Jessie, the baby, then, Hattie, Charles, and Effie had to have a place to ride.
Now the wagon was rolling and it was ten or fifteen miles to the foot of the Boston Mountain. The way the roads were that was a big day's drive. I do not remember what day of the week it was when we started. The second day we pulled up on the top of the Boston Mountain. The ponies had a real hard pull up that steep and rocky mountain.
Our daily schedule was as follows: We arose each morning at daylight and Mr. Smith would feed his horses first. Mother and we children always stayed at a house on account of Jessie, who was only about seven months old at this time. There was a house every two or three miles and they were little log houses which were very common. But some of the finest, clever and most hospitable people in the world lived in them.
I was a little over six years old but I will never forget the fine hospitality we met in every home where we stayed on that trip across the mountains. Their little houses were one room log cabins with a clapboard roof, a clapboard door and a puncheon floor. They cooked on the fireplace in a dutch oven. The table was in one corner of the house and the beds in the other corners. A few chairs with hickory bark bottoms that were an easy and restful seat. The folks were real glad to let us stay all night. Not one home on that trip turned us down but were glad to take us in without charge. Poor people they were but good people. They had corn dodger bread and bacon and black coffee to eat. Father and mother both came from Illinois and they had not been used to that kind of bread and they called it dog bread and I had heard father and mother call it by that name and when we went to the table in this little cabin the first night they passed the bread to me and I said I didn't want that old dog bread. Mother was very much embarrassed for she knew that they had taught it to me. The dodger bread was without salt or seasoning of any kind. They sifted the corn meal in a wooden bread tray and then poured cold water on the meal and stirred it with their hands, took it up in their hands and patted it from one hand to the other and laved it in the oven and left the print of their fingers. on the pone as it was called and two pones filled the dutch oven. They put the lid on the skillet and put live coals of fire on the lid and soon the pones were ready to eat. Afterwards I learned to like the corn pones and with sweet milk and fresh churned butter. Nothing any better.
After breakfast and the horses were fed and hitched to the little wagon we were ready for another day's journey and on we went. There were lots of steep hills to go up and down. Some times Mr. Smith had to lock the hind wheel with a large chain, because the brake would not hold the wagon and it would run away with the horses. We crossed little brooks and creeks and up one hill and down another. Trees were on both sides of the road, it was timber all the way; more oaks than any other kind of trees.
About ten or twelve miles over the rough roads and the sun hid itself over the western horizon and the little horses were real tired and hungry so we stopped. Another little log cabin close to the road where some kind and hospitable people lived and was glad to keep mother and we children overnight.
Mr. Smith always found feed for his horses and he slept in the wagon. The wagon was covered with bows and sheet and sometimes it would rain a long time.
Lots of gentle rains in the Ozark Mountains; lots of birds of different kinds, lots of gray squirrels in the black oak trees jumping from limb to limb and barking and having a regular jubilee, a squirrel jubilee. The gray squirrels on the Boston Mountain could put on a greater and more interesting show than our modern theaters can now.
I don't remember just how many days we were going from Ozark to Jasper, but I think it was five. We averaged ten or twelve miles a day. Our daily schedule was to rise about daylight and be able to start in an hour or more and stop where there was water for us to drink and for" the ponies. - We fed the ponies and had our dinner and traveled until the sun was down. .
Along the streams where the grass was yet green, for we had no frost up to this time, the cattle and sheep would be grazing. There "was one cow in the herd and one sheep in the flock that had bells on, this was an interesting sight and sound to me. I can in my imagination see those cattle and sheep grazing along that peaceful clear stream of mountain water. At the end of the fourth day we arrived at the top of the mountain where we had to drop off and down several hundred feet and follow the little Buffalo River to Jasper. Here on top of the mountain we stayed over the night.
Next morning as I remember was Sunday and mother said "we are going to see pa and Jim today if nothing happens." We stayed in a cabin as usual and Mr. Smith slept in the wagon; so the morning came and as soon as we had our breakfast and-the horses had been fed we bid the folks in the cabin goodbye. We rolled down that steep and "Tocky" mountain. Mr. Smith had to lock the hind wheels with a chain. We got down the mountain and there was the little Buffalo River.
The stream that I became so well acquainted with and crossed so many times in years after on horseback. We had to cross the Buffalo River many times before we could get to Jasper. The river was down and quiet, no danger. The bottom of the river where we crossed was covered with large round creek rocks. And how the wagon would bounce around on the hard stones. All the fords were rock bottom and the banks on the other side where we went out were steep and the horses had to pull hard to get us up the bank.
The Sabbath was an anxious and glad day for we made it across the rocky fords of the little Buffalo and up the steep banks. Finally we climbed the last bank and behold there was Jasper. Just a short distance to where father and brother were. Father had a house for us to live in. He was standing in the front yard .Looking at us. Mother and we children could hardly wait for the wagon to stop so we could meet father and brother. I looked around to see my brother and did not see him and I said where is Jim? And they pointed to a rail fence and said "there he is" and I looked and he was looking down under his cap laughing. Now we were happy. We thought we had come over a long road and it was only sixty miles. Compare this to the distance we travel nowadays. This was indeed a tiresome trip on mother.
Jasper was and is a beautiful little village. The beautiful hills around it and the Buffalo River running on the west side of it. The house we lived in was close to the river. Just back of the back yard was the high bluff and the river running up against the bluff. We could look down and see the bottom of the river standing on the bluff. We could see the fish swimming because the water was so clear.
Many things happened of great interest while we lived in Jasper. There were many things that nature presented to us that were like everlasting beauty. What a great spot this was that it took Almighty power and wisdom to create a spot like this on earth. The river and the hills are so beautiful that they are attractive to the human eye. Running water is suggestive of many things. We had changed the Arkansas for the Buffalo River though the Buffalo is much smaller than the Arkansas. But the Buffalo outmatches .the Arkansas when it comes to beauty. Clear running water and schools of fish swimming are a very great attraction to a six year old boy. We did not have to buy our recreation; nature furnished it without money or price. When the sun comes up over the hills of a morning how beautiful is Jas- per and the river and the bold sparkling water of the springs that come rushing out of the steep banks of the Buffalo. And the rains are so gentle. Our new home was a wonderful place. God made it for us.
One day my father took brother and I just a little above Jasper to a deep hole of water where there was a bluff on the other side of the river from us. He took me on his back and swam all around next to the bluff where the water was deep. I never had such a thrill in all my life. It was a greater thrill than when father took us across the river in a skiff. Father could swim like a fish. Riding on his back through deep water filled me with joy because it was so easy and smooth. This made me love daddy because I thought he was a real pal. This was the last day or nearly the last day in September.
Childhood meets with ugly things as well as beautiful things.
One day I was standing in front of the drug- store in Jasper and before me there lay a man on the floor of the platform in front of the drugstore and his head was bleeding and they said some man hit him on the head during a fight and I thought he was dying. Another man was carrying cold water from the spring that ran out of the bank of the river and was pouring it on the man's head that was bleeding so fast. At this sight I was filled with wonder and amazement. I did not know the man that was hurt; neither did I know the man that hit him over the head. I do not remember whether the man died or not as I was too small to be informed about the details of such a case. I am only thinking of the things that a child sees and hears in growing up to manhood or womanhood. The man lying there with his head bleeding is as plain on my mind as if I had seen it yesterday. The ugly pictures stay in a child's mind as do the beautiful ones. The effect of these things in our life depends on how well we understand them in later life. My conception of this picture was that it was a terrible thing. It was a lesson of warning to me and it taught me that we must avoid any and everything that is calculated to cause trouble. It put a deep and lasting fear in my heart that no doubt has helped to keep me out of trouble in many things.
The play life of childhood days are indeed very important. In childhood we are getting sensations and concepts that will contribute to our success in life or to the downfall in life. It is natural for children to play and to play with other children. We are a part of all we see and hear as we go through life. While we lived in Jasper we played with many other children. And I don't think that any child is naturally bad but they do some bad things or we think they are bad. I remember one boy that we played with often. He came to our house and we played in the back yard near the edge of the high bluff by the river. This boy's idea of fun was to catch every cat he could get hold of and tie a string around its neck with a rock at the other end and then throw the poor cat into the deep water of the river. One day he caught a large cat and tied a string around its neck with a rock at the end and threw it off the high bluff into the deep water of the river and we could see the poor cat as the rock pulled it down to the bottom. By the time it reached bottom its life was gone. What a boy?
But I was informed in later years that boy grew to manhood and became a Christian and was a fine man and good citizen.
I have thought that was the best way to eliminate cats when they are over populated. We have been told that a cat has nine lives and anyone who ever tried to kill a cat was made almost to believe it does' have seven lives. I myself have tried to kill several cats and I always dreaded it for it took the cat so long to die. But the cats the boy threw in the river died the quickest I have ever seen a cat die.
Life is a great mystery because it is filled with so many things that we do not understand. Child- hood is exposed to the good things and also to the bad and ugly things as well. Child psychology is as deep and wide as the great ocean. Who thoroughly understands childhood? The psychology of children and of the human mind is the biggest mystery in this world. There are deep things in our own life and we know not their depth. No one can give a definition of life that will satisfy anyone.
Little Buffalo River had big deep holes of water and then it had shallow places in it where you could wade and play in it. Then there were places we called shoals where it was very shallow where there were thousands of little rocks of all shapes, sizes, and colors. The water was only about ankle deep but it run fast and swift over the shoals when the river was low. In the shoals is where the little tiny fish live and children like to play in the shoals of the river and catch the little fish that live there. Then the thousands of little rocks of all sizes, shapes, and colors is an interesting thing for children.
Then on the outside of the running water there was a little eddy where we could find the lobsters or crawfish as we called them. Here in the shoals of the river was a place that nature furnished for recreation that was free to us children and brother James and other boys of our age used it very much. The weather was warm and we could wade in the water and play in it all day. We also learned to swim in the river very early in life because we could wade in the shallow places and keep going out into deeper places until we learned to swim. The deep holes and the deep water was the place for boat riding. I had a great time when we lived in Jasper, it was days of fun. We waded the river, we played in its shoals and we went over the deep places in the little boat or canoe as we called it. But those days are gone and the ones we played with have crossed over into another land but we remember them until this day and some good day we hope to see them again.
Now there was a Methodist Church and a Methodist Sunday School in Jasper when we lived there and Hattie and James who were older than I was attended the Sunday School. When Christmas season came they attended the Christmas program. It was held upstairs in the old court house. The building was old and the room was full of people and the building began to show signs of collapse and the people were scared and excited. Some of the people showed signs that they were going to jump out at the windows. The sheriff put someone at each window and at the door and filed them down the stairs that were on the out- side of the building. They all got out safe and sound, no one hurt and the building did not collapse. But they said if the people had stayed in it would have fallen down. I was not at the Christmas program but I know there were a lot of scared people and a lot of excitement about it all over Jasper.
We lived in Jasper only a short time but while we were there it was the happy play ground for brother and me. It is a bright spot in the memory of my childhood days. I lived a long time in Newton County but not long in Jasper. We got acquainted with a lot of children and people while there and I remember their names to this day. I have been away from Newton County for more than sixty years.
Now this is the year of 1878 but 1879 will soon be here and we are going to move out to father's claim where he is going to work at his trade. We will move some time in January. We moved from Siloam Springs to Spadra Bluff and from Spadra Bluff to Ozark, and from Ozark to Jasper and soon we will move to our new home which was about half way between Jasper and Big Buffalo on to what mother calls the Dogwood flat because there are hundreds of dogwood trees there. We hated to leave Jasper because it was a delightful place to live. I wonder where the children are that we played with? I saw many of them after- wards but many I have never seen since. We do not only move away from places that we love but we also move away from people we love and out from and away from childhood into manhood and womanhood. Change is taking place all the time in the experiences of life. We are not allowed to stay on this earth very long.
In the month of January, 1879, we moved to an old log house in Mr. Pleas Goodall's cornfield near a spring. We moved to this old house so father would be closer to his work. He was building us a new house on the claim that he was taking up.
This old house was populated with field mice, wood rats and bed bugs. And when we built a fire in the big fire place and warmed things up these creatures began to show up and we soon found out we were not alone.
The first day we lived in this old den it snowed but was not very cold. The snow came down in large flakes and we had no wood, only sticks and brush. My mother kept saying Pa and Jim will be here soon with a load of wood but it was late in the evening when they arrived with a sled load of wood. We lived in this old house only a short time until our new house was ready for us.
Father cut and hued the logs and dragged them to the place where they were to be made into the house. Then we had what we called a house raising, all the neighbors came and lifted the logs and made the walls. We had dinner on the ground that day. House raising was a great day. Everyone helped free of charge. The neighbor women helped mother with the dinner.
Father made the boards for the roof, in fact, he made everything that went into the building out of timber that grew in the woods. This was a small house and we lived in it until father could build us a bigger and better one. So when the bigger house was finished we moved into it and father used the first house for his shop.
He set out an orchard between the shop and the new house. It was a beautiful place out in the wild woods. There were a lot of fine big white oak trees, the kind of timber he made his barrels of. The woods were full of wild hogs, wild cats, wild turkey, raccoon and opossums and squirrels. There were no bears nor panthers at this time, although there had been lots of them. There were lots of wild honey bees in the hollow trees and some of them were very rich with honey. Lots of wild flowers of many kinds. The dogwoods were many and they made the woods shine when they put out their large white blossoms.
We had a lot of different kind of trees around our place. There were white oak, black oak, post oak, hickory trees and the wild cherry trees. We also had sugar maple which we tapped in the early spring when the sap was up, by chopping a place in the side of the tree and boring a hole and putting a hollow elder in the hole and hanging a bucket on the elder and in a few hours it would be full. Then we would bring them to the house and mother would put the maple juice in a kettle and boil it down into a syrup and more boiling would make it into maple sugar. Maple syrup and pancakes and home churned butter for breakfast. But as much as we had I never did get enough of it.
We had blackberries in the woods by the acre and we could gather just as many as we wanted. Mother made blackberry cobblers and father was really fond of them but he was not by himself, he had some children and a boy that could out match any other member of the family at the table.
We also had a lot of chinquepin trees close to our house and they would bear every year in abundance. They had a large burr full of stickers that grew on the outside of the nut and in the fall when they got ripe the large burr would burst wide open and the nut would fallout and then we could pick them up. But the woods were full of wild hogs and if they got there first they would get all of them. Sometimes we would have a little wind in the night and the chinques would almost cover the ground as the wind would shatter them out of those large burrs. Mother would wake us and say, "get up and go pick the chinequepins before the hogs get them." We would climb out of bed and make for the trees to beat the hogs. Life is like running a race and then it was a race with the wild hogs.
One Sunday morning we were out picking up chinequepins near what we called the big road. A lot of our roads were just paths and we called the wagon road the big road, and while we were near there a man came along and saw us picking up chinequepins. He rode out to where we were and got down off his horse and took some papers out of his pocket and gave each of us one. They were Sunday School papers and the one he gave to me had a picture of Jesus on it where He was stilling the storm on the lake of Galilee and it made a deep and lasting impression on me. Next day mother was sitting in a chair and I went to her with my paper in hand and said, "Mother does Jesus make the wind blow?" and she said,. "Yes.' Mother was not a Christian at the time. The man who gave me the paper was a Sunday School man from Jasper and I never did know his name. But the Lord sent that man to me and that was the beginning of my religious experiences on which I will have more to say later.
We had to carry our drinking water about a half mile up a steep rocky hill. There was what we called a wet weather spring close to the house but only in wet weather did it have any water in it. It was dry so much of the time and father told me to take a bag of table salt and put in it and the water would come back. One evening I did this and next morning I went down to the spring and it was running over with water. I thought I wouldn't have to carry water so far any more. But the secret of it was it had rained all night and in a few days the spring was dry again. I tried the salt again but it didn't work. Father was sincere but sometimes he liked to joke and he said, "I thought you would know that a little bag of salt would not work a miracle in time of a drought."
Father made barrels and he used wooden hoops on some and iron hoops on others. The wooden hoops were made of hickory saplings and in hot weather he couldn't make more than he could use in one day. About a quarter of a mile from our house there was a creek with a lot of hickory saplings growing. He would go down, cut and split them into the right size and put them in bundles and lay them in the creek so they would not dry out. Then next morning when it was day- light we would go down and get a bundle and carry them to my father's shop. Just what he would use that day.
There were lots of bamboo briars on the way to the creek and how I hated to get out of bed and go through them. My brother was not as lazy as I was. He would start off laughing and I would start off crying. Going down to the creek after the bundles of hoops was no great task, but father wanted to teach us to work. I think teaching us to work was the greatest thing mother and father did .for us. Work is a fundamental principle of success. in life. We lived on the dogwood flat in the years of 1879-'80-'81. We went to school at Cherry Grove down on Big Buffalo about three miles from our home. That was the first school I attended. It was in an old log house that had been a dwelling. It had no door shutters, no floor, windows, loft or ceiling. The cracks between the logs were large enough to throw a -cat through~
My teacher was a man named Hering. I would go to sleep during school and one day he said if I did not stay awake he would get some leatherwood bark, tie it around my thumbs and tie me up to the joists overhead. My oldest sister was sitting by me so he didnt 'scare me and'-I went -back to sleep. He told me afterward that he didn't know what he was going to do with me:
We walked three miles to school but didn't go with any regularity. The school terms were only three months a year and we went only a few days in each term. It was a poor school but the best the country cold afford at the time. On school days we had to go to the creek and get a load of hoops and then carry water from the spring about a half mile away. Our book at the school was the old Blue Back Spelling Book.
Houston's cotton gin was on Big Buffalo, two miles from our house and in the fall we worked there. It was run by ox and horse power. Four yoke of oxen, when we used oxen and four teams of horses, when we used horses. They worked to a big lever that turned a wooden cog wheel that ran all the machinery of the cotton gin. Our wages were twenty-five cents a day.
There, was a cotton farm near the gin and our sisters went with us and picked cotton. On days the gin didn't run, brother and- I picked cotton with our sisters. We got fifty cents per hundred pounds for cotton picking. All four of us didnt" average making a dollar a day.
There was an old man down on the creek by the name: of Cale Hickman, that had been through two wars. He raised a little patch of cotton and some days I would go and pick cotton with Uncle Cale Hickman and eat dinner with him. Aunt Nancy, his wife, would have com dodgers, fried bacon and grease and coffee. Some times dried fruit for dessert.
We lived in a cyclone path in the dogwood flat. Out in the woods we could see the path the cyclone had come years before. The large trees were decayed and the saplings were growing up in the place of the parent trees the cyclone had blown down. One evening just at dusk a cyclone came. It passed between father's shop and the house, the main part of it missed the house. Father was standing out in the yard just far enough that it picked him up and threw him out in the field. There were sink holes allover the woods about four to six feet deep and about ten to fifteen feet in diameter. The cyclone dropped father in one of these. The storm lasted only a few minutes, and mother and brother went to hunt for father. Just a few yards from the house they found him. A sprained ankle was his only injury. Forever after he was afraid of cyclones. We had to carry water so far and the cyclones were so bad father was dissatisfied. He rented a farm down on Big Buffalo from a man named Houston. It "was a good farm and the land was rich. This was the year President Garfield was shot, 1881; we could not get possession of the house on the farm so father rented an old one-room house from Mr. Cale Hickman and we moved into it until the first of the year. While we were in this little house my youngest sister, Mary, was born November 10, 1881. The first of the year of 1882 we moved to Bill Houston's place about a mile across the river from Houston's gin.
Big Buffalo River was larger than Little Buffalo and its bottoms were wider and the farms larger.
The land was sandy and loamy and easily cultivated. But in the growing season it rained so often the crab grass and other foulness grew fast. Brother and I were large enough to do a little work on the farm. We planted com but the molds were so bad we had to replant and this we did with a hoe. We put seed com in our pockets and where a hill of com had been taken up we would dig a little hole and drop in three grains of corn and cover it with the hoe. We helped father in many ways. We followed the plow with hoes and cut weeds the plow didn't get. Then we hoed cotton. But when father was not with us we spent a lot of time playing in the sand bars along the river. We farmed this place only a year but it was a great year in my life. We laid our crop by in July and then father worked in the shop until gathering time. Between the time we laid our crop by and the time we began gathering, we played in the river.
A mile or so down the river was a place called Brownville where they had church and Sunday school in an old double log house. The boys my size came to Sunday School in their shirts only, but they reached almost to their knees. I wore pants. They wore homemade wool shirts that their mothers had carded, spun and wove the cloth. These boys had leatherwood bark for belts. I went to Sunday School and church every Sunday and they used the old blue back spelling book for it was the only literature they had. The mothers with their homemade wool dresses were our teachers. Then after Sunday School they had preaching and two or three preachers would preach for a very long time and .I would listen to all of them. I would get very hungry but I never was disgusted at the preaching. They would cry and walk the floor and preach loud. I wondered what it was all about. They perhaps would not be called very good preachers now days but they were good sincere men and did the best they knew how. I was now nine years old, past what they call later childhood.
These cornfield preachers as they were called made a lasting impression on me. God was working in their life and blessing their .labors.
My first religious impression was when the man from Jasper came along where I was picking up chinquepins and gave me the Sunday School paper with the picture of Jesus on it stilling the storm on Lake Galilee.
God works in many and mysterious ways to bring us to a knowledge of His purpose and will.
Many things happened in the one year that we lived on Big Buffalo on the Houston farm. My sister Effie who was younger than myself had great times playing up and down the river. We would go along close to the edge of the high bluffs and look way down to the river when its waters were low and some times its waters were very high. We crossed the river in a canoe where the water was deep. We would go across the river to get watermelons. A farmer had a large field of cotton just across the river from our spring and we would go over there and get a lot of fine melons which were in the cotton field. That was the way they raised watermelons in those days. They planted in the cotton patch and there were thousands of them and there was no market for them. Sister and I had lots of fun crossing the river in that boat to get the watermelons. Some times the boat would leak and I would have to dip the water out to keep it from sinking: Lot of the times I had to work real fast to keep the boat from going down to the bottom. Sometimes we had it overloaded with watermelons and it would scare my sister. It was a wonder that both of us did not drown.
Happy days of childhood when we were free from the cares of this life and also free from the fear of danger and death. Day after day we played along the Big Buffalo together. We had to work but there were many days that we did not work and then we put in the time playing. Nature afforded us so many interesting things that we were just filled with joy and gladness. We learned that God made the river, the bluffs, the flowers, the beautiful hills around us. The picture of the river and bluffs and the hills are with me to stay and it thrills me when I think of those happy days. God bless the rivers and the hills, for He made them.
We picked our cotton and gathered our corn crop, father sold his barrels at Bear creek where there was a still and where they made whisky.
I had a good case of the chills because I had played in the river so much my mother said. My father and mother decided to send me to Bear Creek Springs to school and see if it would not cure me of the Third day chills. The kind they said were hardest to cure. So in the winter of 1883 they sent me to Bear Creek to stay with a man by the name of Wroten. He lived just across the road from the little school house where I went to school. My teacher's name was Miss Kitty Williams. I went to school there and chilled every third day.
A very cold spring ran out of the side of the mountain just a few steps from where I stayed and lots of people hauled water from that spring on a sled drawn by two horses. One day a school mate of mine came by with his horses and sled to get two barrels of water. As he passed he said, "get on the sled and go with me," so I stepped on the sled and he drove into the water which was about eighteen inches deep and as he turned his horses he upset the sled and we both fell in the water which was very cold. Besides it all it was my chill day and the time of the day that I chilled. I ran to the house which was only a few steps and Mrs. Wroten put me to bed after taking my wet clothes off and started giving me pepper tea. Soon I got up a big sweat and behold I missed my chill. I stood at the head of my class with my marks and got the prize at the end of school.
This was a rough place, there was a still and some tough people but I did not go about the still only once or twice while I was there. This was a very small school and a small number of boys and girls who attended. But it made a great contribution to my whole life. We are indeed a part of every thing we see, hear and do. This short term school did me a lot of good but it did not cure me of the chills. Mr. and Mrs. Wroten treated me very nice and my teacher was so good to me that I almost worshipped her. While I stayed there I learned to love people. That was the longest time I was ever away from home up to that time. I will never forget that little school.
While I was in school at Bear Creek Springs my father and mother moved from Big Buffalo River in Newton County to Mr. John Moore's place which was in Boone County, near Walnut Grove School on Crooked Creek. Before school was out my brother James came after me on a Saturday. The next morning was Sunday and we walked home to the new house, I remember it was about four miles and we got home about dinner time. I was glad to see my family. -"
I still had a bad case of the Third day chills and 1 was not well any 'of the time. I had no energy and I was cross and mad a lot of the time. My mother tried every 'remedy that she knew. She gave me button willow tea and it was so bitter that I dreaded to see that spoon full of stuff coming to my mouth. My mother believed in it but I didn't. Once someone told my mother to put egg shells in the ovcn and parch the)1:I until they could be ground into a fine powder;, Then give me a table spoon full of that stuff every morning before breakfast and it would sure cure the Third Day Chills, that it never failed. Of all the things that ever went down my throat was the nasty egg shells. The willow tea nor the egg shells did me any good. I told my mother about falling in the Bear Creek Spring and Mrs. Wroten putting me to bed and giving me pepper tea and I missed my chill. My mother tried that many times. We lived just a few feet from a large branch that had holes of water in it. Mother had me just before chill time, go down to the hole of water and swim around until I got good and wet. Then she would meet me at the bank with some quilts, wrap me up good, put me in bed and give me a lot of pepper tea. I contended with my mother that it was the pepper tea that put me to sweating and it was not going in the creek. But this remedy failed as all the others. What was I to do? What was my mother to do about the Third Day Chills? We had tried every sane and every foolish remedy and no cure had been accomplished. I was as yellow as a cornfield pumpkin.
My father was a great hand to move, nothing pleased him any more than to see the household goods in the wagon and ready to move.
We lived near the Walnut Grove school one year and went to Sunday School and church there regular. All the churches worshiped in the same building. The Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterians all preached there and they had a union Sunday School. The public school had three month terms of school each year and I went there a short time. It was a fine community to live in. The people were a very high class of people.
Father and mother were both converted and joined the Methodist church while we lived there. My religious impressions were deepened. I went to the altar a number of times for prayer. I loved to go to the altar and listen to the prayers.
Father worked at his trade making barrels in the summer after the crop was laid by. But there was no white oak timber there. We were only six miles from Harrison, the county seat of Boone County, and it was good farming country. We made a crop of corn, oats and sugar cane.
We started moving first from Siloam Springs, and from there to Spadra Bluff and from Spadra
Bluff to Ozark and from Ozark to Jasper and from Jasper to the dogwood flat and from the dogwood flat to Cale Hickman's place near Big Buffalo and from there to John Moore's place in Boone County near Walnut Grove School. Because there was no white oaks here suitable for barrels my father decided to move back to Newton County where there were plenty of very fine white oaks. That was only about ten miles from Walnut Grove.
When we had gathered our corn crop and made our cane into sorghum molasses, we moved back to Newton County to a place called the Gaither Cove. It was in the bend of the Gaither Mountain, a small neighborhood. Here my father bought a claim and gave seventy-five dollars for it. The land was rough and rocky but very productive for corn and other grain. It was a fine place for fruit, berries and garden stuff.
Father and I moved first ahead of the rest of the family. We batched and father worked in the timber. The rest of the family moved just before Christmas. I was now eleven years old past, and going out of childhood.
EARLY ADOLESCENCE, TWELVE TO SEVENTEEN
The eleven years of my life that is called child- hood had been happy years. I learned a lot about this world. I saw many things that I will remember always. Somewhere I read "Blessed is childhood for it is the symbol of all love and light and laughter. But we were made to grow in body, mind and spirit. This begins with childhood and grows into young manhood and young womanhood. When life is complete it is made up of all we have seen and thought and read. I am starting into young manhood and I have a good father and mother and brother and sisters to live with.
In Gaither Cove we worked in the timber in the winter. We made rails and built fences and cleared new land and put it into corn and oats. We raised some cotton, and wheat to make our own biscuits, pies and pancakes. We helped father get out barrel timber. I have seen many a big white oak tree, four and five feet in diameter fall after it had been chopped and sawed down. We used a cross cut saw that was seven feet in length and wide enough to run throuh a five foot log.
In the spring we worked in the field plowiI1g and planting our crop. When it was planted we had to cultivate it. The weeds, grass and sprouts kept us busy until about the first of July. We laid our crops by and then went to school for a few days before we had to cut our wheat and oats.
We harvested our wheat and oats with the old fashioned cradle and bound them into bundles by hand. I have used the cradle and followed it after my brother and bound the wheat into bundles as fast as he could cut it. as we used to say I could keep up with the cradle.
We raised almost everything we ate. We had a big variety of fruits and garden vegetables. But it took lots of hard work to grow things because it rained often and the soil was strong. We had apples, peaches, plums, pears, cherries and all kinds of berries. Our work was about the same each year. In the winter we worked in the timber and in the spring on crops and in the summer we worked in the harvest field.
Father raised both sweet and Irish potatoes. When they were ready to dig, as we called it, he put a thick layer of wheat straw on the ground, they put the Irish potatoes on the straw, then another layer of wheat straw on the potatoes and last we would put about six inches of dirt. That would keep them until we used them all. By the time we had used all of them a new crop would be ready. The sweet potatoes we put in the cellar under the floor in dry dirt that had no moisture in it and they would keep until spring. We had a cellar for the apples and had them the year around. The apples in the cellar would keep until the early harvest apples were ripe in the orchard.
Father had four acres in the apple orchard besides peaches and other kinds of fruit. It was the finest apple orchard I have seen anywhere. In it were a big variety of fine apples.
Our yard had a railing fence around it and on the inside was a row of fine cherry trees and they were full of cherries every year. Mother also had a very fine garden every year. She raised a variety of vegetables. Cabbage, beans, English peas, onions that were sweet, pie plant. strawberries and raspberries. Mother took care of the garden because we children had to work in the field most of the time, and father worked in his shop when we lived here more than at other places because he had plenty. of timber to make all the barrels that he had a market for. Mother had the table covered with good things to eat and we were all growing into manhood and womanhood.
What wonderful days these were. But we cannot go back and live them allover again. Only once do we pass through childhood and through the days of youth and then to old age or senescence as they call it. This is the way that the good Lord made it to be and we cannot change it and besides l we do not want to change it because we know that His way is the best. In those days we were all well and at home together and were happy. We did not trouble ourselves in those days with what the future might bring. Home sweet home was all we thought about and mother and father and we children.
Brother and I made lots of rail. We would go out in the woods where the black oak trees were thick and cut and split rails all day. We could cut and split one hundred and fifty rails in one day. The black oak were tall trees and some of them would make six or seven rail cuts, eight feet in length. We delighted to see the tall trees fall and we had some dogs and when the tree would fall the dogs would bark and make a lot of to do over the tree falling down. When a tree fell it would make quite a noise you could hear all over the woods. There was a lot of joy that went along with the hard work in rail making. Mother would have us a fine dinner every day. We both liked fried pies and she would have them every day for dinner. We kept our rail fences around the field in good shape.
We lived in an open range country where everyone turned their stock out to the free range and we had to have good fences. Our fences were ten rails high and had plenty of worm so they, would not fall down.
The woods was covered deep with the crop of leaves every year and we had to rake a path all around our field every year and then fire against the fires in the woods. When there were backfires all over the country it was a beautiful sight to behold. I have gone out at night and stand and look at the long strings of fire. The fire would be even and straight for more than a mile and how it would light up the whole woods.
In the spring we would plow up our rocky field and get ready to plant our crop. The old corn stalks had to be cut down with a hoe and then picked up by hand and put in piles and burned. I have cut and piled and burned stalks many a day. Compare this way of farming then to the way now and see the wide difference. We made our living the hard way and the lightest work we had then was going to mill, horse back.
Brother and I took it turn about going to mill on Saturday evening. We put one bushel of corn in a sack across the saddle and went over the mountains four miles to the grist mill. Some times it was late at night before we could get our grinding. Our family was large and we had to go to mill every week.
We sowed our wheat in among the com stalks and plowed it in with double shovel and in the spring we had to cut the corn stalks down with a hoe. Then we had to cut the sprouts two or three times before the wheat was ready to harvest. There were lots of hickory stumps and walnut stumps and many other kinds of stumps. They would keep sprouting for several years after the ground had been put into cultivation. We cut the wheat with a cradle and bound it into bundles by hand and then put it in shocks. We hauled the shocks in a wagon and stacked the wheat. Then it was thrashed with what they called the old ground hog thrasher. In thrashing the wheat it took about all the able bodied men in the community to run that old ground hog machine and all the women to do the cooking. Most all of the neighborhood was employed during the thrashing season. What a jubilee this was to the whole neighborhood. We swapped work and our thrashing did not cost us very much in real cash.
We had lots of wild honey to spread on our biscuits. Everywhere the dining table reached across the kitchen and as many as thirty could get around that table and it was piled full of a great variety of food and none of the food went to waste. Thrashing wheat was hard work but there was a lot of fun attached to it and it had a social value. It created a better feeling among' neighbors. But some times we had a dog fight that caused hard feelings. Dog fights caused hard feeling more at log rollings than at thrashing time. We earned our bread in the hardest way but the bread was sweet after we earned it in this way. Now this way went on year after year. Our work varied some but it was about the same every year. From twelve to fifteen years in my life it was about the same each year.
In the spring of the year when my father's apple orchard was in bloom and the peach trees all covered with blossoms it was a beautiful sight to behold. My mother had the yard and lot full of chickens and geese. The bells on the cow and horses were ringing and everywhere the birds were singing. We were all at home father and mother and children were all happy. This was real life, home life. But these days did come to an end and other days have come.
Besides the work in the field and in the woods we had our chores around the house: and each member of the family had their task or work to do. My job was to get the firewood and wood to cook with. Brother's job was to take care of the horses and hogs and see that they had plenty, of water and food. My mother milked the cows, she would not let any of us milk. I generally helped her with the calves. We let the cows out in: the day and the calves out at night. Besides my job of getting wood I had to get the horses and calves up every morning. But this was only through the spring and summer. I had a little yoke of calves and a wagon that I made by sawing the wheels off of a black gum tree and then boring' a hole in the center of the round wheel and making the axles that fit into the wheels, I made standards and I could haul a lot of wood this way, besides' the fun there was in working the calves to a wagon that I had made myself. Black gum wheels and axles and tongue and standards made of oak. Later I hauled wood with a team of horses. I learned to chop wood with an ax and I got to be quite an axman by cutting rail timber and fire- wood. My father worked at his trade most of the time while we lived in Gaither Cove. We burned lots of firewood and lots of cookstove wood. We carried our water from the spring which was just a short distance under the hill from the house but the hill was steep. My mother carried all the milk and butter to the spring house in the summer time. I have seen my mother carry two or three gallon jars of milk on her hip up that steep hill many times. We thought not4ing about it at that time. But my mother lived to be ninety- two years of age.
We had heavy rains some times in the night and my mother would get up and go see about the little chickens. The water would be allover the yard and a chicken doesn't have any sense about a rainstorm. They would get under the drip of the house and stick their heads up in the stream of water and drown. But mother always saved most of the chickens in a storm. A big yellow legged frying chicken then was worth only ten cents on the market and ,eggs sold for five cents per dozen. Most of the frying sized chickens were put on the dining table. Because all the family loved fried chicken fried in good old hog lard. Those days were not days of fasting but days of feasting.
My recreational life consisted of swimming, hunting and fishing. And I did a lot of all three of them. I have stayed all night on the banks of Vilines Creek where it joins Big Buffalo lots of nights. . Also I have fished lots of nights on the banks of Big Buffalo. We had lots of rainy days and it was to wet to work in the field and we would dig up a can full of big red worms and grub worms and go fishing. This was lots of fun. We were as much interested in the fun with other boys as we were in the fishing. There were lots of big fish in Big Buffalo but they were hard to catch with a hook. Plenty of mud cats and also blue catfish. Sunperch were in great schools. We boys, my brother and neighbors have stayed on the banks of the river when it would rain all night long. The rain was warm and wet clothes did not bother us. Most of the time we came home wet as could be and no fish for breakfast. Some times it would rain for one whole week and keep us out of the field, we would have a long protracted fishing spell. I use to like to go fishing as well as any- body ever did. We usually went fishing when the river was up and it was an inspiration to see the waters, rolling waves rise up in the middle of the river and then slosh out to the banks and we would have to get a little farther out. Sometimes the river would get out of its banks and out in the fields and wash away the crops. But when the river was out of its banks was not a good time to fish. We would go squirrel hunting if it was too wet to work in the field. There were lots and lots of fox and grey squirrels. Just go out among the big oak trees and we could kill all we wanted if we knew how to shoot an old cap and ball rifle. Squirrels were next to fried chicken on the dining table. And it was not against the law to kill as many as you wanted. They would destroy our com around the field for several rows. We would hunt squirrels to save our corn from being destroyed by them. Squirrels could play and bark as they jumped from limb to limb in the black oaks trees and they could put on a very interesting show. We hunted for coons and opossums and quails. Quails were there in great I numbers. We made traps and caught quails and rabbits and snow birds. We hunted bee trees and some were rich with honey of the best kind.
It was great joy to me when we used to go swimming in the creeks. Cove creek was just about one-half mile from our house and it was our bath tub but a more delightful place than any bath tub that I was ever in. We were taught that it was wrong to go swimming on Sunday. We would go to Sunday School and church and then us boys would as soon as the church services were over, head for the swimming hole. It was a deep hole of water" with a low bluff on one side and a big flat rock about as long as the hole of water and was wide. It was an ideal place to undress and dress without getting our clothes dirty or our feet when we came out of the water. Many times we went there to swim and to have all the fun we wanted. It was far enough from the road to not be seen. I had all confidence in my father and mother. I never doubted their sincerity. But they never did make me believe that it was wrong to go swimming on Sunday. I believed that God made that hole of water for us to swim in. It was deep and clear and clean and pure water.
We would go there after working in the harvest field and take a bath in that cool water and sleep better at night. When we worked at the thrashing after supper and after dark we would go there and take a swim and wash our bodies off. Mother liked to keep her beds clean and nice and we wanted to help her in that way. Very early in the spring we would go swimming when the water was still cold but it never did hurt us that I knew of: I learned early in life to swim but I never was a good swimmer.
I was swimming across the creek and there was a bluff on the other side and a little oak sapling growing in the cleft of the rocks. When I reached the bluff I reached for the sapling and my feet slipped from under me and I got strangled and I was sinking. I would have drowned but a man who had long arms reached out and I took hold of his hand and he lifted me out of the deep water. After that I was always afraid of deep water but I was more careful about swimming than before. I was not very well acquainted with him but I have always remembered that man. I don't think I ever did see the man after that day. I was full of water when I got out of the creek.
At the little school house just one-half mile away from the hill was the place where we went to Sunday School and church each Sunday. We seldom missed a Sunday; My father was superintendent of the Sunday School and my mother was teacher of a class of boys. My father helped to build the little school house, it was built of logs. They hued the logs and then drug .them up with the wagon. One end of the log was chained under the front axle tree of-the wagon and the other end of the log dragging on the ground. When they got all the logs to the place the men came in and they had a big day raising the logs into a house. They made the benches out of splitting logs and made boards to cover it with and boards to gable the ends-. That was where "I got some of the most impressive religious truth which have been a great stay in my life.
I attended church regularly and also the mid-week prayer service. I loved to go to church and Sunday School. In those days we had our church services in the morning at eleven a.m. (and our Sunday School at three p.m. We always had more people attend the church services than we did at the Sunday School. The folk did not have to be urged to come to the church services, they came without any invitation. The folk would ask people to come to Sunday School but a lot of the time they would not be there. Now it is the other way. Here I learned to conduct the prayer services in mid- week which was poorly attended. They would have what they called the big meeting, a revival, some called it. The people would go up to the altar and then they would shout all over the camp ground. They would talk more about religion than any- thing else. They would talk about the preachers text and the sermon he preached from the text. They would talk it all day after the services. And during these services the people were devoted to the services altogether. Most everything else was laid aside until the revival services were over with and some times a long time after. But some soon forgot it and had to be renewed the next year. Lots of backsliders in those days but lots of faithful Christians also. This little log house done a lot for me in the way of religion. I have no doubt it did a lot for many others who lived there at that time. Many who have gone to their reward.
We lived in a timbered country where there were lots of different kinds of trees. There was different kinds of oak trees, the white oak, black oak, post oak, the water oak, the spotted oak, the pin oak. We had the black hickory, the shell bark hickory. We had lots of sweetgum trees and they were very large. The black gum trees were large and I never did know what the black gum tree was in value. We never did use it for anything only to' cut it down and get it out of the way. We could hardly burn a black gum at all, neither could we split one, for the grain was so crooked. Then we had the ash tree, lots of them and they used the ash timber to make ox yokes. We had the maple sugar trees but there were not so many of them. We had lots of Sasafrass trees and on poor soil the Sasafrass sprouts were numerous. Along the rivers we had the beech trees. We had a lot of lin trees, they grew tall, a long straight body, and some grew to more than one hundred feet in height. The dog- wood trees were by the thousand. We had the red cedar that grew in the deep rough places we called the follows. Tall cedars of almost all sizes and straight. We used them 'for rafters on houses and barns. Some places they made them into rails and built fences with them. We could split them with a chopping ax eight or ten feet long. We did not have any pine trees near our place. Around the benches of the mountains the burr oak were very large some of them were six feet in diameter. My father used them to make the heads for his barrels. We made ax handles and malls from black hickory. We made gluts or wedges from the dogwood. In making rails we used the ax and the cross cut saw to cut the timber in the right length, which was eight feet. Then we split the timber with an iron wedge and the dogwood glut or wedge and we drove the wedges into the wood with a large mall made out of black hickory.
We had lots of wild fruit in the woods, such as summer grapes, they were large and sweet, good to eat something like our concord grapes. Then we had the little winter grapes that grew along the streams in abundance, they made good jelly. We had lots of black berries and raspberries and straw berries that grew wild. They were delicious to eat or to make pies of them.
We used the white oak boards and staves for barrels. The white oak along the river was good basket timber. Lots of large walnut trees three feet in diameter.
John Marvin Hatfield, the youngest member in my father's family, was born May 13, 1886. I was thirteen years old when he was born. In the fall of 1887 after I was fourteen years old in May, I took a notion I would go down on the Arkansas River near Clarksville and pick cotton and make some money. So one Sunday morning I started with another boy on foot. We went to Jasper and then up the Little Buffalo River and on to the Boston Mountain. The mountain that I crossed with my mother when I was just six years old. Just as we left Buffalo River we stopped to get dinner at a house along the road side. The lady of the house went out and got some fresh corn and cooked it for us. It took some time for her to get it ready but we were tired and we waited patiently for our dinner. We ate hearty for we were hungry. We were three days getting to Clarksville, we walked every step of the way. In a day or so after we were there I got a job picking cotton and the cotton was very fine. It was hot and I was afraid I was going to get sick with the chills as I was addicted to the chills. A man told me that I had come down there a little too soon, that I should have waited till the weather got a little cooler. So after I had picked cotton about two weeks I decided I would start home. I went out of the river bottom into the up land and I met up with a man that wanted to hire me to pull fodder for him. I knew how to pull fodder for I had lots of experience in pulling fodder at home. He seemed like a very nice man, I went home with him and he asked me a lot of questions about my home and then offered me fifty cents per day to pull fodder for him. His wife seemed to be very kind and they had two small children and a nice home everything was neat and tidy. So I went to work for him. The corn was good and there were no weeds, he had cultivated the ground good. I worked for him several days and the first day and every day and the last day that I had dinner with them, they had apple dumplings for dinner that were the best apple dumplings that I ever did put down my throat. Never before or since have I tasted such good dumplings. He paid me and I started home but I hated to leave that place because they treated me so kind.
The man wanted me to stay with him. He liked my work but I was real home sick. Home sick ness is the sickest sick that anyone ever did experience. I cried my eyes out. I could not think of any thing but my good old mother and father and baby brother and my older brother and all my sisters. On the way from Clarksville to the Boston Mountain I stopped at a house and the man wanted me to .work for him, I stopped with him a few days and worked for him and also another man that lived near, but every day I got sicker and sicker. I had something wrong with my kidneys and it was really bad but I did not say anything about it to anyone. So I decided this time I was going home because I did not like the place where I was staying. I started home alone and I never thought of being afraid one time. I was part of three days getting home. But when I got within about thirty miles of home I was walking fast and it was noon or dinner time and I noticed a man camped by the side of the road. He was eating his dinner. He was close to his wagon and horses. He called to me and said "Hello there" and I did not pay any attention until he called two or three times, I turned to see and it was one of my neighbors. He had been down to Clarksville moving some one down there. So I went out to him and he said, "donít you want to ride with me I am on my way home," I said yes. He did not have any load and he had a good pony team and so I got in with him because he wanted me for company and I wanted to ride. That afternoon we drove down the Boston Mountain near the head of Little Buffalo River. We struck camp and we did not have any drinking water and was also short of food. We parched some corn in a skillet he had. We were so hungry that we ate a lot of that parched corn and then we thought we would die with thirst. There was a large cave near us and we burned nearly all the matches we had searching for water in that cave but found none. He put me on one of his horses and sent me down the road hunting water. It was dark as pitch but I soon came to a house and I rode up to the gate and said hello. The man came out and I told him my trouble and he brought out a bucket of water and poured it into the bucket I had and I went back to the camp. We quenched our thirst and then we went to the bed the man had ready.
The cave we went in searching for water by the light of matches was a noted cave because an outlaw had taken refuge in this cave just a few years back and the county officials wondered how they were to get that man out of the cave. The sheriff a man by the name of John Lee, settled the question for all time by going in there alone and arrested the bad man, brought him out and put him in the county jail. Now our motive that prompted us to go in the cave was first to find water to drink and second we wanted it to be said that we was in the cave where the Sheriff went alone and arrested the man and brought him out. But there was no bad man in there when we went in the cave. It was not an easy thing to ride a horse bare back in pitch dark and hold a bucket of water out with one hand to keep from spilling it all out before I got to the camp but I arrived at the camp with the bucket of water, the man took it and we drank it and quenched our thirst. Now it was about twenty miles home and so we ate some more parched com and fed the horses and hitched them up to the wagon and started for home. The man went within about three miles of my home and I got out of the wagon and walked three miles home. They were not looking for me that day. In fact they did not know what day I would be home but mother and father both knew that I would be home soon and so I was there. I was indeed glad to see all the family.
Now I was fourteen years old past. I was convinced that home was the greatest place on the earth. To eat at mother's table and sleep on the bed that mother made could not be beat any where. The October peaches were not all gone when I got back home and the winter apples were beginning to taste very good. It was good to hear again my father driving the hoops down on his barrel and to hear the sound of the cooper's adzs. So we finished picking the scrap cotton and got up a lot of fire wood and went through the winter as usual.
This is the year of 1887 and next year in May I will be fifteen years old. We worked in the timber till time to plant our crop and then we went in to the crop again. The spring rains and the summer rains always come and we could depend on the seasons being good every year. It always was an inspiration to me to see things grow and that everything always grew up toward heaven to the God who created all things.
We made our crop and gathered it as usual and then went into the timber and worked till crop time again and this is the year that I am sixteen years old. We finished cultivating our crop and late in the fall I got a job carrying the mail, horse- back from Jasper the county seat of Newton County to Harrison the county seat of Boone county. I stayed at Marble City which was just half way between the two extremes. I left Marble City each morning and went to Harrison and back to Marble City by noon. Eat dinner and changed horses and went to Jasper and back to Marble City that evening. This made a distance of forty miles which I made every day, twenty miles for each horse but forty miles for me. Mr. Dick Stegall was the contractor and I was hired at the sum of eight dollars per month. I had to get up before daylight each morning and be on my way to Harrison and I would be: about three miles on my way when the day arrived. This was the way every morning except one morning the alarm clock did not go off and that morning I was late but I was not to blame for the folk where I stayed was supposed to to get up and feed my horse and saddle him for me and have my breakfast for me. All I was expected to do was to get up and eat my breakfast when called and get on the horse and go by the postoffice and get the mail bag and be on my way to Harrison rain or shine, cold or hot. The horse that I rode to Harrison was a little pony and how he could trot and pace. The horse I rode to Jasper in the afternoon was a larger horse and he could fox trot. Some times he would get sick and I did not know what to do but I always got in with the mail bags. I was not allowed to carry anything but little things that had no weight. This was under Glover Cleveland administration. Times were indeed hard times. One dollar went a long way. We could buy a very good suit of clothes for five dollars and what they called congress men's shoes for one dollar and a half. Where I stayed was four miles from my father's home and it would be late when I got back with the mail Saturday night, but I would walk home and stay home Sunday all day and late in the evening I would walk the four miles and be ready next morning when the cook announced breakfast, and be ready to climb on the little pony and be going on my way to Harrison. The folk did not feed me as good as mother did and I loved to go home on week end.
I carried the mail in the fall of 1889 and until March of 1890 and a man that had sold out his farm and was going to central Texas. He had two wagons and teams and he wanted some one to go with him and drive one team, they asked my father and mother if they would let me go and of course I was anxious for the trip. My father consented for me to go. The man was to pay all my expenses on the way. The distance they said was six hundred miles and that was a long ways from home and to drive a wagon and team. So the time arrived when I was to leave home. It was Sunday at 10 o'clock in the morning ",hen I was to go to where the man lived, where we were to start and I dreaded to see the hour come to bid them all good bye. It did arrive and my valise was packed and my mother was in the yard just outside the front door, I had my valise in my hand and mother's eyes were filled with tears, she told me good bye she said, "Charlie I want you to be a good boy" and she had in her hand a Bible, she handed it to me and said, "you take this book with you and read it and remember mother. I took the Bible in my hand and turned to go after I had bid all the folks good bye. I went to where the man lived that I was to go to Texas with, it was about eight miles and we were to start next morning. When morning came the mule that the man had, got out and was gone. After looking for the mule we were told that the mule was in my father's lot. The mule strayed off and came to my father's, and he let him go in the lot but he did not know who the mule belonged to. When we got the information that the mule was in my father's lot, I was the one that must go after the mule and I dreaded to go and have to tell them all good bye again. I did go and as it happened none of the folks were in the house but my father and he helped me get the bridle on the mule. We were both full of tears and I went leading the mule. I was on another horse. How and why that crazy mule when he got out that night went to my father's lot I have never been able to reason it out. The mule was never there before. He traveled in an opposite direction from which he was supposed to go. We got started but we had several delays, before we got out of our country. I never did get over telling my folk good bye.
I will relate a lot of things about my trip to Texas in the next pages.
LATER ADOLESCENCE, FROM 17 TO 22
We started on our long trip of six hundred miles and we got down as far as Marble City and another man was with us. He owed a store bill and they came and attached his wagon and team. We waited two days for him and it turned real cold for it was the last days of February. The two days we waited was by the road side by a-big log heap that was on fire and we stood close to that fire. But the law was against the man and he could not go to Texas with us. The third morning we rolled out and crossed the Big Buffalo River and then we went up the Little Buffalo beyond Jasper, or above Jasper and stayed all night with a man by the name of White, an old neighbor of former days. Next morning we pulled out and drove that day to the top of the Boston Mountain and camped and it rained on us that day. We traveled the next day and didn't get off the Boston Mountain. We camped two nights on the Boston Mountains. After we had camped the second night, the next day we got to Clarksville. We drove down to the Arkansas River to a landing place. We drove on to the steam boat and crossed the river. I never got out of the wagon, I stayed in the spring seat and we were just a few minutes crossing the river. We drove off the ship up the steep bank and went into Sebastian County, Arkansas. We went through Charleston and Greenwood and just a short distance from Greenwood, Mr. Lee the man I was going with had a cousin there. We stayed with him two or three days. As we passed through the country around Charleston and Greenwood we came on to the prairie. I had lived in heavy timbered country and I did not know what a prairie looked like. When we stopped for dinner that day I remarked that there was a lot of old fields throwed out of cultivation. Mr. Lee said: "That's prairies." "OK," I said, "is that prairies?' The dinner was spread out on the ground and the sun was shining bright and warm. This was a thrill to me that I had seen a prairie country. We stayed with Mr. Lee's cousin two or three days as I remember and they treated us very kind and then we pulled down as I remember a Southwest course into the Indian Territory.
We camped our first night in the Indian Territory by a big log heap fire. As Mrs. Lee was getting breakfast the next morning she said to me, "And your father was a yankee," I said yes and she said, "he was in the Union Army and helped to free the Negroes," I said, "yes." "Well," she said, "I don't wish any body any harm but I wish your daddy had to kiss a Negro every morning before breakfast." She believed in slavery. When I was home again I told my father what Mrs. Lee said and he laughed.
The same morning after breakfast we drove by a little log cabin and a big Indian man was sitting in the door of his cabin with a gun in his hand and he had long black or dark hair and that was my first time to see an Indian. I thought all the Indians were .bad Indians but before we got through the Indian Territory I come to know that was not so. We had some trouble getting feed for our teams. Only now and then could we find corn or hay to buy and when we did find it we bought all we had room for in our wagons. We found one Indian who had plenty of corn and hay to sell and he said, "The Indians were lazy and would not work." And we thought he was about right. We went through McAlister and we crossed the Muddy Boggy at Atoka, we crossed the Clear Boggy on a flat boat and it was up, running swift that day. We went through Durant and on to Red River and we crossed Red River at Colbert's Ferry. We drove up the Red River bank into the great state of Texas. We went through Denison, Texas. And between Denison and Pottsboro, Mr. Lee had a cousin by the name of Tom Barbee. We stopped there about one week and it rained almost every day and the roads were a muddy sight in that black land.
The team I drove was one black horse and the other one was a dark brown and his name was Bill and the black horse's name was Rex and they were a good team. Bill was a young horse and he wasn't used to the barb wire fences and he run into the wire and was unable to wear a collar for a long time. Mr. Lee swapped Bill to his cousin for a larger and older horse. He was a Claybank horse and was a fine looking horse. The roads were so muddy that Mr. Lee went down to Pottsburo and shipped everything we had but just enough stuff to camp with. And after we had been delayed about one week, we rolled out for Moody, Texas, two hundred miles away and muddy all the way. It was hard to find a place dry enough to camp.
Mr. Lee was getting anxious as it was time to begin to get ready to plant. He was a farmer and had a place rented down west of Moody, Texas. It was late in March and we could not hurry the horses for they did sweat and foam each day with almost empty wagons. My team Rex and Claybank were as true as horses could be and Mr. Lee's one was a mule. Both teams were good. We were about twelve or fifteen days making the two hundred miles from Pottsboro to Moody, Texas. We went through Fort Worth and left Dallas to our left and crossed the Brazos River above Waco. From Waco it was only about forty miles to where we were going but it was still raining and every where it was muddy. Most of the forty miles were to be through country roads and it was slow going. We had a hard time getting there.
Late one evening as it was getting dark we drove up to Enoch Waltrip's house who was an uncle to my present wife, brother to my wife's father and was my oId neighbor in Arkansas. We were a dirty disgusted hungry outfit. All around the house and every where we went it was old black mud. It would stick to our shoes like sweet gum wax in Arkansas. But we had a fine time that night for we had royal treatment. We had a fine supper and breakfast. Enoch's children were, Roxie and Virgie, the girls and Charley and Willie. I played with them and had gone to school with them back in Arkansas. We had had a long trip, we had been on the road fifty days and the most of the fifty days we were pulling through mud and across muddy streams and rough roads. But neither wagon ever stuck neither did we ever double team to get through any place. I thought I was a good teamster and I think Mr. Lee thought I was or he never would have employed me to go with him. In those days a man's team was everything. A team in that day was to us what our cars and trucks are to us today. Our teams were in very good shape after they had pulled the wagons over six hundred miles of muddy and rough roads and were able to be hitched to the sulky plows on the farm. I was seventeen years old and I thought I had seen about everything there was to see. A boy of my age that had hardly been out of sight of home it was indeed a very great experience to travel over six hundred miles in a wagon.
The house that Mr. Lee had rented for us was a weatherboarded house with two very large rooms and a larger side room for a kitchen and a very large hallway between the two rooms, then a front porch, the full length of the two rooms and the porch was wide. The house was like the state of Texas lots of room. There was a lot of big oak trees perhaps one hundred years old or more. A cistern was at one corner of the porch and the house was so large and the roof so large that when it rained it filled the cistern and we never did have to haul water. The land that went with the house was one mile away on the prairie and the land he rented was like the house, it was big.
The land was the old black land but it was very productive. Mr. Lee put me to plowing with a sulky riding plow and this was another new thing to me. I could sit in the seat and flat break two and three acres a day. Back in Arkansas with a single plow, what we called a bull tongue plow, I could break quarter of an acre. We had to have a steel paddle to clean the plow with. Almost at every corner of the land we had to get off of the plow and clean that sticky stuff off the plow. In Arkansas where I lived we had to have the single plow sharp so it would go down into the rocks and some times we had a big rock between the handles of the single stock to hold it down in the rocks. So I broke up the field and then planted it in cotton and corn. Then we fought the gnats, the hurrah grass and the cockle burs. The cotton and corn grew so fast that it was a great inspiration to see it. This was a great change in my life from the single plow to a riding plow, and from the bed of flint rocks to the smooth prairie where there were no rocks, not even one to throw at the black birds. I was getting a lot of joy and fun of farming even if the black stuff did stick to my plow and my shoes. A pair of shoes would not last very long down in Arkansas plowing in the flint rocks neither will they last very long plowing in the black land in Texas. The man we rented ground from worked two yoke of oxen to a sulky plow and the oxens were obedient. He had a long whip that would reach the oxens in front. He could layoff a row as straight as a line with those oxen. The land was level and beautiful as a garden.
The cotton and corn grew and in the fall the cotton began to open. I had worked for Mr. Lee all summer for fifteen dollars per month. Now I was to get fifty cents for every hundred pounds of cotton I picked. I could .pick an average of two hundred pounds a day. That was one dollar a day, that was making money fast. We picked the cotton and pitched another crop and cultivated it and I helped pick part of the cotton.
I decided to ramble around a little as I am now eighteen years old. I went over to Moody and bought me a ticket to Hillsboro for I heard that there was lots of cotton to pick at (me dollar per hundred pounds. I was to change cars at Waco and I got on the other train as I was instructed to do but it was the wrong train and I got off just across the Brazos River on the eastside of Waco. I tried to get. a job there working in the cross timber getting out railroad ties but the boss man told me I was not big enough to do that kind of work. I did not like that for I thought I was as big as anyone. I came back to the station called Harrison, hunting for a job and a drunk man was there so drunk that he could not stand alone. He raised his head up and said to me, "I can tell you where you can get a job." I said where? and he said "a man fourteen miles out in the country by the name of Wallace." I had two grips and they were heavy and he told me how to get there, I followed his instructions and found the man and got "the job and he was a good man to work for. But I had a hard time getting to his place for it had rained and the roads were muddy and I had to go through pastures where there was a lot of long horned cattle. I was getting tired and it was getting late and I began to hunt for a place to stay all night and they turned me down. I began to think I was going to have to sleep with the long horned cattle without any supper. But as it was getting dark I walked up to the yard gate where some body lived and I said hello, two women stood in the door and I said I want to stay all night. The younger woman said, "My husband is out at the barn," the other woman said, "Ah let him stay." They both said, "Come in it will be okay." So I went in and when the man came in I told him where 1 was going and what for and he said, "Well he wants to hire some one and you will get the job."
Mr. Wallace put me to plowing with four horses working abreast. So I rode that sulky plow every day it was fit to plow and worked in the timber getting out wood when I could not plow. Cold days he put me to digging mesquite trees and that was a tough job but I was not afraid of hard work. I worked for him till February for fourteen dollars per month. And then I decided to go home. So he paid me and took me part of the way to the station and bid me good bye, but insisted that I come back and work for him after I had been home awhile. I bought my ticket at Harrison on the east side of Waco to Vanburen, Arkansas. When I got there I decided to look around awhile.
One day I fell in with a Hardshell Baptist preacher and went home with him and he got me a job for a few days and then he wanted me to work for him. I helped the first man that I worked for to make a crop and gather it and then I went to work for the Baptist preacher. I did not intend to work very long for I wanted to go home. But the Baptist preacher was such a good man to work for and the work was driving a team of mules hauling wood. He wanted me to stay and I just kept staying until my oldest brother came down to Vanburen and I went home with him. Now I have had a wild goose chase. So we walked through the mountains about one hundred miles from Vanburen to my oldest sister who had married since I had left home. We stopped and stayed with her a few days as she lived right on the way home. The last day before we got home it snowed and we had walked forty miles that day, I gave out about six miles before we got home and I stopped and stayed all night with a man by the name of Plumlee. I don't think I was ever as tired in all my life. He lived in a little log cabin only one room. A fire place and they had two beds. The woman got supper and it consisted of dodger cornbread, fried home cured pork and black coffee. They were very friendly and treated me so nice and the woman fixed my bed. It was a big feather bed, when I got in it the feathers came up on each side of me. I pulled the home-made woolen blankets over me that was the last of everything of that day. The morning arrived and I was a new boy. I ate breakfast with them and started on my way home.
I walked the six miles and was at home before noon. I was so glad to see all my folks again. They were glad to see me for they thought I was dead. They did not get my letters when I was at Vanburen and they wrote me and. some way or some how the postmaster failed to give me my mail. My brother called down to Vanburen and found the letters in the office there that he had written me.
He inquired about me and found out nothing. At the same time three boys had left Vanburen going over the mountains to our country and one of the boys suited my description in every way and my brother traced them all the way and when they got to the Boone County line the boy they thought was me was missing. They traced the other two boys but could not find any trace of the third one who they thought was me. They searched the whole country for the boy that was missing and found no trace of him at all. In the mean time they got no word from me. I did not know anything about them being troubled about me. They hunted for me until they decided; that I was murdered for a little money that I had. The conclusion was that the other two boys killed me for the money and threw me off of a high bluff that was near the place where they lost track of the third boy. The truth was when they found out about that third boy they thought was me. Boone County where the third boy lived had a bill against the boy and when the three boys came to the county line this third boy dropped out of company of the three because he was afraid of the officers that were looking for him. He slipped in home and hid himself so the officers could not find him. They were sure that I was killed and they gave me up for dead. I was all the time at Vanburen wondering why I could not hear from my folk. So one day I went to Vanburen and I thought I would have my picture taken and send it to my mother and write her a long letter and I did. She got the letter and here came a long letter to' me telling me all about the big hunt and scare over me being murdered. Mother said "I would not have believed the letter you wrote me if you had not sent your picture." The picture assured them that I was alive in spite of all they had heard. And they found out about the third boy why he was missing at the Boone county line. After I was home a man showed me where they threw me off the bluff. A lie is bad when we believe it.
Now I am home again and it is so good to be at home for there is no place as good as home. I loved Texas but I loved home the best. The work in Texas was easier than here but it was not home. So now I am back at my oId job working in the timber. I bought a pony and gave sixty dollars for her and paid for her in making rails and putting them on the fence for one dollar per hundred. It took six thousand rails to pay for that pony. I worked a part of two winters making the rails. It was one mile from home. I would get up before day light and my mother would get breakfast for me and then fix my dinner in a bucket and she would put in a large piece of wood home cured ham and sauerkraut that she had put t1p and a lot of other good eats. I would walk to the grove of black oaks where I was making the rails and work there until sundown and then go home and mother had a fine supper of good old corn bread and sweet milk and butter and sorghum and I was fully prepared to take on a square meal.
I worked in the timber making rails in the winter and then in the spring I rented a place' from a neighbor and he had a big span of mules and he furnished me with the mules. I did the work and he gave me half of the crop of corn. I worked at home some of the time. I did a lot of hard work and I was stout and young and able to work. But I did not go to dances and committee meetings and conferences and be up till midnight every night but I went home after a days work and ate my supper and went to bed and slept all night and woke up next morning fresh, ready for another day's work. I liked to work, it was a pleasure to me to work in the timber and chop the big trees down and make them up into rails. I don't know how many rail Abraham Lincoln made but I know I made a lot of rails. I traded my pony and I got a dun colored pony that everybody wanted. One day I sold it to a man for a note on another man. The man that I had his note for, forty-five dollars, loaded up his wagon and pulled out to Texas and never said a word to me about going. When I heard it I got an attachment for his team. When we overtook him he was very mad at me but I got my money after riding all night with the officer. I got my money and the man went on to Texas.
All these years I was deeply concerned about religion. The impression I got from the man that came to where I was with my brother and sisters picking up chinquepins one Sunday morning when we lived on the dogwood flat and gave me a Sunday School paper with the picture on it of Jesus stilling the storm on the Lake of Galilee was still with me as it was when he gave it to me. Then I had gone to the old Brownville school house to Sunday School\and church when we lived on Big Buffalo River impressed me more and everywhere I lived I could not get rid of this impression that I got out of that little, picture of Jesus stilling the storm on the Lake of Galilee. I attended church the most of the time while I was in Texas and now I attended Sunday School and church at our Gaither Cove school house every Sunday. They had a revival going on at what we called the Basin school house two miles from where we lived and one night I went to the altar and I was converted and was very happy. It was an experience in my life that can never be erased. That night was the brightest night that I had ever experienced in my life. They called it getting religion and I was sure that was right. All the time the thought of being a Methodist preacher was in my mind and I could not get rid of it. And why I could not get away from it I did not know. All my thoughts and dreams was to be a preacher. But I could not believe that I ever could preach. So I went on working in the same way and I prayed every day in secret. I had a place by a big white oak tree where I went to pray. But all the time I knew so little about religion that I did not know how to be religious or how to preach. I knew how to make rails and to plow and fish and hunt. But all the time I knew how little and weak and ignorant I was. I read the Bible and I loved to read the Bible but under- stood very little about what I read. But I kept reading the Bible and my interest increased. The more I read the more I wanted to read. I was convinced that the greatest thing anyone could be was to be a real Christian and this I desired above all other things. I loved to hear preaching. I could sit and listen to a preacher for hours and not get tired. Our preachers in those days preached very loud and I thought the louder they preached the more power of God came down on them. I wanted the power but did not know how to get it.
I was converted in my nineteenth year and I joined the Methodist church and was baptized in the same year. I worked in the timber in the winter and farmed in the spring and summer.
FROM MARRIAGE TO 1897
One time my folk were all in the bed sick and I was the only one to do all the work, both in the house and outdoors. Monday morning I got up and fixed breakfast and fed the stock and it was a real cold morning in the dead of winter. After breakfast I got my ax and went out to cut some wood to haul in for we were out of firewood. I had on a pair of costly boots and -my ax was sharp. It was a good ax and I was cold and working fast. And my ax hit a limb over my head and came down in a whirl and cut my left foot half off. I walked to the house about two hundred yards and pulled my boot off. My brother got out of bed and took a common sewing needle and thread and sewed it up and it hurt very bad. And about the time he had finished sewing up my foot the house caught on fire. A neighbor was passing by and he put the fire out by climbing up on the house top on a ladder. Then they sent for a doctor and he did not get there until after dark and was suffering a lot. The doctor gave me something; to ease my pain and dressed my foot with some carbolic acid. I laid in bed for weeks and then I walked on crutches and then a month getting well. We got a neighbor boy to come and stay with us until the folks got up and able to do the work.
During the time I had my foot cut half off I was engaged to be married to Martha Genettie Burge, daughter of Dr. M. M. Burge. The following June the 7, 1894, we were married at her father's home in Boone County, Arkansas. Genettie was just fourteen old past and I was twenty-two past. We lived with her father until the next winter. I owned a half interest in a sorghum mill and that fall I was away from the house most of the time making sorghum molasses. In the win- ter of 1894 we moved ourselves into an old log house with a stick and dirt chimney and a fire- place that would take a stick of wood seven feet long. At first we had a table and a few dishes and a skillet and Genettie cooked on the fireplace for four or five months. Then we got a cookstove, Genetties' father gave us forty acres of land and it had an apple orchard on it and they were good apples. I made a crop of corn that year.
We lived on the place that Mr. Burge gave us two years and the land was not very productive, and we let Mr. Burge have the place back and we moved over near my father's place. I took up a claim but never did file on it. While we lived on the place that Mr. Burge gave us I built a new log house and did some other improvements. We were married on June 7, 1894 and Addie May Hatfield was born June 18, 1895. We moved from here to my claim in Newton County. The place where Mr. Burge gave us was in Boone, County right at the head of Gaither Cove. We lived on my claim and made two crops in the years of 1896 and 1897. August 13, 1897 our second, child was born, Edward Lee Hatfield. My father and mother and my older brother decided to move to Oklahoma and I decided to move back to Texas where I had been before in McLean County what was called central Texas. That year my father and I had a crop of corn together and we sold it in the field and on the 16th day of September of that year 1897 when our second child was one month and two days old we started to leave the old homestead for all time. The day we started our baby boy Edward Lee was very sick with pneumonia. The doctor said we would bury him in three days but we rolled out and up on the Gaither mountain. And over to Fayetville. and the baby was improving all the time and Genettie and the baby and I took the train and went from there to Moody, Texas. One day and a part of the second night we landed in Moody, Texas, we went to a place to stay that night and next morning after a real good night sleep our baby was clear of temperature and his cough was about gone, Genettie had never been fifty miles away from her father's home where she could see the bluff and trees that stood in just a few hundred yards from her father's front door. Now we are in a wide open prairie country where there are trees only along the creeks and rivers. The first thing I did that morning was to engage a horse and buggy at the livery stable to go out to where we were going. The man that I had first gone to Texas with, a Mr. Lee had rented me a place and we knew where we were going. The roads were dry and hard and we had a nice buggy ride that day of nine miles. We had dinner with Mr. Lee and then he went with me back to Moody to deliver the buggy and horse.
I paid the livery man one dollar and fifty cents for the use of the horse and buggy and bought me a sack to pick cotton in. I was flat broke, I had a little money coming to me back in Arkansas. We had shipped our household goods and it was two months before they arrived. I picked cotton for Mr. Lee and Genettie helped with the house work while most of Mr. Lee's family worked in the cotton field. I got fifty cents per hundred pounds of cotton. I could, by working hard, pick two hundred and fifty pounds a day that was one dollar and a Quarter a day. When I was up with the cotton picking, the man I had rented ground from gave me seventy-five cents per day gathering corn down in the Leon River bottom. The rest of September and October it was so hot there. I did not have any money but I was chuck full of days work. Genettie was not stout and could not do much work. I picked cotton and gathered corn all fall until time to move.
We moved over on Mr. Reynold's place and I went to plowing for another year's crop. Mr. Reynolds had good mule teams and good smooth rich soil to plow in. I was greatly encouraged because of the good teams and the rich soil. I made and gathered the first crop but .the price was low and did not have anything left when we settled up- with everyone, but I did not come out in debt. They sent me what they owed me back in Arkansas and I bought us a good cow and some hogs for meat and we had a high living. The man gave us a place for a garden and we had potatoes both Irish and sweet potatoes, milk and butter and fresh meat.
Genettie was a real good cook and we had a high living. Genettie was just a young girl and never was away from home before but I never heard a word of complaint from her, she liked Texas better than even I did. The second year I made a good crop and the price was a little better. But I was getting the chills again. The third year I made over a bale of cotton to the acre and got nearly ten cents per pound. I cleaned up that year and with several hundred dollars in the clear. But I had such chills that at the close of the year I was not able to work at all. I got to where I could hardly walk out to the field and back. I saw I was going to have to get away from there and the man I rented from tried to get me to stay but I told him I could not stay there and live.
Genettie and the children were all sick and we could not stay in the Leon river bottom. Genettie was sick all winter of the years 1899 and 1900 and a good part of the time could not turn herself in bed without help. May had a hard spell of the fever in the summer of 1900. I could not walk to the field and back without resting. I thought it was time to get out of that place. The doctor was coming to my place very often and doctor bills was mounting. I was the only one that could do anything at all. I had to work every day and set up at night and give medicine. I had to do the cooking, the house work, the washing. I had to milk the cow take care of the milk, chum, wash the dishes and every hands turn was mine. In the field and in the house. On February first 1900 Bertha Hatfield our third child was born. May our oldest child was not large enough to carry in stove wood. I had to chop and haul my wood where wood was scarce and hard to get. All in all I think this was one of the hardest years in all my life. The year was a wet year and it was the year of the Galveston flood, 1900. We lived two hundred miles from Galveston and it rained for thirty-six hours steady downpour of water. The Leon River was out of its banks that year. I had a fine crop both cotton and corn. Most of our crop in that part of Texas was cotton. The price of cotton that year went up to about ten cents a pound. I made more than a bale to the acre. Most of my crop was on what they called second bottom land and, the river did not hurt it. It was sandy land and very rich and productive. Texas is a great country and Genettie and I both liked Texas but we did not like to be sick all the time. After we sold our cotton and paid all of our debts we had a good stake left. I sold the remnant of my cotton to William Waterfield and we left for Oklahoma in the month of November.
I went to church and Sunday School the most of the time while we lived in Texas. We lived three miles from the place they called, The Grove, and they elected me superintendent of the Sunday School but the people would not come regular and the Sunday School played out. The most of the time I went to the school house across the Leon River, they called it Buckhorn School house. All the churches, Baptist, Presbyterians, and Methodists worshiped at this place and I was a member of the Methodist church here and Genettie was converted and joined the Methodist church at Buckhorn school house under J. H. Braswell as pastor.
TO OKLAHOMA, 1900, AND NEW MEXICIO, 1907
My father and mother lived in Potowaoma County, Oklahoma and they wrote me that I could buy some land there from the Indians, for two dollars and fifty cents per acre and they wanted Genettie and I to come there and buy us a home. I had money enough to make a payment on eighty acres of land. And so we decided to go to Oklahoma. We all had some good new clothes and I thought I had a lot of cash. So one day the last of November we went to Moody, Texas and bought our tickets to Purcell, Oklahoma. We enjoyed the ride on the train very much. May and Lee slept most of the way. My father and youngest brother, John Marvin, met us at the train, just before it was daylight. We went to an eating joint and had our breakfast together. After breakfast we started east about forty miles to where my father was located. He lived just three miles from Sacred Heart Mission, a Catholic Mission. We had to camp one night because the roads were rough and it was slow traveling. The second day which was Sunday, about noon we arrived at my father's house. We were glad to see each other again and it took us about two weeks to talk everything over. I had money to make the payment on my eighty acres of land. It was mostly prairie with tall grass on it. But on one corner of the eighty acres was timber and some oak trees large enough for saw logs. So I bought a team and wagon and I hauled oak logs to the saw mill to build me a box house. We lived with my father and mother until we got our house ready to move into.
We came to Oklahoma in the year of 1900, the year of the Galveston flood. In the winter and spring of 1901 I built my house and moved into it and went to work to breaking sod for a cotton crop. But I had some land in the creek bottom that had pecan bushes on it and I cleared the little bottom out and planted it in cotton. I worked hard that year, and was out a great lot of expense. I had to buy a team and barb wire to fence my place and all in all it was a hard year. Genettie was not so well pleased with the hard year, she loved Texas the best. But we were making some progress and neither of us were willing to give up yet for awhile. We made a light crop that year and I put up a lot a prairie hay and I got a little cash out of my cotton and hay to get by on. But it was a new country and we had to learn more about how to make a living there.
We were proud of our place and our house but we did not have any water and a place is not much of a place or home without water. The second year was a better year and we made a better cotton crop and more corn and a lot more hay. Cotton went up a little and we had more rain that year. After I laid my crop by, we got a job working in hay. I had a nice little span of mules and I had a mowing machine and I got two dollars and fifty cents per day for cutting hay. Genettie did the cooking for the hands and we took the children along with us. We camped out of a night. We were in the Seminole nation where we were putting up hay. So we got two dollars and fifty cents per day and our board and we worked long enough to get money enough to drill us a well in our yard. The well was eighty feet deep but plenty of good drinking water, what we called a bored well. But while we were cutting hay we used water out of the surface springs and I took to chilling again. But not so bad as I was in Texas. So we gathered our second crop and got more out of it than we did the first crop. We had a fine garden and a lot of Irish potatoes and sweet potatoes. I bought a good milk cow and we had hogs to make our meat and we were getting along fine. We built a school house and I gave the land to build it on. We voted bonds to build the school house. We had Sunday School and church just one quarter of a mile from our house. We attended both every Sunday. I was the most of the time Superintendent of the Sunday School. But this was a tough place they did not respect the church services. We had lots of people attended church and we would have several weeks each year in revival meetings. The Baptist, the Methodist, and other denominations would have two or three weeks preaching each year. It was a live place in the way of having church services. We lived here in this place five years. Here our fourth child was born, Ida Hatfield, May 4, 1902.
We made good crops each of the five years we were there. I cut and put up lots of prairie hay for myself and for other people. I set out a lot of fruit trees. After five years a man joining me on the north wanted to buy my place and so I sold it to him at a big profit. I made five crops on the place and sold it to my neighbor for fifteen hundred dollars more than I gave for it. We had been here long enough for it to seem like home and we hated to leave it.
In the year of 1904 when we lived in the Potowatoma County, Grenettie and children all had the measles at the same time. They were all in the bed at the same time and Ida the baby had pneumonia. It was sleeting and snowing late one evening and the ground was already covered with sleet. They all got worse as the night drew near. My brother who lived just across the road had his arm in a sling and could not get on and off of a horse. He was not able to go after the doctor for me and I could not leave Genettie and the children in the bed to go myself. I failed to get any of my neighbors to go because of their own troubles. It was eight miles to Maud and my younger brother had gone to Maud that morning. So when he came back I sent him back to Maud to get Dr. Bell to come down. It was fifteen miles there and back. Dr. Bell arrived and did all he could for all the family and left word that he would be back next morning. I sent to Violet Springs for Dr. McAlister to meet Dr. Bell at my house. Dr. Bell and Dr. McAlister held a counsel and Dr. Bell kept coming and Ida's fever left her the next day and she got well. All the rest of the family got well but I had a real hard time waiting on them as it was a real hard winter. The weather registered below zero and it was bad for a long time. I had a hard time getting wood for the ground was so wet that I could hardly get a wagon over it to haul fire wood. But we all came out all right in the spring and I made another good crop which was our fifth year in the Potowotoma country.
I bought eighty acres of land in Cleveland County. My father and I bought one hundred and sixty acres together and we moved up to Cleveland County late in the fall of 1905. We gave $3,500 for the hundred and sixty acres. Father took the eighty that had the house and improvements on it at $2,000 and I took the eight acres that had no improvements on it at $1,500. I built a three room house and dug a well and built a little barn. And I made two crops there. Genettie was sick and in bed most of the time and was not able to do any work. Our fifth child was born in Cleveland County. Rubie Hatfield was born August 18, 1906, in Oklahoma. The doctor said I would have to move to New Mexico with Genettie or lose her for she could not live in Oklahoma. I told my mother that I was going so far West that the chills would never find me.
In the spring of 1907 I went to Texico on the train and the locaters took me out sixty miles into Quay County, New Mexico and showed me the beautiful country. I filed on one hundred and sixty acres of that beautiful prairie land and my brother-in-law who married my youngest sister was with me and filed on a quarter section of land which cornered with my homestead. It was in the month of March of 1907. Our filing papers were sent to Clayton, New Mexico for that was where the Land Office was at that time. We returned home after a few days. We received our notice of the acknowledgement and our application for the land was accepted. I made a crop that year but in the meantime I sold my eighty acre farm in Cleveland County, Oklahoma that I had given $1,500, for $3,000 to my oldest brother. I left my crop with my father to look after and gathering it. I had a good crop that year. But I had to be on my claim in New Mexico in the month of August. So Genettie the children and I, one day in August took the train for Texico where we would meet my brother-in-law and from there we would both move out on our claims and begin life over, out in that wide open prairie country.
This was a daring thing for a man like me with a wife that was sick and five children not large enough to be any help in making a living. But the great trouble, there was not much of a way to make a living. All the way from Texico sixty miles to our claim there was no grass until we were within three miles of our claim. We hired two wagons to bring us out from Texico and we were two days getting out there. My brother-in-law had built his house on his claim, we unloaded our stuff at his place. The load of lumber that was to build my shack was unloaded out on the prairie where there was nothing but the ground to hold it up. Here was a real beginning, different to anything that we had ever tried before in our lives. We had lots of neighbors for all the land was taken up and there was some one on every 160 acres of land. The people lived in dugouts and everyone seemed to be happy. We did not realize what we were up against, we were up against the real thing. The drought and the wind, something that none of us could out live. But a number of us stuck it out till we proved up on our claims.
I chartered a car and shipped my team and cows about eight head, and my farming tools and household goods. I had about four hundred bushels of oats that I raised in my last crop in Oklahoma. I had the county surveyor to come down from Tucumcari and survey my land so I could put up my fence. My brother-in-law and I went in the brakes and got out cedar posts to fence our homesteads. The horses soon ate up the four hundred bushels of oats and I was out of feed before I had raised any more. My money went as fast as the thrashed oats and soon the oats and money were both gone "exshow." (An Indian word meaning it's all gone." But Genettie was in better health and enjoyed good health for about eight or nine years. We plowed the ground and planted maize and corn and many other things but reaped very little until the third and fourth years. The first year my brother-in-law, Mr. Lou Monnot went away to Wilderado, Texas, and built the depot, for he was a fine carpenter. I put up his fence for him around his quarter section of land, it was a beautiful quarter section of land. I fenced my place and Lee, my boy, helped me in fencing my place and also my brother-in-law's place. I built a shack to live in and a barn and went to work to get water. I hired Mr. McElroy to drill and he drilled three holes and got no water. I began to get sad but I was a lot sadder before it was allover with. I bought a drilling rig and thought I would find water but I had to give it up without any water. We had to haul all our water and drive our milk cows to water twice a day. We were becoming more and more adapted 'to the lone prairie, the drought and wind because we could not stop either or change the rainfall.
We helped to build a school house and they started a grave yard on the corner of my place. Grandpa Harmon was the first person buried in that place. Mr. S. D. Stephen put up a store and post office just one half mile from my homestead. We had a Sunday School and church and a lot of good and friendly neighbors. We made two or three good crops while we lived at Plain. I con- tested another quarter of a section and filed on it under the enlarged homestead law. I was post- master at Plain Post Office for a short time. I think I was in the office only about one year when I found out that I did not want to be a post master so I resigned. All this time something was saying to me you must go to preaching.
Many things happened while we lived at Plain, New Mexico. Two more girls were added to our family. Ora Hatfield was born June 1st, 1909 and Naomi Hatfield was born October 8, 1911. Three of my girls were married while we lived at Plain. May was married to Ed Barker. Bertha was married to Roy Egan. Ida was married to Claud Sparks.
I drilled wells and I was a partner in a broom- corn thrasher with Mr. Frakes and Mr. Risner we thrashed broom com all over the country from Jordan west to Grady on the east. I got acquainted with most of the people in Quay County and a lot of them in Curry County. We all worked hard on the farm and raised a lot of stuff but the price was so low that we got nothing out of what we raised. One year we raised over one hundred bales of broom corn and sold it for twenty-nine dollars a ton and it did not pay the expenses. We came to New Mexico in the year of 1.907 and we moved late in the fall of 1. 91. 7 to San Jon, New Mexico. I sold my half section of land at Plain for twenty- five hundred dollars and bought a quarter of a section at Estancia, New Mexico. I intended to move on it but changed my mind and did not move out there but I sold it at a loss.
My religious impressions was dominating my life and I was not happy. I could not be contented at anything that I was doing and there appeared to me two ways, one was bright and led upward but the other was dark and led downward. I was troubled about it all the time and I did not know just what to do about it. I did not have any encouragement from any source. Brother R. A. Crawford was our pastor at Plain at that time and I had great confidence in him as a Christian man. I decided one night when I had a very strange and happy experience to go to Brother Crawford and tell him my experience and whatever he said I would do. This I did one morning when I was Post Master at the Store at Plain. And He gave me more encouragement than I had ever had given to me before. He told me to obey the impression that I had and to go to preaching at once. And I felt that this was from the Lord. So I decided at once to start preaching and when I did make this decision I was happier than I had ever been in all my life. So I preached my first sermon at Freeo school house four miles west of Plain, New Mexico.
It was Wednesday night in October and my text was John 3:1.6. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have ever- lasting life." The Lord came to me in the night when I was alone and assured me that I was right and I have had this assurance with me ever since. As I have stated before my first religious impression was _when we children were under the chinquepin trees picking us chinquepins and the man from Jasper Sunday School rode up to us and got down off his horse. He walked up to me and gave me the paper which had the picture of Jesus on it where He was stilling the storm on the sea of Galilee. That man was delivering a message to me from God. I never have gotten away from that impression, it has followed me and every time I went to Sunday School or church there was something added to that impression that made it stronger.
I attended Sunday School and church services in the old house on Big Buffalo River that they called Brownville. There was a man by the name of Ed Reynolds and he was a Freewill Baptist preacher and he would preach for more than an hour at a time and then another preacher would preach a long sermon and sometimes the third one would preach. I was nine years old but I listened with the greatest of interest. I was spellbound. I would slide up and down on the split log bench and that bench was the front bench next to the preacher. The preacher would walk the floor and preach so loud that at times he would just choke down and the tears would run freely. He had a big red handkerchief that he would wipe away the tears and sweat. But this kind of preaching did not disgust me or turn me against preaching. It was a deep wonder and mystery to me. And I was back there again next Sunday, I would get very hungry before the preaching was over. Something held me fast to that old split log bench and some way I knew that God was in that man. I loved to play with my sister younger than me up and down the banks of the Big Buffalo River but I preferred to go and hear the Rev. Ed Reynolds preach his long sermons than to play on the river banks on Sunday. I do not say this boasting, I went to hear this man because I loved to hear him preach, such preaching as it was. My father and mother neither one were Christians at this time and they did not make me go to church.
THE BEGINNING OF MY MINISTRY
I conducted religious services and funerals many years before I went to preaching. I preached one year after I did go to preaching before I was licensed by the church to preach. I preached during the year 1915 at Plain school house and at Stockton school house and at Freeo and at Puerto. And at Quarterly meetings held at the old Field School house about fifteen or twenty miles south of the grave ,yard, one mile west of Plain Post Office. I was recommended to the District Conference for a license to preach I attended the District Conference at San Jon, New Mexico May 10-14, 1916. The last day of that Conference, Dr. Givan, who was the presiding officer of that Conference and was also the Presiding Elder of the Albuquerque District called me up to the front and handed me my license to preach and asked me to say a few words. I wanted to relate the story of my first religious impression under the chinquepin tree for that was the first thought that came to my mind when Dr. Givan handed me my license to preach. But I was so full and timid that I said only a few words and sat down for I could not talk. All the people that attended the Conference were strangers to me and I had known Dr. Givan only a short time and I felt very humble and little at that time. But the Lord Almighty was my strength and I put all my trust in Him and I did not count myself anything without Him. Dr. Givan appointed me to what he named the Murdock Circuit which consisted of Plain, Puerto, Murdock, Stockton, Concord, Jonesville school houses. I preached at all these places in the year of 1916 and 1917 until the month of June, Dr. Givan added to my circuit the San Jon circuit also. I did the best I could with the many preaching places and I conducted revival meetings at as many of the places as I had time to do so. I gave all of my time to the work and I had many things to inspire me in the work.
The Annual Conference was held in Albuquerque for that year. I was appointed to the San Jon circuit for the next year which was 1918. We moved to San Jon, late in the fall of 1917. I was only a licensed preached, I had not yet made application for membership in the Annual Conference, so I served as a supply pastor at San Jon the year of 1918. I attended the District Conference at Tucumcari and was recommended to the Annual Conference for admission on trial. This was held at Roswell, New Mexico the first of October. J. B. Cochran was the Presiding Elder of the Albuquerque District that year, 1918. The course of study for admission on trial was as follows: First Book, Disicipline of the Methodist Church of 1916. The Second Book was, "Studies in the Life of John Wesley," by E. B. Chapell. The Third Book was, "Life of Christ" and "Life of Saint Paul" by James Stalker. I had to give a written account of my religious conversion, experience and training in service and membership in the Methodist Church. I stood an examination on English grammar and rhetoric. The District Conference was in June at Tucumcari and I had till October to get this course of study. I went to work immediately to master this course of study.
I went to the Annual Conference in October which was at Roswell. New Mexico and I met the Committee and J. H. Messer was chairman of the committee. I passed on all those studies and I was admitted into the Annual Conference of New Mexico on trial. At that Conference Bishop Cannon appointed me to the San Jon circuit for the next Annual Conference year.
That was the year that the flu broke out and the Conference closed out on Saturday night.
Brother Crawford and I went home from the Conference and immediately the flu began to rage. We did not have a service in our church except one Quarterly Conference until spring and I preached all the funerals and a great number of people died with the flu. Besides conducting funeral services I carried on my studies in the course of the First Year which was as follows: First, "The Four Gospels with the Acts," with the story of the New Testament, by Thomas Carter. Second Books was, "Wesleys' Sermons," from one to twenty six. Third, "The Heart of Wesley's Journal," Edited by Percy Linvingston Parker, Fourth, "Wesley and His Century," by W. H. Fitchett. The Fifth, "Manual of Christian Doctrine," J. S. Banks and J. J. Tigert's edition. Fifth, "Letters on Baptism," by Edmund B. Fairfield. Sixth, "Ministry to the Congregation," by John A. Kern. Seventh, "The Methodist Disci- pline," Chapters one to eight. Eight, "Written Sermon on Repentence." Nine, Francis Asbury, "The Prophet of the Long Road." And some other books to read and study. I worked hard on this course of study in the year of 1919. But I mastered them all and passed the examination. That year the flu took so many of our people. I conducted lots of funeral services and it was sad.
The year of 1919 I lost my wife, Martha Genettie passed away the eighteenth of April 1919. I was left with three little girls to raise and be responsible for and this was a discouraging year. So many people died and my Dear wife was one among so many and my course of study that year al- most made a nervous wreck of me. I was almost driven to believe that I was ruined without my wife to help me. All the folks at San Jon, were exceedingly good to us that year. We had lots of rain that year and the winter of 1919 was indeed a hard winter. We had deep snows and the weather went down to twenty below zero. But the good Lord was with us and in the spring when the flu let up things looked better and more hopeful. The people began to take new life. I conducted revival meetings allover my charge. I conducted a two weeks revival meeting at San Jon, had services both night and day. We had a large attendance at both ser- vices morning and evening. We had a number of conversions and I received a large number into the church on confession of faith. I conducted revival meetings at the following points that same year: Bard, Rana, Porter, at Freeo on the Plains. I had a house full of people to preach to at all these places. A goodly number were converted and accepted Christ.
This was an ugly year to start with but it had a good ending with me in my work. I passed my first year's course of study and had all the finances of the church up in good shape. I was ready to go to the Annual Conference with a good report. My people at San Jon, wanted me to return for another year. So I went to Conference which was held at Tucumcari that year in October. That was the year of the centinary drive and my report on that was about two hundred percent. Bishop McMurry was the presiding Bishop of that year. We had a fine Conference that year. Besides the 'flu remember the first World War was on and that was very bad as everyone knew. Bishop McMurry at the Annual Conference appointed me to the San Jon circuit again, and this was my third year at San Jon, counting the first appointment which was only six months. Now I returned from the Annual Conference and was ready to start into another Annual Conferences year of work. I was very hopeful and I believed the Lord was with me and would continue to make His presence felt in my ministry and in the life of my three little girls.
When I was received into the Annual Conference on trial, meant that I must master a four year course on Theology one year at a time. When I returned from Conference at Tucumcari I had my Second year's course of study that year to master. I went to work on the following books: First Book, Romans to Revelations with the story of the New Testament, by Thomas Carter. Second, "Wesley's Sermons 27-52." Third. "Christian Doctrine," 'by R. W. Dale. Fourth History of Methodism," by McIntire. Fifth, "Lectures on Preaching" by Phillips Brooks. Sixth, "General View of the History of the English Bible," by F. F. Westcott. Seventh "Deductive Logic." by Noah K. Davis. Eighth, "The Methodist Discipline," Chapters IX-XXIII, XXIV. Ninth, A written sermon on justification of faith. Tenth, A lot of other books to read and study. My second year's course was a lot harder than the first year's course. But I went into it with all determination to master it. The Lord gave me strength and the people in the church encouraged me all they could. I studied it day and night. Some nights I went over and over it again and again. Some parts I had to read many times to understand its meaning. I had to read all the books from the first page to the last one. I had to say, "yes," that I read everything in all the books and I don't think that I fudged at all. Some preachers said the books were easy and simple to understand. They were not easy to me. I put myself into the books and the books into my head as fast as I could. I was hungry to know everything I could. I had to read the lessons over and study them and then lay the text book down and write the lesson without ever looking at the book and this I did in all the lessons. I never put off my study for anything at all. If I had something I had to do in the day time then I made it up at night in my studies. It was a great joy to me to study my course. I had studied the Bible since I was old enough to read it. I found something interesting in every lesson and when I finished a lesson I could hardly wait until I found out about my next lesson. I kept up with them every week for I knew that if I got behind with my lessons I could never make it before Annual Conference. I had my sermons to get and preach and my pastoral work to do besides getting my lessons. I learned a preacher on trial has a lot of hard work to do if he does it as he ought and r tried to do it.
The Annual Conference for the year of 1920 was held at Carrizozo, New Mexico. I went to the Conference in October. I passed on all my studies for that year and Bishop DuBose ordained me as Deacon. And Bishop DuBose appointed me to the Clovis Circuit. I had been pastor at San Jon three years and six months. I came back from Conference and packed up and moved to Clovis. T stored my books in Mr. Earl Baker's office and before r returned to get them his office was burned down and I lost all my books and a lot of valuable papers in the fire.
I came back in December and Miss Laura Waltrip and I were married on December the twelfth at the home of her father, Rev. R. A. Crawford officiated at the wedding. This was on Sunday, December 12, 1920. We left Monday and stayed all night at Z. T. McDaniels at San Jon. The next day we went to Amarillo and had supper with my daughter, Mrs. Eagan. We stayed with Mrs. Barker, my oldest daughter that njght. The next morning we took the train for Clovis. We took up our abode in the Methodist parsonage. Rubie my oldest daughter that was at home, came home from Clarendon College. Ora and Naomi were staying with the R. A. Crawfords at Grady they came home and we were all together in our new home. The girls started to school in Clovis. My preaching places were scattered over and around Clovis and it was a difficult circuit because r did not have a car most of the time. r started on my third year's studies and the books were as follows: First book was Genesis to Esther, with an outline for the study of Old Testament history, by Frank Seay. Second book, "The Christian Faith," by Olin Curtis. Third book "The Reformation in Germany," and "Lands Beyond Germany." Fifth book "Life of William Tyndale." Sixth book, "The Building of the Church." Seventh, Sermon on the Witness of the Spirit Books to Be Read, Life of Hugh Latimer, by Robert Demaus. Building the Kingdom, by E. B. Chapell. I put in all the time that r could spare on those books day and some at night and Laura my wife helped me a lot of the time by reading the lessons to me. r would read them and she would read them to me. r worked hard trying to do the work of a pastor on such a difficult circuit. I was working so hard to complete my four year course this being the third I was determined to master it and get it off before I went to Conference.
I finished my Conference Course of the Third Year on the Clovis Circuit. Our Conference year was from October to October. In the year 1921 I attended Conference at Artesia, New Mexico in the month of October. Bishop DuBose was still our Presiding Bishop, and he appointed me back to the Clovis circuit for the second year. So I returned from Conference and took up my Study Course of the Fourth year and that was the last year. I had the work of R pastor to do on a very difficult circuit with the Fourth year which I thought was the hardest course of the four. My health was not good but I was determined to succeed and so I went to work on my Fourth year and the books of the Fourth year were: First book, "Job to Malachi," and outline of "Old Testament Prophecy, Wisdom and Worship," by Frank Seay. Second book, "Grounds of Theistic Belief," by George P. Fisher. Third book, "Evidence of Christian Experience," by L. F. Stearns. Fourth "The Church and Ministry in the Early Centuries," by Thomas M. Lindsay. Fifth, "Christianity and the Nations," by Robert E. Spear. Sixth, "Life of William McKendree," by Robert Pain. Seventh, "Manual of the Discipline," last edition. Eighth "Written Sermon On Regeneration." Books to be read Life of Joshua Soule, and other books which are not listed here. This completed my four years of what was called the Conference Course.
I was very happy when I finished the last book. I went to Dallas to the S.M.U. and finished some of the last books. I was there in the University in the month of June and when I got through there with my studies I came by Purcell, Oklahoma and stayed with my brother, James, a little over one week and hoed cotton with him in his cotton field. I attended Annual Conference at Pecos, Texas, in the month of October. Our Presiding Bishop was Bishop Dickey. And having finished all the required studies I was received into full connestion and was I ordained as Elder in the Methodist Church by Bishop Dickey. I was very happy indeed. And! James Harvey Hatfield our baby boy was born on March 27, 1922, at Clovis, New Mexico. At the Conference at Pecos, Texas, Bishop Dickey appointed me to the Dexter circuit in the Pecos Valley twenty miles below Roswell. Laura and I packed up and shipped our household goods to Dexter, New Mexico. Laura, my wife, and James Harvey, our six months old boy, Rubie, Ora, and Naomi and myself boarded the train for Dexter, New Mexico
FIVE YEARS AT DEXTER, NEW MEXICO
Dexter is in a very fine farming district because the land is rich and they have plenty of Artesian water and it is located in a fine climate. Cotton and corn, oats and wheat all grow and the yield is great. Dexter is a place where gardens are extra fine. We did not have any church building at Dexter and we worshipped with the Presbyterians in their church building. My charge consisted of Dexter the head of the circuit, Lake Arthur, down the railroad twenty miles and Cottonwood out from Lake Arthur about ten miles. So Dexter was a three point circuit. I was happy over this appointment for I had my four years course of study off of my hands and I had more time to do the work of a pastor and there was plenty of work to be done in Dexter in the way of Church work.
The first thing I did was to preach the funeral of a little child the next day after we arrived. A few of the folks came to the parsonage when we arrived but no one met us at the depot. We inquired about the Methodist 'parsonage and found that it was just a short distance from where we got off of the train. We walked up to the parsonage and found it swept and garnished. It was a very nice house with four rooms and an upstairs. The drinking water was gippy and we did not like the water. Our household goods came and we began to adapt ourselves to our new home and the girls all started to school. We visited all the folk and began to get acquainted with our Methodist members and also of the other people who lived in Dexter. I was informed by a lady that most all the men in Dexter were college graduates. I had a very good attendance at my first service. I preached at Dexter only two Sundays in each month. I preached at Lake Arthur and Cottonwood the other two Sundays of the month. The church at Cotton- wood had a debt of five hundred dollars on it and the District Superintendent informed me that the five hundred dollars must be raised at once and so I began to work on that debt. They had bought this church building from the Negroes who had a settlement there but they starved out and they sold the church building to the Methodist folk and they were behind in the amount of five hundred dollars. This was quite a task but I got the money and paid it off.
The first year we were at Dexter we had a very good year my salary was paid and some of the other claims of the church was paid but not all the claims were paid. We paid the debt on the Cottonwood church. I had Rev. Freeman, pastor at Clovis to come down and preach for me at Dexter for two weeks. And Rev. Davis who was pastor at that time at Artesia to sing for us through the two weeks meeting with little results. We had a beautiful fall of the year, the weather was ideal. I had passed through all the flu epidemic at San Jon, and Clovis and never took it but this beautiful fall I took the flu and was in the bed most of the winter. We had a very hard time our money was short and I was very near death's door. The doctor said I had a very close call. It was late in the spring of 1923 before I was able to do any work at all. But I gained my strength again and in time I was back on the job. I preached to all three places and I conducted a number of revival meetings and also I conducted a number of training courses. I had very great success in my training work. I had the pupils to come to my house, the parsonage and I had a large class and we had more than one class. We had several classes on different text books. We had credits on each of the courses issued from Nashville, Tenn., to each member and to all the members of all our classes. We did not have one member in any of the classes turned down. We had a number young people to attend our training classes and they were very much interested in those studies. I conducted training classes at Lake Arthur and had good success there also. I conducted a revival meeting at Cottonwood and had a great revival at that place. It resulted in buying a new piano and new lights for the church. And they organized a Young People's Society and paid every- thing in full that year. The people were good to us through my sickness. Things were moving along very well. We had now began talking about moving a church building from Dayton up to Dexter but the people at Dayton did not want to sell the church building. And then we thought it would cost too much to move it across the Fleece River. And the moving of the church from Dayton all fell through.
I began to think of a way to build a church house of our own which was not a very popular idea at that time. But this idea grew in my mind and also in the minds of other people. And new ways were being thought of also.
I finished my work that year which was 1923 and went to Annual Conference which was held October 3 at Marfa, Texas. I had a very good report and we had a fine Conference and I was returned to Dexter Circuit for my second year. The third year the pastor of the Presbyterian church changed his days of preaching and so the way his charge and my charge was arranged we, the Methodist, moved our services down into the Baptist church building as they did not have a pastor at this time and were not having any services in their building.; This renewed the interest in the idea of buiding a new Methodist church in Dexter. I called my official board together and we talked it over "Some of the board said it would not do at all to build a church and besides it was not possible for the Methodist people to build a church for they had such a small membership to help. But the opposition I met with the more I was determined to build a Methodist Church in Dexter, New Mexico. So as time went on I called my board together at different times and saw they were slowly coming to the idea of a new church. I call my good old friend Brother J. B. Cochren who was my Pre- siding Elder at this time and he said we could build a Methodist church at Dexter.
I got some fellows who had good big teams and we began to throw the dirt and dig out a place for a basement. I got some more fellows to haul a lot of sand for the concrete work. We had water conditions and we had to build the first eight feet of the wall out of concrete on the account of the flood waters. Our Presiding Elder who was a member of the Board of Church Extension at Louisville, Ky., promised us one thousand and five hundred dollars from the Board at Louisville. So I went out to get subscriptions on the basis of that promise. And Brother B. L. Nance went with me for a few days and we had wonderful success. It is a lot of fun to start to build a new church, for here is where you learn lots of things about people. You will learn who is progressive and who is not and you also learn who is liberal and who is not liberal. Building a new church when it is needed is a fine way to find out about the loyalty of its members. Opposition is sometimes a spur to a more determined action, we pull harder when we are opposed than we do when no one objects.
We got in a good way with building of the church but here it is Annual Conference time again. The Conference of 1924 was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, October I. I attended and at the close of the Conference the Bishop returned me to Dexter the third year and Lake Arthur and Cottonwood was taken off my circuit and Loving, was added to it. So my time was two Sundays at Dexter and two Sundays at Loving and the days I went to Loving and preached at eleven o'clock, I preached in the afternoon at a little place called Malaga down below Loving. I got up at midnight at Dexter and left on the train for Loving. I got to Carlsbad about four o'clock Sunday morning and I went down to Loving on the bus and preached at eleven o'clock and then down to Malaga at three. Back to Loving at night and I had a large group of fine young people to preach to at the night services at Loving. Monday morning I rode on the school bus to Carlsbad. A lot of young people were on the bus that I had preached to the night before and I had some interesting conversations with them about religion and the church. That preaching at Loving half time and at Dexter the other half time and leading the way in building a new church was an uphill business. But never-the-less we got along with the building of the church fine and we made great progress that year.
The church was almost finished in the winter of that year. I went to Conference at Clovis that year. It was held October 7, 1925 in Clovis, New Mexico. The Presiding Bishop was J. E. Dickey. I was appointed back to Dexter charge. The salary of the preacher was raised. I returned from Conference and that year we finished the new church and moved into it with our services. We organized a Methodist Sunday School and I preached every Sunday morning and Sunday evening. Our services both morning and evening were well attended and everything was going along in very good shape. I worked on the church building and did a lot of hard work and I improved greatly in my health and I enjoyed the work. Everyone was proud of the new church. Dexter Methodist Church has had no trouble about a place to hold their services. We can always expect help from God if in the right.
We moved into the new church in June of 1925 the fourth year that we were at Dexter. Dexter was made a station and I preached there every Sunday morning and evening until I moved which was the year of 1927. We had a very good year in 1926 and 1927. We had several additions to the church in profession of faith. All in all, the five years we were in Dexter were five years of progress and advancement. My salary was small but time were not the best times and the people were not full handed.
Laura, my wife, and I both picked cotton in the fall of three years we were there. Laura picked cotton enough in one fall to buy her a new Singer sewing machine and that same year I earned enough picking cotton to buy me a fifty dollar suit of clothes, a real nice suit. I made more than the fifty dollar suit of clothes, that was only one of the things I bought with the money that I made picking cotton. I drove the school bus one nine month term of school for forty dollars per month and they raised my salary the last two months to fifty dollars per month because I had to make three trips with the bus instead of two trips. Laura and I both worked and earned money outside of my church salary and our girls also earned some money to help buy their clothes and books to go to school. I was in better health at the end of the five years than I was at the beginning.
The year of 1926 was a hard year financially, they had a storm that damaged the cotton crop. I attended Annual Conference that year at Roswell, and Bishop John M. Moore was our Presiding Bishop. We were appointed back to Dexter for our fifth year. The fifth year was a very good one. Dexter was made a station that year and has been a station since. We got all of our church debts paid off but five hundred dollars. We owed five hundred dollars on our new church and afterward when they settled for it, the Board of Church Extension cut the five hundred down to two hundred and fifty dollars.
After I moved away from Dexter they called me back to preach the dedicatory sermon. We had a long stay in Dexter and we loved the people and hated to leave. We attended the Annual Conference at El Paso that year which was 1927. And we were appointed to the Melrose charge. So after we returned from the Conference in EI Paso we began to make preparations to move to Melrose. We hated to leave the people at Dexter and the people did not want us to leave but we moved.
While we were at Dexter two of our daughters were married: Rubie was married to Harold Dech and Ora was married to Velney Bowen and Edward Lee our oldest son was married to Ola Harden.
FOUR YEARS AT MELROSE
Very soon after we came home from Conference we moved to Melrose. Melrose was one of the best organized churches we had in the New Mexico Conference.
Laura, my wife, Naomi and James Harvey, got in our little Ford car and drove over or up to Mel- rose and the people received us with a fine spirit and with a big old fashioned pounding. Flour and sugar and a number of other things. It was a real good Methodist pounding. Melrose was a station but I had other places I preached. I preached at Forrest, Valley View, Saint Vrain and several other places. I preached at Melrose in the morning and evening and at the outside places in the afternoon and week days. I was a real busy man at Melrose. I did all the preaching in my revival meetings at Melrose the first two years, and they got an outside man for the singing. We held a two weeks meeting each year that we were at Melrose. We had services both morning 'and evening. We had a real good attendance at all the services. I had Rev. Hamby from Tennessee to preach for me one year at Melrose in the revival meeting and Rev. Wood from San Jon another year. We had a good number added to the church on profession of faith. The year that Rev. Wood preached for us in the revival we had over thirty to come forward the last Sunday morning on profession of faith and joined the church. I will never forget that long group of boys and girls all from our Sunday School. I called the teachers and parents to come and stand with them while I baptized them and gave them the church vows. That was a real inspiring service that I will never forget in time or eternity. Every year during the two weeks meeting the folks had us have dinner in some of the homes until we went the rounds of all the homes. Those days were days of real Christian fellowship. We had plenty of good things to eat and we had an inspiring number to preach to, at every service, morning and evening. That was true each of the four years that we were at Melrose. I did lots of visiting at Melrose and got acquainted with a lot of people. I conducted a two weeks meeting at all the preaching places outside of Melrose each of the four years. Saint Vrain, Valley View, Forrest and all those places we had a house full of people to preach to most of the time. The people then, generally all went to church. I don't know whether people are better Christians now than they were then or not but they attended church services better then than now.
While we were at Melrose the Standard Training Course was outstanding in all of our churches and was very popular in the minds of the church folk. We had lots of training classes at Melrose and at all the preaching places on the charge. I don't remember how many training schools we had at Melrose but we had several and we had outside help and had two or three classes and different text books. We had Mrs. Watson from EI Paso to conduct a class of adults. And Brother Clyde Campbell on a different text book. We also had a number of classes without any outside help. We had a number of teachers in the Melrose church that were able and qualified, to give instructions on most of the subjects in the Standard Training Course. We had interesting people to work with. I conducted training classes in nearly all my preaching places on the charge every year. I conducted a Mission school each year at Melrose with large attendance and a large number of credits were issued at the end of the school. We had prayer service each Wednesday evening but not so well attended as some other services.
We put out a lawn on the church yard the first year we were there. I borrowed a truck and went to Taiban and dug up Bermuda grass. I brought it to Melrose and set it out in little sprigs, three feet apart and it was sodded by the Fourth of July that same year. I set it out the seventeenth of April and mowed it by the Fourth of July. The church furnished the water and that was the secret of grass growing so quick. Brother Claud Newbill and I went to Roswell and bought some Chinese Elms and set out a row all around the church yard and then the church put a nice sidewalk around two sides of the church. The water bill one month when I was sodding the grass ran up to twenty-nine dollars, that was the highest it ever went while I was covering the church yard with the beautiful grass. I made no charges but the town and church gave me a gift of seventy-five dollars. Brother Conley brought it to me late one evening and I was greatly surprised for I was not thinking of such a thing. We had harmony in the church and very little friction. I highly appreciated all the people at Melrose the four years that we were there.
The four years that I was in Melrose I was a busy preacher. I preached about one hundred sermons in Melrose each year and that made four hundred sermons in the four years, that did not count the funerals. I preached about the same number of sermons at my other preaching places. Forrest, Saint Vrain, Rockdale, Valley View, and Field. The sermons at those places were not always the sermons that I preached at Melrose. I conducted revival meetings at Porter school house two weeks, and also at Grady, House, Taiban, each of those meetings were two weeks with services both morning and evening. At all those places I had good attendance. All those places were out- side of my Melrose charge. Also I conducted Training classes at Texico, Clovis, Inez, and San Jon, and each of those classes were six days. I don't know just how I found time to do that much work outside of my own charge, but I built a garage at Melrose and I did most of the labor myself. I built a little rock fence around the Melrose church but I was not very proud of that because it was not much of an ornament after I did so much hard work on it.
We had a large attendance at all the revival services. At the close of each revival meeting the church gave to the singer and preacher around three hundred dollars between them. This was a free will offering and I always thought they did so freely and willingly.
Melrose Methodist church had a very fine Sun- day School with a large number of children attending. We had a large group of intermediates at the evening meeting we called it the Epworth League. They were a noisy bunch, but I loved them just the same. We had a Boy Scout troop and I was Scout Master part of the time. I went on several camping trips with them to the breaks and to other places where we camped out. We had some very great experiences with the Boy Scouts on those trips. Naomi, our youngest daughter, was married to Mr. J. R. Wrinkle, while we were at Melrose. I had a large number of tragedy funerals besides the people who passed away the natural way.
The years that I was at Melrose I attended the Annual Conference at Gallup, New Mexico, Bishop Moore was the Presiding Bishop. The second year I attended Annual Conference at Marfa, Texas and Bishop Moore was the Presiding Bishop that year also. The third year at Portales, New Mexico, a Bishop HRY, was the Presiding Bishop. The Fourth year at Walsenburg, Colorado, and Bishop Hay was the Presiding Bishop that year also. The year that I attended Annual Conference at Gallup, New Mexico, Lee, my eldest son and his wife, ala, and the children went with us and then after I got through with my work at the Conference by permission of the Conference we went through the mountains in Arizona to Safford, Arizona to see my mother. We had a great 'trip and stayed all night at Holbrook. We went through the Petrified Forest and it was a very great sight. In the mountains we saw lots of big oak trees, three and four feet in diameter. We also went through the Painted Desert.
While we were at Melrose we went to see my mother a second time. We left Melrose early one Monday morning al!d drove to Albuquerque by noon. Laura and James Harvey stayed at Albuquerque with Rubie and Harold Deck. Rubie's husband and I drove to EI Paso that afternoon and it was about midnight when we got there. We stayed at EI Paso that night and then drove to Safford the next day to where my mother and youngest brother, John Marvin, lived. We were there three or four days and then we returned to Albuquerque and stayed with Rubie and Harold that night and the next day we went to see J. R. and Naomi who then lived at Santa Fe, New Mexico. Thelma Mitts girl came home with us. This was a very great trip and Harold drove his car at a great speed but we came back whole without any hurts. But I was scared many times and once when some horses ran in front of the car, nothing happened, they got out of the way of the car.
At the Annual Conference at Walsenburg, Bishop Hay appointed me to the charge in the oil field in Odessa, Texas. I came home from Conference and begin to pack up to move to Odessa, Texas. While we were getting ready to move Mary my youngest sister and her family came in from California to see us. I had not seen her for many years. They spent a few days with us and then left, and we moved to Odessa, Texas.
TWO YEARS IN ODESSA, TEXAS, IN THE OIL FIELD
Our four years stay at Melrose, was four years of appreciation and of some very great experiences of service and work in the Kingdom. The Melrose people were a high class of people and we enjoyed their fellowship each of the four years that we were there. They cooperated with us in a very fine way in all the work of the church.
I bought a two wheeled trailer and we loaded our stuff in it and rolled out to Odessa, Texas. We had a little trouble with the trailer just after we left Melrose because we did not have the trailer loaded right. It did not take long to rearrange the load and we were soon going again. It was a hot day in September and we suffered with heat. I did not have my trailer tagged and I thought all day that the officers would stop me but I escaped their watchful eyes and we arrived in Odessa after dark. We inquired of a colored man the way to the Methodist parsonage and he gave us correct information as to the way to our place of abode. We found it without any trouble. We drove in the yard and unpacked the things we had to have that night. Made our beds. and became unconscious until late in the morning.
We got up and went out in the yard. It was an ugly looking place, an old church building and an old parsonage where they had Sunday School. The yard was covered with sharp rocks. It took us several days to get over the move the weather being so hot. Things did not look very encouraging. There was a lot of old China bushes that were split and broken down, and the yard was so rocky. The parsonage was what they called modem house with bath and everything inside. Gas stoves but it was so hot that it looked like we would not ever need any fuel. r did not go any- where for two or three days until r rested for r was overworked having attended Conference in Colorado and then my sister came and had to pack and that was a big job. We were worked down when we arrived in Odessa. This was different to anything that r had ever experienced in all my life. r was raised in a farming country and all my appointments had been in a farming country. Odessa was in the oil field and a different class of people to work with under different conditions but r went to work believing in God to help me.
After I had rested a few days I got in my car and struck out to visit the homes of my people. And where the folk were not at home I left my card. My first service on Sunday I announced that I would hold a series of services the next ten days. I preached morning and evening two services a day for two weeks. I had very good attendance but no large numbers. Quite a few people were very much interested in the services. During the two weeks I got acquainted with most of my people. And at the close of the two weeks on Sunday morning we had a few additions to the church on profession of faith. I was very well pleased with the results of my efforts. We had a large attendance at Sunday School. We had more children coming to Sunday School than we had room for. The church was just a one room building. They had bought a house for the parsonage and they were using the old parsonage for Sunday School and it was crowded because of so many boys and girls. We had regular services each Sunday both morning and evening with good attendance and very good interest.
This was the year of the depression and besides the general conditions everywhere that was causing hard times, our local bank at Odessa went broke and a lot of my members lost their money they had deposited in the bank. Some of the folk lost their money and also lost their jobs. Conditions were very bad in regard to finances. But the cost of living was very low. Everything in the way of fuel and other expenses did not amount to very much. The people were very liberal with the preacher. They would bring in a lot of chickens and eggs and a lot of other things for the parsonage. And because money was scarce this helped the preacher's family to get by. I preached at another place in the oil field in the afternoons, called Pinwell about twenty miles from Odessa. We learned to love the people because they were very sociable and friendly. The people were easy to get acquainted with. I preached several funerals. Some of the men who worked in the oil field attended church services regular. I soon got acquainted with the County officers. The treasurer of the county was a member of my church and also a member of my Board of Christian Education. We had a very good year and I attended the Annual Conference at Roswell and that was 1932. Bishop Hay was our Presiding Bishop. The Bishop sent me back for the second year at Odessa. I was glad and willing to return. I returned from Annual Conference with the courage of a Methodist preacher believing that God had the Bishop send me back to Odessa because I was the man for the job. The people of Odessa were glad of our return. My mother was living with us at this time. She did live at Safford, Arizona.
I started into my second year with great confidence in God to help. The people cooperated with me in everything I tried to do. I conducted several training classes with large attendance. We had lots of meetings with the different commit- tees and organizations. A number of credits were issued and the church was deeply interested in the training work. I also conducted a series of preaching services and we had lots of people to attend our services.
We made a lot of improvement on the church yard by putting out a row of shade trees. We planted the church yard and also the yard at the parsonage in grass and we had plenty of water to irrigate with. The church yard was rocky and in front the rocks were deep down in the ground and had to do some blasting to get a place deep enough to plant the trees. I watered the trees and mowed the grass and it was beautiful.
That year we had District Conference in our church at Odessa, Dr. Linebaugh was our District Superintendent and we had a large representation. All the churches in the District were represented. The reports from each Church by the pastors showed that the churches were growing and prospering. We had social meetings in our church and we had one that I thought was one of the best I had ever experienced. I had a class of young people that cooperated with me in the church work. They attended church on Sunday nights and sang in the choir. I took them each year to the Young Peoples Assembly which was held at Weed. New Mexico, and we went through the Carlsbad Caverns. By request of my young people we had a series of services each night for one week, this was after we had our two weeks meeting. This was for the young people and they were there every service. I was very much inspired in preaching to those young people. We were much in love with all of our people and everything was going along fine but the time came around to attend the Annual Conference which was held at Carlsbad, New Mexico. Bishop Hay was again our Presiding Bishop and I was moved from Odessa to Lords- burg, New Mexico.
I came home from Carlsbad where the Conference was held and I hated to move. I thought it was best to move because my mother was not satisfied at Odessa. She was old and not well and I thought for her sake we had better move. I was sick in bed the morning we were to leave. I was not able that morning to help much but we got some other help and loaded up a four wheeled trailer that I had bought and when we got everything on the trailer it was piled up too high. But we pulled out with that top-heavy load and we were getting along fine till we come to a place four miles west of Vanhorn, Texas, where they had changed the road. My car was new and the brakes were good, I stopped the car too quick and the four wheel trailer did not stop when the car stopped but went to weaving sideways and the momentive movement turned the trailer over and dumped everything in the middle of the road. James Harvey and my wife got busy and loaded half of the stuff into the trailer and I took it back to Vanhorn and stored it away there until we could come back and get it. When the trailer turned over it did not hurt the trailer, we turned it back right side up and it was all right. When I got back from Vanhorn we loaded the rest of the stuff in the trailer and pulled out for EI Paso, Texas. We arrived in EI Paso after dark and stayed all night with Mrs. Harold Deck, my daughter. When we got our short visit out with our daughter and her husband, we pulled out for Lordsburg, New Mexico. We landed there the same day and unloaded our stuff and camped there that night. The next day James Harvey and I went back to Vanhorn and got the rest of our stuff and brought it to Lordsburg.
I sold my trailer to the Rev. Mims who was moving from Lordsburg to Odessa. Lordsburg was a town with one long street. It was a mining town but at this time was not very active. This was another change for me. I had experienced living in a farming district or an oil district. Lordsburg had a new church building and they were a very loyal people to the Methodist church. They received us with a very fine spirit. They were a friendly and sociable group. We were glad to meet such a fine reception as was given to us at Lordsburg.
The day we arrived at Lordsburg we were hardly through unloading our trailer when a man came to me and said they want you to come down to the Mortuary to preach a man's funeral and he is a Chinaman. I had never spoken a word to a man that was a Chinaman and I was puzzled as to what to do not knowing anything about the Chinese people, I hesitated to answer the man. He said it will be all right. The Chinaman that had died was a meat cutter here and he was well liked by everyone. So I went down to the Mortuary just a few steps from the parsonage. I walked into the auditorium and it was full of people and on the right of me they were all Chinese people. About one-half of the congregation was the Chinese people.
I took my text from Job 14: 14 "If a man die shall he live again." I made a few remarks about this man's friends he had and then I preached the funeral as though it was a white man's funeral or as though I would have preached an American mans' funeral. They wanted me to go to the grave and pronounce the benediction there, so I went and watched the Chinese in their formal way at the graveside. They marched up to the grave and each one of them dropped something I thought it was some kind of food into the grave and when they all got through I pronounced the benediction. And they came to me and shook hands with me complimented my talk at the mortuary and they were well pleased with my remarks. Among the Chinese people, there was a little Chinese girl that was a member of my church and she was a regular attendant at our Sunday School. I found out afterwards that she was a very fine girl. We are all God's creation and God loves all people. When we got things arranged at the parsonage so that we could get in and out I ordered a ton of coal and I hired a man with a truck to haul me a load of oak wood from the mountains and I went with him. We were gone all day. We got a big load of wood and got back before dark. Sunday came and I preached my first sermon on Sunday morning. We had services at the evening hour. We were well pleased with the way things were starting off. The week following I started out to visit the homes and get acquainted with the people in general. Mrs. Hatfield was trying to get things in order at the parsonage and we were becoming somewhat adjusted to the change. The people gave us a very hearty reception.
The ladies of the church prepared a fine dinner at the church once each week for a men's club at a dollar a plate and they informed me that my job that day was to build a fire in the cookstove and in the heating stove. I was glad to build the fires for I learned to build fires down in Arkansas when I was very small. I learned to build fires a long time before I learned to preach. When the day arrived for the dinner I had the keys to the basement of the church and I arose that morning and had the fires booming when the ladies came to prepare the dinner. They prepared a very fine dinner and I dined with the men of the club. I formed the acquaintance of some new folks that day. I thought I was getting along very well. I got acquainted with some of the railroad men and also the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce. I met some of the teachers in the High School. I had just about met all or most of the business men of the town. Lords- burg was a place where lots of people traveling stopped to stay over night. The hotel was always full to its greatest capacity. I would go down there sometimes and I thought I never did see so many valises or grips, they almost covered the floor everywhere.
One day just a day or so before Thanksgiving, a man knocked on my front door. I went to the door and the man said, "is your name Hatfield?" I said yes. He said, "well here is another Hatfield." I invited him in to stay a while and talk. So he came in and we had a long interesting chat. Mrs. Hatfield suggested that the Hatfield come back on Thanksgiving and have Thanksgiving dinner with us and he accepted the invitation and was with us on that day and we talked over a lot of things about the Hatfields. And a lot of things about the Hatfields was not first class. He said he left Kentucky and came to Lordsburg for his health. He said he was taught to shoot a gun and a pistol very early in his life. That was a very great day for me to meet a man by my name for I had up to this time hardly ever met a Hatfield outside of my own kin by that name. This Hatfield was a man who worked in the mines. He was a very intelligent man. He said he could tell a Hatfield just to see him walking down the street. We did not have a public Thanksgiving service, it did not seem to be a custom of the people. Every Sunday I met a good attendance at Church, morning and evening. They had a good Sunday School. Everything was moving along we thought in a very fine way.
I was very busy visiting my people and I had just about met all and one Friday evening late I was coming in and something seemed to tell me that I must move to Trinidad, Colorado, and there was no use of me doing any more work there. I think the reason I had those feelings I had promised my District Superintendent to go to Trinidad if the Bishop wanted me to go. But I thought that every- thing had worked around so that I would not have to go. So the next morning after 1 had those feelings and it was Saturday morning 1 was sitting in a chair in the front room reading and some one knocked on my front door. 1 opened the door and the man handed me a telegram and walked away. The telegram was from Bishop Hay and it said "Move to Trinidad at once." My wife came running in and 1 turned the telegram over and she said, "Let me see that telegram." 1 handed it to her and she said, "land of mercy 1 have just got every- thing in the house in its place." 1 said that's the way of a Methodist preacher. She said "are we going?" 1 said, "what else can we do but go on to Trinidad?" Well, that same morning 1 was to meet my District Superintendent at the train. He was coming to hold the First Quarterly Conference. 1 met him and we came back to the parsonage and we sat in front of the house in the car and talked. And he said "I think they are going to want you to move to Trinidad the preacher that is there is sick and he must get away." The D. S. did not know that 1 had a telegram from Bishop Hay, telling me that 1 must move to Trinidad. After we talked some time in the car. 1 took out the telegram and handed it to the D. S. and he said "Oh, you already have word from the Bishop." Well, we went in the house and my wife was fixing dinner and 1 saw that the D. S. was getting a little nervous because 1 had not given him a hint just what 1 was going to do because he knew that we were sitting well in Lordsburg. So the D. S. said to me "Brother Hatfield, are you going to move to Trinidad?" 1 said "yes, of course, 1 am a Methodist preacher and 1 promised to go if you wanted me to go." Well he began to praise Trinidad and the people but he was honest with me for he said, "The church was about to the end and you must be there not later than next Sunday." He was to hold my Quarterly Conference the next day in Lordsburg and he said, "do you want me to tell the folks here that you are going to move." I said, "yes, tell them how it came about." So after dinner we went out to tell the people that 1 was going to move to Trinidad. Colorado. And Dr. Perry was going to come to Lordsburg in my place. The people opposed me moving away. We spent the whole Saturday afternoon but it was unhappy experience for both of us.
The next day was Sunday and the day for the Quarterly Conference. The District Superintendent preached at eleven o'clock and announced the Quarterly Conference to be at 2:00 p.m. The people came out to the Conference about one' hundred per cent. They thought they could talk D. S. out of moving me away but the Bishop' sent me a telegram to move to Trinidad because the preacher at Trinidad was sick. The District Superintendent opened the Conference with prayer and rather rushed into the business of the Quarterly Conference. Outwardly everything went along very nice but the people could not understand why they were moving me when the church wanted me to stay. I had been in Lordsburg forty-seven days. The Quarterly Conference closed in a very fine way because of the tact and diplomacy of the District Superintendent but the people were quite upset because of my moving. They said to me after we adjourned, "why did the D. S. not give us a chance to talk?" We had services that night and a very large attendance. I did hate to move because that was a extra good place. My mother was with us and she was old and feeble and Trinidad was high and a very cold place. It was December. We were liable to meet a severe storm and the trip was to be dreaded. But Monday morning arrived and I went out and bought me a two wheeled trailer, it was a very strong one. We loaded up our belongings on the trailer and pulled out for Trinidad, Colorado. We had about three thousand pounds on the trailer and the most of the weight was on the car but this I had not known in time to save a break down. So about twenty-five miles from Deming on the road to Hot Springs, away out on the prairie I looked back and the left hind wheel of my car was smoking. I stopped and the wheel was hot and about to blaze. Well. there we were away out there with my mother and wife and boy. I said, "what on earth will we do?" It was late in the evening and the nights were cold for it was December. I was all the time scared looking for a storm from the north. I looked back and a truck was coming. I stopped the truck and told the driver my trouble and he was kind and took my mother and wife on to Hot Springs that night.
My mother and wife went on to Hot Springs and James Harvey and I walked back the road toward Deming, two or three miles to a house where there was a phone. We called for the wrecker and they came immediately to get my car. But when they arrived there was our trailer with every- thing we had except the clothes we had on and what are we going to do with it? We looked away up on a hill about a mile or more and there was a little house and the wrecker pulled the trailer up to that house in behind it and left it there exposed to the weather and everything else. We came back to the road and they hitched on to my car to take it back to Deming for repair. They said it would be ready for me the next day. While we were there by the road side a man came along going to Hot Springs. A man we knew so James Harvey and I got in his car and rode to Hot Springs where my wife and mother had gone. They were at Brother. Crawfords who was pastor of the Methodist church there. We stayed with Brother Crawford that night and the next morning he took his Ford car and we got the trailer and all of what was in it. Nothing had bothered it at all. The weather was very nice, no storm yet and our stuff was safe in the yard at the Methodist parsonage in Hot Springs. That day I took the bus and went back to Deming to get my car. But when I arrived they said they had to send to EI Paso for parts and the car would be ready for me the next day. So the next day arrived and the car was ready, I got in it and drove to Hot Springs where my wife and mother and our trailer was. I hired a man there to take my trailer on to Trinidad because we could not trail it be- hind our car without having another break-down. I gave the man seventy-five dollars to take my trailer on to Trinidad.
We got in our car and started for Trinidad. We left Brother Crawford's place about one o'clock thinking that we were allover our troubles but after we had gone a few miles the road made a turn over a little draw and as we were going up the little hill the right hand front wheel came off and there we were about eight miles from Socorro, New Mexico, and it was about night. Just at that time the bus drove up and I put my wife and mother in the bus and they went on to Socorro. James Harvey and I stayed with the car. If we were not in Socorro at a certain time my wife was to send the wrecker out after us. But James Harvey and I put the wheel back on and drove slow and we made it into Socorro about eight or nine o'clock.
We took the car to the garage and left it for repair and they said it would be ready for us early next morning. Socorro was an old town, we stayed.in the adobe building that was a station on the old stage line in an early day. The Board of Church Extension of the Methodist Church South when it was established it made its first loan and donation to a little Methodist church in Socorro, New Mexico. We left Socorro Friday morning, December 14, 1933. We went through Santa Fe and had dinner with Mrs. J. R. Wrinkle, my youngest daughter, but we were there only a short time for we had to drive to Trinidad that afternoon and it was over two hundred miles. I drove the little car at a high speed and we had no trouble at all that afternoon. We got to Raton some time after dark. I drove over the Raton Pass in the dark and I was not afraid though I had driven over it only one time before this time. When we were on top of the pass I ask my mother if she felt all right and she said, "Yes." I said, "you are on top of the pass."
"ON THE WAY TO FIVE YEARS WORK AT TRINIDAD"
We got to Trinidad about eight o'clock and we did not know where the parsonage was but we stopped at a filling station and the man who had the filling station was a member of my church there and he called up brother Charley O'Neal who was one of the official members of the church. He came down and took us home with him. He had a very fine home and we had royal treatment that night. The nights in Colorado were cold and how good it was to get in a warm house. Mrs. O'Neal fixed us a fine supper. I did appreciate that fine Methodist hospitality and so did my wife and mother and our boy James Harvey. We had a lot of real trouble on the road. We left Lordsburg Tuesday and it was Saturday, December 15 when we awoke to a new day in the place where we were to be for five years. I had to get ready for my service on Sunday. We unloaded our trailer that day at the parsonage. The other preacher Brother Walker who was sick did not have all his stuff out of the parsonage but we moved in and made the best of it. The parsonage was an old building. My wife and mother had stood the move very well. My mother was old and feeble and Trinidad was high in altitude and I was afraid it would be against my mother because she had a weak heart. She did have quite a sick spell shortly after we were there but she recovered and seemed to be in better health than she had in Texas and New Mexico. The mountains around Trinidad were beautiful.
Sunday morning came and I had a very fine congregation assembled for my first service. I preached to them that morning with all the earnest- ness of my soul. We had a good choir, I was well pleased with the way things went off that first service. After the Benediction I went to the door to shake hands with the people and they were a fine looking group of people. I had lots of praise on my first sermon. So I announced my evening service, also the Young People's Service, which I attended. They had a large room upstairs beautifully decorated. When I walked into the room there were about thirty young men and ladies but the most were young men. I was delighted to see so many of the number boys and young men. I made a short talk and told them I had come to Trinidad to be their friend. I fell in love with them and they fell in love with me. After the young people's service was over we went downstairs to the auditorium and there was about sixty people waiting for the service to start. We had a number of songs and then I read my Scripture lesson and took my text and announced my subject, "Jesus Only," Matthew 17:8.
The auditorium was a very nice one with comfortable pews, the acoustics were good. The auditorium was an old one perhaps seventy or one hundred years old. They had an addition to it that was new. It had twenty-five nice rooms for Sunday School rooms and other purposes. There was a beautiful altar and pulpit. All those things were attractive to the new preacher. I was indeed happy with my new appointment.
But I knew that I had not yet heard the other side of the question but I was waiting patiently to hear it. The District Superintendent had given me a lot of information but he had not given me all of it. In just a few days we had a Board meeting and they told me about the big debt, the depression and about how many were without jobs. The Board informed me that money matters were bad in the church and also in the town of Trinidad. They told me a lot of members had quit. Well, that was the beginning of the bad news and they kept unfolding more and more of the ugly side of the whole matter. They told me that one of the official members tried to find the D. S. before Annual Conference and tell him they had decided to close the church doors and turn it over to The Board of Church Extension at Louisville, Ky. But he did not find the D. S., so they sent me.
The ugly side of things did not affect me very much for I was of an optimistic disposition. I came to Trinidad with a faith that debts nor hard luck stories, depressions, and jobless people and church debts would not weaken it in the least. I had such faith in God and the Young people that I firmly thought that those discouraging things would be removed. I ,went out over the city hunting up all my members and I found more and more of those hard luck stories. I had never met so many people that were soured on the church in all of my life. They had the largest Sunday School south of the Arkansas River before they put the- new addition to the old auditorium, they did not have room for the Sunday School because they had so many children and young people. They went to work and built a forty thousand dollar addition and when they were ready to move into it they found that they had lost most of their folks. I never did find just why they lost so many people. Many of the members never did unite with any other church, some did. A lot of the members were not sore about anything. But I failed to get any large number of them back to the church. I worked hard the first year and everything went along fine in our services. The faithful ones stayed with me and we had good services. We had mid-week prayer services and they were well attended. I organized the church- according to the new plan. I had the Board of Education well organized and it was working fine.. My Young People's Epworth League was growing in interest and in numbers.
I took two car loads of young people to Young People's Assembly in New Mexico and they were delighted with the Assembly. We went through the Carlsbad Caverns. It was a great experience for them. We did have a wonderful time on that trip. I conducted a revival meeting that year being my first year. I had good results. My young people led the singing each night for two weeks, I had good attendance and I received a good number into the church on profession of faith. I conducted some training classes that year and issued several credits. I closed out the first year with a very good report. I attended the Annual Conference at Las Cruces, New Mexico. Bishop H. A. Boaz was our Presiding Bishop. We had a fine conference. Some of my young people went with me to Conference. Bishop Boaz sent me back to Trinidad for the second year. My lay delegates from Trinidad also attended Conference. This was my first year and I thought we had made some progress in the interest of the church.
I was greatly encouraged to start into my second year at Trinidad. We started in my organizing a large group of folks to meet on each Wednesday evening and study the Bible. We had more than twenty to start with and we held them for six months. Then some other lines of work was urging us to turn our attention to them. One was the church debt. So I began that task if you would call it a task. I studied up a plan to raise the money. I talked to the business men of the city and asked them if they would give two per cent of all the purchases made of my members at their stores and they said they would be glad to do so. So I instructed my officials and all my members and they said they would cooperate with me in this plan. The plan brought in at first about one hundred dollars per month. All brought in by this plan of course did not pay the debut but it helped to get things going along on this line of work.
Our services were being well attended both morning and evening. The young people were working fine. We had lots of social gatherings in the church. We were making some improvements in the church and out in the church yard. We had workings at the church and then we would have lunch in the basement of the church and have an interesting program with the young people. We changed District Superintendents from Brother Meadows to Brother Hightower. This year the D. S. asked me to go down to Branson which was fifty miles down the C and S railroad toward Amarillo, Texas. I did, but we had quite an un- usual experience in our work with the people at Branson and the final results was after two hard years work down there and making one hundred trips from Trinidad down there we sold the church building by order of Dr. T. D. Ellis. He was Secretary of the Board of Church Extension at Louisville, Ky. Our work at Trinidad was going along in a very fine cooperative way. We had a revival meeting with very good results. I took car loads of Young people to New Mexico to the Assembly and we all went through the Carlsbad Caverns again. I closed out my second year with very good results and went to the Annual Conference which was held at El Paso, Texas. Brother Boaz was again our Presiding Bishop. My delegates and some of my young people went with us to the Annual Conference.
I started into the third year of my work at Trinidad. The word came to me that something must be done about the debt on the church. So we got busy and began to make some plans to raise the amount of money that it would take to pay the debt. The plan was to go out and see all of our members and friends and put this financial obligation before them. So I started out, one man went with me to a few places and then I went alone. Times were hard and most of the people were unemployed and had no income, money was scarce. We had a few individuals that give one hundred dollars each and this amounted to only seven or eight hundred dollars. Most of the money was raised in small subscription given by individuals. This took a lot of going about over the city in order to see all the members. I put this proposition before most of the business men of the city and they responded with a small subscription. I was about two or three months raising the amount that it took to settle the obligation but I reached all the members and friends and the business men and did not have the amount so we decided to put on a big dinner and finish the amount. We got two of our ladies to go out and sell tickets at one dollar a plate. The two ladies sold as I remember over two hundred tickets. We were to have the food donated so that the returns would all be net with no expenses. We had everything going fine and the date was set for the dinner and three days before, it came a snow over four feet deep. This I well remember because the snow fell the night before my birthday which was the eighth day of May. But the weather was warm and the snow melted and was all gone when the day arrived for the dinner except a few places where it had been shoveled off the steps or sidewalk. Everything went over fine at the big dinner and we had over two hundred dollars clear which finished the amount that we had to have to settle the debt. That banquet called for a lot of work upon the part of the ladies and many others. We had to borrow a lot of tables and dishes, and chairs and they had to be returned after the dinner and that took lots of work. In this way we settled the big debt and cleared the whole thing up. We sent the money to the Board of Church Extension at Louisville, Ky., and got our note and mortgage. In the month of August Bishop Boaz came and preached the dedicatory sermon and our church was free of debt. I went to the Annual Conference which was held at Clovis, New Mexico, with a good report and I was happy.
As I started into the fourth year of my work at Trinidad I felt good and so did my people but we never know just what is around the corner. Everything was running smoothly in our church work. We were having good attendance both in our Sunday School and church services. On the fourteenth day of June it came the biggest hail storm that I ever did see in my life. The hail lay on the ground over two feet deep. After it quit hailing I went down to the church and it had ruined the church. The new addition to the church had flat roof and the walls were two feet above the flat roof and it was full up to the top of the wall that extended above the flat roof. The roof on the Auditorium was a steep shingle roof and it was ruined and the water was standing in the pews. In the Sunday School rooms the water was coming through the plaster and the water was allover the basement. I got. some boys and some men and went to work shoveling that hail off that flat roof and it took us until the next day noon before we got it all off. The women came and dipped the water out of the basement. We did not have any hail insurance and that made it worse than ever. We had insurance but no hail insurance. We were both disgusted and busted. What to do we did not know for we were not over the strain of raising the big church debt. My D. S. told me that I was a victim of circumstances. I had a vision and the vision said to me this is your opportunity and I went to work with a little help because all the people were on the fence. I did not urge the people but we soon had a new roof on the whole church and in all it took twenty-five hundred dollars to repair the damage from the hail storm. The hail broke the big window in front of the church and it did 100k so ugly but we put in a new window. We painted the church after we had repaired all the damage and I heard one of the officials say one day after we had repaired the broken places said he, "the hail storm was a blessing after all for our church is in better shape than it was before. We never missed a service in the church because of the hail storm. All of our other church work went on as usual. We had the union Vacation Bible School in our church that year as we did every year. I went to Annual Conference at Albuquerque that year with a good report. God was with us. Because things are bad we don't have to give up. "All things are possible with God."
I returned from Conference in Albuquerque in the year of 1937 and started my fifth year at Trinidad with a strong determination to make it my best year with God's help. I loved the people at Trinidad and not only my own members, but I loved all the people in Trinidad. We were delighted to live in Trinidad. My mother was living with us and James Harvey was growing up to be a man and was making good in school. Our church services were an inspiration to me. We had some very fine folks that I shall never forget them and their kindness. We had that year a union training school in cooperation with all the churches in the town or city. That was an accredited school, we issued over eight certificates of credit. That was a great experience to all the churches. I was the leader in this school, I visited a lot of people in the city of Trinidad. By permission of the pastors I visited the members of the different churches and I got a lot of inspiration from the ones I visited. We had a great fellowship and a great revival in our hearts, all the churches were greatly benefitted by that union effort. After all of our troubles of debt and hail storm our five year stay in Trinidad was a happy period in my life that I shall never forget.
My work that fifth year was closed out with and in good fellowship and with some progress along different lines. Our church services were good with some increase in interest and attendance. Our Sunday School was going fine. There was strong talk of the two Methodist churches uniting and they did unite two years late. I went to Annual Conference that year which was at Roswell, New Mexico, October 20-23, 1938. Bishop Holt was our Presiding Bishop. We had a fine Conference. That year I was appointed by the Bishop to the Walsenburg church. I was not all together pleased with that appointment but no one knew it but Mrs. Hatfield. I was much in love with the people at Trinidad but really I wanted to go back to New Mexico, but Bishop Holt said, "We want you to go to Walsenburg and raise that church debt." Said he, "we have confidence in you and we believe you can clear that church of the big debt." I said, "Bishop Holt, if you have that much faith in me I will go and do my best. My D. S. gave me a letter- from the official Board of the church at Walsenburg addressed to Bishop Holt asking him to send me to Walsenburg. I accepted the appointment but I had a feeling of my weakness that I was not equal to the job. But I went praying and trusting in God. I came home from Annual Conference and moved to Walsenburg.
SEVEN YEARS AT WALSENBURY COLORADO
The folks at Trinidad gave us a very fine farewell party and we felt very sad over leaving people we loved so much. But Bishop Holt said to move to Walsenburg and I was a Methodist preacher and a member of the Methodist Conference and when I took the vows of ordination I promised to go where they sent. So we loaded up our belongings and moved to Walsenburg. The ladies at Walsenburg were having the parsonage redecorated. Brother Perry the former pastor was not quite out with all his stuff and I had to make about three trips from Trinidad to get all of our stuff as we moved in a little trailer. Rosenburg, followed me at Trinidad. I followed Dr. Perry at Walsenburg. Our first service was not very encouraging because there was such a small attendance. The Sunday School was very small. The ladies had raised the money to payoff a debt they owed on the parsonage and I went with the treasurer of the church to Pueblo to pay it off. About all I could hear was the debt they owed on the church building. The debt was all out of proportion to the financial ability of the membership of the church and the population of the town of Walsenburg. The local debts were up in the thousands, two or three of them. The debt to the Board of Church Extension was above fifteen thousand.
The depression was on in a proper sense of the word. Many of the people were without work and had no income. Many were just getting by with their own affairs. My official board had a meeting in a few days and they brought up the question of the church debt and I suggested that they turn that matter over to me and they readily agreed and did officially turn it over to me. I knew before I moved to Walsenburg that would be my job. There was not anything done the first year but talk and plan and dream and have visions. My visions and dreams were not always bright and encouraging. Well, we went on in our regular services and we met with some encouraging things in the church services and in the Sunday School. I visited most of the time. I printed my bulletins and every Saturday afternoon I put those bulletins in the door of all the Methodist homes. I counted it that way and when the year was to an end I had made fifteen hundred visits. But I did visiting be- sides this way. We had prayer services on Wednesday evening. I closed out the first year at Walsenburg and attended the Annual Conference at EI Paso. Bishop Holt was again presiding Bishop. I was appointed back to Walsenburg, and after a great Conference I came back.
Well, I returned from Annual Conference with the belief that it was the Lord's will that I should work another year at Walsenburg. I was raised up to believe when the Bishop appointed his preachers to their place to work that it was from the Lord through the Bishop and in the most cases I still believe that a Methodist preacher's appointment is of the Lord. So with that faith I should work with a consciousness of the presence of God. I went to work with good hope that I would succeed in freeing that church of its indebtedness. My faith grew but I met with many obstructions in the way, but my faith told me to make steps out of those things that got in my way and by doing that I found out that each step did lift me a little higher in my efforts. One group of my ladies raised a small sum, about one hundred dollars and I told them to give it to me and I would send it to the Board of Church Extension at Louisville, Ky. They did and I sent it to the Secretary of that institution. I was getting lots of letters from that Board and some of them were very cold when they came into my hands. It bothered me quite a lot but I did not get scared too bad, not enough to quit. The ladies were having chicken dinners at the church each week at thirty-five cents a plate to help pay my salary as low as it was. So you may know by that how money matters stood. Our services at the morning hour was poorly attended compared to the size of the auditorium and the membership of the church. Most of the members had almost quit attending the church services. But I had a large group of young people attending the evening service and that was some- thing to be proud of. I had several training classes with very good results. My morning services were very good but not large in numbers. There was in the church a very faithful bunch of ladies that were doing things in a way that was encouraging to me. I was not having any trouble or any friction that amounted to anything at all. I was doing lots of visiting, I conducted a series of services on a revival line and I was preaching evangelistic sermons as I thought. I had lots of compliments on my work in general but the church debt was rather a hot subject like politics sometimes gets to be. I avoided talking about it too much. So I closed out my second year's work, with nothing done about the church debt but the one hundred dollars sent in. I had a large group join the church on Easter Sunday and that was very encouraging.
I returned from the Annual Conference which was held at Trinity Methodist church in Denver, Colorado. This was after Unification went into effect and I was a member of the Colorado Annual Conference because I was a citizen of Colorado. So I was starting into my third year's work at Walsenburg. Our presiding Bishop was Bishop Hammaker. My work at Walsenburg was coming along with some encouraging results. I was all the time getting the people a little more interested in removing the debt with the idea that if the debt was removed the church will grow and increase in numbers and in strength. So this idea was taking but slowly. I had a strong effort put forth that year in an evangelistic series of sermons for two weeks both day and night services, with good results in attendance and interest. I preached a lot of funerals and I was finding more people to work within the church and out of the church. I attended the local Rotary Club and we were getting some financial help .from the Rotary Club. I also organized a brotherhood and a number of the Business men attended it with regularity. I also had a series of evening services for the young people and we had as many as eighty attend that was the largest number but we had a good representative group each evening for two weeks. We had some training work that was reaching some people. I preached every Sunday morning and evening with all my power and might and the Lord did help me in all my services. His presence was with us in all of our efforts. The ladies' organizations were working and meeting regular and was raising money to carry on the church work. They were keeping the church and parsonage in good repair. Our Young peoples evening service was getting to be a large number in attendance but not so good in some lines as we wanted it to be. My Board of Stewards met regular and looked after the preacher's salary. Money was indeed hard to get. Our Conference claims were not being paid up as we wanted them to be paid. It took lots of money to operate a large building because the winters. were cold and it took lots of coal to keep the building warm. We came to the end of our third year's work with an encouraging outlook. I went to Annual Conference with a very good report at Parkhill Methodist church. It was a big Conference. Bishop Hammaker was in the chair. I was appointed to Walsenburg for the fourth year with more money to raise than before. So I came home revived somewhat after meeting my brethren at the Annual Conference.
The church owed the local bank at Walsenburg besides the big debt they owed The Board of Church Extension at Louisville, Ky. The President of the bank came up to our Board meeting one night and told my Board that payment must be made that they had orders to collect the twenty- five hundred dollars. They would not discount it one penny that they would collect it all or lose it all. Well that was straight talk but they had owed that amount over a number of yeras. So the Board was troubled about it. Eight of my members were on that note. The Bank said we can collect it by law and that is what we are going to do if you donít get busy.
The President of the Bank went out and left my Board to make some plan toward payment. Well the Board talked it over and they were troubled very much about it. In the meantime I had not said one word. After they had talked it over and over several times the chairman of the Board said, "Lets' get our preach to go out and collect this money, he can get more money than all of us put together:" I did not say anything in reply. They asked me a second time and I said nothing. I was thinking down deep into the problem because I knew if they confined me to my membership I could not get the amount because money matters were tough in Walsenburg.
They dismissed and the chairman turned to me and said, "Will you do it for us?" I said, "yes, under conditions." He said "what are the conditions?" I said each one that is on that note give me a big fat check to start with. He said, "What do you call it big fat check?" I said one hundred dollars each and I may come back to you again on the windup for another check. They said quickly, "We will do what you have asked us to do." Well I started out next morning down on main street and I went into every business place where I thought they would do anything for me. I had real good success the first day and until I got nearly all of the amount. 1 came back and told my Board the results and they finished it up to the requirements. I was 'several days doing this, much longer than to write the account of it as I have here. This was my fourth year in Walsenburg and I carried on my work as a pastor and did this extra of my other duties. I went to Denver to the Annual Conference and we had a ]arge conference as usual and I was returned to Walsenburg for my fifth year and that fifth year was the big problem of my work there. So I came home and went to work in dead earnest to get the white elephant out of the way of that church.
I started into my fifth year in Walsenburg and not long after the first of the year I received a letter from the Board of Church Extension saying that they give us sixty days to do something about that matter, otherwise they were going to protect their property in Walsenburg. This was straight talk on a much bigger problem than what we had met by the President of the Bank at Walsenburg. I called a meeting of my official Board and handed them the letter that I had received from Louisville. Well that put them into more trouble. They talked a long time and they asked me what I had to say. I said I believe if I could go to Louisville and talk with the members of the Board there that I could make some kind of an adjustment to settle the obligation that we were under. So my Board said. "We will be glad to pay your expenses to Louisville if you will go" I said I would be glad to go and do my best to come to some understanding about that debt.
The next day was Saturday and about the last days in February I boarded the train at Walsenburg with a ticket to Louisville, Ky. I arrived in Louisville Monday morning early. I went to the office and Dr. Ellis and Mr. Murphy were in the office. We talked a little and Dr. Ellis went to town and left Mr. Murphy and I to come to some agreement. Mr. Murphy pointed to his chart hanging on the wall which showed the delinquent cases and said he would like to give us the whole amount but on account of those delinquent cases he must have or collect a certain amount. Well Mr. Murphy and I soon came to an agreement and an understanding as to what we must do to settle this debt. I was not in his office very long. I found that he was a very fine business man to deal with. I told him that we would do our best to raise the amount. I thanked Mr. Murphy and bid him good bye.
I had a grandson at Fort Knox down the Ohio River and while I was waiting for my train to take me back to Walsenburg, I got on the bus and went down to see my grand son, who was Cecil Sparks.
I had never been in a military camp and I knew nothing about how I should behave myself in such a place. I began to think what I would say 'when I got to Fort Knox. As we went to Fort Knox we were close to the beautiful Ohio River and I was delighted to see that great River flowing so quietly and powerful. We arrived in Fort Knox and when I stepped off the bus a big Military Policeman came walking up to me and said, "Pass Sir." I said I have no pass he pointed to the police station across the street and said, "go over there and get a pass."
As I was walking across the street to the Military police station this thought came to my mind, my name is Hatfield and I am in Kentucky I might meet a McCoy.
I walked into the Police station and said, my name is Hatfield and I have a grandson here by the name of Sparks, could I get to see him. They said, "what is his given name?" I said Cecil. They called him and he was there in about two or three minutes. He took me all over Fort Knox. There were Military policemen on every corner and such a sight I had never before seen in my life.
Cecil got in his car and took me all over within two blocks of the Government Depository where the gold of the United States is deposited, we were not allowed to go any closer than two blocks to the depository. Cecil and I went up to Louisville we had supper together and he went with me to the depot and stayed with me until my train arrived about midnight. I told Cecil good bye and boarded the train for Walsenburg, Colorado. It snowed all the way to Louisville and all the way back and was snowing at Walsenburg when I got off the train.
I went up to the parsonage and got inside and built a fire for it was cold. My wife was down in New Mexico. I knew that I had a job before me that was going to tax every drop of energy in my body. I had been in Walsenburg long enough to know the people and to know the conditions. I knew that I had the biggest problem before me that I had ever had in all my life. But I believed in the Methodist church and I believed in God and I believed in the people. I did not feel as though I was alone. I remember the words of Jesus when He said, "I am with you always even unto the end."
In a few days after I came home from Kentucky we had a Board meeting and I revealed to them the agreement that Mr. Murphy and I came to. They were well pleased with the terms and were hopeful of success. So after several meetings we decided on a plan of raising the money. We had several organizations in our church at Wasenburg and we got a good stout subscription from the most of them. We raised most of the money by individuals but we had a number of banquets and received a large amount from them. We went out and sold tickets at one dollar a plate and the people cooperated with us in a very fine way. We had as many as four hundred attend those banquets. And the ladies put up some very fine turkey dinners. The ones who bought the tickets were well pleased with the dinners. Most of the church members were engaged in some way in this money raising campaign. That was the fifth year I was in Walsenburg and our campaign reached over into the sixth year.
Bishop Hammaker came down in the spring of 1944 and preached the dedicatory sermon and we had a great service that day. Sunday, March 5 was the day of our dedicating service. I attended the Annual Conference all the years I was engaged in this campaign. I went to Conference in the year of 1945 and that ended my seven years in Walsenburg. We had seven years of hard work but I delighted in working. We had a great time in Walsenburg. I conducted a number of revivals. I preached more than one hundred sermons each year. I conducted a lot of training classes and issued a number of credits.
We had a goodly number of additions to the church each year that I was there. I conducted a large number of funerals. I made several thousand visits. I made lots of friends while we were there. My wife and James Harvey and I made a trip back to my oId home in Arkansas. James Harvey graduated there in the High School of the year 1939. I preached the Baccalaureate sermon to the graduating class which he was in. I was a regular attendant at the Rotary Club in Walsenburg. I conducted a two weeks meeting at West Cliff in March of the second year we were in Walsenburg. I drove backward and forward a part of the time and some of the nights in March were cold. I con- ducted a weeks meeting at La Veta while I was in Walsenburg-. I made a trip to the Young People's conference in New Mexico. We were there during World War Two. I conducted a memorial service in Walsenburg when President Roosevelt died. I conducted a number of funerals at Trinidad while I was in Walsenburg. We had a union Sunrise service most of the years we were in Walsenburg. We also had a Union Bible school two or three years. I conducted a Bible show, the only one I ever conducted any where. That Bible show was a great success. I got acquainted with lots of people.
Walsenburg was a coal mining town and a lot of my members were miners or worked in the coal mines. Walsenburg Methodist church building is the best church building or it was at that time in southern Colorado. Lots of people have passed over into the world above to their reward. I attended lots of outside meetings and conferences.
The regular church attendance at Walsenburg was never large. But we had special services at different times and on different occasions we had a house full of people. A number of times we had over two hundred young people at the Zone meetings. We had large attendance at both the Christmas and Easter services but the largest attendance was always on Easter Sunday. The house was always full and the choir sang so sweet and fine on that day. I can hear those Easter songs that I heard in the services there in my imagination yet. We had mid week services a part of the time. I did hot have so many weddings as at other places but I had some weddings that were very impressive. I had a number of tragedy funerals with large attendance. I preached the funerals of several of the old timers while at Walsenburg.
Brother John Williams and I worked for more than one month preparing for the Dedication ser- vice. We arranged the program and then made a brief history of the Methodist church in Walsenburg. I did a lot of work on the church yard putting out Blue grass and Chinese Elm trees. I fought the dandelions but never did get rid of them entirely. They were harder to eliminate then the big church debt because we did get rid of the debt entirely and never did get the dandelions all out.
The Methodist church building and its members are a credit to the city of Walsenburg and to the county and Conference. I had something in Walsenburg that I have never had anywhere else. One was the Bible Show and the other was a good brotherhood. The brotherhood was not charted but it was practical and it helped me over some of the steep places in my church work. A lot of those fellows have gone to join the great number that are triumphant in the world above. Walsenburg and all its people have a large place in the minds and heart of Mrs. Hatfield and I and our son James Harvey. We look forward to seeing them again where things are more lovely and even more beautiful than they are here. We were in Walsenburg seven years and those seven years were happy ones and we are happy when we even think of them. The Lord blessed us while we were there and prospered our work and- crowned those years with success.
While we were at Walsenburg I had a major operation in the hospital at Colorado Springs, Colorado. I was in the Methodist hospital. I was there four Sundays. I went there on Sunday and I came home on Sunday. The operation was a complete cure and success. They were very kind and good to me while I was there. Our hospitals are a wonderful blessing to thousands of people. Many lives are saved every year from death and from suffering. This is one great way or real Christian ministry. God bless our hospitals.
While we were at Walsenburg in November 29, 1941, my dear mother passed from this life unto her reward after she had lived a long life. My mother was born March 13, 1849. The folks were very kind to us through her illness. Her funeral services were conducted by the Rev. Gabe Upton a Methodist at Lamar, Colorado. There were only a few people attended her funeral because my mother was hardly known in Walsenburg. She was very feeble and did not attend church regular in her last years.
When we had her funeral we put the casket on the train and her body was shipped to Safford, Arizona, where my father was buried some fifteen years ago. I went along on the same train, we arrived in Safford late the next day. She was taken to the place where father was buried and the Methodist pastor there in Safford said a few words and offered a prayer then the casket was lowered into the grave just as the sun was setting. It was one of the most impressive events that ever happened in all my life. The train that we were on was late and that was the cause of her being let down into the grave just at sunset.
Dr. Mc Vickel and several other Methodist preachers were present at Mother's funeral. After mother was put away my daughter, Mrs. J. R. Wrinkle and her husband and I went to Mits home for supper, she had a very fine supper for us and after we had talked a while and visited I went home with Naomi, my daughter and J. R. They lived at Silver City, New Mexico. After a short visit with Naomi and J. R., I took the train to Fort Sumner and stayed with Volney and Ora and the children and on Sunday morning we all went up to see Lee and ala. That was the day that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.
FOURTEEN YEARS AT LA VETA, COLORADO
I was pastor of the Methodist church at La Veta, Colorado, fourteen years but lived in La Veta only thirteen years. In the year of 1944 I was pastor of both Walsenburg and La Veta. I preached at Walsenburg morning and evening and at La Veta in the morning 9:00 a.m. and at Walsenburg at 11 :00 a.m. We moved to La Veta in 1945, June 20.
Mr. Levey moved us and the bill was twenty- nine dollars. I paid it myself. I had lots of books and there was no book case so we went to work and built one with brick and planks.
The church and parsonage yards were covered with dandelions, the biggest ones I ever did see. The ground was very strong and rich. I spent the first summer fighting those dandelions and I made a little impression on them but not much. Then soon they had Weed No More at the drugstore and with it I slayed the dandelions. But I had to spray about twice every year to keep them down. I loved the blue grass and the lawn clover. The green grass and the clover was the cure for my eyes that had been overworked.
I preached at the church morning and evening and cleaned up the church yard and made some improvements. I did not do a lot of visiting the first year. I met the people at the church services and just a small number attended church. The first service I held at La Veta there were only twelve there. But my number grew slowly but regualrly. After we had been in La Veta about three months we organized a Sunday School but it was poorly attended, a number of times there was only Mrs. Hatfield and myself there. But bye and bye some more folks got interested and our number grew gradually and slowly all the thirteen years we were there. We had a very fine bunch of- boys and girls in our Sunday School. I did not push anything the first year we were there or any of the years we were there. It was some time before I had a wedding or a funeral. But I waited with all the grace and patience that I had. I prayed earnestly for God's help and He did help me all the time.
We burned wood and coal for fuel at the parsonage and the church and I got the wood and built the fires at the parsonage and also in the furnace in the church. There was in the church a furnace, a fire place, a cook stove, and two heating stoves in the big room in the basement of the church. I thought I had a real good job. I wondered if I was the caretaker or the pastor.
I joined the Rotary Club as soon as I arrived in La Veta and attended it regularly all the time I lived there. I found some very warm firends in the Rotary Club in La Veta. They treated me with great respect all the time we were there.
I attended the Annual Conference the first year I was in La Veta at the Trinity Methodist Church in Denver. I was appointed to La Veta for the second year. The Annual Conferences were always in the month of June.
We had many other services besides the regular preaching services. We had organized the ladies into The W.S.C.S. and they were working fine and were helping with the finances very much. They had dinners and raised money to meet our obligations. One very good thing we met with in La Veta was they did not owe anything on the church or anything else. We did not have a lot of old debts hanging over us. We organized a M.Y.F. and it did well for about one year and the leader got married and then we lost the Young peopIe for awhile but we had some very fine young people that attended Sunday School all the time.
They announced we would have dinner in the church every fourth Sunday just after the morning service. The dinner was at our church one Sunday and at the Presbyterian church the other fourth Sunday arid those fellowship dinners were a source of good Christian fellowship. We had to raise a lot of money for different causes.
The church at La Veta paid my salary every month in the fourteen years that I was there, promptly. Most of the time they paid it right on the dot. The salary was very small to begin with but it was raised at different times and when it reached one hundred dollars per month they were just as prompt as they were when it was less. We had a Vacation Bible School every year, some times we had a union Bible School with the Baptist Church and the Presbyterians all the time worked with the Methodist people. We never had any trouble raising our Conference claims.
The second year at La Veta was a good year and we closed out in good shape and went to the Annual Conference which was held at Grant Avenue Church in Denver in the year of 1946. We had a splendid Conference and Bishop Ham- maker was our Presiding Bishop. I was appointed to La Veta for my third year. I returned from Conference very happy. The folks were glad to have us return for another year.
We had a very fine place for a garden in La Veta and Mrs. Hatfield was a good gardener. She raised lots of stuff in that garden and it was of the very best in quality. All the fourteen years that we were in La Veta I was the number one enemy of the dandelions. I did not allow them a place even in the church yard. I considered everyone I found in the yard as an intruder and the penalty was death and they were not allowed an appeal. I really hated the things and yet God created them and put a very beautiful blossom on the end of everyone of them. But if the dandelions were' let alone they would take complete possession of everything and kill out the grass and then look so ugly when they were overpopulated. I learned a lot of important lessons in fighting the dandelions.
Our third year was another prosperous year in La Veta. I used a lot of pictures in all my work. I had a projector for the colored slides and also a sound projector. I had colored slides of the life of Christ and I showed them time and again. We had other meetings before Easter and the colored slides of the life of Christ were used in those pre-Easter services, with good results. I had many strips that I showed on different subjects. A lot of my strips were on the Bible. Lessons both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Those pictures made lasting impressions on the children and all who saw them. Colored slides on the Bible and sound film are a very great means of making Christian Education or Bible truths effective in the lives of our people. Why don't we use more of them?
We had some very interesting services in our regular services but our Christmas and Easter services were very good. We always had large at tendance at those two services that made deep impressions on the people that lasted until the next year. We always had some at those Easter services that came into the church and became followers of Christ.
Chopping wood and building fires and carrying out ashes and cinders was a good job when th snow was about three feet deep. But the air u there at the foot of the Spanish Peaks had so much oxygen in it that it made a person strong and fu of energy. It was a great pleasure to me to get out and wade the snow up to my waist a few time it was that deep. I rounded up my third years work and went to Annual Conference which was held in the First Methodist Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado.- All claims of my church were in full. Bishop Hammaker was our President Bishop again in 1947.
I went to the Rotary Club meeting on Tuesdays, I seldom ever missed being there. It was great fellowship. They had some interesting programs. We always had something good to eat because the ladies at the Park Lane Hotel knew how to cook good pies and everything else to eat. The ladies at the church put up some very fine dinners. La Veta community was a great place to have parties and dinners. It was a great place in the summer season because it lived up to the name that Colorado or I should say the meaning of the word Colorado, "Cool Colorado." The winters were cold but the summers were very pleasant. The drinking water is of the very best.
Well the fourth year that we were in La Vet was about as all other years. The church work made some progress. The fourth year I hat a large amount of money to raise for some outside claims, as I remember it was more than four hundred dollars but we raised it without any trouble. The people and the different organizations in the church responded readily and liberally Most all the fourteen years we were there w had more or less money to raise other than m salary and our regular expenses. As I remember I went to Conference every year with all financial obligations paid in full. We had a staff of Sunday School teachers and officers that were regular: attendance. We had some that were in the Sunday School all the time we were in La Veta. I never did succeed in organizing a brotherhood but the Board of Stewards functioned good all the time s did the Board of Church Trustees.
We had some training work the fourth year. Our Vacation Bible School increased in interest and in quality each year. Our ladies W.S.C.S. never did quit but worked well each year. We attended some of the Sub-District meetings with the Young people and some of the adults. But I did not do much driving the car in those years after night. Though we did go to quite a lot of outside meetings. I preached up at Cucharas Chapel when my turn came each year. The time arrived to go to the Annual Conference and so I rounded out my year's work to go to Denver to the conference. All my claims were in full. The Conference was held in the Trinity Methodist Church with Bishop Hammaker our Presiding Bishop again. We had a great Conference as we always had. I was appointed again to La Veta Methodist Church. I was happy to return and not to move. I think this was the last time I went to Conference and drove my own car.
I returned from Conference with an optimistic spirit as I generally did. I found my people ready to receive me again and this was encouraging to me. This year we had a lot of improvements to make on the church building. The church needed a new roof. The W.S.C.S. ladies gave a large amount and several of the individual members gave liberally also. So we completed the job and it was as I remember six hundred dollars. The roof was insured for fifteen years against hail and windstorm. The roof is still good. We had some more extra money to raise this year and our out- In side claims were raised some.
Over the fourteen years they were more than doubled and of course that was progress. My salary was increased several times. It matters not what the amount is each year whether it is large or small, the most important thing about our work of giving is are we -increasing? Are we growing in what ever kind of work we are engaged in? This the La Vita Methodist church did in every line of work it was engaged in over the fourteen years.
The church never did give any large sum of money it never did any big things but it was all the time doing a little better each year. I think that is the thing that counts more than anything else.
I chopped wood, built fires in the parsonage and the church each year and carried out a lot of ashes and cinders. And I did not think that was any disgrace or that it hurt me or lowered the dignity of the minister. I don't mean to insinuate that all Methodist pastors should chop wood and build fires and carry out ashes and cinders. But if it becomes necessary in order for the church to go on, anything that will help the church to grow and become more Christ like I do not think is beneath the pastor to do it.
I am glad the churches have made it possible for the minister to give all of his time to the interest of the Kingdom of God. But we should be all things to all people that we might save some. Nothing that I loved to do more than to stand in the pulpit and preach the Gospel of Christ but I was willing to do some other things that would give me greater opportunities to preach the Gospel in a more effective way.
Things went on each year about the same way only a little more progressive in each line of work. My people were becoming more loyal to the church each year. We did never think we were turning the Spanish Peaks over but we did believe we were improving a little each year and that is what counts after all.
While we were at La Veta Mrs. Hatfield had a very serious operation in the hospital in Walsenburg for gall bladder and it was a very serious time in my life but she passed through that crisis and regained her health. My boy James Harvey was in Japan while we were in La Veta.
We had a very fine garden every year we were there. The yard was beautiful and I loved the blue Kentucky grass, not as well as I did the sweet com that grew in Mrs. Hatfield's garden, though. Mr. John Albright, hired Mr. Taft to fence the garden with rabbit and chicken proof wire and that kept everything out of the garden but the bugs that destroyed the beans. We had lots of raspberries and raspberry pie and jelly. We had two apple trees in the yard and lots of apples most of the time.
I mowed the lawn for about the first seven years with a push mower and then John Albright bought me a power mower. I mowed the grass- some times twice a week. That was a great pleasure to me to mow the lawn.
My church work went on that year and made some advancements. We had a Unesco Organization that met in our basement once every two weeks. We had good interest in that organization for three or four years. I made several trips to Denver to Unesco meetings. Some of our folks were sold on the work of Unesco. We had quite a number of folks who made speeches over the radio. I made regular talks over the radio from Walsenburg as long as they had a radio. But finally our Unesco organization died. We had a lot of fine pictures about the United Nations and their agencies. Made a number of talks to the Rotary Club on United Nations and their work. I made a talk one day in front of the Court House in Walsenburg to a large gathering.
We had some big dinners each year and the crowds were large. The ladies had quite an income at some of those dinners. So I closed out my year's work and began to make preparations to attend the Annual roundup of Methodist preachers. Our Conference met in the Trinity Methodist Church in Denver. Bishop Phillips was our Presiding Bishop. This was 1949. The conference was well attended and all the reports of the pastors showed the churches were making some progress in the interest of the Kingdom of God. I enjoyed the Conference. I was appointed to the La Veta Methodist church again and I was happy over my appointment. I returned home and started into the new Conference year's work with faith in God.
The first two years I was pastor at La Veta I was the business manager of the Young People's Assembly up at the Cucharas Camp. Mrs. Hatfield and I worked hard to feed the people that at- tended the Conference. We had a little less than one hundred counting the officers and instructors. I bought the food and I also looked after the registration of all who came. I hired the ladies who prepared the three meals each day. We had plenty of good wholesome food at each meal. The young People have a very good appetite up in the mountains in Colorado. Many of those Young People had never been in the mountains before and it was a real treat to them. We had no trouble managing them. They were not allowed to go out- side of the camp without permission. It was no little job to buy food and prepare it for nearly one hundred people.
I found out I had no little job as business manager of the Conference. I was all the time afraid that my expenses would run us in debt because it took lots of food to feed almost one hundred people. It also took a lot of real work on my part and the ladies to prepare three meals a day and have them ready at the proper time. Each meal must be ready and not have to wait because it would throw everything else out of order. Everything was to be at the right time according to schedule.
Mrs. Hatfield and I came back to La Veta at night after everything was over and all the folks in their cabins and in bed. Then we had to get up next morning, drive to camp and build the fires in the cookstoves and start-preparing the morning meal which had to be on time. But we got along fine with everything. The Conference was five days and we were glad it was not ten days.
We enjoyed the work, it was an inspiration to all who were there. The registration fee was not very high and my job as business manager was to see that the expenses did not go beyond our income and the only source of income was the registration fee. But we came out with sixty dollars ahead of expenses the first year and one hundred dollars the second year. The money we has left went into the work of the Young People interest in our Colorado Conference. The Conference, we thought was a great success and we ha a great time. I paid all the bills and I paid the ladies who prepared the meals the last year. I paid the rent for the use of the camp. But I did not make any charges myself, my work went free. We will remember the good time we had at the Cuchara Camp all the days of our lives.
One year while I was at La Veta the Rotary Club sent me as a delegate to the UNESCO Conference which was in Denver and was held in the Lincoln Room of the Savoy Hotel. There were delegates from seven states, Oklahoma, Texas: Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. There were over two thousand delegates from those seven states. There were several of our National officials there. Mrs. Edith Sampson, the Negro woman whom the President appointed to represent us in the United Nations. She traveled allover the world and had an interview, with Stalin and officials of other nations. She was at that time the only woman in the United State that had the legal right to practice law in the Supreme Court of the United States.
I heard her speak to more than two thousand. people and she is a very intelligent person. She is practicing law in Chicago. I heard many great men talk in that conference and I listened with all my attention because they were men of education and world experiences. The Lincoln Room in the Savoy Hotel was a very large room but they had everything arranged so a person could sit anywhere in the room and hear as good in on place as another and they had a seemingly perfect circulation of air. I could feel the fresh air everywhere I sat down.
I attended every session in that UNESCO Conference, I also was at the closing session and the banquet. I heard every speech that was made I had been a member of the UNESCA for more than two years and read a lot of their literature. I was sold on UNESCO and I am yet. This was one of the high points in my whole life. If time and space would permit I could write many pages in naming the people, outstanding people they were and many of the greatest speeches I ever heard from living beings.
They were all pleading for the peace of the world. I brought home a stack of literature and read and studied it intensely. I was elected as dele- gate to another UNESCO Conference which was held at Colorado Springs but I did not stay through the whole Conference. I noticed at that Conference there was a great throng of young people attending and they were reading the literature. It is something out of the ordinary to meet people from other countries and men who are in high positions, I was a stranger to most of the delegates but they were all of them human beings and they were working for the peace and good of all people.
While we were in La Veta Mrs. Hatfield and I attended the Conference of the National Council of Churches. That was a large body of delegates from allover the nation and many delegates from other nations, among whom was a bishop from Germany and we heard him preach and he was a great man and a great preacher. Another one was a Negro preacher from Asia. He was an educated man and we heard him and were sitting close where we could hear every word he said. He used good English and talked to us in our own language and told of his experiences. He said "the people whom he represented told him to tell us that they loved us in the United States." It was not the International Counsel of Churches but the National Counsel of Churches, but many inter- national delegates were there.
We heard the Gospel there and it was just like the Gospel we preach here in our local churches. I attended other International Conferences in Denver besides the UNESCO Conference which I do not.have time or space to describe here.
When I was at La Veta Bishop Smith appointed me to a Conference that was held in Philadelphia of all the Methodist churches of the world. Delegates from all the Methodist Churches of the world were there and they represented about eighteen million Methodists. My people at La Veta offered to pay my expenses and the expenses of Mrs. Hatfield, if we would attend the world wide Methodist Conference. They offered to send us by air. It was in the month of August and on account of the heat and my age we decided it best not to go. But it was a disappointment to me. I guess it was a wise decision we made not to go.
The Methodists of the world have what they call a Convocation Conference every ten years and have not missed but one time in more than fifty years. The Methodist churches of the world will some day unite as a result of these convocations. Christian Fellowship is good with a small number of people but what we need is world wide Christian Fellowship. The Christian people are working for that ideal. The World Counsel of Churches which is composed of all the leading churches of the world are working for a united Christian world wide Fellowship. And this will some day be a reality, not just an ideal. The power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is more powerful than all the nations of the world. The Gospel will save the world.
All the times I was attending those conferences at Denver I was at the same time taking care of my church work in La Veta. We made several trips to New Mexico to see the folks. I conducted a number of services at Forrest, New Mexico, about two weeks.
We had a water condition in the basement of our church in La Veta and when it rained a hard rain it would come down from the mountain and run into the basement. The church was in a place where it was a little lower than the ground all around it. Twice the water ran into the basement and something had to be done to prevent the flood water from coming into the church. When they repaired the highway which runs along in front of our church they built it up and made it a lot higher and that made the water run into the church. So we went to work and put a curb around the inside of the sidewalk on two sides to turn the water onto the sidewalk. It took a lot of sand and cement and a lot of hard work to do that. But they hauled a lot of sand and we ordered some cement and went to work putting the' curb on the inside of the walk. That was a strange idea with some of the folks and they said, "what are you putting the curb on the inside of the sidewalk for?" I said were you ever here when it comes one of those big rains and send the water down here like a river and goes into the basement of the church?
I helped dip the water out of there several times and that was a bigger task than preaching a sermon to the members of the church on what they have done. The curb was completed and no more water came into the basement. But the water would rise because it was only four feet down to the water and the basement was five feet below the surface. So there had to be a drainage put around two sides to take the water away into the sewer. The man who put the drainage ditch on the two sides, charged two hundred dollars. And the rocks that were left on the ground after the pipes or tiling were laid and the ditch filled were the old round creek rock. I worked a long time getting them out of the church yard. Then we had a lot of repair work to do inside and out on the church building. That was going to cost a lot of money and a lot of labor. The repairing we did was over most of the fourteen years we were in La Veta. I went to Conference each year I was there and each time I was returned to La Veta and that was what I wanted.
We changed our fuel from wood and coal to gas. We converted the furnace so it would burn gas. We put in a ten burner cookstove. We put two gas heaters in the dining room in the basement which was a large room. We changed the inside of the basement altogether. We made the hall between the fireplace room and the dining room a lot wider and that gave us more room to go from one room to another when we had a big dinner.
The ladies sealed the dining room overhead and decorated it allover. Those things made the basement of the church altogether different. We decorated the auditorium and the Sunday School rooms. We painted the church and the parsonage on the outside. We put a gas tank out a little ways from the church, a five hundred gallon talk that cost several hundred dollars. We changed many things in the parsonage. The ladies had a lot of work done. Mrs. Hatfield and myself repaired the old garage at a cost of about one hundred dollars. All this work was done at a cost of more than eight thousand dollars in work and money.
The church people and friends did it all except eight hundred and fifty dollars we obtained from the Board of Church Extension through the fine cooperation of our District Superintendent, the Rev. Ben Chrisner. Our church in La Veta is a very beautiful little brick church. May the blessings of the Almighty be upon the fine people at La Veta, Colorado.
I preached the funeral of Felix Maestes, who was a hero of World War II. I also conducted the funeral of his mother in our church at La Veta. : I also officiated at his sister's wedding in our church. I officiated at a number of weddings at La Veta and I officiated at two weddings at the Chapel of the Cucharas Camp. They have no heating in the Chapel and I thought I would freeze and it was in the summer. The two weddings at the chapel were extra fine weddings. The chapter was full of people and everything went off so fin that I was very much impressed with it. Of course I had some extra fine weddings in my church a La Veta. And several in the parsonage and on wedding out in a bed of flowers, they were from Pueblo and we have their picture.
I got a lot of joy in all my work, preaching chopping wood, carrying out ashes and cinders, instructing a class of folk in the church which often did. When we work for God we are happy.
We spent twenty-five years in Colorado Annual Conference, five years at Trinidad, seven year at Walsenburg, and fourteen years at La Veta a pastor. I was pastor at Walsenburg and La Vet both in the year of 1944. Counting the fourteen years at La Veta would make twenty-six years but not twenty-six calendar years. We were in Colorado twenty-five calendar years. All the years were happy ones. We had our ups and downs of course but the beautiful mountains and cool Colorado and the good friends we had there were more than all of the discouraging things we met with in all the, twenty-five years. We had a very great time.
I spent more than one-fourth of my whole life, in Colorado. I am now eighty-eight years old. I enjoyed that part of my life, it's a great thing for me to think about. It inspires me to go over the man: things that happened there.
Our last year was in 1958. I preached my last sermon on Sunday, May 25. I preached on the hop, of meeting again and of the great reunion here after. The church was full that day and they gave us a big dinner and a purse of two hundred forty five dollars as a present, and a lot of other thing besides the money. What a fine spirit we met with that day and all the days we were in La Veta and in Colorado. Our friends there are a very great consolation to us down here in New Mexico. W. remember their kindness and their fine spirit 0 cooperation in the church work.
We appreciate the Presbyterians, the Baptist people, the Catholic people and our good friend and neighbors there. Our hearts and prayers art still with those fine people at Trinidad, Walsenburg, and La Veta. Friendship and Christian Fellowship is worth more than money.
The ladies of the church had a May breakfast and one in October also. What a fine breakfast and fellowship we had at each of those meetings. We can never get through talking about the fine things we had and enjoyed in the twenty-five years. Colorado is a great place to live and be happy because a great people live there. And God made the mountains and the country so beautiful and attractive. God bless all the people in Colorado.
I preached my last sermon at La Veta the fourth Sunday in May, 1958 which was May 25. Mrs. Hatfield's brother, J. T. Waltrip, wife and sister, Miss Arletia Waltrip, all of San Jon, New Mexico came for my last sermon as a ,pastor. I never did like the word retire, it was always a repelling word to me. But I was unable to discharge my duty as a Methodist preacher. There is a lot required of a pastor. The time arrived that I must take the meaning of the word retire and apply it to myself. And this I did with all the grace and patience I had. But to leave the people that I had worked with for fourteen years was heartbreaking to me. But we must get out of the parson- age and let some other preacher come in that is able to do the work.
We bought a little home in San Jon, New Mexico, where our folks were near and where I was a pastor forty years ago. My son Lee Hatfield came up with a truck and took one load away the week before the last Sunday arrived. Then on Monday, May 26, he came up again with his truck and ala and her sister and her husband came in the car and we loaded the rest of our stuff in the truck and the car and left La Veta about four o'clock in the afternoon. We drove to San Jon and arrived about two o'clock the morning of May 27 to our new home.
We had never seen our home before but it was not disappointing. We liked it very much and we are satisfied to live in this place as long as we live or as the good Lord permits us to live. My preaching life of more than forty years of active service is a great inspiration to me just to think it allover again and again.
I have preached a number of times since we moved to our new home at the request of the pastors, when they were gone and it is a great pleasure to me to do so at their request. I delight in standing in the pulpit and talking to the people about God and spiritual things. Some times I hardly know how to behave myself after living such an active life. But we meet with new experiences all through life and we have to make readjustments to adapt ourselves to those changes and we must do it in the name of our Lord and do it willingly and humbly.
So that I tried and am trying to do and do it religiously. I am training myself to be a good listener and I don't want to talk too much for they tell me that old people get to be cranky and preachers when they are asked to preach, preach too long. I don't want that to be true with me. In our active years we were all the time training our- selves to preach and when retirement comes we train ourselves to hush and let others preach.
Most of my education was obtained by correspondence. A part of my Conference Course was taken at SMU in Dallas, Texas. But besides the four year course in Theology, what was called the Conference Course I have a lot of work by correspondence. I have a certificate of credit on each of the sixty-six books of the Bible. My grade on most of: them was ninety, ninety-five and one hundred. I have a diploma on what they call a Synthetic Course on the whole Bible.
I have taken a Course on the Doctrine of the Bible. I have taken an Evangelistic Course on the Whole Bible. I started to take what they call a Chapter Summary course, but did not quite finish it. All of those courses were taken by correspondence from the Moody Bible Institution at Chicago. I did not believe all the things that the Moody Bible School taught in the courses but they taught me how to study the Bible in the right way, to understand the Bible. I have a diploma from the Standard Training School of the Methodist Church South whose headquarters were at Nashville, Tenn. That diploma is what they call a Gold Seal Diploma and it consists of twelve units Of twelve subjects.
Four specialized courses not taken by correspondence but in a class under the instruction of a specialized teacher or instructor. The other eight subjects Bible Courses and Psychology and other subjects related to Christian Education. I have reviewed the above courses again and again until I was very familiar with their contents. I have a lot of certificates that I have taken by correspondence, about forty altogether. I have con- ducted a number of training classes in each church I have been pastor and some other churches where I was called by the pastor.
The work of Christian Education has been a work that I have been intensely interested in all of the forty years of my active life as a Methodist pastor. Christian Education will go a long way toward helping to save the whole world. We can- not put on an effective campaign of evangelism without some knowledge of Christian Education. I have always through my active years of work felt the need of more knowledge about the Bible and human nature and Christ and God. No person can go beyond what he knows in Christian Service. Zeal without Christian knowledge is dangerous.
I have more than one thousand books in my library and most of them are real good books. Every year of my active life I have bought a lot of new books. I have never missed attending my Annual Conference. I spent a lot of time in the book room looking at the many good books they have each year on demonstration in the book room. I have Webster's New International Dictionary and I have spent many hours with my nose in the dictionary and yet I am surprised how little I know about the real meaning of many words that I have studied.
Also I am surprised how limited is my vocabulary when it comes to writing. I have studied grammar and rhetoric and my choice of words is bad.
I have James Strong's Dictionary of the Hebrew and Greek words of the Bible and in the New Testament as he has it at the close of the different Greek words in the New Testament there are 5,624 Greek words all pronounced correctly and I have gone over those five thousand six hundred and twenty-four words and yet I don't claim to know very much about them. I have gone over them about three different times. I have read many books on many different subjects.
I have delighted to read several books on psychology, child psychology and the psychology of young people and of adults. Human nature is a great subject that has always interested me very much. I have studied H. G. Wells history or his outline of the history of the world. I have read other books on the history of the world. I have read James Truslow Adams' five volumes on the March of Democracy several times and yet I do not claim to know much about Democracy or our own nation or of the world.
How little we do know compared to what there is to know. I have read many books on many subjects and I do not claim to be an educated preacher, what they call education this day and time is above many of our heads. I have spent much of the active years of my life reading books and literature of different kinds. The more I read and studied the more I knew how little I do know. I have been very hungry for knowledge. I have read much about the science of geology and the science of Astronomy and how little I know about the earth that I walk and live on. I have spent many hours studying the sublime world above, of the millions of stars and how little I know about the mysteries of the stars. I am not saying those things to impress someone with the idea that I know something about everything. But I feel my insignificance and littleness.
I have read the Constitution of the United States many times and memorized many things about it and have made a number of speeches to clubs and some to high school students. I have studied the wars of our country and the wars of the world. I have studied much about the depressions of our own nation and its years of prosperity. When we read about some of the major facts and some of the details of our country in the history, what great perplexing and unsolved problems rise up in our minds. Why do men quarrel and fight and kill one another? What is the real cause of all the depressions and wars and trouble the poeple of the past have gone through? Why are we not satisfied today with the conditions as they are? Why do we not understand the cause and effect any better than we do? Would what they call mass education cure all the troubles of the human race? What are we going to do about all the world problems?
Many of us are going to die and leave the problems unsettled. But is there such a thing as individual responsibility? I have read and studied carefully the Constitution of the United Nations and also of all its specialized agencies, I have at- tended some of their meetings or conferences. I have read much of their literature and I have read what the ones say who oppose the United Nations. I don't suppose I have read everything the opposition has to say against the United Nations but I have read enough of 'their literature to know that some of them are bitterly against it. Did the Almighty create all of us or did Satan have something to do with the creation of a part of the human family?
Reading good books and going to the different national and international conferences at least will help us to become better acquainted with the different peoples of the world. We don't know as much about each other as we think we do. I am talking about the value of education for everyone and of the whole world. Our problems will be solved if we come to an adequate understanding of the problems that are world problems and that concerns every sincere person. Information of the right kind will bring us closer together and into a greater sympathy with each other. Ignorance and indifference have never solved any of our problems and never will. What little I know has created in my heart a greater sympathy and love and respect for all God's creation.
I have read and studied a number of books on philosophy and I have read carefully Anderson M. Baten's "Philosophy of Success." I read with great interest what he has said about each of the great men as Thomas Mellon, John R. Mott, Charles A. Lindbergh, Dr. Hugo Eckener, Billy Durant, Lincoln, Henry Ford, William Shakespeare, Noah Webster, and many other great men and how they were successful in life.
Anderson M. Baten's book on philosophy is one of the greatest books I have ever read outside of the Bible itself to encourage people who are discouraged in life. It does away with pessimism altogether. Everyone who is inclined to be discouraged and pessimistic in whatever they are doing ought to take time and read Anderson M. Baten's book on the "Philosophy of Success." It will, if it is read sincerely lift most anyone out of the mulligrubs. Pessimism is one of the destructive philosophies of life and so many people's lives are ruined by false teaching or false philosophy.
We are a part of all we see and all we hear and read. To read a good book on the philosophy of life is very helpful to everyone. As we go through this life we are exposed to many dangers. No man in the absolute sense of the word lives to himself. We are influenced largely by our environments and surroundings and all the time we need help from others. No person can make a successful career of life in a vacuum. Reading good books is as necessary to success as it is to sleep or rest. Reading good books and good literature is a fundamental part of an adequate education.
Everyone who is rational has their own philosophy of life but we need to study the lives and thoughts of other people and measure our philosophy by the philosophy of other people. To read one side of life is not safe because we are liable to be misled and get down into the dangerous philosophy of pessimism. The pessimistic philosophy is most of the time wrong. God has written progress on the face of everything He 'created. The good is always stronger and more powerful than evil. We are to overcome the evil with the good. What we need to be right and successful in life, is the truth, truth about everything and to avoid false doctrine. False prophets are many and their purpose in this life is to deceive and they have and are deceiving many people. We can avoid the dangerous things and the pitfalls if we will be on our guard.
I have read "Modern Philosophy" by Guido De Ruggiero and studied what he has to say about German philosophy, French philosophy, Anglo- American philosophy, and Italian philosophy, a book of three hundred and eighty pages. Many things in that book on philosophy that I do not understand because it is deep. But we need to get out into the deep water of life if we learn to swim. We cannot learn to swim in water ankle deep. Too many people play all their life paddling in the ankle deep water and water no deeper than our ankles is generally stagnate and unhealthy. The big fish are always in the deep water and the little fish are in the shallow places, and it takes too many little fish to give us a square meal. Toc many people never did catch a big fish in all their life. We need to study the deep questions of life like the history of Materialism and the psychology of people. We need to exercise our minds and increase our mental powers by thinking on the deeper things that we do not understand. The deep things of life will, if we study them, be a fortification to us. We need to know more about Christian ethics. If we understood as much about ethics or Christian ethics as we ought we would have less friction in all the relationship of life. This would be true in national and international relations of life.
We dwell too much on the negative side of life and not enough on the positive side. Life is full of mysterious things. And mystery is a fundamental principle of the Christian religion. The wonders and mysteries of life are the main things that keep life from stagnation. We will never understand all the deep things of life. But it is the mysteries of life that gives us the greatest thrills. When I was learning to swim I tried to swim in the shallow water and they told me it would be easy to swim in deep water and when I tried it I got one of the greatest thrills of my life. The word philosophy is repelling to a lot of people yet that very people have a strange philosophy of their own life. The amount of time I have put in on reading the books I have read on philosophy have paid me well for the time I have spent. I did not understand many things that the philosophers said in the books I have read but I do now appreciate very highly the little part that I did then and now understand. My knowledge of the different philosophies is very meager but it helps me a lot.
I have always believed in Christian Missions. But since reading the "Philosophy of the Christian World Mission" by Edmund Davison Soper, a book of two hundred and ninety-one pages, I have had a much better understanding of the relation of Christian Missions to the world and to world affairs. Is the Christian religion a world or universal religion or is it just for the people of the United States or anyone nation? Do Christian missions have a place in the modern world? Why take the Gospel to the peoples of the non-Christian religions? The Animists, the Hindus, the Buddahists, the Taoists, the Shintoists, the Moslems, or the Jews? Are not all those non-Christian religions good enough for those people. Will the non-Christian religions save those people who embrace them? Is the Christian religion unique? What is the difference in the Christian religion in its application and those other religions? The Missionary and the Bible has changed many dark places in India, China and Africa and made them more prosperous. What is the purpose of God in the world? Is not the purpose of God expressed in world wide Christian Missions? Everywhere the Missionary and the Bible have gone there is a wide and fundamental difference in that spot and other places. There are material improvements, good homes, good roads, a higher standard of living, schools and churches. There are better health conditions, a more friendly attitude of the people who have been under the spell of the Christian Gospel. My understanding and philosophy of the Christian World Mission is that the effect is for better international relationship. World Christian religion will settle all of our world problems. The Christian Gospel will settle the racial question. World Christian Missions will do away with world wars. It will bring world peace. The Christian Religion shows us and all the world a better and a higher and purer and peaceful way of life. There is a Christian Fellowship composed of different nationalities that war, nor racial questions or any other thing has been able to destroy. This world wide Christian Fellowship is beyond any reasonable doubt the result of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has been preached to the members of that Fellowship. My philosophy is to put more emphasis on Missionary Education and send greater numbers over the world to preach the Gospel that will save the whole world. World saving power is in the Christian Gospel.
There are several hundred million books in the United States, I do not know just how many books there are in our country or in the world, but books are an important part of our education. Books are a result of our thinking as we do. Books are a great force that we have to cooperate with and contend with. "Books are battalions of words and they are charged with mysterious and almost miraculous power that molds and merges millions of minds into one thought and purpose." There is a great avalanche of books and an increasing multitude of readers. I am talking about the influence of books in and on my own life. I have read many books and books of many kinds. I could not say just how many, but they are many. The reading of different books and literature have a large place in my life and a large place in my education. My political and religious convictions no doubt are a result of my reading.
No doubt most of my sermons are colored by the books I have read. I have tried to make all my sermons from the teachings of both the Old and New Testament. But my knowledge of the hundreds of subjects I have studied in books have influenced more or less my understanding of the teachings of the whole Bible. I am sorry of all the mistakes I have made in my life but I am glad of many things in my life. One of the things I am very proud of is I have not accepted things without personal investigations and many books have been my source of help to investigate things for myself.
I have spent lots of time in research work hunting and trying to find so many things that I wanted to know and that I needed to know correctly as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been a great delight to me to acquaint my- self with the facts of history. All the way we have of finding out the facts of history of the past is to go to the books that have been written by our great historians. Books have been a very great help in all my life in solving many problems. They have pre- pared me to serve my people in a better way. I am very proud of my library of more than a thousand books which are of my own selection and choice of what I thought were good books. I do not know who is going to get my books when I am gone from this world. But they are mine to read and study as long as I live, thank God.
I have read and studied many books on and about the Bible. I have got lots of valuable information from Dr. Adam Clark's Commentaries in building sermons. His commentaries contain more information than I could ever retain in my limited mind, though I have studied it over many years. I have made a special study of the Preachers Complete Homiletic Commentary on both the Old Testament and the New Testament. I have studied the critical and the 'explanatory notes of both the Old and New Testaments. The twenty volumes of the Old Testament and the eleven volumes of the New Testament are a great source of help for any preacher on any subject that he might be interested in. There is enough material on any line of thought to build a good sermon. I have put in many hours reading and studying the Great Texts of the Bible in its twenty volumes both the Old and New Testaments, edited by Dr. Hastings. Those twenty volumes contain almost an inexhaustible amount of information to help the preacher build an interesting and powerful sermon.
I have spent a' lot of time hunting for an illustration to fit into my line of thought and I have always found it. I have not used Dr. Hastings all the time and in building every sermon but I have used it a lot of the time. I have twelve volumes of the interpreters Bible and I have used them, although they have been out only a few years but they are the latest and in my opinion the best and most complete of all helps the preacher can find anywhere in the world. There are lots of books on and about the Bible that they are very helpful in gaining knowledge about the Bible.
I have many small books on the Bible that I have read, some of them many times. I have read and studied Harry Rimmer, D. D. Sc. D. Modern Science and the Genesis Record. I don't know how many times I have read that book through, have five or six of his other books that he has written about the Bible. I have read other books on the same subject that did not agree with Harry Rim- mer. But I think that Harry Rimmer was indeed a smart man and he knew the Bible better than a lot of our scientists do. Harry Rimmer's books on the Bible that I have studied have made a greater impression on me than many other books that I have read because I don't have the time or space I cannot even mention all the books that I have read and studied.
I have made a special study of many words in the Bible such as Abide, Access, Adoption, Disciple, Baptism, Believe, Blessed, Fellowship, Gospel, Grace, Hebrew, Hell, Humility, Imputed, Repent, Rest, Righteousness, Justify, Saint, Sanctify, Servant, Sin, Parable, Perfect, Meekness, Mercy, Predestinate, Propitiation, Prophecy, Quick, Quicken, Regeneration, Renewing, Temple, Transfigure, Transform, True, Truth, Word, World. I have tried to familiarize myself with those words and many others that are of great importance in the Bible. I have studied those words under different writers and their understanding of them and the Greek words from which they were translated. It is an inspiring study to know more and more about the meaning of the word "LOVE." God's love to the whole world. I have the six books entitled "Wuests Word Studies." I have studied those books with great interest. They have helped me more than a little. They are a great source of information. I have Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible. That is a wonderful book.
I also have an exhaustive Concordance of the Bible by James Strong, S. T. D. LL. D. which gives all the words of the Hebrew and the Greek in the Bible. I have put in many days and hours in the study of Strong's Concordance. I may have been too much of a book worm but I have never been very smart and I have had to do a lot of real hard work in order to serve my people in an intelligent and effective way. The desire to know that has been very strong in my life and the desire has pushed me into the daily study of many books of different kinds. I love good books but I never did have much desire for books of foolishness. I love books that deal with solid facts and that gives us greater depth of thinking into the fundamental things of life. I like jokes that make people laugh when there is something to laugh about. Laughing is all right when there is something to really laugh about. Laughing and crying both have a place in life but not all places in life should they be. Too much reading is not good but no reading at all is not good. We learn other people's thoughts by reading what they have written. Some people have a very strong mind and they are able to help men like myself that are not so strong as they are.
We do not know anything as we ought to know it until we know the origin or history of whatever the thing is that we are talking or writing about. We are not an authority on anything unless we know something about the history of that thing. What do we or most of the people know about the origin and history of the Bible? Where did the book we call the Bible come from? Oh, we say it is the word of God, yes well said but how do we know it is the word of God? We do not have or we are not in possession of the oldest or the original manuscript. But we do have literally thousands of manuscripts and scrolls of the Bible. Every person ought to read and study Smyth's History of the English Bible. They ought to read and study Millars and Burrows book on the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls of the Bible. To know something about the origin and history of our Bible makes it a more precious book to us. A knowledge of the origin and history of the Bible confirms our faith in the Bible as the word of God.
We cannot speak with authority about a rose or any flower unless we know something about the origin and history of that rose or flower. Neither can we recommend a person to another person unless we know something about the past life of that person. The Bible has come down to us through many ages and has fought many battles with unbelievers but it has won the victory in every battle and to know the struggles and crisises it has met with and in every one came out victorious. Knowledge is vitally related to our faith. In fact, faith must be' undersigned with adequate knowledge. God and man have worked together and in cooperation through all the past centuries to bring us a book that is reliable. A book that will stand the test of every age against all the new discoveries and findings of science and of critics.
There are many books that will enlighten any person in the history of the Bible and will help make them better Christians. My faith in the Bible as the word of God is much stronger after reading so many books on and about the Bible. I have found out there are millions of people who have unwavering faith in the Bible as the word of God. People who have faith in the Bible as the word of God are forfeited against the attacks of sin and will be victorious in the day of a supreme test.
I have been writing about my education and how I obtained what little I know that a Methodist preacher is required to know. Most of my know ledge I have gained through correspondence and by reading many books. I took a small part of my work in the University of Dallas and a part under specialized instructors on certain subjects. Most of my education was gained in the hard way and I think the hardest way. To study and learn without a teacher is hard work. I went to school when I was in my teens but not very much. I would say not more than six months altogether. In the first place when I was growing up in the mountains of Arkansas we did not have any schools but about three months each year. Our books that we studied were few. I had the old blue back spelling book, Swinton's word book, Ray's third part of mathematics which was addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and up to common fractions. I had what they called the Fifth Reader. That was the books I studied and handled them until they were worn out. I thought a lot of those old books.
I had very bad eyes and they were never corrected until I was in the ministry. I never could read very long at a time without getting very nervous and I had a very serious breakdown with my nerves. I got so nervous that I could not read a letter without getting my nerves all upset. But I met an eye doctor at Clovis, N. M., who found my trouble and corrected it and I have read much since then with ease and comfort. In that condition I was tempted to quit and not try to do anything that required reading or studying. But I did not quit because the Lord did not want me to, that I feel sure of. My education may be far below the average minister, that I do not know, but I do know that I have not had the advantage of schools as most of the ministers today. But what knowledge I do have I earned it in the real hard way and I know how I got it. I intend to study and read good books as long as I am able. I still have a strong desire to know more and more. In the next chapter I will write what I believe about the Bible not about other books but about the book we call the Bible or the word of God. I have tried to live up to its precepts and I am going to keep on trying to live every day by its teachings.