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Volume 3: The Newton County, Texas Stark Families

Part 6: The William Herrin & Prudence Jane (Stark) Herrin Family

Part 6 Appendix 1: Rev. Maude (Herrin) La Fleur: The Early Years

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Part 6 Appendix

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Appendix 1

Maude Herrin

Appendix 2

Rev. R. L. LaFleur

Appendix 3

Maude & Robert

Appendix 4

Clovis & Hopey (Taylor) LaFleur

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Page 1

 

Rev. Maude May (Herrin ) La Fleur; The Early Years

 

On May 18, 1890 in Newton County, Texas, a daughter was born to Edward E. Herrin and Georgian (Zachary) Herrin. They named this child their fourth Maude May Herrin. Edward was born July 20, 1849 in Louisiana, the son of William "Bill" Herrin and Prudence Jane (Stark) Herrin. In 1850, the census records report Edward's family was living in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, at that time just across the Sabine River from Newton County. Georgian was born January 19, 1867 in Newton County, Texas, the daughter of William A. U. Zachary and Sarah Elizabeth (Whitman) Zachary.

Newton County is in southeastern Texas, sharing it's eastern border with Louisiana. Newton, the geographic center of and largest town of the County, is seventy miles northeast of Beaumont. Newton County comprises 950 square miles of the lower regions of the East Texas timber belt. Common trees include longleaf and short leaf pines, oak, magnolia, hickory, and cypress.

Twenty-one settlers received title to land now in the County in 1834 and 1835 from the Mexican Government. Most of the area of present-day Newton County was part of the Municipality of liberty from 1831 to 1834 and the Municipality of Bevil, which later became Jasper County, from 1836 to 1846. The state legislature marked off Newton County on April 22, 1846, taken from the eastern half of Jasper County.

At the time of Maude's birth, the family was living in or near an area referred to as the "Devil's Pocket."[1] This region is located seven miles north of Deweyville in the southeastern part of the County. It is a flat, pie-shaped area bounded on the west by Nichols Creek, by the Sabine River to the east, and Slaydon's Creek to the north. This was one of the last regions of the County to be settled the land primarily occupied by brush-loving longhorn cattle. The land between the creeks was a maze of hummocks and swamps; the cattle living wild and hard together.

Local residents have three explanations for the area's ominous name. One holds that early settlers, already plagued by bad luck and poor weather, saw a meteor hit the earth in the dense basin forest. this meteors impact is said to have formed a depression that became a small lake. A second version holds that outlaws and other unsavory characters used the area as a hideout. Several present day residents of the County have said the outlaws "Bonnie 7 Clyde" passed through the area and may have had relatives living in the "Pocket." Still a third account argues that the Devil's Pocket derived it's name from the large numbers of water moccasins that inhabited the stagnant pools left there by a change in the course of the Sabine River.

The family was reported in the 1900 census as living in Precinct 5 of Newton County.[2] Edward was renting a farm and reported his occupation was Farmer. Maude would tell stories of her youth in the Devil's Pocket which kept her children and later her grandchildren, entertained for hours. It was still a wild place to live in the 1890's with black bears, black panthers, and alligators a regular part of the challenges faced by Maude and her family. One story Maude would tell went something like this:

 

"When I was your age, my family lived in a place called the Devil's Pocket. We lived in a shack on a hill that stayed dry most of the time, since we were surrounded by swamp and only one road going to town. One year it rained so hard and so much we couldn't get to town for a month and no one could get to us. My sister Edna and I helped Mother with the chores and watched our younger brothers Edger and Arthur. William and Abe, being older, helped Father with his chores.

Bob Herrin Cemetery, Newton County, Texas

Photo by Clovis La Fleur - 2001

Bob Herrin Cemetery, Newton County, Texas

Photo by Clovis La Fleur - 2001

One day, Mother, Edna, and I were busy with our chores when the dog begin to bark down by the edge of the swamp. We turned and saw Arthur, the dog, and the biggest alligator you ever saw. We ran as fast as we could yelling at the top of our lungs. Well, this must have really scared that alligator, seeing three screaming women running hard as they can at him, because he turned faster than you can wink and disappeared back into that swamp.

 

Sometime after 1900 and before 1910, Edward bought a farm in Vernon Parish Louisiana, located on the other side of the Sabine River across from Newton County. In the 1910 census Edward reported he was a farmer, operating a truck farm; the farm having a mortgage.[3] His son Willie was working as a carpenter; Louis was a carpenter working at the Mill works; and Edger was a laborer at the Saw Mill. Nineteen year old Maude was still living at home, but did not have a occupation. They was living near Stables, Louisiana. In 1956, Maude wrote an account of the period entitled "When I First Heard of the Pentecost." Let us now hear her story in her own words.

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1)

Handbook of Texas: "Devil's Pocket is seven miles north of Deweyville in the southwest part of Newton County (at 3027'N, 9344'W). Solomon Alexander Wright, recalling the area as it was in the 1880s, said that "it would be hard to find a country more desolate." He described it at the time he was working stock around 1900 as "swampy, brush country, with some open pinewoods" where cattle grazed and bedded down. He said that during the roundup the cowboys always worked the Devil's Pocket first because it was the hardest drive and "the very devil to work" yet another possible source for its name. This part of southeast Texas is still referred to as the Devil's Pocket, or the Pocket. Most of its inhabitants now live on a loop at the terminal east end of Farm Road 253, which circles an island of relatively high ground."

1)

Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Justice Precinct 5, Newton, Texas; Roll  T623_1662; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 55.

2)

Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Police Jury Ward 1, Vernon, Louisiana; Roll  T624_533; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 145; Image: 1128.

 

 

Page 2

 

When I First Heard of the Pentecost

By Maude May (Herrin) La Fleur - about 1956; Copyright: Mary La Fleur (daughter)

 

Transcribed & Edited by Clovis La Fleur (grandson) February 2010 from Copy provided by Mary La Fleur

My Family lived in Leesville La. I have four brothers and one sister, at this writing. All are living still.[1]

We were all sinners, didn't attend church services very much. Any of us never went to any kind of Sunday School. My youngest brother, Arthur and I had gone a few Sundays to a Baptist Sunday School in an old school house in Stables, La. I think a mile and a half from Leesville was a saw mill at that time about 1909.

My brother went to a Holiness Sunday School in a home. He tried to tell us about Jesus as he was taught. It seemed at the time none of us were interested. My sister at this time had been married a few years, after getting married a 14 or 15 years of age.[2] My two oldest brothers, Willie and Louis drank quite often. We three attended every dance we could get to. No cars for common people in those days, so we would walk miles.

We moved from Stables to the south end of Leesville. We had many friends in Stables. My father was afflicted and not able to work so my brothers were the one's who supported us, with my mother keeping boarders, also.

Finally we bought some land and my brothers started to build us a nice home. Half finished, when one day a friend came to see us. His name was Edd Willis. he asked me to go get a Bible. He wanted to show us some Scriptures, and to tell us about some peopled who had come into Leesville preaching the strangest things he had ever heard. He said they talk in some kind of Tongues, shouts, and said they have some kind of a power about them, even children sing with power or in the spirit. He said they will preach at my house tonight and I want you all to come.

I had the hardest time finding the Scripture he wanted me to read. I'll never forget that morning. My always made coffee at 10 a. m. and about 3 p. m. So he went to the kitchen to make coffee while I looked and looked, turning through the Old Bible that was very old and never had been used that I knew of at any time. I finally found the fourteenth chapter of First Corinthians, and the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. Then with Brother Willis help, I found the 10th chapter of the Acts, also, the 19th chapter of the Acts. My mother had become so interested, we almost forgot to serve our coffee.

A few months before this, I had joined a church and was baptized in water. I was so proud in those days. I was afraid I would get strangled when the preacher baptized me in water, so I had some of my girl friends to baptize me several times in our swimming hole, before the day of the baptizing of the converts by the minister.

Someone had given me a little Testament, so I had read it through one time, but I read novels then. Many times I would get interested in those stories and would sit up almost all night. It seemed like I could not lay those cheap novels down, until I knew how they would end.

Now I love my Bible so well I try to read it through once a year. Besides I study it also. I found out one day by reading three chapters a day and five chapters on Sunday, I could easily read it through once every year, and I have done just that for many years.

 

 

 

Maude's Last Known Bible

Page of her last Bible reporting when she would begin to next read the Bible from cover to cover. Last entry was in 1976, when she was 86 years of age. Earliest entry was January 1, 1964 four months before her husband, Robert L. La Fleur died. She wrote notes in the margins related to passages of interest on a particular page. For example, Maude placed this note in the Book of Job, Chapter 1, Verse 5: "Job prayed for his children, I suppose, everyday." This was the passage of interest: Job 1:5 - And it was so, when the days of their  feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said: "It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts." Thus did Job continually. Editor's comment: Perhaps this was Maude's Prayer every night night for her children and grandchildren.

 

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1)

Edd & Georgian (Zachary) Herrin Bible: reported Maude's Brothers and Sisters: William "Willie" Earl, b. 03/02/1885; Asa Louis, b. 12/02/1886; Sarah Edna, b. 03/24/1888; Edgar, b. 09/17/1893; 11,04/1897. One sister, Lula Herrin, was born 09/24/1891 and died 05/02/1892.

2)

Ibid: Sarah Edna Herrin married Wilce Young 12/03/1903.

 

 

Page 3

 

First Night

My Mother and I got ready before dark. I think my brother, Louis, went with us. Anyway, we went to Brother Willis' home. Several peopled came that night. One of my girl friends was there who lived in Leesville. I sit with her. Oh my that night!! Only Heaven can reveal the feeling that I felt in my stony heart that night.

Brother D. K. Morris and his wife and four children; two boys and two girls. the girls names were Lena and Florence. the boys names were Clarence, I believe although everyone called him son at that time, and Jack was the youngest. The Morris' have had other children since those days and at this writing Brother and Sister Morris have gone on to their reward.

My mother got under such heavy conviction on that first night. I have never in all my life heard such singing.

Sister Morris and Brother Morris both talked in other tongues and God used Brother Morris to interpret. We found out, or my mother did rather, where they were camping in North Leesville. They had a man worker with them. I can't remember his name. He never went out in the work of God anymore, that I ever knew about.

I tell you it was hard in those days. This is the first time this gospel was ever brought into Louisiana. People was afraid of it in those days. We lived on a high hill. when we left the meeting that first night and we came near our house, I ran up the hill almost breathless into the house to tell my father what we had heard and seen. I'll never forget how he laughed. I was excited, under conviction and wanted to be first to tell it all.

The next day, my mother said, "now Maude, you help me get some things together and we will carry those preachers some groceries." When she called me to pick up my part of the things she had gotten together, we looked like two pack horses going through town. I begged my mother not to carry so much for it was a long way to go and we had to walk and go up main street from the south and below the K. S. C. Depot, to the far north end. Leesville 47 years ago was not as large as it is now but still it was a long way to walk and carry so many bundles.[1] I sure did grumble. But mother was so happy, the folks were praying for some of the things God put on my mothers heart to carry them. Yet, I didn't like going up Main Street with so many bundles.

Brother Morris preached in homes in North Leesville. or at that time they called it Happy Holler, I believe. A man's daughter received the Holy Ghost and my mother was so hungry for the Holy Ghost, she asked them all to come to our house for dinner on a Sunday.

Brother Frost, the father of the girl who was the first person in Louisiana to receive the Holy Ghost Baptism, was fasting and praying for the Baptism. Was the third day of his fast, I was playing organ and singing some of the songs I had learned from Sister Morris.[2] Brother Frost received the Holy Ghost. 

I thought is was the most wonderful thing I ever heard of the power of god was great. My oldest brother married the young lady Ellen Frost.[3] The preacher let my brother Louis give them their fare back to Texas. Sister Willis, Brother Edd (Willis), and my mother who had received the Holy Ghost, started prayer meetings in homes. Such a change in our home, my brothers would go to the prayer meetings.

I never seen such a change as had happened to my mother one morning. My mother went off to pray as she did every morning. I still read my novels but now I read the Bible some. I sat by the wood heater reading. After a while my mother came into the room crying and said God showed her it was wrong to use snuff.[4] When I heard her coming I sat down on my book afraid she would scold me for reading that trash. But no!! She was almost preaching. She threw her snuff box into the fire and sat down, telling me how God had revealed to her to quit snuff. I was so shocked at her throwing that box of snuff into the fire because she had used that stuff all my life and the few times she didn't have any she was irritable, hard to please. If she had left the room, I would of gotten it out of the fire. I just couldn't understand. Oh, how she praised and thanked God for her great salvation she was changed.

I wrote my sister who lived in North Louisiana. I used almost a whole tablet telling her all I could think of what had happened to our mother, and about the new religion. She came home at once. That night we had a prayer meeting in our home. I played the organ and we all sang, then a few testified. All were so anointed. We brought in a bench out of the kitchen and Brother Frost preached. They gave an alter call. My sister cried all the time. She went to the alter, or kneeled at the bench. All were praying the power of God so great they forgot they had a Seeker. So I went to my sister, though I didn't have the baptism, I got down beside her and told her to clap her hands and say Glory and Praise the Lord and don't ever stop till you speak in Tongues. She did but not for many minutes for she fell under the mighty power of God speaking in other Tongues as the Spirit gave utterances. She has been a living witness for Jesus ever since.

Now, I did not yet have the baptism of the Holy Ghost. I still kept company with people who had never yet heard this gospel preached. I attended most every prayer meeting and yet I couldn't pray like the others because I didn't seek God as earnestly. I thought one night at one of the prayer meetings I would testify. I knew it was all very strange people mocked and persecuted us very much. I sure didn't like that part of it. So I was somewhat very slow trying once and a while to seek for the baptism; I knew you had to pay a price. You must give up the world and its pleasures.

This night, I thought I would make me up a nice testimony. I would think and think, and each one preached as they praised God. So, Finally, I thought I had my speech well made up. So I stood up and everyone praised God for I had never testified before. The few who were saved had prayed for me so much. there I stood and there was silence all of a sudden. I don't know how long I stood up. I forgot my speech I had made up. I looked all around, then looked at the florr. I tried to think what was it I wanted to say. Then I said, "Glory to God," and still stood there, ashamed and still everyone waited, then I said again "Glory to God." Still I stood there trying to think of something to say. I couldn't even think to ask them to pray for me. So I said real loud again "Glory to God" and sat down. I have never until this day ever thought of my framed up speech.

_________

1)

This sentence dates this document. Maude's story begins in 1909. Her statement "47 years ago" places the present in her narrative as 1956.

2)

Maude had what we in the family call the "musical ear," shared by my father, Clovice "Clo" La Fleur, and cousin, Robert David La Fleur. They were able to take up most any musical instrument and after a few minutes of experimentation  begin to play. Maude played the organ and Piano. My father played the piano, organ, accordion, Guitar, violin, and Trumpet. Robert David could also play a wide assortment of musical instruments.

3)

Edd & Georgian (Zachary) Herrin Bible: William Earl Herrin married Mary Ellen Frost (b. 05/02/1888 in Lufkin, Texas).

4)

Webster's Dictionary: snuff: a preparation of pulverized tobacco to be inhaled through the nostrils. Editor's comment: A method of delivering nicotine to the system. Commonly used by women in the late 19th and early 20th  centuries. In those days it was considered un-lady like for women to smoke cigarettes or cigars. 

 

 

Page 4

 

I was so scared, I wouldn't have said Glory to God; but that was that worry came into my mind. I said in my heart when I sit down, well, that is the hardest thing I were undertaken in my life; but one thing certain, I would never attempt such a think again. The dear Saints, though, so few of them, really worshiped God when I did sit down. The meeting went on in full swing, But I was so miserable can't remember anything else that night at that meeting what did happen. For I could not get over how silly I acted and what I had said. I didn't sleep to well either that night.

Time passed and now and then someone would get the baptism of the Holy Ghost. My mother was in such bad health when she first started seeking God. I remember when she smothered very badly. See, first thing in the morning we drank a cup or two of strong coffee. Then my mother didn't want any breakfast; only plenty of snuff. God healed her and she quit coffee and the snuff. Soon, she had color in her face and sang and praised God most of her time while at her work.

I dragged along still under conviction. One day after 2 years most, I heard where Brother and Sister Morris were. They had stopped for a few months at Napier, Texas. I think 2 miles from Shepard, Texas; may have been a mile and a half. So I wrote them I wanted to come to them and get the baptism of the Holy Ghost. they wrote for me to come and told me in the letter how to make connections with the different railroads. I knew I had to quit coffee for they didn't drink it. So I quit my coffee and I had an awful bad headache. I told my mother I was about to die and for her to pray for me. She did, but she said: "Maude, you will have to prey for yourself and trust God." Three days and nights I had that bad headache.

Brother Morris and his daughter, Lena, met me at Shepard, Texas. They were living in a small house at that time. Soon as I got there, I started seeking for my baptism. I would pray for hours out in the woods. At night, Brother and Sister Morris would pray for me and I would seek; and in morning worship I would seek. They were not in any revival at the time.

Sister Morris was expecting a new baby in the near future. They were having a hard time, at least I thought so. but they were so happy. Every Saturday, Brother Morris and the children would go to Shepard and hold a street meeting. I had learned to sing the songs that they sang. So, the first Saturday I was there they said: "Sister Maude, you must go help us in the street meeting." I told them I couldn't for I did not have the Holy Ghost and couldn't testify. For until that day I had never attempted to try to testify again. Well, they insisted that I go with them and help sing on the streets. 

I shall never forget that meeting. I though in my heart I haven't got any salvation and I am ashamed or something. I didn't know what was wrong with me. I didn't have any power of God in me. In those days women wore veils over their hats and they were heavy veils really covered your face good. I made my mind up that was just what I would do. No one would know me and I didn't know anybody yet in Shepard. I put on my hat and heavy veil. It was brown and so was the hat. I thought it would not be so embarrassing with my face covered up real good.

When we started our meeting I was singing, I thought, like a mocking bird; when it come up a whirl wind or something. My, but did blow and a few puffs brought my veil off my head and around my neck. I couldn't do a thing with it!! Now, I didn't look very dressed up with that long heavy veil around my neck. God knows our pride, and he can take it out of us. If we only keep on keeping on seeking after him.

We were praying one night and I was seeking so hard, clapping my hands, praising God I thought with all my heart. Brother and sister Morris thought I was near my baptism, when all of a sudden I stopped, opened my eyes and looked at a window and said: "I believe someone is looking in at me at that window." I was a wooden shutter and it was not pulled together. They wanted me to keep on but I said no use tonight. I few weeks later when we really had a meeting in Shepard, Texas, a man told us he heard me say that and he was standing out in the dark looking through the big crack in the planks of the window. 

After our street meeting, Brother Morris said God wanted him to go to Knox, Texas,  Post Office was Soda. I was so glad he was leaving I didn't want to go on the streets anymore for a meeting; but didn't know how to get out of it. He left us all and went away. In a few days, Sister Morris received a letter from him with train fare and wrote for us to come at once; he got a good revival started and God was blessing and he said he believe Sister Maude would get the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

We got off the train in Livingston, Texas. Brother Morris and Brother Charley Dowden met us. They met us with a surrey drawn with two horses. I sang and was happy all the way. Several miles we had to go. I was light hearted. I had never been in a church building or school house since I had started this way. We soon arrived at Sister Dowden's. I loved her so much. She is still living at this writing. Brother Charley, her faithful husband, has gone on to his reward. That evening we started early to the school house where they were having a revival. If I make no mistake and I am quite sure I'm right it was two miles. Some could ride and some had to walk. I think that was the best meeting I was ever in before or since; for that first night, near midnight, I received the Holy Ghost.

Sister Dowden and Sister Morris were praying with me when the power first struck me my lips stammering, I got up. They said: "Keep on seeking until God speaks in plain language." I thank god I went on that night to a deeper experience. I soon fell back under the mighty power of God and began speaking in a clear language. Oh!! I have never doubted getting through that night. I have heard so many of God's children say they doubted their experience. I have never doubted for God was so real.

I shouted when I did come from under the mighty power of God. Oh my!! that night. I was made a new creature in Christ Jesus. Seems I never wanted to eat or sleep again. I praised God and talked all night in other Tongues; half of the night was gone already, anyway, I was to happy to sleep. I only wanted to pray all the time.

The next night I didn't have to frame up any testimony or try to make a speech  old things had passed away. I was a new creature now. God gave me a testimony. I could praise God now under the anointing of his Holy Spirit. I got under the burden for lost souls. I would fast and pray for hours, read the Bible, now I loved the word of god. After 47 years still it's a part of my life. I read some of God's Words very day. I love it so much. When I travel I take my Bible with me.  

  

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Copyright

Other than that work created by other acknowledged contributors or sources, the articles presented were authored and edited by Clovis LaFleur and the genealogical data presented in this publication was derived and compiled by  myself and others; Copyright 2010. All rights are reserved. The use of any material on these pages by others will be discouraged if the named contributors, sources, or Clovis LaFleur have not been acknowledged.

Disclaimer

This publication and the data presented is the work of Clovis LaFleur. However, some of the content presented has been derived from the research and publicly available information of others and may not have been verified. You are responsible for the validation of all data and sources reported and should not presume the material presented is correct or complete.

 

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