What My Mother Said about the Baptist Preachers in Our Family

What My Mother Said about the Baptist Preachers in Our Family
An Excerpt from a 3-Way-Memoir: What My Mother Said
Recorded by Jacki Kellum

In 2002, I asked my mother, who is now 89-years-old, a series of questions. I felt an urgency to record her thoughts. I’d like to share with you her words.

From the Memoir of Laura Mae Dunscombe Baker, who was born December 6, 1926

“My mother [remember, this is my mother speaking: this is my mother’s mother] had several brothers and sisters: Carl James, Hugh James, Ray, Henrietta Faye (twin of Ray), Lawrence, Velma, and Louise. Their father was called Country Charley. There were two Charley James’s in Clarkton. One was a politician and had money, the other was my grandad. He was married to Laura Cox (whence came my name). Her father was a Baptist preacher. Also was my Grandpa Dunscome’s father. His name was Whitakker. You know, I’m not so sure about Grandpa James’s Dad. Maybe he wasn’t a preacher. But in those days, if you couldn’t find a job, you became a preacher. So, on the other hand, maybe he was.”


I am on a campaign to get my mother to begin a WordPress blog. My mother, who had very few advantages as a child, would have liked to have been a writer. In fact, she did have a few articles published in magazines, but for a simple lady, who lived in the Bootheel of Missouri, becoming a writer was probably a dream that she simply could not get her hands around—at least not when she was a younger lady.

The wonderful thing about blogging is that everyone can be a writer; and many of us have become one, regardless of whether we pursue being published or not.

Last night, someone responded to one of my writings, saying that I have a wonderful use of words. I probably do, but it is important to know that the gift is not unique to me. My mother has a wonderful use of words, and my father was as gifted a storyteller as anyone that I have ever known. I am beyond happy that I asked my mother a series of questions years ago; and I thank God that I have not lost her responses. With my mother’s help, I have begun a new, 3-Way Memoir that will be the words of my mother, as written and reflected upon by me. The title of this memoir will be What My Mother Said.

Indeed, my mother’s people were staunch Southern Baptists. My mother’s grandfather was Reverend Milton J. Whitakker, and in 1832, he was born in Mulberry, Tennessee. Milton J. Whitakker’s father was John J. Whitakker, and on 1785, he was born in Pitt County, North Carolina.  John J. Whitakker’s father was Elder John Whitakker, and in 1759, he was born in Prince George, Maryland.

The first people who came to America and acquired land on the East Coast were fortunate. They had access to the first-pickings in the East. But when the later immigrants arrived in America, the East Coast was fairly full, and the people who were seeking independence, land of their own, etc., were forced to move westward. My immediate family’s story is about those people who moved just a bit west—to the middle of the country. Most of those people were Protestants, who were seeking religious freedom, too, and many of the men did become preachers—fire and brimstone Baptist preachers.

My mother’s grandfather was a traveling preacher, who rode on horseback, carrying his Bible, and preaching to anyone who would listen. He represented an entire group of men, who did the same. I love my family’s history. When I envision my Bible-toting great great grandfather, carrying his Word on horseback, I see myself as part of the chain that has become America.

Copyright Jacki Kellum October 16, 2015

All Rights Reserved

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “FAQ.”


9 thoughts on “What My Mother Said about the Baptist Preachers in Our Family

  1. My mother said that when the deacons of her Baptist church met, they always put their hats on the high hat shelf upside down. One day when she was a pre-teenager, she and her friend sneaked in and put a scoop of Bon Ami into each of the hats and then hid to see what would happen. Of course, they all came out and flipped their hats onto their heads and were covered in white powder! Yes, I’m sure they have both been relegated to Hell–or at least that they never made it to Baptist heaven! http://judydykstrabrown.com/2014/06/29/unruly-punctuation/

    Liked by 1 person

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