HATTIE ILA SMITH ALLRED - Brick Church Pianist
Contributed by Ila May Patterson Bowman.
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be republished in any form without permission of the contributor. It is place on
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I am granddaughter of Hattie Ila Smith Allred who was pianist at Brick
Church for most of her life, it ending in 1987. She taught my Mother
and Aunt, then my sister and me, to sing at that church when we were
little tykes. Aunt Frances had to stand on a stool to be seen. Grandma
gave her life to that church and she should be recognized for it. I'm
proud to carry her name and to know that the first church my sister and
I ever sung in was Brick.
She told me she could remember the first time she played there and that she
was age 12 at the time. She had taught herself to play by going over to
Old Brookfield Schoolhouse and picking things out on the organ that was
there. (I believe organ, not piano, is correct) She learned so well,
she never needed a note of music to be able to play a song. She could hear
a new song somewhere and go home and work on it until she had it right.
She had to give up the pianist position at age 77 or 78 due to
As children my sister and I stayed with Grandma Hattie during the week,
and we remember vividly our weekly trips to "clean the church". She was
the "church cleaner" for many years. We'd move chairs for sweeping, polish
furniture, replace the chairs and pick up all the trash. When we were a
little older, we got to help with the sweeping. Whatever the job, she'd
make it a fun time. The BIG thing was getting to take the trash out and burn
it. That was because it was the last thing to do and it meant our clean-up
was over for that week. Her daughters continued that job for her (for a while)
when her health severely failed in 1984/5 and I can hear today, the near tears
in her voice at the fact of realizing she wouldn't be able to do that work
She took my sister and me to Vacation Bible School there in the summers. I
recall that one of the years, my age group's "classroom" was in the balcony at
the back of the church. There's a strong recollection of looking over the
banister and being more than a little fearful of the height from the floor
below. She began, early in our lives, requiring us to memorize Bible verses,
as well as chapters. She loved the Lord and wanted us to love Him the same.
During her years there she organized, directed and was pianist for a group
called "Mrs. Hattie's Mens' Choir" of Brick Church. Several of the men were
her nephews, one of whom still attends there. This group would travel to
other churches, as well as sing at socials. They also visited the shut-ins
and nursing homes with the hope of bringing some joy into the lives of those
there. Anytime they were invited, they'd try to go. Her nephew still loves
to talk about those days.
She couldn't wait for the annual (semi-annual?) "church supper" to come around.
She was a top-notch cook and loved to fix her chicken pie and chocolate pie,
along with other tasty dishes, to take for people to enjoy. Fellowshipping
with her friends and extended family was a Brick Church highlight for her.
Her joviality just added to the enjoyment. Everybody knew Mrs. Hattie's
cooking was some of the best. Both her girls inherited that from her.
She has contributed, yet again, through one of her daughters, to Brick Church.
This is in regard to the refurbishing of the original building. This last
year and a half has seen the disassembling and removal of the Thomas Arlendo
and Sarah Elizabeth Friddle Smith homeplace to Asheville. Tom and Sarah were
her parents and they built the homeplace -a log cabin which Great Grandpa
Tom added to in later years - in the mid-1800's. Hattie's daughter and her
husband have given a log from the old homeplace to be used for a cross in
the refurbishing of the church. Grandma Hattie's parents, two sisters and
their husbands, a brother and his wife, several grandparents and many of her
extended family are all buried at Brick Church. She too, awaits resurrection
morning there_beside her nephew.
Submitted in loving memory of my Grandma Hattie Ila Smith Allred: