"Mountain Memories" Page 21
It was along about this time that Joe Miller started preaching after some years of resisting the call. The family moved out of the Cherokee Forest to a community called Belltown. There was a post office there at that time, but it no longer exists.
This is where my younger sister and I were born. Uncle Mark Self came for a visit shortly after my sister was born and asked if he could name her Masie Edith, and he did. Mark also has a daughter named Edith. My brother Stanley was also born at Belltown.
Austin, the youngest, was born in Reagan Valley, close to Mt. Vernon.
The family moved a lot because they owned no home and Joe pastored churches at many different places; however, he didn't always live close to those churches. Sometimes the churches were away back in the mountains from where he lived, eighteen miles away. In those days preachers pastored more than one church at a time because the preachers had to walk. Churches only had preaching services once a month; at other times they just had Sunday School. Joe had two churches and each one was eighteen miles away. He had no car, no buggy, and the horse or mule he owned had to be left at home for his oldest son, Boyd, to use to plow the crops. So he walked, and walked, and sometimes his feet blistered. One time his feet blistered and the blisters broke and blood oozed up through the tops of his shoes. He stopped and sat down on a rock and pulled off his shoes to let his feet rest. Along came a backslider and saw him sitting there with his shoes off and his socks all bloody. That had more effect on the backslidden man than any words could have had. After he had repented he told how he couldn't get the sight out of his mind and called Joe Miller "An old pilgrim of God," though Joe wasn't old at all.
The preachers in these times were in it for something more than money, for they got no money. They didn't expect to get money; it was in the days of the Great Depression and people didn't have money to give.
It was in the year of 1925 that Louisa Self Hartness moved with her family to Oklahoma. Ever since their marriage Harvey had begged her to move back with him to Oklahoma, but she refused. Now he was sick and she was afraid he was going to die. He told her if he died here in Tennessee he would die unhappy because he wanted to see his family again. The father and mother and