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CHAPTER FOUR

THE SPIRITUAL LIFE IN PINE ISLAND




The Tent Revival

Spiritual life in the Pine Island community was primarily dominated by the Baptist church as most of the citizens were from the predominately Baptist old south. The church in Pine Island became visible August 13, 1888 with the organization of the Pine Island Baptist Church during a meeting held in the Hopewell schoolhouse. Reverends M. A. Clouts and L.E. Kellis alternated as pastors during the first year. Reverend J.F. Dobbs was called as the first "Called" pastor.

By 1912 Brother Sellers from Weimar was preaching and holding revivals at Pine Island Baptist. In 1889 Silas Austin Garrett and George T. Rawls were the first members to be ordained as deacons. The first organ was purchased in 1898 and first played by Bonnie Mills.

In 1900 a new church building was finished on land donated by Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Mills. The church building was severely damaged in the 1900 hurricane but the members gathered up the scattered lumber and restored the building. It was damaged again in the 1915 hurricane and once again repaired by the members.

In April of 1952 the church began operation as a full time church with services every Sunday. Until that time the church was operated as a "Quarter-Time Church" because services were only held on the fourth Saturday and Sunday of each month. William Jonas Milam was another active force in the spiritual beginnings in the mid 1890's with two small children, they often opened their home to family and friends for "Meetings" and "Singings". They normally attended the Pine Island Baptist Church, but "Preaching" at the church, by the preacher, was only held once a month in those days as the preacher made his circuit.

Mrs. Mantie Mae Taylor (youngest daughter of William Jonas Milam) remembers attending church, at the Pine Island Baptist, as a girl in the early 1900's. She often walked to church with her cousins Clara, Sue and Hattie Garrett (daughters of Benjamin Garrett). They were in a "Card Class" (Sunday School class) together. It was for the youngest children. Other members of the class were Bryan (son of John M. Garrett) and Tug Garrett (Son of Silas A. Garrett).One of the things that impressed Mantie Mae the most, as a child, was when the preacher gave the "Invitation" after the service and the first members who went to the front to pray and repent were the older women of the church like Corrie Garrett (Silas' wife).

Occasionally on Saturday nights there would be a "Singing" at the church. Mantie Mae remembers that her brother, Ned Milam, would often be the song leader at those meetings. On one occasion, during a revival, all of the Milam family got into the horse drawn wagon for the ride to the church. The chickens, not knowing it was "Revival Week", had already went to roost. Some of them seemed to think the best place to roost was on the undercarriage of the wagon. As the trip started all but one of the chickens decided the trip would be to hard on them and flew off, however one of them stayed with the wagon all the way to the church.

Harry Lee Milam and his family always attended the Pine Island Church where Harry sometime conducted the "Prayer Meeting.". After Harry Lee's death Mamie and the children continued to attended the Pine Island Baptist Church. In it's early days the Pine Island Baptist church, like most Baptist churches of the era, was very rigid in both it's beliefs and it's discipline.

A few years after Harry died, however, a neighbor ask Mamie and the children to ride with them to an "Evangelistic Tent Revival" meeting in Waller. rigid in both it's beliefs and it's discipline.

After the revival ended, the preacher ask Mamie if she knew of a place in the Pine Island community where he could set up his tent and hold a revival meeting. Doing what she thought was a Christian act, she offered to let him use her pasture on the old Houston highway, across Cochran road from her home. After the revival ended, Harry Lee's uncle, the deacon Silas Austin Garrett paid an "Official" visit to the widow Milam and informed her that because of her allowing the Evangelist to use her land and attending his church services, she and her children were no longer welcome at the Pine Island Baptist Church.

So, Mamie and the children, greatly hurt and bewildered by the reaction of their uncle and a founder of their church, drove to Hempstead to attend church from then on. There were at least four other Pine Island families (known by the author) who attended the same revival and they were also visited by deacon Garrett and told that they were no longer welcome at the Pine Island Baptist church. They, like the Milams, moved their church alliances to a church in Hempstead.



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