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Little Journeys Among the Churches (Visit to Allensville, KY)

by A. B. Lipscomb

This appeared in the Gospel Advocate, May 8, 1913—It tells about a trip that A. B. Lipscomb made to Allensville, KY

     I asked the head waiter in the Maxwell House dining room the other day how long he had been in service there. He did not answer directly, but said: “Boss, I will give you a allegory that will give you an elucidation of that question that will be equal to a explanation: When I first comes here, I helps some little boys and girls into their chairs. Now they are grown so that I helps their little chillun instead.”

That truly original answer reminds me of the trip to Allensville, Ky., last week. It made me feel old and young again when I stooped to kiss the children of my old school associates and to find them almost as interesting as their parents. It was more pleasing still to note that the boys and girls of yesterday are now the useful men and women of to-day, but that none of them have lost the spirit of youth or forgotten the charm of other days. The high ideals instilled by Brother Harding and the other teachers are now in process of realization. Out of dreamland “Cynthia” and “Annie” and “Lura” and “Robbie” and ” Porter” and “Hardee ” and ” Tom” have entered the workaday world and have evoluted into a substantial citizenry, and Allensville is the beneficiary.

Porter Ward Keeps a Bee.

Among the boys who had grown up and married and settled down, I discovered Porter Ward. I remembered Porter as a studious, unassuming youth who gave promise of becoming a great civil engineer or a railroad magnate; but I found him to be a sturdy farmer, viewing his expansive acres with that satisfaction which only the knowledge of an ever-increasing productivity can bring and taking a keen delight in every little detail of their cultivation. A visit to his hospitable home shows that “Lura” and the children are his great earthly possessions and upon them his heart is fixed. Next to these come the bees. Some people are scientifically crazy about bugs, but Porter’s penchant is bees. ” Other people round here,” our young philosopher observed, ” raise tobacco, but I help my bees raise honey. It affords me pleasure and profit, too.” I didn’t see the bees, but I heard them buzzin’ around and viewed their habitations from afar. You don’t have to see a bee, anyway, to believe in his existence or to feel his presence. There are other unmistakable signs. As the overwise city girl said to farmer Brown when she saw honey on the table and wished to show her superior knowledge of country affairs: “I see you keep a bee.” But what pleased me most about Porter was the interest he has taken in the church at Allensville. His spirit of earnestness and willingness to help in all things and to lead when necessary was quickly recognized by the older brethren, so that they ‘have made him one of the overseers of the church. And here is a case where ” overseer ” is a better word than “elder.” He has every qualification but age. And I pray that age will finally come upon him as gently as the rain in the springtime. May he wear its mantle as gracefully as a king!

The Church Has an Honored History.

The church at Allensville has been for many years regarded as one of the strongest in this part of the country. No one knows just when these disciples first began to meet. That would involve the early history of old Macedonia, where Alexander Campbell once preached. The Allensville church is the outgrowth of that historic body. Nor can one tell just how many preachers they have had in the past forty years. Suffice it to say they have had some of the best and some of the worst, and they have received them all kindly. Brother Elam has been preaching for them regularly for about eight years and has won a warm spot in the hearts of the people. Brother R. H. Boll, of Louisville, Ky., held their last protracted meeting, with fine results. The present elders are R. F. Gill, J. R. Riley, and Porter Ward. They have a good meetinghouse that is commodious and well appointed. The church has had a commendable part in supporting Brother E. C. Fuqua in the Western field, and makes it a point to respond to other worthy appeals in proportion to the congregation’s strength. It was a distinct pleasure for me to meet on this trip our aged• Brother Riley, who is blessed with many children and grandchildren. As an index to his health, I might say he is looking around for a good saddle horse.

Since my return a news dispatch announces that Brother Jesse B. Boyd, one of the leaders of the work at Allensville, has received a serious bullet wound. I do not know the details of the altercation in which our brother was shot, but I do know that he enjoys the respect and confidence of the brethren. May he quickly recover and be drawn nearer to God through his suffering.

Why Didn’t They Name it Gillville?

If you ever get lost in or around Allensville, ask the first man you see where Mr. Gill lives. He will likely reply, ” That’s me ” or “Which one?” Ask for “Uncle Bob” or ” Uncle Demas ” or ” Uncle Dick” or “Brother Ben” and forget your troubles. When you meet them all, you will begin to wonder when the Gills ran the Allens out. They might have named that burg “Gillville” had it not been for the awful euphony. Brother Ben is one of the best. Like a certain watch of that name, he can be relied upon. It was he who kindly extended the invitation to me to visit the place. Not everyone can extend to you the hospitality of a home and the security of a bank to boot. But Brother Ben does both for his friends. Sister Ben presides at the home with grace and dignity, and Brother Ben does the honors at the bank. The church at Allensville is fortunate in having one so capable and efficient to handle its finances: and it should be an added pleasure to keep its balance in the First State Bank. I recall my visit to Allensville with singular pleasure, and there comes to my heart the words of Henry Van Dyke: Make new friends, but keep the old; Those are silver, these are gold.

 A. B. Lipscomb was one of the editors of “Gospel Advocate.” He preceded E L Jorgenson as preacher for the Highland Church of Christ in Louisville, KY




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