The following letter was in the Smithville Church of Christ Historical files. It was written to the children of William Brown Foster.
(NOTE: By Susie Foster) Excerpts from a letter written by Mrs. Nannie Smith Lee, Dallas, Texas, dated March 17, 1962. Mrs. Lee, her husband, James Lee and three sons, Ray, James, & Richard, left Smithville, Tennessee, September 29, 1923, for Dallas, Texas, where they have since made their home.
Dear O'Fallon, Josh, Susie & Mary Rebecca:
Mr Lee died September 26, 1961, at the age of 87. Ray is a prominent lawyer (and often preaches for his own congregation, or goes where he is called or needed.) James is a Vice President of a Dallas Bank and Richard is a Doctor.
"Miss Nannie," as she was known in Smithville, began as a young girl, making records of births, deaths and other interesting events occurring in the small village of Smithville. She continues adding to these records, and has one for each of her three sons. She was born July 29, 1874. (NOTE: Mrs Nannie died in 1965.)
The Excerpt of the Letter
"J. M. Kidwell, born near Alexandria, Tennessee, September 6, 1836, died September 15, 1892. Bro. Kidwell organized the Church at Smithville, DeKalb County, Tennessee, about 1868. He preached in the Court House, as there was no place for worship. W. B. Crowley and his daughter, Miss Martha, R. B. West and his mother, Aunt Polly West, were charter members. There may have been more, but they are all I remember.
The Church began to grow, and they decided to build a house. They erected a frame building on the same location of the Brick building of today. The frame house was completed in time for a meeting to begin on the first Lord's day in October, 1874. During this meeting, my mother (Rebecca Smith), was baptized into Christ, in the creek right at our home. I, Nannie Smith, was at this time, three months old.
The Church continued to grow, and under the influence of Bro. L. S. White, they decided to build the brick building which is now their place of worship. The brick house was built in 1903. The first to preach in the brick building was, Bro. Sam H. Hall. Elders at this time were, Bro's. A. J. Goodson, A. P. Tracy, J. E. Drake, L. P. Womack (my Great Grandfather) and Dr. T. J. Potter.
I looked on Miss Martha Crowley as strength in the Church. We began the brick building and before it was quite finished the money gave out. They sent for Bob Taylor, the great orator, to come and lecture for us. (Wasn't that weak?) The ticket was $1.00 or maybe $1.50. However, they finished the house with that money. Before too long, the roof leaked and the water ran down the floor. They said, "We must fix that, or it will ruin the floor." I never will forget-- Miss Martha said, "Leave it alone till every Bob Taylor brick rots out." She must have been stronger than any of the elders.
I remember very well your grandfather, Anthony Foster and his wife, Mary Cameron (My GGrandmother and GGrandFather). I also remember your great-grandfather, Washington Cameron and his wife, "Aunt Prudie" (as she was called by everyone) (My GGGrandfather and GGGrandmother), who was a mother in the Church. There was a little low chair in the Church building for no one to sit in but Aunt Prudie. I can almost see her going down the aisle. She was a tiny little woman, wore a white lace cap, and a black split-bonnet over it and black half-hand gloves, and a walking cane. She was always at Church and was loved by everyone.
The end of the letter
NOTE:(by Susie Foster)
W. B. Crowley, above referred to, was our grandfather and Martha Crowley was our aunt. Bro. Kidwell performed the marriage ceremony for our mother and father, April 29, 1886. Bro Sam H. Hall stayed in our home the first time he came to Smithville to preach, and continued to make our home his home, when in Smithville. He conducted the service when our mother died.
The Smithville Church of Christ celebrated its 130th birthday on October 4, 1998. I have had three Great-Great Grandmothers that were members in this Church. The first Being Sinah Foster about 1876. The others being Prudence Cameron (mentioned in the letter) and Sarah (Sallie) Magness Webb. Sarah was an invalid and was placed in a straight chair and carried into a creek and the chair was tipped over to submerse her. There is now the seventh generation of Foster descendants in this Church.
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