Rev. Maude May (Herrin ) La Fleur; The Early Years
May 18, 1890 in Newton County, Texas, a daughter was born to
Edward E. Herrin and Georgian (Zachary) Herrin. They named this
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.
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.
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
the time of Maude's birth, the family was living in or
near an area referred to as the "Devil's Pocket."
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
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.
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.
family was reported in the 1900 census as living in
Precinct 5 of Newton County. 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:
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.
Herrin Cemetery, Newton County, Texas
by Clovis La Fleur - 2001
Herrin Cemetery, Newton County, Texas
by Clovis La Fleur - 2001
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.
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. 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.
of Texas: "Devil's Pocket is seven miles north of
Deweyville in the southwest part of Newton County (at
30º27'N, 93º44'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."
1900 United States Federal Census [database
on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc,
Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Justice
Precinct 5, Newton, Texas; Roll T623_1662; Page: 6B;
Enumeration District: 55.
1910 United States Federal Census [database
on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc,
Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Police
Jury Ward 1, Vernon, Louisiana; Roll T624_533;
Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 145;
I First Heard of the Pentecost
Maude May (Herrin) La Fleur - about 1956; Copyright: Mary La Fleur (daughter)
& Edited by Clovis La Fleur (grandson) February 2010 from Copy provided
by Mary La Fleur
Family lived in Leesville La. I have four brothers and one
sister, at this writing. All are living still.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Last Known Bible
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
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
& 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.
Sarah Edna Herrin married Wilce Young 12/03/1903.
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
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.
mother got under such heavy conviction on that first night. I
have never in all my life heard such singing.
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.
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.
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. 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
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
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. Brother Frost received the Holy Ghost.
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. 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
sentence dates this document. Maude's story begins in
1909. Her statement "47 years ago" places the
present in her narrative as 1956.
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.
& Georgian (Zachary) Herrin Bible: William Earl Herrin
married Mary Ellen Frost (b. 05/02/1888 in Lufkin, Texas).
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
our street meeting, Brother Morris said God wanted him to go to
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.
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.
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
for that first
night, near midnight, I received the Holy Ghost.
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.
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.
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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