On Tuesday night, February 3rd, I received a phone call which gave me another "Happy Dance" moment. It was a call as a result of a letter I wrote to a pastor requesting information on former members of his church. In my blog posting on Finding Church Trustees Through Newspapers and Other Sources, posted on October 1, 2008, I wrote the following about my research of the Trustees of Veanus Chapel House of Prayer, which was a church organized by and named for my great-great grandmother Luvenia Jeffress Bullock (1864-1951.)
"I plan to write the church regarding my research and ask for information on their history. I hope to also find people in this church who are either descendants of the Bynum, Booth, and Suitt families, or who would remember any of these individuals. I also hope to visit this church before the end of the year."
On October 13, 2008, I wrote a long letter to the current pastor of the church (Friendship House of Prayer) where Trustees Bynum, Booth, and Suitt were once members. In the opening paragraph, I stated the reason for my letter.
"I am interested in learning about the history of your church. The reason for my interest is that I discovered that my great-great grandmother, Luvenia Jeffress Bullock (1864-1951) was associated with former members of your church (Estora Bynum, Sarah Booth, and Georgia Suitt). These three individuals were named on deeds related to Veanus Chapel House of Prayer, which was a church established by my great-great grandmother Luvenia around the early 1930s. I have traced the existence of this church through the 1960s and the three individuals named above were named as Trustees on several of the deeds for Veanus Chapel."
The letter also included a brief history of the three locations of Veanus Chapel Church. Attached to the letter were a variety of documents which further explained the information I had uncovered. The attachments were:
- Photo of Grandma Ven and a lady (see photo above.) In my letter, I asked for an identification of this lady.
- Article from my “Find Your Folks” genealogy blog entitled ‘Finding Church Trustees Through Newspapers and Other Sources.”
- Land Deeds of property for Veanus Chapel House of Prayer Church from 1951, 1955, and 1966 where either Estora Bynum, Sarah Booth, and/or Georgia Suitt were named as Trustees.
- Brief Biography of Luvenia Jeffress Bullock (1864-1951) which I had written this for the Souvenir Journal of the 100th anniversary of Saints Delight Holy Church in Vance County, NC.
At the end of the letter, I asked the following three questions. Some answers (provided below in bold) were provided in the phone call that I received this past Tuesday night from a granddaughter of Trustee Estora Bynum and his wife Annie. The granddaughter (Renee) is also a great granddaughter of Trustee Sarah Booth, who was the mother of Annie Bynum.
- Was Friendship House of Prayer formerly named Veanus Chapel House of Prayer? If so, when did the name change to Friendship House of Prayer? No, Friendship is not formerly Veanus Chapel. The former church name was Milgrove House of Prayer.
- Is there a written copy of the history of Friendship House of Prayer? If so, how can I obtain a copy? No, there is no written copy of the history of Friendship and Renee did not know when the church started.
- Are there members of your church who might remember any of the following? (Veanus Chapel House of Prayer Church, My great-great grandmother Luvenia Jeffress Bullock, or Estora Bynum, Sarah Booth, or Georgia Suitt) This question was answered with the call from the Renee, who had been given my packet by her pastor. She also said that she is the only one in her family who is still a member of this church where her grandparents and great grandmother once worshipped.
Another great bit of information learned from this phone conversation is the identification of the lady in the photo above standing to the right of Grandma Ven, who was identified as Georgia Suitt. Renee commented that Georgia Suitt was a pastor and minister of several churches. Some of my family members have said that Grandma Ven's church was pastored by a female minister. One cousin, who is now deceased, thought that the lady in the photo was Georgia Suitt, but she was not positive. Georgia Suitt's obituary is very short and does not mention that she was ever a pastor or minister.
Before ending the conversation, I got Renee's phone number and plan to call her later to ask more questions. Even though I had planned to visit the church last year, I did not make it there. I still plan to visit sometime this year. At least now, I know the name of at least one member. Although my specific questions were answered, there is still so much more to research about the Trustees of Veanus Chapel House of Prayer. I look forward to whatever new information I will uncover through my new contacts.