As before stated, Mount Olivet church flourished. She was nestled among the picturesque Ozark Hills, about midway between Ridgetown and Dobbinsville. Everybody in the community, almost, who had any religious inclination, and some who had none, belonged to Mount Olivet. She boasted in being the largest church in all Randolph County—the churches at Ridgetown and Dobbinsville not excepted. When I say that Mount Olivet church flourished, I do not mean that she flourished in spiritual things. Indeed, her candle of vital religion had well-nigh flickered out. Scarcely a member could be found who would testify to a real experience of salvation from sin. There were three things for which the members of this particular church were remarkable, namely, they were great sticklers for the faith of their church, they were all holiness-fighters, they all used tobacco in some form.
Deacon Gramps sat on his plow-handles. The sultry August day was drawing to a close. The sun was just ready to roll its bright red disk behind the western horizon. The Deacon seemed to be in a deep meditation. He cast a glance at his beautiful farm as it stretched itself out for a mile toward the river on the one side and nestled snugly against the foot of the limestone hill on the other side. The large white farmhouse with green trimming cozily planted on a blue-grass knoll across the brook seemed to bid him be at rest. The large red barn just back of the house stood out in sharp contrast against the green-foliaged mountain. The gold-colored balls on the lightning rods glistened in the farewell rays of the receding sun. Mount Olivet Church reared her white walls modestly from the brow of the blue-grass knoll a quarter of a mile eastward. Deacon Gramps was, at the close of this peaceful summer day, indulging in a mental congratulation of himself on being so favorably situated in life. Everybody recognized Farmer Gramps as being the wealthiest man in all Spruce Township. He owned the finest and fattest horses that were driven to Mount Olivet Church. His cattle roamed the forests for miles around, and his hogs cracked acorns on every hillside.
Apart from his worldly wealth he was the most distinguished member of Mount Olivet church. For years he had been deacon in said church, and was president of the official board. In fact, he was as truly a part of the Church as was the pulpit on the platform or the bell in the steeple. No meeting was complete without him. He was an indispensable part of the service. He always sat in the same pew, and none coming into the Church previously to Deacon Gramps ever dared sit in his pew any more than they dared to monopolize the preacher’s chair in the pulpit. He always enjoyed the double pleasure of chewing his tobacco and hearing the sermon simultaneously, and this necessitated his occupying a pew near the window, as you may well suppose. This window was known to roguish boys as “Deacon Window” and not even the bravest of these boys dared peep through this window during services as was their custom in the case of the other windows.