Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bethel Church Women

Automobiles had an unexpected effect on the social and religious life of country women in the 1910s and '20s as shown by the following article. 

Bethel United Methodist Women by Grace Schrader written in the early 1970s. 

"Since Bethel is the oldest Methodist church in Lawrence County, I think I should mention that the first class was organized in the home of my husband’s great grandfather, Samuel Schrader, born in Scotland and settled on the crossroads where the present church now stands about 1818. As I remember Bethel Woman’s Missionary Society was organized in the summer of 1912 at my parent’s home near Bethel. I was 16 years old when we organized and enjoyed it through the years. We had several members and fairly good attendance until cars became the mode of transportation and only two of our group drove, Miss Alice Beasley and I. We tried to haul the women to meetings but seemed our older members died, moved away and then we tried all day quilting’s with time out for programs. That seem to get the woman out better, but there were a few poor quilters so that had to be dropped.

In 1914 I was married and we lived in Allendale where Edwin was principal of the school. Ms. Beasley kept us meeting most of the time. One month we hadn’t had a meeting till the last of the month. She, my mother and I were at the country store. She asked if we were busy for a while, so we found a shady spot along the road and held a missionary meeting. She had the program material with her and all three got in one car. After Alicia died, we failed to get together every month but soon after that more people had cars and some of the daughters learn to drive, so our attendance improved and we had good meetings till several died and others moved away till in the 1940s we only had five or six members. For several years until postage got so high, our group packed cookies and packed cans to mail to the Methodist Children’s home but the last few years we’ve sent money in place of cookies."