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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 3: Rev. Robert L. La Fleur and Maude May (Herrin) La Fleur

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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. Robert L. La Fleur and Maude May (Herrin) La Fleur

 

Rev. Robert La Fleur; The Early Years

On a warm summer day in August of 1889, Hopestell (Taylor) La Fleur gave birth to a son in Augusta, Woodruff County, Arkansas. His name was Robert Lee Vaso La Fleur and his father was Clovis Lee Vaso La Fleur. Three years earlier on July 28, 1886, Hopestell (Hopie) had given birth to a son, Henry Bonaparte Stokes, the son of William M. Stokes. William Stokes died before December of 1886, leaving Hopie a widow.[1] The date of marriage of Clovis and Hopie was September 5, 1891 in Woodruff County the marriage vows performed by John D. Duncan. Both reported they were 35 years of age; Clovis signed his name with an "X;" and the names were recorded as C. L. Lafleur and Heopy Taylor.[2]

Minnie La Fleur was born in Malvern, Hot Springs County, Arkansas on April 26, 1893.[3] Not much is known about the family activities in Malvern, but the apparent prosperity of the community during these growth years probably attracted many settlers. In 1870, a town site was laid out by the Cairo & Fulton Railroad. This site was named Malvern, after Malvern Hills, Virginia. On October 15, 1878, Malvern officially became the county seat of Hot Springs. Before that date, the neighboring community of Rockport had been the center of the County Government. The original inhabitants of the County were Native Americans, trapper, hunters, farmers, and a few criminals who had escaped across the Mississippi River.

During this period people traveled by stagecoach, covered wagons, ox teams, and horses. When the railroad was in working order, merchants began to move into and near Malvern. The "Diamond Jo" railroad, built by Joseph Reynolds, a Chicago industrialists, transported travelers to and from Hot Springs, Arkansas. The first 

Rev. Robert Lee Vaso & Maude May (Herrin) La Fleur

businesses were dry good stores, a ten-cent store, and saloons. There were many "shoot-up" episodes in the saloons during these years  giving Malvern a reputation of being one of the roughest areas in Arkansas.

On January 7, 1895, the twins, Peter and Paul were born. Two years later in July of 1897, Luke was born. Malvern was a rough community in the 1890s for raising a family. One can only speculate on the many events witnessed during the time the family lived in Malvern . Sometime before 1900, the family moved to Oakhurst, San Jacinto County, Texas.[4] San Jacinto County is located in southeastern Texas on the Trinity River and comprises 628 square miles of the East Texas Timberlands; the region heavily wooded with longleaf and loblolly pine, cedar, oak, walnut, hickory, gum, ash, and pecan. Oakhurst is located 15 miles east of Huntsville. 

The Texas legislature established San Jacinto County with Coldspring as the county seat on August 13, 1870; created from parts of Liberty, Montgomery, Polk, and Walker counties. Schools appeared soon after the settlements were established in the area. The early schools were conducted privately, and attendance was poor. Students often dropped out as soon as they were old enough to work or could no longer afford to attend. Next to be established were academies, which later became training schools for teachers. Just after the turn of the century there were 2,500 students segregated into thirty-one white and twenty-eight black schools. A graded high school in Coldspring had 100 students. In the 1900 census, the family was reported as follows:

 

Source: 1900 Census, Justice Precinct 5, San Jacinto, Texas

National Archives Roll: T623 1668; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 83

Enumerated June 15, 1900

Line 85 / Laflure, ?Clovis? / Head / W / M / Sept 1850 / 49 / Married 9 yrs / ARK / LA / LA / Farmer

Line 86 / Laflure, Hopey / Wife / W / F / July 1856 / 43 / Married 9 yrs / 10 children, 8 living / ARK / ARK / Georgia

Line 87 / Laflure, Henry / Son / W / M / July 1886 / 13 / Single / ARK / LA / ARK

Line 88 / Laflure, Robert / Son / W / M / Aug 1889 / 10 / Single / ARK / LA / ARK

Line 89 / Laflure, Minnie / Dau / W / F / Apr 1892 / 8 / Single / ARK / LA / ARK

Line 90 / Laflure, Peter / Son / W / M / Jan 1895 / 5 / Single / ARK / LA / ARK

Line 91 / Laflure, Paul / Son / W / M / Jan 1895 / 5 / Single / ARK / LA / ARK

Line 92 / Laflure, Luke / Son / W / M / Feb 1897 / 3 / Single / ARK / LA / ARK

 

The farm was rented and had a house. While Henry was reported as a son of Clovis, he was actually a step-son. Observe Hopie reported she gave birth to 10 children and 8 were living.  Six are reported in this census record. Who were the other four children? Hopie married first, William D. Jones in Boone County, Arkansas and they had four children, three of whom were reported in the Texas 1880 census. Apparently, in 1900, two of the Jones children were still living.

__________

1)

Woodruff County, Arkansas Probate Court Record; Date: December 22, 1886; Entitled: "Petition by Hopie Stokes For the sell of the personal property of William R. Stokes, deceased.

2)

Woodruff County, Arkansas Marriage Records; Book F; Page 477. "C. L. Lafleur to Heopy Taylor."

3)

La Fleur, Mary Jeanette; daughter of Robert L. Stark; source of day of birth.

4)

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, San Jacinto, Texas; Roll  T623_1668; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 83.

 

 

Page 2

 

Religious organizations were also important in the County's history. A Methodist Episcopal Church was established at Coldspring June 27, 1847. The original frame building stood a quarter mile from Coldspring until it was relocated in 1916. A Baptist Church was established August 11, 1855 in Coldspring; Presbyterians organized at Waverly in May of 1860; and the Church of Christ organized in Evergreen in 1888.

Robert most likely attended many "Brush Arbor Meetings" during his boyhood years in Oakhurst.  They were usually held in the summer, attracting folks from all around. From a distance as one approached the Camp Ground where a meeting was in progress one would hear string instruments; perhaps an organ or piano transported to the meeting by wagon; and the crowd singing old gospel hymns. The brush arbor offered some relief from the heat of the day; but many in the crowd would have cardboard handheld fans with religious scenes painted on one side the fans usually provided free by businesses and politicians

Visiting Preachers would give their sermons from makeshift pulpits made of post with a board nailed on top of sufficient size to allow the Preacher to pound his fist to make a point. Benches were provided for those attending, usually hastily constructed for the event. Since many had come a great distance by wagon and buggy to attend, there wasn't time to go home; so tablecloths were spread on the ground and meals brought for the occasion and shared with others. The meetings sometimes lasting for weeks most members of the communities attending no matter their religious denomination. They set aside their chores to make the meeting a priority; for this was an opportunity for many to consider the condition of their souls. They were called to the alters by the ministers to pray; many walking away, their lives forever changed by receiving Christ as their Savior, having found forgiveness and peace with God.

The schools, Church organizations, and camp meetings probably influenced young Robert during these formative years, for these camp meetings and the differences in religious beliefs would be come a big part of the early years of his ministry. In 1956, Robert wrote about the beginning of his ministry in a document entitled "The Christian Work In Louisiana" covering the years 1910 to about 1916. 

 

 

Rev. Robert L. LaFleur Certificate of Ordination - September 11, 1911

Assemblies of God

 

   

 

Page 3

 

The Christian Work In Louisiana 

[Source 1: "The Christian Work In Louisiana," By Reverend R. L. LaFleur about 1956; Mary LaFleur Copyright; Transcribed by Clovis LaFleur February 2010 from copy of original provided my Mary Jeanette LaFleur. Source 2: T. L. Tenney; "The Flame Still Burns," published 2002.]

Robert received the Holy Ghost in 1910 in East Texas and was called to serve God at the age of twenty-one. Afterwards, he was first ordained a minister September 15, 1911. He gave his first sermons in Fort Worth where one of the early founders of the Apostolic Faith Movement, Reverend Arch P. Collins, was Pastor.[1]

Now Fort Worth was a large City in those days when compared to Oakhurst, Texas. While reading his Bible one day, Robert came across several passages in Chapter 3 of the Book of Jonah. In 3:3 he read: "So Jonah arose, and went unto Nin'e-veh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nin'e-veh was an exceeding great city of three days journey." In 3:4 he read: "And began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, 'Yet forty days, and Nin'e-veh shall be destroyed.'" The newly ordained minister, feeling the intense burden of Fort Worth souls thrust upon him, journeyed to downtown Fort Worth. At every block, he would pause and then shout: "Repent ye, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Having repeated this after several blocks, he had a small crowd following; and among them was a policeman. Finally, the policeman inquired of Robert what he was doing. Hearing Robert's answer, the policeman said; "Son, do you think this is the place to do that?" Rev. T. L. remarked in his publication entitled The Flame Still Burns: "R. L. LaFleur thought any place was the right place to preach the Gospel."[2]

While Robert was preaching in Fort Worth, Brother and Sister D. K. Morris and Brother and Sister Young were living and preaching between Cleveland and Conroe, Texas. They were moved my God to take their message to Louisiana. In Leesville they began holding services and meetings in residents homes. At one of these meetings, the daughter of a man named Uncle Jack Frost, Ellen, was the first to be baptized in Western Louisiana, this baptism followed by Uncle Jack himself. Another young woman, Maude May Herrin, attended this revival with her family, but would not be persuaded to join the small group of followers. Ellen Frost would later marry William Earl Herrin, a brother of Maude May Herrin.[3] 

__________

1)

Arch P. Collins; an early founder of the Apostolic Faith Movement along with H. A. Goss, W. F. Carothers, and E. N. Bell that progressed into a strong Pentecostal nucleus in the southwest.

2)

T. L. Tenney; "The Flame Still Burns," published 2002, pages 17 & 18.

3)

Edd & Georgian (Zachary) Herrin Bible; original in possession of Clovis LaFleur: William Earl Herrin married Mary Ellen Frost (b. 05/02/1888 in Lufkin, Texas). Sister Maude Herrin married Rev. Robert LaFleur in January of 1916.

 

 

Page 4

 

Now in December, 1915 God laid it on the heart of Brother and Sister Harvey Sheares of East Texas to come over to Louisiana. this he did. and we placed him at Elton with Brother Fulton Cavort, who had bought a Holiness School. Brother Sheares was a good Bible teacher. At this time quite a number of the young people, young workers, and young ministers attended his school. Brother Sheares was the first help I had out of the State to come and help carry the load.

But at this time Sister Maude Herrin was in West Texas with Brother Charles Smith, helping them in a revival at Caldwell, Texas. And Brother L. C. Hall came from the North on his way to California and stopped off with them. And he was on fire with the Light of Jesus Name Baptism. Baptism in His Name. So brother and Sister Smith and Sister Maude was Baptized in Jesus Name. And after the revival closed at Caldwell, Texas, Sister Maude came to the Elton Bible school with this new light.

We sent for Brother Charles Smith, and Brother Lee Floyd to come to the Elton Bible School. they did, and I debated this with them three days before Brother Sheare's school, along with myself gave over to the Oneness being right and what a baptizing. And now I've got to go back over the work, and teach this new light, and baptize them all over. What a task. But what a joyful trial we had in the dead of winter. We started baptizing in Jesus Name the last of December, 1915 and on into January, 1916 at Elton.

It was January 4, 1916, Sister Maude Herrin and I was united in marriage. Now God had given me a good helper, and her being a minister we could do a lot more. Two services, she one, and myself one. And I continued re-baptizing the past three years converts with this new light. And finding that we could not hold and teach this in the Assembly of God.

We organized our work in Louisiana and carried every church in the state but one. That was Horbeck, Louisiana, Brother George Harrison was pastor at Horbeck. And Sister Ama Morehead and Sister Maude Herrin held a meeting there a revival. We kept our new Light, and also our work. From here on out our work grew and grew. Small church buildings began to go up until work filled the state. And now the old ones gone, and new church buildings, and still it grows. And I believe it will until the return of our Lord and Savior.

A lot of the credit of this great work at the beginning goes to Sister Maude Herrin, who was a good evangelist, and did a great work before we were married and after we were married. She was faithful in her ministry, setting a good example for the young converts. Many happenings during this time of bringing in these churches. Some awful sad things, and many funny things. But they are too numerous to put in this write-up. As all I am interested in is giving you knowledge of coming up to now, as a group who walked in the Light and stuck together  and we are together in this great United Pentecostal Church.

As far as I know, Brother Howard Goss, is the oldest minister (not age) but who has walked in the Light and the church of this great truth. Myself, second in this Pentecostal Church, preaching this glorious message. And after our passing, may you all be forceful in carrying on this great work God left for you to do. In helping to have a church ready for His return. Without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. I have done what I could to move as many stones over, to make the road easier for you to travel who are coming on. Make your calling and election sure. God Bless You as you carry on from here.  

 

 

Page 5

 

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." 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 hammocks 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.[1] 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.[2] 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.

__________

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.

 

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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.

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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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