Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Write Your Family Story - You Can Do It!

Summer time is almost here, and that’s when lots of us get together for family reunions. It’s also the perfect time to listen to family stories and document them.

So, you may think you are not a gifted writer, but so what? It’s your story and no one can write it better than you.

Go buy yourself a spiral notebook, a pencil and a hi-lighter then start listening to family members. Write fast, then go back to make corrections later. If you have a voice recorder on your phone, ask permission to tape some family member telling a story. This helps with direct quotes or when several people are talking at once.

Now, you come home with a spiral notebook filled with snippets of stories, jokes, facts, etc… Here’s where highlighters and color coding comes in handy to organize topics, names and dates.

Sometimes the biggest obstacle to writing family story can simply be getting past the first line. How do you begin? The first sentence is a struggle and it is easy to get stuck in the first paragraph and stop. Don’t stop – there is help!
Here are some prompts to jump-start your opening paragraph to make it sound less like you are reciting your family tree.

A genealogist recently reminded me of this: A person’s life isn’t a single story from birth to death. It is many stories.

Here are some first lines that may help you get that first line going:
1. __________ was a fascinating man by all accounts, because he …
2. __________’s favorite saying was …
3. My grandfather was a ___________man because he ...
4. ______________met his future wife ______________ when he …. (retrieved her hat for her on a windy day, saw her cutting a rug at the local dance, or whatever).
5. Nothing could have prepared __________ for…
6. My ancestor lived through a time when …
7. A great (love story, tragedy, mystery, surprise) in my family history is how ...

Look through this list and see if anything comes to mind or inspires you to create your own first line. Start writing something. Use a computer or paper and pencil, but start writing. Forget about grammar or factual details like dates and places. You can verify that later. Just get the words down. Make a folder of the stories so you can organize them into groups later – like chronologically, geographically, by event, or by another type subject matter.

You are on a roll so do it before the memories get fuzzy. Write your family story!

Delene Allen, Director
Quitman Public Library
May 24, 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

QPL Connections by Delene Allen

Wood County Monitor
To run Wednesday, May 24, 2017

  During the month of May, the library is honoring the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) with a display of media commemorating the surrender of Germany which officially ended the European phase of World War II in May 1945. This display, arranged by Melissa Frosch, is located near the front check-out area. 
   Summer Reading begins Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 2 p.m. with a kick-off party at Gov. Jim Hogg City Park. This year’s theme is “Build a Better World!”  Join us for an afternoon of hot dogs, yard games, splash pad and family fun! We will hand out Summer Reading packets on that day. On the following Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 2 p.m., we will meet at the Quitman Public Library for “Tinker Day” where we will build stuff with the help of teen volunteers from Glowing Hearts.
  The 2nd Friday Acoustical Music Jam at the Quitman Public Library is Friday, June 9, 2017.   Acoustical musicians of all ages and musical levels are invited to join in from 6 – 9 p.m. in the library’s community room. There will be an open mic set-up for those who wish to perform. Listeners are always welcome.
  Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Keep up with current events on at and on our website at

Adult Services
  GED preparatory classes will extend through the summer. The class meets each Thursday from 4 – 6 p.m. and is taught by certified instructor, Susan Resnik. The class is designed to prepare students for the GED test. Call 903-763-4191 or stop by on Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. to meet with the instructor.   
  Rebekah Yeager and Virginia Hoffpauir invite students of all ages and skill levels to bring their own supplies and join the group for free knitting and crochet instruction each Thursday 2 – 4 p.m. in the library’s main gallery.

Children’s Services
  Story Time will take a summer break will resume in September. Special thanks to Peoples Telephone – Quitman TX for sponsoring this year’s crafts and activities.

Friends of the Library
  Friends of the Quitman Public Library recently held its last meeting of the season and will meet again in September 2017 after Summer Break. Friends is an active group of men and women dedicated to the growth and improvement of the library.

On Display
  In the lobby showcase is a display of dragons from the collections of Sara de la Rosa of Mineola and Beverly Chamberlain of Quitman. Among the interesting items are figurines and pieces of original art by Sara de la Rosa.

New Arrivals

  The latest books, audiobooks and movies that have been added to our collection can always be found by visiting our online catalog at Also, download the OverDrive® app to connect to our library’s vast collection of eBooks, audiobooks and streaming videos for your electronic devices.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

First Methodists in Wood County TX

First Methodists in Wood County TX

  There is a little church I drive by nearly every day that has the distinction of being where the first congregation of Methodists began organized meetings in Wood County, Texas.
  In 1770 just prior to the American Revolution, there were maybe 20 Methodist churches in America. English Methodist founder John Wesley was hostile toward American independence, and this badly hampered the church's growth. However, after the Revolution, the American churches began to operate independently from English Methodists. That is when the legendary Methodist "circuit riders" began reaching the American backcountry, riding on horseback to reach every nook and cranny of the Appalachian frontier and Mississippi River Valley.
  It took the circuit riders a while to make it here to Wood County, because this was pretty wild country.  Around 1854, Methodist minister, Samuel G. Culver and other circuit-riding preachers began evangelizing in the Quitman, Wood County TX area.
 By 1860, there were more than 19,000 Methodist churches in America, and in 1868, the First United Methodist Church of Quitman was organized and established.
  On December 1, 1879, John A. Callaway purchased 200 acres, located about six miles east of Quitman, from the Ham Family.
  In 1881, John and Emily Callaway conveyed unto “W.S. Hardy, John H. Williams and J.H. Voorhees . . . [land] for a church building to be situated upon for preaching, Sabbath Schools and other religious purposes . . . six acres of land.” (Deed Records of Wood County, June 1881). The church was known in the area as the Oak Grove Methodist Church.
  For a short time in 1914, the congregation from Quitman’s First United Methodist Church moved its services to Oak Grove while a their new church was being built in Quitman.
  On August 26, 1943, as the result of a survey, it was found that the Oak Grove Methodist Church had fenced in 5.52 acres.
Mr. Henry Crietzberg at Liberty Methodist Church (c.1945)
  On June 25, 1944, permission was given by the Callaway heirs for a land trade. A resolution was made by the Quarterly Conference of the Alba Charge, Tyler District, to authorize the Board of Trustees of Liberty Methodist church to trade six acres (5.52 fenced acres) plus $5.00 for three acres of land on new Highway 154. Trustees at that time were C.A. Malone, G.E. Snodgrass and Arthur Sims. It is believed that the church name changed from the Methodist Episcopal Church South at Oak Grove to Liberty Methodist Church at that time.
  Pictured is Mr. Henry Crietzberg who was in charge of construction of the present structure (c. 1945). Many Brush Arbor-type Revivals were held in the early years, and the church was the heartbeat of the community.
  Liberty Methodist Church is situated on a three-acre site at 300 County Road 3138 (corner of TX SH 154), Quitman, Texas 75783.

Delene Allen, Director
Quitman Public Library, Quitman TX