Saturday, June 28, 2014

Family History 5: Births of the Twenties

Let me resume my earlier track. You can see at the bottom below where my posts may be headed.
The Great Generation
My father's and mother's family knew each other casually in the early days of the Pilgrim Holiness Church, officially renamed in 1922. It was a snowballing of several smaller holiness revival groups with a similar way of thinking about God and religious experience.

1. So Dorsey Schenck and Esther Miller married in 1920, began having children and pastoring Pilgrim churches. And Harry Shepherd married Verna Rich in 1923, began having children and pastoring Pilgrim churches until he started teaching at Frankfort Pilgrim College in 1927 when it was founded.

Vernon was born in 1922 in Delphi, Indiana. It doesn't look like my grandfather was preaching yet at that time. He received his local preacher's license in August of 1923 and his conference license in August of 1924. These presumably were given at the annual conference in Frankfort. I wonder if his parents attended, since they were living in the same county!

By October, when my father was born in 1924, Dorsey was pastoring his first church in Thorntown. I know he planted some churches but don't know which ones. I'm assuming in this early phase these were established holiness churches.

After two years at Thorntown, he spend a year from 1926-27 in Muncie. My uncle Eugene would be born there. Then he seems to have taken a hiatus from ministry for a couple years. In early 1928 they were back in Frankfort and Francis was born. By late 29 they were in Indianapolis pastoring again, a church called "Riverside" that could have been a plant. Maurice was born late that year. Linda would not be born until over a decade later!

2. It was not until 1923 that my mother's parents were married. For some reason, they had a small ceremony just across the border from Sullivan County in West York, Illinois. But as it turned out, the minister was not licensed to perform a marriage in Illinois, so they had to cross the river back into Indiana and do it again for it to be official.

I don't know at this time what his first Pilgrim church was. He had been pastoring as a Quaker and of course his first wife died in Michigan. In 1920 he was living in Hemlock, Indiana, with his sister Marquerite and her husband James, both of whom were Quaker ministers. In 1924, the year my father was born, they had a stillborn child, Dorothy Juanita.

By 1926, when my mother was born, he was pastoring a Pilgrim church in Greenfield, and he would go to Frankfort to be one of the founding professors of Frankfort Pilgrim College in 1927. Paul was born in what must have been the first semester of the college's existence in the Fall of 1927. Then David was born there in 1930 and finally Bernadine in 1932, a year before the school closed because of the Depression.

3. The Great Depression started with Black Friday in October of 1929. I was under the impression that my Grandpa Schenck owned a grocery store in Indy at the time. But as the depression continued, I believe he sold his store and went to work as a butcher. I don't know what year that was.

I not sure how much changed for my Grandpa Shepherd at Frankfort Pilgrim College when the Depression hit. I'm sure it affected enrollment but I get the impression that there was little pay anyway. They ate with the students, often watery soup.
Earlier posts:

2. The Revivalin' Twenties
In the Year 1920 (Dorsey Schenck)
From Quaker to Pilgrim (Harry Shepherd)
The Great Generation (my parents)

3. The Depression Thirties
Dutch Reformed Past (Samuel Schenck)
North Carolina Flashback (Eli Shepherd)
Wanting to be Rich (Oscar Rich)

7. The Divisive Sixties
Flashback to Jamestown (Champion Shelburn)


Ken Schenck said...

My mother thought that, back in those days, before there were zoning laws, Grandpa Schenck would often buy (or rent?) a house and run a church out of it. Maybe also run a store out of it? I know in the late 40s he ran a store out of his downstairs.

Ken Schenck said...

Here are some notes my mother sent me a year or so ago:

Harry Allison Shepherd was pastor of PHC in Merom, IN in Sullivan County. Next was Orleans, IN where their first child was stillborn. Her name was Dorothy. Next Greenfield, IN where I was born in 1926. Moved to Greenfield, IN when I was 3 months old. [not sure if this is what was intended] Frankfort Pilgrim College Theological Seminary opened in 1927. Dad was asked to teach at FPC. I was 15 months old. Frankfort, IN became our home town through summer of 1932. He was pastor of Forest & Michigantown churches while teaching. [not sure if this should be 1933]

FPC closed because of Depression. A. E. Wachel, who had been president of Central Wesleyan College in 1924, wanted to start a college in Kernersville, NC so asked my dad to teach there & thought he could provide a salary but there was no pay, since he was not supported by any organization. Dad took his canvas chart of the biblical time line and held prophecy services in several churches. Mr. Gallimore gave him offerings periodically which helped my dad's family of 6 to survive.

The summer of 1933, Rev. R.G. Flexon DS of Virginia, asked my dad to pastor a mountain church. We moved to Bacova, [Virginia] near Covington. This town was built by a corporation and had wood sidewalks and flush toilet in each house. He was asked to pastor the community church along with the P. H. Church in the mountain nearby. He alternated morning and night services each Sunday but would go to the mountain church at other times. My memories from there are rattlesnakes, flush toilets a rarity, wood sidewalks, my brother Paul's foot almost severed when the axe flew off the handle when my dad was chopping wood. and a little boy died because of a snake bite.

After a summer in Bacova, we moved to Kingswood, KY, the headquarters for the PH Church the Fall of 1933-1934. Dad taught at the school and was pastor of a church there. There was a nice camp meeting tabernacle where my brother Paul, Velma Walton and I played church. Missionary family J. Maxey Walton was on furlough.

From Kingswood we moved to Burns City, IN for dad to pastor a PH Church in 1935. Later a Naval Ordnance Plant took over much of the small town. In 1936 Dad became pastor of Elnore & Epsom, IN. It was a circuit alternating Sunday morning & evening services. One time we run out of gas coming home from Epsom after a night service. Rev. Ermal Wilson's parents were members in Epsom.

We moved to Greenwood, IN for dad to pastor the church a second time when I was 12 yrs. This was the fall of 1937. He was there till FPC reopened in 1939.

Dad taught English, U S History, Health & Safety, Geometry and whatever was needed. He was to graduate in 1906. I think something hindered him from marching with that class and marched with 1907. I would have to check that out.

His mother died when he was 6 years old. His father died when he was 12. Aunt Marguerite was the oldest born in 1877. Aunt Nora was born in 1880. Harry born in 1883. His father was injured when he was asked to take an unruly soldier back to the army camp. The soldier tripped his horse which threw Elijah off the horse. He became a cripple the rest of his life. I don't know what he had at his death. He did apply for a pension as he was afraid he would have to go to the poor house for the destitute. He petitioned authorities to make David M Bedwell his Guardian. i think he had married Elijah's sister Emma. One was a Methodist pastor in Sullivan, IN. I do e-mail with *** whose husband is a relative of the Bedwells.

Ken Schenck said...

Some corrections and notes from my mother. My mother said that Grandpa Shepherd seemed always to have a "preaching point." So he was at Forest, Indiana when David was a baby. I guess my grandmother fell through a rotten board on the front landing of the church during a service because David was crying and she had taken him out. Verna damaged her arm and was never able to put it behind her back for the rest of her life.

Then he pastored at Michigantown after before Frankfort closed for the Depression. A family called Rhine would have them over for lunch after service every Sunday. One Sunday Paul drank Coil oil and of course a crisis ensued. I guess my grandmother induced vomiting to get him to spit it up. I guess they rushed him somewhere.

Next, it was Greenwood where Mom's family moved from Greenfield when she was three months old.

Another question I have is whether Elijah Washington was on a horse or run over by a horse. He was not in the cavalry but the infantry and the record, as I read it, might suggest that he was run over by someone else's horse while escorting the trouble maker back to camp.

Mom clarified that, though she and Dad lived over Grandpa Schenck's store, he himself lived elsewhere. She remembers this as his last attempt to have a "meat market," as she recalls him calling it.

Ken Schenck said...

This addition also from my aunt Linda: I remember hearing of Dad having a store on College Ave in Indianapolis and also later having one in our home on Parker Avenue. I do know that in the 40's he was pastoring in a house type church on the West Side of Indy and living on the North side of Indy. He started the store on Olney Street around 1940 (which is where your parent's lived above the store). Around 1950 he was called to pastor a church in Shelbyville which was starting out in the office of a coal yard by a railroad track. He drove back and forth every service and ran the store at the same time for 4 years. They bought land and built a basement church while he was there. He then drove back and forth to Franklin for 6 years to start a church over a movie theater until they were able to buy a church. He helped start a church in Indy in the late 60s in an old post office bldg. in Beech Grove, IN which later moved into a house on Southeastern Ave. Soon after his death a church bldg. was built and is still going strong.

Ken Schenck said...

More family comments:

My cousin Rhea Dawn: When I lived with them in the early 1960s they had already moved from the Parker Ave. house to the one on DeQuincy. The store was on Olney Street and the church he was pioneering was in Franklin. The store was closed on Wednesday afternoons (it seems that I remember most businesses being closed on Wednesday afternoons back then). She believes there were 17 churches in all that my Grandfather pioneered or planted between the Pilgrims and the Bible Covenant.

My aunt Linda: The store on Olney was a large bldg.with apartments upstairs and also downstairs in the back.