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Church has come a long way since 1937
Liberty lore
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In 1976, project director Nan Flowers, editor Edith Mallard, assistant editor Wayne Priester and 21 other Bradwell Institute career education students printed a booklet called “Sand & Pine: Glimpses of Other Liberty Days” as part of the bicentennial celebration in Liberty County. Through interviews, these students discovered what the prevailing occupations once were in this area and what life was like two generations before them. Most of the students interviewed their grandparents.
This small publication served several purposes — primarily, it was a source of information and enjoyment, or a way to reminisce. For others, the booklet was a challenge to add to the growing store of printed matter about life in “other Liberty County days.” I talked to Mrs. Flowers about this book after I discovered it pressed between larger books in the local library. She said they modeled it after the Foxfire book series. I enjoyed the publication very much and asked Mrs. Flowers if I could share “voices from the past” with my readers.
This is an excerpt from an interview conducted with Mrs. Lucille Phillips: “When I came to Hinesville, I got my first electric stove — the kind that stood up on high legs. Housekeeping was about like it is now, except for all the electric conveniences. We didn’t have all these appliances. At that time, I did have an electric iron, so that was a great saving there, and I don’t know why but tubs to have your washing done in were hard to get. So my husband built us something like a trough with partitions in it, three of them as large as big tubs and we had a woman that came to our house once a week and washed our clothes and came back another day and ironed them. We don’t do that today. We wash our clothes every day if we want to, and with the washing machine and dryer, we never have to go outside. So, that’s been a great change.
“You want to know about something else? The house that I lived in had a big shelf or big table built out in the kitchen with a spigot on it so we did have running water, but no kitchen sink so we caught the water in a dish pan. ... Now these are just a few of the things and changes we’ve made in these past 40 years.
“Clothes have changed quite a bit. I have a picture of myself that I can’t realize that’s me. The hair parted on the side and combed flat down with a little bit of curl. If we had to go to the beauty shop, you’d pay 25 cents to have your hair shampooed and set with deep waves, which we thought were very, very pretty. Then, when we did get a permanent, we were hooked up to a machine that almost pulled your scalp off, which I thought was very dangerous but we wanted to be pretty, of course, so I went through all of that.
“When we first came to Hinesville, Sept. 1, 1936, there was no Baptist church here. We were very much disappointed ’cause we just couldn’t understand why God had sent us to a place like this. We didn’t know a soul, so we had to put our five children (three girls and two boys) in a church somewhere. They first started going to the Methodist church Sunday school, then my husband started teaching the men’s Bible class at the Methodist church. And I even sang in the choir. I can’t carry a tune, but I did. I guess they used anybody who could make a noise. After that, I don’t know why, we started going to the Presbyterian church over in Flemington. And my children started going to the Bible school in Flemington, the Presbyterian church.
“We hadn’t been here but a very short while before there were just two or three Baptists here who wanted a church and came to my house and talked it over with us one night. And we got busy to see how many Baptists we could find in Hinesville who wanted a church. We were celebrating our 100th anniversary. Hinesville was 100 years old the year we came here. So, we started out and we got 11 members, five of them from my own home. It’s the house in Hinesville where Mr. Robert Kitchings lives now that was my home. We paid $13 a month for rent.”
The First Baptist Church was organized April 25, 1937. That August, Rev. C.L. Phillips, Lucille’s husband, became the first pastor. The first building was occupied in July 1938 on the corner of Bradwell and Washington streets. Today, the First Baptist Church has a beautiful new sanctuary on the same street. It has come a long way since Lucille Phillips and her group organized it in 1937.
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