Historically Black College
Report of Conference Secretary
This Conference is deeply interested in the work and schools of the Home Missionary Society. The people are poor, and in some places have almost no educational opportunities, but they very earnestly desire to secure such advantages. A marked improvement has taken place in the morals of the people during the five years since the work was inaugurated. Mothers are anxious that their daughters shall become educated and thus prepared for future usefulness.
The special work which has been undertaken by this Conference, is the Industrial school near Harrisburg, Texas. The brethren of the Conference have aided in the purchase of property, and have taken a deep interest in the establishment of a school. Nearly fifty acres of good land near the town have been secured and a good building has been erected thereon. Under the circumstances we feel thankful that we have no larger debt than $140, although this sum is a very severe tax on our limited resources.
Our Society numbers 996 members and 48 Mother's Jewels, and 46 copies of Woman's Home Missions are taken. The auxiliaries have paid during the year $285.53 into the treasury; special contributions have amounted to $123.54, making a total of $409.07. This sum of money represents great labor and sacrifice on the part of our poor people, many of whom are struggling through life without sympathy or help. A mother wrote to us some time since to know if we could accommodate her and her ten children, as she needed help in training them right. We ask for them, and all such, the prayers and sympathy of friends throughout the Church. And we pray God's blessing on all our dear sisters who are working for our improvement and elevation.
Mrs. Isabella Howells, Corresponding Secretary.
West Texas Conference.
In reviewing the work of the past year, there comes to me an impression that the foundations for future work are being laid deep and strong. Slowly—very slowly—it is true; but when we consider that these people had almost every thing to learn, and only a very few of the older ones have learned to read, you may get a little glimpse of some of the difficulties to be overcome in order to carry on successful work in our auxiliaries. The conditions compel that our work shall be mostly educational. Next month in our auxiliary, we begin an explanation ol the origin and work of the different societies connected with our Methodism.
Our Waco Auxiliary is nearly two years old, and is in a thriving condition. The members entered earnestly upon mission-school work, gathered and clothed the orphaned and neglected little ones. When the school had increased to over forty, they opened the church for shelter, warmth, and instruction. During the Winter and Spring, eighty-three pupils attended. They also furnished ten dollars to a beneficiary in Central Tennessee. Their President, Mrs. Westbrooks, is an earnest worker. Not long ago she organized a new auxiliary at Milford.
Our Austin Auxiliary, one of the results of our Conference Woman's Home Missionary Meeting, was organized the first of January. In March our very efficient President, Mrs. Sarah Scott, was taken from us by death. The Vice-presidents have filled the chair as well as they could, but we have missed her. The completing and furnishing of the audience-room of Wesley, our new, beautiful, substantial church, to which the women have made regular monthly contributions, has somewhat hindered the collection of Woman's Home Missionary Society dues; still we have sent seven dollars to the General Treasury, and used fourteen dollars and eighty-five cents for local work. We had a small (fifteen pupils) but efficient Mission School, taught by our Recording Secretary, Miss Ida Norris, until stopped by scarlet fever. In March I received a barrel of mission goods, and distributed them mostly to ministers' families. We had gathered among the sisters as much in value, and distributed among the sick, aged, and children.
From the first of January to the middle of April I heard recitations, five mornings in the week, of mothers of families or young women obliged to work, so they could not attend school.
Our Conference Mass-meeting was attended by many of the preachers. Mrs. L. A. Westbrooks, President Hoyt, of the New Orleans University, and Rev. C. P. Westbrooks did effective speaking.
June 13th we had another mass-meeting at night. There was a good audience and unflagging attention. Report said there was a strong impression made in regard to the sacredness of the family relation.
Quite an interest has been awakened in unexpected quarters. Year by year I have presented our" Woman's Home Missions" for subscribers among our white sisters; also have given leaflets as opportunity offered. One sister, who subscribed last Winter, became so interested in the Chicago Mission Training-school, that she sent for a Nickel Fund book, raised five dollars, and sent to Mrs. Lucy Rider Meyer, notwithstanding she has feeble health, and a whole nest-full of little folks. Another has given substantial aid in preparing a young woman to go to an Industrial school.
But the most comforting item is from one of the colored Presiding Elders of this Conference. He writes, of a certain locality, " I felt they needed especial instruction in regard to home—the duties and responsibilities connected with home life." He gave a lecture. When he had spoken an hour and a half, and was about to close, a simultaneous cry burst from the audience, " Go on, go on; these are the things we need to know." He talked half an hour longer, his large congregation sitting spell-bound to the end; then pathetically telling him, "That's the kind of preaching we needs."
May I not hope that the authorities who plan for us will consider it wise to send us a missionary, an earnest, competent, consecrated woman, who, perhaps, can teach us something about Kindergarten work, visit among the people, and plan for the building of an Industrial Home for Austin, or, rather, at Austin for Texas?
Mrs. C. A. Richardson, Corresponding Secretary.
by Woman's Home Missionary Society (Cincinnati, Ohio) - 1886