Tabernacle famous for family reunions

Family reunions at the Tabernacle are becoming a big part of our summers. Families whose ancestors settled here have begun returning to their roots. Our early families would have had to sail back to England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and other European countries to reunite with their relatives. Today, several generations removed, they come mostly from Texas and surrounding states. Thanks to the Lohn Valley Improvement Association, our small community has been able to provide a pleasant, comfortable, air conditioned building with kitchen and rest rooms. Not only does the Tabernacle meet the physical needs of those returning who wish to maintain their bonds of kinship and meet their ever-expanding families’it often holds memories of yesterday’when some attended school and walked across the stage to receival their diploma. To answer an often asked question’there has never been a fee charged for the use of the building. Families have been more than generous with donations to offset any expenses incurred. The Audy and Bernice Snodgrass family was the most recent one to meet at Lohn. Even though several families were missing this year, a good time of fellowship and food was enjoyed by the 65 present at the Lohn Tabernacle on Saturday, July 21. Present were: Donna Ziriax from Amarillo; Karan Sills from Arlington; Brent and Becky Renfro, Bryce and Bethany from Austin; Sandy Montgomery, Tanner, Hunter and Kara from Borger; Buddy and Imogene Snodgrass, Steve Snodgrass, A.C. Snodgrass, Jr., and Joann Turner; Ivell (Snodgrass) Smith; Roy and Teresa Smith; Norman and Vesta (Snodgrass) West; Barry and Carol Anderson, Jess; Don and Brenda (Snodgrass) Ziriax, all of Brady; Dorothy Cawthon from Dallas, Stephen Hicks, Matthew, Morgan; Steve and Kimberly Carpenter, Tyler and Kami from Flower Mound; Vicki Johnson, Chris Andrews from Irving; Lynda (Susie) Bryant from Lancaster; Buddy and Kathy Blount from LaVernia; Max Peck from Lubbock; Tommy and Gayle Hodges, Stacye, Cindy and T.J., from Rochelle; Joe Dale and Kay Smith, Colin Smith from Roscoe; David and Pam West, Shanda, Heather, Erik, Ethan; Nicholas Halfmann; Irland and Jueleen McCormick; Thomas and Shery Buren, Jessica and Patrick from San Angelo; Bill and Dolores Watts from Sanger; L.R. and Beth Shoemaker, Kevin from Stanton. The next family reunion scheduled at the Tabernacle is Sept. 22 when the Bratton family will meet. Several people have managed to get away to cooler climes and escape this midsummer heat. Jerrell and Peggy Hemphill accompanied by Dae and Deena Locklear of Brady enjoyed a trip to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Hoover Dam. They did not go into the canyon, but enjoyed the view from the south rim. They took the guided tour of the dam and were impressed by the history of the construction. The weather was surprisingly cool and pleasant. Klein and Celeta Reed, Tommy and Nona Caylor, Nona’s daughter Shelly and husband, Robert “Robbie” Sanford also headed northwest to Colorado. They camped near the small farming village of Antonito, not far from Pagosa Springs where Tommy and Nona once lived. If the name Robbie Sanford seems familiar, it should be. He taught school at Lohn in 1974-75’his first school. After 27 years he still remembered his students, asked about Ronnie Moore, David Huie, Royce and Leisa Hemphill. Mr. Sanford is the principal at Merkel High School. The Reed-Caylor group drove around the countryside looking at crops. Even though the climate was an improvement over our central Texas heat, the area was badly in need of some moisture the same as we are huyting for rain. Margaret Bloomer’s sisters, Linnie Natho from Austin and Pete Pullen from Morgan came for a visit and had a bit of trouble. Their car developed problems in San Saba, where they left it to be repaired. The work took longer than was expected, so they had to get a ride back to Austin. A good samaritan drove them home. Other visitors with Margaret were Diane Putman from Mineral Wells, who spent Wednesday here. Gary and Cheryl Bryan were here from Winters on Sunday. Larry and Carol Lohn were here last weekend to attend the memorial service at the Lohn Family Cemetery for Eddie Lohns’ wife, Carol, who passed away recently in Brownwood. Eddie’s sister, Jerilyn Ray, from Kerrville and Lanier Lohn from the Houston area were here also. Johnny Griffice has resigned his job at Lohn school. He and Kelly have moved to Houston were Johnny has been offered a job. Doris Bills is home after a rather lengthy sojourn in San Angelo where she was in rehab following major surgery on her left knee. She suffered sever pain prior to the surgery. Although she has a nasty scar, she is free of pain. She remarked, “As long as they put my leg back with my foot pointing in the right direction, I’m happy to be able to walk without hurting.” Bob Bills had eye surgery while Doris was in rehab. I had the opportunity to visit briefly with Vera Hill Trott of Eden when she attended the memorial service in Brady for her niece, Pat Whitmore (Audrey Hall). Vera is the last one of the children of John Russell Hill and Harriett Kathryn Milburn. Vera graduated from Lohn High School 77 years ago, 1924. There were seven graduates that year’John Hartsell, Ray Turner, Gladys Bates, Beulah Carroll, Myrtell Coonrod, Alice Horne and Vera. She, at 94 years of age, is the only survivor in her class. The Hill family were early settlers in the Lohn Valley. John Russell Hill was born in Tennessee on January 29, 1862, and later married Harriet Kathryn Milburn, who was born in texas on February 23, 1866. They came to Texas and settled in the Lohn Community in 1901, and lived on the Wampus Place, about 3 miles North of Lohn for a number of years. They later moved to the Cryer Place 1 1/4 miles south of Lohn and then bought the Bray Place southwest of Lohn where they lived many years and raised their family. They were blessed with 11 children: Hall Hill, Pearl Hill , Ted Hill, George Hill, J.R. Hill, Joe Hill, U.B. Hill, Ruby Draper, Velma Virdell, Hannah Hall and Vera Trott, who is now living in Eden. Mr. Hill was a country vet, though he never acquired a license. He was also a blacksmith, though he never had a blacksmith shop. All the years he lived in the Lohn Community he took care of the blacksmith work and veterinary work of the farmers around, never too busy to go and help out his neighbor. He was a very civic minded person and served as a constable in the Lohn Community for many years, under the supervision of Sheriff Jim Wall of Brady. Often he helped Doctor Land who practiced medicine in this community for years, and he went with him to help out whenever he could, especially during the flu epidemic during World War I, when he went to take care of the sick, never thinking about contracting the flu himself. Once during this time, he went all the way to Eastland with Doctor Land to pick up the Draper boys and bring them back to be cared for at the doctors’ office. When a person died in the community, Mr. Hill was the first person who was called. He took care of the arrangements and the grave, often digging the grave himself. During all this time he managed to keep up his farm and raise his 11 children. He was struck down, though, at the age of 60. He fell off a load of wood and was crushed, with internal injuries. He developed pneumonia and never recovered. In 1922, he was laid to rest in the Lohn Cemetery. Harriett Kathryn Milburn Hill was a small and dainty woman, in spite of the 11 children she bore. She was a strong woman, however, and after her husband’s death she raised her 11 children on their farm and lived to see them make their own place in the world. She died at the ripe old age of 93, never having been in the hospital, until the last few days of her life. A daughter and son-in-law will long be remembered in the community also, having run the local telephone office in Lohn for more than 40 years. They were Hannah and Ralph Hall. Mr. Hill helped with all the others to erect the first community tabernacle, and a son-in-law, Marvin Virdell, and a man by the name of John Poe did the initial groundwork in building the cement floor to the present tabernacle, using Mr. Poe’s mules. Many others in the community assisted in this work. Today it stands as a monument to this old pioneer, John Russell Hill, and many other pioneers who were his neighbors.

Leave a Comment