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Across the Fence was a weekly feature from the Hamilton Herald News written by Arvord Abernethy. This is a compilation of several Christmas pieces by Abernethy. — DH

Hello! Remember last week I was telling you about how some of our people remembered their Christmases in the years past? Let me tell you a little more today.

I wondered how Christmas was celebrated out Indian Gap way, so I called Lester Roberts who spent most of his boyhood days out there. He reported that their celebrations were very similar to other communities.

The school would have one of the best cedar trees that they could find and have it all dressed up with popcorn garlands and candles. There would be the program given to a room full of proud and gloating parents. Now the recitation given by some timid little boy might have been so low one could hardly hear it, and some girl would come out, stand as stiff as a poker and speak so fast you couldn’t get all the words, yet it was a “real good” program.

Lester’s fondest memories were centered on the home. As a youngster they would hang their stockings on the foot of the bed. There was the thrill of jumping out of bed and exploring the gifts, fruit and candy that were in the stocking. As the boys grew taller and their stocking got shorter, Mrs. Roberts would always have a little box of presents beside the bed on Christmas morning for each one as long as they were at home.

Lester told of the first year that he had gone off to college. They had driven late Christmas Eve night from Texas Tech. It was real cold so he jumped right into bed. When he awoke the next morning and looked beside the bed there was not the usual Christmas box, and he couldn’t keep from having a small feeling of disappointment. He then realized he was not a littler boy any more.

The Christmas season has always meant much to the German people and the Lutheran Church. To get some memories of their Christmases, I talked to Martin Schrank and Mrs. Ermin Bottlinger.

Mrs. Bottlinger remembers when they would have three days of celebration and worship at the church. The Christmas tree program would always be held on Christmas Eve night. There would be the program given by the children. The little girls all dressed up in their nicest dresses with braided pigtails crowning their heads. The boys would be in their knee length knickers, often straight legged and supported by colorful suspenders. And the boys often wore bow ties.

There was also group singing, and of course it always included Stille Nacht, which we know as Silent Night. This favorite of all favorite carols is one of the many contributions the German people have given to our world of music.

After the program and gifts and bags of fruit and candy had been given to everyone, families would return home to find that Santa had visited their home and had left toys and goodies for all the good little boys and girls.

There would be services at the church on Christmas Day and then again on the following day. All these services at the Aleman Lutheran Church were held in the German language, and continued that way until World War II. Even now the Fifth Sunday services are conducted in that language.

The Christmas Day dinner was an occasion much as most of us have, except on the big platter on the table would be a goose rather than a turkey, the turkey having served his purpose back at the Thanksgiving dinner. The goose would be so rich and fat that many other foods would have to be eaten to tone it down. One of these dished would be sweet potatoes prepared in some way.

May your memories of Christmas be very happy ones, but may this one this year be one of your brightest ones.

Shared by Roy Ables

ACROSS THE FENCE

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Across the Fence was a weekly feature from the Hamilton Herald News written by Arvord Abernethy. This is a compilation of several Christmas pieces by Abernethy. — DH

Memories are wonderful things to possess, if they are pleasant ones. It seems that the farther we travel down this life way, the more we look into our rear view mirror.

The memories of Christmas season probably stay with a person more than any others, as it was at that time of the year we would have our fondest dreams. Not only would there be thoughts of the toys we wished Santa would bring, but there would be school and church programs, and most of all a family Christmas dinner at Grandmother’s.

Some time before Christmas, out teacher would make the outlines of holly leaves and berries and Santa Clauses with her jelly pan, and we would get to color them during drawing class. We would then glue all the leaves and berries together to make a wreath to put in each of the classroom windows. The Santas found a place along the top of the blackboard.

The first Christmas tree I remember was when I was in the second grade. Out in western Oklahoma you hardly got to see a tree, much less a Christmas tree. The teachers found a dead peach tree and covered all of the limbs with cotton, and to me it was beautiful. We had drawn names in class and all of us had put in a nickel to buy the teacher a present, so the last day before the holidays was a high day in our lives.

Christmas at home was also a time of anticipation and good times. It had been a year since any of us had received a toy of any kind, so anything we received found a glad welcome. No one out there had a fireplace, as there were no trees for wood, so we would imagine that the sewing machine looked like a fireplace and would hang our stockings on it. The next morning they would be filled with an apple, an orange and candy and nuts.

One year one of my brothers received a fire truck and one of the ladders was missing. Dad suggested that Santa might have lost when he came through the yard gate. We ran out there and sure enough it was there, and the reality of a Santa was strongly fixed in our minds.

There is a lot of difference in toys then and now. A rubber ball or a top was about as mechanical as anything you got. A little red wagon would have wheels that would turn. If a girl got a doll that would close her eyes when she was laid down, she got the latest in mechanical development.

Have you noticed what kind of toys and games they are advertising this year? Many of them have little computer units in them. They say those units are about the size of your thumb nail, but can do nearly as much as a human brain can do. The units are called chips. We had chips when I was a kid, but it was something you got out in the cow pasture to burn in the stove.  Them wuz the good ole days.

My sincere wish for each of you is that you will find the true peace and joy that Christ came to bring on that first Christmas Day.

If you need something to get you into the true mood for Christmas, attend the singing of the cantata “The Glory of Christmas” at the First Baptist Church on Wednesday, December 17, and Sunday, December 21, at 7 p.m.

Over 40 adult singers from different churches are in the choir along with a children’s choir.

This is a very spirited piece of music that you will enjoy and get your Christmas off to a good start.

If you happened to look to the eastern sky after five o’clock last Tuesday evening, the fourth, you saw a sight that seldom occurs–three stars (I should say planets were real close together with the old man in the moon standing nearby.

At the top was Jupiter, the largest of the planets, large enough to swallow 1,300 earths.  Next in line was Saturn, the one that wears the hula hoops around its waist, the largest one being 170,000 miles in diameter. Next was Venus, brightest of all planets due to the reflective quality of its surface.  Since Venus was named after the goddess of love and beauty, why shouldn’t she be the brightest?

The waining moon stood nearby, but had his back turned to the beauties as though eh was a little embarrassed to be in such famous company.

Wish I had time to drop by and wish to each of you the merriest of Merry Christmases. Remember that feeling of happiness we had at Christmas time when we were kids? May you find it again this year.

We often measure the happiness of Christmas by the number of gifts we receive. Some of the dearest gifts we receive are not always wrapped in colorful paper and fancy bows which will soon be tossed in the wastebasket, but may be wrapped in a warm, friendly smile and greeting or a sincere handclasp.

A small gift you may receive, and you can also give, yet is measureless in value, will be those three little words, “I Love You”, when wrapped in the arms of the giver. Another gift suggestion: a few “Thank Yous” all wrapped and tied with sincerity will let others know of your appreciation of kindnesses and favors of the past year. It might be appropriate to wrap an “I’m sorry” in a package of love and give to someone. The joy could be boundless.

Many of you have had a cloud of sorrow to darken your blue skies during the past year, but may it have passed away to where you can feel the warmth and brightness of the Son-the Son of God, whose birthday we are celebrating.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

ACROSS THE FENCE

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Hamilton Mill & Elevator Company

Burned in the 1940's and the Wieser family moved their milling business to Lampasas where there was a railroad.  The abandoned structure still stands on South Railroad Street, north of Kooken Field.

Burned in the 1940's and the Wieser family moved their milling business to Lampasas where there was a railroad. The abandoned structure still stands on South Railroad Street, north of Kooken Field.

McKINLEY-CORRIGAN GROCERY STORE

George Thomas "Tom" Smith, Sr.,    ?  ,    ?   , Jesse Smith,   ?  Shared  by Norene Brian Walls

Left-Right: George Thomas "Tom" Smith, Sr., ? , ? , Jesse Smith, ? Shared by Norene Brian Walls

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Ok, I couldn’t resist the pun with the title.  Several old bridges from the county have been moved to Pecan Creek Park awaiting refurbishment. — DEH

Bulman Bridge

Bulman Bridge

The Bulman Bridge was located on the north side of the Leon River ten miles east of Hamilton near Rock House in the community named at various times Pulltight, Busyton, Snow Creek, Old Hamilton, and Rock Church. Rev. Henry Jefferson Bulman came to Hamilton County in 1871 where he bought a farm on the Leon River twelve miles east of Hamilton. The Bulman Bridge was named in his honor. The Bulman and other old bridges have been relocated to the Pecan Creek Park in Hamilton. — ECW

Looking up from underneath the bridge.

Looking up from underneath the bridge.

Can you see me?

Can you see me?

bridge21

Looking down 2 of the bridges.

Looking down 2 of the bridges.

bridge1

Check out The Sky Watch Blog.

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Front view of the church.

Directions: From the southeast corner of the courthouse square in Hamilton (intersection of Hwy. 36 and Bell Street) proceed east (toward Gatesville) 3 blocks.  Turn right (south) on Reagan Street which will also be FM 932 & FM 1241.  After 5 blocks FM 932/1241 turns left on Standefer Street for one block and  right on S. Dempster Street.  Four block later FM932/1241 turns left (east) and leaves Hamilton.  Almost a mile out of Hamilton FM 932 turns left to Aleman and FM1241 continues straight.  Stay on FM1241 about 3.5 miles.  Watch for a church-shaped sign (across the road from a tall faded-pink water tower) pointing to Blue Ridge Baptist Church.  Two gravel roads join FM1241 at this point. The west portion of the Blue Ridge Cemetery will be on the left side of the road. Take the gravel road on the left and proceed east to the end of the road.

The Blue Ridge Baptist Church was organized 10 July, 1880, as the Blue Ridge Missionary Baptist Church of Christ and my great-grandparents, James Lemuel Grisham, Sr. and his wife Margaret Amanda Jones Grisham were among the charter members. When Margaret Amanda Jones Grisham died 18 November, 1936, she was the last remaining charter member. Other charter members were William Robert Richey, Sarah Ann Wright Richey, and likely W. S. Stephens.

Church Deed

Church Deed

Apparently Blue Ridge was admitted to the Hamilton County Baptist Association in 1880 (one of only two years for which associational minutes are not available.) This church has the last remaining tabernacle (which was built in 1912) in Hamilton County. On 24 January, 1891, a lot was purchased from John Hannah Brown for the sum of ten dollars. (Hamilton County Deed Records, Book 6, Page 172.) On 30 April, 1892, James William Massie was given a contract to build a church building by the building committee which was composed of John Hannah Brown, Christopher Columbus Powell, James Marion Allen, L. P. Foster, and E. A. Willis. Massie would be paid $100 on 1 November, 1892, and fifty dollars in work. He was to construct a 44 ft by 26 ft building within three months. In 1923 the church was remodeled with a south wing added so that the building was “T-shaped.” A Delco power plant was added at this time to provide lighting. Electricity was added in 1939. A Sunday School room was added on the east side in 1976. In 1988 the Texas Baptist Men built a fellowship hall with a kitchen, bathrooms, and water.

Blue Ridge Church with the Tabernacle to the left.

Blue Ridge Church with the Tabernacle to the left.

My father, Robert Verne Crain, was a deacon and treasurer in this church for many years. My mother, Clara Elsie Fergusson Crain, taught the ladies Sunday School and was Church Clerk for many years. I was church pianist during my years of high school

More About the Blue Ridge Community:

More About Blue Ridge Baptist Church:

See more ABC Wednesday.

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Baptist work in Hamilton began in the fall of 1873. Hamilton Missionary Baptist Church was admitted to the Leon River Association the following year. The church met in a school until 1882 when it begin meeting in the Presbyterian Church building. FBC’s current property on S. Bell Street was purchased in 1888. In 1896 FBC began constructing its first building. — DEH

Origninal FBC Hamilton Building

Origninal FBC Hamilton Building

Built in 1896-1897

Built in 1896-1897

Constructed of native stone by James Malcolm “Jim” Tomlinson. When this building was destroyed by fire  on 6 February, 1924, the Baptists met in the courthouse until a brick building could be completed in 1925. — ECW

Donated by

Donated by George Morrow Carlton after the eath of his wife Fronia in 1921. Mr. Carlton’s second wife, Mrs. Marcie Wysong was organist for many years.

South side of building. Auditorium was on the second floor.

Building was completed in February, 1925 and burned 27 May, 1970. South side of building. Auditorium was on the second floor.

Southwest Corner of building.

Southwest Corner of building.

The current FBC Building was dedicated August 1971

The current FBC Building was dedicated August 1971

The  Seth & Mabell Moore and  John Crea McCaleb  Youth and Family Life Center

The Seth & Mabell Moore and John Crea McCaleb Youth and Family Life Center was decicated March 31, 1996.

More About FBC Hamilton:

Be sure to visit the That’s My World! blog.

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The Texan Theater has been a Hamilton landmark since the 1920’s. According to records I can find it first opened around 1928. It appears to have burned sometime around 1949.  The Texan is still the only theater in Hamilton. By the late 1970’s and 1980’s the theater had become very run down. It closed for a period of time in the 1990’s. Currently the theater is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Texan Theater sign. Those power lines really made it hard to get a good sky shot.

Texan Theater sign. Those power lines really made it hard to get a good sky shot.

Moved in closer for this one. Looking up at an angle

Moved in closer for this one. Looking up at an angle

According to the current owners this is the original popcorn machine. It still works.

According to the current owners this is the original popcorn machine. It still works.

The balcony is in the process of being restored.

The balcony is in the process of being restored.

Check out The Sky Watch Blog.

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