Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Pastor's Love

Steve Hoffman

In the most difficult of times we experience a pastor's love.
Gently bringing God's hope to us like a peaceful dove.  

And in the best of times too a pastor is a part of our story,
Reminding us of the God above who deserves all the glory.

A good pastor spends the years planting in our hearts a seed,
That a holy relationship with Christ is what we really need.

And through the years a pastor is like a light in our home,
Standing steadfast when from God and church we roam.

But a pastor's love remains only for God's appointed season,
Then we who are part of the church's ministry hear the reason.

A different congregation wants and needs our pastor's love,
And we'll need to find a new pastor with wisdom from above.

We are sad because we don't want to lose our pastor today,
But we rejoice that our pastor will point others to God's way.

Our pastor modeled for us how to live for God through it all,
And with Christ in our hearts we will be strong and never fall.

So as we wish our pastor every blessing in the journey ahead,
We carry extreme confidence and faith as to heaven we tread.

By Alan T. Stokes 

August 13, 2000

Written for Pastor Steve Hoffman on his last Sunday as pastor of Minneapolis Sonlight Church of the Nazarene before he moved to become the pastor at Fergus Falls Church of the Nazarene in Minnesota.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Little Schoolhouse

In a little school house long ago
I whiled away my hours,
Not over books, as I should have
But, dreamin' up poems of flowers.

An bees, an birds, an cooling woods 
An sunny days and peaceful nights
An I vowed when I got more grown up
Of all these things I'd write.

An some day I would venture back
To that same school house door
And I'd recite poems to the kids
They'd clap an say, "More, more."

Since that time, twenty-six years have passed
I now am thirty-eight,
But yet I've ne'er forgot my vow
A little while I'll wait-

Until the knowledge of all these things
Has reached a higher score,
Then I can write better poetry
By understanding more.

An when at last I've reached my goal
I'll go back an thru my tears,
I'll tell them how that little school house
Has inspired me thru the years.

Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)   This poem was written in 1950.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Just Around the Bend

Down the highway of life-
"Just around the bend"
Is the goal you've been striving-
To reach, my friend.

Don't let your steps falter,
Don't slack in your pace,
For, "Just around the bend"
Is the end of your race.

The road may seem endless, 
To your heart- weary soul,
But, don't stop now- Keep ploddin'
"Just around the bend's" your goal.

Anything, worth having,
Is worth waiting for,
So work a little harder,
Bring up your score.

Work on, my dreamer,
Falter not, my friend,
For the goal, that you long for--
Is, "Just around the bend."  

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ancestors of Alan Stokes - Generation D

Ancestors of Alan Thomas Stokes

Generation D


Paternal  Great-Grandparents


PARENTS OF HENRY THOMAS STOKES, SR. 22


THOMAS JEFFERSON STOKES, SR. 222 
(1871-1961)
Thomas Jefferson Stokes, Sr. was born on July 1, 1871, in Bedford County, Tennesse to Thomas Newton Stokes and Frances Elizabeth Moore. He married Edith Viola Bomar in Bedford County, Tennessee on January 27, 1903. He lived his entire life in Bedford County, Tennessee and worked as a farmer with a reputation for being "hardworking". He died on July 30, 1961, in a hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. It was the first time he had been to the hospital for anything. His death was attributed to a stroke he had a week before passing.


VIOLA EDITH BOMAR 223 
(1884-1948)
Viola Edith Bomar was born on February 12, 1884, in Bedford County, Tennessee to John Thomas Bomar and Altonia Catherine Moore. Violar Bomar married Thomas Jefferson Stokes, Sr. on January 27, 1903 in Bedford County, Tennessee. She lived in Bedford County, Tennessee her entire life. Viola Bomar died on Nov. 3, 1948, in Bedford County, Tennessee. She died from a fast spreading cancer.


Thomas Jefferson Stokes, Sr. and Viola Edith Bomar in 1904, with their first child, my Grandfather, Henry Thomas Stokes, Sr.

STOKES/BOMAR CHILDREN
  1. HENRY THOMAS STOKES, SR. 223a (1903-1995)-See Generation C.
  2. Lillard E. Stokes 223b (1906-1955). Lillard Stokes was born on December 17, 1906, in Bedford County, Tennessee. On December 18, 1926, he married Lucille Alma Parmiter (July 25, 1909-July 2, 1992). They had two children. On March 2, 1946 he married Nan Siler (March 6, 1920-June 11, 1992). They had two daughters. Lillard E. Stokes died on February 18, 1955, in Toledo, Ohio, after being hit by a drunk driver. Tragically his 6 year old daughter Janice Yvonne Stokes (June 8, 1949-Feb. 18, 1955) died in this same accident.
  3. Ezra Hiles Stokes 223c (1908-1988). Ezra Hiles Stokes was born on April 19, 1908, in Bedford County, Tennessee. He never married. He died from cancer on March 14, 1988, in Bedford County, Tennessee.
  4. Thomas Jefferson Stokes, Jr. 223d (1910-1986) Thomas Jefferson Stokes, Jr. was born on June 22, 1910, in Bedford County, Tennessee. He married Mary Cassie Pruitt on January 21, 1937 in Bedford County, Tennessee. He had two children: Everett Donald Stokes and Mary Linda Stokes (who married Frank Thomas Pitts). Thomas Jefferson Stokes, Jr. was killed on April 5, 1986, in a tragic house fire in Bedford County, Tennessee, along with his wife Mary Cassie Pruitt. 
  5. Paul Euless Stokes 223e (1912-1995). Paul Stokes was born on June 30, 1912, in Bedford County, Tennessee. He married Mary Aliene Chitwood on August 20, 1934, in Bedford County, Tennessee. They had twins Paul Howard Stokes and Mary June Stokes were born premature and died on January 23, 1945.  They had a daughter Peggy Stokes (who married James Russell Bowling). Mary Chitwood was born on June 17, 1914 and died on June 24, 2000. Paul Stokes died on August 25, 1995, in Rutherford County, Tennessee.


PARENTS OF TREVA ELLEN OAKLEY 23


CHARLES HENRY OAKLEY 232
(1888-1942) 
Charles Henry Oakley was born on July 22, 1888, in Toldeo, Ohio (Lucas County) to Robert Anderson Oakley and Eliza Miller. Charles Oakley was a telegrapher and station operator for the Cincinnati Northern Railroad and he was also later a salesman. He married Myrtle Lewelly Woten on September 5, 1907, in Van Wert County, Ohio. Charles Oakley died in 1942, in Berrien County, Michigan.

Charles Oakley at the railroad station in Yorkshire, Ohio where he worked. Taken in about 1912-1913. Charles and his son Cecil are far right in picture (Photo Collection of Susan Ellis).



MYRTLE LEWELLY WOTEN 233
(1887-1981) 
Myrtle Lewelly Woten was born in Van Wert County, Ohio on Sept. 6, 1887 to Isaac Gilruth Woten and Ellen Nora Mast. She married Charles H. Oakley on September 5, 1907, in Van Wert County, Ohio. She spent her last years living with her youngest daughter June. Myrtle died in May, 1981, in Columbus, Ohio.

Myrtle Woten as Old WomanMyrtle Woten as Young Woman


Left: Myrtle Woten as a young woman (Photo Collection of Susan Ellis). Right: Myrtle Woten is the older lady in the middle. Her daughter Treva is on the left and her son in-law Henry Stokes is on the right. Taken in the 1960's or 1970's.


The wedding photo of Charles Oakley and Myrtle Woten on September 5, 1907 (Photo Collection of Susan Ellis).



OAKLEY/WOTEN CHILDREN


  1. Cecil Anderson Oakley 233a (1910-1998). Cecil Anderson Oakley was born January 29, 1910 in Miami, Ohio. Cecil married Leora LaGro. He had two children: Flossie Mae Oakley Jarvis (1930-1966) and Jack Daniel Oakley (1928-2001). He had been a Brickmason. In the 1960's he and his wife Leora ran The Little Red Inn in Toledo. He later worked for National Car Rental and the University of Toledo. He was a member of the Toledo Sailing Club for 47 years. Cecil Oakley died on June 25, 1998 in Toledo, Ohio from emphysema. Note his obituary on the right.
  2. TREVA ELNORA OAKLEY 233b (1912-1980). Direct Descendent-See Generation C.
  3. Myrtle June Oakley 233c (1917-2009). Myrtle June Oakley was born on October 24, 1917. She married Ray Terry and they had a daughter Ronnie Terry Kiefer and a son Charles Terry. Myrtle June Terry was a member of Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio. Myrtle June Oakley passed away on September 16, 2009, in Columbus, Ohio (Tributes.com)



Maternal  Great-Grandparents

PARENTS OF HENRY DAVID EBERSOL 32


DAVID EBERSOL 322
(1850-1900)
David Ebersol was born in 1850, in Ohio to Henry and Elizabeth Ebersole. It is said that he was born in Ohio while his family was migrating from Pennsylvania to where they would eventually settle in Berrien, Michigan. David married Maggie Shook on Aug. 12, 1894, in Bertrand Township in Berrien, Michigan. David's father Henry Ebersole spelled his name with an "e" at the end, but according to research at some point David began spelling the name without an "e" at the end and his son passed on the surname "Ebersol" to his descendents. The 1892 Berrien County, Michigan Directory listed David Ebersol's occupation as that of a farmer. He lived in Section 23, and owned 33 acres valued at $1,230.


MARGARET (Maggie) SHOOK 323 
(1870-1916)
Margaret Shook was born in 1870 in Pennsylvania to Joseph Shook and Ellen Weilman. Maggie married David Ebersole on Aug. 12, 1894, in Bertrand Township in Berrien, Michigan. They had two children, Violet Ebersole and Henry David Ebersol. In 1900, her husband David died and her children were taken to separate orphanages. On April 12, 1901, Maggie married George Radley. She died in 1916 and is buried on the Ebersole lot with her husband, David, his sister and his parents. She was the namesake for my mother Margaret Stokes.



David Ebersol and Margaret (Maggie) Shook taken on or around their wedding in 1894.



EBERSOL/SHOOK CHILDREN
  1. Violet Ebersol 323a Violet was put in a Girl's home near Coldwater, Michigan after David Ebersole died in 1900. She married Wayne Robinson in R.D. Crosswell, Michigan. Her sister in-law, Doris Hutchens, remembers that Violet was a devout Jehovah Witness and spoke frequently about her religion when visiting her brother, Henry.
  2. HENRY DAVID EBERSOL 323b (1895-1939). Direct Descendent-See Generation C.




PARENTS OF DORIS MAY HUTCHENS 33


DEVILLO LOVEL HUTCHENS 332 
(1875-1937) 
Devillo was born Aug. 20, 1875, in Hillsdale, Michigan to Jerome Hutchens and Clara Gamble. He married Edith Gifford in 1904. He had a heart attack and was bed ridden the last 7 years of his life as his wife Edith cared for him. He died in 1937.


EDITH MABLE GIFFORD 333
(1880-1974)
Edith Gifford was born on Oct. 13, 1880, in Ionia, Michigan to Silas Marion Gifford and Mary "Minnie" Wheelock. L.S. Stevens, M.D. was present at the birth of Edith Mable Gifford. She married Devillo Hutchens in 1904. After a long life, Edith Gifford died on Sept. 10, 1974, in a nursing home in Jackson, Michigan. She is buried in Woodland Cemetery in Jackson, Michigan.

Edith Gifford Hutchens

Edith Gifford from her nursing home room in Jackson, Michigan. It was taken about 1972. The boy who is in the left side of the edge of the photo is Alan Stokes.



GIFFORD/HUTCHENS CHILDREN
  1. Marion Jerome Hutchens 333a (1906-1985). Marion Hutchens was born on Feb. 28, 1906, in Battle Creek, Michigan. He was named after both of his Grandfathers, "Jerome Hutchens" and "Silas Marion Gifford". He married Irene Harris. Marion Hutchens had a second marriage to a lady named Harriet (d. February, 1979).  Marion Hutchens died in June, 1985 in Jackson, Michigan.
  2. DORIS HUTCHENS (1908-1983) . Direct Descendent-See Generation C.
  3. Clark Lovel Hutchens 333c (1910-1973). Clark Hutchens was born July 26, 1910 in Detroit, Michigan. He married Therza Jane McNeal (1909-1971). Clark Hutchens died July, 1973, in Jackson, Michigan. He had three children.
  4. Georgia Anna Hutchens 333d (1914-1975). Georgia Hutchens was born Feb. 25, 1914, in Wheatland Center, near Adison, Michigan. She was named after her Father's Aunt. She married Royal Thomas Beck in January, 1938, in Jackson, Michigan. Georgia Beck died on Nov. 1975, in Hanover, Michigan. She had one son named Royal Lovel Beck.
  5. Frank Eugene Hutchens 333e (1920-1987). Frank Hutchens was born Nov. 1, 1920, in Jackson, Michigan. He was named after an uncle on his Father's side. He died on December 3, 1987, in Battle Creek, Michigan. He was buried in Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta, Kalamazoo County, Michigan. The register at Fort Custer National Cemetery lists the following information on Frank E. Hutchens. Hutchens, Frank E, b. 11/01/1920, d. 12/03/1987, US Army, PFC, Res: Battle Creek, MI, Plot: 1 0 643, bur. 12/09/1987

Hidden Dreams

All the world loves a dreamer,
Yet, the dreamer dwells aside
From the rest of the human race.
His dreams to ever hide.

Some are full of laughter,
Others end in tears;
But, still secluded in his self.
For would not The World leer

If it, but knew this dreamer,
Who'd dreamed his whole life thru,
Had never had a single one
Of his golden dreams come true?

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)

Two Men

Two men sat on the old park bench,
One, jobless, homeless, without friend,
The other quite the other way,
Had more of money than he could spend,
Job and home but not a friend.
Said one, "If I had a job and home,
I could easily get a friend
To help me share my new found wealth
And help me my money spend;
But, I have neither job nor home nor friend.
The other sat with bowed down head, 
Deep in thought, at last he spoke,
"I too, once thought with a job and home
I could have a friend since I wasn't broke,
One to love me and be a real friend.
But, the years have gone swiftly by,
And, much to my disgust,
No friend has come to share with me
My job, my home.  I trust
You'll have better luck than mine and find a real friend."

And as they sat there side by side,
Great peace around them stole
And clothed them in comradeship
That's worth much more than gold.
And they knew, at last, their search was at end for a friend.

Said one who had the riches,
"You can come along home with me
And ever be close by my side
A friend to ever be; 
And I need search no more on this shore for a friend."
The poor man thanked him again and again,
Then they both arose and walked unafraid
Homeward bound together, shedding tears of joy,
For this new bargain they had made: 
The one gave of his wealth an equal part;
The other gave his all, true friendship, love of heart.

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just A Mom

Would that I could be a bird
A-sailing thru the sky,
Or that I a branch might be
A-leafing way up high,
Or still a busy honey bee
To flit from flower to flower,
A rose in all it's beauty
A-resting in it's bower.

Instead I'm destined for the home,
Queen o'er my domain,
Wherein I've won a lasting jewel
For my children's love I've gained.
I cannot be a bird, branch, or bee,
Or a beautiful rose;
But, I'm a mom and enjoy each hour
That past me hurriedly goes.

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

After the Sunset

As we bend our way, toward the sunset of life,
We each have our share, of work, worry and strife.
We toil on each day, with an expectant soul,
As each hour brings us nearer, our sunset goal.

We smile tho' we've nothing but a thin dime,
As we ponder o'er joys that's in sunset time.
And keep pressing onward to that sunset day,
For we know our life here is fast fading away.

Some folk think it silly to share other's sorrow,
Just laugh and be merry, for there's no tomorrow,
But, we with faith know what's ahead and we've loads to gain,
When we reach the portals, just past sunset lane.  

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)



Keep Looking Up

This poem was really written for all of the family my grandmother would leave behind, but I do know that my Grandfather, Henry Stokes, took special comfort in reading it often in the 16 years he remained with us following his wife of 50 years' passing. Alan Stokes

Do not be too lonely, now that I've gone away.
But, have the faith to know we'll meet again some day.
Be thankful I was loaned to you
E'en though for a little while,
So after those few tears are spent
Learn again to smile.
This trip I take alone, tho' far away from you,
Is only temporary, some day you'll take it too!

Then I will clasp your hand in mind
As I recognize your face,
And we'll ever be together
In Heaven's glorious place.

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)

Letter to a Friend

A Letter To A Friend

In loving and sad memory of my dear friend, Margaret, who had accepted Him, but, whose pain was too much for her to bear. 1939

Dear Friend,
It seems I can not stay my hand, 
But I must write to help you understand
That tho your days on earth will soon be o'er,
There are new joys that await you on the other shore.
Where there is no day or night, no pain or sorrow,
But endless joys abound for you, tomorrow.
Yes, joys to thrill your soul await you there, 
But stay!  You must, to Him your life lay bare.
You must to Him confess your sin, and let no blot remain.
Pray-"Lord, have mercy unto me a sinner," and you will be born again!
Take Him for your savior, from sin He will set you free.
Choose Salvation and live forever, thru all Eternity.

Sequel

If I could only have know
You'd choose the easy way,
I would have grasped your hand in mine
And strenghened you that day!
I would have knelt and prayed all night,
So you, too could reach his throne,
I would have stayed your hand, if it meant my life,
If I had only known!

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)  Written in 1939


Tomorrow's Harvest

When the rain comes pourin' down,
It starts my heart a singin'-
For, I know there's loads o' joy
In the sun, tomorrow's bringin'

Even though the skies are dreary
An' the days are a-lookin' bleak,
Just keep a-thinkin' of the sunshine
That soon through the clouds will peek.

So sing along life's rainy paths,
A-laughin' all the while
'Cause there's got to be some raindrops
'Fore we 'preciate the smiles.

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980) 

  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Henry Ebersole Home (1814)

The following article is taken from pages 357-361 of an old book called Hartline Story of Portage Prairie, written by Alma V. Hartline. It was found in a library archives in Berrien County, Michigan. The information provides a first hand account of what life was like for this family. Alan Stokes who entered the information online is the Grandson of Henry Ebersole (b. 1895) and the Great Great Grandson of Henry Ebersole (b. 1814) highlighted in this first person account of history.


THE HENRY EBERSOLE HOME

Henry Ebersole was born in 1814, one source says Cumberland Co., Penn. and another says York Co., Penn.  Elizabeth (Housewerth) Ebersole was born in 1812 in Pennsylvania.  She was a daughter of Old John Housewerth, several of whose members came to Portage Prairie.  They were married in Pennsylvania and their daughter, Mary was born there in 1847.  They must have started to Michigan in 1849 or 1850 and their son, David, was born in Ohio, on the way, in 1850.



The Ebersoles acquired thirteen acres of land south of Nigger Lake.  The road to their land was a lane across the road from the J.E. Vite home on Curran Road.  They lived there for several years.  Ray Travis told me there was a foundation back there when he was a boy.  When my Grandfather Vite built his house on the Chicago Road in 1855, he and his dog boarded with the Ebersoles for a year.  He often told my father about those days.  He had an old white horse and a light wagon and he drove back there every day.



Henry Ebersole bought 60 acres of land in the northeast quarter of Section 23.  The north side of this land was the line between the Jewel site and that of Jenny Shaw.  It extended south along the York Road for 120 rods.  There was a house and barn on the south side of Bertrand and the Ebersole family lived there for some time.



As I said before, George G. Rough was living in the Old Morley Tavern in the early 1880's.  During that time he sold the main part of the tavern to Henry Ebersole and it was moved to his land and located on the present William Newsome home site.  They added an ell on the west side and it was a large house.  I remember being there with my father when I was a little girl.  They had a handsome fireplace in the front room.  It was made of polished wood and they were very proud of it, but as far as I know, they never had it connected to a chimney.  They had bought it hoping to put up a chimney, but it was only used for pictures and ornaments.  My grandparents were great friends of the Ebersoles.  Henry Vite's diary tells of visiting there and tells of "Mother" going to Betsy Ebersoles to a "Quilting".



Many stories are still told about Henry Ebersole.  He loved his Lord and lived his religion with joy and gusto.  His prayers were long and loud and he prayed at every meeting.  They tell of Mr. Ebersole having a loud session of prayer back in the field north of his house.  The fun loving Wells boys heard him and ran back to ask him if he was in trouble.  They said they thought he might have gotten into a trap.  He got up from his knees and said, "I was having a glorious session with my Lord, boys".  We wonder why we see so little demonstration of faith today.  Are we ashamed to let people know we are Christian?



Great revivals are held in our church at an early date and they are mentioned in Rev. Watson's book.  They seem to have been very especially noted during the 1870s and 1880s and from this great enthusiasm it was decided to build our new church in 1887.  Jack Rhoades told me he was standing in the aisle after the service ended one Sunday, and Henry Ebersole was in front of the church.  Suddenly he shouted and came running down the aisle swinging his arms.  Everyone ducked into the pews to let him go by and he ran the length of the aisle, then he shouted and leaped high in the air and completely cleared the steps as he went outside.  My father told of Mr. Ebersole getting the "Power" and rolling up in the carpet in the southwest corner of the church.  Henry wasn't the only one to get the "Power" and it didn't do the carpet a bit of good.  Poor Sammy Spangle, the janitor, would come the next morning and tack it down for the next meeting.  The ladies of the Missionary Society had managed to buy a carpet for the church, and they were a little disturbed by this.


The Ebersoles farmed all their usable land, but their acres had dwindled down to 30 by 1887.  They tried other ways to make a living.  One of their most successful ways was the making of brooms.  While they lived on the south side of the road, they built a "broom" house.  Hattie Burke told me it stood very close to the road, on a strong foundation with planks for siding.  They bought a broom making machine and raised their own broom corn.  They made brooms of excellent quality.  Besides this, they took the agency for Malena Salve in this area.  It was shipped from Pennsylvania and they sold it in small jars.  It was a good medication for cuts and burns, chapped hands and for lung infection.  I believe it is still on the market.  David took the agency for a set of religious books and sold a few as time went on.  David drove a horse and buggy, and sometimes carried all three of their products.  



As the years went on, Henry and Elizabeth became old and ailing.  This was a sad time for them and the people of the church would sometimes go over there to help care for them.  The first sadness of the family came in 1888 when their daughter, Mary, died.  She was 41 years old and had not married.  She was buried in our Cemetery.  Henry Ebersole died in 1891 and Elizabeth in 1893.  They were buried with Mary.  Rev. J.A. Frye preached Henry's funeral and Rev. Abraham Frye preached Elizabeth's.  These two men were brothers of Rev. Noah Frye, who was married to my father's sister, Mary Vite.



David Ebersole lived alone in the big house for a time and then married Maggie Shook of Buchanan.  She was a daughter of Joe Shook, a brother of Mose Shook of Curran Rd.  They were married by Rev. W.H. Wagner, and Mrs. Wagner and a Miss Goodenough stood up with them.  



David and Maggie had a son, Henry, born in 1895.  Maggie had a daughter, Violet, and she attend the Kansas School.  She attend one of the Kansas School reunions, and at that time she lived in northern Michigan.



David died in 1900 and left Maggie and her children alone and those were sad days for her.  In those days there was no financial assistance for widows.  My father was appointed guardian for both Maggie and young Henry.  The Evangelical Church had an orphanage at Flat Rock, Ohio, for children of that denomination.  


It was decided by the Judge of Probate and our church that Henry should be taken to Flat Rock.  It was a sad time for Maggie, but she finally agreed.  She and Henry walked to Buchanan and she had his picture taken.  I have one of those nice pictures.  Violet was sent to a School for Girls at Coldwater, Michigan.


As Henry's guardian, my father was delegated to take Henry to Flat Rock and my father decided to take me along.  Henry and I were both five years old and it seems as if my father was pretty brave to take two small children on a trip like that.  As I have said before, my father was always interested in his children having new experiences, and besides, it did not cost anything.  Henry and I could ride the cars "for free".



We drove old Ben to South Bend early in the morning of December 30, 1900 and put him in a livery stable under the Colfax Bridge and then took the Pennsylvania Railroad to Toledo.  We arrived in Flat Rock in the evening and a double carriage took us out to the Home. Both professor Messersmidt and his wife were there to meet us.  Their Christmas tree was still standing and at a service in the evening they gave me a tinse angel.  We were there all night and in the morning my father combed my hair.  After breakfast one of the older girls said she better comb my hair.  I told her my father had combed it, but she said she better comb it anyway.


We left for home at noon.  Henry had been very brave in leaving his mother and on the way down there, but when he saw us getting ready to leave, he broke down and cried bitterly.  My father said I should kiss him and I did.  Afterwards, my father said I was crying, too.  I cannot remember that, but I do remember I was surprised to see tears on my father's face.  We turned away and left a sad little boy.



The train got into South Bend and it was cold.  We rode on a bus to get down town.  My father left me with a colored man at the street level when he went down to get old Ben.  He told the man to get me into the buggy the best he could, when he came up with the buggy.  My father was sawing on the lines coming up the grade, but Ben wasn't slowing a bit.  Somehow the colored man got me over the buggy wheel onto the seat, and we whirled out onto Michigan Street.  That horse could travel.  I still remember seeing the sparks flying from his iron horseshoes, from the bricks on Navarre Street.  Old Ben was headed for home on a cold winter night.


Maggie stayed with my mother while we were gone, and they were up waiting for us.  Before I went in, my father said, "Don't tell Maggie he cried".  The first thing she said was, "Did Henry cry"?  I looked her squarely in the eye and told my first lie, and said, "no".  She looked quite crest fallen.



In 1958, I wrote to the Flat Rock Orphanage and asked how long Henry stayed there.  They wrote me a nice letter saying he remained there for seven years and then had been taken into the home of Charles Koebee, near Chelsea, Michigan, where he lived until he was twenty-one years old.  My parents were at Manchester, Michigan in about 1916 and Henry Ebersole came there with some boys.  After he grew up he worked at the Ford Plant and lived in Detroit.  He married and brought his wife to visit my parents in about 1935.



Maggie lived alone for a time on the small farm that had been left to her for her lifetime.  And then to everyones surprise, she got married.  As she told it to my father, a man came walking by her house one day and stopped for a drink of water.  This was George Radley and a few days later he stopped for another drink.  Very little was known about the Radley family.  He was a widower and had lived in Niles.  Maggie told my father she wanted to get married and he asked the Judge of the Probate to release him from his guardianship.  They were married on April 12, 1901 by Rev. Wm. J. Douglas of Buchanan.  Somehow they got along.  George worked by the day for the farmers sometimes, and Maggie picked berries and did other work.  I believe they were happy years for both of them.



Maggie died in 1916 and is buried on the Ebersole lot with her husband David, his sister and his parents.  Geo. Radley had a marker put on her grave with the words "Maggie, wife of George Radley, Born 1870, Died 1916".  When he was questioned about this he said, "She was my wife the longest".  There is a picture in the Buchanan library in the Jesse East Collection of a reunion at the Joe Shook home and it shows George and Maggie Radley.



Henry Ebersole came to see my father after his mother's funeral, and as he was of age, he made arrangements to sell his land.  My father bought it and owned it until he sold it to Arthur Newsome.  The old house was torn down and a modern house was built by the Newsome family.  I have a picture of the house taken after they started to demolish it.  William Newsome told me they discovered one side of the basement was several inches longer than the other.  Ike Wells told him two masons had built that basement.  One was a tall man and the other was short.  In the old days the masons often "stepped off" measurements for basement walls.  The men's steps were not equal in length.  



Arthur Newsome died in 1939 and Mrs. Rebecca Newsome, who was Amanda Bachman's aunt, died in 1959.   


DESCENDENTS OF ARTHUR AND REBECCA NEWSOME

Mildred Newsome- Married
William Newsome - Married Mrs. Goldie Andrews
Elsie Newsome - Married Otto Siewert
Bernice Newsome- Married Lyle Korn


If Ever

Kind words of thoughts of folks
Do fall so willingly from my pen.
Good thoughts for I do know
That there's some good in every man.

In each there's bound tuh be
E'en tho it's just a little spark
A love light burnin' way inside
For somethin' from the heart.

Perhaps fer fellow creature
Or fer a dog or cat,
Or fer a tiny crippled bird
Picked up in an old worn hat.

If I should ever reach the place
That I think all are wrong,
An' cease tuh carry in muh heart
fer fellow men, love's song--

Then I will know my goodly heart
has changed to blackest night--
An' that's when I sincerely hope
my pen will cease to write.

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)


Though I like all of Grandma's poems, this is a personal favorite of mine (Alan Stokes).

Monday, July 14, 2014

Henry Stokes Funeral Sermon

Memorial Service Sermon for Henry T. Stokes

By Alan T. Stokes

December 13, 1995 at Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

Note: This sermon was given in the form of a letter
Dear Grandpa:


Congratulations!  You're on an amazing journey that you've looked forward to for years.   Your eyes saw so many things over these last 92 years.  Grandpa, you had so many friends and were so loved by those who knew you and received blessings from your vibrant faith and zest for life.   In the movie, "The Wizard of Oz", Dorothy tells the tin man that a heart is not judged by how much you love others but by how much others love you.  Grandpa you had a heart of gold.  



This took me by surprise, even though I had some warning.   You use to say to me, "Everyone dies unexpectedly, nobody markes the day on their calendar."  Your son Bob's death brought deep sorrow to you last March, and your surgery on your gall bladder really set your health back.  I'm sorry that 1995, wasn't a very good year for you, but I'm sure that the joy you now have in heaven will make this the best year of your life.



I'm sure that you understand I'll have to cry about your absence.  You'll be missed so much.  There's an absence in this world without you.   Others are going to have to be more involved to fill your shoes of love and compassion that were spread so freely.   But I'm sure that you are enjoying yourself right now and would want us to celebrate your promotion to glory with joy.   After 92 years, you deserve a rest.   You deserve to be free from all pain.  You deserve to enter that land where they never cry.    And I'm sure you were ready to meet your Maker.



Grandpa, you and I both know all the people you want to meet in your new life (like your Mother, your Father, your wife of over 50 years Tippy, your son Bob, your young son Charles, your second wife Letha, and countless other friends).  But still our Lord Jesus is the first person you'll want to see.   This Christmas, your soul will personally get to say Happy Birthday to Jesus.   I'd have to be honest, I'm a little jealous.    Wish Jesus a Happy Birthday for me would you.



Grandpa, I thank God upon every remembrance of you.   I thank God for the wonders He accomplished in your life.    Jesus Christ gets all the glory.



You sure did have a full and active life.   Up until your illness in April, you worked at Caremore twice a week, drove your own car, lived independently, cooked your own meals, attended church, kept up your hobby of stamp collecting, watered your plants, and visited friends, especially spending a lot of time with your lady friend Hazel Sperry.



You provided for your five children:  Tom, Ducky, Bob, Dick, and Edith and worked hard to support them and look after them through the Great Depression and World Wars.   You provided a home and allowed your children's mother to stay at home with them.    I hope I will be able to support my family like you did.


You had a loving and faithful marriage of over 50 years to my Grandma Treva Stokes, who was called "Tippy".   That kind of marriage commitment is rare in this day and age.   I hope my marriage will be filled with the same loyal love and longevity as you had.



Grandpa, I remember that about 25 years ago, you were diagnosed with cancer and your doctor gave you just 6 months to live.   But amazingly the cancer went away.   I know this changed your life and you knew that God had spared you for a purpose.



A few years back a fire killed your brother TJ and his wife.   You were visiting them the night of the fire and had been sleeping in the very same room the fire started in.   You said the Holy Spirit warned you late at night to visit your other brother Paul across town and spend the night there.   I wouldn't doubt that.    I hope I can listen to the Holy Spirit like you did.  Grandpa, you always spoke so fondly and with such respect about the Holy Spirit.



Grandpa, the most important thing I remember about you is you were a man of faith.   You were a humble Christian.  Oftentimes I heard you pray at night, "Father, if we have sinned in any way this day, please forgive us."



Probably the most memorable written record of your faith was your personal covenant with the Lord.   I remember it was an idea you learned from your second wife Letha (you were always looking to learn new things from others), but you personalized it and adopted it wholeheartedly for yourself.



The subtitle is "What am I doing each day in preparation for eternity?"  I believe "From Here to Eternity" was the theme of your life the last 20 years.  Now you have entered your own experience of eternity.  Congratualtions, again!



Here's what you said in your personal covenant with the Lord.  "Lord, I give up my own purposes and plans.   All of my own desires, hope, and ambitions (whether they be fleshly or soulish) and accept Thy Will for my life.   I give myself, my life, my all--utterly to Thee to be Thine Forever.   I hand over to Thy keeping all my friendships; all the people whom I love are to take second place in my heart.   Work out Thy whole will in my life, at any cost,--Now and forever,--For me to live is Christ.   Amen  Lovingly, Prayerfully for the souls and edification of believers.    Then you emphasized 4 passages of Scripture.   These Scriptures encourage me now that you have departed from us.



1.  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24. "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."


2.  Philippians 1:21 .   "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."


3.  John 1:12 .   "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."  


4.  John 5:24   "Verily, verily I say unto you, he that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life; and shall not come unto condemnation, but is passed from death to life." 



Grandpa, your faith was not confined to a piece of paper, but your faith had feet and hands. When you got saved you went all out for souls. You had the gift of witnessing. I remember in 1988, you had the goal to reach 3 people to the Lord, and I'm sure that each year you had similar goals. Your dreams usually came true because they were so often God's dreams. You seemed to have a nack for reaching out to those who were drawing nearer to death but were not ready spiritually to die. God gave you the particularly difficult cases. When your time came you faced the difficulty of your own death with courage and peace.

You made such a difference in people's lives.   You always thought that after you helped lead that last person to Christ that you were supposed to, then God would take you home.  For this reason, you use to get nervous about dying immediately after leading one to Christ.  Then you'd settle down when you found that next "Conversion" project.  I wonder what the name of the very last person you led to Christ was.    Maybe the last person to accept Christ through your testimony will come to faith through your death.  That'd be fitting for your life, because you had a passion for souls in need.



You also had the gift of compassion. The Salvation Army, poor at The Saginaw Rescue Mission, and numerous residents of nursing homes, especially Westchester Village in Saginaw and most recently Caremore in Mt. Pleasant were the recepient of your Christian outreach and service.


Grandpa, I thank you because you shared your faith and encouraged me to listen to God's call and dedicate my life to being a minister. You made it clear that if you were 20 again, you yourself would want to be a minister of the Gospel.


I will always appreciate the Godly and honest advice that you offered me, and I know others will recall conversations you had with them about life. You sure were an honest and forthright man. My mind goes back to a letter I received from you dated April 11, 1988. At the close of the letter you said the following encouragement about a decision I was facing. These are your own words Grandpa.


"Regarding my honest findings; after much prayer. I will never attempt to rule anything or situation, when the real decision will be made by Almighty God, through the Holy Spirit--that is why I do not mourn my loved ones passing--I just mourn their absence. Therefore, I am praying that the Lord will guide you through the paths that will be best for your future and success in his kingdom. And if you do not have his complete blessings you have problems. So those are my prayers. Let God Make the Final Decisions. With Love, Grandpa."


You've left me and many others with a tremendous example. Grandma Tippy Stokes' poem, "Hold High the Torch" convicts us of the need for light in the world. In your absence it must come from those whose lives you touched.


Grandpa, I love you and I'm looking forward to the day we shall meet in eternity. I will always remember your favorite verse in the Holy Bible--"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself."


Thank you Grandpa, Thank You God. Your Love Lives On!

Alan Stokes


Grandpa wouldn't want us to mourn his passing, only his absence.   Benediction
 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Of Dad

Sitting here, alone, I ponder
Over the years gone slowly by
Since you went away o'er yonder.
A tear falls, and I breath a sigh.
Yet I will not fill my heart with woe.
But, I'll bathe my soul, instead with sunshine
Because I know you'd will it so!

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)

If


If I add sunshine to a human life and my paths leave one finer;
If I can be the encourager for one to be a follower of Christ;
If I play a small part in a soul being delivered from their sin;
If one remembers me with smiles when they face their judgment;
If a person is better for eternity because they knew me on earth;
If I'm never content to have any person be the last person I reach;
Then my life will have made a difference unmeasured by it's years. 

By Alan T. Stokes   

December 20, 2001 

The original poem "If" was written on February 5, 1989, while I was a student at Trevecca Nazarene University.   It has been siginificantly revised in order to better communicate the important theme of evangelism that was intended in the original work.   





Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ancestors of Alan Stokes - Generation C

Ancestors of Alan Thomas Stokes

Generation C


Paternal Grandparents

HENRY THOMAS STOKES, SR [22] 
(1903-1995)

Henry Thomas Stokes was born December 7, 1903, in Wartrace, Tennessee to Viola Edith Bomar and Thomas Jefferson Stokes. He married Treva Oakley on May 3, 1929. He worked for the General Motors Company . He started his career working at the General Motors plant in Toledo, Ohio, where he met his wife Treva. He later transferred to the General Motors plant in Saginaw, Michigan where he raised his family. Henry was in management when he retired in 1965. Following Treva's death in 1980, he went on to marry Letha Messervy on May 12, 1983. They supervised nursing home services at Westchester Village in Saginaw. Letha died on January 17, 1986. He lived most of his life in Saginaw, Michigan, but in 1987, moved to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan to live with his son, Richard and Margaret Stokes. During these years, he worked for the Gideons, preached at the City of Saginaw Rescue Mission each month, volunteered at The Salvation Army, and supervised church services for several nursing homes in the Mt. Pleasant area. In the Spring of 1995, he had major gall bladder surgery. After a gradual failing health and old age, he died on December 11, 1995, in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. The funeral sermon for Henry Stokes given by Alan Stokes is on the Light Stop blog.


LEFT: Henry Stokes at age 19 in 1923. RIGHT: Henry Stokes in Michigan at age 81 on October 15, 1985.

TREVA ELNORA OAKLEY [23]
(1912-1980)

Treva "Tippy" Oakley was born on May 22, 1912, in Yorkshire, Ohio to Myrtle L. Woten and Charles H. Oakley. Her middle name "Ellen" or "Elnora" from the name of her maternal Grandmother. She married Henry T. Stokes, Sr. on May 3, 1929. She was a full-time homemaker and raised her five children during the Great Depression. She was a poet and left the family many poems to enjoy, some of which are listed in the Family Poems section of this blog. Treva and Henry enjoyed attending the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration in Shelbyville, Tennessee .  In 1979 they celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Treva Ellen Oakley died on April 29, 1980, in Saginaw, Michigan at St. Mary's Hospital  following a major stroke.

Treva Stokes (1913)

Treva Stokes as a baby in 1913 (Photo Collection of Susan Ellis).



Henry and Treva Stokes

Treva Ellen Oakley and Henry Thomas Stokes at their 50th Anniversary in May, 1979.


STOKES/OAKLEY CHILDREN

  1. HENRY THOMAS STOKES, JR.  23a (1930-2017). Henry Thomas Stokes, Jr. was born on September 14, 1930 in Toledo, Ohio, to Henry T. Stokes, Sr. and Treva E. Oakley. He was a veteran of the United States Air Force, serving in the Korean War. He was discharged with the rank of Airman 2nd Class. He retired after an inspector with General Motors after 35 years. He married Anna May Koch on May 4, 1958. She preceded him in death on April 12, 2016. He had a son Thomas Stokes and three daughters Vera, Treva, and Susan. His obituary is online at W.L. Case & Company Funeral Directors
  2. VIOLA "DUCKY" STOKES 23b (Living Individual - Private Records)
  3. ROBERT LEWIS STOKES 23c (1933-1995). Robert "Bob" Lewis Stokes was born on Oct. 1, 1933 in Toledo, Ohio, to Henry T. Stokes, Sr. and Treva E. Oakley. He was a veteran of the United States Air Force. He married Donna (Lake) Curtis (August 2, 1935-September 17, 1998) on March 20, 1975. He worked for 35 years at U.S. Graphite.   In 1994 he graduated from Bridgeport High School. Robert Stokes died on March 15, 1995, in Buena Vista, Saginaw, Michigan after suffering with lung cancer. The following is an obituary for Robert L. Stokes.

  4. Obituary for Robert Stokes

    
    
    Robert Stokes
    Robert and Donna Stokes Wedding Picture


    Left: Robert Stokes on his high school graduation in 1994. Right: Robert Stokes at his wedding to Donna Curtis.

  5. CHARLES HENRY STOKES  23d (1934). Charles was born premature and only lived 8 days from September 2-10, 1934.
    
    
  6. RICHARD ALLEN STOKES 23e (Living Individual - Private Records) 
  7. EDITH STOKES 23f (Living Individual - Private Records)
    
    
    Maternal Grandparents
    
    
    
    

    
    
    HENRY DAVID EBERSOL [32]
    (1895-1939) 

    Henry was born in April, 1895, in Michigan to Margaret Shook and David Ebersole. His father David died in 1900 and his mother Margaret placed him in an Evangelical Church Orphanage in Flat Rock, Ohio. This orphanage exists as an organization doing work in this century as Flat Rock Homes . At age 12, he went to live with the Charles Koebbe family near Chelsea, Michigan. Henry had a sister named Violet. After he grew up Henry worked at the Ford Plant and lived in Detroit. Henry married Doris Hutchens on June 24, 1933. More information on his life is available in pages 357-361 of an old book called Hartline Story of Portage Prairie, written by Alma V. HartlineHenry Ebersol died in November, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan from a massive heart attack. He is buried in Section 31 of Woodland Cemetery in Jackson, Michigan.

    
    
    Henry Ebersol

    Photo of Henry Ebersol taken in 1937. It is the last known photo taken of Henry Ebersol.

    
    
    DORIS MAY HUTCHENS [33] 
    (1908-1983)

    Doris was born February 7, 1908, in Battle Creek, Michigan to Edith Gifford and Devilo Hutchens. She married Henry Ebersol on June 24, 1933, and they had two children (Rohn and Margaret). Following the death of her husband, Doris moved with her two young children to Jackson, Michigan. Doris was a bookkeeper. She met and married Miller (Bud) F. Lewis on April 12, 1950. Doris and Miller Lewis did not have any children. Bud Lewis was a tool salesman. Later on they moved to Elk Rapids, Michigan and lived for years on a home on beautiful Elk Lake.  On April 12, 1975, there was a celebration of Doris and Bud Lewis' 25th Wedding Anniversary. Doris and Bud Lewis wintered in Florida. Doris died on March 30, 1983, in New Port Richie, Florida from a quiet heart attack. She is buried in Section 31 of Woodland Cemetery in Jackson, Michigan.  
Genealogy Mystery: In the cemetery marker photo below it says that Doris' husband Henry had a middle initial of "F." However, Alan Stokes recorded after interviews with Doris Lewis as a child that his middle name was "David". Could it be a mistake on the marker or was his middle name something else other than "David". 

  1. Doris Hutchens Ebersol Lewis


    EBERSOL/HUTCHENS CHILDREN
    Ron and Margaret Ebersol

    1. ROHN ELDEN EBERSOL 33a (1936-1997). Rohn was born Oct. 9, 1936. Rohn Ebersol married Patricia Lenz and they had 5 children, James, Ron, Bob, Tom, and Susan. Rohn Ebersol died on August 12, 1997, in Jackson, Michigan from a heart attack.
    2. MARGARET EBERSOL 3 (1939-2016).  Direct Descendent - See Generation B. 

    Photo on Right: Rohn and Margaret, the two children of Henry and Doris Ebersol. It was taken about 1942.

Surnames in My Geneaology Research

SURNAMES OF BELOVED GRANDPARENTS

Alan Stokes' Ancestors 
BIBBY, BOMAR, BRASWELL, BULLEN, BUSH, CARMEAN, CARRELL, CHAPIN, CLARKE, COLVILLE, CORNELL, CRAWFORD, DAVIS, DUNGAN, EBERSOL (E), FORSTER, GAMBLE, GIFFORD, GILLILAND, GOODMAN, GYSBERTS, HARRIS, HOBART, HOLBROOK, HOLT, HOUSEWERTH, HUGHES, HURT, HUTCHENS, JACKSON, KIGHLEY, KUDER, LATHAM, LORISH, MARBERY, MAST, MCGUIRE, MCKNURE, MILLER, MINNICH, MOORE, MOREY, MORSE, MOTTELLER, NEWSOM, OAKLEY, OLDS, PORTER, PRESTON, ROBERTS, ROGERS, SAVAGE, SHEPPARD, SHERBOURNE, SHOOK, SINGLETON, SLY, SMITH, SPENCER, STEEL, STOKES, TAFT, THAYER, VANDERGRIFT, VAN KIRK, WALKER, WEAVER, WEILMAN, WHEELOCK, WOGAN, WOTEN/WOOTEN/WOODEN, VICK

Anne Hostetler's Ancestors
ANDREWS, BOLIN, CARRELL, EASH, HAGGARD, HERSHBERGER, HOSTETLER/HOCHSTETLER, JOHNSON, KANABEL, KAUFMAN, KIME, KISER, LEHMAN, LONG, MAST, MEHL, MILLER, NOFZINGER/NAFZIGER, SCHROCK, SEACE, STROMBERG, TAYLOR, THACKER, THOMAS, YODER, ZUG 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Autumn Shadows

Tomorrow's snow, yesterday's blossom.  
In vain seeking to walk in a shadow.
Pain and pride will not burn up in a fire,
So rest not in any period but the now.

Life holds passing memories like raindrops
Sitting on oak leaves with the wind blowing.
Never bury colorful feelings in the ground,
But share them like old glory after 9-11-01.

God gave four seasons before eternity
Each one to be enjoyed in their own time.
Not because it is the end or the beginning,
For it could very well be both of these.  

Autumn's daylight grows shorter each day,
But the harvest time has come our way.
Let's not be afraid of dying in the cold,
But bravely fight being cold at the end.

If God would transport me to any season,
And grant me the power to make a difference.
I'd live where today's calendar finds me,
Changing the inside of people not the view.

By Alan T. Stokes             October 2, 2001


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Flowers for God's Home

Forever let us remember that your
Love will not end with your breath.
Our lives will carry the best part of you
With us wherever the Lord leads us.
Even if your physical features fade from
Recollection, your tough tenderness
Shall encourage us to look up as we walk on.

Faithfully we take this solemn moment to 
Offer you into the portals of eternity.
Realizing that someday we shall cross too.

God who gave you to us knows what is best.
Our strength and help comes from the Lord, and
Daily we would surrender our lives to His holiness.
'So help us God to give all of our unknown

Hours, whether they be triumph or tragedy,
Over to you, because you alone can help us
Mature like a flower, risking and reaching out to
Express your love and truth to a forgetful world.

Alan Thomas Stokes
December 1, 1997   For Lenora Dawson (1933-1997) Shared at her Graveside Service

Minnesota Twins Pastime

Once upon a time major league baseball became a business,
Forgotten were the school children playing at every recess.
With innocent dreams of pitching like Blyleven or Viola,
And fervent hopes of hitting as good as Carew or Olivia.  


Concerned citizens may long debate when the magic left,
But the old and young who love the Twins are bereft.
For even as the powerful intentionally walk this great team.
They will remain a home run through our fondest dream.


An old man with season tickets reaches back for his youth,
Remembering listening by radio to the immortal      Ruth.
A busy father spends precious time with his lad on his knee,
As they watch with awe the precision pitching of Brad Radke. 


To the underprivileged people who come thanks to TwinsCare,
It doesn’t matter what kind of stadium they walk into there,
And the little child who only gets a quarter for emptying trash,
Remains oblivious to the concern baseball has with raising cash.


Some will recall that in 1987 and 1991 they were the best,
Or that they had 3 million in attendance faster than the rest. 
Others will point to a 2nd place 2001 and many a loyal fan,
Or rising stars like Koskie, Mientkiewicz, and Guzman.


Why would anyone want to end the writing of the Twins story,
When they honor America and have such promise of future glory?
Baseball fans from Arizona to New York will shed a heartfelt tear,
If Major League Baseball orders the Minnesota Twins to disappear.   


By Alan T. Stokes

November 8, 2001 


Written after Major League Baseball announced they would contract two teams.     At the time rumors abounded that the Minnesota Twins would be one of the teams contracted but this did not happen.   

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Bend in the Lane


Thomas O. Johnson
Trapped no more in a body of pain, Our dear one has gone 'round the bend in the lane. Though his physical body is gone from our sight, We know in God's plan his spirit took flight. His presence here in our lives was sweet He strove to do good to all he would meet. A lifetime of service was his call on this earth. Only in heaven will he know his true worth. The bend in the lane is exactly just that: A bend, not an end, he's living! That's fact. He's crossed the Great River with angels beside, To bear him to heaven, with God he'll abide. The time will soon come when we, too, will go 'Round the bend in the lane, and then we will know The happy reunion of those who've been blessed To walk with the Savior and enter His rest. For now, we'll walk on, through joy and through sorrow. We will not faint, for we know some tomorrow This walk will be only a dim mem'ry past, And the arms of our dear one will hold us at last.
By Rhonda L. Dragomir

August 25, 2001


In memory of Thomas O. Johnson (1935-2001)

I Pluck a Rose For You

God's given me a bouquet of roses
To share along life's way.
As I pluck one, another appears,
It's still the same bouquet.

As long as I keep sharing,
My vase of life will fill
And my days are always a rosy hue
For I've obeyed His will.

If ever I should break the chain
Of sharing with another,
Then my bouquet will shrivel and die
And then is when I'll discover-

-My vase of life is an empty glass
A mirror that God sees through into
My heart and records my deeds,
Dear one- here's a rose for you!

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)

Dear Ducky,
I'm always telling everyone that I am giving my roses while I am living and can share as 
God has prospered us.  I've also said that I sincerely feel, if I stop sharing, my prospering 
will be stopped somehow.  I sincerely believe this.  This poem is for you special. 
Share it if you like. 
Love always, 
Mom



Nature's Song

Does there exist within this land
A man so dumb that he can span 
This lovely wood with his two eyes,
And not know magic, herein lies?

By  Treva E. Stokes  (1912-1980)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fatherhood



Fatherhood
When did I become a father?
Was it when I named you after your grandfathers?
Was it when I added you to the family tree in my genealogy?
Was it the night I scrubbed up to witness your birth?
Was it when I saw my name on your birth certificate?
Was it the day I learned I could live on 3 hours sleep?
Was it when I told the pharmacist you were my son?
Was it when I stopped calling my dog a boy?
Was it when you smiled at me for the first time?
Was it when I took you to the doctor and Mom stayed home?
Was it when I first prayed for you?  
Was it when I cried tears of gratitude to God for the gift of you?
Was it when I took you to church on Sunday?
Was it when I showed you off at work?
It was each moment here and then some.
For being a father is not a destination but a journey.

By Alan Stokes 

June 12, 2005

Note:  This poem is intended to be added to as new experiences of fatherhood develop.
Jonathan
Pronunciation: JAHN-a-thun
Origin: Hebrew
Meaning: "Gift of God."
Notes: Related to Nathan
Biblical: the son of King Saul; 
Jonathan was noted for his manliness, generosity, and unselfishness. 
He saved David's life when Saul would have killed him.

Hold High the Torch!

Hold high the torch!
As vanguards of Jesus must
Ne're falter, lest you
Quench it in the dust.

But, hold it steady; yet higher, higher!
March on thru life, upright and strong:
And help those stumbling in the darkness
To share your light and Jesus' song.

Put on your cloak of friendliness-
And on your feet your shoes of love-
Atop your head salvation's band,
Secured in place by Him above.

And as you go your different ways,
Where e'er the Lord shall lead,
Keep looking up: Hold high the torch!
The world for light has need!

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)
Written especially for the church seniors in 1959. (Edith, Treva's youngest child graduated this year)

Music

Music, Ah!  What wonderful
Magic therein lies
To swing us downward to dark depths
Or upward toward the skys.
A plaintive note can make our heart
Feel oh, so all alone,
Yet let the tune be ____ or glad;
And we get a cheerful tone.
No matter what the scale may be,
First happy, then so blue,
We still can picture ____ dreams of old
And new ones to come true.

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sharing With Others

I wandered aimlessly around
Until a lone green woods I found,
Then wrapt myself in solitude,
As it's splendor I did view.

Yet not for long was this woods still
For soon I heard a questioning trill,
And then from far off an answering note
That seemed to come from A Red Bird's throat.

Yes, I must needs share with creatures small
The splendor of this woods after all,
For God wills that along the way
We share with others everyday.  


By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)

Throw Out a Beam

The golden moon sails on
Thru endless skies,
And mingles with the 
Silvery stars that shine
So brightly o'er the land.
And as it sails
It makes one realize
That real love is.....
Forever true and fine.
And blest with the touch of the Maker's
     hand.

For by these hands
Are all things gently molded,
Moon and stars and love,
All shine so bright.....
As if the Potter
Has his love unfolded,
And shown to,
All his world eternal light.

So let us throw 
Our inner beam,
Of love out more,
That it may light the way,
For a lonely one.
Then like the.....
Moon and stars
We will shine.....forever,
Even after our....life.....
On earth is done.

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)

Stuffed Animal

Cat and Collection of Stuffed Animals

Your coat is so very soft.
Your breath is always fresh.
Your eyes never look away.

You listen to our dreams and tell us to wish upon a star.
You don't get angry but accept us as we are.
You couldn't hurt us even if we mistreated you.

Children give you a name.
Real animals allow you in their game.
Even adults honor you.

When others have gone, you are near.
When the lights have gone out, you have no fear.
When we cry on your shoulders, you never walk away.

Let us hold you when we have pains.
Let us gaze at you when it rains.
Let us love you in the morning.

We dream that someday you will come to life,
But in our mind we know you yourself can have no life,
Except that which we ourselves give to you.

By Alan Stokes   May 5, 1994    

To: All the young and young at heart who know the companionship of a stuffed animal. Written for my wife Anne when we were dating, when I gave her a stuffed animal as a gift.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Like the Spider

My friend if you desire success
Than you can look at the simple comparison of the spider.

Like the Spider--
You must be at home with rich or poor.
And even when someone bigger and physically stronger
Brushes you away onto the floor,
You must be willing to return to your chosen corner.  

Like the Spider--
You must leave your fellowship of those just like you,
And work with bugs in your specific web of influence.
You must never lose sight of your dream
To master your given field of service.
No matter how hard it may seem.

Like the Spider--
Even when people in this world despise you,
And say your life has no valuable meaning, 
You must stick around and do what you were called to do.
Help rid the world of unprofitable bugs.

Like the Spider--
You must be willing to silently serve in humble places,
Where no one will take notice of you.
But bold enough to venture to the prominent ceiling
When there is a harvest there too.

Like the Spider--
You must attack bugs in the dirtiest settings,
Or fight them in corners that "seem" to be clean already.

But unlike the Spider--
You should fight bugs but not
Digest them and make them apart of you.
Your food shall be to do the will of the Father.

Then...
Like the Spider--
Your web of influence will remain highly visible
Even after you have long ceased from labor in the web.
And the Divine Wind will blow parts of your web,
To places and people that you never dreamed of affecting.

By Alan T. Stokes   March 9, 1989

Your Daily Companion

A book is like a real close friend
That endears you with it's charms,
It holds you close in ecstasy,
Enfolds you with warm arms.

And once you've read it's contents-
You'll have a friend forever,
For, you can live that book again
And from it, friend-ship gather.

Thru each chapter, to the end,
You will soon discover,
You have a friend who is always there
And on each page does hover.

Select your books with loving care,
Full of kindness and good deeds,
For a man's known by the friends he 
              keeps-
In his shelves to read.....


By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)

This Old House



There are so many memories that linger here,
And generations long gone feel so near.

The old who visited here in this loving home
No longer on this transient earth do roam.

The young who laughed, cried, and played here
Rarely find the time to travel back to this sphere.

The dirt on the walls have been painted over anew,
But there's still an overwhelming sense all through,

That this is the very same special space,
Where the family children all began life's race.

As we open a window and look up at the sky,
Life is like a tapestry of all the years gone by.

You might hear a beloved old pet barking,
Or see Grandpa in his stamp book marking.

The boys playing outside with a bat and ball;
Dad bending over planting another tree in the Fall.

Mom knitting an afghan beside the warm hearth;
Prayers coming from deep within someone's heart.

What lies ahead in this old house's future?
Will other children laugh and here mature?

May all those who live here tomorrow
Find love and faith to cope with any sorrow.

And as we say goodbye to this house and land,
We will walk away holding our loved one's hand.

We rejoice that we have memories close to our heart,
And we commit to always faithfully do our part

To make sure all hear about God's amazing grace
In the new home we will call "our family place."

The riches that this old house to us did bring
Can not compare to being a child of the King.

For this very moment He is preparing our new house,
That we never shall replace like we do this old house.


By Alan T. Stokes August 23, 2000
Written for my parents, Richard and Margaret Stokes, as they are preparing to move from the family home of 25 years that I grew up in.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Sea and Me

I stand on my ship
And look over the sea,
Through a long glass,
At what has made me.

The silver waves
Are the older ones,
Who counseled me,
Like one of their sons.

The birds flying above,
Are the various youth,
That kept me active,
And sharing the truth.

The clouds in the sky
Are unfulfilled dreams,
That can keep distance,
For hope is not as it seems.

And a ship on another path,
Is the friends I've left behind,
But still beat in my heart,
While through life I wind.


By Alan T. Stokes    

March 3, 2002

Dedicated to Bill and Mary Dunman on their 50th Weddding Anniversary.  I lived   with them from 1990-1991.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Others

Give love and kindness to others. 
Hidden beneath a peaceful walk 
Are unimaginable deep mountains.

By Alan T. Stokes 

September 29, 2001

This was submitted on the given date to the Poetry in Motion contest on Poetry.com

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Problem in Life

Everyone has something that
Can keep them from God

No one has anything that 
Needs keep them from God.

Anyone can give something to God
Without it being everything.

One can give things to God
Without it being something to Him.

One can give nothing to God,
And not feel consequences today.

God cares more about what we do
With our problems than how many we have.

If we surrender all to God,
We create a big problem for the Devil.

And if the Devil knows our name,
Our relationship with God better not be a game.

By Alan T. Stokes

October 31, 2002 

Light a Candle

Light a candle in your heart
For some lost soul today.
As it burns keep praying for
That soul who's gone astray.

Keep it lit, quench not the flame,
Pray morning, noon and night.
You will feel an inner glow
Your candle will glow bright,
And light the path.

That wayward one will find his way anew,
And you will find an inner glow
As God smiles down on you.

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980) 

The Goodly Road

I came to the crossroads quite alone
And pondered the way that I should take.
To the left or to the right, if I would
                    good fortune make.
The left road led to easy street
Lawless scruples there held sway
The right road to a goodly life
With harder work and smaller pay.
I pondered yet a moment still,
Then to the right I swiftly strode.
Poor in silver, yet rich in heart,
For I had chose the goodly road.

By Treva E. Stokes (1912-1980)