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By Florence Jemima Harman Carpenter
1871 - 1955

In her own words

We were living in Hitchita, Oklahoma, all the children were married and living to themselves, except Dave. He was 16 years old then. Just Dad, I and Dave lived there. I was in bed at that time and could hardly sit up long enough to have my bed made. I had not walked for almost ten years and was very poor and weak. They had to give up farming as one had to stay in the house with me.

Dave heard about the Richie meeting going on in Tulsa. We had heard of some people that we knew being healed. One day Dave said, "Mom, why don't you go and get healed?"

I said that I would, if I could--I believed in it--but I didn't know how to get there. The next day Dave heard that that was the last week of the meeting. Catherine had come to see me that day which was Tuesday.

Dave said, "While she is here with you, I will go down and talk to Fred about taking you up there." Fred said that he could not leave the garage that we would have to be gone about two nights. Then he called Jim at Richardville. He said the creeks were all up and he could not cross them for two or three days.

Dad said, "If she wants to go, we will hire a driver." We had a car and Dave could drive but not in big city traffic. They went to Fred's garage. Fred said that he could not go but he would let us have his new Ford car if we could get a good driver.

Jess Parker had been driving the school bus--school was out then. He said he would drive us up there if he could get someone to stay with his wife. Catherine said she would stay with his wife. Mrs. Lackey said she would go along to take care of me. Dad said he would stay at home and take care of the place. Dave wanted to go along.

So the next morning which was Thursday, June 6, 1922, they made me a bed in the back seat. The driver, Dave, I and Mrs. Lackey all started out. It had been storming and raining all week but had cleared off that morning.

I got pretty tired and was feeling bad. The clouds had gathered and it was looking stormy when we got to Tulsa. Dave was worried; we had been going to the storm cellar when it looked stormy.

The usher carried me in the tent and put me on a cot. They had a high platform. The preacher stood in the middle. The sick on cots were at one end and a prayer room on the end. They were fixing for the 11 o'clock sermon. All the people, more than I thought was in Oklahoma were there. They said 10,000 people were seated.

They came and ask me a lot of questions and took them to the prayer room. They said my time to be healed wouldn't be until they had three sermons. I laid on that cot all afternoon. They had preaching at 11 that day. At 7:30, they had preaching again and a lot more healing. When it was over, we had to hunt a place to stay all night.

Dave and Parker made several trips but the hotels were full. They would not let you stay in the tabernacle all night; you could stay in the day time. We didn't know what we were going to do, then a Red Cross woman came along. She ask us if we had a place to stay. We told her we didn't. She said they kept 1500 free but they didn't have any more room. She ask if we had any way of getting around and we told her we had a car. She then ask us if we had any means. We told her, yes, that we had money to pay. She said, "Oh, I think I can find you some rooms, if you have the money to pay and transportation." She lit out to call some hotels. We felt better then. She came back and wrote down 1329 North Denver, Grindle Hotel. We could get two rooms.

It was quite a ways to the hotel. They put me in the car and went to the hotel. It was upstairs. Dave and Parker carried me up there. We had two nice rooms with a bed in each room but Parker had to take the car back to the parking place and stay with it. We told him to come back after us about 10 o'clock the next morning.

We had a fine place, two rooms and two beds in the hotel. They told us we could sleep as late as we wanted to. We sure got a good night's sleep. Dave was still worried, said they were not trying to do anything.

When we got up that morning, the sun was shining and a canary bird was singing all the time in the hall by our door. We went to another room where they had some counters. We could order what we wanted--eat there--or go to the breakfast table. We just got some coffee and eggs and whatever we wanted--had a good meal.

Parker came at 10 o'clock and took us to the tabernacle. They were gathering in for the 11 o'clock preaching. They did a lot of healing. We saw a lot of wonderful things done that afternoon. We had a wonderful time; many people came to us and told us how they had been healed and what wonderful things they had seen. The people were so good to us ones on the cots; they got oranges and bananas and gave them to us.

I knew that evening that I was going to walk out of there. They were gathering in all evening for the 7 o'clock preaching and when it was over--it was my time to be healed. Dave and Parker stood outside the door most of the time. They could see through the window where we were, when there was not too big a crowd.

Parker had met some people he knew from Henryetta. They didn't believe in healing. Parker told them that if that woman that he had brought was healed; they would have to believe it. They said they were going to stay and see if I was healed.

When the preaching was over, they healed some people that could come up to him, some on crutches, some blind and all kinds. Then came my time.

Richie came to my cot, kneeled down, took a little bottle of olive oil out of his pocket, rubbed a little on my forehead and said, "Jesus, rebuke the disease--Rise up!"

I came out of there so quick, I left him kneeling. I went down the five steps onto the sawdust trail for a long ways and sit down on a bench. Mrs. Lackey, the woman that had come with me said she was stunned. It took quite a bit to get herself put together to follow me.

Richie then gave it out over the loud speaker who was healed and where from. Dave and Parker heard it. Mrs. Lackey had found me and the crowd had gathered around--hundreds of people! I was the last one to be healed that night. They had dismissed the meeting.

The crowd had gathered around so thick, we had to wait quite a bit before Dave and Parker got there. Mrs. Lackey couldn't hardly wait for Dave to get there. They finally came, Parker brought the people from Henryetta and I had to shake hands with them. I was just feeling like a new person. That was the happiest time of my life. Dave would keep asking me if I felt bad. Mrs Lackey was war hollering and shouting, "That will be the saving of Hitchita."

We began to think about starting home; it was then 12 o'clock. Parker said he would get the car as close to the door as he could and he and Dave would carry me. I told them I would walk. When we started to the door, Dave and Mrs. Lackey took me by the arm, one on each side. I told them I would walk by myself, that I had waked down that sawdust trail, or rather run, and that I could Walk back.

We got started for home. Mrs. Lackey was singing and shouting till I was afraid we would be arrested for a gang of drunks. She just couldn't wait to get back and show Dad that I could walk. When we got home, it was just getting daylight. She hollered to Dad to get up and come see me walk in.

He said, "When I get my shoes on, I will come and carry her in". But, I walked in by myself. He looked at me just like he was about to run, for a little bit, then he said, "You're walking, are you?" Then he ask if I felt bad. I said, "No! I feel better than I ever did in my life!"

Catherine had got there. He told her that she had better fix the bed that I was tired and worn out. "No", I said, "I'm not tired at all. I am a little sleepy; haven't slept any all night." I laid down and slept a little until Catherine had breakfast ready. I got up and we all ate breakfast together--didn't have to carry mine to the bed.

By that time Ila had come, she was living two miles in the country, so I had to show her that I could walk. People kept coming in all day. I would walk from one room to the other one. They couldn't believe that I could walk--I had to show them.

Lois and Catherine were living in Hitchita then. Lois was a night watchman. Dad told them, if they would come and live with me and Dave, he would go and work for Jim. He said that I could not do the work; I would be back in bed and Catherine could do the work. They were all looking for me to get back in bed but I fooled them. I kept getting stouter and felt like a new person.

We had a good time; Catherine and Lois were just like kids then. They didn't have any children. Dad just stayed two weeks with Jim, then went to St. Louis and got a job. He would send $5.00 every two weeks, then Bill would send me $5.00.

I got along pretty good and did a lot of work for about 25 years, then I began to fail--but never got so I couldn't walk. I just lost my faith and couldn't get it back alone.

The End

I have typed this from a handwritten copy made by Florence Jemima Harman Carpenter. She mailed that copy to her niece, Beulah Scott, who lived in Steelville, Missouri, for her to read and return. It was mailed from Claremore in September 1953. I borrowed the original from Ila Brakebill in 1985.
.....Mrs. Jim Carl Carpenter (Laura Ann)

Editors Note: [Jim]
Florence Jemima Harman was born July 16, 1871 in Steelville, Missouri and died in Claremore Oklahoma, June 10, 1955. She married Amos Pitts Carpenter Dec. 16, 1891 in Steelville, Missouri. She was my grandmother and I can attest to the fact that she was never bedfast again, until her death in 1955. Identification of those named in her story are as follows:

Dave: David Algie Carpenter, her youngest son and my father
Dad: Amos Pitts Carpenter, her husband
Richie: A traveling evangelist
Catherine: Catherine [Katie] Carpenter Sessions, her youngest daughter
Lois: Lois Sessions, husband of Catherine
Fred: Fred Burl Carpenter, her eldest son
Jim: James Job Carpenter, her son
Jess Parker: A neighbor
Mrs. Lackey: A neighbor
ILa: Ila Maud Carpenter Criswell, her eldest daughter
Bill: Willis Claud Carpenter her son

Click on the pictures for a larger view.

This was taken in 1924, two years
after Florence was healed.
[1]Florence [2]Catherine (Kate)
[3] Ila [4] Dave

This photo, taken in 1932, approximately 10 years after the healing, shows all the immediate family members mentioned in the story. Though Florence was always thin and pale, she was always up an going after being healed.

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