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Denture Fallout Didn’t Bother Reverend Kennedy

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week. As I said in the previous column, I didn’t have the space to include all the Jumper’s Chapel families, so this week we’ll continue.  

There was the James Larson family, the Roy Larson family, the Wade Upchurch family, the Fred Hosney family, and the Mel Hughes family. Teresa Edgar’s mother, Ova Bagguley, was the church secretary for many years and compiled a detailed history of the church. Unfortunately those papers were in my car that was stolen.

The congregational Methodist is a very fundamental organization and the pastors were always called brother.  They in turn referred to their members as brother or sister.  Ministers at Jumper’s Chapel over the years included: Jim McKibben, R. C. Kennedy, Joe Ingram, Ray Scott, R. Collins, Paul Kiihnl, Jack Callahan, and the present pastor, Joel Jones.  Once they had been without a pastor for some time, and a man named Jefferson showed up and announced he was a preacher.

They hired him for a year.  My Dad told me that he was a fraud and since Dad was never afraid to speak his mind, he confronted  him and told him he should be ashamed to fool people like that.  In any event, at their first opportunity, they terminated Jefferson and bought back the most colorful preacher they ever had, R. C. Kennedy.  

He was a proud Irishman, a white-haired, little man with a red face.  He was also loud and would hit the pulpit with his hand for emphasis. Ludie told me that I would toddle up to the pulpit and stand beside him while he preached.  She said that once his dentures fell out, but he didn’t break stride and when he had finished he picked them up and put them back in his mouth.      Revivals in those days lasted two and three weeks, hence the term protracted meetings.  The two evangelists that I remember were Swope and Cook. The best loved of all the pastors would have been Brother Kennedy.  He came all the way from Memphis for a meager salary and never complained or asked for a raise.     

He ran a dairy at 3300 Lamphier street in Memphis for years when that area was farm and pasture land.  

In more recent years, the families in the community included the Robert and Marie Norwood family; the Pearlie McCain family; Stoney Moorehead, who became a minister; and Sam and Phyllis Goodwin.  I’m sure that Ila Mae McMinn has much more information if she would like to share with us.  She and mother were great friends and I’m sure she could fill in the blanks for me.  

She is such a great cook, and she told me once that Mother would call her and ask, “Ila Mae, what are you cooking?” She would always bring her something although we both knew she ate very little but welcomed the visit more than anything else.  

I hope you have enjoyed this trip down memory lane, and if any of you want to give us your input feel free to let me hear from you at my email  address or write me at P.O. Box 613189, Memphis, TN 38101 and have a great week.

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