Bloom Where You Are Planted
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Bloom Where You Are Planted


"Endeavor to make your house
a home to each other."

Hymn of Promise

In the bulb there is a flower,
In the seed, an apple tree,
In cocoon, a hidden promise
Butterfies will soon be free
In the cold and snow of winter
There is spring that waits to be
Unrevealed until its season,
Something God alone can see

There's a song in every silence,
Seeking word and melody
There's a dawn in every darkness
bringing hope to you and me,
From the past will come the future
What it holds a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season,
Something God alone can see


In our end is our beginning,
In our own time, infinity;
In our doubt, there is believing
In our death a resurrection
At the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season,
Something God alone can see.

There is so much more than bricks and mortar that make a home. Gracious living can be empty and meaningless if there is no love in a home. There must be a foundation upon which to build the values that shape the character of the relationship that makes the home a home. The guidance of our parents with the traditional values passed down to us from generation to generation have become things we have taken for granted. We neglect to honor those traditions. But, as we see in society around us, all it takes is for a couple of generations to "forget" those teachings and children grow to adulthood living only for themselves and the moment. The fabric of society begins to fray because of the holes in the tapestry of communities. This apostasy shows up in the number of prisoners in our jails, the children killed before they are born and neglected after they are born, the rampant use of drugs. Families are the building blocks of society. Values are the foundation of the home.

Political correctness would have us believe that values are a democratic issue…that we can consensus to accepted values. That thinking has left us with the current rudderless moral bankruptcy in which we now float, propelled by the currents of whim and feelings. Moral absolutes provide the rock upon which we can moor our lives in safe harbor. The Bible is the rock. The Holy Spirit is the guide. Jesus Christ is the Captain we may trust.

Keep your heart in your home.

There are some things that cannot be improved up. God’s rulebook gives clear instructions on what he expects of men and women. We are free to choose. Free to choose the bondage of guilt, unhappiness, and disease that comes with disobedience to his word by wallowing in the license of sin. And free to choose the freedom brought by choosing obedience to His Word and to reap the respect, happiness and honor that follows.

I must admit that religion was not something that was foremost in my mind when I married my husband. I took it for granted. Later I had a spiritual rebirth and expected my husband to become as committed as I was. My fervor probably caused him to run in the opposite direction.

There are some things I have learned that I will share as a mother who expects her children and grandchildren to read this book. As Lord Chesterfield wrote "Letters to his son," these are letters to my children.

Marriage is a total commitment

There will always be "reasons" to break the sacred bond. I remember once being so unhappy that I threw myself upon the bed and proceeded to list the reasons I should leave. God spoke to me then. I know it was His voice because in my willfulness the message would not have been what I heard from Him. He said, "Sharman, do you love me?" "Yes, Lord, I love you, but…" He interrupted, "Sharman, do you love me?" Yes, Lord, I love you, but…" Again He interrupted, "Sharman, do you love me?" Yes, Lord…" Then let me love him through you."

Suddenly I realized what all that "Bloom where you are planted" stuff was really all about. I understood what being his "vessel" meant. Home is a mission field every bit as important as any foreign land. God says the "unbeliever is sanctified by the believer"…not through speech, religious tracts, or philosophical discussion but through the mere act of love. It was not my responsibility to "save" him, make him into my version of what a Christian man ought to be. It was the job of the Holy Spirit to guide him into being what his Heavenly Father wanted him to be. I am fortunate my husband stuck with me through my "Christian" arrogance.

God went on to explain to me how love is an act of the Will. Willful as I am, I argued with God. "But I don’t love him…" right then I really didn’t. "What would you do if you did," He asked. "I’d fix his favorite meal, I guess. And I’d greet him at the door with a kiss." "Then do it," He said. I did. And love returned to our home. It didn’t matter who was right or wrong in that argument; it seldom does. At this writing, we’ve been married 31 years and I love him today as I loved him 31 years ago.

That was a lesson in the meaning of "Walk believing you have received it and you shall have it."

Jan Moseley, Robert Grimes, Martha McCarty, Bill Ramsey, Rondi Bates, Ricky Williams, Gayle Tyson, Randy Pierce, Georgianna Grand, Sylvia Burson, Sharman and Joe Ramsey, Elkanah Burson, Doug Moseley, Yancey Nowlin, Dick Moseley, Debbie Spann, John Thomas, P Sharman and Joe Weddingam Thuss

Salvation is the job of the Holy Spirit

Who would think that something so mundane as carrying your husband’s underwear up the stairs would bring about a Holy visitation. God chooses the strangest times to drop in. I didn’t realize I needed a visit. But, I had been worried about the religious disputes that my husband and I had been having. God nipped that little Satanic whisper that kept me nagging in the bud. Halfway up the stairs, out of the blue, God spoke and said, "It’s your job to love him; it’s my job to lead him." Can’t be much clearer than that!

In those few words God was telling me:

I was exactly where He wanted me to be.

Again I was reminded that love is more than emotion, it is an act of the will. One must "act" lovingly to give love and to be loved.

The love between a husband and a wife is a combination of the three kinds of love mentioned in the Bible: eros, filios, and agape.

It is good in a marriage to keep that first love, that erotic love alive, because of the closeness and intimacy that results. Filios love, brotherly love, keeps the relationship companionable and warm. Oftentimes, when times of trouble, testing and temptation come the selfless agape love must be called upon. That is the love God has for us. It is a love that is beyond emotion; it is a love that loves even when we are unlovable. It is more like the love of a parent for a child. It is that love that God expects us to call upon that will give life to the other types of love if through our act of Will we are obedient.


The description of the "virtuous woman" in Proverbs is His plumb line for a life well-lived for women.

Proverbs 31: 10-31

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price [is] far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. {buyeth: Heb. taketh}
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise [is] good: her candle goeth not out by night. {She...: Heb. She tasteth}
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. {She...: Heb. She spreadeth
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household [are] clothed with scarlet. {scarlet: or, double garments}
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing [is] silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth [it]; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour [are] her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue [is] the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. {have...: or, have gotten riches}
30 Favour [is] deceitful, and beauty [is] vain: [but] a woman [that] feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Titus 2:1-10

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. {sober: or, vigilant}
3 The aged women likewise, that [they be] in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; {holiness: or, holy women} {false...: or, one who foments strife}
4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, {sober: or, wise}

5 [To be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. {sober...: or, discreet}
7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine [shewing] uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
9 [Exhort] servants to be obedient unto their own masters, [and] to please [them] well in all [things]; not answering again; {answering...: or, gainsaying}
10 Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.

My husband received this in an email and shared it with me. I do not know who wrote it, but I quote it here because it says exactly what needs to be said about marriage.

As marriage manuals go, few are any smaller than a slim 19th-century volume that until last weekend had been tucked away for decades in a Midwestern attic.

Quaintly titled "The Christian Minister's Affectionate Advice to a Married Couple," the 130-year-old book measures just 3-1/2 by 5 inches and contains only 128 pages. Even so, within its gold-embossed ivory covers and gilt-edged pages lies a message that is often remarkable for its timelessness.

The first two pages fold out into a marriage certificate bearing the name of a great-great aunt and her husband. It reads: "This certifies that Joseph Moore and Miss Maggie A. Courtney, both of Saxville, Wis., were united in holy wedlock in my home in the town of Leon on the twenty-fourth day of July, A.D. 1870. By me, D. A. Campbell, Minister."

Debbie and Elkanah with groomsmen

What follows is a charming essay, written by the Rev. James Bean, outlining the ingredients for marital happiness.

(Drew Ramsey, Sam Woods, Ted, McClendon, Eddie Johnson, Jamie Parker, Bobby Windham, Gary Toole, Bo Buford, Bunk Hannahan Elkanah and Debbie Burson.)

Outwardly, marriage has changed since Mr. Bean first published his work in 1829. A new egalitarianism has replaced the rigid roles that prevailed in his era, when men were breadwinners and wives were subservient homemakers. Describing that time, he writes, "It is a serene region in which a woman moves; not so that into which the head of a family is often driven for the support of those who depend on him."

But Bean's hints for marital success also reveal how little has changed and how constant the daily demands of marriage remain. Avoiding psychology and jargon, he begins with a solemn statement, as true today as it was then:

"The marriage relation is the most important of any you are capable of forming in this life.... It is a union constituted with a view not merely to the reciprocal benefit of the two persons who agree to form it, but likewise to the manners and the happiness of society at large. Smaller communities are the nurseries of larger ones."

Calling a husband and wife "fellow-travelers on the road of life," Bean warns that "conjugal affection is a delicate plant. It can not thrive under indifference." He exhorts couples to preserve the love that made them decide to be "partners for life." He cautions against "frivolous disputes." And he urges them to treat in-laws and relatives kindly.

Bean also cites the advantages of order in a family, noting that it tends "to render everyone comfortable." He suggests setting "a fixed hour for rising, for devotions, and for meals."

So important is the subject of a "kind and amiable temper and deportment" that he devotes an entire chapter to it. Without a good temper, he writes, "you can neither enjoy a pleasing situation nor support an inconvenient one. Seek the improvement of your temper at any price."

Above all, he stresses the value of religion in marriage. "There is nothing that has so frequently struck me as a cause of unhappiness to married people as the want of religion," he explains. "This defect ... produces most of the miseries of a state which was designed for the happiness of the sexes."

No one today knows whether the 19th-century newlyweds, Maggie and Joseph, read Bean's book and forged a happy union. For 21st-century readers, surrounded by breezy self-help books on "relationships," his point of view may be too unbending. Still, in making a case for harmony, he offers a thoroughly modern definition of home.

"What will your house be without good nature?" Bean asks. Then he answers: "Not a home." Home, he explains, is "a place in which the mind can settle; where it is too much at ease to be inclined to rove; a refuge to which we flee in the expectation of finding those calm pleasures, those soothing kindnesses, which are the sweetness of life."

Cecily Ramsey, Jean Burson, Schuyler Joyner Gant

Then, switching to italics for emphasis, he adds, "Endeavor to make your house a home to each other."

What modern "expert" on marriage could improve on those 10 words as a recipe for conjugal happiness?

I read once that the best gift a parent could give a child was to let that child know you love their father/mother more than you love them. When a father and mother are together the child feels secure. That security enables the child to grow and develop nurtured in the warmth of a stable home. They see a man and a woman who are worthy role models. They learn by the actions of their parents about sacrifice and respect. They learn that people are not always happy but feelings are fleeting. Apologies don’t always have to be voiced for forgiveness to be given. Family is more important than pride. Like God loves us when we were unlovable, so also are we to love one another.

Dr. Robert Marsh, Baptist minister, once said that church attendance was a good thing; but that even that could be overdone. God created the family first. If being at church every time the doors opened was causing problems in the marriage, the marriage came first. As I said before, God drops in unexpectedly.  

My cousin Naomi and her husband Elmore had been trying desperately to have a child. When she missed her period, her heart began to sing. She went to the doctor. Instead of diagnosing pregnancy, he told her she had a tumor in her uterus and it would have to be removed. She had the surgery and weakened. Her parents came and they took her home. They all slept in the same room so if something happened in the night they would all be together, Naomi, Elmore, and her mother and daddy. One night Naomi awoke to see a brilliant light shining in the hallway. It pulsed and glowed brighter and brighter. It warmed her with its glow. She fell asleep.

From that point on she began to get better. They adopted a child. Naomi lived to see her daughter grow to a fine, beautiful young woman, a precious asset to our family. God had a purpose

for Naomi.

God has a purpose for us all. Sometimes we get to see him in His glowing radiance. Sometimes we hear His voice in the quiet still of our knowing. Sometimes it is just a feeling of assurance. He is real.

We make mistakes. We are human. Recognize those mistakes. Ask God’s forgiveness. There is nothing so great you cannot be forgiven. That does not mean you won’t dig it up like a dog does an old bone and suffer again in the remembered guilt and pain of what might have been. It is human nature that we will continue to feel the guilt over the sin. Every time it is remembered resolve to do as Jesus said, "Go and sin no more." Allow God to forgive you and then forgive yourself. A greater sin would be to justify the sin in order to justify yourself in your own eyes and the eyes of the world and thereby commit the greater sin by endorsing, and encouraging by endorsing, others to commit, that which has caused so much pain.

In 1916 Pat Gillis enlisted in Company "G," of the old 1st Alabama Infantry with which outfit he served on the Mexican border. When the National Guard returned to this state and was mustered into federal service, he became a member of Company "G," 123rd U.S. Infantry. He served at Camp Wheeler and later in France with that company, holding the rank of sergeant.

His mother and father lived on the road from Mobile to Montgomery. The troops had to walk from Mobile to Montgomery to muster out. As he walked, Pat, 6’3", a handsome, gregarious and mischievous man, boasted, "Even the birds know me in this neck of the woods. These are my old stomping grounds." His family owned a parrot named Polly who, on particularly fine days, sunned in her cage on the porch. Hearing the familiar voice coming down the road, Polly set up a cry, "Miz Gillis, Miz Gillis, Pat’s home. Pat’s home!" His friends went slackjawed with disbelief. The story is too good not to share, true or not. My mother declares it is the truth. That’s her story and she’d sticking to it!

It was a Saturday morning in the Gillis home. The family gathered around as The Old Time Gospel Hour played on the radio. Baby Patricia, three months old, lay sleeping in her mother’s arms while three small children played around her in the living room. Jean, 13, the oldest, dried the breakfast dishes close by in the kitchen. Pat leaned back in his chair listening, visibly moved, to the "Old Rugged Cross." "That is so beautiful," he said, when the song ended. "I want that sung at my funeral." A few days later, a tragic log truck accident claimed his life. Eunice remembered his words. The song was sung at his funeral. At her request it was sung also at her funeral and it has become tradition. The tradition of the singing of that song reminds us of the Promise and the Hope that our common faith…that faith Pat and Eunice instilled in their children…the faith that sustained my grandmother in her trials…faith that the wonderful Gift of Christ’s sacrifice that will bring us Resurrection and Life and will bring us safely together where we will meet again.

James Nott Gillis (1861-1928), Pat Gillis’s father, was a civil engineer by vocation and poet by avocation. Some of his poetry was written to James Nott Gillis and Mamie Bronsons Gillishonor his wife, Mamie Bronson Gillis (1864-1921). I found the yellowing pages with his careful, elegant script in the bottom drawer of my mother’s living room breakfront. After his wife's death, he lived across the garden from my mother’s family in Alco, Brewton, Alabama. Mamie ran a commissary in the house across the street.

Mamie Bronson Gillis, mother Josephine Newkirk, descendant of early settlers of New Amsterdam, Newkirk farm was in Brooklyn. Yankees raided the Bronson North Carolina plantation and buried the good china. Cousin Linwood Collins sent a platter to my mother Jean Bronson Gillis 100 years later. It is through this line, thanks to Arthur Newkirk, my line connected to the Mayflower and John Howland and his wife, Elizabeth Tilley, along with her parents, John and Joan Hurst Tilley.

My mother was allowed into his library and could touch his books. She would take books from the library and pretend to go to school and he would chuckle. He built roads in North Florida and had a chauffeur drive him to inspect his crews. She sat in his lap and remembered the special feeling of being held and loved by him as long as she lived.

They were all happy and together…then he died and then, six years later, her father, John Patrick Gillis, was killed when the chain on the log truck he followed broke.

Eunice and Pat courting

Eunice Jenigan and Patrick Gillis Courting

Our Love

Do you think it strange my darling

As we sit here side by side.

Our hearts and hands entangled

And you my promised bride.

Do you think it strange my darling

That it should seem to me

Our love lamp has been burning

Through all eternity.

Do you blame me for believing

As I press your lips tonight

That where a life is ended

And a spirit takes its flight

That forever and forever

Each love its course must tread

From the dead unto the living

From the living to the dead.



Do you think it strange my darling when I claim you as my own

If I believe some angel

Has formed our souls from one.

And that through countless ages

We have never been apart

And the love we now are blending

Has been dwelling in our heart.

Dr. George Burson and Sharman


Be Kind

Be kind to thy father for when thou wert young

Who loved thee so fondly as he

He caught the first accent that fell from thy tongue

And joined in thy innocent glee.

Be kind to thy father for now he is old

His locks intermingled with gray

His footsteps are feeble once fearless and bold

Thy father is passing away.

Jean Burson and Sharman


Be kind to thy mother for low on her brow

May traces of sorrow be seen.

Oh may thou cherish and comfort her now

For loving and kind has she been

Remember thy mother for thee will she pray

As long as God giveth her breath

With actions of kindness thou cheer her lone way

Even to the dark valley of death.

Be kind to thy Brother, his heart will have death

If the smiles of thy love be withdrawn

The flower of feeling will fade at their birth

If the dew of affection be gone

Be kind to thy brother wherever you are

The love of a Brother shall be

An ornament purer and richer by far

Than pearls from the depth of the sea.


Be kind to thy sister not many may know

The depth of true sisterly love

The wealth of the ocean lies fathoms below

The surface that sparkles above

Thy kindness shall bring thee many sweet hours

And blessings thy pathway to crown

Affection shall weave thee a garland of flowers

More gracious than wealth or renown.

Jim and Jean Gillis




Come Home Father

Father dear father come home with one crow

The clock in the steeple strikes one

You said you were coming right home from the shop

As soon as your days work was done.

Our fire has gone out – our house is all dark

And mother has been watching since ten

With poor brother Bennie so sick in her arms

And no one to help her but one --

Come home—Come home—Come home

Please father dear father come home

Hear the sweet voice of the child

Which the night wind repeats as they roam

Oh who could resist the most plaintive of prayers

Please father, dear father come home.

Father dear father come home with one crow

The clock in the steeple strikes two.

The night has grown colder and Bennie is worse

But he has been calling for you

Indeed he is worse-Ma says he will die

Perhaps before morning shall dawn

And this is the message she sent me to bring

Come quickly or he will be gone.

Father dear father come home with me now

The clock in the steeple strikes three

The home is so lonely the hours are so long

For poor weeping mother and me

Yes we are alone--poor Benny is dead

And gone with the angels of light

And these were the last words that he said

I want to kiss papa good night.


David Gillis (1797-1893), Fayetteville, N.C., War of 1812, Battle of New Orleans, and Civil War veteran, married Christian Black (1798-1858). Father Malcolm from Scotland




The Blessed Home

To be home is the wish of the seaman on the story seas and lonely watch.

Home is the wish of the soldier and tender visions mingle with the troubled dreams of trench and tinted field. Where the palm tree waves its graceful plumes and birds of jeweled luster flash and flicker among the gorgeous flowers the exile sits staring on vacancy far away home ties on his heart and home on the wings of fancy over intervening seas and lands, he has swept away home and hears the lark singing above his father's fields and sees his fair haired brother with light foot and childhood's glee chasing the butterfly by his native stream. And in his best hours home, his own native home with his father above that stormy sky will be the wish of every Christian man. He looks around him--he finds the world full of suffering: he is distressed with its sorrows and irked with its sins--He looks within him--He finds much of his

own corruptions to grieve for. In the language of a heathen repelled grieved, vexed. He often turns his eyes upwards saying, I would not live always. No not for all the gold in the world's mines--Not for all the pleasures of her flashing frothy cup--not for all the crowns of her kingdoms--would I live always. Like a bird about to migrate to those sunny lands where no winter sheds its snows or strips the groves--or binds the dancing streams. He will often in the spirit be planning his wings for the hour of his flight to glory.

The Old Brown Coat

The moon is up the stars are out

The birds are singing fine

Listen while I sing about

My old brown coat and me.

My father was an honest man

Though very poor was he

He lived in yonder little hut

That stands beside the lee

I toiled upon my father’s farm

Till I was twenty-one

Then took a little farm myself

Hard manhood's life begun.

I wore a suit of homespun brown

Twas not fair to see

And all the ladies in the town

Laughed at my coat and me.

I fell in love with Mary Blain

Whose father kept a store

And never was a maiden loved

More tenderly before.

But Mary she was very proud

And haughty as could be

She said that she would never wed

My old brown coat and me.

I did not wait to plead my cause

For pleading was in vain

But bid farewell to Mary Blain

Nor saw her face again.

I am forty summers old today

And riches fill my star

My children play upon the lawn

My wife sings at the door.

I've land enough and money now

Hard won honors are in fee

And all the ladies in the town

Respect my coat and me.

But Mary Blain who so despised

My old brown coat and me

Was married to a lawyer's son whose name was Jason Lee.

He wore a suit of shining black

Had talked so proud and grand

That Mary fancied he would make

A rich and noble mate.

But now alas her husband roams

A pirate on the sea

And Mary wishes she had wed

My old brown coat and me.

Now ladies listen to my song

For it is a countless price

Reflect upon the truth I sing

And treasure this advice.

Remember that an old brown coat

Though not so very grand

May cover up as good a heart

As any in the land.

And where you are called upon to choose

Of those who bend the knee

Remember that an old brown coat

Though not so very grand

May cover up as good a heart

As any in the land.

Jim Gillis


Jim Gillis

Trust in God and Do Right

Courage brother do not stumble

Though thy path be dark as night

There’s a star to guide the humble

Trust in God and do the right.

Let the road be rough and dreary

And its end far out of sight

Foot it bravely strong or weary

Trust in God and do the right.Jean, Jim, Eunice, Sylvia, Virginia and Pat


Jean Burson, Jim Gillis, Eunice Gillis, Sylvia Snow, Virginia Grand, Pat Cooper

Perish hypocrisy and cunning

Perish all that rear the right

Whither losing whither winning

Trust in God and do the right.

Trust no party, sect or faction

Trust no leader in the fight

But in every word and action

Trust in God and do the right.

Trust no lovely forms of passion

Friends may look like angels bright

Trust no custom, school or fashion

Trust in God and do the right.

Simple rule and selfish guiding

Inward peace and inward might

Star upon our path abiding

Trust in God and do the right.

Some will hate thee; some will love thee

Some will flatter some will slight

Cease from man and look above thee

Trust in God and do the right.

Three Things

Things to love

Courage-Gentleness-and Affection.

Three things to admire

Intellect-Dignity-and Gracefulness.

Three things to Hate

Cruelty-Arrogance-and Ingratitude.

Three things to delight in-

Beauty-Frankness and Freedom

Three things to Wish for

Health-Friends-and a Contented Spirit

Three things to like

Cordiality-Good Humor and Cheerfulness.

Three things to avoid

Idleness-Loquacity and Jesting

Three things to Cultivate

Good Books-Good Friends and Good humor.

Three things to Contend for

Honor, Country and Friends

Three things to govern

Temper-Tongue- and Conduct

Three things to Cherish

Virtue-Good humor and Wisdom

Three things to do-

Think, Live and Act.

Three things to think of

Life, Death and Eternity


A Wonder

I wonder o I wonder

When the toils of life are over

Who will be the first to greet me

On the other Golden Shore

Who of all of my friends in Heaven

Will be waiting at the strand

To bid me kindly welcome

To that bright and glory land.

I wonder oft how many

Of the precious loved ones here

Should I be the first to enter

Will come on to Join me there

And how many of those dear ones

Whom I've loved and never seen

Will some day wander with me

Through the pastures fair and green.

Yes my heart will still keep asking

Who of all that white robed band

That stand waiting by the margin

Will be first to clasp my hand

And conduct me through the city

To the mansions bright and fair

That long ago the Master

Hath appointed for me there.

But I know someone will meet me--

Tis enough for me to know

And cloth me with the vestments

That is whiter far than snow

And there it cannot matter

Who my gentle guide shall be

If they'll only lead me to Him

Whom my soul so longs to see.

Please notice that I have left the spelling like the original.


Sylvia, Elkanah and Sharman at El's wedding

Love Letter

The great love I have hitherto expressed for you

Is False and I find my indifference towards you

Increases daily. The move I see of you the more

You appear in my sight an object of contempt

I feel myself ever disposed and determined

To hate you believe me I never had an intention

To offer you my hand. Our last conversation

Left a tedious instipidity which by no means

Give me the most exalted idea of your character.

Your temper would make me extremely unhappy

And if we are united I shall experience nothing but

The hatred of my parents added to the everlasting dis

Pleasure in living with you. I have indeed a heart

To bestow but I do not desire you to imagine it

At your service I could not give it to any one more

Inconstant and caparious than yourself or less

Capable to do honor to my choice and my family

Yes Miss I hope you will not be persuaded that

I speak sincerely and you will do me a favor

To avoid me I shall excuse your taking the trouble

To answer this your letters are always full of

Impertances and you have not a shadow of

Wit and good sense. Adieu, Adieu believe me

So averse to you that it is impossible for me ever

To be your most affectionate and humble servant.


Please read ever line first then every other one and you will see a different letter.

There is one who indeed loves thee well

If you wish who it is you may know

Serch (sic) these lines there in silence do tell

I confess the initials do show.

Jean Gillis


Sylvia, Elkanah, Sharman


Duncan Black Gillis (Civil War Bethel Regiment, North Carolina) and Effie Johnson Gillis

Mamie Bronson Gillis

Mamie’s sister Lillie Bronson Bentley