History of the Malakoff Church of Christ RETURN TO BLAKE'S ART PAGE
By Don Henderson 2013
An early time schedule of the Church; Not sure of the date) PDF FILE OF THIS SAME STORY
Malakoff Church of Christ in 1958
I had no idea who these girls were, nor the person obscured to the left.
I posted this picture on Facebook and Ava Jo Chambers spoke with Truett Cliver. According to Truett, it is Susan
and Anna Pirtle from Trinidad. If you look closely at the picture on the left side you can see part of a little boy.
Truette says this is him and he remembered that picture being taken.
SOME OF THE THINGS I REMEMBER
When I was 8 years old we moved back to Malakoff and I began attending the Malakoff Church of Christ. This
was in the summer of 1946 when we moved back because my Great Grandmother, Mattie (Martha Roberts) was ill. I
know that my Great Grandfather, A. M. Roberts and Great Grandmother, Martha Roberts were long time Church of
Christ members. They moved to Malakoff in the early 1900’s and were among the early members of the Church of
Christ. My Grandfather, Oscar Henderson, began his Church of Christ ministry in Mississippi when he was about 19
years old (about 1906) My Grandfather came to Malakoff to hold a Church of Christ meeting in about 1908. I think he
was drawn to “Henderson” county because of his last name.
My Granddad came to Malakoff to hold a gospel meeting in 1908 and ended up holding meetings all over Henderson
and surrounding counties. In 1911 he married Grace Roberts Henderson, daughter of A.M. and Martha Roberts.
When I was 12 years old (1951) Lavelle Layfield came to the Malakoff Church of Christ as a young minister in
training. Malakoff always got the “trainer”, but Lavelle was a good one and I obeyed the Gospel one Sunday when he
gave the invitation. Of course living with a Grandfather, who had been a preacher for more than 40 years, I had
learned the basics long before. Although Lavelle gave the invitation, my Grandfather baptized me that Sunday night,
probably in January or February of 1951.
Here are some of the members that I remember being in attendance at the Malakoff Church of Christ when I was
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Slaughter (cannot remember the wife’s name), Edna Thomas(widowed), Iva Thomas(daughter),
Oscar and Grace Henderson, Johnnie Mae Roberts Jackson (my Grandmother’s sister), Edgar and Daisy Roberts
(Grandmother’s brother) and daughter Elizabeth(we called her Lib) Elmer Roberts (Grandmother’s Brother) and later
Aunt Mildred, Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Cliver (Linder Ray’s parents) Linder Ray Cliver, (Linder Ray had two brothers that
came also) I think the one brother was John and also his wife (cannot remember her name but I know she was my
Sunday School teacher and had me memorize all of the books of the Old and New Testament (still know some
today). One of Linder Ray’s brothers may have been Doug. Also there was Darwin Thomas. (not sure the connection
to Edna) Jessie Thomas was our song leader and good one too. His wife (I believe his wife’s name was Mary)
attended along with his daughters (I think he had three, but I cannot remember their names. Jessie was training
Linder Ray and I to be song leaders (actually no other young men were available on a regular basis) Frank
Slaughter was an Elder. Also in attendance were: Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Dickson, Velma Grace Jackson Souza
(Johnnie Jackson’s daughter), along with her daughters Jackie and Jill and later son Chipper. Upon occasion we
would have Velma’s husband, Eddie Souza with us. Aunt Johnnie’s son Gary and daughter Jeanene were usually
there on Sunday. (Later Jeanene would come with her husband, Dick Grade). Uncle Elmer’s wife, my Aunt Mildred
took us to church Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday. She would pick us up and then drop Uncle Elmer
and us at the Church of Christ, then go to the Baptist church, where she had been a member for years. Bless her
heart, when she decided to join the Church of Christ and come with Uncle Elmer, many of her Baptist friends
denounced her and avoided being her friend. I always loved my Aunt Mildred, but even more after I saw what her
decision had cost her.
I remember our first television set (trade for hair to be fixed at my Grandmother’s beauty shop) came from Alton
Chambers, a “move in” Church of Christ person from Athens. In the early 50’s; Alton and Jo Chambers, their
daughter, Alva Jo, and son Mike joined us (later a girl baby but I don’t remember her name). Jo Chambers took
several of us to Dallas, where we attended a rally with Pat Boone (remember when he was Church of Christ). This
was an outstanding memory!! Another member that comes to mind was Mattie Baker who was a widow lady and
faithfully attended. Her son was W.B. Baker was an outstanding football player for Malakoff in the late 40’s to early
50’s. On occasion we had Willie Romine in attendance with our congregation. I remember that he used to come in
quoting scripture and trying to get into an argument with anyone willing to argue and my Grandfather usually was.
Over the years, when they were visiting us, my Aunt, Martha Farrell and her family attended; including husband
Frank, sons Sam and John and daughter Trina. I am fairly certain that over the years my Grandfather baptized them
all. Martha (named after my Great Grandmother Roberts) was my father’s sister. I’m certain that Martha (my Aunt),
Albert (my Father) and Preston (my Uncle) attended in the early days of Malakoff Church of Christ. My Father was
killed in a car accident in 1939 after I was born in 1938. In the late 50’s, the Ingrams (Bill, Joyce, Mac and Eva)
moved to Malakoff and began attending church. Soon Billy Mac became one of my best friends. I later introduced
him to my sister, Vivien Powers. Mac converted Vivien to Church of Christ and they were married in Pt. Neches in
1964. Sadly they were both killed in an auto accident in 1967 and a few years later, Bill Ingram was killed in a car
accident and Joyce was injured.
I also remember an older couple from Trinidad that attended on occasion. They drove a car that was from the 20’s,
maybe a ford. I remember it was a 4 door and had high running boards. I believe their name was Wiley. Another
couple that comes to mind was the Youngbloods, but I do not remember their names. On any given Sunday, 35 was
a good number for us during the 50’s.
Along the highway that leads to Eustace, across from where the old ice house stood(ice was manufactured here)
there was what we called a “Tank” (pond) on the Riddlespurger property, next to that Silo you see on the west side. I
remember the story of how someone would be baptized when it was winter. (Maybe in the 1930’s or before)This was
back when there were no indoor facilities, much less a baptistery. The way I was told, they had to break the ice on
that “tank” to baptize several people. (Maybe the early churches hit that water and really “got the holy spirit”
I remember a wood stove in the winter in our early church building. I also remember “funeral fans”. These were
paper with a handle and usually a funeral home ad on them. Since there was no air-conditioning, this was the only
form of cooling!! This was an ideal time for “hell-fire and brimstone” sermons. I also remember that we had one
gospel meeting just outside the church in order for it to be cooler. June bugs were plentiful. I don’t know when we got
electricity but I always remember electric lights. I also remember Dearborn heaters (later on) that we used to huddle
around. The first person there would light the heaters and then if we were lucky (blessed) it would be warm for the
One preacher that we had was John Ross and his wife from Corsicana. Corsicana congregation helped us pay
him. Later I remember a preacher and his wife named Andy Lawrence. There was one preacher named Roger ? We
also had Brother Denman and his family who was a minister in the late 50’s or early 60’s. I believe he left and then
later came back. I remember a daughter, Pam and a son Byron. They may have had more children, but I don’t
remember. Byron was a teen when he came and in 1995 he became a source of encouragement for our family and
my Mother (Gladys Rogers Henderson Powers). Hospice was called in for my Mother and Byron was the acting
minister for Hospice.
* I received this from Pam Denman in response to when her Dad was the church minister.
Hi Don... approximately 1960. Then again 1979.. Don't you remember my mean little redheaded sister ? haha
Debbie Denman Wafford... also on Facebook. I remember Oscar and Grace so well.. Debbie used to play outside
and mother and I got perms. That was truly were the good ol days... Do you remember when you and Billy Mac used
to sit by me at church ? You guys made fun of me when I had to have an ingrown toenail operated on.. haha how we
miss all of our loved ones !
Found in some of Mommie’s (my Grandmother) notes that in March 29, 1929:
She spent the day with Aunt Daisy and Uncle Edgar and Brother Record was staying there. He was a Church of
Christ preacher. He came home with Mommie and Granddaddy (my Grandparents) and spent the night with them. He
left to preach in Garland, Texas. Uncle Edgar Roberts was an early deacon of the Malakoff Church of Christ. He was
the brother to Elmer Roberts and the son of A.M. Roberts (my Great Grand Father.)
It was a tradition on Easter to wear your “Sunday-go-to-meeting best” and all of the ladies wore hats, while the men
dressed with coats and ties and shined their shoes. On a regular Sunday, it was not unusual for the ladies to wear a
hat. It was thought to be “un-ladylike” for a woman to wear pants, especially to church. In the early days, there were
no Sunday school classes for the young people, or at least not when I was attending. We set with the adults,
children, babies and all. Often babies were discretely nursed in church by their Mothers.
BELOW YOU WILL FIND A RECORD KEPT BY MY GRANDMOTHER; GRACE ROBERTS HENDERSON IN 1928; IT IS
TRANSCRIBED FROM THE ORIGINAL WHICH IS INCLUDED BELOW.
1. Ruby Slaughter* Present 10 weeks
2. Vera Slaughter* Absent 1 time, 10 weeks
3. Iva Thomas** Present 3 times
4. Opal Thomas** Present 3 times
5. Stella Thomas Present 4 times
6. Jesse Thomas Present 2 times
7. Winnie Thomas Present 5 times
8. Arthur Thomas Present 4 times
9. Odis Thomas Present 5 times
10. George Thomas Present 3 times
11. Vergal Thomas Present 2 times
12. Preston Henderson*** Present 10 times
13. Albert Henderson*** Present 5 times
14. Lois Roberts**** Present 2 times
15. Alta Wilson Present 1 time
16. Ollie Wilson Present 6 times
17. Emma Gene Garrett Present 8 times
18. Someone name Fayrene Scratched off list
19. Emmit Monroe***** Present 9 times
20. Prestol Monroe Present 7 times
21. R.G. Martin Present 9 times
22. Ariel Killingsworth Present 3 times
23. Willie McGr??? Present 4 times
24. Mrs Garrett Visitor
25. Henry Breland Present 3 times
26. Jack LaRue****** Present 1 time
*Note: Ruby and Vera Slaughter was Frank Slaughter’s daughters I think
**Iva Thomas was the daughter of Edna Thomas and was Jessie Thomas’s sister; as was Opal Thomas. Edna was
one of the early main monetary contributors to the Malakoff Church of Christ and owned a lumber mill on highway 31
near Crescent Heights
Opal Married Emmit Monroe and they were owners of the Monroe Café in Malakoff.
I assume all of the Thomases were brother and sisters, but not sure. Jessie was maybe in his 40’s when he led
singing for us in the early 50’s. He was killed in an auto accident on highway 31 in about ’57 or ’58.
*** Preston was my Uncle and Albert my Dad
****Lois Roberts was Uncle Edgar Roberts daughter
*****Emmit Monroe married Opal and they owned the Monroe Café******Jack LaRue I believe he was later in politics in
DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE OTHERS
These were records of young people’s church attendance and monies collected kept by my
Grandmother, Gracie Roberts Henderson, in 1928.
I know that we in the Church of Christ don’t have Christmas pageants in church, but wasn’t it nice when
we had them is school? My Aunt Martha Grace Henderson Farrell did a Christmas reading at this one. I
don’t know the age, but more than likely in the 1930’s.
I am guessing this picture is about 1920 something.
The Early Church of Christ met in a building just south of downtown Malakoff and north of the Railroad Tracks. I think
it was a building that may have later belonged to Maudie Harrell and may have housed the first telephone office. Not
sure exactly where it was, but it was somewhere along that area, behind what was later Uncle Elmer Roberts store
and running parallel to the Railroad Tracks. Note the ladies and men all wore hats and they had on their “Sunday Go
to Meeting” best. They dressed up for Easter in those days and if you will look, there was an Easter Egg basket on
the porch, so obviously an Easter egg hunt was to follow.
The Church that is in its present location (N.Martin) had a connection with Connie Kirby, who had property directly
behind the church. I think he donated the property to the church. This was made in 1958. This location is the same
but the building has changed.