Hortense Camp

in the Wesleyan tradition

100 Years Celebration: 1904 - 2004

Edward B. (Bob) & Billie Faye Harvey

(Camp musicians in 1955)

In 1954, we were contacted asking us to have charge of the music for the Hortense Camp Meeting in August of 1955.  We agreed to do so, not knowing we would be living in Chicago, Illinois by that time.  I was full time in the Austin Wesleyan Methodist Church - music, youth and conference treasurer under Rev. Arthur Bray, who was the Illinois Conference President.

Rev. Bray and the church board graciously allowed us to fulfil our promise to the Hortense Camp. We brought along our oldest daughter, Anne, leaving the younger one with my in-laws.

Rev. William Ward was the evangelist.  He was a powerful holiness preacher!  The services were Spirit-filled and we received wonderful blessings.  It was a sawdust-floored tabernacle - a typical Southern camp meeting, and the building was filled every service.

While there, we were asked to sing on a radio program for Rev. Bill Phillippe, who I believe was the conference president at the time.  Sister Lewis had us to her house for a meal - and her table would make the modern-day buffets look pitiful!  She had a huge muscadine arbour, where we ate to our heart's content.  Her hospitality and the fellowship of many others inspired and blessed us greatly.

One night the Day family had us all over to their cabin for watermelon after the evening service.  We ate until we could eat no more and brother Ward made the comment, "I can still chew but I can't swallow!"

The heat, the mosquitoes, the sulphur water, the snakes, the dust, the tall pine trees were so unimportant compared to the good blessings we received there.  We remember with pleasure those days, and we hope we will be able to attend the 100th anniversary celebration in 2004.  If not, we will see all of you in Heaven someday.