You don't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been
Picture is of Rev. Samuel Zook taken in 1910
Lois Wauson is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
My grandfather Rev. Samuel Zook was very good looking. I wish I had a picture without the beard! He was born in a Mennonite family in Pennsylvania in 1869. But some of the Mennonites had broken off from the church and formed their own church called River Brethren. They migrated to Kansas when my grandfather was 11 years old. He married my grandmother Lizzie Hoffman around 1880. He was a preacher. They went to Texas in 1900 as missionaries. They finally wound up in Floresville, where they became members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and grandpa still was evangelizing, he started a church for the Mexicans. So in this picture he was about 40 years old - it was after they had moved to Floresville - taken about 1910.
The last two days I spent many hours going through old church records at the Methodist church here in Floresville - which was very interesting. Some of it was boring and not much fun, except when I found the Quarterly conference records of the Methodist Episcopal Church South from 1909.
There was my grandfather's name: Rev. S. H. Zook, who was one of the members to that West Texas Conference! He was there in 1910 also, and he gave a report that was written in the records about the Mexican church that he started and that was going good with a Sunday School class too. As I sat there looking at the old papers and thought about how somebody 100 ago, wrote these notes down in pen, as my grandfather stood up and gave his report. I could see him in my mind with his black suit on and with his long black beard, standing there so serious. I never heard my daddy and uncles and aunts say if he ever laughed or smiled. All I ever heard was that he was very gruff, serious, stern, and you better behave! And he had a temper!
So, the first day that I was doing research, went by fast, and I got to know Jan the secretary a little better, as I worked through all those dusty records, as she sat at her desk, I found out she was a no-nonsense lady, who had a sense of humor and kept me laughing all morning. When she told me she joined the Navy when she was young because she wanted to see the world, and wound up not ever going out on the ocean, and was stationed finally in Corpus Christi, I had to laugh. She did too - as she told me the story. That was her home town! And she wanted to see the world! So I am thinking about this: when you are thinking you want to get away from it all, like I was in 1949, when I graduated from Poth, hoping to have an exciting life besides the one you grew up in, well, eventually God brings you right back where you started, like Jan and me!
Another funny thing she said, when she was stationed in CC, some one made a mistake and left the "w" of her serial number, for "woman", and they thought she was a man, and she said, "Woo-hoo! I am gonna travel now and see the world" ....but soon they found the mistake and she had to stay there. Back then women were treated differently than men. If they needed a nurse on the ship, they sent women in the Navy. But if you were not a nurse, you were stationed stateside. After 3 years, she got out of the Navy.
Then I met Charlotte, who was waiting to see the pastor. She was very nice, and is new to Floresville also. She is originally from Missouri. Her husband had Alzheimers too, and she moved here to be close to him. She has her mother living with her too. Then he died 3 years ago, and she decided to stay, like me. Several months ago, her husband's father got sick and couldn't live by himself so came to live with her too. Both of them are in their 90's. But he still drives a card, and she is concerned because she is afraid for him. She has to take care of both of them! Maybe it was her father and his mother...whatever...so I realized how blessed I am. I think of Lucy and Greg my neighbors who have his dad and her mom living with them now, who are both in their 90's. So I think about the women I met this last year in S. Texas. All of them are elderly, but strong, fiesty, and still going on with their lives, despite suffering a lot of heartache in their lives. I am saving all the stories. I think I will put them in a book.
Just like my grandmother Lizzie Zook - she had a hard life. I still didn't find the records of the Zook Memorial Sunday School class yesterday at the Methodist church. I went through many boxes of old records. I am still looking for the records from early in that century - like around 1900-1905...I want to know when exactly did my grandmother start the Sunday School class. and who was in it! And was she the teacher? I still have many boxes to go through. I am going back up there next week.
One thing I found out was until 1992 that was only one of three adult Sunday school classes in the church, the other two were the Friendship Class and the Young Married Class. In the 70's there were still 15 women. In the 80s, there were still 7 or 8 women in the class.But in the early 1990's there were only 3 or 4 women. As the ladies passed away the class dwindled. Finally there were none, and class ceased to exist! How sad!
They never had any new blood in the class. No younger women joined I guess. I wonder why? Maybe it became sort of a clique or a closed society? I see the names of the women through the 70's, 80's and 90's, and they were all the elite, well-do-women of the town, and I have seen their names in a lot of Floresville history events. I think they were the "movers and shakers" of this old town. And I found out who the men were in the church back in the olden days! They were important men. Men like Sam Fore and John Connally. I even saw where Johnny Harris one of our neighbors in the Kasper Community, who was a well known and weathly dairyman and a friend of my daddy's (well, to many people, like my family, he was weathly!) was a member of the church, and where he married Mrs. Maddie Creech (I think her great-grandfather was a sheriff in Wilson County in the 1880's) who was a member of the church when he and she was older and both had lost their spouses! Interesting stuff!
Since all the women of that class have passed, I will never know why no one new ever joined, but I talked to one woman's granddaughter and she remembers her grandmother being in the class (her name was Jewel Woolsey and was well known in Floresville, played the organ for 75 years before she retired in her 90's!) Maybe she can tell me more about the class, she was very nice!
From the information gathered so far from people know knew her and her children, my Grandomother Lizzie Zook was always a woman who helped the poor, went to their homes when they were sick, cared for them, she wasn't like high society in Floresville. Because the Zooks were not rich, by any means, but rich in their faith. She would be sad if she thought that the class she founded later became a social club. But maybe they didn't. I hope I find that out!