Hortense Camp

in the Wesleyan tradition

100 Years Celebration: 1904 - 2004

Dell Rowell

(Held various jobs at the camp)

My first memory of Hortense Wesleyan Camp happened in 1965.  I had just met Sheldon Rowell, Sr. and we went to his parents' house.  Camp was going on, an when we arrived there were cars parked everywhere up and down the road in front of where our son, Sheldon Rowell, Jr., lives now.  We were sitting on the front porch during the service, and we could hear the preacher from there.  When service was over and singing began, I had never heard shouting in a service before, and i did not know what in the world was going on.  It could be heard for miles. 

The first thing that I did for Hortense Camp was to fix desserts for a day for Mrs. Iris Smith.  Next, I helped Mrs. Hazel Rowell in the dining hall.  I remember the first time I helped Sheldon's mom in the kitchen at camp.  I was not a Christian yet.  The first time I saw Bobby Cooley in the dining hall, I wondered what planet he had arrived from.  Mrs. Rowell thought he was so special, and I did not like him at all or his ways.  The second day he came in the dining hall, he looked me right in the eyes and said, "You do not like me.  Do you?"  I replied right away, "Nope!"  He said, "You will before the week is over."  He was right.  I did.  I learned to love him and his wife Norma as dear friends.

I remember the first time Phil, Vonda, and the boys came to Hortense.  They stopped at our house and asked where the camp was.  Audrey thought they had the biggest car she had ever seen.  She said, "Their car is as long as an airplane".  They were driving a big station wagon.  I will never forget the look on their faces.  They really thought they had arrived at the end of the Earth.  Phil's first sermon at Hortense Camp will never be forgotten.  It lasted about 15 minutes!  It is probably the shortest sermon preached at the camp in 100 years.

One year I was Girls' Counselor.  Glen Rainey was the Boys' Counselor.  That was an experience that I will never forget!

I was Head Cook in the dining hall for many years.  I was assisted by Mrs. Ruby Batten.  She became my second mom, and her husband, Mr. Batten, always furnished tomatoes and peaches for the dining hall. 

I remember Mr. Milton Roberson working real hard year round at the camp.  My children used to come inside from playing, and they would say, "The preacher in the pink truck with the safari hat went by to work at the camp."

I remember Mr. and Mrs. Dave Rowell, Mrs. Iris Smith, and their staff working really hard in the kitchen preparing meals without an air conditioner.  Mr. Milton Roberson and Mr. Joe Smith were always on the grounds working hard.

I think the most memorable thing to happen at the camp for my family is Sheldon Jr. being saved there.  God spoke to him in a service one night, and he felt the call to be a speaker for him.

Sheldon Jr. also realized at Hortense Camp in 1992 that he loved Misty Strickland, and he wanted to spend his life with her and raise a family together.

Now in recent years, I have really praised God that my three oldest grandchildren love Hortense Camp like their mom did.  Audrey's youngest son did not think that he would ever be eight years old so he could stay in the boys' dorm.