Hortense Camp

in the Wesleyan tradition

100 Years Celebration: 1904 - 2004

Guy Lewis

(Son of Johnny and Edna Lewis, Nephew of Arnton Lewis)

My Granddad, Joseph G. Lewis was a charter member of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Hortense, and he gave the lumber to build the Tabernacle at the Hortense Camp Ground.  Several other families donated their labor until the building was completed, first the Tabernacle and then the cottages.  Having cottages to stay in was much better than sleeping on the ground around a huge log fire for the entire period of the meeting.  Sleeping on the ground may have caused some to "catch their death of cold".

As a boy I can remember when mules and wagons were the only transportation to and from camp meeting.  The mules were fed and watered at the horse barn, located about fifty feet back of the present dining hall.  I remember what it was like to ride in the mule-drawn wagon to camp meeting when the August rains had filled the creeks with water.  Sundays at camp meeting meant lots of wagons loaded with food for the family for the day.  Fried chicken was a favorite, especially the drumsticks.

My Uncle Arnton and Aunt Addie Lewis could always be found up front and to the left of the Days.  Uncle Arnton was associated with the camp all his life, and Aunt Addie was associated with the Dining Room, first in the two-story Red Hotel and later in the cement block building.  The present Lewis and Harrell Dining Hall honors their memory.

My brother Garland and I enjoyed attending camp meeting as boys.  It was an annual event, and it drew people from near and far.