In loving memory of my Grandmother, Lucille, I am posting this brief documentary I wrote about 3 weeks ago in honor of my Grandparents 70th Wedding Anniversary. I am thankful for the time God gave me to spend with her and for all she taught me. My prior post, Memories, is a tribute to both of my grandparents based only upon my favorite memories of them during my childhood. She went to be with the Lord, sing with the Angels, dance around His throne and collect her crown with MANY jewels! No one deserves it more. She was a true saint, the epitome of a Virtuous Woman.
Jack & ‘Cille
Horace Newton Maxwell was born April 20, 1923 in Winn Parish, LA to Horace Maxwell and Fannie Malissia Autrey. His parents called him “H.N.”. He had two older sisters, Edith and Rachel. Rachel was not able to pronounce Horace, so she called him “Jack” and the name stuck.
When Jack was 16 years old they lived in a three room house with spaces between the slats in the walls and the rafters big enough that snow and rain fell inside the house. One afternoon, he had an argument with his younger sister, Edith, in the kitchen. She screamed as though he hurt her, and his father, who was a few hundred feet away in the field, heard her. He saw his father jump the fence and cut a thick switch from a tree. Realizing his dad was going to whip him without finding out what really happened, Jack made up his mind that he was never going to get whipped for something he didn’t do again. With only the clothes on his back, he walked out the back door and kept going.
He hobo’d around riding rail cars and begging for food from homes where the rail cars stopped. Jack ate raw corn from the field once (but doesn’t recommend it). He traveled all over Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and even went to Tennessee looking for a job. While in Arkansas he stayed with an uncle for a couple of months working around the house to earn his keep.
Jack joined the CCC camp earning $30 a month. He would keep $8 to live off of and send $22 back home to his mother to help out. He served two separate “hitches” with the CCC, one in Wyoming and another in Oregon. He was serving in Grants Pass, OR when World War II was declared. That following January he went home.
Joyce Young Maxwell (‘Cille) was born March 20, 1927 in Bogalusa, LA to Robert Ellis Young and Anna Agnes Rushing. Her mother told her that she was born on the 21st, so she celebrates both days. She was called Lucille. It wasn’t until many years later upon obtaining a copy of her birth certificate that she discovered “Lucille” was not her name. She had her name legally changed to Joyce Lucille Young Maxwell. Her mother later remarried to Norman Howard Peterson who lovingly raised her as his own. She was blessed with three younger siblings, Jean, Doug and Linda.
When she was 3 or 4 years old, she still had hardly any hair and was so little, she looked like an infant. The Gerber Company tried to get her mother to let them use her as a model for their company, but she declined.
‘Cille finished the 10th Grade in Bossier City High School. 11th Grade was the highest grade level offered. She worked at Greenwall’s Drug Store at the sandwich counter. She spent her earnings purchasing sandwiches to take home for her mother to eat.
Jack and ‘Cille met in 1942. She was the unwitting chaperone for her younger sister, Jean, who had a date with Jack. Jack took a liking to ‘Cille and decided to keep hanging around. She told him she was 18 years old…she was 15. He never formally took ‘Cille on a date, but they had lots of fun fishing and spending time together at the Peterson’s house.
They were married on Sunday, April 18, 1943 at high noon in the Nazarene Church in Shreveport, LA immediately following the Sunday service. She was 16 and he turned 20 the next day. Jack wore a suit with a hand-painted tie and ‘Cille wore a light blue Sunday dress. She did not wear a veil, nor did she have a bouquet or corsage. Mr. Alton Smith was his best man and Jean Peterson, her sister, was her maid of honor. There was a small reception after the ceremony with cake and punch. They did not take a honeymoon trip.
The story has been told that Jack told ‘Cille, “here’s five dollars, and it’s borrowed. You can use it to buy a washer board and make us both a good living, or you can use it to buy yourself a looking glass and watch yourself slowly starve to death.” The truth is he did give her the money telling her he absolutely could not manage money and asked her to manage it as well as she could.
Jack was in Class 17B Limited Services Army Reserves and going to school at Louisiana Tech when they married. They rented an apartment in Ruston, LA, which was nearby. Jack received a medical discharge when they discovered he had a weak eye while he was attempting to enroll out of the Reserves and into the Army.
On February 4 1944 their oldest son, Horace Newton Maxwell, Jr. was born in Shreveport, LA. The called him Jackie.
In 1946 Jack started shipping out as a pump man. He first went to work for Texaco in 1948. Later he went to work with Pure Oil and got his wiper license. He went back to work for Texaco with this third Engineer license in 1954 and worked his way up to Chief Engineer. He stayed with Texaco until he retired in 1984.
One day, after Jack went back to work for Texaco, he was checking in at the gate when an older gentleman walked up to him and asked him where he was heading to. Jack answered that he was heading up to the Mississippi (the ship). The man handed Jack his suitcase and told him to carry it onto the ship for him. He explained that he was the captain of the ship and they had been unable to pump the ballast out of the ship for the last 24 hours and wouldn’t be able to sail until this was done. He sent Jack to the engine room with instructions to see if he could figure out what was wrong and fix it.
Jack entered the engine room and immediately could hear a leak in one of the pumps. He followed the sound until he found the pump that was leaking and had lost suction. He shut that pump down and started up another pump, clearing out the ballast. They sailed within 2 hours of him fixing the leak.
Jack sailed on almost every ship ever owned by Texaco and sailed all over the world. He has many tales to tell - of the many people he met, places he’s been, sights he’s seen’ even real-life pirate stories! His favorite poem is titled “A Nautical Extravaganza” written by Wallace Irwin.
On February 5, 1948,’ Cille received the Holy Ghost in a little church in Rochelle, LA. She was baptized in Jesus’ name on February 8th that same year. Jack and ‘Cille moved to Port Arthur, TX a few days later. They rented a garage apartment behind Bro. & Sis. Desormeaux, where they lived for 3 ½ years. Bro. & Sis. Desormeaux were members of Faith Tabernacle Apostolic Church in Port Arthur, TX with Bro. A.T. Morgan officiating as pastor. They were in the middle of a revival. Bro. Desormeaux remembers Sis. Desormeaux calling out to him that she saw a Pentecostal lady next door and she had to go meet her and invite her to church. That was the beginning of a lifelong friendship between two families.
‘Cille’s Sunday School teacher was Sis. Wolf. ‘Cille, known to her church family as Sis. Maxwell, became the treasurer of Faith Tabernacle in 1956 and held this position until 1998. She taught herself to bake and decorate cakes and became the unofficial “caterer” of numerous weddings, showers and parties given at the church. She loved to sew and crochet and was always counted on to help when food was needed.
Her favorite scripture is Psalms 121: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy food to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”
Jack began digging water wells and repairing & installing pumps for families and businesses when he would be home between voyages. He was the area representative for Ruth Berry Pumps for over 30 years.
On February 19, 1952, their second son, Leslie Howard Maxwell, was born and fourteen months later, on April 15 1953, their youngest son, Douglas Edwin Maxwell, was born. Both boys were born in Port Arthur, TX.
In 1954 they bought their first house in the 2600 block of 4th Avenue in Groves, TX. In 1956 they sold this house and bought a home on Grant Avenue in Groves, TX. That same year Leslie started Kindergarten at the new school across the street, Van Buren Elementary School. They lived on Grant Avenue until 1976.
Jack received the Holy Ghost at Faith Tabernacle Apostolic Church in Port Arthur, TX under Rev. Murray E. Burr in 1965. Elder Bro. Bean was preaching. ‘Cille had been praying for Jack to receive the Holy Ghost and while praying she would vision him in a blue shirt. The night Jack came to church and received the Holy Ghost he was wearing a blue shirt, just like she envisioned!
That same year they purchased a camp near Dam B on the Neches River from H.B. Morgan. A few years later they bought the camp next door from Rev. Murray E. Burr. This camp provided many years of swimming, fishing, hunting, gardening, and family gatherings.
In 1976 they build and moved into a new home in Port Arthur Country Club in Beaumont, TX.
Their youngest son, Doug, passed away suddenly in 1976. There were too many memories, making it difficult to return, so they sold the camp in 1978.
They purchased a camp in Call, TX on Little Cow Creek near the Sabine river in 1989, which is still enjoyed by the Maxwell family today.
In 1996 they sold their home and moved to Beauxart Gardens in Beaumont, TX, where they reside now, to be closer to church, family and town.