Maggie’s Chapel

My earliest memory of Maggie’s Chapel took place somewhere out in the church yard-maybe it was even on the day the picture above was taken-I’m the little girl on the lower step-my brother Steve is on the far right of the upper step. The memory isn’t anything important or even exciting-just a memory of playing around outside waiting on the grownups to finish talking so we could go home.

I have other memories like:

Laying in someones lap-probably Granny’s-during preaching.

Being warned not to stick my arms out the windows that were held up by song books no matter how hot I was-just in case the book didn’t hold.

Doing a little dance out front under the tree-after Granny gave me some hickry tea.

Other memories from the church are much more powerful.

In 1979 Marie Elliott Wilson’s funeral was held at Maggie’s Chapel. Marie was Pap’s mother-my Mamaw. When I was in 5th grade, she died suddenly from a heart attack. She was 67 years old-she died as they (pap, his brother, and their father) took her to the hospital. Her funeral was the first time I ever saw Pap cry-big hiccuping sobs so that 2 of his cousins, grown men themselves, had to hold him up.

The first funeral of a child I ever went to was held there-a little boy who never got to grow up like my brothers and me.

My Great Grandfather (Pap’s grandfather), Benjamin Wilson, is buried just outside one of the stained glass windows. Benjamin is the reason we live here-he moved his family from Madison County NC and we’ve been here ever since.

A few years back, I witnessed a beautiful moving wedding in Maggie’s Chapel-now one from the wedding (and from the first picture in this post) lies outside the window just beyond Benjamin.

Oh but there are happy memories that far outweigh the sad. Laughter-fellowship-good food-2 girls singing up a storm-my cousin Kim beating out the songs on the old piano much like our Big Grandma used to do-people testifying of their love for God-their love for each other-and their hope for a better day to come for us all.

Come back in a few days and I’ll tell you about Maggie-who started it all.




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  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    February 19, 2021 at 8:39 am

    Thanks again, Tipper for sharing these delightful posts. Having lived in the city, in the country and in cities overseas, I know that there are good and interesting people all over. Hearing from many of them on your pages is wonderful. You are providing an excellent forum for exchanging stories, folklore, recipes and good music. Keep it up – please

  • Reply
    May 5, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Thank you for this beautiful post and the comments, as well.
    Peaceful thoughts for troubled times.

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    May 2, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Wow…what a post. So many memories here too – so many. My grandfather was the “song leader”- we didn’t have a choir director….lol. We had Decoration Day, everyone sat in the same place more or less, at the close of every service there was a handshake of fellowship, dinner on the ground, etc. And , after church was over, everyone stood in the parking lot talking and talking — I miss it. I have my late brother’s mandolin and I’m attempting to find a copy of our old “songbook” to display with it. Have bought one from Amazon — but it was NOT like the one that they pictured. I keep checking ebay to no avail but maybe one day. Thanks for this post especially.

  • Reply
    May 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Thank you for a post that is so filled with loving memories. You are so connected with the past and the present it is beautiful.

  • Reply
    April 30, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Sounds like a church I would love to attend.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    April 30, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Thanks for such a nice post Tipper. I have so many memories from the small Baptist church I grew up in, was saved in, made all sorts of things out of popcicle stinks in Bible School, Mrs. Hardy who could sing When the Roll is Called Up Yonder with such vigor it made you wonder if she was on her way. Thanks again!

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    April 29, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Tipper: another great post,so many memories it brought back. i remember one Sunday in oh’ about 1948,the first day of fishing season,i was looking out the window of the little church at big lake Washington,when to my surprise the Reverend Baringer tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me he was in the middle of a sermon and i could forget fishing,until he was finished. wow was i embarrassed . k.o.h

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    April 29, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    A lovely post, Tipper! The essence of what folks call ‘a church home.’

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    April 29, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    I loved this post…I’ve heard about getting a hickry all my life…Now then a hickry is a pretty stout and bumpy limb…Not exactly your typical willow or hedge row switch…A real hickory limb could do some painful damage..I’m so glad we didn’t have hickory trees growing where I grew up..ha Those flyswats and belts hurt bad enough..I used to hear my boys whisper..”you better stop, Mom gonna go to the switch tree”..ha It was a tall Lombardy Poplar..made great switches..Most of the time I never made it out the door, before the squabbling stopped.ha Rarely had to switch my kids..and they have grown up to be respected men..
    We didn’t belong to a small community church..but joined one of the first churches in the new city and it got large pretty quick..
    I’ve been to many small community churches through years. My parents and grandparents were raised in those churches where the families attended for generations and are now buried…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 29, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Tipper–After giving a bit more thought to hickory tea, I recalled an old song I often heard as a kid. I suspect some of your older generation readers will know it as well. Here are the lines I remember, slightly adjusted.
    School days, school days, good old golden rule days.
    Readin’ and ‘ritin’ and ‘rithmetic,
    Taught to the tune of a hickry stick.
    You were his queen in calico.
    He was your laughin’ barefoot beau.
    And he wrote on your slipper,
    “I love you Tipper”
    When you were a couple of kids.
    Just couldn’t resist it, and truth be told, it all came to mind while I was thinking of the Deer Hunter. I just came in from two solid hours of pure frustration in the garden. I only put my tomato plants out two days ago, and the dadgum, dodblasted deer, those whitetailed minions of Old Nick, had already neatly pulled up and nipped off seven Cherokee Purple plants. I replanted, put up seven-foot high netting, plan to string and spray Plot-Saver tomorrow along with scattering hair, but I’m not hopeful. They have gotten so bad I’m in semi-despair. I may have to turn to an electric fence or else send Matt (I have a depredation permit) and at least a legion of fellow hunters with night lights and bad intentions.Arghh!
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Tipper–Enjoyed this one, and I’d wager a dollar to a dried cow pie that you spelled “hickry” exactly like you say it. I don’t know anyone in the high country who includes the “o” in pronouncing the word.
    I got regular doses of this particular kind of behavior-altering beverage as a boy, although most of it came in the form of either a spirea branch (lots of little knots on them) or a forsythia limb. The provider of the latter still lives alongside Dad’s house and blooms beautifully each spring. These lickings were painful, but what I really dreaded was when Mom would be so irritated she would say: “I’m going to let your Daddy deal with you when he gets home.” That meant that my anything but eager anticipation stretched out for hours.
    Of course I’m sure Don, angelic soul with a mild temperament that he was as a youngster, never faced any such reprecussions for misbehavior. If you doubt his total absence of temper, ask him sometime about attempted use of a lawn mower as a weapon.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    April 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    i love small churches best of all. and have a lot of the same memories you mention, like the heavy windows held up that could break a little arm if they fell. also remember wasps coming in those windows that had no screens and soaring back and forth over the congregation scaring me silly.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Good pics,good story. Sure brought back memories of my childhood. The worst spanking I ever got was from some kind of “hickory tea” that Mama found. I had slipped off up to play with neighbor kids and she switched my backside and legs all the way home. Don’t remember ever doing that again.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Those pictures and brief summary
    of your childhood is warming to
    my heart. I guess everybody has
    some sad and happy memories from
    their folks who have gone on. But
    we do have prayer to help in the
    trying times of life. Its our open
    communication to God and better than a cell phone.
    And of all the songs that you all
    sing, Just a Touch of the Past is
    my favorite…Ken

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    April 29, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Precious memories, Tipper. The people from my church–I’ve known them all my life, and I have loved them so, they are slowly leaving and being replaced by new people. but that’s life—ever changing.

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    April 29, 2011 at 11:54 am

    That was beautiful and many of my same memories.. from another time and another place but so much the same.
    Hickory tea yes.. I remember that well. Ours were from hedge bushes which grew out front of the house, I don’t know what their true and rightful name is.We just called them hickory bushes and mama said they grew there because of mean little kids. When mama started out front, we knew to run!
    Years later when I took my children to view a plantation home not far away that is a museum, the drive way is a long and winding one that leads up to the house, hedges lining both sides all the way up to the porch. My daughter who was only around 4 years old at that time, looked around and shook her head, and said, *that little girl that lived here must have been awful bad for them to have to have so many hickory bushes! *

  • Reply
    April 29, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Love, love love this post. You don’t know it, but we are kindred spirits, both living in Appalachia, several hundred miles apart. You just described my childhood. I am a lover of history and my Christian heritage here in the mountains of West Virginia. Church and my childhood are intermingled and can not be separated. Church…childhood. Childhood…church. It all began in the mid 1800’s. Our church was officially established in 1850. I am blessed with tons of history available and was able to write a church play telling the wonderful story of how God blessed us down through the years. I would wish my childhood on any teen today. I think that’s what’s wrong with families and communities now, they have gotten away form the basics that provided so much foundation for me when I grew up. We didn’t have a nursery or children’s church when I grew up. (We still don’t now, thank the Lord) You learned to sit and respect the House of God or suffered the consequences. The musical heritage we grew up with is unbelievable. I wouldn’t trade what I learned and experienced in that little country Baptist Church for the world. It sustains me to this day. We were not entertained as children. We were exposed to and took part in the “real thing”. We loved it and I thank God for it.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    April 29, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I often got to partake of hickory tea! ‘Nuff said.

  • Reply
    April 29, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Really liking the photo of the old windows. 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 29, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Never heard of hickry tea, assume from Rod’s comment that it is a switch for discipline. They used a belt at my house. It was only moderately helpful….I was a willful child who in all honesty grew to be a willful adult. lol!
    Tipper, you certainly were a beautiful child, All the childhood pictures I’ve seen of you attest to that. It is no wonder you have grown to be a beautiful woman.
    I must add that in your case you are as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside!

    • Reply
      Ray Presley
      February 19, 2021 at 8:54 am

      Amen to Miss Cindy’s post. I must admit to being on the receiving end of a switch or a razor strop a few times. Our Mom would tell us to go get a switch. Of course, we’d choose a short, soft wooded one (designed to break easily) and then get sent back for a longer, stronger one. When we’d get back to the house, she would have drawn a circle in the dirt, telling us to stand inside it and switching our legs when we dared to step outside it.

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    April 29, 2011 at 8:19 am

    You brought back so many memories of the little church I went to as a child. As a child I thought it was huge but when I visited as an adult , it was tiny. All my family are buried there. I loved the church at Christmas. The tree on the alter only had blue lights on it and when we came in for Midnight Mass I thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world. Every May we would have a May procession. This would be held on a Sunday afternoon. We would all bring flowers from our spring gardens. All the children would march in and place the flowers on the alter. I can still sing the song we sang as we marched in. Of course there was a wonderful potluck dinner to follow. I don’t get homesick very often but somehow you can always drag up my long lost memories and feeling. Thanks, Tipper. (need to find some tissues !)

  • Reply
    Eva Kroells
    April 29, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I love your stories from a region I have never seen. Which is strange for me and at the same time it isn’t. Where I grew up, there wasn’t any wood around. It was at the banks of the river Rhine, where I watched boats going up and down loaded with coal from the mines.
    I’m eager to get to know more about Maggie and the chapel. Greetings from a land far away. Eva

  • Reply
    April 29, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Hickry tea, I have not thought of or heard that term in decades. Yes, it does bring back memories of a much simpler time and way of life. One room school houses and each school day would always start with the Lord’s Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance. Sad to think we’ve gone too far down the road to ever return there.
    Hickry tea, mine was usually from a peach tree and I had to go get it myself, it was usually in the summertime and I usually had on shorts. It worked, though if you did that today the government would take your child away and put you in jail.

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