Thursday, April 8, 2010

Frances joins her family's church

In this short letter, Frances describes her first visit to Druid Hills Methodist Church, which her parents and sister attend regularly.  It was then located at the corner of Blue Ridge and Seminole Avenues, near the corner of Highland and Ponce de Leon Avenues.  It has since been relocated to the northeast corner of Ponce de Leon and Briarcliff Avenues, about two blocks from the original site.

Jan. 20, 1946


Enclosed is a copy of the Methodist Paper at Druid Hills.  The preacher had me come up to the front by myself and shake hands with him.  The the congregation stood up and sang "Bless Be the Ties that Bind."  Never have I had such a reception.

The preacher is from Virginia and very much like Bob Montague.  He doesn't have much to do with the "common rabble," including my family.  When he found out I had lived in Charlottesville and was married to a Montague and that Mother was descended from the French Huguenots, he can't be nice enough!

I told him that you attended the U. of Va.  He asked me if you had studied law.  I told him that you had studied military government.  Evidently he had been thinking how fine it was that you had graduated from there in law that he didn't understand my explanation.  In the pulpit yesterday he talked seven minutes about you and me and Virginia -- and that you had graduated from the University in law!

Blanche and I had dinner downtown last night and went to the Rialto to see "Kiss and Tell."  Wasn't it darling?

Emily went back to school today.  So, she is well again.

Much love,



The "Methodist Paper" Frances refers to is actually what we would call a Sunday bulletin, this one dated January 20, 1946.  I have the bulletin, but unfortunately I have no scanner here at my place in Atlanta, but I can transcribe the section pertaining to the Gillham family:

"We are happy to welcome Major and Mrs. W. T. Gillham.  Mrs. Gillham was the former Miss Holsenbeck and is now living with her mother at 992 Washita Avenue, N.E., Wa. 2462.  Major Gillham is now in Japan and is a member of the staff of General Douglas MacArthur.  They come to us from the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Charlottesville, Virginia.  They have three children, Emily Helen, 10, Frances Montague, 7, and Martha Bryant, 11 months."

The Huguenots were French Calvinists who, since the 17th century, had been persecuted for their Protestant beliefs.  Many were driven from France to various other European countries, including Britain.  Many of those in Britain then left for the colonies, mainly New York and South Carolina.  The first Huguenots to settle in New York were from the De La Noye family, which shortened its name to Delano.  Franklin Roosevelt's mother came from this line.

Kiss and Tell was a movie from 1945 starring Shirley Temple in one of her several teenage roles.  Maj. Gillham had written earlier that he had seen the movie in Japan, as well.  The Rialto Theater in Atlanta, located not far from Herren's Restaurant, was built in 1916 as a movie theater, but was razed in 1962 to make way for a new theater.  That theater is still in existence today, owned by Georgia State University, and is known as the Rialto Center for the Arts.