It is interesting being a preacher’s son but not always fun. By the time I was 16, I thought I had attended enough church services to earn a ‘Get out of Hell Free’ card. However I took note, no one ever gave me one!
My dad did not start off life to become a minister. He was the firstborn of a large farm family. 9 boys and 3 girls. In about 1909 after the 3rd grade he left school to work full time on the farm. The family was amazing. Everyone of the family was successful in their own rite.
An amazing picture dad is the baby circa Jul 1903
Grandpa Alonzo and Mae Etta (Hilley) Darnell
Dad married mom and they became share croppers in Peanuts. In the early 1900’s there were a lot of tent revivals. Dad & Mama attended tent services and both became Christians. They both studied the Bible diligently and my dad said he felt a drawing, a yearning, a calling to spread the Gospel. Working and studying the ground dried up, there was a depression. Still studying they headed to Florida for a WPA project.
A lot of folk will remember how happy I was when Cousin Dewey (out in sin city) sent this. Daddy on the left and Uncle Oscar (mom’s brother) circa 1924
Dad like many others during the Great Depression was resourceful. When the tires blew out on the T-model they stuffed the tires with rags, and weeds and made it to Hollywood Florida.
Later they would follow dad’s parents to North Carolina, to a Mill Village called ‘Art Cloth’. The textile industry was booming, Cotton mill towns were needing workers. Dad became a weaver, then a loom fixer. During this time he attended some Bible School courses, and finally decided to build a church.
The Church was VERY successful, for years it was among the top 10 churches in our denomination in NC. We moved 6 times in my childhood. I did a great job of pouting and making mom & Dad’s life miserable on a couple moves because I was leaving some good buddies.
Dad never took a church larger than the one he was pastoring. He always took a smaller one and when he left it was larger than the previous one and usually out of debt, Dad Hated Debt (His or a church).
Dad’s last Pastorate, The East Belmont Church of God, Belmont, NC.
He had some personal opinions:
A pastor should never drive a car better than his average member.
A pastor should not be rich, we weren’t put here to be rich, Jesus nor his Apostles were rich, nor did they own fine homes or have a stable of horses and mules.
God will supply your needs, he never said your wants.
That was my dad. Frank Benjamin. Named after Frank James. And yes, he had a brother named Jesse James Darnell.
This one never made production:
1956 Packard Predictor (Sherry and I saw this one in the Studebaker museum in South Bend)